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.