New Forest National Park

Lockdown hair was flying free in the New Forest

Nearly 800 enjoy a run on the wild side with UK Running Events

Less than 48 hours before we can all finally tell our hairdresser where we are NOT going on holiday this summer, 785 competitors were able to let their lockdown hair down with a run on the wild side in the New Forest National Park on Saturday (10 April).

New Forest Half Marathon was a fully sold-out event organised by UK Running Events, hosted at the exclusive Hinton Admiral Estate, the ancestral home of the Tapps-Gervis-Meyrick family since 1726 in the settlement of Hinton, near Bransgore in Hampshire. 

Runners were able to enjoy parts of the estate never normally open to the public in three races at 10K, 14K, and the traditional 21K half marathon. All the courses were entirely off-road, through impressive ancient forests and untouched secret heathlands, on hard-packed gravel trails and paths across Burton Common, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Perhaps surprisingly, the elevation gain is minimal with only 106m of climbing in the flagship event, where there were 558 finishers in 4:52:02. The chip-timed fleet of foot at the front were Mark Saso (1:14:56), Christopher Reed (1:18:39) and Simon King (M40, 1:20:53).

The women's race was comfortably won by Libby Brewin (1:22:57) in seventh overall, from master athletes Sarah Swinhoe (W50, 1:28:33) and Davina McLelland (W40, 1:34:23). Half the field reached the finish line in 1:56:29.

The modified 14K loop was tackled by 125 runners with Joe Hulme (45:56) and Jess Folwell (59:45) leading the gender categories – Jess finishing an excellent fifth overall. 

The 10K distance was the least popular on this occasion as runners clearly wanted to soak up the scenery on a beautiful day in the Hampshire countryside. Nevertheless, there were 100 competitors with victories for Trevor Elkins (39:00) and Amber Barnicoat (44:10) – another flying female in the top five.   

Samantha Jackson entered early, was rewarded with race bib number 1 in the half marathon, and commented on Facebook: “Brilliant race even if it was a super challenging course for me, still enjoyed it. Thank you for a great set up too, and fab marshals. Felt 100% safe and actually preferred that type of start line. See you again at Thorney in November”.

Results at the New Forest Half Marathon website and via runABC South race listing 

Image: New Forest Half Marathon course courtesy UK Running Events

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