Painter leads Sidmouth runners home at the 2017 Grizzly

Sidmouth Running Club members who took part in the 2017 Grizzly

Sidmouth Running Club members who took part in the 2017 Grizzly - Credit: Archant

The Grizzly, what can you say about this 20-mile multi terrain race?, writes Terry Bewes.

Renowned as one of the toughest going, that takes in shingle beaches three times, river runs twice, hills many, muddy woodland trails, no make that very wet and muddy, flint paths, fields, and not forgetting the two bogs and the famous Stairway to Heaven.

A race that sold out 2,000 places in a matter of hours back in September and is greatly oversubscribed, attracting runners from all over Europe - well one word – fantastic!

Fantastic organisation by Axe Valley Runners, start by the town cryer, route, views, marshals, supporters all around the course, entertainers, water and food stations, competitors and the fantastic 25 Sidmouth Running Club members nearly all resplendent in their Mighty Green club shirts who took on the challenge.

Of the 1,573 that started the main race 1,569 finished, with the club having six runners in the top 500.

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Danny Painter led the Sidmouth contingent home, finishing 109th in a time of 3:00:33. Danny bettered his 2016 time and place when he had finished 142nd in 3:02:19.

This is the second race in a row that Danny has just gone over the hour mark by just a few seconds, third time lucky Danny.

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Antony Hall was next, finishing 124th in 3:03:09 with Gary Anning, third Sidmouth runner, finishing 317th in 3:26:48.

The other three to make the top 500 were: Nigel Maeer, 419th in 3:35:19; Julian Bartlett, 3:37:40 and Mark Welland, 3:37:48.

The other club member times were: Susie Perry, 3:49:26, Carine Silver, 3:48:26, Alan Colwill, 3:55:03, Charlotte Forrer, 3:58:24, Katie Kent, 4:03:14 and Naomi Garrick, 4:04:35 (Naomi ran dressed as a strawberry in preparation for her attempt at the world record for the Guinness Book of records at the upcoming London Marathon); Simon Hollyer, 4:06:46; Rocker Sheppard, who last year took the ambulance to the finish when an injury got the better of him at Seaton Hole, managed to finish this year in 4:12:11; Becky Robson, 4:23:47, Lynda Hawkins, 4:27:33 and Jonathan Dale, 4:38:52.

The Rusty Runners, Helen Palmer, Cathy Keast, Moncia Read, Terry Bewes along with Janice Ranson and David Wright, all ran the course together and finished in 4:48:39.

We had two runners amongst the 494 that started the 10-mile Grizzly Cub Run.

Suzi Rockey completed the course in 2:03:36 and Sarah Burston in 2:06:54. Suzi was outstanding when you consider that only a few weeks ago she was hobbling around on crutches!

A feature of this race is the tree of remembrance where runners can tie a ribbon to it in memory of someone.

This year it was particular moving and emotional to see Debbie and Don by the tree as runners tied their ribbons in memory of Debbie’s 19-year-old son Sam who recently died so tragically. Another great Grizzly and we all look forward to the next one.

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