Sidmouth Running Club’s Jo Earlam completes her 59th marathon

Jo Earlam pictured during the City to Sea Marathon, thr 59th marathon that she has completed to date

Jo Earlam pictured during the City to Sea Marathon, thr 59th marathon that she has completed to date. Picture CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

The first day of September saw Sidmouth Running Club (SRC) member Jo Earlam complete the City to Sea Marathon, writes Hamish Spence.

Completing this latest run, the third time she has run this particularly tough race, means that Jo has now run her way through no fewer than 59 marathons!

This 26.6-mile marathon is deceptive in that the first section from the start line in Exwick to Cockwood and Dawlish Warren is a flat trek along the River Exe, Exeter Canal and Exe Estuary.

During section two, between Cockwood and Shaldon, the hills start to kick in, softening up the legs for the real work to come later. Stage three and leaving Sheldon behind is where the hard work really starts, with a steep climb up a monster hill above Ness Cove, Smugglers Cove and Labrador Bay. The undulating coastal path doesn’t let up with the pain-inducing hills, as it follows the coastal route all the way to Babbacombe Downs.

Jo found section three really tough, especially the steps, which are very steep and seem to go on for ever!

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However, she had kept something in the tank for the last six miles and with determination and grit, she still managed to pass by a lot of other runners, whilst not allowing others to pass her. Then, during the last two hundred yards just before the finish line, one runner trotted past her as if he was just starting the race!

He encouraged her to sprint for the line with him. It turned out that whilst she had just completed the marathon and was on the floor, he had finished the ultra and seemed ready to go again!

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Jo finished with a very good time of 5:57:14 and crossed the line in 90th position.

Her time was not as fast as the previous year, but better than her run in 2016. Her well-earned reward for the long and arduous race was fish and chips at Hanbury’s Fish Restaurant.

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