Mighty Green trio of Terry, Adrian and Derek tackle the Exeter Epic Trail 10k

(Left to right), Mighty Green trio Derek Blackburn, Adrain Horne and Terry Bewes after the Exeter Ep

(Left to right), Mighty Green trio Derek Blackburn, Adrain Horne and Terry Bewes after the Exeter Epic 10k. Picture: SRC - Credit: Archant

If you were travelling up Haldon Hill at 9.30am on the morning of the final Saturday of January you may well have been left wondering what on earth was occurring, writes Hamish Spence.

Around a thousand cars were queuing to get into the Exeter Racecourse for the first ever Exeter Epic Trail 10K which was organised by Tough Runner UK.

This proved to be a very popular event and, judging by the club names on competitor's shirts, was attended by runners from all parts of the country; such is the following and reputation for Tough Runner events.

Lining up at the start in terms of 'Mighty Greens' were Terry Bewes, Adrian Gripper Horne and Derek Blackburn.

This was a chip timed race, so it was not a problem to hang around in the middle of the crowd and out of the chilly wind whilst the race got underway.

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The start was well organised considering there were 1,200 runners setting off, but with this many competing, the first mile was very steady making it difficult to pass those in front.

The first part of the course proceeded along and down a half mile tarmac road, then into the forest along stony paths and muddy tracks. Once again the Mighty Greens came into their element heading straight through the middle, while others tried to keep their shoes clean by shuffling and around missing the mud.

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This gave a huge advantage to the Sidmouth trio and many were passed.

This was not a hilly course by any Mighty Green standard with only a mere 434 feet of elevation gain, but one where the hill training we get to do, really paid off.

For the last bit the forest opens up with a sprint for the finish being back on the tarmac again.

The first Mighty Green runner back home was Adrian [Gripper] with his time being 55:25 and that meant first place in his age group and 330th across the finish line so, overall, an excellent result.

Derek [Blackburn] was very pleased to arrive back in under the hour, with his time being 58:33 which left him second in his age group and Terry [Bewes] crossed the line in a time of 1:06:27. There were a total of 1281 finishers.

Two other Mighty Greens, Debbie Marriott and daughter Kate, were helping on the stalls and Don Cawthera was on parking control, which gave them an entry into a different race.

Collecting their medals for the photo, none of them looked forward to joining the queue of cars leaving the car park, but thanks again to the organisation it all went very smoothly. Praise goes to the organisation, marshals, First Aid cover, food and drink stalls, all of which were first class!

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