Grizzly 2013 - The Sidmouth take on the action

The Grizzly Run 2013. Ref shsp 6459-11-13AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.sidmou

The Grizzly Run 2013. Ref shsp 6459-11-13AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth is not the only place that is having problems with cliff falls, writes John Perratt.

A similar problem on the Old Beer Road necessitated a change of route for the Grizzly this year but it nevertheless still came up with the usual mix of mud, glorious views, rugged hills, great marshalling, shingle bashing, brilliant crowd support, an icy sea crossing at Branscombe and weather that gradually deteriorates during the day.

A significant highlight this year came in the form of Ben Chesters, who was given an unheard of late entry so that he could run the race in memory of his late brother, Tom, who was a regular participant. Tom lost his life along with three close friends in an avalanche on Glen Coe in January and since then Ben has raised more than £15,000 for the Mountain Rescue Teams that were involved in the rescue attempt. There is a memorial on the Grizzly route where Ben and many of his running friends paused and placed ribbons on their way round. Donations are still coming in on Ben’s Just Giving page ( ) reflecting how highly Tom was regarded by so many in his sporting and academic circles.

Ben finished in a comfortable 3.02.15 whilst Milan Goc wound it up a bit and just missed a top 20 place in 2.48.05. Good Club runners aim for a time between three and four hours and this was achieved by Nic Smith, who knows the area well as he lives in Branscombe. The doubtfully dynamic duo of Joe Kent and Nigel Brackley were also in that bracket along with Naomi Garrick, our first lady, and Danny Painter making a rare appearance.

The longer you are out there of course the tougher it is and full credit must go to David Welsh, Lynda Hawkins, Claire Ashby and Cath Miller who all just squeezed in under five hours by which time they had faced several short blizzards as the temperature dropped. Just over that mark came in David Hedges who justifiably looked well pleased as he crossed the finish line with still a bounce in his stride.

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The 9 mile Cub attracts more runners each year especially as those who originally entered the full Grizzly in a rash moment suddenly realise the enormity of the task and switch. This can be done before the race or even as it progresses. We had some of each. Becky Robson and Chris Long took one look at the weather forecast and wisely opted for the shorter but still challenging run. Ian Walker, even more sensibly decided that he had had enough and turned back at the second split which gave him an extra mile (or eight miles fewer depending on how you look at it). John Perratt who always chooses the easy option enjoyed his run but would not have been so relaxed had he been aware that Monica Read, making her Club debut, was closing on him very quickly.

The race is so well organised and popular that the 2,000 entry limit is reached within a matter of hours after opening. It was nice though to see so many members who hadn’t managed to get a place out on the route supporting those who had. It is that sort of race.

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