The Grizzly 2017 (this year’s slogan was “Pearl’s a Stinger”) turned out to be an epic race for three of Bridport Runners’ finest runners ─ Clive, John (Riley) and Sam. And despite all the mental and physical pain that this great event has in store for its participants, Sam praised it afterwards in an epic tale:
“T’was a gloomy morning in Seaton, the air prickled with moisture and anticipation for one of the countries’ finest, and most historic, mass acts of masochism. They say this was the 30th Grizzly, but I am privy to information that its history is pre-roman, when the Seatonians used to run over the hill dressed in ancient Bear onesies, assault the Beerites with insults then retreat hastily to the relative safety of their swamp. But enough of the trivialities, all was set, the bananas were nearly ripe, the flapjacks were being cooked and the mass airdrop of jelly babies to the isolated Grizzly communities of Branscombe and beyond had been done. To the sonorous voice of the Town Crier proclaiming ‘God Save the Queen’, and ‘Get on with it then’, 2000 foolhardy runners took to the beach with optimism, a fresh pair of legs and at least 10 gel packs each.
Amongst the crowd were three hardy souls from ye olde Bridport who started their run in various states of disarray… Coach Clive has a dicky knee, Brave John, had had a cough for two weeks – hence the fetching woolly hat – and I had done no training!
There is much to say about the Grizzly, but little that has not been said before. They say it is tough.. it is! They say it saps your will to live – it does. They say that if the bog doesn’t get you the E numbers in the Jelly babies will – true! They say it is ultimately inspiring and something you will look back on fondly – tosh (but ask me in a few weeks, not when I’m doubled up with cramp).
Our leader Clive and I selfishly left John behind at the start, but in the knowledge that he was the better man than either of us and would shed his wooly hat when things warmed up – so this story doesn’t not recount his tale! Clive and I manfully maintained a steady ‘Cub’ like pace for the first 6 miles (the Cub is the mini-Grizzly for those not able to cope with the force-feeding of Jelly babies).
Clive turned left at Branscombe beach and finished in an outstanding 35th place of the 500 Cub runners – nice one. I continued on the muddy trail into darkest East Devon, walking up the innumerable hills (hell, everyone did), and sliding down the other side (ditto), wading through knee high stinking mud, running through ice-cold rivers, and nearly being fed to death at Mile 15 – it was tempting to just stop and eat for a half hour!
The race organisation was excellent, the Marshalls were brilliant, there was plenty of water and food, and bananas at the finish. I have to particularly thank the Marshalls at the start of the Stairway to Heaven on whom I leant for 10 minutes trying to rid myself of the damned cramp, and the one who tied my laces at mile 19 when I couldn’t bend over any more. I finished in 3hrs 42mins, placed 515 out of the 1555 full Grizzly runners. John came in placed 834 in 4hrs 8 mins. Nice one. Overall, well to be honest, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, but I’ll probably do it again!”