Sidmouth's Tarry turns fell runner

For the 10th running of the Musbury Castle Challenge, the organisers thought it a good idea to increase the distance to 10 miles and chuck in a few more hills.

For the 10th running of the Musbury Castle Challenge, the organisers thought it a good idea to increase the distance to 10 miles and chuck in a few more hills. It certainly added a couple more spectacular views, but with a heavy price to pay in terms of effort.

There weren't many Sidmouth runners there and we all struggled, despite the encouragement from the local Majorettes and festive atmosphere in the village. Brian Gosling had a chess match in Taunton at 2pm so he had to cut it short. David Welsh copes, with the distance pretty well, but his time of 2.09 was more than we would expect over this distance.

John Perratt did marginally better at 2 hours dead although, once he started walking up the steep bits, he found it difficult to get going again. It was left to Bill Valentine to push hard all the way round and finish with a flourish in 1.47. All have had better days and the general feeling was that we preferred the easier, old course. Di Puzey, on the other hand, had gone to the equally tough Dorset Demon 10 miler and loved every minute of it. Perhaps we are just getting too old for this sort of thing.

That thought was brought home to us when we learnt that Rachel Burrow and Mick Allen had also enjoyed the Great North Run and the Truro Half Marathons respectively in 1.59 and 2.12. That's more than three miles further than we had run. If we weren't feeling pathetic enough imagine our humiliation when we heard that, on the previous day, Bev Tarry had completed the 40 mile High Peak Challenge in her usual "not a big deal" fashion. Incidentally, that is not 'High Peak' just up the road towards Otterton, but in the Buxton area of the Derbyshire Peak District. Fell runners are a different breed. Not like us, but Bev is certainly one of them. It took her 9 hours and 43 minutes to complete the rugged course, with the aid of map and compass. She then of course had to drive home and, unlike some of us, go to work the next day. Bev, you no longer inspire us. Instead, you drive us to drink!


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We shall see this weekend how others get on with the longer distances as we have quite a good contingent entered for the New Forest Half and Full Marathons that are run at the same time.

For some it is their first stab at the various distances, so we look forward to seeing their results - and reactions - with a great deal of interest.

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