Weekend runs push Sidmouth runners to the limits

Another busy weekend for Sidmouth runners saw them take part in three events.

Another busy weekend for Sidmouth runners saw them take part in three events.It all started on the Saturday afternoon at Charmouth with the annual Golden Cap Challenge. It's a bit of a ritual for many clubs to make an annual pilgrimage to the area for the weekend. The challenge is to run the eight and a half miles from sea level to the Cap and back. There is also a shorter but equally challenging two and a half mile run and nearly 500 runners took part in the races. Ben Chesters took a day off from his orienteering schedule and blasted up the highest point on the South Coast and back down in an impressive 1.02.42 for 25th place. George Chalstrey, on the other hand does most of his blasting on the down hill bits, and terrifies those about him as he bounds past in true kamikaze style. The system works and he made up plenty places to finish in 1.14.02. followed by the improving Phil Welsford in 1.18.47. Behind them were the dependable pairing of Don Cawthera and Debbie Marriott who love this sort of race but never seem to work up a sweat, despite finishing well up in the field in a respectable 1.19 something. Not to be outdone, Ruth Chesters took part in the shorter run and her position of 144th out of 225 put many youngsters to shame.Talking of youngsters Mick Allen and Bev Tarry opted for the Launceston Half Marathon which is known as 'The Real Beast of Cornwall' presumably in reference to another Cornish race which doesn't induce so much altitude sickness. Both like running their own race but somehow finished up in consecutive places at the end which was nice.The more local option on the Sunday was a new race in Feniton over a six mile course, mainly road but with a very muddy off road section. The star attraction was an appearance by Jo Pavey the popular Olympic distance runner who hails from the area. Despite her late stage of pregnancy, she entered into the spirit of things and led a vigorous warm up session before the start. If that doesn't get the message home nothing will. The gods had also decreed that the rain would keep off for exactly one hour from the start of the race. Ian Robson made it comfortably in 51.18 as did Colin Flood and Bill Valentine in 52.25 and 54.48 respectively. Brian Gosling squeezed in with a minute to spare, Lesley Roberts by seconds, but the next group of Becky Robson, Rachel Burrow and Andy Sturmey got soaked. Danni Furzey, a few minutes behind, had a real baptism for her first run but this will surely confirm her faith in her ability. She did well. It was unfortunate that the heavy rain put a damper on the village fete that followed, but at least the runners went home happy.

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