ADAM Holland, originally from Tavistock, won the Dartmoor Discovery 2017 ultramarathon, which began and ended at Princetown on Saturday.
The marathon runner, who now lives in Nottinghamshire, covered the 32 gruelling miles in 3 hours 44 minutes 22 seconds, beating off the field of 250 in a race organised by the Teignbridge Trotters Running Club..
Lynette Porter from Bitton Road Runners won the ladies’ race in 4.15.28.
It was the 19th Dartmoor Discovery, or DD as it is affectionately known, and participants began the race in superb running conditions as they headed out of Princetown at 9.30am on Saturday. The skies were clear, the sun was shining and a cool breeze gave little indication of what was to come.
Adam Holland, who chose the DD as his 300th marathon, set off at an electric pace and soon built up a substantial lead over the chasing pack. Passing through the 10K point in 36 minutes and the half marathon in 76 minutes, it looked likely that Holland was going to beat the course record of 3.29.24, set by John Ward.
All that changed when the weather took a turn for the worse, as it can so often do on Dartmoor. Torrential rain and a sudden drop in temperature made for a completely different race. Holland’s pace slowed and with it went the chance of breaking the record set in 2014.
Adam Holland was nevertheless delighted with his win and held aloft a Devon flag as he crossed the finish line. Kieron Summers, of Weston AC, was second overall, in 3.54.41. Teignbridge Trotter athlete Ben Mukherjee came third, crossing the line in 3.56.53.
Meanwhile in the ladies’ race, Porter, who was competing in her first DD, broke the FV50 vet course record by over 16 minutes. This was the only course record broken in 2017. Isobel Wykes of the Mud Crew Trail Runners, a previous DD winner, came second, in a time of 4.30.14. Rachel Langdon-Tait finished third in 4.45.56.
Teignbridge Trotters club chairman and race director Roger Hayes told, ‘Today we saw what Dartmoor can throw at you. Conditions were the worst we have experienced since we started staging the race seven years ago. Just to finish today was an achievement in itself.’
Presenting the prizes was Roger’s grandfather, Verdun Hayes. Verdun recently became the oldest person in the world to do a tandem skydive at the age of 101. The story received worldwide media attention and the biggest cheer of the day was for Verdun when he was introduced to the large crowd that had gathered for the presentations.
The DD’s team competition is always a hard-fought affair and this year was no exception. The winning men’s team were the Teignbridge Trotters, retaining the trophy they won last year and winning it for an incredible eighth time. Ben Mukherjee, Garry Smart (4.10.19) and Allen Taylor (4.36.04) made up the winning trio. The Mud Crew ladies of Isobel Wykes, Diane Roy (4.51.50) and Rachel Tuck (5.27,03) retained the ladies’ team trophy.
Saturday’s race created a special bit of history, as four runners each achieved different milestones. Lance Mason (5.05.12) of the Teignbridge Trotters, completed his 100th marathon. His partner, Sally Ingledew (6.02.09), also from the Teignbridge Trotters, completed her 200th marathon. Adam Holland completed his 300th and Andrew Bickle added to the amazing occasion by completing his 400th marathon. This was the first time that four such milestones have been achieved in the same race.
Roger Hayes added: ‘Staging a 32-mile race across Dartmoor is almost as hard as taking part in it. Without the wonderful support of around 150 club members, as well as specialist teams from Dartmoor Radio Club and Medical Events Training Services, the race simply wouldn’t happen. This year’s event was sponsored by Dartmoor Brewery, the Road Runners Club, Sibelco and the Ilsington Country House Hotel.’
‘The race is all on the road and very, very hilly. It’s a very challenging race and certainly our Blue Ribbon event in terms of staging it.’