Sidmouth running team fifth at Erme Valley Relay event at Ivybridge.

Now in its 12th year, the Erme Valley Relays (based in Ivybridge) have established a reputation for being one of the highest quality race events in the South West, writes Justin Ashby.

This naturally came to the attention of Sidmouth Running Clubs young whippet Jason Drew who, with the help of club veteran, Justin Ashby, hatched a plan to enter a Sidmouth A Team.

That all amounted to Drew, Ashby, Milan Goc and Matt Szala heading don the A38 in the pouring rain last Friday night to run a four times 2.5-mile relay race.

All four runners were completely new to the course and would have benefited from a little course knowledge that would have alerted them to the two significant hills! They travelled expecting a fast, flat course. It turned out to be a fast, hilly course and therefore rather draining!

Matt Szala went out first against some of the region’s ‘big boys’ and put in a superb time of 13:23 (believe me, a pace of 5:21 minute-miling around that course is some run).

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Milan and Justin held things together on the two middle laps before Jason was released to hare off on the final leg. He had some work to do but he has quickly established himself as one of Devon’s finest and put in a brilliant lap time of 13:07 to claim fifth spot overall for Sidmouth. In a high quality field of 94 teams. This was some achievement - edging last year’s champions and local rivals, Exmouth Harriers, into sixth place was the icing on the cake! Well done, Team Sidmouth!

All at Sidmouth Running Club were pleased to hear that Malcolm Bayer has made a welcome return to competitive running and last weekend took part in the Coniston Marathon.

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The Lake District will never offer the easiest of routes, but his time of 4:23 suggests that the problem with his knee injury is now a thing of the past.

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