Locationally challenged

Wednesday saw the second in the Darktime Race Series of off-road nocturnal runs, this time a 4.5 miler at Trinity Hill.

James Jackson pulled away from Garry Perratt after a mile or so and won in an impressive 26:26.

Garry had been a silly bean and forgotten to recharge his head torch battery after last Friday's jaunt around High Ways and Sky Ways, paying the penalty for the oversight when his torch turned off after a couple of miles.

He continued along the track somewhat gingerly but once he hit a rough, muddy patch felt that discretion was advised and awaited the benefit of Ben "Is that a car headlight I see coming?" Chester’s rig and they finished equal second in 28:18. Phil Bayliss failed to get lost and was fourth in 30:51.

Unfortunately the two newcomers to the woods had a spot o' bovver, Graham Newton and new member Caroline becoming locationally challenged and finishing in 31:16 after doing an undetermined distance!

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The harbingers of doom had us all sitting at home by our fires last weekend, slowly sipping away at hot chocolate in a vain effort to keep warm and avoid slipping in 10 foot of snow, whilst watching the news that will usually attempt to show all young people as thugs.

Instead of that, several hundred kindred spirits danced over frozen Woodbury Common, guided by a vast army of cheery youngsters in the 10 mile Bicton Blister or 4.5 mile Blister Lite.

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True, there was an odd water section with broken 1.15mm thick ice to navigate, and a rather cooling easterly wind, but everyone had a fantastic morning’s fun.

The winner of the 10 mile Blister was Stuart Hall of Tipton Harriers in an incredible 1:01:59. The first AVR home, running in amazing form, was Jon Day 26th in 1:13:47. Evergreen Phil Bayliss, just returning to good form was 47th, 1:17:01. Paul Johns had a strong run, even with a poorly back, finishing 79th in 1:20:08, just ahead of Graham Newton, 91st in 1:21:34 and 3rd Vet 60.

Eleanor Wood had an exceptional run, finishing 1st lady vet 50, 108th overall in 1:23:19. Nathan Berry (wearing Eleanor's spare running vest and looking cute – according to Eleanor) was 113th in 1:23:37. It was great to see Richard Hale running again - he was pleased with his time of 1:27:10 in 145th spot. He said he still had more in the tank so should have run even faster! Tim Sibley was 206th, 1:33:08, and Geoff Woodward, new proud granddad of twins, 240th, 1:36:47. Gavin Warren overtook Dave Mutter with two miles to go, then fell behind on the hills, but had a final charge on the road section and overhauled Dave to finish 249th, 1:37:36, with Dave 253rd, 1:38:03. Sam Tooze was delighted to beat the 2 hour barrier; she was 346th, 1:54:45. Gill Day came in looking fresh and happy to have knocked a good 10 mins off her PB 366th in 2:10:23.

James Sibley was first AVR home in the Bicton Lite, won by Exeter Harriers’ Lee Salter in 31:39. James was 42nd in 47:25. Bridgette Keeffe, close on his heels, even after a fall on the ice and regurgitating her sweet in front of the crowds at the end, finished 53rd in 51:33.

Jane Bennett running her first race for AVR was 67th in 53:39, just ahead of young Jackie Rooke 69th in 54:29. Diane Newton is always keen to leave a trophy of hers at each race - shoes last time, jacket this time and finished 70th in 54:39.

Bethany Sibley enjoyed her run finishing 76th in 57:59 and Kelly Sandford-Smith completed the AVR gang 79th in 62:06.

Well done and thank you to Exmouth Harriers for another fantastic run and all those wonderful marshals who braved the winter’s chill so gleefully.

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