Track, trail and training

AT the Ken Trickey Memorial Meeting, at Exeter Arena, John Perratt re-set the British record for men over 75 running 3,000 metres, having set a record that did not stand at the last of the winter 3k series at Exeter Arena.

On that first occasion he finished 11th in the C race in a time of 13mins 14secs - almost three minutes inside the record for his age group for a track 3k. However, the 3k series originated on the roads of Devon and, while it takes place on a track, it is organised under road race rules so Perratt's time was not eligible for new record.

The organisers of the Ken Trickey Memorial Meeting in Exeter invited him to race in their event and cement his status as the fastest British man over 75 at 3,000 metres.

John, a former Exmouth Harrier, now runs with home town club Sidmouth but asked Harrier Dave Eveleigh to set a pace designed to take him under 13 minutes.

John said: “It is not such a big deal. The old record was a very soft one. It was set in 1997 at 16.05 minutes and because the distance of 3000m is not raced so often as other distances it must have got forgotten about.

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“The day itself was a bit chilly and there was a nasty headwind, unusually on the home straight, which meant that in the seven-and-a-half laps you had it eight times. Nevertheless the plan went well up to 2000m where I was two seconds off the pace but, instead of picking up the pace, I suddenly felt very tired, as you do,and finished on 13.06 .

“That was a two-year PB and a reasonable improvement on my March time but I still felt that I could have done better. Never mind, perhaps I will have another go later in the year.”

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Gareth Horrocks of Sidmouth (green) coped with the severe ups and downs of the Exmoor Coastal Trail Marathon to finish in 5.02 hours.

At the start of the Exmoor Coastal Trail Marathon the Endurance Life team who organise it gave a speech about what they try to get out of their races, something along the lines of "Extremely hard races, in extremely beautiful places."

This race certainly lived up to both and the extremely hard bit started right from the beginning. After a few hundred metres the route to the top of the cliffs began with a climb of around 500 metres over about half a mile but once at the top it was clear why this is labelled as the most beautiful in the country, the views were absolutely stunning and remained so throughout the race.

As the race title suggests the majority of the race was spent running along small coastal trails with very, very, steep descents (I have never seen so many signs warning you of the danger you are in) and some truly soul destroying ascents. I lost count of how many times I was relieved to have survived one of the life threatening downhill sections and felt relieved to see a bit of flat ground before realising it was just a short carriage to yet another climb up the cliff AGAIN (I did hear someone quote that 60% of the race was uphill).

That is also not to forget passing through somewhere called the Valley of Rocks which really tested the ankles and knees and where I hurt my ankle and had to hobble to the finish. This was a truly punishing race but there were very few miles on the road which meant that, however downbeat I got at the sight of another hill with no apparent end, the views and scenery throughout were magnificent,

I think that there are not many races that could beat the views around Sidmouth but this one did it for me. I just about managed to finish this really tough course in 5:02 hours with the winner coming in just under 4 hours. All in all it was a very well organised race with good support throughout and a rewarding experience.

Next weekend of course sees a lot of our members making the trip to London and, if anyone feels inspired by their efforts, the Club will be starting another 8 week Beginners’ Course with the first session on Wednesday, May 2 at the Sailing Club. For further details phone Janet Ackford on 01395 516169

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