Little Long Run is a massive success

Little Long Run on Sat. Ref shsp run. Picture: Chris Woodcock

Little Long Run on Sat. Ref shsp run. Picture: Chris Woodcock - Credit: Archant

Being a farmer brings you into close contact with the natural world and in tending to his sheep Graham Hill sees the beautiful Otter Valley on a daily basis, writes Helen Palmer.

In putting on the ‘Little Long Run’, Graham was able to share some of the hidden delights of the fields, lanes and valleys with the 50 runners who came along for the second running of this race.

The ‘Little Long Run’ was billed as a Grade B Fell Race but this innocent description hid the tough conditions of this 3.8-mile race.

The main race, along with the ‘Little Little Long Run’, a 1.2- mile ‘fun’ version started by the old railway line alongside the river Otter. The run took place by kind permission on the private land owned by Clinton Devon Estates. After a gentle start through crop fields, the race took all competitors along a lane full of brambles to a steep climb followed swiftly by a steep descent. Unfortunately there was a bit of a muddle for some of the front runners who went ‘Little Little’ as the ‘Little Little Long Run’ runners were directed back down the lane.

Once back on track the main route wove its way up to the top of Mutters Moor. Runners were directed up and down hills, along ancient lanes, over fences and up the steep banks that usually only Graham, sheep and pheasants visit. It certainly was challenging terrain. Then just as Mutters Moor beckoned Graham introduced a long/short choice to keep the Hashers present happy. The ‘Warrior’ route was a steep climb up over vegetation. The ‘Wimps’ route followed one of the rides, so was easier to run but was a longer way round. The ‘Warrior’ route was certainly the quicker option.

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Then at the top of Mutters Moor runners could catch their breath along the top before a lovely fast descent. Paul Bowler who had struggled up hill was in his element as runners flew down the fields and back towards the start. However the race did not end there, as there was a sting in the tail – two river crossings! The heavy rain on Friday had swelled the river Otter and was a tricky challenge for the competitors as the finish beckoned.

Runners were treated at the finish to pork or lamb baps, cakes, refreshments and a chance to chat about the race. The event also was able to pass on any money raised to local charity FORCE Cancer and many thanks to Graham, his family and the many people who helped on the day to make this a really friendly affair.

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