Mighty Green duo take on a COSY run and are overtaken by a canoe - an SRC first!

Simon Hollyer (left) getting caught out by the rising tide of the Exe Estuary with David Wright duri

Simon Hollyer (left) getting caught out by the rising tide of the Exe Estuary with David Wright during the COSY run challenge taken on by the Sidmouth Running Club duo. Picture; SIMON HOLLYER - Credit: Archant

Having heard about the recently launched ‘COSY’ marathon route around the periphery of Exeter, Sidmouth Running Club’s Simon Hollyer and myself decided to have a go, writes Dave Wright.

The 26.2-miles COSY (Circle of Somewhere Yours) route is the result of a collaboration between Exeter Dementia Action Alliance (EDAA), cartoonist Tony Husband and Mighty Green (Sidmouth Running Club member) runner and dementia carer Jo Earlam.

This well-being project is a circular route comprising a series of much smaller bite-size routes designed for carers and people living with dementia looking to benefit from being outside.

Deciding to start the circuit in Clyst St Mary, Simon and I headed out through dramatic fields of maize to Clyst St George and through the lanes to Topsham.

All was going so well, a fantastic start with warm morning sunshine spurring us on and then the run almost came to a calamitous halt!

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Tide times do need to be checked for one section and we had failed to look at them in advance!

The estuary’s high water had well and truly caught us out with a section of the path disappearing under the high tide.

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We tentatively entered the water without knowing how deep it would eventually get and the anxiety levels increased as a couple of disbelieving canoeists overtook us!

Another first for the Mighty Greens is that there is no previous record of a Sidmouth Runner ever being passed by a canoe on a trail run!

Luckily the water only went up to just above our knees, so all was good and we were fine. We’ve learned our lesson to follow specific course instructions properly in the future!

We continued on our way picking up the pace a bit and drying out as we ran under the M5 to the Countess Wear swing bridge.

Our shoes had drained themselves of estuary water and no more squelchy noises were being made by the time we reached Exminster.

Once we had proceeded through Marsh Barton, the COSY route kept to quiet paths and lanes around Alphington, St Thomas and on to Exwick. Here we were rewarded with panoramic views over the city of Exeter.

The climb up to Stoke Hill was tough in places, but the feeling of space and freedom was wonderful and for several miles we had both forgotten that we were only a stone’s throw from the city centre. We had only seen the occasional runner or dog walker.

By the time we got to the 22-mile point, the three miles of gradual descent through Pinhoe and Sowton to the blue bridge to cross the M5, was a welcome relief to the tiring and aching limbs.

Our last mile into Clyst St Mary included finding an alternative route to divert around a temporarily closed path, this was only a minor inconvenience after such a wonderful day of nearly six hours of running and sightseeing.

Anyone who has the opportunity, and inclination, to go out and discover somewhere new should certainly do so.

You might be able to undertake one or two of the eight sections, maybe more, but it will yield all the well-being benefits that the project helps to promote - being outside, and the stimulating, healing nature of our local countryside.

Jo Earlam will be running her COSY marathon route with fellow Mighty Green Jane Hemsworth on September 21, to mark World Alzheimer’s Day.

The EDAA has a GoFundMe page, aiming to raise £2,620 to reflect the 26.2-miles covered and can be found at https://uk.gofundme.com/f/exeter-dementia-action-alliance-cosy-routes

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