Taking on the Blackdown Beast

PUBLISHED: 17:19 03 February 2011

(L to R) Jackie Costello, Sandra Thorpe, Gerry Evans and Jo Davey mid route!

(L to R) Jackie Costello, Sandra Thorpe, Gerry Evans and Jo Davey mid route!


The second running of Honiton Running Club’s Blackdown Beast took place last Saturday. The Beast is a social run with several stops en route at convenient pubs, with the course taking in the scenery of the beautiful Blackdown Hills.

The day began bitterly cold but runners soon warmed up once they got going. The freezing conditions did mean that the promised mud was rather scarce as the ground was rock hard in most places. Some did manage to find more than their fair share of what mud there was and even managed to lose a trainer!

The run was the creation of HRC member Alan Nicholls but he has since moved to Wales. It was lovely to have him make the journey to Devon and take part again.

The event began and ended at the Royal Oak, Dunkeswell, with runners’ cars taking over the village for the day. The first stop, after six miles, was Smeatharpe Village Hall where participants were treated to delicious hot sweet mulled cider and equally delicious warming pasties.

The next stop was the Sidmouth Arms, Upottery and then on to the Luppitt Inn. Mary had been given prior warning so the pub was duly open with a welcoming log fire enticing runners in. It was a good thing that runners had spread out at this point because the bar and lounge are very compact!

The rest of the route was entirely on-road, taking in two long steep hills. After these, runners were ready to return to the Royal Oak and much needed sustenance in the form of drinks and very reasonably priced food.

The whole run was 15 miles long, unless you took a wrong turning. Over 80 runners took part from local and not so local clubs as well as those who are not so used to running. The atmosphere was brilliant and the run was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Thanks to the many landowners for allowing everyone to pass through their land.

●The previous weekend, which also happened to be a cold, crisp day, found two Honiton runners, Nick Bradley-Carter and Olivia Higginson, travelling to Bicton College to take part in a race that had been postponed from December - the Women’s Running Network Bicton ELF multi-terrain 10km.

It is a tough and hilly course. Nick was pleased with his great time of 54.57 minutes and Olivia was pleased to finish in a time of 63.48, considering her legs had run out of energy at the halfway mark.

●Steve Boyes took part in the first running of Gloucester 50K last Sunday. He suffered on the last lap finding it hard to do a fourth lap when all the marathon runners were completing their third and going to the finish!

It took Steve four hours 50 mins to complete which meant he was the third over 50 male to finish, but then there only were three!

The first person home took 3 hours 7mins which was bit of an eye opener for Steve.

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