Hill and Garrick fly flag in Sidmouth Festival 10k

Despite all the predictions, it was a gloriously sunny day for the Sidmouth Festival Run

Despite all the predictions, it was a gloriously sunny day for the Sidmouth Festival Run.

In fact, too warm for some, although those that went for a dip in the sea after the run seemed to recover very quickly. It was a little galling that the winner of the race was a visitor from Lowestoft, surely the flattest part of the country, and the winning men's team from Overton Harriers hailed from Hampshire, another county not known for any serious hill climbing!

Fortunately the ladies came to the rescue and the Sidmouth team of Naomi Garrick, Jane Beech, Debbie Marriott and Sue Dowen took home the Michelmores Cup for the winning Ladies' team.

Naomi also won the Trophy for the first Local Lady, repeating her triumph in the inaugural race, way back in 2002, whilst Graham Hill, not unexpectedly, won the Trophy for the First Local male for the umpteenth time.

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Backed up by good runs from Rob Dunford, Jon Hanson and Iain Robson it was a good effort, but not enough to retain the Michelmores Men's Cup.

The links with the Folk Festival are a bit tenuous now but, entering into the spirit of it all, Colin Flood turned up still dressed in his Folkie gear complete with feathers, tassles, bells and pewter mug. He actually ran quite well, but also ensured that none of the back markers got lost, as they simply followed the jangling sounds as he jogged along - a bit like the Pied Piper of Sidmouth.

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Also adding to the occasion, and resplendent in their kit, were most of the squad that make up the Sidmouth Rugby Club Colts XV. There were 11 of them, all 16/17 year olds, getting in some pre-season endurance training.

It's a bit different to what they are used to but they did well and their enthusiasm and support for each other bodes well for the coming season.

The first two Colts home were Robbie Ross and Jake Sawyer (wingers presumably), although Jake was beaten by his father. Just behind them though, Johnny Hamill was able to claim the bragging rights in his family. Next year, perhaps, we could persuade teams from the hockey, football or any other clubs to participate in some sort of mob match. That could be interesting!

Iain Burns, in his first race in club colours, attacked the first hill, but suffered later on as a result. It will take him a bit of time to get his pacing sorted out, but it will come. Tim Chugg has a few half marathons under his belt but enjoyed his first off road race, as did Lynda Hawkins, Danni Furzey and Eloise Evans. It was hard going in the heat but well worth the effort, they said.

Many of the runners also took advantage of the massage service provided both before and after the race by Jess and Tanja. It is not only relaxing, but helps the recovery from aching limbs.

The Kiddies' Fun Run up to the top of Cliff Field attracted a mixed bag of entries but the stars of the show were undoubtedly four-year-old twins Freddie and Charlie Roberts. They might have jumped the gun a bit in their enthusiasm to get away but, once started, there was no stopping them up the hill. I'm not sure whether they were just running against each other or the rest of the field, but there is clearly a fierce competitive streak there.

After the race, many retired to the Sailing Club where Bill Valentine, the founder of the Festival Run, was celebrating his Diamond birthday.

With Chris Woodcock on vocals, David Keast on keyboard and a backing chorus selected from the most comely of our lady members, he was well and truly launched into his new running age group.

Full results of the race are on the web site. The club was very happy with the outcome which, with support from sponsors, local solicitors Michelmores, will enable them to present a substantial cheque to the FORCE Cancer Charity.

Bill Valentine at the World Masters - page 5

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