Flood leads Sidmouth runners home in the 2013 Honiton Hippo race.

Action from the Honiton Hippo

Action from the Honiton Hippo - Credit: Archant

There is always plenty of mud on the ‘Honiton Hippo’, a 7-mile off-road race, and this year, held last Sunday, was no exception, writes Colin Flood.

Overnight rain had turned the sodden course into a quagmire and raised the water level for the three river crossings.

The race also includes some of the ‘Land Rover Experience’ track, and these are not the only hazards as there were signs declaring ‘WARNING Peacocks’, although what you were supposed to do about them was unclear.!

For those unwilling to wallow, there was the ‘Hippo Calf’ a shortened version for the youngsters, and for safety reasons, this course was altered to avoid the swollen river altogether, much to their disappointment but not their mothers’.

This was all very well as far as it went, but on the Hippo itself, nobody told our own John Perratt (1hr.25mins). Not the tallest of the Sidmouth contingent, he practically disappeared beneath the waves on the final crossing!

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First of the Sidmouth team home was Colin Flood (1.14), followed by Claudia Barry (1.20). The latter did particularly well to stay on her feet at all, given that she was wearing road shoes as her new off-roaders failed to turn up in time.

Not far behind were Trudy Lester and George Chalstrey (1.21), and Don Cawthra (1.23).

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David Welch (1.26) is getting to be a regular sight at races these days. In his 53rd year, he is aiming to compete in 53 events, while Dave Palmer, on a rare weekend free of office parties, was making his debut for the year and finished in a respectable 1.30.

Debbie Marriott wisely decided to do the ‘Calf’ with daughter Katie and her friend Lara West, both of whom run with the Sidmouth Junior squad under coach Janet Ackford.

This was a good turn out for the Sidmouth Club, whose members have recently been a bit reluctant to enter races. Let’s hope the arrival of Spring will tempt them out again.

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