Grizzly weekend was one of the best

What a weekend! From the fantastic Grizfest on cliff field gardens where the 2K Family Fun Run and 4K Junior finished, to the superb 20 mile Grizzly run, it was a weekend to relish.

?It started with the shop window competition which was won by Mark at Just Flowers for a woodland bog, second was Gill at Allsorts with a teddy bear-filled Seaton scene, and third, Sally at Sea View Curios with a pebble and bear theme.

?On Friday evening the Cricket Club hosted the tough Griz Quiz, some of the questions were as difficult as the course itself! Nigel and Jill Shuell and Phil Johnson did a cracking quiz and the winners were the Easter Bunnies.

?Saturday’s first family fun run 2K was won by Taylor Rooke in 11:45, with Joe Dack second, 11:56 and Ethan Day third, 12:00. This attracted 88 competitors and it was great to see local stalwart Chris Byrne-Jones having a go.

?The 4K Junior Grizzly winner was AVR’s Andrew Watson in 15:47, with Karl Still second 16:39 and Josh Coates third, 16:51.

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?First in the Children’s Hunt the Grizzly Teddy were Peter and Stephen Johns, with Holly Stock second and Alfie, Livvy and Henry Matthews third. Cliff Field was buzzing with Grizfest activities, with everyone having a brilliant time.

?Grizzly day dawned a tad chilly, but with clear blue skies and a decreasing nor’westerly wind, and turned out to be the best day of the year yet - unless you are running a 8� mile cub run or 20 mile Grizzly race with three stretches of beach, four bogs and a few of the finest East Devon hills thrown in for good measure. Seaton seafront, with the hundreds of smiling spectators was an awe-inspiring sight. We really are so lucky to live here. Feedback from the runners suggests it was one of the hardest, and the course one of the best, ever.

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?The cub run had 364 finishers and was won by Ben Trigg of Erme Valley Harriers in 1:01:21, with Hubb Kurvers second, 1:01:46 and Lee Salter third, 1:04:36. Maree Jeeson from Northampton road runners was the first lady, ninth overall in 1:12:56. Laura Shewbridge was second, 18th overall, 1:17:43 and Chard RC’s Taryn Beuthin third, 1:18:35. Amy Greenhalgh led a posse of AVR finishers, she was 30th in 1:21:20. Matthew Tyne was 40th, 1:24:00; Becs Creese 41st, 1:24:53; Adele Catley 45th, 1:27:33; Sharon Rooke 46th, 1:27:34; Gary Davies 56th, 1:29:34; Wayne Tooze 60th, 1:29:51; Emma Kiernan 71st, 1:31:14; Gavin Warren 86th, 1:33:50; Rhea Shave 112th, 1:37:13; Sam Tooze 121st, 1:38:17; Chantelle Osborn and Ali Chapman joint 208th, 1:49:57; Mike Barry 219th, 1:51:13; Beth Sibley 227th, 1:52:05; Gill Day 260th, 1:56:08; Jackie Rooke 277th, 1:58:44; Debbie Barry 285th, 2:00:05; Maggie Luff 286th, 2:00:14; Diane Newton 287th, 2:00:32; Jess Tubbs 303rd, 2:07:48; Marilyn Hughes 308th, 2:08:46; Debbie Payne 309th, 2:08:48; Claire Moles 337th, 2:20:50; Emma Chaplyn 338th, 2:20:52; Lisa Tyne 339th, 2:20:58 and Harry Moore 362nd, 2:53:06.

?To win the Grizzly, judgement of pace is all important. Many runners belted out from the start, but after 15 or so miles their legs turned to jelly and their complexion went whiter than last winter’s snow. Sandhurst Joggers must be well aware of this, as they grabbed the first two places. Having finished 32nd last year, Adam Stirk roared home completely on his own in 2:38:03. He was not in the lead for the entire race, but did his final overtake on the descent to the beach, pulling out over three minutes on Graham Robinson, who completed in 2:42:22. AVR’s Patrick Devine-Wright was the toast of the town by romping home third in 2:42:06. A special mention to Erme Valley’s Neil Holmes, he was fourth and has finished in the top five in the last 15 Grizzlys, including three victories. Jo Meek from Tavistock AC was the ladies’ winner in an astonishing 2:49:35, beating Clare Prosse of Wells City Harriers in 3:00:42 and Lin Lascelles from Maiden Newton RC, but part time AVR, third in 3:02:54.

?Winning is not everything in the Grizzly and its whole ethos is for the runners to go on a journey of self discovery and enjoyment. Having said that Alex Todd, who has only recently had an operation, was the second AVR finisher, 16th overall in a remarkable 2:54:23. He had a fair old battle with Sam Anning, but Sam paid the price for a fast early pace and he finished 41st in 3:00:50.

Young Robbie Holt was ashen faced at the finish and almost dropped out en route, but pushed on to complete his first Grizzly 92nd in 3:11:06. Graham (Gummer) Newton defied his 60+ years to finish 94th in 3:25:41. John Day felt the effects of last week’s PB in a half marathon as he completed in 3:27:50, in 209th spot.

Geoff Woodward paced his run correctly; he overtook Eleanor Wood before the second bog finishing 311th in 3:38:15. Tim Sibley worked his way through the field, even summoning up enough energy for a sprint finish as he crossed the line 363rd in 3:43:13.

Steve Reynolds was quite shattered after taking 3:49:02, 441st, but was nowhere near as bad as Eleanor Wood, who was a burbling wreck at the end. She completed 471st in 3:50:50, but, thankfully, soon returned to normal. Dr Roger Bramley was next AVR home 509th in 3:53:40, followed by Steve Lewis, 618th, 4:01:42.

Clara Pritasilova and Sue Campbell shared some girlie time together, finishing joint 623rd in 4:01:56. Joe Pitt was the next doctor home, 747th in 4:11:50, followed by Richard Dodge 940th, 4:25:36; Pete Hughes 950th, 4:26:06; Anna McLoughlin 969th, 4:28:14; Sue Tubbs 979th, 4:29:07. Simon Davey and Michelle Woodward finished joint 987th in 4:29:48 with Siobhan Reddy 1040th taking 4:33:31.

Dave Kelf was 1351st, 4:57:32; Kelly Dack 1375th 4:59:43, Tracey Stone 1376th, 4:59:49 and Dave Braunton 1626th 5:39:46.

There were 1,675 finishers and the last, but definitely not least, finisher was the oldest runner, Iva Barr of Bedford Harriers, in 6:18:07.

?The Grizzly could not happen without a great team, led once again by Garry Perratt. A really special mention to all the marshals, landowners, drink station helpers, finish area helpers, musicians and of course the hundreds of spectators who made it such a super day.

Emma Ellynn, Kay d’Albertanson, Bridget Keeffe and Jane Bennett back marked the cub run, Phil Bayliss, Nick Bale and Robin Carter back marked the Grizzly, but the hardest job of the day went to the course clearing team led by Chris Irving with Mike Roper and Paul Tolchard.

Kay d’Albertanson was the Grizfest leader and would like to thank all the local businesses that sponsored the event. The Grizzly itself was sponsored by shoe and running apparel manufacturer Saucony plus many local businesses, many thanks to them all.After a bit of debriefing, the AVR team’s thoughts will soon turn towards next year’s Grizzly, the 25th anniversary of the event.

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