Mud, mud, glorious Grizzly

The 36th edition of the Grizzly was certainly one of, if not, the muddiest yet.  After months of heavy rain the conditions underfoot were treacherous although thankfully the runners, volunteers and spectators enjoyed sunshine and blue skies on the day.

AVRs had yet another hugely successful day both as the lead organisers and in the race itself.  The biggest shout-out must go to Race Directors, Andy West and Steve Haines along with the Grizzly Committee for their superb organisation during many months of grafting behind the scenes and on the day itself which ran like clockwork.  In addition big thanks to all the AVRs who supported the event with marshalling throughout the course, the huge start and finish area operation, and across the weekend at Race HQ and the Grizfest event.

The weekend began with a very large parkrun, clearly attracting many visitors with more than 400 participants.  In the afternoon, 260 children took part in the Grizfest races not deterred by the pouring rain and chilly wind; clearly some hard-core Grizzly runners in the making! Congratulations to all those who ran and to Karen Eyre and her team for the superb organisation.

Sunday surprised everyone with the sun shining by the race start at 10.30am.  The course was the hardest most runners had ever seen, even those with many Grizzlies in the bank.  Despite the tough conditions, more than 1300 completed the gruelling 20-mile Grizzly route including a huge number of AVRs.

AVR’s Emily Cowper-Coles was the female winner on her Grizzly debut using all her fell running experience to absolutely fly in and finish in an incredible 2:37.25, 12th place overall.  First home was last year’s winner, Exmouth Harriers’ Sam Kelly in 2:20.36 with Matt Clist the first AVR in an excellent 2:32.49, seventh overall and second M45.

Joel Seward was second male AVR, 19th overall, in 2:41.43 with Tim Lenton just behind in 20th in 2:45.01, second M50.

Second AVR female was Debbie Whiston, also making her Grizzly debut, seventh female and second F45 finishing in 3:04.57.  Kerry Board was third female AVR in 3:43.39.

Other age-graded AVRs in the top three were Eleanor Wood, first F60 in 3:53.08; Graham Newton first M70 in 3:52.05; Patrick Devine-Wright, third M50 in 2:49.49; and Karen Eyre, third F50 in 3:51.03.

But, of course, the Grizzly isn’t just about times, it’s often mind over matter or a celebration just to get round.  And very often it is the support of other runners that can make all the difference.  Lindsey Freathy only decided on Saturday to run the full Grizzly inspired by the video of a previous race at the HQ. She was supported all the way round by Alan Morbey and Steve Lewis.  She sums it up perfectly, “They could have gone a lot faster but were so kind to help me, natter and enjoy the scenery.  I am so thankful to them, it is what makes AVR such a special club.”

Of course there also aren’t many races where you’re offered a beer on the return journey or where you run through a pub during the course!

In the Cub race, Harry McMahon, new AVR member and just 17 romped home in 1:06.54. Second AVR and third overall was Ritchie Durrant in 1:12.39.

AVR’s Emilie Brock was second female, first F40 and first female AVR to finish in 1:20.13. Second AVR and second F45 was Sue Hayes in 1:29.47 with Lou Tucker third AVR female in 1:30.22 and second F40. The female Cub Race had been won by Caroline McAleese in 1:15.27.  More than 630 completed the race.  Other top three age-graded AVRs were Ron Seward, first M70 in 1:42.44; Jase Potter, second M35 in 1:32.44; Kevin Feeney second M70 in 1:54.51; Janet Cullum, second F70; Simon McClellan third M55 in an excellent 1:27.24; and Barry Follett third M60 in 1:38.11.

Running together were Aileen Heal and Jools Elsom with Liz Curley and Angela Morgan, both graduates of a recent ‘Couch to 5K’, showing once more the offer and depth of support the club provides throughout the year.

The full Grizzly and Cub results are here

Weymouth Half

Diana Burn completed the Weymouth half marathon on Sunday in 2:27 and using it as a training run for the London Marathon.

Under the Lights at the Exmouth 5

Last Wednesday evening the final of the City Runs organised “Under the Lights” series was a 5m race in Exmouth.  Matt Frost was 13th in 29:50; Ian Kinnersley 23rd in 33:50 and second M60; Eleanor Wood 32nd and second F65 in 37:45; and Ron Seward, first M70, 33rd in 38:57.  All contributed to a third place team finish for AVR.