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Blackdown Beast

Pub stops warmed up Beast runners

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
11.17 AM

The heavy snow and ice in the week leading up to this year’s Honiton Running Club’s Blackdown Beast meant that the event going ahead last Saturday was in jeopardy, writes judy Davey.

However, the main organiser, chairman John Burgess, put his trust in the weather forecast and The Beast went ahead as planned. Most of the snow duly disappeared and, although there was still some ice about, the weather on the day was perfect for the 16 mile run. The mud was prevalent with runners spending most of the time either in ankle deep freezing water or wading through leg- sapping mud.

The Beast 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 seven and a half 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. 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 usually somewhat hit or miss. Runners then had a choice of a road route back or to take the cross country option. Most took the cross country way but those who took the road route were glad they did. The cross country route was just as muddy as everywhere else and there was the added chance of losing your way.

This year the event attracted over 130 runners and was a sell out several weeks earlier with participants coming from as far afield as Bristol and Plymouth. The atmosphere was brilliant and the run was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

About £700 was raised for Smeatharpe Village Hall. Thanks to everyone involved in organisation as well as the landowners for allowing runners to cross their land.