Exe to Axe 2017: Tony from couch to 22 miles

If you’ve every wondered how much good training and determination can really do for your running, here’s the living proof: Tony, who started in Bridport Runner’s 2nd beginners class ‘From couch to 5k’ three years ago, completed the gruesome 22 miles long “Exe to Axe” last weekend and thanked his coach afterwards: “A big thanks to Brian who gave me confidence to run.”

Tony remembered how he began running about three years ago, starting ‘Couch to 5k’: “Approaching 50, slightly overweight, it has not come easy. So now for my first 20+ miler, the Exe to Axe. Described as a very hard Southwest coastal run. But you’ll never know just how hard, until you take part.” In its 15th year, the event was once again hosted and well organised by Sidmouth Running Club. The “brute of a race with some extraordinary views”, according to RunnersWorld April edition, is as tough as it can get. Club mate Dean agrees: “I think that was the most brutal run ever.” And Dean was lucky, as he finished the course from Exmouth to Seaton as the first Bridport Runner in about 4 hours 22 minutes. See all the final results here and the picture gallery on the following page.

Together with Dean and Tony, four more Bridport Runners undertook the challenge: Brian, John Riley, Ben Loudon and Hagen. Ben was, by the way, the only Bridport Runner who completed …… the whole course in two consecutive years and knew what was coming ─ still that didn’t make it any easier, as Ben commented: “The first 9 miles went fine as we tried to take it easy. Then you get to the hills and steps and more hills and more steps. I joined up with Tony at about 14 miles, and we ran/walked/got cramp together to the end. I think the heat made it harder this year. It’s a great very tough event.” So it comes as no surprise that the run was taking its toll, and unfortunately Brian and John had to pull out of the race earlier.