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Forest of Dean Half Marathon - 30 March 2014

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The Striders went down to the woods today and came back with a lovely prize…..

An early start with the clocks moving forward, but this did have the benefit of keeping the temperatures down for the start of the Forest Of Dean Half Marathon on this beautiful sunny March Mothers Day. The race had a festival upbeat buzz right from the start as the growing number of Striders congregated in the registration area. 13.1 miles of undulating (hilly) trail lay ahead, some bits pretty stony, and despite the recent months of rain, thankfully not muddy.

The trail, terrain and fast downhill start did not get the better of the striders. Jo Wilkie used her fitness and strength carried over from her successful cross country season to earn the position of 1stStrider and 7thfemale at 1.33.19, the 2ndStrider and 10thfemale was Alice Johnston whose first race post injury did not disappoint in a super quick time of 1.34.29.

Amanda Steer and Rachel Vines also took their cross country strength, to the Forest, running together from the start until Steer continued her recent run of outstanding performances and pulled away at mile 10 to be the 3rdStrider and team scorer in a time of 1.36.00, making her the 13thlady. Wilkie, Johnston and Steer took the team prize with CLC Striders being the first affiliated females.

Vines was next, 17thlady in 1.36, Amelia Mullins had another strong run earning 35thlady in 1.41.29. Helen Howes had a good return to racing after a long break at 1.52.25.

Despite the challenging course Rebecca Boulton had an amazing run and earnt a PB in 2.00.12. Nicola Christian, 254thlady, in 2.00.38, used the race as part of her final weeks of London Marathon training. She was accompanied by Nikki Smith, 255thlady, 2.00.40, who ran with Christian after a prolonged injury.

Wilkie, Johnston, Steer, Vines and Mullins also won teeshirts for being in the first 50 female finishers.

Not to be outdone the boys also had some great performances, (even after the anonymous consumption of a pre race prep 99 with flake. You will remain anonymous). Ross Greening led the boys home in 1.39.56. Hot on the heels of Greening, Rob Bircher continued his recent run of outstanding times, taking a PB at 1.39.59, Bircher and Andrew Paterson took their cross country strength and recent success in the night time forest races for Paterson to earn a very respectable Half Marathon debut time of 1.42.12. Stuart Barr continued with the PBs at 1.42.26.

It was a lovely race, followed by a picnic in the sunshine. The support by the Howes and Mullins family was much appreciated along the route. I think I speak on behalf of everyone to say a great day was had by all. We will be back.