Exe to Axe – now called JP’s Exe to Axe Race – won by Exmouth Harrier Michael Robinson

The first lady and the winner of the male over 50 awards at the Exe to Azxe race

The first lady and the winner of the male over 50 awards at the Exe to Azxe race - Credit: Archant

It was a very chilly Easterly wind that greeted the 278 competitors that gathered at the Foxholes car park in Exmouth on Sunday for the start of this year’s Exe to Axe Race, certainly a seriously gruelling event, writes Terry Bewes.

The first lady and the winner of the male over 50 awards at the Exe to Azxe race

The first lady and the winner of the male over 50 awards at the Exe to Azxe race - Credit: Archant

This annual race was for many years organised by John Perratt, a founding member and his favourite. John passed away last year and it was decided to rename it ‘JP’s Exe to Axe’ race in his honour.

The task of the new race director Paul Mitchell was not an easy one for him to take on having only spent one year assisting John.

It wasn’t realised just how much work JP had to put in to bring all this together. Paul’s task was not made any easier when, at the last minute, the Fell Runners Association decided to carry out a full audit of the race structure!

It was however, a fitting reward at the finish when many competitors were full of praise and congratulated him on the organisation and how well the whole day had gone and said they would be back next year.

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Paul however, was quick to point out that without the support of the club members, their spouses and children it would not have been the success it was.

The race follows the coastal path from Exmouth for 21 plus miles to Seaton and after three cheers for John, the race was started by Brenda, his widow.

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As I have said before, this is in my opinion the hardest race around here and runners come from all around the country to test themselves including 20 from Dacurum and Tring.

Of the 278 who started only 218 finished the course. The race winner was Michael Robinson of Exmouth Harriers who crossed the finish line in 2:51:34.

A minute later was Axe Valley Runners member Patrick Devine-Wright, who clocked a time of 2:52:41 and another AVR member, Tim Lenton, was third in 2:54:50.

The relay competition was won by Haldon Trail Runners and the first lady prize was won by Jane Allison, Mud Crew Trail Runners.

Jessica Raynor of Sidmouth was 40th overall and the fourth lady home and another Sidmouth runner, Rob Edwards, won the over 60 shield in 4:08:19.

Other Sidmouth runners to complete the event were; Nigel Maeer and Gary Anning, 3:52:22; Joe Kent, 3:53:38; Sue Perry, 4:21:08; Julian Bartlett, 4:22:37; Abbi Lee and Claudia Barry, 4:44:08; Janice Ranson, 6:10:18.

The team results saw Kerry Boyle and Simon Hollyer finish in 3:50:35; Suzi Rockey and Terry Bewes in 4:30:32; Don Cawthera and Debbie Marriott in 6:23:00 and Christine and Arthur Vince in 7:11:13. The outstanding Sidmouth runner would have to be Janice (Ranson) who has only recently joined the club and only taken part in four off-road training runs, the last one being abandoned due to an injury.

However, she had from day one set her mind to complete the race as her first in club colours. This took not only physical, but mental strength as well as she ran the whole race on her own. Debbie (Marriott) was also carrying an injury, but decided on a different strategy with she and Don stopping off in Sidmouth for a roast beef sandwich and at Branscombe for afternoon tea while they watched me run by!

Several runners asked the club to pass on their gratitude to Corrina Stevens and Danny Painter the back markers for all their help and encouragement which got them through the final stages of the run.

Thanks also to Axe Valley runners for the water station at Branscombe.

Further afield the Mighty Green was worn at the Bournemouth Bay Half Marathon by Kaylee Hawkins who completed the course in a respectable 1:52:14 and further again by Andy Shearer who ran the Denia 10K in Spain.

The next club run will be the Honiton Hippo on Sunday, April 17.

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