Sidmouth runners take on the ‘muddiest’ Bicton Blister ever

The Sidmouth Running Club juniors giving the thumbs up. Picture TONY VELTEROP

The Sidmouth Running Club juniors giving the thumbs up. Picture TONY VELTEROP - Credit: Archant

This year’s Bicton Blister and Blister Lite were hosted in honour of Dave Eveleigh, a stalwart member of Exmouth Harriers and a wonderful servant to running and, as a mark of respect to Dave, who sadly passed away earlier this year, both the main Blister and Lite were started one minute early, writes Hamish Spence.

All 539 runners taking part in both races, started together.

There were 43 Sidmouth Running Club (SRC) members on the start line of what was set to be seen as the 'muddiest' Bicton Blister ever run!

Fortunately for the runners, the rain that has been so persistent over the past month, held off for the duration of the race.

Before the race began, organisers Exmouth Harriers, read out the pre-race instructions. This included take care not to trip on the tree roots or the oversized rounded flints and to follow the coloured tape around which ever course was relevant, be it the Blister or the Lite.

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Then came a statement on the state of these routes set by the diligent and encouraging marshalls.

It read that there were no hills, no puddles, and absolutely no mud to wade through this year.

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The statement continued that the bebble-bed heathland of Woodbury Common an AONB was fairly dry and easy going underfoot… Oh my…how they lied!

In the 10-mile Blister, Anthony Hall made a speedy start and led the Mighty Green team all the way around with an average pace of 7:06min/miles.

He crossed the finish line in 19th place with his time being 1:11:06.

Second home for SRC was Richard Hayes, 40th in a time of 1:16:44.

Colin L'Anson had a real blast and was very happy to get back in 1:29:25, crossing the finish line in 123rd position.

However, Colin wondered where everyone had got too!

He'd seen everyone at the photo before the start, but that was the last he saw of any fellow Mighty Green - none passed him (certainly not normal) and he passed nonw (much more normal).

He did spot one MG in the form of Sam Ingram who vanished onto the 5k course of the Bicton Lite!

John Keast blazed a trail heading out quickly and maintained a steady pace to take 127th place in 1:29:54.

Kyle Baker, Hamish Spence, (yours truly), Allen Kay and Adrian Horne started this event together.

As we started to warm up, our pace quickened and all four of us began to overtake other competitors.

This continued all the way to the first proper down-hill section which headed into the narrower, steep and slippery track through the woodland.

This is where I made a break for it with Kyle following suit.

The track was very muddy with some deep puddles to navigate.

At one point I went nearly waist deep, but still I managed to pass others.

Kyle got stuck behind those that had chosen to take the sludge route so had to fight the thick, sticky mud to keep his shoes on.

Both Kyle and myself were catching up with Stuart Coles and Catherine Hilton.

Kyle overtook me two miles before the watering point and then passed Catherine and that was the last I saw of him!

Finally, after three more miles I finally overtook Catherine Hilton. Meanwhile, both Allan Kay and Adrian Horne continued to run together for most of the race, helping each other along and controlling their pace.

As for the remaining SRC members in action, their times and finishing berths - Kyle Baker, 156th, 11:33:11; Stuart Coles, 157th,11:33:21; Hamish Spence (me), 178thm 1:37:30; Catherine Hilton, 179th, 1:37:39; Alan Kay, 212th, 1:42:28; Sarah Clapp, 214th, 1:42:32; Deb Marriott, 217th, 1:42:39; Don Cawthera, 218th, 1:42:49; Christine Farnham, 225th, 1:43:32; Karen Farnham, 226th, 1:43:34; Adrian Horne, 229th, 1:443:40; Graham Shepherd, 257th, 1:47:35; Sarah Ginsberg, 270th, 1:50:32; Emma Vine, 271st, 1:50:46; Michael Ginsberg, 276th, 1:51:03; Cathy Keast, 277th, 1:51:14; Richard King, 278th, 1:51:14; Cath Miller, 279th, 1:51:15; Monica Read, 280th, 1:15:16; Els Laures, 287th, 1:52:27; Dave Wright, 298th, 1:54:25; Jennifer Bentley, 301st, 1:54:59; Cathy Kelly was just six seconds short of passing the post with a sub two hour finish laying claim to the 319th place.

Milly Frankpitt, and Terry Bewes ran with Helen Palmer and Lesley Hook for the first few miles along with Sarah Watkins and Paul Williamson.

They warmed up steadily giving each other lots of encouragement. On entering the first woodlands Terry had the words of George Chalstrey ringing in his ears: "If this was a race Terry you would be up through the middle."

This meant when it comes to water or mud you try to find a way around it rather than through it.

So, with Milly following, all six of them went right down the middle, sometimes in mud halfway up to their knees, but all passed many runners this way. Milly and Terry slowly but surely left the other four behind and took it in turns to be the pace setter.

They made a great team and managed to increase their lead on the other four by nearly fourteen minutes.

Milly took 325th and Terry 326th, both clocking a time of 2:01:27. Next was Sarah, 366th, 2:14:40, then Lesley, 367th, Helen 368th and Paul 369th, the last three named all clocking a time of 2:14:41, and they were the last three of the Mighty Greens in action to finish, doing do holding hands and very happy to be finished!

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