Honiton runners in the Sir Walter Raleigh Trail

Honiton runners at the starting line

Honiton runners at the starting line - Credit: HRC

The Sir Walter Raleigh Trail Half Marathon held on Sunday, 16th January is new to the Climb South West events series and drew a fabulous crowd of runners on its maiden outing, seven of which were Honiton Running Club members.  

The Walter Raleigh Round visits the birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh and the countryside where he spent time as a child.  

The route includes quiet back lanes, unsurfaced county roads, little known footpaths, the Otter Valley, High Peak, the Jurassic Coast and a dismantled railway. The race starts and finishes in the coastal town of Budleigh Salterton and a wonderful celebration of the natural beauty in our local area.   

The race set off promptly at 10am and the sun was shining, much to the relief of all runners. The course was challenging, as the terrain was muddy and slippy with steep gradients to tackle.  

Johnny Bennett was first home for the HRC team, finishing in a very impressive 18th place. Johnny ran over the allotted distance, like lots of the front runners, due to a signage error, completing 14.81 miles in 2 hours 3 mins. 

New HRC member Nick Couch ran his first trail half-marathon for the club, having a fantastic run, hitting the hills like a seasoned runner. Nick, Louise Bennett and Paula Ferris ran the race as a three and all crossed the line together in 2 hours 16 mins in 46th place. Louise and Paula were the 6th and 7th ladies to cross the line.  

Olivia Higginson-Killen added another half-marathon to her collection, coming 75th in 2 hours 43 minutes, closely followed by Jennie Sleeman, a passionate trail runner, who was 109th in 2 hours 59 minutes, while Donna Stone placed 111th in 2 hours 59 minutes and also had an enjoyable run over the scenic course. 

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The marshals were supportive over the whole course and this involved some of the club’s own runners, including Rachel Hennessey, Mandy Ward and Mike Mears. The event was won by Sam Kelly in 1 hour 20 mins with a total of 140 runners finishing the race.