Another fantastic Mighty Green turnout for the Grizfest and Grizzly this weekend at Seaton. The events, organised by Axe Valley Runners and supported by lots of local organisations, are a highlight of any runner’s year; the atmosphere stays with you.
On Saturday it was the SRC Juniors doing the club proud running in the 4k Junior Grizzly (11 to 15 years), the 2k Junior Cub (8-11 years) and the fun run.
They all did really well especially as the route took them onto the pebbles to get the authentic Grizzly experience.
The club are very grateful to the parents who enthusiastically cheered the runners on despite the cold wind.
Huge congratulations to our GrizFest runners John, Dom, Ben, Louie, Barney, Amelie, Brody, Hamish and Amelia who deserved their finishers medals.
The wind had dropped overnight and conditions were looking surprisingly good (it wasn’t that long ago when the Grizzly was cut short due to the snow!) as over 50 Mighty Greens lined up under the flag for a team photo.
There was the general pre-race faffing; shoes being tightened, clothing discarded, queuing for toilets before they joined the start line with nearly 2,000 other runners. Standing alongside that number of runners, sharing the noise, excitement and anticipation is why the Grizzly is so unique, the camaraderie between the runners, marshals and well wishers along the route is very special.
The pebbles are the first taste of things to come, ¾ of a mile of them, the noise is immense and it seems never ending but it is a perfect way to spread the runners out as they then head out of Seaton through the caravan park and into Beer.
Onwards and upwards to Branscombe the runners had a much drier underfoot experience only to get very wet running through the mouth of the river before the Cub/full grizzly split. The tree of remembrance looked very colourful with its ribbons blowing in the breeze.
The 28 Mighty Greens that ran the full Grizzly tackled long muddy stretches and tough climbs on the 10 mile loop around Branscombe before following in the footsteps of the 27 MG Cub runners along the surprisingly sandy beach to the Stairway to Heaven.
It is always reassuring to see the coastguards at the narrow part and always a surprise to see the photographer sat in the undergrowth catching you out right at the top when you aren’t looking your best!
First SRC Cub runner home was Colin L’Anson who having made a later decision to run due to foot problems had his fastest cub run, 1:27:41. Colin was delighted to finish 51st in a field of 621, and 3rd in V60 age category, only 30 seconds behind the first V60!
Richard Summerhayes had an exceptional Grizzly run finishing 103rd out of 1294 in 2:58:51. The Mighty Green came second in his age group V55.
A special mention must be given to all the first timers (it won’t be their last) and to the Mighty Greens who came and cheered their fellow runners on along the route in true club spirit.
Many PB’s were broken and memories made; Brigid McEleney-Smith smiled the whole way round despite realising she had forgotten to put her lipstick on, Amelia Frankpitt had a joyful run as she had just heard her daughter had got engaged and a champagne celebration was waiting, Naomi Garrick dressed as a tree fundraising for Tipton St Johns’ forest school and Mark Norton had a human sized bee following him and his secret snacks of honey sandwiches!
The well-wishers along the way are a very special part of this run as they keep you going; residents and staff from a retirement home sat lining the pavement waving flags and clapping, children waiting to give out high fives, drummers, saxophonists, people playing music, cow bells and trumpets, all totally amazing.
Yes, it is a tough, demanding multi terrain race but definitely worth the blood, sweat, nausea and tears.
If this has inspired you Sidmouth Running Club are holding their first marathon, Sweetcombe Scramble alongside JP’s Exe to Axe (22 miles) on April 2nd. See www.sidmouthrunningclub.co.uk for more details.
Grizzly Results: Richard Summerhayes 2:58:51; David Chipping 3:13:51; Antony Hall 3:13:54; Mark Andow 3:19:35; Jessica Watkins 3:32:00; Martin Barnard 3:32:58; Jim Forrer 3:36:32; Oliver Goodchild-Horne 3:39:43; Colin Ryan 3:39:59; Adrian Harris 3:43:04; Grahame Womersley-Westlake 3:57:08; Mark Norton 3:59:34; Michael Garrish 4:03:59; Richard King 4:04:21; Lynda Hawkins 4:04:56; Vicky Eul 4:09:15; Becky McDonald 4:09:34; Darren Pearce 4:12:42; Paul Reeve 4:13:35; Abbi Lee 4:25:08; Neville Hylton 4:26:15; Charlie Fawell 4:26:55; Naomi Garrick 4:52:32; Clare Luke 5:07:32; Cathy Keast 5:15:38; Els Laureys 5:14:27; Helen Palmer 5:15:38; Donna Womersley-Westlake 6:02:44
Cub Results: Colin L’Anson 1:27:41; Will Halfacree 1:28:26; Suzi Rockey 1:41:06; Christine Farnham 1:46:19; Karen Farnham 1:46:29; Rachel Barnard 1:51:20; Sue Collman 1:53:21; Catherine Cruise 1:53:57; Zsa Zsa Croft 1:55:30; Adrian Horne 1:55:19; Brigid McEleney-Smith 1:54:32; Christie Ward 1:57:48; Greg Ward 1:55:19; Bert Dykema 1:55:32; Katie Harris 2:01:01; Christopher Cruise 2:01:31, David Lee 2:00:00; Derek Blackburn 2:03:46; Liz Goodman 2:06:17; Kerry Salter 2:06:23; Beccy Johnson 2:11:08; Kathryn Jordan 2:11:08; Kay Hylton 2:14:36; Christine McCormick 2:14:37; Terry Bewes 2:17:06; Alexa Baker 2:17:05; Ann Cole 2:19:29; Amelia Frankpitt 2:19:30