Hopes high that half marathon will be an annual event

Runners set off on their half marathon around the Sid Valley

Runners set off on their half marathon around the Sid Valley - Credit: Chris Woodcock

Last Saturday (May 1) saw the inaugural Sid Valley Ring half marathon which started on Sidmouth seafront early in the morning. 
There were staggered starts to ensure safety and adherence with Covid regulations. The winning time from Kevin Bale was an impressive one hour and 36 minutes for the 13-plus mile route. The event was organised by Climb South West who are based in Budleigh Salterton. Their organiser, Justin Nicholas, said there were just under 200 competitors. I was amazed to see how fresh some of them appeared to be at the finish! I gather that the organisers are hoping this will be an annual event, which is great news for Sidmouth.

Local elections have now taken place. We will see who has been elected very soon. Hopefully whoever takes charge will ensure that our infrastructure is a priority. I know I go on about the state of our roads but nothing appears to be being done. It is bad enough driving a car but the situation for cyclists is nothing short of dangerous. Drivers must be patient with cyclists and I totally understand them cycling a few feet out from the kerb.

It was ironic last Saturday, after a very dry April, that the rain returned and ruined the start of the Devon League cricket season. Sidmouth 1st XI were rained off at Heathcote after posting 85 for one and the 2nd XI were rained off against Exmouth after getting most of the way through their innings. The visitors at The Fortfield this weekend are Hatherleigh for a Devon League Premier Division game. The current rules mean that spectators need to be enjoying the club’s hospitality to watch the game.

Mike Dibble, retired estate agent and avid sports fan, writes for the Herald about his passion for East Devon

On the football front, Exeter City kept their play off hopes alive with a dramatic injury time winner at Bolton Wanderers last Saturday. Bolton themselves are going for automatic promotion. The game against Barrow tomorrow (May 8) now takes on extra significance. City have a far better goal difference than Newport County or Tranmere Rovers who are three points ahead of them. They are just one point behind Forest Green Rovers. One of those teams needs to slip up and City need to win for them to get into the play offs. Forest Green go to Oldham Athletic, Newport go to already relegated Southend United and Tranmere are at home to Colchester United. 
On the rugby front, Exeter Chiefs entertain Worcester Warriors with a 3pm kick off at Sandy Park on Saturday, May 8.
On to the local wildlife and on my Sunday walk last week I saw a male fox taking a leisurely stroll in a field near Fortescue. I know they can do a lot of damage to a
chicken population but what magnificent creatures they are. And from the golf course we saw four roe deer grazing in an adjoining field at 2pm in the afternoon. More people have seen the otters on the Sid recently and a Dartford Warbler was photographed on Mutter’s Moor. All very exciting. The swallows are back but with the cold weather they will be struggling to find much food so let’s hope it warms up soon.

On the commercial front, I’m informed that Dotty Homes are moving to the Alexandria Industrial Estate in June. They will be trading as Bode Living. The shop in the Market Place will close on Sunday, May 16. By moving to these premises they will be able to sell larger items of furniture and focus on lifestyle and interiors. I was amazed to hear they’ve been in Sidmouth for seven years. How time flies.

After the front page story last week about the retirement of Dr Mike Slot I gather that local vet Gordon Oxenham has also retired. I wish them both a very happy retirement. I can recommend it thoroughly. It will be interesting to see if they’ll soon write a weekly newspaper column!

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