Virtual Ekiden3 – success for AVR

Eight AVR teams took part in last weekend’s third virtual Ekiden marathon relay organised by City Runs. Three teams won their age group with many more individual success stories as runners competed virtually in distances from 1k to 15k – each team completing the marathon distance of 42.2k between six runners.

With icy conditions across the region the relay was extended to three days to ensure the safety of runners. Times reflected the challenging conditions.

The women’s F50 team of Eleanor Wood, Angela Kerr, Sarah Shepley and Carol Austin beat five other teams to take first F50 place in a total time of 3:35:03 just pipping Torquay AC by a couple of minutes. The men’s 60+ team of David Cooke, Alan Morbey, Ian Clements, Keith Agland, Kevin Feeney and Graham Newton finished in 3:27.37 and saw off a strong challenge from Honiton RC to win their age group. Also finishing first were the F60+ team of Shirley Salter, Maxine Sweetman, Lesley Adams, Janette Mack and Diane Newton.

Molly Adkin and Jack Broom were making their AVR club debuts in the mixed team that finished in a very creditable tenth place overall with Molly running an excellent 33:59 for the 8.2k leg and Jack an impressive 56:04 for the 15k leg. The men’s M40 team just pipped the mixed team into ninth place overall in a finish time of 2:41.47.

AVR age group first places were: Kerry Board (1k), Eleanor Wood (1k), Lee Moran (3k), Angela Kerr (3k and 10k), Sarah Shepley (5k), Rob Collier (8.2k), Carol Austin (8.2k), Keth Agland (8.2k), Lesley Adams (8.2k), Kevin Feeney (10k), Graham Newton (15k) and Diane Newton (15k); with Angela Kerr (3k and10K), Graham Newton (15k) and Eleanor Wood (15k) all achieving magnificent 80+ per cent age grade. Jeremy Slade, Liz Slade and Carolyn Nation all smashed their personal bests in their respective legs. With 88 teams taking part, it was all-in-all a very successful weekend for AVR!

Thanks to City Runs for organising the event which helped many runners have a focus for their training during the current lockdown.

Full results: here


Club Runs Suspended

Following the Government announcement of a third national lockdown all club runs are suspended with immediate effect.

Members are reminded that within the new guidance we may leave our homes for exercise once a day within our local area. This can be by ourselves, with the people we live with, with our support bubble (if we legally have one) or, when on our own, with one other person from outside our household. We must stay 2m apart from anyone not in our household or 1m with extra precautions e.g. face coverings.

Full details from England Athletics: here 


With the Covid restrictions still in place the club was unable to hold an awards evening. However that minor detail wasn’t going to stop us!

Following a record number of nominations for awards the committee made their choices and presentations were then made at various AVR runs during December. These were filmed as best we could in sometimes dark, sometimes near hurricane conditions with Amie and James Sibley – the new film producers extraordinaire – putting together a brilliant video, premiered last week on YouTube. For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to see it yet – view it here.


For the record here are the winners:

  • MALE RUNNER OF THE YEAR – joint winners Jeremy Slade and Joel Seward

Jeremy for his incredible comeback from serious illness and his unselfish support for other runners in particular seeking out those who may have lost their mojo.

Joel for his brilliant times during lockdowns and diligence and determination with his training runs.

  • FEMALE RUNNER OF THE YEAR – Sue Hayes for being the first female home in the Grizzly and first UK finisher in W45 category at the World Half Marathon
  • MOST IMPROVED MALE – Shaun Vinnicombe including completing his first (virtual) London marathon
  • MOST IMPROVED FEMALE – Natalie McNeice who has gone from strength to strength following her graduation from the first Couch to 5k last year
  • FOUNDER’S TROPHY – Andrew Hartnell who stepped forward to organise the virtual monthly handicap
  • PRESIDENT’S SHIELD – David Cooke for his M65 UK top ranking in the 200m.
  • TEAM – noted this was the hardest to separate but eventually went to the “Grizzly TuTu Gang” who epitomise everything good about teamwork, the club and the Grizzly by supporting each other through the gruelling race
  • CLUB PERSON – Rob Collier for all his support to the club during the Covid crisis enabling us to get running again as well as his individual achievements notably his 2:53.33 virtual London marathon
  • CHAIR’s AWARD – Mandy Harris for all she has done to support us through Covid as well as working in an ICU in the thick of it all
  • HONORARY LIFE MEMBER – Jake Smith who made his senior debut for GB & NI at the World Half Marathon finishing second European in 60:31 placing him third on the UK all time rankings
  • SPECIAL AWARD – Tony Smith for his three years as Race Director of the Grizzly
  • HANDICAP –First: Bob Carter  Second: Richard Matthews  Third: Vicki Wraight
  • LESLEY’s LEMON – Bec Davey ‘for making the chair laugh out loud with her nomination of Tony Smith and Sam Miller for the team award – for producing Jake!” 

Lesley Adams, chair of AVR added “I’m very proud of what we have achieved this year and more than ever everything we have achieved has been down to a series of networks, relationships and friendships we have with each other. We have managed to look after each other during what has been and still is a very testing time for all of us. Please be proud of what you have done, however small, to keep on running and to encourage those around you to do the same.”


This year’s annual awards have had to take place in a very different, 2020 way.

Thank you to all who nominated – more than ever. The awards have now been presented over the last two weeks at the various groups and tonight we are delighted to launch our video of the awards.

A huge thank you to Amie Sibley for coordinating all the awards nominations and presentations and to James Sibley for putting together this virtual awards ceremony. Click here to enjoy it!

Covid-19 Statement

We are following advice issued by England Athletics re coronavirus and social distancing. Read their latest guidance.

Regrettably, there will be no further club runs or races until further notice.  We are also asking all members to run on their own (or in small family groups) and not to run socially with other club members until restrictions are eased.

Keep up the running, stay fit, stay safe!

Thank you.