Grizzly was truly monstrous!

PUBLISHED: 09:36 10 March 2010 | UPDATED: 01:01 16 June 2010

Pounding the shingle, uphill and down dale

Pounding the shingle, uphill and down dale

What a fantastic day for the Grizzly last Sunday. There was a huge turn out of runners and spectators on a superb sunny day, writes Dave Mutter.

What a fantastic day for the Grizzly last Sunday. There was a huge turn out of runners and spectators on a superb sunny day.

Conditions under foot were surprisingly hard in most places, the exception being a field full of cow poo and the two bogs. The new route to Branscombe caught out some of the old stagers and Pecorama was a great location for drinks. The route was designed with many loops so runners could "encourage" those behind and this proved very popular. Another new section this year was the two miles around the undulating Gays Farm fields in Branscombe. One of the worst sections was the return along a soft shingly Hooken beach at nearly 18 miles straight into an easterly wind - that felt gale force at the time.

Everyone who finishes the Grizzly is considered a winner in their own right as it is allegedly a running experience, but the top finishers were superb athletes. Last year's winner John McFarlane of Thames Hare & Hounds was victorious once again, winning by three minutes, blasting around the 20-mile route in 2:29:36.

Phil Sanger of Epsom and Ewell was second, 2:32:30 and Alister Bristow, Erme Valley Harriers third, 2:33:08. It was great to see Honiton RC's Kevin Hawker up with the leaders; he was ninth out of the 1,491 finishers in 2:41:46. First AVR runner home was Alex Todd, 25th in 2:48:00. This was a brilliant effort as it was his first run for the club. Ciaran O'Conner was next, 89th in 3:03. Co-course designer Bernard Fry wasn't far behind, 93rd in 3:03:30. Guy Lavender also ran well finishing 105th and John Day 159th in 3:14:28. Matt Tubbs ran exceptionally well to finish 179th in 3:17.

Eleanor Wood was the first AVR lady home, 246th in 3:25 with Graham Newton just behind, 268th in 3:27. Andy Knight was going well, but near the end started to flag and, as he usually runs on Bondi Beach in Sydney, wasn't used to that easterly wind. He was 386th in 3:35. Sue Campbell and Klara Pritasilova ran together and crossed the line together holding hands, joint 543rd in 3:46.

Main course designer Dave Mutter was next. On the way around he did make the mistake of admitting he designed the route and suffered a few verbal expletives for his trouble! Dave actually overtook a few AVR's near the end and finished 677th in 3:56.

Gary Davies found it mentally tough being overtaken by Dave at 16 miles, but fought off his demons to finish 697th in 3:58 and was really pleased to have beaten the 4 hour barrier. Steven Lewis just missed 4 hours, he was 742nd in 4:01. Chris Polley was just behind, 808th in 4:05. Peter Hughes has been suffering from injury since playing around in January's snow, so he was delighted to finish 1015th in 4:22.

Susie Pitt is usually confined to the PC room or Cub Run, but this year went for it and looked really fresh at the end. She was 1090th in 4:29. John Greenhalgh wasn't far behind, 1119th in 4:32. Dan Kiernan was well up the field early in the race, but lack of training made him fall back. He stuck to the task and finished 1223rd in 4:42. Mum and daughter Sue and Jess Tubbs were another couple that ran and finished together joint 1350th in 5:01. Unfortunately, Chris Keeffe blasted off too quick and conked out near the Fountain Head - handy that! He will finish the Grizzly one day.

Congratulations to Noel Gould of Ashburton H3 for being the oldest finisher, 1325th in 4:57 at 75 years young.

The nine mile Cub Run was won by Daniel Bailey of Victory AC in 1:06:20 followed by Graham Bungay, Totton RC, 1:09:40 and Paul Hook third 1:11:06. First Lady home was Hannah Coombs, Southampton RC in 1:22:17. Emma Kiernan was the first AVR home, 43rd of 300 in 1:31:11.

Steve White aborted the Grizzly and finished the cub 56th in 1:36:06. Jane Calvert and Dave Braunton had a good old battle, with Jane ending up on top, 74th in 1:39:47 and Dave 75th, 1:39:58. Dawn Potter's good form continued, 85th in 1:41:44. Tracey Stone was the first of Gill Day's new-to-running gang home, she was delighted to be 90th in 1:42:13. Emma Ellyn, another new runner was not far behind Tracey, 103rd in 1:43:36 with Alanda Vere 107th, 1:44:53. Rhea Shave 113th, 1:46:05 and Becki Davey 125th, 1:47:56. Anna McLoughlin and Bridget Keeffe joint 151st in 1:53 with Emma Richardson and Samantha Tooze joint 160th, 1:55.

Kelly Dack was 173rd, 1:59 then followed the Barry clan, Alex, Mike and Debbie joint 183rd in 2:00. Sue Willer was next 193rd, 2:03, then mentor Gill Day 213th, 2:07, Kelly Street 226th, 2:11; Heather Grant 238th, 2:15; Genevieve Hocking 254th, 2:17 and Debbie Payne 267th, 2:23. Emily Van Tinteren and Alison Gould backmarked and ensured all runners returned home safely. Congratulations to the many first time runners to complete this gruelling event. For a full set of results see the AVR website

An event of this magnitude could not be put on without good organisation or the help of local people.

At the helm this year was Garry Perratt who was under terrific pressure throughout last week, so let's hope the team have a warm satisfied glow knowing it was an absolutely brilliant day.

The 350 or so marshals and drink station helpers, under the guidance of Rick Wood, once again did a superb job, with many runners commenting on how helpful they were.

The backmarkers - Phil Bayliss, Mike Roper, Paul Tolchard and course clearers - Nick Bale, Robin Carter and Chris Irving - were still going hours after the race was finished to restore the countryside to normal. The coastguards ensured a safe passage for runners and many Seaton businesses let AVR take over their premises for the day. Many thanks to all who helped, the sponsors and landowners who allowed the run to cross their private land, but the race would be nothing without the enthusiastic spectator support all the way around. So another great Grizzly day has passed - here's to another good one in 2011.

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