Exe-rated runners!

Exe-rated runners!
The successful Harriers team, en masse, at the Erme Valley Relays, July 2013

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Ellie does win the D.D. after all!!

Ok, so, to come instantly clean, we are not talking of the Dartmoor Discovery D.D. here, but the Dawlish Dash (about 7/8th shorter and 99/100th flatter!!) Organised by the Dawlish Coasters, this great little run is just a shade under 4 miles and starts and finishes at the Boat House Inn, on the sea front at Dawlish Warren.

Despite being only 5 days after the D.D., I felt rested, having not done a scrap of exercise in between, and just had a few muscle niggles in the legs that I hoped I would work off! The first half of the race is run on the beach and sees you having to negotiate about 15 coastal defence groins. No sooner had we descended onto the beach and I managed to get a momento of said beach inside my trainer. It lodged itself under the ball of my left foot, made itself quite at home and felt so uncomfortable it appeared more boulder-like than pebble. Stopping to de-stone myself would have wasted precious time, so I ran on and learned to live with my pebble friend for the remainder of the race.

I almost came a cropper on one of the groins early on too. I approached with gusto, flinging my foot up onto it to hurdle it steeple-chase style, but I am no lithe, agile Kenyan and my foot slipped, almost cutting me in half upwar... yeh, well, you get the idea, it wouldn't have been pleasant! After this I took a more cautious approach and used my hand to vault the blighters, which lost me some time but saved me from causing myself a mischief!

After 3/4 of a mile down the beach you turn around and run all the way back again, then up the boat launch slope and onto the sea wall. You follow the sea wall almost as far as Dawlish before going up and over the railway bridge and onto the coastal path at the other side. This is the only hill on the course and only entails 60ft of height gain. From here it's a 1 mile steady canter back down towards the finish at the Boathouse.

In the last 1/2 mile my thighs were really beginning to tighten and had the race been much longer, I think they would have cramped up totally. Luckily I hung on to claim 1st female and 17th overall in 25:14, over 1 minute clear of the super talented veteran athlete Karen Cook of SWRR in 2nd. Pete Monaghan of Torbay AC won the race in a spritely 21:15 from my ex b/f, Daryl (Tarq) Milford of Teignbridge, in 2nd in 21:26 - pleased for him as he hoped to place top 3.

Abolutely fantastic prizes, which included a bottle of wine, some stationery, a tee-shirt (that actually fitted, for a change!), a slate coaster and a voucher for a meal of my choice in the Boathouse Inn, where I planned to eat after anyway... I may have ordered the sirloin steak... it may have been the most expensive item on the menu... :-/

119 runners completed the race. Ordinairily it would have been more but the atrocious weather conditions will have put some people off. The organisers say it was the worst weather they have known in all the years the race has been running! Despite the weather, a super little race, very low-key, and at only £6 to enter, well worth a try next year! ... Maybe we could hire a boat and sail across to the startline?!

Aproaching the finish of the Dawlish Dash.

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