Starting pistol swapped for didgeridoo

First Minster Challenge run at Axminster attracts 168 competitors and is set to become an annual event

A blast from an Australian didgeridoo set off competitors in the Axe Valley Community College’s first multi-terrain running event on Sunday.

Despite the wet conditions the inaugural Minster Challenge attracted 168 eager runners.

They took part in two events – the main seven mile race and a three mile fun run, for mostly young people - which both traversed extremely muddy footpaths, country lanes, fields, wooded areas and hilly terrain.

First to finish the fun run was Jacob Clode, 14 who completed the course in a commendable 22 minutes 25 seconds, while the main run was won by James Dean, from Exeter Harriers, in an impressive 47 minutes 06 seconds.

Axe Valley Community College Headteacher Martin Smith was an enthusiastic participant in the main run and finished the seven miles in a very respectable 1 hour 7 minutes and 22 seconds. Five other teachers from the college also completed the main run.

The first college student home was Matthew Morbey who collected the Mike Hewer Trophy, given in memory of the popular science teacher who regularly organised college running events.

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The winners were presented with awards by town and district councillor Graham Godbeer, who is also a governor at the college.

The main award winners were as follows:

Main run:

First male - James Dean, first female - Emma Hitchins, runner up - Tim Lenton, first college student – Matthew Morbey.

Fun run:

First male - Jacob Code, first female - Annabel Arnold.

In addition to the race, participants and spectators were treated to musical entertainment by the college’s talented steel band, which performed in a marquee on the sports field.

The Axminster Karizma Majorettes also put on a display and experienced face painters created innovative designs for many of the younger spectators.

The college’s PTFA provided a huge assortment of home-baked cakes, a continuous supply of refreshments and freshly cooked bacon rolls.

Event organiser Sara Feldman said: “I am absolutely thrilled with how well it went. We had an overwhelming number of enthusiastic and hardworking parents, students, members of staff and volunteers from the community who all worked hard to make this event the success it was. I would like to make this race an annual event going forward.”