Sidmouth Running Club members enjoy their 2018 Beasting!

Sidmouth Running Club members at the Blackdown Beast

Sidmouth Running Club members at the Blackdown Beast - Credit: Archant

Fourteen members of Sidmouth Running Club (SRC) took on the 17-mile Blackdown Beast over the Blackdown Hills on a misty and drizzly day last Saturday, writes Monica Read.

Despite the conditions, a record number of over 200 runners set off for this popular annual self-navigated and social epic through the beautiful Blackdown Hills. As well as a strong field of runners there was a record amount of mud and slurry to conquer, along with plenty of hills to sap the legs.

Brilliantly organised by Honiton Running Club, the event is a social run on footpaths, lanes and across farmland with several stops en route taking in the scenery of the beautiful Blackdown Hills - if runners can see them through the thick drizzle - which was the theme this year.

The event began and ended in Dunkeswell with stops at 7.5 miles (hot mulled cider and delicious warming pasties served by the smiling WI), 10.2 miles (drinks and homemade energy bars at Sidmouth Arms, Upottery), 13.5 miles (a step back in time at the Luppitt Inn) and a final stagger across soaking fields back to Dunkeswell.

This was the fifth year for Helen Palmer and Terry Bewes of SRC, but a first for Beast virgins Anna Read, Sam Ingram, Cath Miller, Julian Bartlett, Danny Painter and Janice Ranson, who all thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the banter with the other 200 intrepid runners.

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Never one to overdress, Janice was encouraged by the more experienced to layer up before the start, while Cathy Keast, no novice in things Beastly, wore her lucky hat and kept everyone topped up with ‘Delia’, her homemade energy bar.

Sue Collman, Jessica Raynor, Debbie Marriott, and Simon Hollyer, also familiar with the route, kept upright and on track, while Terry Bewes, for once acting his age, managed at least one fall.

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He said: “Although great fun and full of laughter, it was exhausting constantly pulling your feet out of the mud, so we were all pleased to finish. I needed my recovery protein shake and banana.”

Don Cawthera, in contrast, thought it a good time to try out a new recovery routine he had read about, involving beer followed by rum and a cup of tea. He travelled home happy.

Chairman Terry said: “It was a brilliant job by Roger Saunders and all his helpers from Honiton RC; thank you from all us runners.

“We are looking forward to the Blackdown Beauty on July 15, and particularly the famous cream tea which features at mile 13.”

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