Mud adds to Beat the Bus challenge

Bill Valentine the organiser of the Beat the Bus Race had a pleasant surprise when setting up the course on the day of the race, writes John Perratt.

An Olympic relay torch had been doing the rounds of the schools and as Bill arrived in Otterton the chap carrying the torch was just leaving. A few kind words and he was persuaded to light the torch again (with a match this time) and he and Bill ran triumphantly together through the village setting the tone for the race in the evening.

At exactly 6.37pm the Sidmouth bus set off on its journey at the same time as the field of close to 100 runners. It was overcast with a heavy mist hanging over Peak Hill and recent rains also meant that the paths were flooded for long stretches. Like small children, the runners loved it and having covered themselves with mud on the way were quite happy to wash it all off afterwards in the little brook that runs through the village.

There was a strong contingent from Sidmouth and five club men (Graham Hill, Justin Ashby, Milan Goc , Blake Blackwood and Nick Smith) were in the top 10 whilst Lucy Owen was the first lady and in 13th overall. Owen was well supported by Naomi Garrick and Di Puzey. Gareth Horrocks was well up there so his rugby tots training is obvious paying off and the Robson family, just back from holiday , showed that their travels hadn’t dented their competitive edge.

Of the 26 runners from the club exactly half beat the bus while the other unlucky 13 are still waiting for the next one to come along. Unluckiest of all were Brian Gosling, Bruce Odlin and Debbie Marriott who missed it by seconds.

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The full list of club members with their times and positions is: Graham Hill 39.42 (4); Justin Ashby 40.40 (5); Milan Goc 41.40 (6); Blake Blackwood 41.59 (8); Nick Smith 42.31 (10); Lucy Owen 43.32 (13); Naomi Garrick 49.18 (23); Di Puzey 49.39 (28); Gareth Horrocks 50.23 (31); Nigel Bickley 52.27 (39); John Keast 52.45 (40); Ian Robson 55.04 (48); John Perratt 56.40 (53); THE STAGECOACH BUS 59.00 (61); Brian Gosling 59.32 (63); Bruce Odlin 59.38 (64); Debbie Marriott 59.43 (65); Jo Earlam 62.01 (68); Tony Veltrop 62.34 (70); Hollie Wright- Robson 64.33 (74); John Doherty 64.34 (75); Helen Palmer 65.10 ((76); Chris Robinson 67.31 (79); Becky Robson 70.04 (81); John Podmor 70.05 (82); Linda Hawkins 70.44 (82); and bring up the rear, the main man, Bill Valentine.

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