Missed the Grizzly? Aim for Rail and River in July

When most sensible people would still be cuddling their duvets, 12 Sidmouth runners headed off to North Devon to take part in the 17th annual Bideford Half Marathon, writes Lesley Roberts.

Heading towards Torrington, the course is half on country roads and half on the Tarka Trail, which is a series of foot and cycle paths around North Devon, encompassing a great variety of landscapes, including wooded river valleys and rugged moorland.

There was a carnival atmosphere to the event with pipers, drummers and buskers keeping all 1,200 runners entertained. The Bideford Well Being Centre generously offered a free leg massage to those who needed it.

Finishing with ease was Matthew Szala, closely followed by team mates Milan Goc and Justin Ashby all under 1.20 hours. That gave SRC three runners in the top 24 of a large, but good quality field and certainly the best ever team performance. After them came our first lady, Di Puzey, seventh in her category in an amazing time and personal best 1.35. Iain Burns felt he could have done better but looked strong as he finished in 1.42 and Lesley Roberts in 1.46.

Jane Hemsworth and Sarah Watkins are showing signs that their London Marathon training is really paying off. They both looked like they could run the course again as they finished together in 1.53.

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Lynda Hawkins came through with a big smile as her three children cheered their mum through the finish line, with Mick Allen and Bev Tarry hot on her heels. Ian Robson, unfortunately, suffered a hamstring injury half way round but still finished the race.

Matthew, Justin, Di and Bev all established new age group club records for the half marathon.

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?This weekend - Sunday - sees the Grizzly at Seaton which comes as close as Branscombe. There’s a whole weekend of activities planned so head over and join in the fun, or go over and support the local runners.

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