Gearing up for The Grizzly

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:24 01 March 2019

The 2017 event took  place in better conditions and organisers are hoping the weather will not affect the race this year. Ref mhsp 12 18TI 2018 9721. Picture: Terry Ife

The 2017 event took place in better conditions and organisers are hoping the weather will not affect the race this year. Ref mhsp 12 18TI 2018 9721. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

This year's run is called Trails of the Unexpected and will, as usual, pose an exciting challenge to all those taking part

The 2017 event took  place in better conditions and organisers are hoping the weather will not affect the race this year. Ref mhsp 11-17TI 8707. Picture: Terry IfeThe 2017 event took place in better conditions and organisers are hoping the weather will not affect the race this year. Ref mhsp 11-17TI 8707. Picture: Terry Ife

Last year the Grizzly Run fell victim to the Beast from the East; this year the runners are back with a vengeance.

After having to content themselves with the scaled-down 9.5-mile Cub-run in Arctic conditions in 2018, some will be especially looking forward to tackling the full 20 miles of one of Europe’s toughest multi-terrain races next month.

The Grizzly is organised by the Axe Valley Runners and attracts runners from far and wide, as well as large numbers from local running clubs.

The event has gained cult status, partly because it is so challenging, but also because of the stunning coastal views from much of the route.

Axe Valley Runners organise the event and some of the clubs members also take part. Ref mhsp 12 18TI 2018 9721. Picture: Terry IfeAxe Valley Runners organise the event and some of the clubs members also take part. Ref mhsp 12 18TI 2018 9721. Picture: Terry Ife

This year’s run, called Trails of the Unexpected, takes place on Sunday, March 10, at 10.30am.

Both the just under 10-mile Cub and the full 20-mile Grizzly are available, with the longer route taking runners around Seaton, Beer and Branscombe, and includes two sections of beach, two bogs where the water or mud is often waist-deep, and the notorious ‘Stairway to Heaven’, a steep path up the side of a cliff.

One element of the Grizzly which makes it a favourite for runners all over the country is the level of community support.

Local residents come out in force to cheer on the runners and keep their spirits up.

There is also huge support from the many local businesses which sponsor the event, or offer their services to help make it happen.

Carol Austin, from the Grizzly Committee, said “Last year was a challenging one for all of us involved but thanks to our hard working team and all the wonderful volunteers, we were still able to put on a run – albeit a shortened one – and for those able to take part I think it was an amazing and memorable experience.

“This year we hope the weather gods will be kind to us and we look forward to welcoming all the runners back to Seaton especially those who could not get here last year because of the extreme weather conditions.

“There is always such a great buzz in the town thanks to all the local businesses providing a big welcome to the visitors.

“We wish all the runners a successful and enjoyable run and hope everyone supporting or helping have an exciting weekend.”

The Grizzly Run is also taking further steps each year towards becoming more environmentally friendly.

The tape used to mark the course is biodegradable and runners receive cups of water, not plastic bottles. This year, for the first time, no plastic packaging will be used for the race T-shirts, and the runners’ goody bags are made using recycled materials.

As well as the big runs on Sunday, Grizfest takes place on Saturday with children’s races from 2.15pm with 2k and 4k races available.

Registration is on the seafront on the day or in advance form the website below.

Axe Valley Runners and the Grizzly Committee would like to thank all the individuals and organisations involved in holding the event each year, including the marshals and support crew, and the landowners who open up their territory to the runners.

Full details are available on the website: www.axevalleyrunners.org.uk/grizzly

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