Heather's back

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 October 2008 | UPDATED: 22:33 15 June 2010

Honiton Running Club members were up early on Sunday morning to travel to Minehead for the Exmoor Stagger race.

Honiton Running Club members were up early on Sunday morning to travel to Minehead for the Exmoor Stagger race. This annual event provides a challenging off-road course using the steep and varied terrain around Minehead. This year the route ran from Minehead to the highest point on Exmoor, Dunkery Beacon, and then back to Minehead following a mixture of paths, rough terrain and tracks on both the outward and return leg, with some tough climbs. With such a serious test in front of the athletes it was with some surprise that they saw Honiton's Heather Foundling Hawker on the start line. Heather, an International ultra-distance champion, has been sidelined for 14 months with a series of injuries which put a return to any form of running in serious doubt. She went into the race with a "suck it and see" attitude after months of swimming to keep some of her fitness. After an easy start she was quietly pleased that her aches and pains were under control and not getting any worse. She kept her forward momentum throughout the race and only in the last few miles was she confident enough to let her caution slip and move up a few gears. With great relief and satisfaction she crossed the line in a time of 2hours 21.44 minutes in an incredible 17th place overall and was very surprised to be announced first lady home. Heather will now take stock of her fitness and decide whether to start training again towards her previous goals in ultra-distance running. Meanwhile Heather's husband Kevin Hawker was doing some staggering of his own on the course. After a challenging three hour cross country marathon a fortnight ago Kevin was finding the going tough, but fought on across the moors to finish a few places in front of Heather in 14th with a time of 2.17.46. Simon Hall also travelled to the event and undertook a thorough examination of his fitness throughout the course. He came home 161st in 3.19.18. Claire Pomeroy decided to do the shorter alternative six mile Stumble which took place during the time that the Stagger was run. It was also a challenging off-road route and Claire finished third in her age group with a time of 69.10.

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