MEMBERS of local running clubs have crossed the Channel to race in Europe.

Rob and Anna Freeman from the Five Acres-based Forest of Dean Athletic Club (FoDAC) five miles from Monmouth went to the Portuguese capital to run the Lisbon Half Marathon, which starts on the famous Vasco di Gama bridge – the second longest bridge in Europe.

This year the race was run in unusually warm conditions with temperatures rising to about 30 degrees by the end.

The runners run the first couple of miles on the bridge before following the coast, then entering the old town and finishing at the Arco de Triumfo da Rua Augusta.

Rob completed the event in 1hr 43 min and Anna finished in 2hrs 17min.

A group of 12 runners from three local clubs – FoDAC, Spirit of Monmouth and Monross Trail Blazers – made their way to Germany to take part in the Munich Marathon Relay.

They ran in three teams with runners completing their legs of various distances of 5.8km, 10km, 11.2km and 15.2km.

The relay starts and finishes in the iconic Olympic Stadium, which provided a fantastic backdrop for the runners and the route takes in the city of Munich, with large avenues, the English Garden, the famous Marienplatz Square and many more well known landmarks.

The first team to finish was made up of Martin and Debbie Blakebrough and Jeremy and Fiona Creasey.

They finished in an outstanding time of 3 hours 30mins. Second to finish were Brian and Stef Francis and Brian and Vicky Evans who finished in a time of 3 hours 45 mins and the final team to make it across the line were Marina Wright, Emma Davies, Andy Hillis and Rich Alcock in a time of 4 hours 15 mins.

The runners said that the weekend, during which they also included some parkrun tourism by running the Munich Westpark parkrun, was a memorable experience.

Closer to home Forest of Dean AC runners took part in the Blaze the Biblins a local trail race, hosted by Monross Trailblazers.

A tough and hilly run around the Doward, the race includes a long uphill section, known as the Demon Hill and some treacherous single-track downhills, testing the runners’ endurance.

First FoDAC runner to cross the line was Jullian Bailey-Gard, who completed the course in a time of 45:40.

He was followed by Jim Storrar, 48:58, Owen McLoughlin in 52:06 and Heather Swiss, 57:56.

All four runners were second in their respective age categories. Next to finish was Jacqui Wynds in a time of 1.02:33, which gave her the category win – a day after she completed the Cotswold 10k trail race with fellow club members Wendy Lawrence and Emily Gwilliam and Mandy Knott who completed the race in 1.11:24.

The winter cross country season started last weekend and a strong men’s team travelled to Pembrey for the first race in the Gwent League.

Peter Woodward, Colin Parry, Will Smith, Dan Sandford, Scott Berry, Julian Boon, Rhys Asbridge, Vince Edwards and Jim Storrar took part in the race.

The team came 42nd overall for the first league race, the were ranked 21st in the Masters 35 category and 12th of the Masters 45 category.

Juniors Travis Edwards and Cam Breeze took part in the U13s race were they placed 11th and 62nd respectively and Danielle Wilson and Isabella Smith represented FoDAC in the GirlsU13 race coming 18th and 23rd.

Cory Sherwin, once again proved his continuing good form with and outstanding run at the Great South Run 10-mile race in Portsmouth, finishing in a personal best of 54:39.

Mandy Knott also took part in the race and crossed the line in a time of 1.35:46.