Pavey highlight of testing Bicton run

Lesley Roberts, Linda Hawkins, Sarah Watkins and Bill Valentine arrived together at Bicton College to run the Bicton ELF 10k race, which had been re-arranged after it was cancelled in December because of the weather conditions.

It was, however, still a very chilly morning as we looked out for more 'green vests' arriving. Andy Shearer, Brian Gosling (and, of course, his ever- supporting wife Sheila) and Phil Smith turned up and all the runners were desperate to get back into the swing of things after Christmas and this race was a nice start to 2011 diaries. Mainly an off-road event, which incorporates two multi-terrain runs, a short and fast 5K and a challenging 10K (actually 6.4miles was measured on my GPS).

Both races start together, outside the Bicton College courtyard, and initially you stay on-road for a mile and a half, then head off on to country lanes and trails, in and around the scenic grounds of Bicton College.

A marshall stands directing the runners at the point where the two courses split, and the 5K heads back to the college, while the 10k runners turn right here and head off through woods, across streams and wooden bridges. Climbing up on to the common it gets tough and can be muddy but, because the temperature had dropped the last couple of days, the mud had mostly frozen, and runners had to be careful of icy patches.

Andy Shearer took a leap in front of the Sidmouth runners and finished in 24th place with a time of 52 minutes. I was trying to keep Andy in my sights but he disappeared into the distance and I finished 33rd with a time of 54mins.

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Brian Gosling was hot on my heels, with Phil Smith on his, finishing with only seconds between them in 56mins.

Just pipping Lynda Hawkins to the post by two seconds was Sarah Watkins. Both girls had a time of 59mins and then Bill Valentine, who suffered stomach pains on the run, finished strongly in just over the hour.

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Both races finished back at the courtyard and every runner received a medal, a well earned chocolate bar and a refreshing drink.

It was all in aid of the Exeter Leukaemia Fund and the star attraction was definitely the Olympic athlete and Women's Running Network patron Jo Pavey, who hails from this Feniton and took part in the 5K run.

?Sidmouth Results were: Andy Shearer 24th 52:27; Lesley Roberts 33rd 54:09; Brian Gosling 39th 56:24 (1st MV60); Phil Smith 40th 56:25; Sarah Watkins 50th 59:31; Lynda Hawkins 51st 59:33; Bill Valentine 56th 1:00:57.

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