Sidmouth runners’ point of no return

There is usually a point in a race when competitors start wondering why they’re there. It can be near the summit of a long climb, or at the 22 mile mark in a Marathon.

The 10 mile Yarcombe Yomp is unusual in that it has several of these moments, but at least every finisher is guaranteed a steaming bowl of home-made soup.

The course starts off along by the River Yarty, across big muddy fields, before turning away towards the Beacon and up more big muddy fields.

At the top of a long climb, the trail goes through woods along rutted, muddy tracks, before descending steeply through yet more mud to the finish.

And then you do it all again, because it’s a two lap race. Overnight rain added to the fun, and a bright, low sun reflecting off wet leaves in the woods made it difficult to see where you were going.

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Off road specialists John and Ruth Chesters – Ben doesn’t get out of bed on a Saturday - love this sort of thing and were back again this year, John finishing 40th in 1h 46 mins, and Ruth, wisely opting for the shorter one lap race, ninth in one hour.

First Sidmouth runner home was Don Cawthera (30th 1.34), followed by Colin Flood(33rd 1.36) and Virginia Bell(35th 1.38), running confidently despite having left her off-road shoes at home.

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Terry Bewes (46th 1.49), sporting an array of revitalising drinks that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Tour de France, continued his relentless improvement.

Debbie Marriott took a wrong turning somewhere and got hopelessly lost, or ‘did a Bill’ as we say in the club. By the time she eventually found the finish, the timekeeper had gone home and, sadly, the soup was cold.

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