Bayer plays sat nav role

The glorious weather last Sunday attracted a record 98 entries for the annual 18 mile (ish) Four Trigs race, writes John Keast.

The glorious weather last Sunday attracted a record 98 entries for the annual 18 mile (ish) Four Trigs race. The course alternates direction each year and this time was run in a clockwise direction which meant the first control for the runners was Higher Peak. Once again Malcolm Bayer started impressively and was first to punch his control card at the trig there. However, James Pearce, on holiday from the Pennines, tucked in behind Malcolm, taking advantage of local knowledge until the final trig at Weston. It was then simply a matter of keeping the sea on his left and following the coastal path back to Sidmouth. James (2hrs 26mins) finished just over a minute ahead of Malcolm (2hrs 27mins). Last year James got lost and this race was over 30 minutes quicker.Competitors can choose their route, though the spirit of the event means running mostly on footpaths and visiting controls in the correct sequence. After Higher Peak the next trig is on Fire Beacon but, on the way, runners have to punch their cards at a control under the old railway bridge in Harpford Woods. There is plenty of discussion, with little consensus on the fastest way to and through the woods from Mutters Moor. This time Bev Tarry and her posse seemed to appear from the woods having gained several places and now, of course, there is speculation about the 'legality' of Bev's route! Bev, in the Vet 60 category continues to run fantastically well, finishing in 3hrs 47mins over 20 minutes faster than last year and having run 14 miles the previous day.Many of the 25 Sidmouth runners enjoyed a much improved performance compared to last year. Justin Ashby (6th, 2hrs 41mins) also ran 20 minutes faster than last year. His training partner Tim Mitchell (10th, 3hrs 6mins), took a more conservative approach to the race, with the pain from starting too quickly last year still clearly etched in his memory. Again, he was 20 minutes faster than last year. Tim ran much of the race with fellow Sidmouth club members Graham Hill (11th) and David Rampersad (12th)There is a lot of running between Fire Beacon and the next trig, at Buckton Hill via White Cross and Sidbury. Billy Emmett (27th, 3hrs 2mins) was able to run without the distraction of his normal partner Mark Keast (recovering from a cycling ailment) and was able to focus on avoiding getting lost, knocking 10 minutes off his previous best time.Debbie Marriott (33rd, 3hrs 14mins) was the third lady to finish. Running a great race she caught up her training partner Don Cawthera (34th) half way around the course. Don had started with a rather optimistic pace and found the second half tough, but Don and Debbie still bettered last year's time by 15 minutes. George Chalstrey (40th) also improved his time from last year by 15 minutes despite little training following recent knee surgery.Chris Robinson (63rd) and Sue and Charlotte Tubbs (=64th) all had fantastic runs and showed the most impressive improvements on their previous times for this race. Chris improved his time by 40 minutes and Sue and Charlotte by a huge 75 minutes.David Welsh (77th) was chuffed to crack the four hour barrier, but finished with a crick in his neck having spent the final section of the run from Western trig along the coastal path constantly looking behind, knowing that three ageing crocks, Neil Tubbs, Mike Stamp and John Keast, who were 'walking' the route, would be relishing the last bit of the course as it is the hilliest section and particularly difficult to run, especially at the end of a long race. However, he needn't have worried as they were 20 minutes behind, finishing in 4hr 18 minutes, with few believing that they had walked all the way. Last, but not least, was new club member Arthur Vince who was delighted to have broken what had been an elusive five hour barrier. Arthur's wife Christine opted for three trigs. John Perratt, Angela Emmett and Fiona Cummins opted for two. It was the longest distance Angie has ever run and at the post-race curry having had a couple of lagers, she claimed to have enjoyed it so much that she is looking forward to running all four trigs next year - watch out Billy! Not only did the runners appreciate a beautiful course made even more enjoyable with the glorious weather, they were once again treated to fine fare generously donated by local businesses. It is possible that times are getting faster because the runners are spurred on in the knowledge that they will be rewarded with a giant Hayman's pasty when they finish. Most folk would be full up after the pasty but the runners managed to demolish the cakes from the Crusty Cobb and from Janice Voce of Fancy That, King's Down Business Park. Take a look the website, there are some fabulous photos taken by Chris Woodcock.l Nick and Helen Keast who organise the event are very pleased to have raised £450 which will be donated to a local charity.

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