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PUBLISHED: 15:08 01 July 2010

Sidmouth RC's Matthew Szala.

Sidmouth RC's Matthew Szala.

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Szala stars in Festival Four

One of the delights of running is entering a race that takes you somewhere you wouldn’t normally visit. One of these is a trip to Farway for a 10k race based on the village lying somewhere in that Bermuda triangle between Sidbury, Colyton and Offwell. Reference to an OS map, though, does show plenty of contours and the climb from the start must be one of the longest that you could possible get in a single 10k loop.

The whole village turns out to watch or provide tea and cakes at the finish so it was a very friendly affair. Becky Robson loved it and it was even reported that she would like to live there. Something must, however, have got lost in the translation because what she really said was that she nearly died on the hill and didn’t have the strength to go home. Fortunately, husband Ian was running as well and saved the day.

Milan Goc, fresh from a 30 miler on Dartmoor, thrives on this sort of race and took 3rd place in an excellent time for the course of 40.41, with Malcolm Bayer 5th in 43.18. Also up front was Di Puzey, 12th overall and second lady in 48.43. We were pleased as well to see Virginia Bell making a rare appearance in a 10k and, of course, Shaun Tipton and Brian Gosling were there, as always when there is free cake at the end.

●Milan was out again in Exeter on Wednesday for the Festival Four, a rather oddly named race that takes in 4 and a bit miles along the canal.

His 25.07 time was enough to put him in sixth place, but not enough to catch Matthew Szala who was third in a time of 23.21 that shows his strength at this sort of distance.

Up and coming Guy Bennett took 14th spot in 27.06 ahead of Jon Hanson (29.06), Iain Burns (29.20) and John Perratt (31.27) who all obliged the Ironbridge Runner to donate a further £1 a head for the Prostate Cancer Charity by beating his target time of 31.30. Colin Flood, Bill Valentine and Lesley Hook were not far away from that whilst Louise Brown had the best time of all encouraging her daughter Sarah in her first ever race. Welcome to the club, Sarah!


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