Runners Roam Free
New Forest delights for 700 trail enthusiasts…
The New Forest Off-Road Half Marathon, more succinctly known as New Forest Trail Run, is part of the Run Rebel New Forest Trail Run Series and the race on Saturday 11 November was a sell-out success with more than 700 finishers.
Strictly speaking, this is a two-race event as there is a useful shortcut that provides a course measuring 16.4K that can be entered for in advance or taken as an option on the day and there were 156 runners who were on the diversion on Saturday.
The vast majority (555 finishers) ran the full 21.4K route that starts and finishes at Roundhill Campsite off Beaulieu Road in the heart of the New Forest National Park, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that has been voted the best National Park in Europe and 10th in the world, ranking higher than the Grand Canyon!
Although there were no Grand Canyon-scaled hills to negotiate – the half marathon only gains 183m elevation – there was still plenty to challenge trail runners of all levels of experience as the beautiful course weaves through magnificent forests where you can encounter native New Forest ponies as well as horses, donkeys and deer roaming free and grazing beside the trails.
Four men maintained sub-four-minute pace per kilometre in the main event: Joshua Price (1:23:10), Mark Jeffreys (1:24:43), Alex Morris (1:25:34) and Billy McGreevy (1:26:05). The top four women were operating at 4:32 pace or faster: Kate Wilkinson (1:33:15), Pippa Morgan (1:36:31), W40 Victoria Berrington (1:38:06) and W40 Anna Duvoisin (1:38:10).
The short course winners – with a handy cut through Parkhill Inclosure that saves 5K – were Carl Fountain (1:04:16) and W40 Kelly Stocker (1:16:56).
The final finishers were home in just over three hours and all participants enjoyed the fabulous weather in the lull between storms this autumn. Take a look at this short video for an appreciation of the course and conditions...
Luke Terry, who ran 2:12:35 in the half marathon, certainly intends to return as he posted this on Facebook: "Great location for a run. Massive thanks to all the volunteers on the course for your support and encouragement. See you again".
Results can be found via the runABC South race listing here.
Photo courtesy Run Rebel Trail Run Series by UK Running Events