Tuesday, 18 March 2008
There is one day each year when the frequently somnolent town of Seaton can be guaranteed to come, explosively, to life. The second Sunday in March is the date reserved for Seaton based Axe Valley Runners (AVR) to host one of the most demanding multi-terrain races in the country known to one and all as the Grizzly. The course extends west along the East Devon coast through Beer and Branscombe and is designed to include the greatest possible number of near vertical climbs and swampy bogs. Two thousand runners plus family and friends descend on the town over the weekend and the atmosphere is transformed.
Grizzly 2008 was run on March 9th. on a cold day of sunny intervals and squally showers. Compared with some previous runs, the weather was quite benign. The most spectacular sight is the race start when all the runners have to begin with a quarter mile sprint along the pebble foreshore to give them a taste of the testing times ahead. To declare an interest, the younger of our two male descendants has been a member of AVR for about 5 years and made the trip from Paris, where he is a student, to compete in his second Grizzly. His cheerful disposition and well maintained level of fitness carried him through the ordeal with remarkably little in the way of lasting damage. Ten minutes was knocked off his previous time and he finished in just under 3 hours, 2 minutes. The elder and sedentary occupants of Hill House were mightily impressed with this and extend their heartiest congratulations, not just to James, but to all those who contributed to the organisation of such a wonderful event.