Byways, highways and skyways

PUBLISHED: 13:15 13 September 2011

Galina Barskaya

Last Saturday saw the running of the 21st Dorset Coast Path Relay starting in Lyme Regis and finishing after 103K at the ferry at the end of Studland Beach opposite Sandbanks near Bournemouth with seven teams participating, writes Dave Mutter.

The first part of the race finished at the car park in Lulworth Cove with the second part starting on the far side of the village to avoid traffic issues. The object of the exercise is to move the team baton as quickly as possible along the route, a task helped by having strings of runners on the hills to leave the distance runners at the tops fresh to run on to the next hill as fast as possible with the process being repeated for each hill.

There are two fixed legs; the first up and over Golden Cap to Seatown the second from Aldhelms Head along the coast to Durlston Point outside Swanage. Otherwise the teams are free to divide up and address the route as they see fit. Chris Irving once again ran Wessex Orienteering Club which came in first in a combined time of 7hrs 41mins making a record five consecutive wins.

This year saw the entry for the first time of a team from a running club, in what has always previously been an orienteering club event, AVR led by Garry Perratt.

This was a new event for AVR with a team of only eight being against up to 30 in the larger teams. Unsurprisingly they found it somewhat demoralising to be overtaken at such a fast pace on the hills. But they did what they needed to do on the largely off-road and distinctly hilly route, only occasionally getting slightly lost and generally enjoying some fantastic running. By the start of the last leg along Studland Beach to the ferry John Blackledge, Simon Ratcliff, Chris Keeffe and Clare Donovan wanted no more. This left Alex Todd, Kevin Hawker, Andrew Watson and Garry Perratt to tackle what is a special leg because the time of the third team member of the group counts as the team's finishing time of the second part of the race.

They were in last place with the penultimate team having started a couple of minutes before them so the pressure was on. The foursome ran down all of the other team's runners and Alex and Kevin were unsurprisingly the first two over the line. Next though, was young Andrew Watson in his debut at this game and who kept ahead of Garry to become the official finisher for the team a minute or so ahead of Garry. AVR were sixth out of the seven teams, finishing in a combined time of 9hrs17mins, just over an hour and a half behind the winners Wessex, but looking forward to next year's race already.

●Congratulations to Jayne Aplin for winning the September handicap in 34:19 followed by Jackie Rook, 35:57, Dave Mutter, 28:34, Gill Day, 32:32 and Marilyn Hughes 37:15. Gill Day now leads the table with 126 points.

followed by Steve Reynolds 122 and Tim Sibley 109.

Two AVR ladies went to Bristol on Sunday and ran the Bristol Half Marathon. Helen Eke just missed out on the 2 hour barrier finishing 2904th in 2:01:50 and Chip Alyss Lawrence was 6634th in 2.15:24. They were very please as it was very hot en route.

Sunday morning saw the Second running of the Highways and Skyways, a choice of 8, 12 or 17 mile self navigated runs starting at Charmouth Primary School. Father and son Team Sibley were first in the 8 mile event even though dad Tim was unaware he was going to run until 8am when James harassed him into it. Next home were the Wednesday Improvers Girls; Gill Day, Emma Chaplin, Clare Moles, Dianne Newton, Injured Rose plus backmarker Jon Day who completed in 2:30. Most teams had a few navigational errors including following an animal track into a private garden, so adding to the official 8 miles. The 12 milers made a proper job of going wrong, adding 4 extra miles to their run. Despite the extra mileage all runners had a fantastic day, with Endless Cups of tea and coffee rounded off by delicious pasties at the end, although the Vegetarian pasties had to be wrapped in bacon to cheer them up a bit.

Graham Newton and Andy Hitchcock spurned the opportunity to demonstrate their lack of navigation skills on the Highways and Skyways event and instead could be found implementing them on their way to Ivybridge, some 50 miles away from Seaton, where they undertook the 7.5 mile Beacon Challenge. The weather could have been a little cooler (and the terrain a little less hilly), but on the whole the event was a success. Graham is just returning from injury, but he still managed a 23rd place finish with the admirable time of 1:09:57, making him runner up in the over 60 male category. Andy Hitchcock was anxious not to run out of steam 3K in as he did on the Lustleigh run, but was still hoping to finish inside an hour as he thought it was a 10K race. Unfortunately it actually transpired to be a 13.2K one, which caused him to have a little tantrum in the latter stages in which he blamed everyone but himself. His mood was not helped by the fact his shoelaces came undone twice. Nevertheless, after being overtaken by three people in the last 200 yards, and expecting the finish line to be just around the corner, he turned his exasperation to his advantage as he unleashed a reserve of energy to return the favour and despite seeing the finish a lot further in the distance than anticipated, managed to hold on and pass one other person in the last 100 yards. He finished 44th in 1:23:02 out of 64 runners.


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