Axe Valley who are know for their zany ideas suddenly had an explosion of new events. Any Which Way You Can was one of these. You are given a map,some check points and off you go into the wide blue yonder to try and find your way round. The intrepid Honiton teams had no problems.Tracey, Clare and Mark (Andow) did the shorter 9 mile route while the rest of us opted for 15 miles. The weather was kind, the scenery fabulous,the hills steeper than ever, and at the finish the pasty was delicious and the tea like nectar, Bring on the Beast
The third running of Honiton Running Club’s Blackdown Beast took place last Saturday. Every year it has become more popular and this year it was a sell out weeks before the event when the 100th runner was registered. It is a social run and not a race and participants could choose to run the full distance of 16 miles or stop at 10 miles where a mini-bus was waiting to return shorter route runners back to their cars. For the first time the headquarters was at Highfield Social Club, Dunkeswell which proved to be ideal with plenty of parking and more importantly great value food on offer afterwards.
There are no marshals as such but runners are given a booklet produced and illustrated by Chairman, John Burgess. This includes written directions as well as maps of the various legs and from this runners find their own way (hopefully). After leaving the Social Club runners undertake the longest and toughest leg before arriving at Smeatharpe Village Hall and very welcome mulled cider and succulent hot pasties courtesy of the ladies of Smeatharpe W.I. and dogsbody Colvin. After Smeatharpe, it’s hard to get going again but next stop is the Sidmouth Arms at Upottery and more sustenance. Then onto the Luppitt Inn which thankfully had been pre warned of the arrival of 100 muddy, thirsty runners. For those who had never been to Luppitt, the pub was one not to be forgotten as it is not much more than the landlady’s lounge and definitely standing room only. It’s a good job the crowd were well spread out at that point. The final stretch was a different route to previous years and a much more interesting way of getting back to Dunkeswell.
Weather conditions were ideal following a damp week which meant plenty of mud and other similar substances to wade through but a clear sky meant stunning views. Thanks to everyone involved with organisation especially behind the scenes or supporting runners on the day including the Smeatharpe ladies, Highfield Social Club caterers as well as all the landowners who kindly allowed 200 feet to trample their land.
Blackdown Beast 2012 Page with comments from runners and photos here
The previous weekend saw Stephen Boyes run the Gloucester Marathon. There was a mix up with the recording of his time but Steve actually ran it in 3 hour 42 mins which he was reasonably pleased with as it was quite a hilly course.
10 intrepid runners and two dogs explored Leg one of the Blackdown Beast today. After a bit of a mix up and delay over "Highfield" being taken for "Airfield" we got under way. Warning to Beast runners in two weeks - it's very very muddy, ankle deep in places. The weather was cold but sunny so a very enjoyable run, but unfortunately two weeks too early for the mulled cider and hot pasty at Smeatharpe. The stupidity of the chairman meant he had left his car keys at Dunkeswell while his car was at Smeatharpe - poor old boy!
Five Honiton Running Club members went to Dawlish last Sunday to take part in Dawlish Coaster’s Oh My Obelisk. This is an 11 mile multi-terrain run which begins at Dawlish Leisure Centre and after winding around the playing fields, runners are taken up to the Obelisk and back down again. The second half is much nicer than the predominantly uphill first half. The start is very exposed and runners paid for the sea view as there was a bitterly cold wind. However, once runners set off the route became more sheltered and the going was good with not too much mud around.
Bruce Strawbridge was first back for Honiton coming 32nd in a time of 1:22:36. Steve Davey was next back very pleased with himself for beating last year’s time by 4 minutes. He was 45th in 1:24:37. Judy Davey enjoyed the run after the initial cold and came 96th in 1:33:35. This was the first time of running the Obelisk for Nick Bradley-Carter and Olivia Higginson who had both been convinced that the race was no tougher than Axmouth Challenge. Both enjoyed it but disagreed with how tough it was. Nick estimated his finishing time to be 1 hour 45 so he was pleased to finish 155th in 1:44:01. Olivia finished in 187th place in 1:49:02. This won’t be the last time of running this race for either of them. The race was won by Michael Robinson of Tamar Trotters in the amazing time of 1:08:54.
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On New Year’s Day, Honiton Running Club’s Richard Harris, Pippa Westall and Helen Davy took part in the Chard Flyer. Richard and Pippa were pleased with their times despite the New Year celebrations of the night before. Richard finished in 45 minutes 20 seconds in 27th place. Pippa managed 49:50 and 49th place. Pippa managed to stick right behind Helen for the first half and then got past her on the flat and downhills. Helen finished about a minute behind Pippa. Runners found it hard with the first half very hilly and windy but the rain held off until the race was nearly over. There were 101 finishers.
Last Sunday, Julie Payne started off her 2012 race season in a brilliant way. She took part in The First Chance which consists of two loops around The Quay on the canal path beside the River Exe and Exeter Canal. She has run this race several times and uses it as a guide to how well she is running. She wore lucky number 7 and it certainly worked for her as she smashed her 10k personal best time to finish in 42:40.
On the same day, several Honiton runners took the more local option and took part in Axe Valley Runner’s Axmouth Challenge which is a 9 ½ mile multi-terrain race which has the greatest challenge within the first mile when runners are taken up the very steep hill to Axmouth Golf Club. This year, the conditions were perfect although as to be expected at this time of year, the off road parts were rather muddy. Steve Davey led Honiton home having run most of the race on his own. He finished in 1:11:29 in 20th place. He was followed by Howard Bidmead who is slowly regaining his form. He finished 29th in 1:15:11. Next back was new member Graham Rooms who had overtaken Judy Davey on the hills only to be overtaken back on the down hills several times. Graham finally passed her within 100 metres of the finish line and was 26th in a time of 1:17:40. Judy was one place behind and just 3seconds slower. Judy had also raced Rod Inglis, who is also new to the club, for the first 5 miles with the lead changing several times. Rod is better at distances up to 10k so Judy eventually shook him off. Rod finished 42nd in 1:21:03. Next back was Nick Bradley-Carter who thoroughly enjoyed his race and was delighted with his time of 1:21:47 and 46th position. Warren is training for London Marathon and Nick had given him a run for his money. Warren would have been happier if he had managed to catch Nick but he still enjoyed his race finishing 48th in 1:22:31.John Burgess had intended to bring his camera and take photos on route but he left it at home so he had to race! He took it fairly cautiously as last year he had had to pull out before he had run up the first hill. He was pleased to finish in a time of 1:26:49 and 61st place. Olivia Higginson completed the Honiton team having decided to complete this race instead of the First Chance as she felt Axmouth would be better training with the hills and the extra distance. She finished 65th in 1:28:02. There were 84 finishers.
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