Juniors and Seniors Represent SRC

Ruby Red Running organised the perfect Grizzly training event last weekend- the Dalwood 3 Hills 10 mile race.  It was muddy, slippery and very wet especially as the river Yarty burst its banks on the morning of the event and a quick re-route had to be done to ensure the runners safety.

Most of the Dalwood MG runners

Four Mighty Greens took part in this seriously muddy, hilly trail race, with MG Scott Chown in his element ploughing through the flooded tracks and enjoying every minute.  Martin Barnard was the first SRC runner over the finish line in 1:32:31, 39th out of a field of 167, with Scott finishing in 2:09:17, Charlie Fawell 2:12:20 and Christie Ward, first SRC female to finish in 2:29:15.

SRC Juniors Amelia and Emily at the Dalwood Dash

Alongside this event is the Dalwood Dash, a 6k muddy, boggy, hilly race with plenty of surface water to wade through. SRC were lucky to have 2 juniors representing the club, Emily Smith and Amelia Womersley-Westlake. Emily ran with her dad and finished 17th in 50 minutes and Amelia had both her parents, Donna and Grahame, running with her.  Amelia who is already looking forward to the event next year finished in 1:06:00.  They all enjoyed the challenging course; knee high water at times and both did extremely well with this distance-congratulations.

Mighty Greens at Escot 10k

On Saturday Scott joined fellow Mighty Greens Alice Gill, Christine and Karen Farnham at Escot to take part in a 10k event organised by Exeter Trail races.  The one lap off road course took them around the scenic grounds of Escot with a few tough hill climbs and unavoidable mud.  All four of them enjoyed the event with Alice having to clean and dry her trainers quickly as she was on the SRC Sunday runners coach trip to run the East Devon Way the next morning!  Christine was the first SRC runner to finish in 1:01:43, 45th out of a field of 90, with sister Karen not far behind in 1:02:17, Scott 1:03:00 and Alice 1:12:15.

Fundraising Naomi Garrick

The club’s social secretary Naomi Garrick missed out on the Sunday club run as she was in Brighton dressed as a dalmatian! The MG was taking part in the Brighton half marathon, the largest running event in the Southeast, raising money for International Animal Rescue.  Naomi who ran alongside 8,166 runners, finished in 2:02:32, her tail still wagging!

Mighty Green Emma Salter

Beginner’s course member Emma Salter has been showing her Mighty Green spirit on Wednesday club nights. After running the SRC 5k route without stopping Emma joined the 4-5 mile group the following week, with coach Terry Bewes on hand.  Emma did a great job running up hills and coping with the increased mileage and was determined to run non-stop all the way up Broadway to the finish.  Unfortunately, the effort she had put in took its toll with 3 metres to go and was sick but this did not put her off.  With encouragement from Terry, Emma got herself together and with a monumental effort ran past the finish.  Well done Emma!

Posted in SRC

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

Posted in SRC

Elevated Running For Sidmouth Running Club

On Sunday 4th February four Mighty Greens, including junior SRC runner Amelia Womersley-Westlake took part in the Haldon Winter Series.  Organised by Purple Gecko Events it is a timed, no pressure trail run around the beautiful Haldon Forest.

The Haldon Winter Series Runners

Amelia ran the 5k route with her dad/junior coach, Grahame and was delighted to find out she was 1st junior female, finishing in 46.51 which included a hill sprint finish.

Amelia with her medal and dad

MG’s Scott Chown, Clare Luke and Donna Womersley-Westlake found they had run 1145ft of elevation over the 10k route, not quite the flat route they thought it was going to be.  Scott finished in 1:15:37, and with Amelia running back up the final hill alongside them, Clare finished in 1:21:37 and Donna 1:38:08.  They were all appreciative of the weighty medal received.

Scott Chown in action

The 4 Trigs also took place on Sunday 4th, organised by Marion and Robert Hayman, the local event is now in its 22nd year and supports the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).  The aim is to visit each of the four Triangulation Pillars around the Sid Valley with runners choosing their own routes, but they must visit each Trig Point in order taking in the 5 Check points to help taper the route (approx. 17 miles).

The first clip point (of 9)

Jo Pavey MBE and sponsor Nigel Winchester (Ian Winchesters and Sons) sent the 104 entrants, including 24 Mighty Greens, on their way across the seafront towards High Peak under perfect weather conditions. Amelia Frankpitt, Debbie and Don Cawthera ran 2 trigs, Carol Hounsell, Sarah Watkins, Cathy Miller, Helen Palmer and Stuart Moul ran 3 trigs and 16 took on all 4.

Jo Pavey MBE and Nigel Winchester at the start

Finishing in joint 17th position Martin Barnard and David Chipping were the first SRC males to return in 2:56:13, with MG Richard Summerhayes close behind in 3:02:38, 19th.

Richard Summerhayes running through Sidbury

Louise Dalton was the first SRC female to finish in 4:09:30, 58th place with MG Amanda Stokes seconds behind in 4:09:43.

Richard, Louise and Amanda

For Mighty Green Kerry Salter it wasn’t the 3740 feet of elevation that proved problematic, it was opening the variety of gates along the route; there were plenty of them and it certainly kept her running buddies Kathy Jordan and Alexa Baker amused!

Kerry, Kathy and Alexa

The runners appreciated the marshals and water stations along the way and it was great to see MG Derek Blackburn, not long back from his travels, in Sidbury cheering everyone on and taking photos.

Everyone received a medal on return thanks to sponsor Richard King of Kings Garden and Leisure and there was the opportunity to have a post-event massage from Kate Truman of Phyzz Soft Tissue Therapy for a donation to CRY. The kitchen team did a great job providing jacket potatoes or soup which the runners appreciated.

High Peak Trig

The 4 trigs is tough but the Mighty Greens like a challenge and all the more when it is for charity.  Marion and Robert are very grateful to everyone who supported this year’s event and helped raise an incredible £2,200!

Results Four Trigs: Martin Barnard 2:56:13; David Chipping 2:56:13; Richard Summerhayes 3:02:38; Colin Ryan 3:28:21; Adrian Harris 3:32:24; David King 3:56:50; Louise Dalton 4:09:30; Amanda Stokes 4:09:43; Richard King 4:24:04; Graham Sheppard 4:33:04; Naomi Garrick 4:39:25; David Wright 4:50:12; John Keast 5:01:55; Kerry Salter 5:10:57; Kathy Jordan 5:10:57; Alexa Baker 5:10:57

Posted in SRC

Mark Andow: SRC’s Extreme Mighty Green

Last weekend Sidmouth Running Club’s Mark Andow took part in The Arc of Attrition 50, a point-to-point extreme coastal race taking in the stunning and dramatic Cornish coast path. Mark was on the cancellation list for this popular event organised by The Mud Crew and sponsored by La Sportivia so when the call came offering him a place, he only had a few days to decide whether to accept; luckily he was prepared having completed the Dartmoor 100 in November and running the longer Sunday club runs.

A focused Mark collecting his number

It was a very early hour long coach ride to the amazing start running up from the stage of the Minack Theatre out onto the South West Coast Path to then follow the hardest first 25 miles he had ever had to run, walk, climb and scramble over.

The race had strict cut-offs which meant 25 % of the field of runners did not finish and there was only one official checkpoint 25 miles in at St Ives. The MG found the second 25 miles misleading, as after long stretches of relative flatness, there would be huge descends and ascends up steep steps. Mark found it very taxing on the legs.

Beautiful but brutal coastline

Although a way-marked route there were parts that were challenging to navigate, particularly through the ‘Dunes of Doom, at night. Competitors needed the ability to be self-sufficient for long periods of time and Mark was really blessed by having the ‘crew support’ from his friend Richard who drove down the night before in his camper van. Richard met Mark repeatedly for food, fluids and encouragement. The MG said Richard being there made a real difference and was glad he was able to fit in a sea swim and get joined by a seal who swam with him. Without people like Richard and the scores of volunteers called the ‘Flying Angels’ these kind of extreme ultras could not be safely attempted, so my gratitude goes out them.

There were potentially challenging winter conditions, but luck held and the daytime was ideal for January with it being not too cold, blue skies with some sunshine although there were occasional light drizzles after the sun set. This helped Mark maintain a constant effort, if not speed, as the terrain was so varied. The MG was able to stay ahead of the cut offs and eventually completed it after 13.5hours!

Nailed it!

To sum up the extreme Mighty Green said The Arc race on the Cornish coast was tough but safe and well organised, brutally beautiful…and painful! Comparing it with the Dartmoor 100 Mark said they were both tough in different ways – Dartmoor total exhaustion over a long burn and The Arc of Attrition hard as had to put more intense effort, but not as mentally tiring.

Posted in SRC

Blackdown Beast Lives Up To Its’ Name

The Blackdown Beast, Honiton Running Clubs’ sold out charity fundraiser, took place on Saturday and Sidmouth Running Club were there.  All ten Mighty Greens chose to run the full 17 mile route over the 10 mile option and for most it was their first time.

First wave runners David, Clive and Kyle sync their watches

Starting from Dunkeswell airfield the runners had to self-navigate their way around the picturesque landscape by looking for white drawing pins on posts and gateways, using written instructions or a GPX file. The Mighty Green ladies ran together and were grateful that Rachel Barnard had downloaded the GPX file as it got them back on track when they realised they hadn’t seen a drawing pin for a while!

Rachel keeps the directions firmly in her grip.

The first leg was 7.5 miles on seldom used footpaths through the countryside complete with farmyard smells and muck which took you to the first refreshment stop at Smeatharpe.  Pre-ordered hot pasties and mulled cider hit the spot and made the next 2.5 mile leg along lanes and boggy fields to Upottery very enjoyable.

The ladies enjoying mulled cider and hot pasties.

Ignoring the fact that The Sidmouth Arms was the pick up point for the 10 mile option the Mighty Greens continued to Rawridge then climbed to Luppitt before heading back to Dunkeswell Airfield. This stretch was mainly on quiet roads with many uphill sections and perhaps not quite as enjoyable as the first section but all good training for the upcoming Four Trigs, Grizzly and JP’s Exe to Axe.

Beccy going her own way through the mud

Run leader Clive Gilbert appreciated the relaxed and friendly run with the lack of official timing and results making it an informal, social event around some truly beautiful countryside.  Another positive for Clive was the £4,000 raised for HRC’s chosen charity, Macmillan, a charity who provided extraordinary palliative care and support for both his parents.

The Mighty Green Beasties

Although MG’s Colin Ryan, David Wright, Kyle Baker and Clive were all home and showered by the time the ladies returned to the airfield meeting Charlie Fawell leaving The Aviator café they weren’t the last to finish! Although tired Kerry Salter, Beccy Johnson, Kathy Jordan, Alexa Baker and Rachel valued the time on legs experience as they look to next weekend and the Four Trigs!

Posted in SRC

Podium Finish For SRC Junior Christopher Witkowski 

Saturdays’ Haldon Night Run was postponed from before Christmas due to a yellow wind weather warning where the forest had to be closed to the public for safety reasons.  How lucky were organisers Sportiva Events that this weekends’ yellow wind weather warning came into effect on Sunday; the only amendment was the start times as the nights are drawing out!  Sidmouth Running Club were represented by two juniors taking part in the 2k event and they did their club proud!

Donna, Amelia and Christopher flying the flag

Christopher Witkowski had an exceptional run finishing in 12 minutes earning him a podium finish-2nd in the 10-11 year old boys’ category.  Amelia Womersley-Westlake ran with her mum/junior coach Donna Womersley-Westlake and finished the hilly route in a respectable 17 minutes.  The club is very grateful to their parents for supporting and encouraging the Mighty Greens.

2nd place for Christopher

Not to miss out on the running action, Amelias’ dad, Grahame Womersley-Westlake took on his toughest challenge to date, the Pagan Trails. This was a brand new event organised by Outer Edge which started in Chagford and took in stone circles and pagan sites of north Dartmoor which is steeped in ancient history and legends. For Junior coach Grahame it meant 28 miles through wind, mud, ice, rain, sleet, rivers, bogs and lots of hills; the first 1.3km was over 300m of elevation! But weeks of training combined with sessions at SidmouthFit paid off as he hit his sub 6 hour target finishing in 5:54:00, 39th in a field of 97.  The Mighty Green said although it was brutal the stunning scenery made up for it and he will return to Dartmoor for more races in the future!

Grahame taking a moment to enjoy the stunning views

This weeks’ Sunday runners had a coach trip to look forward to thanks to run leader Richard King and chairman Terry Bewes for organising it.  With a choice of 3 distances the coach picked the runners up at Newton Poppleford (21 miles), Budleigh Salterton (16 miles) and Exmouth (10 miles) before dropping them off at the incinerator in Exeter.

The Sunday Runners

Enjoying the settled part of the weather system the MG’s ran alongside the river, through the marshes to Topsham, following the train line through Lympstone and into Exmouth.

Coach organiser Terry Bewes at Topsham

Running the flat, dry route compared to all the previous hilly, muddy Sunday runs was a revelation and instead of returning to their cars at Exmouth Mighty Greens Sarah Clapham and Carol Hounsell decided to carry on to Budleigh Salterton.   The group followed the old railway line to Knowle before heading into Budleigh where Louise Dalton, Amanda Stokes and Richard King carried on to Newton Poppleford and Charlie Fawell gave Sarah and Carol a lift back to Exmouth.

The 21 milers, Amanda, Louise and Richard

Posted in SRC

Junior Amelia Shows Her Mighty Green Spirit At The Axmouth Challenge

Sidmouth Running Club Junior Amelia Womersley-Westlake was not content with running the Axmouth Challenge 1 mile fun run on Sunday and chose to run the 3 mile race aimed at 12+ years!  Permission was given from race organisers Axe Valley Runners for the Mighty Green 8 year old to run with her dad (and SRC Junior leader) Grahame Womersley-Westlake, alongside her.  Despite a hill climb to start, Amelia finished in an impressive 40:42 and enjoyed every moment.

Amelia Womersley-Westlake enjoying her 5k run

Four Mighty Greens also faced the hill start too as they took part in the 9 mile race.  First timer Nikita Kay had been pre-warned about the hills and mud but found the event very enjoyable and said it was challenging in the best way and would recommend the race.  The Mighty Green finished in 1:39:41. Christine and Karen Farnham also enjoyed the multi terrain route along quiet lanes and off road trails and finished in 1:31:54 and 1:37:05 respectively.  First SRC runner to finish was head coach Kyle Baker who was very pleased to learn he had knocked 9 minutes of his previous time finishing 42nd out of a field of 116 in 1:19:19.

The MG Axmouth Challengers

All the Mighty Greens who took part agreed the refreshments; hot soup, bacon butties, flapjacks, cakes etc were amazing and would like to thank organiser Jane Calvert and her team for a great value for money, friendly local event.

Posted in SRC

2024 and Sidmouth Running Club is off the starting blocks with a bang!

Chairman Terry Bewes welcomed new members to the first Wednesday club run of 2024 including those joining the Beginners group. Under Terry’s guidance they ran over 2 miles and are all keen to return next week.

Mighty Green Niall Hawkins took part in Climb South Wests’ The Walter Raleigh Round half marathon starting and finishing in Budleigh Salterton.  The muddy, challenging route took in High Peak, the birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh and surrounding countryside where he spent time as a child.  Niall had a great race finishing 16th out of a field of 146 in 1:51:54.

Adrian with his medal and friend

Junior run leader Adrian Gripper Horne took part in the 3rd of a marathon option, running 8.6 miles in 1:39:35 finishing 16th out of a field of 22.  Both Mighty Greens were impressed with the weighty medal!

The First Chance 10k organised by SW Road Runners also had two Mighty Greens enter who enjoyed the flat course around Exeter Riverside Valley Park on Sunday.  MG David King finished in 47:26, 231st out of a field of 447 and despite chip problems MG Sam Ingram finished in 49:06 knocking 5 minutes off last years’ time!

The first Sunday run of 2024 saw run leader Rachel Barnard inundated with club runners keen to continue upping their mileage in preparation for upcoming events including the Blackdown Beast, Four Trigs, Grizzly and Exe to Axe.

Very ‘Clamourous’ Sunday runners

The change in the weather didn’t catch them out as everyone layered up and enjoyed cracking the ice on the frozen puddles, although there was a lot of mud around too.

Richard and Colin went to see the new bridge

The route took them along the coastal path towards Budleigh where everyone enjoyed the stunning scenery and there were options to break off at Otterton to run 10, 11 or 12 miles.

Stunning scenery towards Budleigh

Posted in SRC

The Final Countdown: SRC Run In The New Year

Winding Paths chose Sidmouth for their Final Countdown 10k this year, perfect for members of Sidmouth Running Club to kick start New Years Eve.

The rain stopped just before the race started from the Watersports Hub at 10am but with the wind whipping the waves onto the promenade getting wet was unavoidable as the runners headed for Peak Hill.

Raring to celebrate The Final Countdown!

The early elevation did not put the 257 entrants off nor did the mud, though it might have slowed them down a bit; not the case for Niall Hawkins, first Mighty Green to finish in 11th place in 47:57!

Niall Hawkins had a cracking run

No sooner were you on top of the hill that you were being sent down the other side ready for the delight of running up Bottle Lane, notoriously tricky underfoot at the best of times. A slighty less muddy but very watery loop of Muttersmoor followed before the daunting descent down the grassy slope to the finish line at Connaught Gardens.  MG Scott Chown styled his skid out right in front of the photographer and managed to stay upright (ish!), no mean feat as it was a mud bath.

Scott Chown sliding his way to the finish line

Everyone received a very impressive medal before heading home to clean up, ready to bring in 2024.

Results: Niall Hawkins 47:57; Don Cawthera 57:58; Deb Cawthera 1:01:57; Sarah Ginsberg 1:06:58; Christine Farnham 1:07:23; Alexa Baker 1:08:33; Beccy Johnson 1:09:04; Karen Farnham 1:09:31; Scott Chown 1:10:16; Nikita Kay 1:10:20; Judith Jeeves 1:18:31; Christie Ward 1:18:49; Carol Hounsell 1:29:05; Sarah Watkins 1:25:06; Ann Cole 1:31:28

You can still join the beginner’s course which started on Wednesday 3rd January and SRC Juniors which start back on Wednesday 10th January.

See www.sidmouthrunningclub.co.uk for further details.


Posted in SRC

SRC Enjoy Festive Run Fun

Not to be out done by the SRC Juniors who enjoyed a 12 days of Christmas challenge run with cake and chocolate to finish for their last session before Christmas over 40 Sidmouth Running Club members joined the last club run before Christmas to make it a very festive evening and all the more special having the company of Jo Pavey MBE.

The Juniors enjoyed The 12 Days Of Christmas challenge

With a prize for the best fancy dress up for grabs there were many colourful outfits on display as they headed up from St Johns School to Bennetts Hill, the best light display in Sidmouth.

Chairman Terry with Jo

The Mighty Green choir sang Silent Night and popped donations in the collecting box for Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat before continuing round the cul-de-sac to The Volley who were treated to a rousing rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

The MG Choir at Bennetts Hill

Not for the first time Radway cinema goers were entertained with a festive run through the aisles before another burst of We Wish You A Merry Christmas for the Radway pub revellers.

On return the Mighty Greens were treated to mulled wine and mince pies (thanks to Nikki King) and Jo presented the best fancy dress prize to Leeann Thomson who ran like an angel, her gossamer wings twinkling all the way.

Jo Pavey MBE with fancy dress winner Leeann Thomson

You or any of your visiting family and friends are very welcome to join the Boxing day run starting at 9am from Sidmouth Sailing club.

There are a few spaces left on the beginners course which starts on Wednesday 3rd January and SRC Juniors start back on Wednesday 10th January.

See www.sidmouthrunningclub.co.uk for further details.

Posted in SRC