Cannock Chase Running Festival:Sun shines on runners as they tackle forest course

The runners were ready for the off as they prepared to race around an area of natural beauty.

The runners in the half-marathon set off on their challenging course
The runners in the half-marathon set off on their challenging course

Hundreds of runners descended on Cannock Chase Forest to take part in the Cannock Chase Running Festival 2022, an opportunity to test themselves over 5K, 10K or half-marathon distance on a challenging course amid beautiful scenery.

Stephanie Hall, Olivia Brazien and Stephanie Meadows from Alsager Running Club were there to provide support to runners

A crisp and sunny morning greeted the runners, with many taking the opportunity to arrive early to get their race numbers and take in the surroundings, as well as warm up and chat with other runners ahead of their events.

Each runner who completed the course would walk away with a medal from the event, as well as a host of fond memories of the run.

Every finisher would go home with one of the medals

The runners had travelled from all over Staffordshire and, in a number of cases, further afield, with running vests for Gateshead Harriers among those on display.

For people like Rachael de Oliveira, it was an opportunity to take on a positive challenge, with the 42-year-old, from Swadlincote in Derbyshire, saying she was running in her father Dennis's memory.

Rachael de Oliveira said her father's memory would spur her on in the half-marathon

She said: "I'm really excited about today and getting ready to do the half-marathon, for which I've done the training and followed the diet and I'm getting ready for the off.

"My father passed away last year and I wanted something to aim for, something positive to do and to aim for and while he wasn't a runner, he loved his sport and I know he's behind me."

Other runners were taking on the shorter distances, such as Nicola Brammer, although the 47-year-old from Burston, who was running with her husband Andrew, said it was due to having a brand new hip.

Andrew & Nicola Brammer get ready to tackle their respective events

She said: "I had a hip replacement seven months ago, so this is my first race since the operation and the recovery.

"I just love the camaraderie of this, with all the banter and the feeling of achievement and it's great to have such a race here because the scenery is stunning and it's a nice way to start the morning."

Donna Bristoll, from Kingswinford, was also taking on a running challenge, having not done a proper race in five years, but said it was nice to do a proper race, rather than a virtual one.

Donna Bristoll said it was a great challenge for runners of all types to take on

The 40-year-old said: "It's nice to be able to run around a country park and, because my partner lives two minutes away, it's somewhere I've very familiar with, so it'll be nice to switch off and just run.

"You do get a real buzz being here and being surrounded by hundreds of people who are equally as nervous, but all want to do well, whether they are club runners or just people like me who chuck on gear and go for it."

Race director Lucy Russell said it was the first time the event had taken place and had been chosen due to being a beautiful venue and a really good, undulating course.

Race director Lucy Russell said the event was a great opportunity to bring people together

She said: "We have some events where we just have one type of event, but we decided to do all three today as it would bring a variety of people in and meant we could get as many competing as possible.

"It's amazing to be here as we've been building slowly since Covid restrictions were lifted and it's nice to be able facilitate an event where we can all get together in nice weather and go for a run."

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