Due to the snow and adverse weather, last weekend’s Grizzly, one of the main multi-terrain running events in the region, was cancelled … well, not quite, because runners were able to do the modified, shorter Cub version instead if they wanted. Bridport Runners Rachael und Clive actually did the crazy race in the snow. Here’s the whole story how Rachael tells it:
“This was my first Grizzly, and although, due to the wild howling gales, gleaming blankets of snow, and blinding blizzards, it was cancelled, all runners were able to do the modified Cub instead if they wanted. I was determined to make the most of the weekend soaking up the anticipation and atmosphere, arriving ridicously early and watching as more and more teeming thongs of people arrived, all in high spirits, all arriving at the The Gateway where the headquarters, bag drop and stalls were, with a coating of snow on their heads like a topping of icing sugar. And still the snow fell. Everywhere was glistening white.
Eventually, it was almost time to start the race, and everyone gathered at the start line, and a long line of colourful folks spread down the road at the esplanade. The race briefing announced that everyone was to “share the love” and help each other, a twisted ankle and laying in the snow in those weather conditions and temperatures …We were told that it didn’t matter if we got to the end of Seaton beach and decided we had had enough and ran through back to the finish line to finish first…And, not surprisingly, the marshals were already struggling out there.
So off we went, a long line of runners, surrounded by a world of whiteness, snow dancing riotously in our faces. The pebbled beach was our first port of call, and it was here that I realised actually how many of us there were, all stampeding like migrating wilder beast lost in what was totally the wrong climate…
Slipping up was on everyone’s minds when we got to the road…but I felt quite secure in my grippy shoes. Up through the streets, past groups of folks cheering us on and hardy marshals…a blow up reindeer stood standing by the curb in unseasonable reverence. Up the hill, over and round into Beer, then down a steep slippery hill.
It was here that Clive appeared behind me, nice to see a familiar face, as we were all concentrating on not slipping over on our arses. I was imagining sliding down the hill taking everyone out like skittles, but worried that by thinking it I might bring it into fruitition …
Through the caravan park with holiday makers and marshals giving us encouragement, and up onto the cliff top…Blimey, that was invigorating…freezing wind storming the face, blizzard in the eyes, my cheeks went numb and my hair froze into a weird chandelier of icy snow, now and again whipping me in the face, urging me on.
The faster runners began passing by on their return, men with frozen beards, and so many bare legs, all red with the cold! I felt like a wimp in my leggings. Down an icy slope and up to steps and a stile as we approached Branscombe, and the route veered off back to Beer here. In true British fashion, we all neatly and orderly queued up to go through.
There were so many marshals, all happy, all positive, although they must have been freezing and desperate for a hot bath and strong drink. We had been told to thank each of them as we ran past them and I heard so many people do this, I’m sure it must have got a bit annoying for them after a while! But I hope they all felt very appreciated.
We began to pass the runners behind on our return, cheering happily, all colourful against the sparkling snow, and all seemingly smiling, although I found it difficult to see at all in parts with the snow smattering my face….
Back through the caravan park and I was a bit tempted to stop at the makeshift Darkplace Bewery bar (the name seemed a bit ironic in all that bright snow) and have a sample…I saw others there but bet they didn’t hang about for long…
The homeward stretch, into Beer down the slippery road, along the coast path amongst the trees, branches heaving with snow, down the steep track into the outskirts of Seaton and back through the streets, through the park and down the hill to the finish line where, with the adrenalin pumping, I decided to sprint the rest…hmmm, the finish line seemed to fade away in the distance, I was sure it was closer than that just now, and my legs said no way would they sprint, so a jog to the finish line and the folk handing out bananas, flapjacks, and goody bags. Then a hot coffee.
This will certainly be a race to remember, and despite mutterings I heard of bystanders saying we must be mad (probably), I thoroughly enjoyed it, and by the look on everyone else’s faces, they did too.”