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Bunny Hop 2022

It’s a sell-out return…

…for one of Shapwick’s great community events. The Shapwick Bunny hop is organised and run by villagers, for villagers and local runners across the county and further afield.

The long awaited return of this gruelling 7.5 mile
trail race after two hard Covid cancelled years did not disappoint. The sun mainly shone as 133 runners took on the challenge to race the boundaries of Shapwick; through farm and field, footpaths and lanes, gates and stiles, across the Heath and back up into the woodland of Canada Farm.

Some elite runners took advantage of the near perfect conditions (no wind and temperature of 14 centigrade) to record staggering times.

Mike Cowell was the overall winner and fastest male with an incredible 43mins 01 (the course record of 41:55mins remains intact), while Laura Meech of Clevedon AC took the victory as fastest female with 54mins 48 seconds. There were an incredible five runners who came under the magic 50minute barrier and thirty six runners who came under 60 minutes.

With prizes awarded across all the age categories and PBs aplenty, it was a day of celebration and epic achievement for many runners with an array of participation from many famous local running clubs including; Weston AC (12 runners), Wells City Harriers (7 runners), Burnham on Sea Harriers (18 runners), Street Striders (17 runners), Cheddar Running Clun (10 runners), no excuse Flo & Co (9 runners). It’s testament to the great running tradition in Somerset that so many turn up in such numbers from so many local running clubs.

It was a much anticipated changing of the guard in terms of the local runners as Jay Anderson smashed into a 7th place finish with an incredible time of 52mins 25 seconds, followed by fellow Shapwick Village Boy Ioan Manning. The next generation of runners has well and truly arrived, showing the old guard how its done with tracksuits and beanie hats very much the new order. Huge congratulations to Jennifer Tweedy (just a few years older than the boys) for achieving a massive course PB on the day and collecting the prize for 1st female local runner.

This event could not happen though, were it not for the magnificent local volunteers who provide such brilliant support both before and during the event; from race day organisation, running the junior events, the race marshals, the refreshments and wonderful cake donations at the village hall, the timekeepers, the support of local farmers and landowners alike.

This is a true community event. Notable was this year there was a real mix of first time helpers, village newcomers and experienced volunteers. The village really does come alive on race day and there is no greater sight than 130+ runners walking up to the start line up Station Road. Thanks also to the generous donations that enable this non profit event to support great village causes – with this year’s donations going toward the Village Defibrillator.

I spoke to a runner in the warmup who had travelled over 100miles to return to make his Bunny Hop return having last participated in 2019. When I asked why he came back his answer was:

“to see Shapwick, to see if anything has changed… and nothing has…it’s still the most beautiful village I know. It’s just a brilliantly organised local trail race that has kept all its original character”.

The Shapwick Bunny Hop is well and truly back!

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