Last Saturday saw husband and wife team Rob and Lisa Kernaghan take part in the first of the season Gecko Gathering, with a 5K run at Siblyback. This 5K route takes the athletes on a trail route around the popular Siblyback Lake. Rob completed the route in 25:50 and Lisa completed the shorter route of 2.5K in 18.50. Sharon Moreau who opted to complete the 10K version of the Siblyback Lake route in 1:06:00
Sunday saw Rob Kernaghan take part in the Smugglers Scuttler run at Land's End. This pirate themed run is a hard and tough route. With this year being held on one of the wettest days in June. During the half marathon, athletes need to collect 4 items of contraband. The route starts at Land's End, and takes the athletes along the rugged and exposed Coastal Path towards Penwith Heritage Coast. The athletes continue until Priest Cove, near St Just, then turn around and repeat the route to finish the picturesque Land's End. Rob completed this rough terrain half marathon in 3:19:00
Emma Clarke, Phil Shepley and Ali Catnach travelled up to Exeter to take part in the Exeter Half Marathon. This route mainly follows the river Exe and the Exeter canal, the route is flat and traffic free. The route starts at Exeter's historic quay, running alongside the canal and looping back, and heading out again this time crossing over the canal, before lopping back for a second time and crossing a second part of the canal. From here the athletes run towards Exeter University Playing Fields, where athletes cross over the river again, and then head towards Matford, looping around Matford Green Business Park, before heading up to Grace Roads Playing Fields before rejoining the final road to the finish line. This 13.2 mile route saw 400 runners take part in the race, which Covid regulations mean runners start in socially distance groups of 50 people. Phil Shepley completed the route in 1.39:00, with Ali Catnach being just seconds behind him, at 1:40:00. Emma Clarke was the third pioneer back with a time of 1:46
Mid June saw a number of long distance runs for the pioneers to be involved in. Ultra Marathons are becoming increasingly popular as a running event, due the extreme challenge that it creates for the athletes. Clive Finnimore and Jenny Cartwright took part in the Boscastle Scramble, a 25.5 mile coastal path trail. This is the second of four stages of the 100 miles saints and smugglers challenge. This tough run starts at Rock and takes the athletes on the coastal path along to the beautiful Polzeath. Athletes carry on the coastal path, to Port Issac, and then up to Tintagel and along to Boscastle.
Clive Finnimore completed the route in an impressive 5:10:29, coming an amazing second overall on this incredibly tough terrain, during an incredibly hot day. Fellow pioneer who ran that day was Jenny Cartwright completed the route in 6:54:00 and came 21st.
Sarah Barker, completed the 10k route of the Endurance Life Coastal Series race which took place in Exmoor. With some of the route taking place on the South West Coastal Path, this hill route takes in 1286 feet of elevation. Starting near Waterhoe, athletes zig zag along Sir Robert's Path, taking a long loop to Heddon River, before turning back and running on a slightly shorter return route to the start point. Sarah completed the tough and hot route in 1:16:30
Emma Langstaff and Jo Robinson completed the incredible Dartmoor Discovery UltraMarathon. This 32 mile run, takes in some of the most stunning views of Dartmoor. Starting at Princetown, the athletes run along to Two Bridges, then running down hill to Dartmeet, followed by a step up hill and by the 10 miles mark runners are heading towards New Bridge at almost the lowest part of the elevation of the run. Running down hill towards Ashburton and steadily climbing towards Buckland on the Moor. Athletes then run along to Widecombe in the Moor, and Postbridge, where athletes join the road and make their way back to Two Princes, ending the run at Princetown. Due to covid -19 restrictions, athletes are being permitted to run in small waves of people, to prevent athletes running too close to each other, during the route. The route is a tough and uneven one, and to add more pressure to the runners, there is a cut off of 6 and a half hours. However, to add some additional support and fun for the runners, who are staying nearby to the race start, there was a pasta party Friday night and a covid- 19 safe disco taking place on the saturday night for those who still had the energy to dance in the evening. Jo Robinson completed the run in 4:42:12, with Emma Langstaff just behind her completing this grueling challenge in 4:43:14.
Superhuman Sally Crabb, completed one of the hardest endurance challenges, the South Downs Way 100, a 100 miles race, during one of the hottest and humid days so far this year. Overall there is an elevation of 3800 meters, with most of the route being on trail and a small amount on the road. To be able to take part in the race there is a strict entrance criteria, that all athletes must have run 50 miles competitively in under 15 hours. Starting at the natural amphitheatre of Matterley Bowl, located near Winchester. Where athletes run 4 miles around the estate to start the race, before the athletes take to the South Downs Way. From here the athletes run on the Beacon Hill Beeches, before heading to Butser Hill. Then the athletes run on to South Harting, and on to Cocking, then Bignor hill and Kithurst Hill. From here the athletes run on to Botolphs, Clayton Windmills, South Ease, Bo Peep and finally Eastbourne. Sally completed this incredible run in a staggering 24:51:13.