SW Veterans Championship Race 2020.

   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” !

SW Vets X-C

South West Vets Cross Country Championships – report by David Millen, photo – Kit Woodcock

Five members of Sidmouth Running Club took part in the South West Veterans Cross Country Championships held at Sidford on Sunday 28th January. The race, which was hotly contested by a strong field of 50 runners all aged over 35, was over a 6km course comprising 3.5 laps around the rugby field, football fields, alongside the river and through a small section of woodland. With the recent rains parts of the course were very muddy, as befits a cross country course, with a number of twists and turns.

The start

First Sidmouth runner to finish was Naomi Garrick in a time of 32:39. Naomi was closely followed by Rob Edwards in 33.04. Next to cross the line for Sidmouth was Christine Farnham who picked up the prize for third lady in her age category finishing in a time of 35:00. Completing the Sidmouth contingent were David Millen in 35:39 and Karen Farnham in 35:48.

Devon X-Country

Sidmouth show of strength at the Devon Schools’ Cross Country

Some of the town’s younger runners, including some from the junior section of Sidmouth Running Club, were in action at the Devon Schools’ Cross Country event last Saturday at an exceptionally muddy Stover School. Brilliantly organised, the course was set-up to provide race distances ranging from 2.2 km to 6.5 km. The course map included a lap of what was affectionately titled ‘Torture Field’ where the energy-sapping mud was arguably at its worst!

To even make it to the start line the athletes had already come through two rounds of selection; firstly at Bicton for East Devon then at Blundells for the joint Exeter and East Devon team. All the runners did the town proud in very difficult conditions.

From the Running Club, Joe Ashby, Josh Miller, Kate Marriott, Toby Garrick, Will Ashby and Tommy Reardon swapped green vests for blue to take on the challenge. This was ‘proper’ cross country with all runners having to run laps of a brutal course which started very muddy and quickly deteriorated through the day! All runners can be extremely proud of themselves for digging deep and producing inspiring performances. Excellent Sidmouth performances were delivered by Tara Darlami (Minor Girls), Kate Marriott (Inter Girls), Joe Ashby and Ollie Beech (Junior Boys), Josh Miller and Will Bond (Inter Boys), Rory Morgan and Will Ashby (Senior Boys). Particular congratulations were due to Josh Miller (9th) and Toby Garrick who had a storming run to make it onto the podium in 3rd position. Both have qualified for the next round – the South West Championships.

Justin Ashby, a coach with Sidmouth Running Club said, ‘With talented runners such as these, the future is bright for Sidmouth Running Club. Ben Chesters and I look forward to nurturing the talent in our Wednesday night intervals session at the club!’

SW X-C Champs

Toby at the South West X-Country Championships

On Sunday 8th January I took part in the South West Cross Country Championships taking place in Aldon Park, Yeovil. This competition consists of teams of the best eight runners from each county including Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire and Avon. The course was a typical cross country course with hills, mud, wind and for once sunshine! The temperature felt a mere 3 degrees as every spectator was wrapped in an uncountable amount of layers.

On Sunday 8th January I took part in the South West Cross Country Championships taking place in Aldon Park, Yeovil. This competition consists of teams of the best eight runners from each county including Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire and Avon. The course was a typical cross country course with hills, mud, wind and for once sunshine! The temperature felt a mere 3 degrees as every spectator was wrapped in an uncountable amount of layers.

The Devon Team

My race commenced at 13:55 so after a thorough warm up to get a slight feeling in my toes I was ready to race. The gun goes and it’s a sprint to see who can take the lead of the hungry pack charging behind them. A 500m straight is what we face with a sharp right turn into a fierce headwind. Constant to and fro between race positions kept all on their toes, prepared for an early surge form the leaders at any time. As the mud got thinner and wind reduced, everyone knew what was coming: The hill! The thoughts are ticking ‘do I attack up it?’ ‘do I save energy and cruise, but loose some race places?’ it’s a risk but you’ve got to decide in that split-second. Now onto me. I attacked that hill, surging up it taking 2, 3, 4, 5 places from an average 20th place of a field of 50 moving to a more promising 15th.

The second lap provided pain and a lot of mental strain. It was now turning into a mental test rather than physical. Keep your legs moving, stay with the runner in front of you, and don’t get overtaken. Simple right? I wish. My race tactic changed, I was determined to move up the field to put me in the best position in preparation for the hill. Attacking down steep inclines and gaining momentum I was moving nicely with less pain than before, I had never been this high up in a race as prestigious as this so was out of my comfort zone. Adrenaline kicked in at the right time, fuelling me up the hill taking over three runners. I now knew I was at least 3rd in my team, far better than the expectations I gave myself prior to the event. All I had to do now was secure this place and stay strong, digging deep and keeping technique sound, for the final 200 metres. One competitor rushed by me, sprinting at an unimaginable speed to contrast my race tactics of give all in the race, cruise the end but just hold my place. At this point I had nothing left and was fearing the worst, dreading who else could muster up that final kick to overtake me. Luckily before I knew it I was over the line and was immediately handed a letter with the title ‘London Marathon 2018’.

I am delighted to say I finished 8th in the South West by far my highest achievement, 2nd in the Devon team and am now a reserve for The London Mini Marathon in May 2018, something I could never have imagined even being close to.


East Devon Schools Championships

This week it was the turn of the juniors from SIDMOUTH Running Club to shine. Kate Marriott, Jo Ashby, Molly and Toby Garrick all donned their off road shoes and headed for the first round of the East Devon Schools Championships at Bicton College. This is always a fiercely contested event amongst the local schools and this year was no exception. The first 20 from each age group qualify to go to the East Devon verses Exeter event in Okehampton. Conditions were ideal, dry underfoot, sunny and warm.

Jo Ashby year 8 competing against year 8 and 9 did well in the school group but just missed out qualifying, coming in 22nd. With all the training he is putting in at the Club and the fact he will be a year older all looks positive for next year.


Molly Garrick another year 8 also had a good run in the school group but also missed out on qualifying coming 27th.

Two of our most experienced and competitive runners did however qualify in style, Katie Marriott running in year 10-11 came in 2nd in the girls race and Toby Garrick year 10-11 came in 3rd in the boys, both now go forward to represent East Devon.

Grizzly Challenge 2016

Renowned as one of the toughest going, that take in shingle beaches three times, river runs twice, hills many, muddy woodland trails, no make that very wet and muddy, flint paths, fields, and not forgetting the two bogs and the famous Stairway to Heaven.

A race that sold out 2000 places in a matters of hours back in September and is greatly oversubscribed, attracts runners from all over Europe.

Well, what you can say about is done with one single word – fantastic!

Fantastic organisation by Axe Valley Runners, start by the Town Cryer, route, views, marshals, supporters all around the course, entertainers, water and food stations, competitors and the fantastic 21 Sidmouth Running Club members resplendent in their Mighty Green Club shirts who took on the challenge.

Of the 1408 that started the main race 1402 finished, with the Club having 5 runners in the top 500. Danny Painter 142nd in 3:02:19, Joe Kent 259 in 3:18:08, Mark Welland 274 in 3:20:17, Naomi Garrick 325 in 3:25:16, Kerry Boyle 472 in 3:25:16. Sue Baily was next in 3:49:47

Mother and Daughter duo Lynda and Kaylee Hawkins challenged each other around the course finishing in a very respectable time of 4:08:21 closely followed by father and daughter David and Abbi Lee in 4:19:54.

Abbi had entered her father into this and he was not going to be shown up by her so he had been putting in many hours of hard training which had paid of not only in the time but by dragging her home over the last few miles.

The Rusty Runners, Helen Palmer, Cathy Keast, Moncia Read, Terry Bewes and new recruit Katie Kent set out to beat last years’ time of five hours and 12 seconds and smash it in a time of 4:37:55.

The final runner was David Wright in 4:46:28 and when you take consider that his longest run before was 13 miles that was an excellent achievement.

Rocker Sheppard took the ambulance to the finish when an injury got the better of him at Seaton Hole.

We had four runners in the Cub Run Suzi Rockey 1:48:55, Sarah Burston 2:08:43, Mark Burston 2:08:43, Rebecca Colwill 2:13:03.

A feature of this race is the tree of remembrance and Helen Palmer tied the memorial ribbon she had made out of club Colours on behalf of the whole club in memory of John Parrett.

A fitting tribute and his fabulous commentary was missed by all.



Blackdown Beast 2016

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.

Devon Cross Country Championship

Five junior members of Sidmouth Running Club made it through to the final held at Stover School, Newton Abbot last Saturday and all came away with exceptional results of which they should be proud, competing against schools from all over Devon. There were around 400 competitors over the various races. It was an achievement in itself that they all made it to the final having to go through the qualifying races at School, East Devon, then Exeter and East Devon.

It was a tough course which claimed several victims due to the muddy, slippery conditions

Toby Garrick year 10 competing against year 11 came 6th.

Katie Marriot year 8 came 13th beating many who had beaten her in the qualifying heats.

Ollie Beech year 6 competing against year 7 came 9th

Jo Ashby year 7 came 21st

Molly Garrick year 7 came 24th

Toby and Ollie will now represent Devon at the South West Schools competition in Cheltenham in February.

Sidmouth Running Club congratulates them all.

Fulfords 5 2016

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.

Four Trigs 2015

Four Trigs raises funds to support CRY heart charity. Another amazing day for all involved in the 16th, Four Trigs Challenge.

After a very wet and blustery Saturday, the day before the Four Trigs race, we were granted a dry, although windy, window on Sunday 7th February. The runners left in sunshine and nearly all competitors had returned before the rain came in by late afternoon. The runners enjoyed themselves, most managing to smile at the end of this challenging task. It was particularly difficult this year, due to all the rain prior to the event and this made the course very muddy and slippery.

The runners had to visit each trig point at High Peak, Beacon Hill, Buckton Hill and Western Cliff with many other hills and valleys in between. This gruelling 16 mile race has a massive 3,200 feet of climb. Many runners chose to run around in small groups making it a sociable affair and they all finished in very high spirits talking and laughing as though they’ve been for a stroll across the seafront. After the race many of the competitors sat in the Port Royal Club reliving the race and enjoying their well-deserved Haymans’ pasty. Some competitors also took advantage of and indulged in a free massage, organized by Terry Bewes, and provided by Exeter Physio. Tea, coffee and cakes were also available for those that wanted to stay that little bit longer.

Over the years this event has made charity donations of over £7,000. This year all proceeds will be going to the charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young. Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) was founded just over 20 years ago in 1995 and has become a leading national charity, striving to prevent young sudden cardiac death (yscd) through awareness, screening and research. CRY also provides a “bespoke” bereavement support programme for families and partners who have been tragically affected by the sudden death of a young person.

Every week in the UK at least 12 apparently ‘fit and healthy’ young people (aged 35 and under) die suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. That’s 600 deaths a year and this is likely to be a conservative estimate. In 80% of these cases, there will have been no signs or symptoms, which is why CRY believes that proactive cardiac screening is so vitally important. As such, CRY now screens over 20,000 young people (aged between 14-35) every year. This pioneering programme involves a simple, non-invasive electrocardiogram (ECG) that looks at the electrical activity of the heart. If necessary CRY will also perform an echocardiogram, an ultrasound scan of the heart.

The charity raises awareness of the risk of undetected cardiac conditions in young people. We owe it to our children to be aware. All the proceeds from the run will go towards the £3,500 needed for a screening unit. Our aim is to have a mobile CRY screening team to our local area in the near future.

By supporting CRY you will help save young lives from these potentially fatal cardiac conditions. For further information please visit www.c-r-y.org.uk or www.testmyheart.org

This year’s race was won by Tim Lenton, who has won the race previously, and managed the challenge in 2 hours 24 minutes. Justin Ashby achieved second place with a time of 2.29. Third place went to Patrick Devine-Wright achieving 2.32 and fourth place went to Matthew Bellamy coming in at 2.39.

The first woman home was Jessica Raynor who came in at 21st position with the time of three hours six minutes.

John Keast and Ian Voce have retained their record of having successfully completed every Trig race: 16 in total. Congratulations must go to John, Cathy and Ellie Keast who took part in the Four Trigs Challenge making this a family affair. John and Ellie ran together, (father and daughter) completing the challenge in three hours 55 minutes.

Towards the back of the field, real stalwarts, were Helen Palmer, Monica Read, Sarah Watkins, Terry Bewes, Ian Voce, David Palmer, Roy Couzens, Mandy Burroughs, Cathy Keast, and Debbie Marriot who all finished around the five hour mark, give or take five or 10 minutes. Again this year we had a few veteran walkers and special mention must be made to Arthur Vince, Stuart Bondi (Rambo) and Joy Couzens who took over seven hours to complete the challenge.

Finally and by no means least a huge thank you to all the helpers (the marshals and the tea ladies) who made the day go so fantastically well. I would also like to thank Nick Keast for all his support in helping Robert and I with the organization of the event. His knowledge and experience have been invaluable. In particular, thanks must go to Stewart Hayman for his continued support providing pasties to all competitors and to Keith Poulter for allowing access to Buckton Hill Trig Point. Thanks must also go to Exeter Physio for giving up their time to provide a free massage for the runners and a big thank you to Chris Woodcock our stalwart photographer.

Marion Hayman

Race Information & Sign up form    ||    Practice Agenda    ||   Race results