Beating the weather for Sport Relief

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:37 15 June 2010

Despite horrible wet weather in Honiton on Sunday morning the spirit of the Sainsbury's Sport Relief Mile runners couldn t be dampened.

Despite horrible rainy weather in Honiton on Sunday morning the spirit of the Sainsbury's Sport Relief Mile runners couldn't be dampened. Well over 400 competitors gathered at Honiton Sports Centre to show that the people of Honiton and East Devon could rise to the challenge. They had lots of fun and raised lots of cash to help transform the lives of thousands of people in the UK and across the world's poorest countries.Even before Sunday loomed large, the Honiton Sport Relief team knew that it was going to be a busy day as there were 304 pre-entries for the event. But this number was swelled by a massive 176 entries on the day for the one, three and six mile distances. Each event started with a performance by the Honiton Twirlstars, followed by a mass warm-up led by Vladka Juroskova, one of the Honiton aerobics instructors. The runners assembled at the start and were joined in the one mile event by Mayor Vernon Whitlock and the town crier, both in full regalia, accompanied by several town councillors. There were an abundance of fairies and a fair assortment of other fictional characters who set off at a good pace from the start on the High Street near Clapper Lane. A noisy crowd at the bottom of New Street cheered on the runners and it wasn't long before they had wound their way to the finish. They were greeted by family and friends and Honiton Running Club members who distributed goody bags, water and cakes. Music was provided by Ceilidh band Slack Ma Girdle and Manor House School Taiko Drum Band, many of whom had slipped away to compete in the mile event. The three and six mile events started at 11.30 with a good mix of entrants from both the athletic and fun run fraternities. The leaders shot off at a frenetic pace while many took a more gentle approach now that the rain had subsided. The first lap leader in the six mile run was a young Axe Valley Runner who went through in about 19 minutes to great applause but their were several hard on his heels. It was a few minutes before the first three-miler burst through the finish and then a trickle turned into a torrent as the drums beat and the crowd cheered. Tired legs soon recovered and smiles, chat and banter followed and a healthy glow of a challenge overcome and the knowledge that thousands of others were finishing across the country and that millions of pounds were being raised to help those less fortunate around the world. As always in an event like this the organisers owe thanks to many who helped on the day. Honiton Running Club Secretary Alan Nicholls was the main event organiser and was aided by a posse of helpers including Ian Jeeves, who managed the route and liaised with Police, John Burgess who organised the marshalling, and Jenny Sleeman who masterminded goody bag distribution. Nick Thorpe sorted the entertainment while Suzanne Lyus headed up late entries and Club Chairman Paul Lowman led the start and finish teams. Jo Lowman ran the cake stall and was indebted to all who donated cakes, including Bakers the butcher, Shauls bakery, Warrens bakery, Ganesha health foods and the Crusty Cob. Thanks are also due to Honiton Lions Club, Honiton Round Table, Honiton St John and the local Police who did a splendid job controlling traffic and ensuring a safe environment for the hundreds of runners. Money raised on the day was well over £1300 in entries and donations but that will by swelled many fold when all the sponsorship money and online entry money rolls into the Sport Relief coffers.l Alastair Dean took lots of photos of the event and has displayed them on his website http://www.alastairdean.co.uk/50 per cent of all orders will be donated to Sports Relief.

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