King of the hill and winner too
Sunday morning dawned humid, foggy and grey and most of Sidmouth was still recovering from the folk festival, writes Sarah Brown.
However, for Sidmouth Running Club the end of FolkWeek only means one thing – struggling up Peak Hill whilst getting the chance to see Colin Flood dressed as a Morris dancer.
After a low number of pre-entries, the Olympics had obviously motivated some more people, as 109 runners lined up just before 11am to start the annual Sidmouth Festival Run 10k.
Starting at the bottom of Peak Hill, the course goes directly up the slope and then through the trees to eventually lead on to Muttersmoor. It is here that the ‘King of the Hill’ is named, someone who normally sprints up the hill and then pays for it on the remainder of the course. This year, however, it was won by the overall winner of the race, Liam Roberts, who had obviously been practising.
The first half of the course is notoriously more difficult than the second, and it is with relief that the 5km marker comes into sight after a fairly steep climb.
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For most of us, we still had half the race to run, but it was not far off this time that the first few Sidmouth Running Club runners were flying down Peak Hill to the finish. Strong races by Nic Smith (45.39), Aaron Smith (48.40) and Grey Grierson (48.46) meant that all three finished in the top 25, and represented the club well.
The ladies of Sidmouth Runners managed to be the second team home, with Di Puzey leading the way in a time of 52.38. This 10k is known to be at least 5-10 minutes slower than a normal 10k, mainly due to Peak Hill, therefore Paul Mitchell and David Palmer, who both sneaked in under the hour, should also be very pleased with their times.
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In next were Sarah Brown and Brian Gosling, who were mainly just relieved to be away from the bells of Colin Flood (the Morris man!) following them. Richard Hedger, Jo Earlam, Helen Palmer and Terry Bewes all followed closely behind, as the sun started to get hotter and the fog lifted. Still around the 1hr10 mark were new runners Claudia Barry and Trudy Lester, and regulars Rachel Burrows and Sue Cunningham. All finished smiling, although Claudia felt ‘slightly’ deceived about how steep the rest of the course was after Peak Hill!
Everything ran smoothly and efficiently thanks to race director John Perratt, and his team of volunteers and marshals, and thanks must also go to Richard Hedger, of Michelmores, for their support and sponsorship every year.