Judy Davey was the sole Honiton lady completing the Honiton line-up to finish 55th in 1:23:08. There were 113 finishers and the race was won by AVR’s own Simon Bayliss in the fantastic time of 1:01:14.If runners weren’t brave enough to tackle the full race they could choose to do just one loop and run about 5 miles. Honiton Junior Findlay Fuller won the race in a time of 39:45. John Burgess also took the shorter option as he hasn’t run much distance for weeks. He enjoyed the race feeling no pressure and taking photos along the way. He finished 10th in 59:25. There were 17 finishers. Thanks to the cake and soup makers for welcome sustenance on the runners return back at the village hall. Thanks also to AVR for a great well organised event and of course, to all the marshals.
Last year’s Honiton Running Club’s Blackdown Beast was in jeopardy because of the deep snow leading up to the event but last Sunday there was none of that but with the rain of recent weeks the challenges were mainly mud and bogs. The muscle sapping terrain meant that the 16 miles was hard work but the weather stayed fine and mild throughout the morning.
The Beast is always a sell out and this year saw over 140 runners taking part with runners coming from all over Devon and some from further afield. The event is a social run with several stops on route at convenient pubs with the route taking in the scenery of the beautiful Blackdown Hills. The event began and ended at the Highfield Sport and Social Club, Dunkeswell. The first stop, after 7 ½ miles, was Smeatharpe Village Hall where participants were treated to delicious hot sweet mulled cider and equally delicious warming pasties. Thanks to the ladies of the WI for making and serving this very welcome sustenance. The next stop was the Sidmouth Arms, Upottery where some runners took the opportunity of taking a mini bus back to Dunkeswell having completed 10 miles. Other runners decided to stay put, ordered a meal and spent the afternoon in the cosy pub. Then it was on to the Luppitt Inn; one of the smallest pubs in the country! Organisers made sure the landlady knew runners were coming as opening times are flexible! The last leg is always the most challenging with plenty of chance of getting lost but this year there was a diversion due to building work taking place on the usual route which meant even more chance of extra mileage!
As always all participants thoroughly enjoyed the day with many looking forward to the summer version; the Blackdown Beauty. Places are likely to go fast for this event too so look out for further information on www.honitonrc.com and to register your interest very soon. Thanks to John Burgess, the main organiser, but also to everyone else involved in organisation and ensuring the day ran smoothly not forgetting the landowners and probably most importantly the ladies of the WI for the pasties! Money raised once expenses have been paid will go to Smeatharpe Village Hall and Macmillan Cancer Support.