THE Spring Trails half marathon attracted 1,300 to the Forest on Sunday (April 2) from as far away as Yorkshire and Northern Ireland.

Local runners included members of the Forest of Dean Athletic Club, Newent Runners, Cinderford-based Run Forest Run and some “Forest Mums”.

The rain had stopped the day before and the course was not too muddy, and the conditions were perfect for running. A slightly different final mile onto the finish at Speech House field this year worked beautifully.

The race, organised by the Rotary Club of the Royal Forest of Dean had a slightly different final mile as the runners returned to the Speech House.

The first mile was past Heat of the Forest School along the road towards the Barracks until turning right into the forest and down to the Cannop valley.

The rest of the 13.11-mile half marathon course was entirely on forest trails.

The first Forest of Dean man to cross the line was Marcus Bennetto of Forest of Dean Athletic Club in a time of 1:18:30 and seventh overall.

Clubmate Amy Freeman was the first Forest of Dean female was Amy Freeman in 1:38:05.

FoDAC’s Anthony Marshall was first in the MV60 category in 1:23:01.

Niki Morgan was the first woman from Chepstow Harriers to finish.

Her time of 1:31:50 was also the fastest in the FV55 category.

Ross Howells was the first of the Harriers men to finis.

He was 42nd overall in a time of 1:30:09.

Vicky Howells was the first female from Spirit of Monmouth Running Club home in a time of 1:46:22.

The only male runner from the club, Martin Blakeborough, finished in 1:43:10.

Matthew Hall was the first runner to finish from the Monross Trailblazers club.

He was 74th overall in a time of 1:34:30.

The first female from the club was Alice Taylor.

Her time of 1:36:50 put her second in the FV35 category.

There were two athletees from Newent Runners – Ruth Hayden-Cox and Andrew Callard – who finished in times of 1:39:00 and 1:37:55 respectively.

Lee Gratton of Rugeley Runners finished in an astonishing 1:10:28, completely smashing the outright record. Jacob Landers of Tamar Trotters was second in 1:12:33. Jacob Tasker of Ogmore Phoenix Runners came in third in 1:13:16.

Hannah Cowley of Cheshire Dragons was the first woman across the line in 1:27:53. Caroline McAleese of Vegan Runners UK was the second woman in a time of 1:28:30. Ellie Evans of Team Bath Athletics Club was third in 1:28:44.

In addition to winners’ trophies, the Rotary Club of the Royal Forest of Dean awarded medals to all finishers, and tee shirts for the first 50 over the line.

The Trail Running Association, who have adopted this race to be the British Trail Running Championships - Short Distance event also provided top three medals for both male and female categories.

Charlie Sharples, renowned winger for Gloucester Rugby ran in a very creditable time and afterwards in conversation on the field congratulated the club on a great event.

The whole event is run by volunteers who included local Explorer Scouts who were working towards their community badge.

They acted as marshals in the main car park and staffed water stations.

A Rotary spokesman said: “The funds raised by this race go to support many local charities, while many runners are running for their own charities, too.

“The Club is proud to be able to support the Forest community and the funds raised by the Rotary Forest of Dean Half Marathon enables it to do so with real purpose.

“The Club would like to congratulate all those who ran, helped towards the event and those who made the day a success.

We can now look forward to the next event: the half marathon and 5k on Sunday September 24.