Thursday, July 24, 2014
Whilst most of Sidmouth Running club were racing at the Tipton 10K, eight runners from Sidmouth took the longer option to travel to the Blackdown Hills for the ‘Blackdown Beauty’, writes Helen Palmer.
It is the sister run of the ‘Blackdown Beast’ which is run in January when runners battle wet lanes and boggy fields. By way of contrast this summer run was accompanied by glorious sunshine, welcoming pubs and a barbecue which are all part of the lure of the event giving it a real taste of summer.
The run itself is billed as a social run and there are no numbers and no times, only the challenge of completing either the 10 or 18 mile options.
With the heat and wild growing hedges and fields it is no mean feat. The start is at Priors Park Farm Culmhead and the seasoned ‘Beasts’ of Terry Bewes, Abbi Lee, Helen and David Palmer were joined by new ‘Beauties’ Katie Kent, Kerry Boyle, Sarah Burston and Clare Pugh.
The Beauties took the 10 mile option and photos show them enjoying the cream tea laid on at Pear Tree Cottage at Stapley by the ladies of Smeatharpe WI. There were huge scones, pots of tea and a beautiful garden in which to linger and they should be very pleased to have successfully combined eating and running – it is not easy!
The longer 18-mile option was not exactly truthful about the distance as those with garmin watches recorded nearer 19 miles. It was not certain if the extra distance was clocked climbing over a variety of crooked styles, of which there were many or walking in and out of the pubs making tracks for the bar. David Palmer started ahead and had a pint in the first pub (after only 2.4 miles!).
However, beer and running do not magically go together and by the second pub he was on the coke.
The more restrained Bewes, Lee and Mrs P took things more pragmatically and saved their imbibing for the finish. There a barbecue, drinks and bales of hay to sit on were warmly welcomed by the finishing runners.
This was a lovely run taking in the beautiful Blackdown Hills countryside with a mixture of lanes, trails and fields. So if anyone is looking for inspiration keep a look out for the ‘Beast’ next January.
Both runs are put on by Honiton Running club and their excellent organisation and social elements make them a favourite in the East Devon running calendar.