Sidmouth’s ultra runners in action

Two of Sidmouth’s ultra distance runners were in action this week.

Bev Tarry took on the Marathon of the North just two weeks after the London version and finished in 4.52hrs - she plans to take on a 100-miler later this year.

Corinna Stephens set out on her first ultra marathon - the Marlborough Downs 33-mile challenge, a self navigated event in Wiltshire.

There is something different about ultra distance runners. They can’t stop themselves. Bev Tarry is the prime example in our club. She plans to do a 100 miler this year and so what better after the London marathon than give it a break for a couple of weeks and then drive to Sunderland for another one, writes Corinna Stephens.

Described as the Marathon of the North it starts and finishes at the Stadium of Light, the home ground of Sunderland Football Club. Bev crossed the finishing line (close to the spot where Rooney celebrated his match - but not Championship - winning goal last weekend). Bev’s celebrations after 4 hours 52 minutes on the road were rather more muted.

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Then at 9 am last Saturday, I set out on my first Ultra Marathon, the Marlborough Downs 33 Mile Challenge, a self navigation event taking in what seemed to be most of Wiltshire. At the start I began to feel a bit intimidated by the tall, older men who looked very serious indeed whereas I just aimed to just get around in one piece.

Items of interest on the way included Avebury, a white chalk horse, blue bell woods and stunning views from ridge ways. The day was bright and clear so the views were simply gorgeous. Over small bridges, up gullies, across fields, along a canal, through gates and oh, so many stiles!

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It was going steadily until mile 18 (I struggle with miles 17-20 in marathons too, they seem nondescript) and I was getting tired mentally. Up until then I had not considered that I might need food (although now it seems obvious). Luckily one of my fellow runners gave me a peanut butter sandwich, the importance of nutrition was realised and I perked up only to struggle again as the route then went straight up to the top of another large hill.

Then a few of us couldn’t find the route. We must have spent 10 minutes conferring before all agreeing it was the one of two gates, the one which we had just come through - amazing what tiredness does! Taking a wrong turn at mile 30 also didn't help, meaning we did a mile further than we should have. However, I did finish, feeling as though I probably could have pushed the pace a bit more in 8hrs 8mins.

I would recommend this race and will be returning next year!

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