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The annual debacle of drunkenness and debauchery for the dames and dudes of Ilfracombe Running Club took place on December 17 this year, with the 2018 Christmas outing. This time the event chosen was the inaugural Haldon Forest Jingle Bells race with options for a 5k race or two laps of pain for 10k.

They say that no matter where you are in the world you are no more than six feet away from a rat; well, in this high speed sporting ramble you were never more than six feet away from someone wearing the coveted IRC blue jersey. There were a few plucky first timers, and more category winners than the contents of Mary Menon’s trophy cabinet (2018 only though).

Naturally in the ladies’ version of the race for those daft enough to run this roller-coaster of a run over two loops Mary Menon took top billing in 41:37, just pipping her nearest rival to the line by two-and-a-half minutes. The beardy Combe Martin duo of Joe ‘Birthday Boy’ Mackenzie (3rd in 39:12) and Dan ‘Bleurghhhhh!!!’ Murdoch (9th in 41:46) were the top dogs for the IRC chaps.

Other times: Leo Holroyd (46:41, 1st in cat Nicest Legs), Aaron Llewellyn (47:30 1st in cat MU20), Becky Williamson (47:21 3rd in cat F35+), Pete Westmacott (48:01 1st in cat M50+), Dan Loder (49:46 3rd in cat M40+), Andrew ‘Wooffy’ Wooff (50:05), Andy Mansfield (51:18 2nd in cat M50+), Roy Pickard (52:05), Charlotte Jones (52:14), Tim Baker (52:43), Gary ‘Jif’ Kemp (53:24), David Monge Garcia (54.06 =3rd in cat Catalan Twats … er …  M45+), Kevin Reed (54.06 =3rd cat Manchester United fans and M45+), Dave Irvine (55:01), Nicola Oliver (58:32 1st in cat M55+), Nick Marsh (59:44 4th in cat Liverpool Fans), Debbie Freeman (61:57 3rd in cat F45+), Debbie Green (62:37), Jude Millage (62:42 3rd in cat F60+), Peter Addison (62:49), Alice Bradley (70:31), Karley Wells (71:57), Tania Jeffery (72:28 - 1st 10k!), Mel Hickles (73:36) and Colin Hickles (75:18).

A few thoughtful IRCers were so worried about course congestion in the second half of the race that they unselfishly stepped aside and only ran a single lap. Nearest the top was Alastair Newey who finished fifth overall in 25:01 (first in M40+ cat). We hope that the weirdly tall weird one will take this as a sign of encouragement and consider proper race distances in future. As for the ladies Nina Naneva was first home with a top ten finish and second in her category (Lidl checkout operators … okay, FSen) in 29:14.

Other times: Steve Bywaters (29:32 2nd in cat M50+), Alan (Alan? Who the **** is Alan?) Hunt (30:48, 3rd in cat M50+), Jay Bocock (30:50 1st in cat F45+), Mike ‘Doobs’ Robinson (31:06 1st in cat M45+), Mick McCann (43:23 1st in cat M60+), Philippa Legge (36:27 3rd in cat 36:27), Jen Bywaters (42:46) and Emily Hickles (49:53).

With the formalities of the run over, the serious business of alcohol sampling began. In no way were the landlord and staff of The Weary Traveller in Cullompton bemused when a collection of pirates, popeyes and penguins descended upon his hostelry at 1130am. Some people seemed to have missed the memo to dress up as something beginning with the letter ‘P’ - Colin Hickles, Dan Loder and Peter Addison all turned up in their normal Sunday gear for a start. Also Dave Irvine dressed up as an elf but everyone humoured him ‘cos he’s old.

Leo Holroyd went all out by wearing a suit but was then rescued by a staggeringly swift case of jaundice while Andrew Wooff settled the discussion over whether in a same-sex relationship he’d be the postman or the letterbox. Tanya Jeffery’s outfit was perfect the most spectacular, while Nick Marsh made it clear he was in a position to check anyone’s anal cavity … and then he changed into his fancy dress outfit.

After Cullompton it was back on the buses for the traditional visit to the Muddiford Inn, a tradition that stretches back a whole twelve months. More beer, gin, wine, food and a lot of desperate men getting excited about Charlotte Jones eating a brownie.

The hardiest of hardy souls were in no mood for the day’s party to end, even though it had been in full swing for ten hours and it was as late as half five. The Wellington Arms in good old ‘combe was the final destination for those IRCers wanting to put on their dancing shoes … and I am among that number who hoped to god no one recorded our interpretive dance to ‘Walking in the Air’.

The final booze-soaked IRC event of the year … until Thursday! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!


In a perfect world IRC would arrange EVERY running race on the planet, but alas, we can only manage two. Our second race of the year, the knee-knackering and soul-sapping Combe Crawler took place on Sunday, 25 November (yesterday, or if you're not reading this today (Monday, 26 November), then not yesterday).

Our dominant lady wonder-athlete Mary Menon made it a stunning four wins on the bounce, despite the much-welcome competition of Mara Yamauchi - winner of the 2008 Osaka Women's Marathon and competitor for the UK at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. Maya also holds the second-fastest time ever for a UK women in a marathon. She finished second although we did cheat a little by telling her the course was perfectly flat. Cath Stibbs of Kent AC finished in third place.

Member of the IRC beard division, Joe Mackenzie, made it a clean sweep for the club, finishing first overall. He became the first IRC athlete to win the Combe Crawler since Dave Irvine won it in 1954. A special shout-out must go to second placed Stephen Cameron of Bideford AAC. Some naughty juveniles (probably from Combe Martin) had altered one of the signs, sending Mr Mack the wrong way. Stephen saw this and established a 'timing correction', allowing Joe to re-establish the appropriate lead before chasing after the ginger-chinned wonder again. We at IRC were so moved by this we almost awarded Stephen first place, but only to see the look on Joe's face when we did.

IRC had other prize winners too! Hurrah for Kevin Reed (MV45), Gavin Burnside (MV50), Mica Clark (FS), Linsey Whyment (FV40) and Jude Millage (FV60) whom all took top honours in their various categories. Afterwards the boys and girls of IRC (and guests) enjoyed a nice cup of tea and a biscuit, and a gentle talk about the potential impact on traffic of widening the A391 close to Braunton.

Another great day for IRC, and kudos to event director and massive Aston Villa fan Matthew Hayne for his efforts. Thanks also to all the marvellous marshalls and race organisers whom all worked so hard both on the day and behind the scenes, especially Ryan Collins, Abi Orr, Colin Hickles, Nina Naneva, Katie Pearce, Mike 'Doobs' Robinson and Paul Barrington. Competitors will be relieved to hear that David Garcia has been re-captured and is now safely incarcerated within a mental health facility.

All the winners: Men: 1st: Joe Mackenzie (IRC); 2nd: Stephen Cameron (Bideford AAC); 3rd: Curtis Netherway (unattached); MS: David Everitt (unatatched); MV40: Carl Murphy (unattached); MV45 : Kevin Reed (IRC); MV50: Gavin Burnside (IRC); MV55: Mark Hales (NDRR); MV60 Ray Stanier (Tipton Harriers); MV65: Tim Jones (NDRR). Ladies: 1st: Mary Menon (IRC); 2nd: Maya Yamauchi (Thames Hare & Hounds); 3rd: Cath Stibbs (Kent AC); FS: Mica Clark (IRC); FV35: Naomi Shaw (SWRR); FV40: Lynsey Whyment (IRC): FV45: Katrina Smale (); FV50 Steph Wade (NDRR); FV55 Karen Grant (NDRR); FV50 Jude Millage (IRC); FV65 Jenny Stone (NDRR). Full results here.


It's one of the toughest aspects of being an IRC member - and it's one that only those with stupendous amounts of grit and determination survive. But enough about getting a lift with David Monge Garcia and 'experiencing' his trance CDs, let's talk about the Exmoor Stagger and Stumble.

A few especially hardy souls went full Exmoor and did the Stagger - 16-ish miles of clambering and climbing over 3,600 feet up and down and up and up and down and so on. Dan 'Afraid of Razors' Murdoch put his recent injury woes behind him to finish fourth overall in 02:07:50, with Andrew 'Wooffy' Wooff next for the club in 02:37:26. Gavin Burnside finished in 02:38:57, and finally for the IRC crew Dan Loder in 02:46:07.

A little bit shorter (10k) but still not one for the faint-hearted, a handful plumped for the Stumble. The aforementioned dire music lover David Garcia was a magnificient second overall in 42:27. while Beth Barrington took the crown as first lady in 48:06. Roy Pickard made an excellent debut for the club in 52:40 with Ben 'The Bullet' Beacham completing the dicey course in 1:01:49. Good running guys!


England shocked everyone in this summer's World Cup finals (seems so long ago now!) by reaching the semi-finals of the competition, but IRC were not in a shocking mood yesterday. There were absolutely no suprises for the club as - as expected - everybody did completely brilliantly!

Starting with the Tarka Trail lovers who did the full marathon the stupendous Mary Menon continued her utter dominance of North Devon running by not only winning the whole dang thing for the ladies, but finishing as runner-up overall. She sprinted home in a time of 02:54:38 (chip time - all times given here are chip times). Kevin Reed finished as 11th male (pending a gender test) in 03:09:54, followed by Beth 'you'll never get me running a marathon, no sir, no chuffing way, now jog on' Barrington who smiled all the way through to completing an excellent time of 03:26:08. Photos of Beth's 'yukky' feet are now available on several fetish sites.

Also in the full Justin Duerden completed the race in 03:52:21, followed by three chaps running their first-ever marathons - Benjamin Gunn (04:21:50), Neil Garrett (04:28:35) and Danny Lee (04:29:09). Wendy Dale was victorious in her category VF55, beating the above trio to finish in 04:17:36.

Several less unhinged runners competed in the half which kicked off an hour after the full. Our first runner home was Tom Capron, who finished 26th in a fabulous time of 01:29:01, followed by Andrew 'Woofy' Wooff in (01:33:11). Our other competitors were Charlotte Jones (01:46:09), Jenny Evans (01:47:22 - 4th in cat), Debs Freeman (01:50:10 - PB), Paul Cooper (01:50:21), Hayley Whetter (01:59:47), Peter Addison (02:00:51), Kelly Cooper (02:04:13), Nick Marsh (02:06:07), Karley Fricker (02:14:22), Clive Rees (02:20:23 - a massive PB) and Mark James (02:10:02) whom ran it with his daughter Leah (02:10:02). Well done, one and all!

The previous day had seen more glory for IRC, as Dan Loder won the Lynmouth Marathon in a time of five hours and fifty four minutes. Dan put his victory down to his secret tactic of 'not getting lost'. Stuart Cook also entered but, like around 90% of the field, was last seen roaming around Exmoor looking for a marshall. Anyone with information about Stuart should contact his wife urgently, whom was last seen talking into her mobile while clutching a life insurance policy and a brochure for Caribbean holidays.


IRC’s annual summer run, the 11km Turbine Trail, returned on 8 July 2018. With the dog show at the village fair cancelled, the stage was set for our race to steal the limelight, at least as long as no one says anything about Lundy. In temperatures hotter than the contents of Ryan Collins’ fridge, or anyone else’s fridge for that matter, forty-four runners battled the heat, hills and haze of West Down.

The course offered something for everyone, starting with a mad dash across tall grassy fields, followed by a steep descent through a rocky forest that this writer would rather forget. A nice relaxing downhill jaunt on country roads was then rudely terminated by a sharp climb at the aptly named Little Comfort Farm. Returning to the village for the finish, runners were safely guided home by the enthusiastic marshalling of three-year-old Logan Courton.

First place was claimed by Paul Cooke (aka Young Horse) of South Molton Strugglers, with a very impressive time of 00:45:26. Long-distance running phenomenon Stuart Cook was first over the line for IRC (5th overall, 00:52:15), while our very own Becky Williamson was first female (14th overall, 00:59:35). Other Ilfracombe finishers were Leo Holroyd (6th, 00:54:47), Aaron Llewellyn (7th, 00:56:17), Andrew Wooff (8th, 00:56:25), Benjamin Gunn (11th, 00:58:41), Gary 'Jif' Kemp (20th, 01:02:18), Charlotte Jones (25th, 01:06:16), Darren Vincent (29th, 01:09:02), Alice Bradley (41st, 01:19:20) and Mel Hickles (44th, 01:33:03).

Organiser Colin Hickles and all the many volunteers are to be thanked for putting on a great occasion, and standing around for at least an hour in baking heat when they would all rather be on the bouncy castle.


IRC go abroad! Well, almost! A set of our most adventurous plodders braved a tumultuous boat trip across the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday to visit a place almost as remote, barren and full of inbreeding as Combe Martin - the Isle of Lundy! Somehow, the organisers managed to create a 14 mile race on an island that's three miles from north to south. The IRC posse and 235 others managed to swell the tiny island's population ten-fold, just for running sh*ts and giggles.

With temperatures hotter than the contents of Ryan Collins' pants, this was not a day for all-out sprinting, but that did not stop the lovely Dan Murdoch from achieving another podium finish, only beaten to the gold medal by Ronnie Richmond. Dan completed the scorching run in 01:42:47. 'Friend of the Club' Nick Bailey (hubby of Kajal) was a magnificent third in 01:48:45.

The others who enjoyed/endured the skin-peeling heat, rocky terrain and an utterly pointless three thousand steps down/up detour to some lighthouse or something were as follows: Kevin Reed (02:09:14), Pete Westmacott (02:22:07), Alastair Newey (02:24:51), Kajal Bailey (02:24:52), Dave Irvine (02:25:13), Simon Oliver (02:27:38), Debbie Freeman (02:43:45), Paul Cooper (02:49:06), Nicola Oliver (02:33:51), Tim 'Not South Molton' Baker (03:07:38), Michelle Newey (03:10:08), Kelly Cooper (03:10:09), Peter Addison (03:19:07) and Emlyn 'Oo Oo My Foot's a Bit Hurty Hurty' Pearce (03:33:21). Pete Llamosa was also a starter but sadly his recent injury issues caught up with him and despite a brilliant effort Pete had to pull out after eight or so miles. Everyone got a super-sexy medal, yey!

Like Harry Styles and them others in that Christopher Nolan film 'Dunkirk' our weary superstars managed to clamber aboard their sea-faring vessel home without being punctured by German bullets and arrived back in 'combe to be greeted by Joe Mackenzie and his magnificent ginger beard. Hurrah!


About Our Club

Founded in 2013, Ilfracombe Running Club is a group of nutters and heavy drinkers who love running up hills (like they have any choice). We're a supportive bunch who love our slowest plodders as much as we love our super-fit athletes. We encourage anyone to slap on a pair of running shoes, get plodding, get fit and most of all, have fun! We run beginners' groups and the famous 'Ilfracombe Blue' can be seen in races local, national and even international. Come and join us for a one-off run - we (almost) guarantee you'll be bitten by the running bug. Read More ...

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