Monday, 7 May 2012

The Great West Run 2012

 Yesterday was the Great West Run.

The half-marathon went past the end of the road so I wandered down to Sainsbury’s – the turning point on the second loop - and gave them a wave and a bit of encouragement.

  From the first (Tom Merson [1: 10.16] and Andrew Chambers of Bristol and West Ac) …

To the almost last…

And those who stopped for a while…

 And those who walked for a bit…

 Every single one of the runners had my admiration.

 Who are those guys?

A massive 2098 people finished and a handfull had to drop out but at least they tried.

 These folk would have turned out to support Steph whatever the weather but it was pleasant to do so in the sunshine.

I think this was Lucy Commander, the winner of the women’s race [1 hour 25:29]. Certainly this girl was far out in the lead of the other girls at this stage.

 Numbered 7 and came in seventh – Matt Clake [1 hour 14:36].

This was the 1 hour 30 pace maker. I'm always amazed that people can tell at what pace they are running.

The morning began cool and dry - probably ideal conditions for a long run. But just as the race started the sun came out – and it stayed out. It wasn’t overly warm but then I wasn’t running.

Some of the participants (nearly all whom were running for charity) dress up and there were…

Some elves (St John ambulance, the UK's leading first aid charity, always attend our sporting events)

ELF is the Exeter Leukaemia Fund.

 And there was a banana

 who was keeping well ahead of the gorilla in case he got eaten.

Name the game…

And so many charities supported –

Breast Cancer was a popular one

while the others  included Marie Curie Cancer CareBRACE - funding research into Alzheimer's, and Shelterbox - an international disaster relief charity

Everyone got applauded and cheered on wherever they were.

Top marks to these girls who were applauding and shouting encouragement to everyone from front to very back.

 The good old – well rather young actually – British bobbies were there to ensure all went OK.

There was a pirate – whose progress was slowed by regular stops to let the little people add to the weight he was carrying.

(Hints for future charity runners - I wish more people had carried buckets – I had lots of pound and two pound coins with me to dish out but I only saw two buckets the whole time. I suspect there were other watchers who would have been similarly equipped. I also wish the other holder of a bucket had run on the kerb side of his group, not out in the middle of the roadway.).

I watched the race in 2010 but last year I wasn't down here in Exeter. During the Great West Run 2011 a runner, Paul Smith, became ill and sadly passed away. This year a group of his family and friends took part in his memory. They were running for Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome - SADS UK. That’s what nearly killed Fabrice Muamba.  I think perhaps this was one of Paul Smith’s group.

If you are interested in contributing to SADS you can do so on-line via his sister Charmaine’s page .

Two more runners taking part for SADS.  They may have been near the back but very well done to them!

  Mickey Mouse took part.

And so did a Viking

You have to be happy with your masculinity to run like this!

An udder runner.

And running with full kit for the Mark Marshall Youth Fund.

Sadly I didn’t get a picture of my favourite T shirt - a girl runner had ‘I Love Running’ on the front and ‘NOT!’ on the back.

Yet more charities...

The last stretch.

 Runners are still coming in....

But for some the race is now over and they can make their way home, satisfied with a good morning’s


  1. What excellent pictures! It's most entertaining to see the huge and imaginative variety of costumes people run in. Yes, funny they weren't a bit more on the ball about the buckets for cash.

  2. Love the picture of the two laughing Bobbies!

  3. Wow - that was like a marathon and a parade and Halloween all in one! Can't imagine running, first of all, and can't EVEN imagine running with something over my face like some of those costumed folks! Makes me claustrophobic just to look at them!

  4. Hooray for a great blog! And I can tell you from my own marathoning experiences (25 years younger and 60 pounds lighter)that the people who cheer runners on -- particularly the middle and end-of-the pack runners -- really mean a lot to the runners. I also know the incredible endurance it takes to clap your hands for hours on end. And to stop and take pictures all the time -- three cheers for you, Scriptor!

  5. For a girl who lives in the city, the most compelling part of this run is the beautiful location. I would love to run or ride or skip through any of this course, lovely!

  6. I'm sure my cousin who writes "musings and Misc. Thoughts" enjoyed your report and pictures. I bet his 5-K run was not nearly so colorful as this.

  7. What a fun run and thanks for letting me be on the sidelines. What great a great thing for all the charities. Well done to all those involved, either in running or in giving.

  8. Scriptor: A fun post indeed. The amazing part to me is the distance. So many are running for a cause, because it takes such strong motivation for normal folk to put in the time to train and then go... 13 plus miles -- costume or not. One of my cousin's daughters is preparing for her first marathon... run in honor of her mother who passed away last year. Dedication comes in many forms, as does finding some way to honor a loved one. Running for some does that. Very nice post. (Pastor Dennis, up above, ministers in a small town in eastern Washington state. ;-)

  9. I have nothing but admiration for all those who undertake such tasks. I know some people love running but for me it has always been one of the worst possible of ways to occupy one's time. Climb a mountain I will do with the Edwards Family's love and zeal for that pastime but run a mile on the flat is a chore beyond me.

  10. My goodness! They all look very earnest and determined. Running was never my cup of tea, but high jump and tennis were my loves when in school. Now I have to push myself to do my 15 minute walk a day -- which I haven't done in several months by the way.

  11. You got a great series of pictures - not always easy to find a good spot in the crowd at events such as this. I'm especially fascinated by the Mickey Mouse costume, and the gorilla. Phew, that must get hot...

  12. What a great day! Thanks for sharing and supporting!

  13. i am one of those you captured running for sads in memory of paul smith, it was my very first marathon and it was amazing, there were people cheering us on at every single point of the run and when it became a struggle those people were giving encouragement to carry on. it was the best thing i have ever done and myself and my friend paige will be doing this amazing run again next year. thank you so much for capturing up all in this fantastic blog, it makes me smile and think of such a great day as a great west run runner
    laura smith

    1. Laura, I'm really glad you found the blog. I think you and Paige (and everyone else,of course) were brilliant and I'm really glad you found it so rewarding and are going to do it again next year. If I'm down here in Exeter when it is run I shall be on the sidelines watching out for you and cheering you on.

    2. I meant to say, Laura, if you want a bigger copy of the photo I'm happy to send you one. If you leave me your e-mail address in a comment I'll make a note of it but delete the comment so no one else sees it.


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