Jim’s eye view of the Reindeer fun at Otterton

Despite persistent problems with compacted snow and ice and threatened severe weather warnings throughout the wider South West, nearly 400 runners decked themselves out in Christmas kit to take part in the sixth 10k Otterton Reindeer Run and 3k Fun Run.

The excitement at the start was palpable and the hot air created by festive runners had initiated a slow and steady thaw, with only localised icy patches remaining around Otterton Church and the village.

Chilly with overcast skies and drizzle was this year's Reindeer Run weather forecast however this hadn't hampered Mrs Baldrick (Jeanette Pyne) and her attentive crew of late entry secretaries hard at work in the church, taking entries right up to the very last !

Sponsor Paul (The Legend) Bowler took a momentary break from his festive duties to offer his Father Christmassy skills to judge the fancy dress competition, start the race at 10am as well as running the course in full costume with his reindeer mascot. Lucy Owen ran her first Reindeer Run and also celebrated her birthday by sharing it with fellow runners on the day.

Race Organiser Jim Pyne was slightly perturbed when former Farm Manager of the Year George Perrott didn't show initially at the Race Marshall's briefing at the King’s Arms. George was helping to remove a car that had become wedged in the lane with his tractor. Fortunately, he managed to be at his station well in time for the runners as they approached the 9km point.

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Late starter John Keast could be forgiven for his tardy start as he had become impromptu traffic director as car loads of runners arriving from the Sid Valley had to be turned around and directed via Northmostown to Otterton, due to said car wedged in the lane.

Keeping traffic calming skills in the family, brother Nick Keast later took over from John by slowing traffic as fun runners finished over the River Otter bridge on their way to the village green to claim their antler sets !

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Local fun runners Felix Ford, 10, and Sam Pyne, 8 , jostled for second and third place respectively with only a second splitting them. The Fun Run was won by Zak Francis from Sidmouth Running Club in 13.56 minutes.

Despite varying ground conditions under foot, a couple of course changes and an elite group of breakaway 10k runners enjoying the views so much they strayed off the marked track, all runners returned safely to the village Green, back to the finish serenaded by Dave and his festive saxy tunes !

Former local teacher Nick Smith was the first male 10k runner home in 41.41 minutes and first lady home was Lin Lascelles of Maiden Newton Runners in 44.16 minutes.

?Otterton Church of England Primary School would like to thank the following sponsors for their generosity and continued support: Haymans Butchers, Bicton Park Botanical Gardens; Kings Garden Centre; Sidmouth Garden Centre; Land Rover Experience West Country; The Kings Arms, Otterton; Otterton Mill; Clinton Devon Estates’ Claire James and George Perrott; the local farmers; Iron Bridge Runner; Peninsular Onesource, Paul Bowler and, especially, Ladram Bay Holiday Park for stepping in at the last minute to help with the new 10k memento Reindeer Run mugs.

Jim and Jeanette Pyne would like to sincerely thank all volunteers and marshalls who gave freely of their time, race referee Bill Valentine, race official John Perratt and their helpers from Sidmouth Running Club, Fran Mills and her catering team, who all contributed in making the Reindeer Run once again such a success.

And all that remains as a reminder to a fantastic day is the odd jingle bell and silver tinsel holly leaf out on the course.

All is quiet once more until December 2011 when the Reindeer Runners will return !

Full results at www.sidmouthrunningclub.org

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