Close contest in woodland relays

PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:50 15 June 2010

Four AVR teams entered the Wessex Ridgeway Relays organised by Chris Cussen and his merry helpers at Gillingham Trotters Running Club.

Four AVR teams entered the Wessex Ridgeway Relays organised by Chris Cussen and his merry helpers at Gillingham Trotters Running Club. It covered a distance of 100 kilometres from Tollard Royal in Wiltshire to Uplyme in Dorset. The course is divided into 12 legs of varying distances and difficulty and the aim for each of the 25 teams was to get their baton from start to finish as quickly as possible. AVR entered four teams, team one comprising Dominic Schneiders, John Blackledge, Ian Apps and Richard Hale, and team two comprising Paul Tolchard, Steve Reynolds, Paul Johns and Chris Irving. It was an impressive start with all the first leg runners taking off at 7.30am but with fine weather and very little breeze a great day's running was in store for everyone. AVR team 1 had a fine outing, running strongly all the way to deserve a well earned fourth place finish which was a very good result. AVR team 2 came home with a finish time of 7.05pm, making a run time of 11hrs 35mins to earn 13th place. This was hard running but with fantastic countryside, such atmosphere at the change over points and great weather. Runners couldn't have wished for more, other than the meal and the odd celebratory glass of ale in pub afterwards! AVR teams three and four had a totally different approach. The 'GLAD to be here team' of Garry Perratt, Liz Elliott, Alison Gould and Debbie Barry and the 'Axe Valley Aces' of Janette Acty, Sara Feldman, Julian Davies, Dennis Elliott and Chris Keefe took perhaps a social attitude to the event and ran each leg as a pair. There was hot competition for last place between these two teams and one from Wimborne but, thanks to the sterling efforts of Garry Perratt and Chris Keefe, the two teams managed to beat two other teams to the finishing line in Uplyme, seven of the nine runners doing the last 2.5 miles together after a long day of about 12 hours! Thanks must go to Garry Perratt for his great navigational skills both on the course and in the back- up cars and for his scrumptious fruit cake!l Monday evening saw the first of the Inter Club Woodland Relays, with AVR hosting the event at Trinity Hill Woods. There was quite a remarkable turn out and it was particularly pleasing to see many junior teams from AVR, Honiton and Sidmouth. The 1.75 mile course was very cleverly designed, with a beast of a climb at the very end. The Senior male race was a very good battle twixt Sidmouth and the AVR vet team. AVR were leading at the final handover, only for Graham Hill to overtake John Blackledge near the finish to win it for the Sidmouth RC team of David Palmer, Malcolm Bayer, Ben Chesters and Graham Hill. Honiton RC ladies, the female champions, were made up of Ceri Oak, Judy Davey, Leisa Lavender and Fran Bond. The AVR juniors ran superbly to win the junior event and were third overall, just behind the AVR vet team. They were Dan Clapp, Justin Holt, Will Rosindell and Robbie Holt.l This Thursday evenings training run will be an Ian Apps' special, starting at Uplyme Village Hall at 6:30pm.l Harry Moore and Steve Atkins ran in the British Heart Foundation Exeter Half Marathon and finished together in 2:50, a time that Harry was delighted with.

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