The runners taking part in the Exe to Axe 20 mile run along the South West Coastal Path were greeted with a strong and cold easterly wind. There were 160 of them, all listening intently to the Race Director’s detailed instructions on the route: “Keep the sea on your right hand side and you won’t get lost!”
Having sorted out the navigation problems it was time to face the race itself. It is a very tough one but the first half to Sidmouth is relatively easy. That said, a number of runners still dropped out at Sidmouth and over 20 failed to complete the course pulling out at various stages. Those taking part as members of a relay team were more fortunate and all teams successfully completed the course.
Local vet Malcolm Bayer, the course record holder quickly stamped his authority on the race and at Sidmouth was in the leading pack of three. By the finish he had established a significant lead and won by 50 seconds in a time of 2.50.25 from Greg Deacon of Basildon AC. A mere 14 seconds behind in 3rd place was Nathan Montague of Swindon Harriers and all 3 of them beat the first relay team from Taunton. Last man home was Neville Dewson from Birmingham in 5.11.02.
Despite the clear instructions at the start one runner was found on the A3052 over a mile from the coast and returned safely to the finish at Seaton where a Jazz Band at the Hook and Parrot entertained those runners replacing their fluid loss at the end of a long hard run along the challenging but picturesque Jurassic Coast.