Festival 10k rings all the bells

Sidmouth Festival Run - a week later than previous years because of a race clash - attracted runners from Overton Harriers from Hampshire, Horsham Runners, Yorkshire Harriers, Wimbledon, Cheltenham and even the Vegetarian Runners Club, writes Lesley Roberts.

With 180 entries in total, Team Sidmouth was out in force, not only for the main run, but for the fun run, too. There were 29 SRC runners in the main race and 25 fun runners.

The run cannot be undertaken lightly as it is a tough 10k multi-terrain course, which starts on the Cliff Fields just above Jacob’s Ladder. Runners race hard to the top of Peak Hill - first to the top win King or Queen of the hill awards -this year Sam Hopton and Lucy Commander, both from South West Road Runners.

The course then goes through the Mutters Moor car park on to the moor, heading towards the ninth tee of the Sidmouth Golf Course. A loop round Bulverton Hill brings everyone back past the golfers again and through the woods before an exhilarating descent to the finish where the race had started. Ian Robson, the lead cyclist, came back covered in mud and, in his words, having been “very challenged” by the first men home. In fourth place was SRC’s Laurence Bolam in a blistering time of 40.53.

Justin Ashby, back from injury and in fighting form, was Sidmouth’s next in 42.53 followed by Iain Burns the third Sidmouth man home in 50.36. Burns’ work in the gym has certainly paid off.

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The first Local Lady was Naomi Garrick with Di Puzey giving her a run for the title, only a few seconds splitting the pair. Well done, Ladies.

Newcomer Aaron Smith was close on Di’s heels and the now well established Gareth Horrocks sprinted to the line, together with Phil Welsford. Nigel Bickley had a good run, pulling away at the end from Joe Kent, who has been spending too much time of late in his boat on a Wednesday evening. Jon Hanson will probably have been a bit disappointed with his time and, like Ashley Broughton, Paul Mitchell and David Palmer, looked as if he was very pleased to see the finishing slope.

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David Palmer, Bruce Odlin and Andy Sturmey just managed to finish ahead of Colin Flood, our Morris Man, who was closely tracked by John Podmore and Shaun Tipton. Helen Palmer and Sarah Brown, Richard Hedger, Terry Bewes and John Doherty, who were both either encouraging Sandra Kirley or, alternatively trying to keep up with her, Chris Robinson and Louise Brown were within chatting distance most of the way.

The team events were closely contested but, once again, it was the Overton Harriers Team that took the men’s trophy home, whilst South West Road Runners retained the magnificent Ladies’ Cup.

?The Fun Run attracted more than 25 runners to run to the top of the Hill and back, including Loic Ratcliff, who finished in the top 10, who was visiting from France. In third place was Jack Gibson closely followed by younger brother Scott. Freddie and Charlie Roberts, as always, battled it out to the finish. Charlie was in front, but took a tumble right at the end, giving brother Freddie the chance to overtake. All the little runners received a medal and some sweets, so all were happy. Thanks to sponsors Michelmores, it was a fitting celebration for the 10th running of the race.

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