Hundreds enjoy Sport Relief

PUBLISHED: 09:30 24 March 2010 | UPDATED: 01:04 16 June 2010

Honiton's Sport Relief runs attracted all ages.

Honiton's Sport Relief runs attracted all ages.

Sport Relief came to Honiton in style on Sunday morning.

Sport Relief came to Honiton in style on Sunday morning. Members of Honiton Running Club were up bright and early with signs and tape, banners, water bottles and goodie bags, as they prepared the High Street for The Honiton Mile.

By 9:30 the skies were clear, the sun was out and the Mackarness Hall was jammed with mums, dads, kids and teens signing up for the run.

In one corner the marshalls were being briefed and in another the kitchen crew were doling out cakes and drinks. As the time for the mile run approached Race Director, Richard Harvey, conducted the crowd down to the warm up area where local Olympian Jo Pavey welcomed everyone to the Honiton Mile and thanked them for playing their part in support of Sport Relief.

She drilled the runners in running on the spot, star jumps and stretches, the kind of body torturing exercises most had not done since their school days. The road outside the Congregational Church was crowded with over 400 runners as they lined up for the start.

After a safety briefing, Jo gave the countdown and blasted the klaxon, and the run was under way. Flying off the front were many youngsters, including a good contingent from Honiton Primary School who had been rounded up by teacher, Sam Ayres.

Taking it more steadily was a group of beginner runners from Axe Valley Club encouraged by their leader Jonathan Day.

Also in the mix were many members young and old (one over 70) from Honiton Community Church who had delayed the start of their morning service to support Sport Relief.

Finally in their splendid regalia, were Mayor Vivienne Ash and Town Cryer, Dave Retter leading members of Honiton Council at more dignified pace.

It was not long before the first runners came hurtling to the finish in New Street. Honiton Running Club's Brent Dicks' hopes of glory were dashed as he was overtaken just before the finish, but another Honiton Club runner Kieran Anderson ran a great race to be the first junior.

Jo Pavey, used to flying round the track before 1000's of cheering spectators, jogged along chatting to people and then happily stood for photographs.

Jo's husband Gavin pushed four month old Jacob round the course. Jo asked if he could have a medal, because, as she said, "It's his first medal for taking part in a run, and could be the first of many." But the morning was not about times or positions and the spectators cheered and clapped as tots and teens, parents and grandparents crossed the line.

The end of New Street was awash with runners and spectators. With the music playing, Honiton Twirlstars displaying their skills, Richard Pinney giving a commentary and the sun shining there was a great atmosphere. Then it was time for water bottles, goodie bags and medals.

Since these were sent out over a week ago by Sport Relief based on the number of online entries there were just were not enough to take account of the overwhelming last minute support, so there was some disappointment.

Then it was time for the three and six milers. Again Jo led the warm-up and set them off. Just before the start she was thanked for giving her support to the event by organiser, John Burgess, and presented with a bouquet of flowers by Honiton Running Club Junior Kieran Anderson.

Patiently waiting round the course were the marshalls who do a lonely job keeping the runners safe, and the organisers would like to express their thanks to Honiton Lions Club and Honiton Rotary Club for supporting Sport Relief in this vital way.

Thanks are also due to the police who temporarily closed off roads at vital times and ensured safety at difficult junctions, and also to the St John Ambulance service for providing emergency first aid cover, thankfully not required.

Honiton Running Club also want to thank on behalf of Sport Relief the kind donations of cakes from local bakeries, Warrens, Shauls and The Crusty Cob, and also donations of over £300 received from the general public through the street collection.

We look forward to an even bigger and better event in 2012.

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