Wimborne Athletic Club

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A ‘Grizzly’ tale – 1 March 2015   

Charlotte House reports from East Devon.

As I stood on the start line of the Grizzly, on Seaton sea front for the third time, I thought I knew what to expect, a tough, wet muddy hilly run.

However, I had forgotten just how tough this event was, this was perhaps my toughest race EVER. Within 400 yards of the start I remembered just how demanding this race is, as myself and 1,600 others ran half a mile along a shingle beach - the noise from that was unbelievable!

In previous years there had been steep tough hills but this year they had turned into mountains and this little part of Devon felt like the Alps throughout the run. One slight incline even required me to haul myself up the thing on a rope! If this wasn’t tough enough, the descents were just as bad, for someone that had never been skiing before - I did during this event, with only a pair of extremely old trail shoes on my feet!

After a few hills, you are brought back on to the shingle beach to run through an ice cold stream, at least this washes off some of the mud!

Next was more slipping and sliding through the forest, where the trails were full of mud and calf deep puddles and avoiding hurtling into other runners was a challenge. At this point, I was asked, ‘Is this the bog I read about?’ Trying not to laugh I replied, ‘Nope that’s in a few more miles of this stuff !!’

The aforementioned bog was longer and deeper this year, but at least I did not fall in again, smiling for the photographer I jumped straight in, praying my shoes were not lost and never to be seen again – thankfully both trainers stayed on. Being hauled out the other end by a marshal, while resisting the urge to pull him in was one of the highlights of the race, as was as seeing the trepidation on the faces of those yet to enter the bogs!

After many more ups than downs you are brought back to the shingle beach at around mile 15-16, which if you have anything left in your legs is destroyed by the shingle. A mile or so of beach later there is have a memory tree where you are able to tie ribbons to remember loved ones. After this you are taken up a cliff path known as ‘The Stairway to Heaven’, there are amazing views at the top and a photographer to record your pain for eternity!

You then run across a field - where in a strong cross wind I discovered I am able to run sideways, back down to the caravan park and through a pub garden with many people cheering you on, only to be taken up yet another monster hill! Once this final mountain has been conquered you follow the path down a very welcome decent to the sea front and across the finish line! The fun doesn’t stop when you cross the finish line – it’s at this point you are greeted by firemen with hoses to clean you down before you are almost clean enough to get in your car to drive home.

It’s a race you’ll never forget.  Its one you’ll love and hate equally, on the way round you’ll be thinking why am I doing this I hate it and as you cross the finish line you’ll think I LOVED every second of that! When does the ballot open?


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