Beginners no more

Beginners No More – Sidmouth Running Club Celebrate New Mighty Greens

To sign up and commit yourself to a beginner’s course in January can be daunting at the best of times, never mind during a restrictive lock down period, but this week saw three SRC beginners complete the course.

Starting with a bench mark run and following the training programme under the guidance of chairman Terry Bewes with support from the club members, the beginners built up their stamina and mileage over a five week period.

Rob Waggett

First to run the official 3 mile route nonstop with Terry was Rob Waggett on Thursday evening, who was very chuffed with his time. Tilly Austen and Kathy Jordan completed their official run on Friday and despite the rain celebrated with a takeaway slice of Devonshire apple cake with clotted cream! Congratulations to all three, hopefully it won’t be too long before we can all run together on club nights.

Kathy & Tilly

Further congratulations go to Mighty Green fire fighter Allan Kay, who not only completed his 32 days of 5ks Blue Light Challenge raising money for the Fire Fighters charity but has had confirmation of his place in the 2021 London Marathon on behalf of the Fire Fighters charity and to MG Derek Blackburn who, alongside running the weekly challenges, had set himself one too, raising money for Cancer Research by running 56 miles.

Allan & Evie on Blue Light Challenge

As always the weather plays a big part in the conditions underfoot, or in runner Jo Earlam’s case, under her bottom! On Wednesday, Jane Hemsworth, Jo and Freddie the dog set off on a 12 mile OGLE in the rain, as well as finding the control points they also encountered rivers where they wouldn’t normally be and very slippery, cold, wet mud on East Hill. As Jo said it gave her a soft landing!

Jo and Freddie

Clive Gilbert, Tom Knight, Emma Grainger and Hamish Spence also took on the OGLEs. Emma revisited OGLE 7 as she had previously taken a wrong turn and found two more control points although might wait for drier weather before venturing out again. Tom tackled more than one OGLE this week and got his family involved with one of them and found all 32 control points. John Chesters who sets these routes was very impressed especially as the conditions weren’t the easiest. Hamish took on OGLE 9, and dispite the mud ran his first half marathon distance of the year.

The on road challenges involved, (surprise, surprise) inclines but this did not put the running club members off! Carol McManus was out at 6am on Monday morning completing the Bickwell Valley reps, Niall Francis came back with a vengeance from injury adding an extra rep to the required 2 if you ran there, 3 if you drove, and ran 4 reps. Who knew that 3 reps from the Belmont Hotel to the top of Bickwell Valley and back was 5 miles! It certainly came as a surprise to some although it was nice to see other runners doing the route and being able to shout out encouragement to each other.

The second challenge was the old favourite, Brownlands lamppost pyramids. As Kerry Salter and Susan Reeve found out, you do need to concentrate on this run, it is very easy to get distracted and the last thing you feel like doing is running to the fourth lamppost unnecessarily! Getting the right road is also an advantage as Yasmin Salter found out, having done a great lamppost pyramid up and down Redwood Road! Lottie May incorporated the challenge into her longest run for a long time, of which she was rightly pleased with, multi-tasking mum Tash Morgan finished the run with a food shop at Co-Op and Alexa Baker wasn’t the only one to think the fourth lamppost kept moving further away!

Tim Swarbrick, Sam Ingram, Ross Walton, Stuart Coles, Kyle Baker and Terry Bewes incorporated two challenges into one run, be it this week or a previous week’s challenge, upping the mileage and Bert Dykema ran an amazing 18 miles on Monday!

Terry & Sarah

Terry Bewes had the company of Sarah Burston when setting this week’s off road run through Mincombe Woods. Ross Walton added a couple of photos for reference with Terry’s instructions when he ran the route in foggy conditions which helped the Dynamic Duo, Tim Swarbrick and Derek Blackburn complete the route perfectly later in the week. Christine Hellier ran a variation which she found very enjoyable and Christine and Karen Farnham completed the run in the dry on Sunday, enjoying the views but blaming Terry’s vague directions when they ran slightly off piste!


Valentine Challenge

Sidmouth Running Club Chairman’s Sunday Special-The Valentine Challenge

The Mighty Greens were presented with a Chairman’s Sunday Special: Valentine’s Day.  Seeing as how the last Chairman’s special involved running in the sea we were relieved it was MG Sarah Burston who came up with the idea of running a Strava/Garmin route in the shape of a heart or a design of your choosing associated with Valentine’s Day. With a male and female prize up for grabs Bex McDonald was the first to run and submit a perfect heart shape that had been devised by fellow MG Zsa Zsa Croft. Google maps proved very useful and similar heart routes were also run by Mark Norton, Yasmin Salter, Jenny Kay and Alexa Baker.

Feeling the heart

When Sidmouth Running Club chairman, Terry Bewes, set week 5’s off road challenge last weekend, he got distracted by the improved weather, beautiful countryside and muddy conditions underfoot. Even to his surprise he had run an impressive 11 miles, taking in Muttersmoor, Northmostown, Dotton, Colaton Raleigh, Otterton and joining the coastal path through Ladram Bay back to Sidmouth. Fortunately for the club runners there were three options to cut short the route.

Club secretary, Jo Earlam, picked a good day to run the whole route, adding in the climb to the top of High Peak trig to get a 360o view in the sunshine. With the weather turning colder the dynamic duo aka Derek Blackburn and Tim Swarbrick, found the mud Terry had encountered had frozen into ruts of ankle breakers but despite this completed the full run in under two hours.

Ann and Ivy

As the weekend approached so did the strong winds which added another dimension to the challenge. Christine Hellier and her niece, Louise Bond, kitted up appropriately and enjoyed a shortened version of the route as did Ann Cole with Ivey her dog who encountered very strong head winds at Ladram and Peak Hill, as well as flurries of snow. Adrian ‘Gripper’ Horne had an early start on Saturday, running the complete route with his son, Ollie Goodchild-Horne and even ventured up to High Peak trig. Helen Akay and Alexa Baker also decided on an earlier start thinking they might be out for hours and were pleasantly surprised to return in under three hours and having completed the whole route.

The precision challenge continues with Sam Ingram nailing it on his fourth attempt, Ross Walton ran a perfect 6 miles and Kyle Baker a spot on 4 miles. Lee-Ann Thomson, Derek Blackburn, Hamish Spence and Rocker Sheppard were close but not close enough for Terry!

This week Emma Grainger and her four legged companion took on an OGLE 7 in icy conditions and found 12 of the controls, as did Kate Jenkins but found the cold hampered her from checking the instructions so enjoyed the views instead, Tom Knight attempted the OGLE 8 course and had a slight navigation crisis in the middle while Jo Earlam ran 6.5 miles on the Aylesbeare Common OGLE finding all 20 check points.

Jacob’s Ladder Challenge

The beginners have really come into their own this week, despite the worsening weather conditions they have been out doing laps of Jacobs Ladder, with Tilly Austin and Katie Kirk doing 7 laps and Kathy Jordan 8 laps. Andrew Swain ran an impressive 2.89 miles with 11 minute miles on the beginners lamp post challenge in Bickwell Valley. With the running bug well and truly bitten Tilly Austin went on to run her first 5k on Friday in under 40 minutes and Katie Kirk ran her first 5k on Sunday in under 35 minutes. A big Mighty Green well done to all the beginners, it has been fantastic to follow their progress and gain confidence in their ability.

Antony Hall not put off by the weather

Special mentions must go to Antony Hall who chose one of the worst nights to run the seafront lamp post challenge, despite four soakings from the waves and being frozen to the core, he still completed the challenge running 6.23 miles in 48 minutes; Caroline Ball who cracked on with the challenges while her run buddy rested with injury; Yasmin Salter who celebrated receiving a place in the London Marathon ballot by running the week 5 Hillside challenge!

This challenge was a four and a half mile run to include loops around Salcombe Hill Road/Alma Lane/Laskeys Lane area. David Welsh wasn’t the only runner to think last week’s parking meter challenge was more preferable while Susan Reeve added to the challenge by running up Soldiers Hill first and Bert Dykema added on mileage by running from Sidbury!

Liz and Ali

The second week 5 road run involved picture clues, land marks and self-navigation, a great way for our runners who have not lived in Sidmouth long to discover the delights of Sidmouth including the guide hut (Susan Reeve). For Mark Norton though, he might only recognise them in the dark! It was interesting to see the routes members took and how the mileage varied from Ross Walton’s 7 mile version to Liz Goodman and Alison Long’s 5 mile route and Tim Swarbrick’s mash up of both on road runs.


Posted in SRC

Lockdown Challenges #4

It’s Not All About The Speed-Precision Is Key In Week Four

A month into Lockdown#3 and Sidmouth Running Club members are still rising to the challenges that Chairman Terry Bewes is creating.

Rising because one of the challenges involved a four mile run plus running up and down between the parking meters and beyond between Jacobs Ladder and Foxes Corner, over 500 feet of elevation gain in a short distance. This wasn’t the most popular of challenges!

The second challenge was all about precision, starting from your front door, run 4/5/6 miles with the object of returning to your front door on the mile. This proved more difficult than first thought, many were so close but not close enough for Terry who didn’t want to see on Strava lots of lines going up and down near your house to make up the mile! New SRC member Mark Norton blamed the bridge closure over the ford for being 0.05miles over! Cheryl Bolton and David Welsh showed their Mighty Green spirit when their first attempts failed, they ran it again, and again in David’s case. Congratulations to the few who managed it first time including Ann Cole, Jenny Kay, Alexa Baker, Paula Farrand and Bert Dykema.

Kate Jenkins, Hamish Spence and Bex McDonald and family were out enjoying the challenging OGLEs and discovering routes they hadn’t run before and Karen and Christine Farnham were catching up with last week’s off road run, starting from home and clocking up an impressive 11.3 miles. Club coach, Kyle Baker took on the lamp post challenge on the seafront with a different approach to it by running the furthest distance first. He also went by buildings rather than counting the lamp posts which can become very confusing and easy to forget after a while!

The SRC 5k parkrun route has proved popular and a special mention must go to Antony Hall who ran it in a very impressive 19.5 minutes, and average pace of 6.21 min/miles.

Another special mention must go to Mighty Green Cheryl Boulton, who challenged herself to run a virtual half marathon. Since lockdown#2 Cheryl has been building up her mileage and on Sunday successfully ran 13.12 miles. She is looking forward to receiving her medal from the running bible.

A big thank you and well done to Mighty Green Jo Earlam who having noticed a lot of litter on last week’s off road run by the A3052 Harpford Woods/Back Lane, returned with Denise Bickley of Sidmouth Plastic Warriors and collected two huge, heavy bags of litter in an hour.

This week’s off road challenge was very fitting as this weekend would usually see the Four Trigs fundraising event for CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) in memory of Jonathan Hayman.

The chairman’s challenge was to run two Trigs, Buckton and Fire Beacon, following very clear instructions. Fitting in these challenges can be difficult so not everyone could fit two Trigs in and one is better than none, that’s how keen Christine Hellier, Kerry Salter, Karen and Christine Farnham were when they ran to the Fire Beacon Trig.

Jo and Leeann

The dynamic duo, Tim Swarbrick and Derek Blackburn, ran midweek and took in Weston trig too, as did Sarah Burston. Tim and Derek met Jo Earlam and Jane Hemsworth en-route who were doing the 2 Trig challenge. Respect to Jo who ran the route again later on in the week with Leeann Thomson, who, it’s hard to believe, was in the beginners group a year ago.

Adrian and Ollie

The weekend saw an early start for Adrian Horne and his son Ollie, who ran from the seafront at sun rise along the cliffs to Weston Trig before heading inland to Buckton Trig where they saw Jenny Kay and Alexa Baker confidently making their way across the valley. The mileage of this off road run made Beccy Johnson and Tracy Scannell a bit hesitant but this did not deter them from completing the challenge which they proudly did.

Jenny at Bucton Trig

Rocker Sheppard was out on Sunday enjoying the views and snowdrops clocking in two Trigs as were Brigid McSmith and Ann Cole plus Ivey the dog. They had a great run full of mud and laughter and thought Terry’s instructions had improved!

Brigid and Ann

Mighty Greens Helen and David Palmer ran 16 miles taking on three Trigs with 2,492 feet of elevation and Ross Walton found that despite a few stretches of mud it wasn’t too bad under foot when he ran four Trigs, Buckton, East Hill, Fire Beacon and High Peak in 2 hours 36 minutes.

Members of Sidmouth Running Club are very supportive and encouraging and this is why runners of all abilities are taking on the challenges and stretching themselves. It might be tough at times but we look forward to week 5 where a ‘Valentine Chairman’s Special’ might be on the cards!




Posted in SRC


Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud!

The rain came for week 3 of the Sidmouth Running Club Lockdown challenges but didn’t stop the Mighty Greens from getting out there and completing them.

The OGLE’s are going well with Emma Grainger avoiding the rain and enjoying the views and Kate Jenkins manoeuvring around the mud where possible. Bex McDonald and her intrepid family took on the orienteering OGLE on East Hill/Core Copse and found an impressive 11 of the control points including some of the most difficult to reach. They even met the mastermind behind the routes, John Chesters and wife Ruth, planning the next one!

Bex and other intrepid OGLErs

The wet weather has not discouraged the beginners and they are building up their stamina with a few added inclines into their routes.

Unfortunately there seems to have been a few glitches with Strava this week where part of a run or a whole run has gone unrecorded. Most annoyingly for Graham ‘Rocker’ Sheppard and Kerry Salter this happened when they ran the seafront lamppost challenge, a monotonous flat 6 miles. Showing true Mighty Green spirit, Rocker and Kerry are determined to run and record this challenge again.


The dynamic duo, Tim Swarbrick and Derek Blackburn, where the first to complete the off road challenge which took in Muttersmoor, Passaford Farm, Colaton Raleigh and Newton Poppleford. They set the bar high despite them saying it was the trickiest one so far to navigate, they got a perfect ten out of ten from Chairman Terry Bewes. Jo Earlam with her dog, Freddie added extra miles by running the route from Tipton and Sarah Burston enjoyed the run escaping the joys of home schooling.


The weekend rain made the route extremely wet underfoot and muddier still but did not deter Adrian ‘Gripper’ Horne and his son, Tracy Scannell and Beccy Johnson, Brigid McSmith and Ann Cole with Ivey her dog who embraced the conditions and followed the route well.


Unlike Helen Akay and Alexa Baker who had extreme difficulty in navigating themselves out of Muttersmoor and had to resort to phoning Terry. Once they found Passmoor Lane there was no stopping them and even had time to marvel at all the swans on the lake/field by the tennis courts in Newton Poppleford.

Path, what path?

The end of January has seen several members completing the Strava 200k challenge including Rob Edwards, Derek Blackburn for the first time and Dan Prettejohn who ran a half marathon at the weekend to take him over the target. Mighty Greens Helen Palmer and Ross Walton completed the Strava 100k challenge. Congratulations to everyone who is running through this lockdown, bring on the week four challenges!


Posted in SRC

Off road running in the snow

Off Road Running In The Snow

It doesn’t happen very often in the Sid Valley but the light dusting of snow which fell on parts of the week two off road challenge route meant a new experience for some Sidmouth running club members.

Possibly the most dangerous part was getting out of the house after the rain which had followed the snow froze and the pavements and roads were decidedly dicey!

Mighty Green’s Brigid McSmith and Ann Cole, Tracy Scannell and Beccy Johnson, Christine and Karen Farnham took up the Chairman’s challenge and ran up through Buckton plantation,

while MG Hamish Spence followed the OGLE (Ottery Group Lockdown Exercise) route and found snow on top of East Hill.


An early start from Ottery for shorts wearing Dan Prettejohn awarded him with an impressive amount of snow and blue skies on top of Fire Beacon.

Dan Prettejohn

Meanwhile, Alexa Baker was on the trail of another lockdown challenge. To test how observant we are on our club runs, chairman Terry Bewes has compiled a sheet of 65 photos of seats we have run past over the last year for us to name the location. The one Alexa found on Fire Beacon might not have been on it but it did have a lovely view and a mini snowman on it.

Posted in SRC

Blue Lights Challenge

Allan Kay Takes On Blue Lights Charity Challenge

When Sidmouth running club member, Allan Kay, heard about the first UK wide Blue Light Active challenge and saw that the Fire Fighters charity was one of the beneficiaries, he quickly signed up as it is a charity close to his heart.

Allan was set to run the London marathon last year on behalf of the supportive charity and had been busy raising the money required by holding coffee mornings, quiz nights and beetle drives. When the first lockdown disrupted the event he joined in the 26.2 challenge running around the football field 26.2 times alongside London landmarks realising that the charity would suffer from the postponement.

Allan Kay

The Blue Lights charity challenge was set for emergency service workers, which retained Sidmouth fire fighter Allan certainly is as he is also a full time (temporary) fire fighter at Exmouth station and is supporting South West Ambulance Service Trust (SWAST) by covering driving duties.

The Mighty Green has set himself the challenge to run a minimum of 5k per day for 32 days, no mean feat when you take in the 12 hour shifts and the five day residential course he is about to embark on to become a permanent whole time fire fighter.

Run leader Allan explained that the Fire Fighters charity offers specialist, lifelong support for members of the UK fire services community, empowering individuals to achieve mental, physical and social wellbeing throughout their lives.

If you would like to support Allan and make a donation to this worthwhile charity please go to

Posted in SRC

Lockdown #3 Challenges

The Lockdown #3 Challenges Commence

Sidmouth Running Club chairman Terry Bewes has laid down the gauntlet again and this time round over 70 members have risen to the challenge(s).

New for this lockdown and alongside Terry’s challenges which are based in the vicinity of Sidmouth, run leader John Chesters has devised the OGLE (Ottery Group Lockdown Exercise) challenges for running club members living in the Ottery area. These challenges involve check points and trig points and it has been great to see on the running club’s FB page where the runners have been and what they have or haven’t found!

If you happen to look on the Sidmouth web cam early in the morning or later in the evening you might spot a Mighty Green completing the lamp post challenge as set by club runner Christine Hellier. The challenge is to start from the flag pole, run to the first lamp post and return, run to the second lamp post and return, etc, etc, all the way to the end, approx. 10k! It has already become competitive with the challenge completed in under an hour and the mileage increased!

There is also an artistic challenge, run a route of 4+ miles which makes a recognisable picture on their Strava/Garmin. Entries so far include one from Yasmin Salter, an upside down outline of South America from David Welsh and a heart by Carol McManus. It is a lot harder than it might sound!

This month sees the start of the beginners and improvers courses which despite the current restrictions have commenced (virtually) with everyone signed up recording a bench mark run. The supportive club spirit is with them and we look forward to running alongside them when allowed.

This week saw two on road challenges, an off road one and a weekend Chairman’s Special!

The off road route took in the Bowd, Harcombe Woods, Fire Beacon and Core Hill. The idea was to replicate the route set by Terry. Many of us failed, some realised reading instructions wasn’t their forte but Tim Swarbrick and Derek Blackburn did it perfectly as did Bex McDonald and her intrepid family. Jenny Kay and Alexa Baker ran the route on Saturday morning following the heavy rain during the night; this added two river crossings and a lot of mud but also added to the adventure!

It has to be said Terry is one who leads by example, and he certainly immersed himself on Sunday following an interview with Howard Jones on Exmouth Air about Sidmouth Running Club. Spring tides meant an opportunity to run along the sand in front of the Bedford Steps rock groyne all the way to Lade Foot. Remembering his karate training when they used to run bare foot, in their gis, knee depth in the sea from Jacobs Ladder to Lade Foot, the Chairman’s Special was born.

Low tide on Saturday and Sunday saw club runners taking on the chilly challenge by running on the firm sand and in the invigorating sea, which took a lot more effort to run through but was very exhilarating.

Posted in SRC

Inspirational Senior Mighty Greens

Inspirational Senior Mighty Greens

As 2020 drew to a close, two members of Sidmouth running club had cause to celebrate their mammoth undertakings.
John Sharples ran his 1,000 mile of the year, although the icy conditions made it a challenging one. Daughter and fellow SRC member, Christie Ward accompanied John on his final run of the year and said in places it was more skate than run!

John Sharples

John wore his original club vest from when he lived in Manchester as he wanted to remember his best friend and running pal who is no longer with us. Chairman Terry Bewes commented that is an achievement not accomplished by many.
Rob Edwards set off on the 1st July to complete the 874 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats by the end of the year. Before the start of Wednesday 30th December’s club run Rob Edwards was presented with a well-deserved bottle of Prosecco and 3.5 miles into the club run, a big round of applause marked the end of his challenge.

Rob Edwards

Committee member and web editor Rob, is already planning his next challenge, up and back!

Very inspirational club runners indeed.

Posted in SRC

Monday night runs

7 PM Seniors Run: Kyle (At St-John’s School)

7.oo PM Off-road run by torchlight: John C (Details for start point on Facebook SRC Monday and Wednesday Trail Runs or SRC Weekend Trail Run)

Monday night runs

7 PM Seniors Run: Kyle (At St-John’s School)

7.oo PM Off-road run by torchlight: John C (Details for start point on Facebook SRC Monday and Wednesday Trail Runs or SRC Weekend Trail Run)