Saturday morning saw 9 Sidmouth Running Club members attending the pre-run briefing at the Highfield Club, Dunkeswell ready for the start of this very popular run. I say run as it is not a race. Falling between the pre and post-Christmas races this is a 17 mile self-navigation social run over the beautiful Blackdown Hills. We were promised plenty of mud, bog and hills and there were plenty of each.
The run is split into 4 legs, the first about 7 miles takes you through fields, lanes, woods, farm yards and a proper bog to Smeatharpe Village Hall where the W.I. ladies had hot pasties and mulled cider waiting. The next leg of about 3 miles and the easiest takes you to the Sidmouth Arms at Upottery where more liquid refreshment is available. You have the opportunity of finishing here and taking a bus back to the start but for the hardened Sidmouth runners that was never an option.
Leg 3 is only about 3.5miles but very tough. After a road run to Rawridge you then plough your way across two very boggy fields before starting a mile plus climb up to and through the Buddhist Monastery woodland which now has a lake, to the top of the ridge where you are rewarded with a fantastic 180 degree panoramic view before dropping down into Luppit. Arriving at the unique Luppit Inn which is one of the smallest Inns in the country you are greeted by Gladys the Landlady who will tell you “I am 93 you know”, but I am sure she was 93 last year as well, a great character.
The final leg takes you through a series of boggy fields and a few more hills to finish you off. Arriving back at the Club, tired, muddy and wet we all agreed to return next year.
As I said at the start this is a social run but of course there is always the competitive runner amongst us. Normally this would be George but this year it was Jessica Raynor who finished 4th out of the 180 runners in under 3 hours and was the first lady home. She was back home in Sidmouth and had a bath by the time the true social runners finished some 2 hours later.
A superbly organised event by Honiton Running Club and over a £1,000 raised for charity.
On Sunday, 6 Sidmouth runners who weren’t quite as mad as those doing the four trigs braved the elements to get to the Fulfords Five in Exmouth. Luckily, there was a break in the weather and the two-lap course allowed runners to experience beautiful sea views and a dry but sandy course. Rob Edwards was the first man home for Sidmouth in an impressive time of 38:36, followed closely by Brendan Shepherd.
There was then a bit of a wait before Colin Flood and Sarah Brown crossed the line within 10 seconds of each other, just after 44 minutes. John Doherty had a good run to finish in around 45 minutes, and on her club debut, Suzi Rockey broke her own personal target of 50 minutes by a considerable amount! Mick Allen wasn’t far behind, and Bill Valentine was the last of the Sidmouth runners home, also beating his own target by 6 minutes. The race was held at the perfect time to avoid the rain, but all runners now have a beanie hat as a momento for the rest of the bad weather.
Putting a day of excess behind them or in some cases in front of them, 22 members of Sidmouth Running Club turned out for the traditional Boxing Day run. It was good to catch up with some members who were home from University and Andy Shearer who had left the sun and dust of rural Spain for the rain and mud of our beloved valley. The course was not too demanding, taking in the Byes to Fortescue, up Griggs Lane and Soldier’s Hill across the top of Salcombe Hill to the Frog Stone and back down to the esplanade in time for the swim.
Most runners managed to stay upright in the slippery sections with the exception of Gail Goldsmith who seemed to spend most of the time on her bottom; she was last seen heading to the sales for a pair of off road shoes.
Don’t forget the Beginners Course starts on 6th January at 7pm from the Sailing Club and anyone who enjoys running is welcome at our friendly Club. Inquiries to Colin on 01395 578436.
Missing from the photo is our leader Helen Palmer
27 Sidmouth running Club members competed in the Blustery Bicton Blister. The Bicton Blister is a 10 mile multi-terrain race on Woodbury Common in East Devon, starting and finishing at Bicton College East Budleigh , the start and finish are short road sections, with the remainder of the race being on sandy, stony and muddy paths across the Commons of East Devon Over runners took part in the Bicton Blister and Bicton Lite races which were multi-terrain events over and around Woodbury Common.
The Bicton Lite is the Bicton Blister’s little Brother, 4.5 miles same start and finish, just less distance on the Commons.but never less still challenging
click here for race results