Sidmouth 11 take on the 2016 Great West Run

Emma Salter at the Great West Run

Emma Salter at the Great West Run - Credit: Archant

First run in 1985 the Great West Run was originally run as a marathon but in recent years has been run as a very popular half marathon, writes Terry Bewes.

The route is not one for a Personal Best as it is quite hilly. It takes an exciting 13.1-mile route through the heart of Exeter. This half marathon has it all; the energy of a city centre road race, combined with the beautiful country lanes of St Andrews Road and on towards Stoke Woods and stunning views across Exeter, this indicating the height you reach.

The race starts in the High Street to Okehampton Road, through Exwick to Cowly Hill, up Stoke Road, along Cowly Bridge Road and through the University, Old Tiverton Road, out and back along Pinhoe Road, along Blackboy Road to the finish in the High Street.

Sidmouth Running Club was well represented with 11 runners and one family friend, Annie Lee, taking part.

First home for the club runners, but not wearing the Mighty Green as he was running in a charity vest in a storming time of 1:25:47 taking 50th place overall was Antony Hall. The winning time was 1:10:10 and there were 2134 finishers.


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Other Club times: Graham Stout 1:41:48, Jenny Da Silva 1:45:24, Alan Colwill 1:50:00, Graham (Rocker) Sheppard 1:58:04, Becky Robson 2:02:41, Jo Earlam 2:03:40,

Paul Wright 2:11:06, Emma Salter 2:21:08, Sasha Colwill 2:32:56, Rebecca Colwill 2:45:31.

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Although disappointed that they did not break the two hour mark both Becky and Jo were happy with their times as they were pretty near the times they recorded for the much easier Bristol half they ran three weeks ago.

The story of the race belongs to Emma Salter, who says: “This was the half marathon that I have run, and the third year in a row that I have run Exeter.

“Last year I finished in 2:01:00 and was gutted to miss the sub two hour time.

“This year with other more pressing commitments like recently getting married, I have not been training so knew that a sub two hour time was not on.

“I had the option of dropping my pace to around 10 minute miles coming in around 2:20:00 or as my husband James suggested go at the sub two hour pace to find my break point then try and push through it.

“I have just signed up for my first marathon next April and this would be a good lesson. I held that pace for six miles, but by mile eight I knew I was in trouble. With the knowledge that at 9.5 miles you are passing the finish line on the other side of the road and with the last 3.6 miles out and back along Pinhoe Road up and down those little hills I had resigned myself to call it quits and be happy I’d managed 9.5 miles.

“I pulled in, stopped the Garmin and crossed the road. I was sick, lungs burning, pins and needles in my hands and feet. My legs were aching like mad and I started to cry. I had taken the easy option and gave up. But then something made me man up and pull myself together, I crossed back over the road and started my Garmin again.

The pain in my legs and chest got worse and those last miles were a nightmare but James said I crossed the finish line doing a Jonnie Brownlee in 2:21:08.

It is stupid and dangerous to run a half marathon with no training and I would certainly not recommend it to anyone especially if you are new to running.

“For me though it was a good feeling to know that I had the mental strength to pull myself through when my body was telling me it had had enough.

“However, I will not be doing that again and will have a full and thorough training plan for the Marathon.”

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