The runABC South race listings for this weekend show that it is a case of head west or take a rest on Saturday (10 February). However, we are back to the usual burgeoning calendar on Sunday and we take a look at what is on offer in the region.
Saturday's offerings are the Exeter Half Marathon and the Dartmoor Trail Challenge. The former is unusual in that there are actually two days of racing available. Saturday sees a traditional race for competitive runners with a 2:15 time limit; Sunday is the time for the novice runners and those more comfortable with a 3:00 target in mind. There are 300 entries on Saturday and nearer to 400 take part on Sunday. Both races take place entirely on the flat, traffic free footpaths and cycle tracks around River Exe and Exeter Canal.
Dartmoor Trail Challenge features a varied programme of 12k, half marathon, marathon and 50k ultra runs set at Holwell Down, close to Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Elevation gains vary from 511m in the 12k to a lung-busting 2,068m (6,785 feet) in the ultra with a 600 entry limit. Organisation and support is provided by the Trail Events Co based in Torquay.
Normal service resumes on Sunday with a smattering of 10k and half marathon races. There are also 5 mile, 10 mile and 20 mile events listed but for a marathon you would need to be off to Barcelona. We like the sound of the Humdinger Half and Hurtle from Wellsprings Leisure Centre, Taunton. Both races are described as “challenging”, run entirely on quiet country roads in the Quantock Hills. The Hurtle is a 4.5 mile cut down version of the half marathon.
Spring marathon preparation is taken care of at the traditional Bramley 10 and 20 mile races promoted by Reading Roadrunners at Basingstoke. Club runners have convened at Bramley Primary School for many years to test their marathon fitness over the quiet roads that pass through Fair Oak Green and out towards Stratfield Mortimer.