The festive season is a challenging time for runners trying to maintain their levels of fitness, especially so for those signed up for the Grizzly or marathons early in the new year, writes John Perratt.

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It is difficult to sneak away from the family to take in the odd race but Paul Mitchell, Sarah Brown, Naomi Garrick, Chris Woodcock, Tony Velterop, Adrian Organ, Huw Hennessey and others were spotted at various times getting some training mileage in around the local area.

A better plan was devised by the Ashby family. Why not visit relations in your old home town and drag them all out on Boxing Day for the Clevedon Four Miler? Young William and Joe together with multiple cousins took part in the 3km Fun Run with all of them showing a fine turn of speed over the final 50 metres.

Dad Justin got in a bit of speed work with a quick 22.52 in the four-miler, taking 19th place in a field of just under 700 runners so that augurs well for another sub three hour run at London in April. John Keast’s club record could be in danger.

Star of the show though was mum Claire who surprised us all by completing the four-miler in just under 32 minutes to break the eight-minute-mile barrier and finish well up in the top half of the field. Until now we looked upon Claire as someone who favoured the longer distances at a more leisurely pace. Does this mean that she has now found her niche and that we will be seeing her burning up the track over the coming season?

Andy Shearer and Trudy Lestor made the trip to Hemyock for the Wellington Monument Race which was resurrected this Christmas and will hopefully again feature as one of the club’s favourite races of the year.

Sympathy also goes out to Brian Gosling who ducked out of the Boxing Day swim and instead took part in a charity race along the Exmouth sea front, picking up an injury in the process. That will keep him out of action for a week or two.

The first Wednesday of the year though saw the biggest turnout at the club for a long time.

Hopefully those new year resolutions will last and a warm welcome also awaits anyone else who would like to join in the regular runs from the sailing club at 7 pm every Wednesday.

There are choices of runs and no one gets left behind.

Just turn up - you know you want to!

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