7 Sep

Brown Retains His Crown On The Downs

City to Sea Marathon

Roy Brown retained his City to Sea Marathon title from Exeter to Torbay with an astonishing winning margin of almost 20 minutes on Sunday (3 September). The Maverick Runner powered away from 250 competitors, and Matthew Bird (UKRunChat Exeter) simply flew round to dominate the 34-mile ultra marathon option taken by 50 endurance athletes.

Even the most weather resistant locals described conditions as particularly inclement, with persistent rain and a strong headwind that ensured the race would not be a pleasant run to the coast. The event is organised by the Torbay Holiday Helpers Network (THHN) to raise funds and awareness for their charity work. THHN provides free holidays to families who have seriously ill children or who have been recently bereaved after the loss of a child. 
Starting from Exeter’s Exwick playing fields the event features two options – a 26.58 mile marathon and a 34-mile ultra-distance run – finishing on Babbacombe Downs at Torquay. 
The first 17 miles were flat through Powderham, Starcross and Dawlish Warren, before getting a bit lumpy at Dawlish. The competitors then progressed into Teignmouth by way of the sea wall, against a strong easterly wind.
An unusual aspect of this race is that many runners opt for a change of footwear to trail shoes at Shaldon, where the course changes dramatically as it joins the hilly and often muddy South West Coastal Path.
Brown (M45) took the marathon prize in 3:22:36 with Jason Hurford (Torbay, 3:41:54), Ryan Benney (Torbay, 3:54:24) and Matt Hart (North Devon, 3:55:21) also inside four hours. Liz Sampson (4:33:32) and Jayne Angilley (W55 Cornwall, 4:36:31) led the women's race.
The extra eight miles proved no obstacle to Matthew Bird (5:13:18) who was followed at a respectful distance by Mark Gregory (5:29:21) and Matt Carroll (5:31:15), from Rugby and Northants. Annika Longthorpe (Teignbridge Trotters, 5:47:15) was an impressive seventh overall to annexe the women's award from Lisa Martin (Harwell Harriers, 6:36:35).  
Full details are available at runABC South race listings.
Image courtesy THHN