With Storm Ciara moving in on the darkened horizon, the Battle of Woodbury Common 10k and half marathon got underway writes Hamish Spence.
Organisers Something Wild Events, after careful consideration decided that Storm Ciara was far enough away from the Pebblebed Heathland of Woodbury Common, an AONB in Devon… The Battle Of Woodbury Common could go ahead as planned. So, along with121 other competitors, the nine intrepid Mighty Greens (Julia Hadrell, Terry Bewes, Emma Vine, Laura Broughton, Paula Farrand, Bert Dykema, Samantha Dicks, Becky McDonald and Tim Daffron) gathered together and got prepared, putting on their windy, wet-weather gear, adjusting and checking head torches in readiness to take on the battle ahead! (This time Laura remembered to charge her torch sufficiently after her last wild night event ended prematurely with a dead head-torch!)
The route followed the helm of Uphams Plantation and Crook Plantation after exiting Bicton College along the back entrance and onto the lanes. It then skirts Castle Plantation and the half marathon adds on a section through Colaton Raleigh Common towards Hawkerland, similar to the Bicton Blister.
The first 4 miles felt like a very long uphill slog and there was a lot of muddy areas. Then when reaching the top around Woodbury Fort, the wind really hit the competitors. It was like hitting a brick wall, one step forward and then two steps back! Fortunately as the path turned, this massive blast of wind started to come in from the side, and then eventually the last mile took the runners downhill and onto a road surface back to the finish. A great, but tough race made more difficult and interesting by the wind speeds and many of the direction arrow signs had blown in the wind, meaning self navigation had to come into play a couple of times. Luckily with the head torches worn by leading runners, the way ahead was lit. Was this the reason the 10k route turned out to be nearer a 12k?
There were some fantastic results for the club, with Tim Daffron doing really well, booking his place as the first MG to finish his battle with the elements in the 12k. He crossed the finish line in 7th place in 50m55s. Becky McDonald had a great race and had pushed herself hard. She stormed her way around the course and arrived back home in a whopping 17 minutes faster than last year’s time, 27th place over-all in 1h01m56s. She was very happy to be the 4th lady back and 1st in her age category. Next to be blown over the line was Laura Broughton, who flew in and also took a personal best time for this event, shaving off 8 minutes to cross the line in 1h08m56s in 40th place.Terry Bewes breezed back in at superb time of 1h16m07s to be 60th over-all. He too, finished three minutes faster than the previous year and gained 2nd in age category (fairly young age category). Paula Farrand blew in at 1h23m06s 68th, with Bert Dykema shortly following just12 seconds later. Julia Haddrell found her second wind just before the finish and managed a sprint over the line to take the 73rd position in a time of 1h2911s. Emma Vine fought her way through the howler finishing with a 40th place in the half marathon and great time of 2h20m44s.
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
Many of the Mighty Greens have been making the most of our local, and not so local, Park Runs. With so many Devon Park Runs on our doorstep it would be rude not to participate in such a social and inclusive event.
Park Runs take place at 9am on Saturday Morning in the following Devon Locations and many more:
Parke National Trust
Killerton National Trust
You can find Park Runs across the world so please tell us if you participate in a more exotic one, just like Ann Cole did when she visited Cologne, Germany.
If Park Runs are your thing, you may be interested in reading a book by Devon author, Ian Mortimer,
Why Running Matters: Lessons in Life, Pain and Exhilaration From 5K to the Marathon
In his book Ian talks us through a whole year of running in Devon, from his home in Moretonhampstead. He describes each run and reflects on why running is so valuable.
Final Countdown 31 December 2019
By Terry Bewes
What a better way to finish the year than with a new trail run. Winding Paths organised the Final Countdown 10km race around the Dartington Hall estate. As with many races now, this one was sold out long before the day, so if you see a race you fancy do not delay signing up. There was plenty of parking, a café and toilets close to the start. Myself and Milly Frankpitt listened to the race briefing which told us that the start and finish were the same so starting off at the top of a hill for a long downhill run you soon realised that it would be a long run up hill to the finish. This is not a PB course thanks to the gates and stiles, but it does make you start at an easy pace. The run takes you through woods, up hills, along stoney paths, a bit of tarmac, across fields and lots of sticky mud. There are also a few technical sections to keep you on your toes. A third of the run is through fields by the river Dart and in places the steam railway is on the other side.
And then we were at the bottom of the hill ready for the run to the finish. We finished together in 1:16:19, 150 and 151 out of 245 finishers to collect a very nice medal for our effort.
The organisation was great and the marshal’s brilliant including two off our own, Alan Kay and Adrian ‘Gripper’ Horne who earned an entry into an upcoming Ultra. The race will return on the 31st December 2020, we will be there, and I can thoroughly recommend it.
Final medal of the decade
The Otterton Reindeer Run
A fantastic turnout for this years Otterton Reindeer Run with 25 SRC members in attendance writes Hamish Spence.
Festive spirits were in full flow in Otterton on Saturday the 7th of December and just to be clear in the form of attire not drink. Some competitors were dressed in fancy dress including a Gingerbread man, Reindeer or wearing Santa hats or deer antlers. The weather was kind to the runners on the day giving them a mild and dry day with no wind. The ground was not too wet, so not much slipping around going on under foot either, making it possible for some great time keeping.
First Mighty Green to cross the line was Alex Munro in 15th over all in 49m08s, John Keast 53:57, Kyle Baker 54:20 Ellen Keast 54:26 and Catherine Hilton 56:37. Christine and Karen Farnham as usual headed off together with Christine pulling away leaving Karen behind. This lasted until halfway around when Karen caught her sister back up and then overtook. Karen stayed ahead for the rest of the run and crossed the line just one second in-front, 1h02m05s. Then came Sarah Clapham in1:03:01 with David wright at 1:04:55 and Cathy Keast 1:06:37. Derek Blackburn 1:08:09, Susan Reeves 1:09:12, Jon Bull 1:11:16, Nikita Kay 1:12:37. Bert Dykema took part with his sister Frederiek and they ran the whole route together in 1:13:43. Helen Palmer 1:28:09, Julia Haddrell 1:25:44, Lesley Miszewska 1:26:16. Helen Neighbour came in at 1:28:04 with Sue Cunningham following 2 seconds later. Gingerbread man Ronnie Masters took 1:28:27. Caroline Ball enjoyed the run and finished in 1:29:08 beating Alexa Baker who finished in 1:29:24. Terry Bewes found himself playing cat and mouse with Ronnie Masters aka Gingerbread man, finally being over taken for the forth time just before the end coming in at 1:30:02.
The Mighty Green Juniors Take Part In The Otterton Reindeer Fun Run.
Fifteen mighty green antlered juniors took part in the Otterton 3km Reindeer Fun Run on Saturday and all had a great time writes Kerry Boyle.
On a lovely clear day, and the 15 SRC juniors lined up excitedly with the adults at the back of Otterton church, the race started straight up a hill which prevented the youngsters going off too fast. There were several running club coaches and parents running with them to help them keep to a steady pace and to ensure they didn’t take the turn off for the 10k run by mistake! The route took them along tracks around the back of Otterton, with a well earned water and jelly baby stop at the half way point. Then the route followed the river Otter path back into the village of Otterton finishing down a footpath at the back of the village hall.
First in for Sidmouth juniors was Robin Dafforn finishing in 3rd place, with Aidan Corfield 7th and Frazer Felton-Smith in 14th. Maisie Crouch was the first female for Sidmouth juniors finishing in 17th, with Seth Lancaster close behind in 18th who said ‘it was a hard race but really fun’. Arden Chipping was next in 24th place and James Jamani 27th, 8 year old William Hall had a fantastic run dressed as a reindeer finishing in 28th place with his brother Dominic ‘The Grinch’ not far behind in 30th place. All 15 finished the race and wore their antlers with beaming faces, congratulations you have done Sidmouth running club proud!