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Run Report – 26 Feb 2024

Running the Hameldown Hammer Half or the Hammer 7EVEN, organised by OuterEdge, is always an exciting prospect.  When you enter the event around December time, winter hasn’t quite hit yet, but you have a fair idea that running across Dartmoor in late February could be quite the adventure.


The day before the race it was clear that the conditions would be wet, wet, wet.  We were told that the ground was saturated and would be slippery so we would need additional wet weather gear.


In the event, a group of 4 Bovey Valley Runners took part in the races. Howard Brugge and Victoria Latham in the Hammer Half, a half marathon, and Sally Shoolbraid and Lynsey Rowe in the Hammer 7EVEN,7 (turned out to be 8) miles run.  


The race starts in Widdecombe and is a long, slow, climb up to the Hameldown ridge.  From there, the Hammer Half takes sweeping routes around Grimspound and the Hameldown ridge to form roughly the shape of a hammer (some might say it looks more like an axe!). 


There is not a lot of flat running on the route and the elevation is over 2,300 feet in total.  The weather conditions made it feel at times like a battle of wits of (wo)man against the elements. 


There was wind, there was driving rain, and the moors were sodden and covered in water and soggy patches of bog.  For long periods of time it felt like the racers were running through streams and running became more of a shuffle. 


In amongst some pretty tough moments of running there were also positive moments.  Dartmoor looked atmospheric in the rain and mist.  Racers passed a group of youngsters out for their 10 Tors practice walk, and it looked like they would be out for a lot longer than the runners. 


The marshalls were all unfailingly positive and supportive.  Fellow runners were friendly and there was a definite sense of us fighting our individual battles against the weather.  On finishing the Hameldown Hammer Half, our BVR runners were feeling happy.  Maybe just the relief to be down from the Moors and the prospect of a hot shower and cup of tea, or maybe a sense of achievement from having completed a really tough trail run. 


One BVR runner commented that she was already keen to run it again next year.  Another BVR runner was heard calling it the Hameldown Hammer horror.  Either way, this was not a race we will forget in a hurry!


The results for the BVR runners were as follows:  In the Half Victoria Latham 2:44:42, Howard Brugge 2:48:25, and in the 7Evern Sally Shoolbraid 1:54:01, Lynsey Rowe 2:01:55