Bridport Jurassic Coast Run: Athletes brave the storm in new record number / Ruth Barnes repeats last year’s victory

Neither gales, rain nor mist can stop a hard bunch of runners, especially not Ruth. Inspite the drop in temperatures, mist up Thorncombe Beacon and sheets of rain, 167 runners started in last Sunday’s sixth edition of the Bridport Jurassic Coast Run – a record attendance and an increase from last year’s 154 contestants. Winner of the half-marathon race was, once again, Ruth Barnes repeating her victory from last year.  The athlete, starting for Avon Valley Runners, finished the two loops of the tough course along the Coast path in adverse weather conditions in 1 hour 39 minutes and 5 seconds. Fastest male runner over that distance was Benoit Morkel, a guest student from Namibia, in 01:41:28.

Winner of the second race over 10k was Neil Wicks from Worcester Tri Club in a time of 44 min. and 22 sec. – a new course record from the time of 46:01 min. set in 2016. Fastest female finisher over 10k was Sarah Orr from Wimborne AC in 57:37 min. Once more the races had been organised by local community groups Bridport Runners and Brit Valley Rotary Club and for the first time was chip-timed with support of sports technology firm Full On Sport.  

Please find here all provisional results of the half-marathon and of the 10k and continue to see the gallery more pictures of the event. (pictures by John Dobinson, Graham Sutton and Clive Whaley with courtesy of Bridport Runners. Thanks, guys!).

Fell race status draws in local running clubs

Another debut was that the two popular 10k and half-marathon races had been certified as fell races under the rules of the Fell Runners Association. Fell racing is considered one of the toughest forms of cross country running. So it came as no surprise that the races drew especially the attention of many local running clubs: The biggest groups came from Axe Valley Runners, Sidmouth Running Club, Avon Valley Runners and Crewkerne Running Club. Youngest starter in the whole field was 20 year old Ellie Kirtley, oldest runner was Rosemarie Osborn, 72 years of age. 

There were also awards for the fastest veteran runners (60 years+) for both genders. Quickest veterans over the half-marathon distance were Graham Newton of Axe Valley Runners (2:03:42) and his fellow club runner Eleanor Wood (2:05:35). In the 10k, Kevin Lomas (52:22) for the men and his wife Madeleine Lomas (57:48) for the ladies from Charnwood AC dominated their age groups.  

The races started from the harbour promenade at West Bay, then leading runners all the way up to the second highest hill on the South Coast, Thorncombe Beacon, down to Seatown (half-marathon runners only) and back through Downhouse Farm, Eype to West Bay. The half-marathon consisted of two loops – meaning the participants had to do the gruesome climb up Thorncombe Beacon twice! 

“An established community event and recommended race in the Southwest”

Even though some runners had been nervous before the start and were inquiring via Bridport Runners’ Facebook page about weather conditions and correct footwear the days before, all participants finished the races. One posted afterwards on Facebook: “Big shout out to everyone today for completing a tough half-marathon in challenging conditions. Big thank you to all the marshals for giving up their free time and being out in the horrific weather so we could race safely.”

Commenting on the event Bridport Runners’ Chair Brian Shelley said: “Looking at a new record in numbers of participants, I think it is fair to say that in its sixth year, the Bridport Jurassic Coast Run has established itself as a community event and a recommended race among club runners from all over the Southwest.”

Sponsors of this year’s Bridport Jurassic Coast Run were Rachel’s Seafood Kiosk, Patrick Tuck Building & Plumbing and Townsend Powder Coating. All three firms are companies from Bridport and West Bay and supporters of local sports.