Forest of Dean Half Marathon

Race Reports

Well we couldn’t have had a more beautiful day to run on – such a difference from the
wind, hail and rain of a week ago and a substantial change from last year’s race which was
cold, damp and miserable! Competing events meant that only 7 Croft runners (Emma &
Greg Jones, Ashley and Jasper Robinson, Nigel Taylor, new member Dianne Wynne and
myself) turned up for this popular and well-organised Half Marathon that winds its way
along the roads and trails of the Forest of Dean. Either it was the sunshine, or the fact, it
also incorporated the Trail Running Association Championship (short distance) but numbers
were well over double than last year with competitors seemingly from all over the country.
Conditions were exceptionally good with virtually no mud at all making road shoes arguably
the best option. With the added numbers, it took several seconds (a minute in my case!) to
get over the starting line and then a little while along the road before the crowd thinned out
enough to pick up speed. My first mile was certainly a lot slower than I would normally do
but probably beneficial in the long run. It was also a bit tricky to overtake people easily
when we turned off the road onto a fast downhill track but by about the 3-mile mark
everyone was more spread out and running became easier.

This is a lovely race for anyone who wants to be in the woods and mainly off the roads but
still be able to set a decent pace running on a hard-packed surface. There are a few uphill
drags but nothing too challenging for those of us used to the hilly Herefordshire League
courses! There were regular water stations, great marshals and plenty of onlookers to cheer
us on. This was the fifth time I had run one of the Forest of Dean Half Marathons (and
although pretty happy with my time as I’m still carrying a niggling injury ), the increased
numbers, harder-than-normal surface and long straight stretches of trail, slightly detracted
from my overall enjoyment, although I am sure I will be back to do the Autumn race in
September which I prefer.

Some good chip times were recorded by our Croft runners:- Greg Jones (MV40) ran strongly
to be our first man in 1:37:17 (very close to his PB, I believe). He was followed closely by
Nigel Taylor (MV50) in 1:37:31 who had a great race. Emma Jones FV45 (running only her
second half marathon) continued to improve greatly, finishing in an impressive time of
1:41:05 and coming 4 th in her age category. Ashley (MV60) – who obviously hasn’t realised
he’s getting older and should be slowing down!! – sailed in with a PB of 1:45:12. I (Jo M)
managed 1:48:05 and new member Dianne Wynn (also FV50) was very pleased with her
1:54:17. Finally, Jasper Robinson completed the Croft contingent with 2:08:10 – a great
time with very little distance training beforehand I believe (–oh for young legs!!).

The fastest male overall was Ben Livesay (MV40), Notts AC in 1:10:44
The fastest female was Georgia Wood FV35 (almost 7 mins ahead of the second female)
from Bournemouth AC in 1:21:51

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