Great to see Smyth back running

Lustleigh Show 10k

Lustleigh Show, which is held on the edge of Dartmoor, is one of Devon’s most popular village shows which attracts around 4,000 people each year.

Sidmouth RC turned up and prepared to celebrate Becky Robson and Mark Keast’s birthdays.

We were there to enjoy the day and to take part in the infamous Lustleigh 10k. The race goes uphill initially then into a large descent on road. This race though always seems to be climbing UP. I don’t actually remember really coming down, apart from skidding down some slippery rocks half a mile before the finish!

In a field of 120 the first Sidmouth runner home was Justin Ashby in an excellent 12th place, closely followed by Ben Chesters and Tim Mitchell, 17th and 18th respectively. Two experienced runners, George Chalstrey and John Perratt, both finished strongly, undeterred by this hilly course. Lesley Roberts was next, ahead of Ian Robson and Mark Keast, the latter pair having cycled to Lustleigh from Sidmouth that morning in preparation for a cycling race this coming weekend. They both started briskly enough but towards the end the bike ride took its toll. Someone always falls over on the slippery rocks and this year it was Brian Gosling but he picked himself up, still finishing well ahead of John Chesters who had an off day.

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Becky Robson was smiling all the way round knowing her cake and Pimms were waiting and, just behind her, Chris Robinson and John Podmore broke away from Lynda Hawkins right at the end for their customary sprint finish, Chris just pipping John to the post by a second. Andy Sturmey followed. The most significant run of the day, by a long way, was from Yvonne Smyth, who just made it under the hour. This time last year she could barely walk on crutches. Well done, Yvonne. Bruce Odlin and young Kyle Hall ran together and Ruth, the last of the three Chesters, completed our running contingent.

Race results: Justin Ashby 40.12, Ben Chesters 42.03, Tim Mitchell 42.55, George Chalstrey 48.18, John Perratt 50.53, Lesley Roberts 51.44, Ian Robson 52.13, Mark Keast 54.05, Brian Gosling 54.34, John Chesters 55.30, Becky Robson 56.50, Chris Robinson 57.35, John Podmore 57.36, Lynda Hawkins 57.55, Andy Sturmey 58.31, Yvonne Smyth 59.33, Kyle Hall 60.03, Bruce Odlin 60.04, Ruth Chesters 67.19.

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Starting out from Blackpool Tower on May 9, ‘Barry the Baton’ has been following the coastline around Britain carried by teams of volunteers but, in order to make the whole thing manageable, the relay is being split into 20 ‘sectors’ with each sector being responsible for arranging handovers etc. within their own bit.

We fell into the Portsmouth to Plymouth sector and you can do as little or as much as you want and it doesn’t matter if your desired leg is already taken, you can just join in. It’s all about getting as many individuals and running clubs involved as possible. Barry has a happy, smiling face, with English, Scottish and Welsh flags carved on him, a brass tag (with phone number on to text back each leg of the journey) and a wrist strap, so that he won’t get dropped or lost!

Tim Harris, Andy Sturmey, Bill Valentine, Sarah Watkins and myself got together at Branscombe last Wednesday evening eagerly waiting to meet Barry. He had left Weymouth at 9am and the Axe Valley Runners had picked him up at Lyme Regis and we heard that they had left Seaton at 6.40pm. As we had no phone signal, and were not sure where they were, we headed off looking for footprints in the mud.

Andy ‘Ray Mears’ Sturmey convinced us they were the AVR’s shoes, but were actually bulls’ hooves. While Sarah and myself clung to each other, I’m sure she shouted ‘Boo’ at one stage, but she said she was calling out for Bill who was trying to find an alternative route through the brambles.

We did eventually meet up with them and Bill was determined to be the first Sidmouth runner to take over Barry, but was told that we had no jurisdiction over him until we got to Sidmouth.

His little beaming face dropped, so the AVR gang took pity on him and relinquished their responsibilities. Good on ya, AVR! Bill carried Barry over to Salcombe, then handed him over to me and I was informed that I had to ‘kiss him’ - Barry the Baton that is! Sarah was next to pucker up and run with the baton followed by Tim and Andy.

It got dark as we approached the finish and it was tricky running down Salcombe Hill through the dark woods then, at last, we arrived at Alma Bridge just after 9.15pm with all the lights shining and sparkling in the dark night, it was a fantastic welcome.

Next morning at 9am it was back to the Sailing Club and our destination was Exmouth where the baton would be passed on before ending up in Torquay later that day. Bill was joined by John Perratt, Jon Hanson, Mick Allen and Kate Philp for this stretch. Kate had ridden her bike from Exeter to get to the start just so that she could be part of the experience. Once Peak hill was successfully negotiated, it was a straightforward run along the coastal path interrupted by only a few drops of rain and our part of the mission was completed in good time.

? On the same evening David Palmer, Shaun Tipton and Brian Gosling opted for the Dalwood 10k, a tough race for midweek but times of 54.30; 59.55; and 62.14 respectively, showed that they were up for the challenge.

? The Torbay Regatta 10k is a very popular event and we considered ourselves lucky to have got a place before entries closed a few weeks ago. On Sunday evening though, standing on the start line while it was bucketing down with rain, it did not seem such a good idea.

It was drizzling as we drove there, but the heavens opened about 10 minutes before the start and, for most of the race, we were paddling though gallons of water. It may have slowed some of us down although there was an equally strong temptation to get it over with quickly.

Finishing times and positions were: John Perratt 46.34 (167); Lesley Roberts 49.05 (239); young Zak Francis 52.00 (312); Bill Valentine 52.18 (316); Lynda Hawkins 53.55 (349). There were 586 rain-sodden finishers.

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