Thursday, June 19, 2014
Exmouth Harriers have organised a summer relay event for the last two years, writes Terry Oldham.
It combines an opportunity to run in the wonderful Devon countryside with a chance for members of the club to have a bit of fun too. This year was a little different though. Instead of a coast to coast run over two days, it became a 100km relay through East Devon, or as it is sometimes known, the Jurassic Coast, in a single day. There was another very important difference too, which was that money was being raised for Operation Smile a charity which provides medical care for children in the Third World.
So, at 5.50 am on a bright sunny morning on June 14, family, friends and Harriers were at the Beach Hotel, Exmouth, ready to say fare thee well to the first three runners. Marc, Trudie and Adrian who set off along Victoria Road heading towards the start of the East Devon Way, which would be followed all the way to Musbury. With them they carried a small teddy bear, nicknamed Smiley, who was going on a long journey and who would be acting as the ‘baton’ for the day.
At 6.50 am, on Higher Marley Road, they handed Smiley over to Nigel, Emma and Lorraine, who then head off towards the common, and via Four Firs and Woodbury Castle, made their way to Hawkerland, where waiting was Terry, who would be carrying the bear onwards via Harpford up to the Beacon and then White Cross.
At White Cross, a large group consisting of Elaine, Brendan, Carl, Adrian, Marc and Pete then set off towards Middle Knapp Farm (near Farway Castle) via Sidbury, Buckton Hill and Hatway Hill. At the top of a gruelling climb out of the valley waited Richard and Scott, who then made a fast traverse of the pathway from there to Farway, Northleigh and on to Chantry Bridge at Colyton.
Dawn, Lisa and Terry picked up the baton and made their way over to Seaton via Musbury and pathways and lanes to bring them high above Seaton golf course, from which they dropped down to the changeover point just past the Hook and Parrot on the sea front.
Hugh Marsden then rose to the challenge of the toughest part of the route, along the coast from Seaton via Beer, Branscombe, Weston Mouth, Salcombe Mouth and finally down to the sea at the Lifeboat station by the mouth of the Sid. Waiting for Smiley was Brendan, Amy, Marc, Adrian and Pete, who would carrying the little bear over Peak Hill and onwards through Ladram Bay to the next and final changeover point at Limekiln Car Park, Budleigh Salterton.
The last leg of the relay took Lorraine, Sarah, Nicky and Lynda, over Westdown and through Sandy Bay to a group of runners and supporters at the new Lifeboat Station in Exmouth, and after stopping for a quick photo and to don the charity tee shirts, the group ran the last mile, in hot and humid conditions, to the finish at the Beach Hotel.
There were a few hiccups and a few tales to tell of them at the post run drinks when celebrating a great day out and quite a few pounds raised for such a good cause.