East Devon Way relay race success

Sunday saw the inaugural first run of the East Devon Way relay race.

Congratulations to Marianne Sweetland who was delighted with her performance at the recent First Chance 10k. She beat her PB by a full nine minutes, finishing 394th out of 464 in 1:02:17.

Sunday, January 17, saw the inaugural first run of the East Devon Way Relay Race staged by Axe Valley Runners starting from the Estuary in Exmouth and finishing some 42 miles later at the Cobb in Lyme Regis.

The route was divided up into 12 legs of varying distances and difficulty and tackled by 14 teams from various clubs (Exmouth Harriers, Maiden Newton, Plymouth Tri, Sidmouth, South West Road Runners, Exeter Tri, Honiton, Axe Valley Runners and last, but not least, a group by the name of Avenhayes Arrows) who set about the task in style given the absolutely fabulous weather they were blessed with for the occasion.

The only substantial problem which had to be addressed was the flooding of the Axe Valley on second part of Leg 9 between Cownhayne Lane and Musbury where the runners had water up to their waists and one by the name of Phil Bayliss (who does not take kindly to getting wet poor soul) half way up his chest!

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Apart from this 'minor' difficulty the running conditions were perfect and enabled the men's team from Exmouth Harriers, comprising Mike Musgrove, Dave Stone, Jamie Pearson and Joel Morter, to take first place in a stunning time of 4hrs 56mins which will take some beating. A truly first class effort.

Two AVR teams took part. Lost and Found were Chris Keeffe, Ian Apps, James Jackson and John Blackledge. Axe Valley Oldies, with a combined age of 231, were Dominic Schneider, Garry Perratt, Phil Bayliss and Richard Hale.

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Both teams paced themselves well and while not capable of challenging the winning team, let their experience show, moving up from about fourth and sixth after the first leg to finish second in 5hrs 16 mins and third in 5hrs 23 mins. Navigational mishaps were relatively minor, weather was good, scenery was great, a fantastic time was had by all and the post-race pint and chips well-deserved!

All the runners were enthusiastic about the run and greatly enjoyed the day. They eagerly look forward to next year's run.

The East Devon Way on a day such as this is something the people of East Devon should be proud of.

l Would you believe that the Grizzly is only six weeks away from next Sunday (March 7) and I bet some of you are itching to try out the new course?

There is a lot of private farmland on the route but, next weekend, thanks to the local landowners we will be able to have a trial run for both Cub and Grizzly runs.

If you would like to go along, meet at Beer Head Car Park for a 9:30am getaway. The cub run from there is four-ish miles and the Grizzly 16-17miles. Both runs will be at a jogging pace, not eyeballs out charges - to start off with at least. There will also be a slightly slower Cub Run ably escorted by Gill Day and her gang.

Dave Mutter will be at the helm of the Grizzly (that's why it won't be too quick) and can be contacted on (01297) 22835 beforehand with any queries.

If running the Grizzly, please ensure you bring a drink with you and the correct running apparel and make sure that you can run the distance without any backup.

Honiton Runners took part in the brand new East Devon Way Relay organised by Axe Valley Runners last Sunday.

The race had the threat of postponement due to the wintry weather earlier in the week, but the day turned out to have race perfect conditions with the sun coming out and managing to offer a bit of warmth. Honiton entered two teams, joining the 12 others coming from as far afield as Plymouth and Maiden Newton.

The relay consisted of 12 legs with each team member running three of them. It began in Exmouth and finished at Lyme Regis following the whole length of the East Devon Way; a distance of just over 42 miles. Other places visited included Lympstone Common, Higher Hawkerland, Harpford, Farway, Northleigh, Colyton, Musbury and Uplyme.

The first Honiton team was made up of Tim Legg, Ceri Oak, Judy Davey and Fran Bond. They came seventh overall and all managed to find their way without deviation! It must be a first for Honiton. They finished in a time of 5 hours 39 minutes, 44 minutes behind the winners Exmouth Harriers who finished in just under five hours.

The Honiton team changed positions several times with rival club Plymouth Tri and both Judy and Ceri watched different members of that club take a wrong turn. Tempting as it was to let them continue, the ladies called them back and were then paid back by being overtaken by them! Plymouth managed to finish just three minutes ahead of Honiton. The ladies are just too kind! The team were driven to changeover points by John Burgess who organised both teams very efficiently although he did forget his mobile phone and, more importantly, his flask of coffee!

The other Honiton team consisted of Greg Axsel, Gary Enticott, Jill Wood and Brent Dicks, with support from Roger Saunders, who ended up running four of the legs in an attempt to keep Jill and Brent on track. Greg had tried to walk one of his legs the previous day and found it impossible because of flooding of the River Coly, but he had alerted the organiser who assured him that this had happened because of a high tide and wet weather conditions and the level had dropped considerably. Nevertheless, Greg and others who ran Leg 9 still found themselves up to their waist in water. This Honiton team also managed to keep largely on track, although Gary did circle the top of the hill on Leg 10 a few times but insisted he didn't actually get lost. They came 12th overall finishing in a time of 6 hours 43.

This was an exceptionally scenic relay through areas of outstanding natural beauty and was extremely well organised.

Congratulations to Axe Valley Runners for once again managing to organise an event that finishes by a pub and fish and chip shop. Most appreciated by many of the competitors!

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