By Martin Elcoate
Our first TGR’s community member blog.
Martin has provided us this insight into his running adventures in the South West of England and focussing on his travel carbon footprint. This is the first blog by a community member and we are sure it will not be the last.
I run to explore. During the working week it’s a case of running from the front door, these shorter runs providing a way to unwind, and to keep me in shape for exploring. But come long run day, it’s a case of deciding where to explore. Sometimes it’s back on to an old favourite, a chance to run without thought to direction. However, given the option, I prefer the unknown. Having lived in my corner of Devon (in and around Exeter) for over 50 years, you’d have thought I’d have literally run out of options without jumping in the car and heading further afield. But I’ve found a way to keep my carbon emissions low and keep exploring – I go training.
I’m lucky in that I live a mile or so from Topsham rail station. Armed with a map (the OS maps on the Outdooractive app to be specific), I plan routes from stations. Sometimes it’s a case of running home from where ever the train takes me. On other days I’ll find a loop (or plagiarise someone else’s route from Strava – cheers Adharanand Finn). Here are a few of my training runs. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to go for a training training run…
Okehampton station – reopened in 2022, this station offers a whole host of opportunities.
Within a few kilometres I’m on the open moor. Fancy a run to the highest point in the SW England? Aim for High Willhays. Fancy run through oak woodlands, alongside a tumbling river? Head for the East Okement River. Want to go for longer then combine the two. Longer still? Plan a 50km plus route back to Topsham, something I’ve done a couple of times. Or cross the moor north to south and get the train home from Ivybridge.
Dawlish, Teignmouth and Paignton stations – access to the SW coast path or perhaps the quiet lanes and paths that lead to the River Dart. And, of course, opportunities to run home along the coast and back up the Exe estuary.
Honiton station – faced with big hills in all directions on the edge of the Blackdowns, I’ve used Honiton as the dropping off point to run home. Either via a reasonably direct route over the hill to the Otter valley before climbing up and over the pebblebeds commons (c 35km) or the longer way home via Beer on the South West coast path (a specific training training 65km run for the 2022 Jurassic Coast 100 miler).
Tiverton Parkway – a great access point to the Grand Western Canal where you might spot Jo Pavey on one of her favourite routes. Or 50km back to Topsham, a reasonably level run alongside the canal before picking up the River Exe.
And there are so many more options I’ve yet to explore, all without leaving Devon.
#AdventuresFromTheFrontDoor #LowCarbonRunning #TheGreenRunners
Training by Martin Elcoate