THE 35th ANNUAL OTMOOR CHALLENGE
Saturday 7th June 2014
2014 Results now available on Results Page
The first Saturday in June is well established on the runners' calendar as "Otmoor Day" and we welcome runners from a wide area, mostly covering the South and Midlands, but also from much further afield. We welcome all classes of competitor, from good club runners to those who have challenged themselves to just complete a half-marathon, and that is where the name of the event comes in. The course is a mixture of roads and trails, mostly flat, but with the "never-ending field" leading, at the 11 mile point, to a long climb up the hill to Beckley. The reward, however, is a view of the last mile and a half as far as the finish in the middle of the Horton-cum-Studley village fete.
In 2014 there were 335 finishers from 341 starters. Very heavy rain during the morning created muddy and sticky conditions underfoot, combined with very warm and humid weather during the afternoon. This prevented any record-breaking performances, but David Bruce of Oxford City AC repeated his winning performance of 2013 in a time of 1:15:24 , whilst the Ladies' race was won by Jessica Bruce of Headington Road Runners in 1:32:18, giving the Bruce family a clean sweep of the major prizes. Paul Fernandez of Abingdon AC, a stalwart of the event and a previous multiple winner, came second in 1:15:40, with Karmen Pardoe finishing second in the Ladies' race in 1:34:23. Paul and Karmen each won their respective Veteran's Cups, while Robert Pettingell of Handy Cross Runners won the Men's Supervets in 1:28:52 and Jo Gundle of Bicester Tri Club took the Ladies' Supervets trophy in 1:47:01. The reorganised runner's registration system speeded up the formation of 4-person teams and, as a result, 14 men's and mixed teams and 4 ladies teams competed. The winning Men's and Mixed team was Oxford City A (Aaron Burgess, Les Newell, Darrell Bellinger and David Bruce), with the winning ladies team being Alchester A (Sam Usher,Emily Fidler, Olivia Underhill and Wendy Hunter).
The Half Marathon Run starts at 2 p.m. and the Challenge cups and prizes are awarded to the winners in each category after the race. The first 350 runners home each receive an Otmoor Challenge medal. Other runners and walkers who complete the full course are awarded a tracksuit badge.
Walkers too can enjoy an organised event around the footpaths and bridleways of the area. Many entrants return year after year to take in the beautiful countryside and birdlife, helped by the very active presence of the R.S.P.B. Walkers may start any time between 9 a.m. and noon, choosing either the 13 mile or the 5 mile route. The long route nearly replicates the runners' half-marathon, whilst the short route is ideal for families and younger walkers. The heavy rain of 2014 put off many of the walkers, and only 132 hardy souls braved the elements on the morning of 7th June.
The fete offers entertainment for all the family, as well as much-needed refreshments for runners and walkers who finish the course. Stalls can supply all sorts of food, ranging from sandwiches, cakes and ice creams to barbeque hot dogs and burgers. A licensed bar is, of course, an essential aid to runner recovery! As always, we need plenty of helpers and supporters, both on the day but also in the setting-up and clearing away. Any villager prepared to volunteer please contact the organisers. The Otmoor Challenge is our prime opportunity of the year to enjoy working together as a community in a common endeavour. Our excellent Millennium Hall provides changing rooms, toilets and showers for runners and walkers, and is also a cornerstone of the fete, providing space for stalls and refreshments — and, with the big marquee, shelter should it be necessary.
The money raised benefits mainly local charities and other good causes in our own village and in the surrounding areas. We welcome and encourage the help of all those interested in adding to the success of the day by their support for local causes. Runners and walkers pay an entrance fee, but are welcome to raise sponsorship in addition for their favourite charities. The Otmoor Challenge Association encourages entrants to use JUST GIVING or similar websites to collect their sponsors' contributions. Entrance monies raised, after deduction of expenses, go to charities and good causes.
The 100th runner home is awarded an obelisk trophy in memory of Ted Ogden, who was one of the founders of the event. The Challenge is his legacy and is now run by an enlarged team of organisers from whom further information may be obtained:
Basil Lyster (01865-351373)
Andrew Pennington (01865-358800)
Sara Mander (01865-351316) - Fete Organiser
Paul Wilkinson (01865-351618)
Julie Ogden (01865-358993)
John Wright (01865-351526)
Registration Forms may be downloaded from the link below.
Runners should print the Registration Form, complete the information requested, and send it, together with a cheque for the appropriate amount, to Jill Meyjes at the address shown on the form. Please provide an email address, if you have one, for us to acknowledge receipt of your entry.
Any queries concerning the Otmoor Challenge from runners or walkers should be addressed to
Julie Ogden, Home Close, Church Lane, Horton-cum-Studley, Oxford OX33 1AW - Tel: 01865 358993 (6pm - 8pm please)