Although Exmouth looks almost touchable from the end of the course, a trip up and then back down river was necessary for the participants who line up at Dawlish Warren for a 1 mile leg stretch along the beach, hurdling over and ducking under approximately 20 wooden groynes as they work their way along.... and then doing the same as they turn around and come all the way back again. From here the run continues on along the sea front - thankfully opened just this week, Network Rail kindly adhering to their promise to have the storm-damaged sea wall repaired in time for the race. Runners then cross the railway footbridge just before they reach Dawlish town centre and return to the Warren along the cliff top path.
I, Ellie Sutcliffe, was the only Harrier entered under the Harrier's name, but several Harribelles (Harriers who also run as Exmouth Belles) were out en masse in their red racing vests.
I had a good race against some quality competition in the form of Tiverton's Serane Stone and Teignbidge's Helen Anthony, but managed to use the off-road beach section to my advantage to forge an early gap on the road specialists behind me, which, at a race of this short distance, was good enough to see me home to the finish as first lady. I was pleasantly surprised by my time of 24:19, which was 1 minute up on my 2012 time - the only other time I've done this event. So the fitness is coming back.... slowly! Pleased with the prize too - a meal voucher for 2, with drinks, at the Mount Pleasant Inn (the race sponsor). I might treat Matt for a change! ;-)
The Harribelles also had some great runs between them, with many of them seeing a vast improvement on their times from when they ran this event last year.
Susan Hill brought them home in 29:53, carving almost 2 minutes off last year's time and this despite going up an age category to the FV55 section: a great run for Susan who keeps getting better and better.
Lorraine Kirby ran 32:00 to finish inside the top two thirds of finishers and, overall, there were some strong runs and course bests from the 9 members of the Running Belles who raced.
144 finishers. The race was won, for about the 6th time running(!), by Torbay's Pete Monaghan, in 21:14.
The Dawlish Dashers, making their way along the Warren beach, with Exmouth in the background.