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Fundraising and Fun at the Pennywell Pursuit

Torrential rain and acres of mud did nothing to deter 158 trail runners taking part in the first Pennywell Pursuit 10k charity run.

Organised by Pennywell Farm, near Buckfastleigh, together with Torbay Holiday Helpers Network (THHN) the event raised more than £2000 for charity. £5 from every entry and all profits went straight to THHN but there was also a £1000 charity prize fund to compete for, donated by one of Pennywell’s neighbours, farmer George Welch.

Whilst the weather might not have been kind to the runners, they were treated to some spectacular South Hams countryside as well as a few animals to meet along the way.

The 10k race was won by 25 year old Mark Smerdon who runs for East Cornwall Harriers, in a time of 42:24. Torbay Athletic Club’s Jason Hurford was 2nd at 44:36 and Pennywell Operations Manager, Jesse Leach came in 3rd with a time of 45:51.

Jane Allison from Plymouth was the first lady over the line in a time of 50:55, closely followed by Annabelle Evans from Newton Abbot AC in 52:05 and Maria Bignell 52:35. 

The charity prize fund was split between the first male and the first female runners. £500 went to MacMillan on behalf of Mark Smerdon and Jane Allison donated her £500 winning cheque to Plymouth’s Woodside Animal Sanctuary.

  

The event raised over £1000 for Torbay Holiday Helpers Network Charity. Brian Lewis, THHN’s Fundraiser says, “We were delighted that proud THHN supporters Pennywell Farm came to us and asked us to help organise the inaugural Pennywell Pursuit event. I enjoyed helping work out the routes by running around the farm and getting lost in the woods, but we eventually found a fantastic challenging route that I knew the runners would love.

“It was amazing to see how much the runners enjoyed the event, even though the weather was horrendous. The money raised will mean THHN can give more families living with serious illness and bereavement, a memory making holiday, to gain some memories to treasure forever, a big thank you to Pennywell Farm and all who took part.”

All finishers received a bespoke Pennywell piggy medal and there were also trophies for the first 3 men and women. There was also a 1 mile fun run before the main race with 70 children taking part, which some of the 10k runners took advantage of as a warm up to the main race.

The 10k was a very challenging and tough trail run, made more challenging by the huge downpours. Some of the more senior competitors on the day, Ray Brown 70 and his wife Tess 61, who both run with Torbay AC, captured the spirit of the event perfectly saying, “We haven't had as much fun since we fell in the slurry pit during a thunderstorm at our farm!” 

Pennywell’s owner Chris Murray says, “There are already calls for this to become an annual event. It’s brilliant how our neighbours allowed the run to go across their land so that we could create a magnificent and very different 10k route.

“We see first-hand how the THHN money is used when they send families to visit us. The charity really does sow seeds of joy that create eternal memories and we are proud to support them.”

Click here to read more about Pennywell Farm


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