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The Grizzly showers 2024

Grizzly By Name...

Two thousand competitors tackled Devon's toughest trails...

It's The Grizzly by name and it's grizzly by nature. Axe Valley Runners' annual multi-terrain mudfest is subtitled: "The Good, The Bad, and The Grizzly", and the event website includes a prominent 'New Grizzlers' warning, highlighting that with more than 3,000' of ascent in its 20 miles course, The Grizzly is not for the faint-hearted.

It is for that reason the event includes the lighter option of The Cub over approximately nine miles – still a severe challenge but a bit less scary than the main event which includes two sections of pebble beach, totalling well over a mile; two energy-sapping bogs, where runners are often up to their waist in water and mud; and the infamous “Stairway to Heaven”, a steep path up the side of a cliff.

This year's Grizzly and Cub races were on Sunday 17 March and the weather conditions were perfect, with mild temperatures and sunny periods. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the conditions underfoot, with one seasoned Grizzler describing the mud as: "Probably the worst in 36 years that the event has been held."

None of which seemed to bother the defending champion, Sam Kelly (Exmouth Harriers) who was wearing race bib #1 and took the lead in the final miles to cross the finish line on Seaton Esplanade in 2:20:36. This was six minutes slower than his 2023 winning time and was a fair reflection on the terrain. The men's podium was completed by Jacob Landers (Tamar Trotters, 2:22:06) and Wayne Loveridge (Chard Road Runners, 2:22:19).

The top three lady Grizzlers were Emily Cowper-Coles (Axe Valley Runners, 2:37:25), Kirsteen Welch (Exeter Harriers, 2:46:37) and Alice Kelly (Exmouth Harriers, 2:51:23).

The Cub winners were under-20 junior Harry McMahon (Axe Valley Runners, 1:09:53) and W45 Caroline McAleese (1:20:16).

This short video of the 2017 event shows some of The Grizzly course highlights...

Our lead photo courtesy Des White (Exmouth Harriers) shows Cub Run competitors Alison White and Linda Hoe enjoying the post-race shower facilities offered by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service! Below we see some of the challenging conditions on the course courtesy of Axe Valley Runners/The Grizzly on Facebook.

Full results are available via the runABC South race listing here.

The Grizzly course 2024

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