LESS than three minutes separated the top three finishers in the Forest of Dean Half Marathon, with MonRoss Trailbazer Rob Nicholls finishing second less than 10 seconds back on the winner.

Daniel Kennedy, who lives in the Forest of Dean but runs for Blackheath and Bromley Harriers, crossed the line in 1hr 21mins 18 secs.

Rob was just eight seconds back with Forest of Dean AC’s Marcus Benneto third in 1.24.06.

Caroline McAleese of Vegan Runners UK was the first woman and fifth fastest across the line in 1hr 26mins 53secs, followed by Chloe Williams in 1.33.33 and Sally Hall of Lliswerry Runners in 1.36.18.

Monross runner Gavin Jones crossed in 1.32.33 for 12th in the 391-field, while club mate Tony Davies was 128th in 1.55.38.

Chepstow Harriers’ Rob Beves placed 35th in 1.41.56, while club mate Jan Morris placed second over-50 woman and 58th overall in 1.45.57.

FoDAC’s Jim Storrar also impressed as second fastest over-60 man in 1.48.25 (69th), while club mate Annette Canning won the women’s over-60 class in 1.52.15, finishing a round 100.

Harriers’ Julia Bajjada placed third fastest over-50 woman just behind in 1.53.29.

In the 61-strong 5K race, the first man home was Tobi Loughlin in a brisk time of 18.02, and the first woman was Danielle Wilson in 22.44.

Spirit of Monmouth’s Steve Reason was second over-50 and eighth overall in 25.08

The field was diverse and included a couple of “dinosaurs”.

The race, organised by the Rotary Club of the Royal Forest of Dean under UK Athletics’ rules, started promptly from Speech House at 10am, followed by the 5K run at 10.15am.

Forest of Dean Rotary president Sherry Phillips thanked all those who took part, saying: “Your support means we can support others locally, nationally and internationally.”

A Rotary spokesman added: “The funds raised 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 Spring Trails Half Marathon, on March 24.”

The next big local race is the six-mile Blaze the Biblins this Sunday, October 8. See www.entrycentral.com/Blazethebiblins