AVR members run to major team and individual success at the Ekiden marathon relay meeting

PUBLISHED: 09:07 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:13 17 June 2020




With no events currently available due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, Exeter based City-Runs organised a virtual Ekiden marathon relay and Axe Valley Runners (AVR) stormed to five team victories as well as numerous personal bests and individual milestones, writes Carol Austin.

Based on the Japanese Ekiden relay events, which take place in most Japanese towns and cities, this virtual event involved teams running six relay legs of 1k, 3k, 5k, 8.2k, 10k and 15k to complete the marathon distance of 42.2km with three to six runners in each team.

Runners could choose any route and logged it via their GPS devices.

Some runners had to negotiate the wet and windy weather on Friday while others chose to wait for the calm sunshine of Sunday morning.

More than 80 teams took part mostly from across the south-west, but the event did include three teams from Tokyo Harriers!

AVR entered an impressive 10 teams across most age categories.

The men’s 40 team comprising Matt Hewer, Lee Moran and Duncan Staddon won their age category and were fifth overall finishing in a total marathon time of 2:33.03.

The men’s 50 team of Tony Smith, Tim Sibley, Rob Collier and Patrick Devine-Wright also finished first in category, 14th overall in 2:40.31.

The men’s 60 team of Andrew West, David Cooke, Bob Carter, Ron Seward and Steve Haines were first M60 in 3:22.38 ensuring it was a clean sweep for the AVR men.

The women’s 45 team of Sue Hayes, Kerry Board, Margaret Pearce and Karen Eyre took first F45 place with an overall marathon time of 3:08.46 while Eleanor Wood, Angela Kerr and Carol Austin secured first place for F55 in a combined time of 3:28.59.

In the very competitive F35 age group ten teams completed the event with AVR’s Jo Orsman, Caroline French, Samantha Tooze, Katharine Moran, Vicki Wraight and Lou Tucker taking second place in a combined time of 3:43.51.

There were many impressive individual runs and it was a great opportunity for those missing their competition fix. Perhaps the performance of the weekend was Natalie McNeice, who only started running via AVR’s Couch to 5k programme late last year and on Saturday completed a 15k leg of the relay, her longest run to date.

Thank you to City Runs for their superb organisation of this virtual event and AVR is already looking forward to the next virtual event in July.

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