The Pebblebed heaths are amazing locations for running and we’re hugely lucky to be able to use this location for one of our races. A lot of the paths we will use are ideal for trail running being wide and reasonably good footing (though watch out for larger stones). There are still enough interesting and technical bits to keep it fun and challenging including bits of mud and water. Although unless there’s been a lot of rain there’s normally a board walk available where there’s water present as most areas drain really well. The course is fairly undulating and has a few short sharp steep ramps and one longer climb on the nine mile race. The race HQ is a modern Equestrian centre and has plenty of toilets and showers. Showers are pay per use and 50p.
The Pebblebed heaths are amongst the most important conservation sites in Europe due to the rarity of the habitats and species supported. The Pebblebed Heaths have been occupied by people since at least the Bronze Age, when turf cutting, burning and grazing helped turn the once wooded area into the sweeping open landscape that we love today. Though semi-natural, heathlands have high wildlife value and support species that are rarely found elsewhere. Heathlands are now so rare in Europe that there is a particular need to protect those few areas that remain to ensure the survival of this distinctive landscape, as well as the specialised species that depend on this habitat. For more information on the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust please visit http://www.pebblebedheaths.org.uk/
The Pebbledbed Heaths Conservation Trust encourage sustainable recreational use of the heaths and value public enjoyment of the area and the connections people make with the landscape. We are pleased to be working with Flying Fox Running to enable people to experience the heaths in a different way. The nightjar, from which the race takes it’s name, is one of our key species on the Pebblebed Heaths. An iconic bird that returns from Africa each summer to breed and raise young on the heaths. These nocturnal birds can been seen on summer evenings hawking for food and the unusual churring song of the males creates waves of sound across the heaths.
Woodbury Common, one of the commons through which we will race has a spectacular iron age hill fort at the north of the site. It’s referred to as a cathedral of Birch due to the mature trees which now cover it. Currently the Commons are for training by marines from the nearby commando base. The 1549 battle of Woodbury Common took place there, this was a part of the Prayer Book rebellion. When Devon and Cornwall revolted after the introduction of the Book of Common Prayer. A move deeply unpopular in majority Catholic areas. The Duke of Somerset sent an army of German and Italian mercenaries to put down the revolt.
The race is starts and finishes at Bicton Arena. With a short run through the cross country course and onto a country lane before reaching the start of the Commons which comprise the Pebbled Heaths. A similar route is used to return to the Arena towards the end of the race once the sections on the Pebbled Heaths are complete.
There will be at least one aid station on the 5 mile course and two on the 9 1/4 miles. There will also be an aid station at the end. All aid stations will have at least at least water and sweets. Plus normally fruit and savoury bits to.
The course will be well marked with plenty of signs with reflective elements, as well as marking the turning we also have signs to warn a turn is coming up and to block off wrong directions. As well plentiful signs we have a breadcrumb style trail which lets you know you’re on the course.
Terrain & Course
Terrain varies from small bits of tarmac and road, a lot of pebble paths as well as mud paths some exposed rocks and a fair amount of grass. Some of the paths have been repaired with loose stone. With the time of year we’d expect trail shoes to be a good idea but watch the group Facebook page for updates in the week of the race. Depending on how the weather has been there may be the odd large puddle and shallow streams on the course.
The ascent on 9 mile course according to the Ordance Suvery mapping app we use to plan the course is 350m and on the 5 mile course is 200m. You can see the courses on the OS website 9 mile here and 5 mile here.
These distances are approx and the long course may be slightly over and the short course slightly under.
The race HQ will see the start and finish of the race. Several points on the course will see the race multipe times and can be accessed by short walks from the commons car parks. Check the course route for details (above) or look at the fly through below.
You will need to wear a head torch to race and carry spare batteries or a backup torch, a limited number of which will be available to hire or buy on the night. We recommend emailing to book.
All finishers will receive a finishers medal for the 5 or 9 1/4 miles. Food and drink is available at the end, not just on aid stations on the course.
Age limits 16 and above for 5 miles, 17 and above for 9 1/4 miles.
Chip timing on the finish line.
Time Limit 2h for 9 1/4 miles
Race Limit 300 (combined total)
5 miles is £21 affiliated or £23 unaffiliated
9 1/4 miles £23 affiliated or £25 unaffiliated
10% of the cost goes to the Trust for the conservation and management of the Pebblebed Heaths
Canicross – Yes, 20 places, starts at 7:25 before the two main races
Medals for all finishers and race crew and marshals with different ribbons for each race race and marshals.
Best dressed runner
1st, 2nd and 3rd Men and Ladies and then 1st in age cats for men and women, 40+, 50+ and 60+
Team prizes for the speediest teams/clubs on the course. With four runners to count (including at least one women).
Parking is at Bicton Arena and is plentiful but please lift share where possible.
The arena has a good changing, shower and toilet facilities which can be used by runners before and after the event.
Showers cost 50p each.
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