Grizzly says thank you

AFTER a successful Grizzly, the chairman of Axe Valley runners, Garry Perratt, writes an open letter to residents of Beer, Branscombe, Seaton and Weston. As you may have seen elsewhere in the media, Sunday March 8 saw another successful Grizzly run.

AFTER a successful Grizzly, the chairman of Axe Valley runners, Garry Perratt, writes an open letter to residents of Beer, Branscombe, Seaton and Weston.

As you may have seen elsewhere in the media, Sunday March 8 saw another successful Grizzly run. The weather wasn't quite as bad as it might have been (or actually was elsewhere) and the feedback we've received from runners has been amazing. (You can read some of it at www.axevalleyrunners.org.uk/grizzlyfeedback.htm.) Axe Valley Runners would like to thank those without whose co-operation the event just couldn't take place.

Firstly, however, we would like to apologise to those who were inconvenienced by the race. We are aware that traffic movement was difficult at times in Beer and particularly at the Fountain Head in Branscombe. We are still learning, even after 22 years, and will review the way we access the Fountain Head in future.

We are very grateful to all the marshals who directed runners, operated water stations, provided emergency support or otherwise helped out at the weekend - nearly 400 of them in all. Most of them were from groups such as school PTAs, village hall committees and so on, and we invite any other groups who are interested in being involved next year to contact us.


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Without landowners permitting us to use private land, the course would not be the same so we are very grateful to the following who granted access or unlocked gates to permit an easier flow of runners: Environment Agency (Seaton sea defence gates), Axmouth Yacht Club, Dormer (Beer Head Caravan Park & Southdown Common), Sellick (Branscombe Mouth), Westlake (Manor Mill Farm, Branscombe), White (Berry Barton), Burrough (Coxe's Farm, Branscombe/Weston), Donkey Sanctuary, Morgan (Dunscombe Manor Caravan Park), Kenucky (Dunscombe), McFadyen & Davey (Weston) and the National Trust.

The main race sponsor was the running kit manufacturer Saucony but many other companies also supported the event. Post-race refreshments for all runners were provided by For Goodness Shakes (recovery milkshakes), Honeybuns (cake bars) and the Co-op (Fair Trade bananas) and on-course jelly babies by The Sweet Shop in Axminster; the Four Cs also offered the runners a discount on fish & chips.

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Retained firefighters from Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service provided their much-appreciated runners' hose-down service.

Seaton Tramway offered discounted fares and loaned their covered trailer to aid our finish staff. RBS scaffolding provided the finish gantry and RPM Motors the lead car. The Landrover Experience Westcountry collected injured and conked-out runners from the course and Supacat provided vehicular support on Branscombe Beach. East Devon District Council granted free parking for the runners and provided recycling bins at the finish. St Clare's Adult Education and many of the Riverside Units allowed the runners to use their parking facilities as well. If any other local businesses are interested in joining our team of sponsors, particularly in kind (hot drinks at the finish, perhaps?), then please get in touch.

The runners are also grateful to all local spectators who turned out to cheer them on - it does make a difference and contributes significantly to the unique Grizzly feel which will see it in a new Runner's World list of the best races in the country for atmosphere.

Finally, on April 3 we will be making donations to all the organisations which helped us, plus a substantial sum to this year's main beneficiary, the new Reece Strawbridge Youth Centre, in Colyton.

You can contact me through the paper or by email to Garry.Perratt@AxeValleyRunners.org.uk

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