Axe Valley nutters take on Midwinter run

PUBLISHED: 11:32 21 December 2011

Axe Valley Runners

Axe Valley Runners

Archant

Last Saturday night seven Axe Valley Runners and three guests from Bridport Runners, Exmouth Harriers and Sidmouth RC ran the traditional pre-Christmas Midwinter Dream, 17 miles of nocturnal and largely off-road running with as much ascent mile-for-mile as the hilliest of Grizzlies, writes Dave Mutter.

Two began by running over to the start outside the Hook and Parrot, Jamie Lambert running five miles from Hole and Garry Perratt nearly 10 miles from Axminster. Ironically, Garry had given the runners strict instructions to be on time and only one was five minutes late - Garry himself! They were joined by Phil Bayliss, Paul Johns, Lin and Martin Lascelles, Richard Dodge, Graham Newton, Virginia Bell and Mark Thompson.

The run began up through Seaton Marshes to Colyford, then along the footpath alongside the river to Colyton and the first stop at the Gerrard Arms. A pint and natter later, the 10 continued following the footpath upriver to Heathayne where Garry, Jamie and Graham braved the ford while the others wimped out on the bridge. Then up to Jobbles Wood and all the way through Morganhayes, both of which were in marvellously-muddy condition, to the second stop at the edge of the wood where Garry had stashed water, beer, mince pies and Christmas cake, all of which rapidly disappeared.

With half the distance down, they wended their merry way to Blackberry Camp, across to the Three Horseshoes, through Beckham Woods and over to third stop at the Fountainhead. After more nattering and refuelling in front of the fire the 10 forced themselves back outside where the climb up to the coast path felt as steep as ever but the run through the woods on West Cliff was wonderful. They were intending to climb East Cliff from Branscombe Mouth but Jamie coerced Garry into the hard man's route via beach and Under Hooken, so Garry took revenge and coerced Jamie into running down the stream on the beach first. At least it was fairly firm going down by the water but some of the breakers managed to reach higher than was comfortable when tired and cold!

The final stop was in the Anchor where Garry was too tired to do any more than sit on the floor feeling knackered and even Jamie declined beer in favour of coke. Then it was on back over to the Hook to finish another memorable Midwinter Dream. Special mention must go to Lin and Martin who had flown back from a running trip to the USA only the day before and Virginia on surviving her debut with the Axe Valley Asylum.

●The Wellington Monument 25th anniversary 6.2m Race has taken three years to happen, due to bad icy, snowy weather for the last two years. It was thankfully a beautiful, crisp morning. The overall winner was James Denne of Exeter Harriers. Eleanor Wood was first AVR home, in 46:50, 2nd Vet 45. Jane Calvert finished in 1:04. Harry Moore, 79, was delighted to be cheered home by many of the runners as he completed in 1:45. His 25th run of the year, had a twinkle in his eye, running with an attractive back marker.

Well done to the organisers and thanks for the wacky hats and shot glasses we all received.


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