This weekend saw the last official Winter Sunday running group meet up at King’s Garden Centre writes Terry Bewes.
A very sunny morning followed a very wet week and so we started as we were to go on… with mud, water and more mud. Rob Dunford lead the group out of the garden centre towards the first climb of the run. As soon as we hit the trail Christine Farnham remarked about how much easier it would be to swim up the lane. Various styles of swimming were displayed, none were recognised and so all were named bog snorkelling. On we went into our beautiful Devon countryside running as a cheerful group. On reaching Southerton, the group split with Helen Palmer leading a small group on a total of nine miles back for coffee and cake at King’s Garden Centre.
The rest of us continued with Rob, who lead the group on a merry chase up onto Alysbere Common, Joney’s Cross and then over to Woodbury Common, droping down into Colaton Raleigh. It was then over the river and up Passaford Lane, which was a muddy nightmare, to the underside of Mutters Moor which was a bigger, deeper muddy nightmare, with massive muddy puddles and thick mud you would not believe unless you witnessed it! In total, Rob’s group ran a half Marathon (13.2 miles) and missed the cake! However, that big seat at the garden centre was a welcome relief. Thank you to all who have lead or taken part and supported the Sunday runs over the winter, they have been tremendous fun.
Above: The whole Sunday Group before getting muddied.
Above: Six tired Sunday runners sitting on a massive seat at Kings Garden Centre… or have they all shrunk?
“Come on a training run down to Budleigh Salterton” said Sam, “get some nice flat miles in” said Sam, “easy going prior to The Grizzly” said Sam… So, early on Saturday morning with Adrian Horne and Sam Ingram we go into the Flood Lands of the R Otter writes Bex McDonald.
Meeting at Tipton St John at 07:30, the three of us set off down-stream along the River Otter. As we made our way out of the carpark and crossed over the river, we could see flooded fields. The river had burst its banks into the field to ankle depth. So began the theme of the morning, chilly, soggy toes! That’s fine we thought, after all, it’s all part of cross country running. By the time we reached the beavers dam just before Otterton, we were up to our knees having an ice bath on our calves! It felt quite soothing and again, that’s fine we thought… Little did we know! About a mile further down stream after Otterton, there is a foot bridge. Here the water was flowing fast and flooding into the field straight across the path that we wanted to take. We ventured in carefully and soon we were all waist deep! So, wet pants all round and numbed legs for the trek back to Tipton St John. Enough was enough and a unanimous decision was made here, to choose another route which would involve less river… a lot less river and only the odd puddle. One thing was for sure, we got our Grizzly training in!
Above: Adrian Horne (left) Bex McDonald (centre) and Sam Ingram (right) Grizzly training somewhere along the soggy banks of the River Otter on Saturday morning. Photo by Bex McDonald.
Fourteen members of the Sidmouth Running Club ventured out into the beautiful East Devon countryside to take part in The Blackdown Beast on Saturday the 25th of January.
This very popular event is a very sociable, non timed and self-navigating 10 or 17(ish) very muddy mile run that travels through some of the stunning Blackdown Hills.
The Mighty Green team members were Jessica Raynor, Sarah Watkins, Paul Williamson, Helen Palmer, Millie Frankpitt, Cathy Keast, Monica Reid, Richard King, Els Laureys, Jane Hemsworth, Simon Hollyer, Richard Summerhayes, Carine Silver and Alan
They all made their getaway from Dunkerswell at 10:00hrs and headed along 7.6 miles of infrequently used footpaths to Smeatharpe where a reward of a delicious hot pasty and some mulled cider was served up in the village hall. Then it was just a 2.5 mile jog along some lanes and country paths which dropped down into the village of Upottery. It was into the Sidmouth Arms where more sustenance was consumed. The 10 mile option finishes here and so did Millie who opted to jump on the bus back to Dunkerswell and head to Exeter for the rugby…mixed priorities here Milly! The 17 milers continued along the road to Rawridge where they turned right, crossed the river Otter and climbed to the top of the ridge to the viewpoint above Luppitt. Here they enjoyed a non-existent panoramic view of the grey sogginess mascaraing as the surrounding countryside, it was very wet and misty! However, it was just a short soggy 3 mile jaunt to the Luppitt Inn for yet more very welcomed delights that any self-respecting public house would have on offer. Lastly a 2 mile section, cross-country over the Luppitt Common and back into Dunkeswell for a very well earned drink and some more food at the race Hq.
There was welcoming atmosphere at Sunday’s SW Veterans Championship Race at Sidford playing fields despite it having rained all night and morning.
As a result of the rain, the course was muddy, in places, inches deep and although flat this made the course very challenging, especially for myself (Ann) since I had no tread on my shoes!
The event was a competitive field and had attracted entrants from as far afield as Newquay, Bristol, Westbury and Salisbury. Most of the mud had stuck onto my shoes which slowed progress around the course. So, it came as no surprise that I crossed the finish line 47h05s later taking the wooden spoon. John Sharples fared a bit better than myself, but only a bit.
This run made John Sharples realise that he is genetically programmed to run only in straight lines! The course was a series of 90 degree turns around several rugby and football pitches. Every corner neatly sodden after the heavy rain. John commented “My technique was to apply the brakes as I approached each turn, with the intention of elegantly drifting around, likeTodd Carter in Dancing on Ice. Sadly this did not work” !
If you were travelling up Haldon Hill at 9.30am on the morning of Saturday 25th, you may well have wondered what on earth was occurring.
Around a thousand cars were queuing to get into the Exeter Racecourse for the first ever Exeter Epic Trail 10K which was organised by Tough Runner UK. This was a very popular event and judging by the club names on competitors shirts, was attended by runners from all parts of the country, such is the following and reputation for Tough Runner events.
Lining up at the start were Terry Bewes, Adrian Gripper Horne and Derek Blackburn. This was a chip timed race, so it was not a problem to hang around in the middle of the crowd and out of the chilly wind whilst the race got underway. The start was well organised considering there were 1200 runners setting off, but with this many competing, the first mile was very steady making it difficult to pass those in front. The first part of the course proceeded along and down a half mile tarmac road, then into the forest along stony paths and muddy tracks. Once again the Mighty Greens came into their element heading straight through the middle, while others tried to keep their shoes clean by shuffling and around missing the mud. This gave a huge advantage to the Sidmouth trio and many were passed. This was not a hilly course by any Mighty Green standard with only a mere 434 feet of elevation gain, but one where the hill training we get to do, really paid off.
For the last bit the forest opens up with a sprint for the finish being back on the tarmac again. First Mighty Green runner back home was Adrian in 55:25, first in age group at 330th overall an excellent result.
Derek was very pleased to arrive back in under the hour in 58:33 taking 2nd in his age group and finally Terry in 1:06:27. There were a total of 1281 finishers.
Two Mighty Greens Debbie Marriott and daughter Kate were helping on the stalls and Don Cawthera on parking control which gave them an entry into a different race .
Collecting their medals for the photo none of them looked forward to joining the queue of cars leaving the car park, but thanks again to the organisation it all went very smoothly. Praise goes to the organisation, marshals, First Aid cover, food and drink stalls were all first class.
David Skinner braved the chilly temperatures up in the Haldon Forest on Sunday morning to take part in the first part of a Winter Series.
Having taken part in several events previously on Haldon Hill and really enjoying them, David could not resist entering the Haldon Forest Winter Series 2020. Organised by Purple Geko Events, this race was the first of a 3 race series with the 10k and 10 mile yet to come.
As competitors arrived the organisers were concerned about ice along the route. However, the course was checked and the temperature rose by 2 degrees, so with the sun shining those fears evaporated. The start featured a steep technical descent which does include some running in the woods and going down steps, this caused a bottleneck. After the steps the undulations began, it felt however that mostly there were long climbs and the final section to the finish really was a long difficult climb. David came 50th out of 78 runners in 42m45s.
On Saturday 18th of January, on a very cold evening, Terry Bewes and Kyle Baker took part in another Flying Fox’s night event, The Ninesprings By Night.
Terry and Kyle headed off to Yeovil for a 17:30pm start for another one of Flying Fox’s fantastic night events! This one took place on the outskirts of Yeovil, at the Ninesprings nature park, named after the 9 natural springs which flow from the valley. Having competed in similar Flying Fox events on previously occasions, they were both still unsure of the extent of the challenge ahead with the freezing weather… which shoes to wear, how many layers, hat and gloves?
The 10k race was two laps of the course and Kyle took off at a fast pace, soon finding it more more challenging than he’d thought, with the slippery stone steps, mud, ponds, more steps and wooden bridges. He felt like it was a never ending up hill battle, however, the 5k lap was soon completed with a lovely down hill blast to the start of the second lap. Now knowing what was ahead of him, Kyle slowed down to a more steady pace, ready for the steps and mud, which even though he’d been over it once, it still came as a surprise! He carried on, catching up with a few competitors who’d over taken him on the first lap. Setting the pace for the rest of the run with two other runners and just one mile to go, Kyle pushed on, over taking a few more competitors. He sprinted past the last one in the final 100m stretch, finishing in 50m13s in 30th position. Terry arrived back in 1h12m15s to find that Kyle had eaten the last of the banana cake! However, both Mighty Greens thoroughly enjoyed the race and were very happy with the medal, which was another Flying Fox masterpiece. Both lads are looking forward to the next Flying Fox Running event, Escape from Wych Woods on the 15th February.
ra Broughton blasted her previous time at First Chance 10k to pieces on Sunday 19th of January.
Eight years ago Laura Broughton entered into her first ever running event, the 2012 First Chance 10k. On Sunday the 19th of January this year, Laura revisited the event. This race is a fast, pancake flat 10k route around the Exeter Riverside Valley Park, an ideal place to establish a personal best time. Laura did not disappoint on that front. On a crisp, cold but sunny morning she powered her way around the route and crossed over the finish line in 55m16s (Strava time). This bettered her previous time by a staggering eleven minutes. Well done Laura, that was a Mighty Green effort.
Report by Hamish Spence