Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of JP’s Exe to Axe Race

If you heard Sidmouth Running Club’s chairman Terry Bewes on BBC Radio Devon recently you will already know that the club is busy preparing for their main fundraiser of the year, JP’s Exe to Axe race.  But did you know it will be the 20th year of the race and that it was renamed in memory of John Perratt, founding member and long term treasurer of SRC?

Although Mighty Green Adrian Harris would rather be running the event with his trail shoes on, he volunteered to organize the event with a small but enthusiastic team.

Race director Adrian says, “If you love East Devon and trail running you are probably familiar with the three early season distance races: the Four Trigs [4 February], the Grizzly [17th March] and finally the Exe to Axe [7 April]. I’ve finished mid-pack in each of these on several occasions. Each is unique.

Race Director Adrian Harris

The Four Trigs starts and finishes in Sidmouth. It’s a friendly, low key 17 mile run that (as the name suggests) visits four Trig Points. If you are young, you may be unfamiliar with Trigs Points (triangulation stations), which are concrete posts built on top of hills by the Ordnance Survey while they waited for the invention of satellites. The character of the race is defined by the location of the Trigs: at the top of a hill!

The Grizzly is THE big race, known country wide. These days you can only enter by ballot. The race has grown in popularity through great marketing. It’s the race to enter if you want a tough 20 mile run amongst 2,000 runners and hordes of supporters. The part that I enjoy most are the motivational phrases that pepper the course: “You don’t stop running because you grow old, you grow old because you stop running”, etc.

Beautiful but brutal coastline

I love each of these races, but my heart is with the Exe to Axe. The Exe to Axe follows the South West Coast Path for 22 miles from Exmouth to Seaton. The challenging route with 1,300m of ascent is a showcase for Devon’s most dramatic coastline. It may not share the popularity of the Grizzly and you won’t see many Trig Points, but it’s obvious why it has previously been voted one of the best races in the country. And to top it all, this year is the 20th anniversary.

Some of the MG’s running 2023 E2A

If you’re reading this, there’s still time to enter. Simply visit www.siEnries.co.uk and search for Exe to Axe. If you are fast for your age, you could win a handcrafted, oak chopping board from Honiton Hardwoods. However, if you are like me and more middle or back of the pack, you can enjoy the weighty medal and goodies provided by King’s Garden Centres at the aid stations in Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth and Branscombe. And when you get to the finish, why not celebrate and buy a great coffee and some cake from the Nomadic Barista.”

Sustainable Prizes