The 28th running of the Grizzly and Cub runs start together on Seaton Esplanade at 10.30 am on Sunday 1st March – this year subtitled “Dash to Delirium” some runners do have weird brainwaves after the run – and they remain one of the toughest Multi-Terrain challenges you are likely to come across. The 20 ish mile Grizzly will finish at the same location from approx. 1 p.m., while the shorter 9 mile Cub Run which is run over part of the main course will finish from approx. 11.30 am. There are 1,812 entrants in the Grizzly with Benfleet RC bringing 63 runners (10 more than last year), Bedford Harriers 29, Tiptree RR 27, Honiton RC 26 and host club AVR 63. There are 53 runners from the Netherlands, 2 from the USA and Cyprus plus 1 from France and Germany. There are 347 runners in the Cub Run, plus the “Grizfest” and junior runs on Grizzly Saturday. The first three from last year’s Grizzly are up for the challenge again, that’s winner Ceri Reed of Wild Running, Rick Weston, Serpentine RC and AVR’s Patrick Devine-Wright. The Headquarters and baggage facility this year will be at Seaton Town Hall where the Runners Need (Exeter) shop, open to all will have super bargains.
The GRIZZLY course is 20 AVR miles of very tough running, around and through some of the best scenery in the country, with lots of hills, two official bogs (though some of the fields may resemble bogs) and a soupçon of undulating pebble beach. This year we haven’t had the rain and gales of last year but it will still be a tough endurance test. The route has been slightly modified and this year after a small loop around Seaton beach the runners will go over to Beer via Bunts Corner, Old Beer Road and Old Beer Hill, down Long Hill and Fore Street, then up Common Lane, through the Common Car Park and Caravan Site then over the common to Branscombe Mouth where there will be music by Kagemusha Taiko – Japanese-style drummers. (The Cub Run will turn left on or near Branscombe beach and return via Under Hooken). The Grizzly proceeds to the Village Hall, then lots of private land around Gays Farm where Slapjack will be jamming, then Watercombe and Elverway before finally reaching the two bogs in the Hole area. After a severely mucky experience it’s onward to The Fountain Head where the renowned Grizzly Group Stampita (formerly Rooting Around) will be boogying on. It’s then back to Branscombe Mouth on the Coastal Footpath. A jaunty jog along Branscombe beach is followed by the Stairway to Heaven climb back to Beer Common, eventually returning to Seaton by way of Beer Jubilee Gardens, Clinton Way, Beer Road and Cliff Field Gardens. En route there will also be bagpipers and Dave Somers and other musicians to entertain runners and spectators.
The best spectator vantage points will be at Seaton Sea Front, (Start and Finish), Beer Fore Street (3.0 miles), Beer Head Car Park (3.3 and 17.6 miles), the Sea Shanty at Branscombe Mouth (5.5 & 16 miles), Branscombe Village Hall (6.2 miles), the Fountain Head Branscombe (14.3 miles), and Beer Cliff Top and Jubilee Gardens (18 miles). Please arrive in plenty of time and encourage the runners in this mass of human endeavour. Most runners would welcome some chewy sweets e.g. Jelly Babies, or even a drink, especially near the end of the race if the weather is hot. Wherever you decide to watch, please bear in mind that the byways around Branscombe will be very congested, so please park sensibly at correct locations, not in the lanes. Much of the middle part of the course, including the infamous bogs, is on private land and therefore inaccessible to spectators.
For the top few runners it is a very challenging race, but for the majority it is an arduous test akin to a journey of self-discovery, combining Deep Ecology, spiritualism, One-ness philosophy and Multi-terrain running, and once again somewhere en route there will be a superbly constructed Grizzly Memorial provided by the kindred spirit of the Dungbeans. Runners can tie a ribbon, or place an object as they pass through, and have a shared moment of reflection on whom or what is really dear to their hearts – this can be a truly emotional experience.
There may well be traffic delays at Seaton as The Esplanade is closed all day on Sunday and also on Saturday afternoon for the Junior races. Castle Hill will be closed between 10.30am and 5.00pm. Due to the Coastal path closure Beer Road will be closed for a while in sections from Castle Hill to the top of Long Hill at the start of the run then on the return Beer Road from the exit of Clinton Way to Cliff Field Gardens will just be coned off to enable the safe return of runners. Delays in Fore Street Beer between 10.50 am and 11.30 am, Common Lane will be closed during the event, so delays will occur near the Anchor until 4.30 pm. In Branscombe Northern Lane from Branscombe Airfield to the cattle grid at junction with Hole Hill (east), will be closed between 11.00am and 3.30pm Locksey’s Lane will be closed between Branscombe Village Hall and the A3052 between 11.00am and 3.30pm. There will be a one way system in operation between 12.00noon and 3.30pm near the Fountain Head:- Up on the Right (Coxes Hill) and down on the left (Berry Hill). If going to the Masons Arms for lunch from the Sidmouth direction please keep to the A3052 and turn right just before the Beer turning and use Vicarage Hill.
The main race sponsors are the technical Sportswear Specialists Scimitar (T shirts), East Devon Sports Therapy & General Injury Clinic, Seaton and Everys Solicitors (race numbers and banners). Other race sponsors are Tesco, Seaton (car parking and bananas), Photo-fit.net (Event Photography), Axminster Tools (postage), SAK Logistics (van hire), Quicks Engineering (SW) Ltd, Axminster (trophies), East Devon District Council (car parking), Devon County Council (Marshlands Centre – first aid) and Axe Skip Hire (waste skip at finish).
Huge thanks all the shops and local businesses as always getting completely behind the Grizzly and going to town with their decorations and activities – it’s going to make the Town come alive for the weekend.
There is a fantastic Grizfest being planned that is crammed full of activities for locals and visitors alike starting on Friday 27th Feb Mad Dog McRea (+Sound of Sirens) at The Gateway, Seaton Town Hall from 7.30 for 8pm, then on Saturday at 10am the Grizfest will get underway in Seaton Town Centre. The 2K family run will start at 2.15pm and the 4K race at 2.45 from outside the Hook and Parrot. On Saturday evening at 7pm for 7.30pm there is the Annual Griz Quiz at The Gateway, Seaton Town Hall.
On Grizzly day at 8am the Grizzly Café is open for breakfast at The Gateway, then for the spiritual side of the event an open air service is being organised by Churches Together in Seaton from 9.30am to 10.15am at The Amphitheatre.
There is so much going on so please check out http://axevalleyrunners.org.uk/grizzly/home for all the activities.
So all is set for a great Grizzly and Cub 2015, let’s hope we have a fine day to enable you to come along and join us in all the fun.