AFTER an injury-hit 2010-11, Sam Petty has made an encouraging start to the new season.
The middle-distance runner from Bishops Tawton stepped up the mileage by taking part in the Bupa Great Birmingham Run half marathon.
Originally intending to pace a friend around the course, he found himself in the pack near the front of 15,000 runners and just behind the elite group, including the great Haile Gebrselassie.
Petty, more used to running 800 metres, exceeded expectations by finishing 168th in 85 mins 8secs in the blustery conditions.
His weekend started with a trip to Loughborough on Friday as part of On Camp With Kelly, the training camp hosted by Dame Kelly Holmes for the UK's rising young middle-distance athletes.
Petty, a member of North Devon AC and a student at the University of Birmingham, guided a new group on the Future Stars programme through a variety of training activities.
North Devon AC made a strong start to the new season in the Devon Sportshall Athletics League.
They took first place, finishing 29 points ahead of champions Plymstock, in the first meeting at Dawlish and set three club records at under-13 level.
Max Whitecross, runner-up in the boys' two-lap race, Ben Sutton, winner over four-laps and Issy Wakefield, the girls' two-lap hurdles champion, set the standards.
John Shapland, of North Devon Road Runners, finished fourth at the Tavy Seven with a time of 42 mins 38 secs for the seven-mile race at Tavistock. He was the leading athlete in the M55 category.
Marilyn Blair, of Torrington AAC, was first in the W50 category and fourth woman in 50-35.
Ben Mitchell, of Bude Rats, won the inaugural Mouth to Mouth 10k run.
Starting and finishing at Sandymouth beach, competitors ran the coastal path to Northcott Mouth and back along the bridle path.
Mitchell clocked 45mins 43secs to finish clear of club-mate James Miller in second. Jo Meek, of Tavistock AC, was first woman and third overall.
The event, organised by the National Trust with support from Bude Rats, attracted 56 runners.