Sidmouth runners Staggered and Stumbled

PUBLISHED: 10:00 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:43 18 June 2010

A bunch of 14 not so enthusiastic Sidmouth runners travelled over the hill to take part in Honiton Running Club's first 10 mile Road race.

A bunch of 14 'not so enthusiastic' Sidmouth runners travelled over the hill to take part in Honiton Running Club's first 10 mile Road race.

They were none too sure of the terrain, most of them were a bit anxious about the course but, to everyone's surprise, the race turned out to be to most people's liking. And to make it more enjoyable, Sidmouth were in the prizes. Jess Watkins was Second lady home with a creditable position of 15th overall and a time of 71.02 and the Sidmouth men (Justin Ashby and the Keast brothers) managed to win the team prize.

Justin's secret training is paying off, enabling him come in ninth with a fast time of 65.53. It's good also to see an old club founder member, John Keast, returning to the running scene. John, realizing he can no longer squeeze into his lycra, is on a mission to try and return to his former self and managed to finish 16th just five seconds behind Jess.

Iain Burns had an improving run and started slowly, managing this time not to crash, and finished in 75.01 for 27th place. Hardman Ian Robson managed to race despite being in a gas explosion the previous day and receiving burns to his face. Ian managed to finish 21 seconds in front of the ever improving Philip Welsford in 77.04.

Rachel Burrow is beginning to get some of her old pace back again and finished 72nd in 88.06 just three places in front of Becky Robson. Not far behind was Sarah Watkins who managed to pip Alan Hemsworth at the finish. Finishing times for the rest were Mark Keast 73.40; John Perratt 78.47; Bill Valentine 80.47 and Shaun Tipton 83.50

Hardier souls travelled North to the Exmoor Stagger and Stumble at Minehead in Somerset early on Sunday morning as the air temperature fell to almost freezing. Thick frost covered the fields and there was a distinctly autumnal feel to the air. Nevertheless, by the time the race started the sun was out and conditions were good.

After three miles of a tough hill climb, this mainly off-road race divides into two sections: The Stagger (16 mile) runners head out over Exmoor for Dunkery Beacon, which is the highest point on Exmoor; The Stumble (6 mile) runners take the shorter route back to Minehead. This is a serious, physically demanding race with a total ascent of over 3,000 feet.

Debbie Marriott and Don Cawthera had a nasty shock at the start when they discovered that the race was 16 miles long and not the 10 miles they had been expecting - a case of wishful thinking?

In spite of this, Don had a very good run and came in at 2:50:30 and was in fine shape to welcome home the remaining runners, including Debbie (3:10:05), who came in chatting and smiling as usual.

Brian Gosling, who had opted for the shorter race, came in at 1:11:29 and was thrilled to come second in his age category and to win a prize. Both races were well organised with stunning Exmoor views. Well worth the long trip north.

Jon Hanson, in contrast, went west and had a good run at the Dartmoor Vale Half Marathon on the same day. His time of 1.37.19 put him in 71st position out of 355 runners and third in his age category on a hilly course with otherwise good running conditions - well done Jon.

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