How it all started

In Autumn 2004 Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers mused about their portfolio of races and Flyer, Zac Hollis coined the idea of racing in Marston Vale Millennium Country Park. The Flyers Committee embraced the opportunity and the Forest Centre were quick to jump on board. The calendar was checked and the Flyers settled on a 5K that would double as a sharpener for the County 5K Champs a fortnight later at Cranfield. The race would be called the "Marston Vale Forest 5K."

2005 Marston Vale Forest 5K

Zac was keen to see his idea come to fruition and willingly accepted the mantle of Race Director.

The inaugural Marston Vale Forest 5K took place on the evening of Friday, 24 June 2005 against the backdrop of a torrential rain.

In fact, there was question about whether the course would be fit to race but thankfully the deluge stopped late afternoon and 249 of the 288 entrants turned up.

Terry Stanley (Bedford & County) was first back in 16:14, pursued by unattached runners Dan Merckel [2nd] and Trevor Watson [3rd] who tussled over the final stages. Bedford & County AC also won the Ladies Race with Louisa Tanner clocking 17:50, while Louise Waldman (London Heathside) and Christine Smith (St Albans Striders) finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Kieron Lewis [17:32, 7th] and Michelle Morris [21:07, 8th] flew the flag for Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers.

In the Men's Team Competition a Bedford & County's Terry Stanley [1st], Andy Blair [4th] and Matthew Raw [5th] collected medals for a score of just 10pts, while a Bedford Harriers combination of Andrea Ward [7th], Carla Fisher [9th] and Bev Ward [10th] netted the Ladies Team prize.

Runner's World forumites rated the event at 84% overall, which seemed pretty healthy for a first stab.

2006 Marston Forest 5K

The Flyers kept the formula much the same apart from stiffening the team of officials and bumping the race limit. On 23 June the weather was much kinder and entries swelled to 338. Athletes flooded into the Country Park and were expertly parked by Forest Centre staff and volunteers.

Race winner Matt Janes enjoyed the company of his Bedford & County team mates for the first 2K but a change of gear saw them fall off the pace to leave Janes chasing the clock. 15:01 and Janes smashed the Men's Course Record - impressive stuff given a 4 months absence enforced by injury.

Combined with the talent of Neilson Hall (15:30; 2nd) and Steve Philipps (15:50; 3rd) B&C bagged the Men's team prize with an aggregate score of just 6. Familiar names finished in the next 3 minutes to break each of the men's category records.

In the Ladies Race, Andrea Ward (19:10) led Kim Bolland (19:58; 3rd) and Veronica Singleton (20:45; 4th) home to bag the Ladies Team prize and remind all that the Harrier's are force to be reckoned with. 2nd Lady was impressive Tanya Taylor (Milton Keynes AC) who also set a new record (19:53) as 1st Junior Lady.

Adam Peters (16:22; 7th) was first back for the Flyers, racing his first 5K, followed by Matt Jones (18:12; 22nd) who stuck to the task and shaved a second off the Flyers Junior 5K Record. Caroline Gilby (21:41; 15th) flew the flag for the Ladies Team and 18 of 28 Flyers recorded new PB's.

Once again attendance was unusually high (305; 90%) and the feedback was glowing (Runner's World: 92% overall). However, we still realised that the event but there was still room for improvement. First, the event needed a shorter title, hence the reason why the

2007 race was called the Marston Forest 5K. Also, the race needed a home on the web, and there was a general feel that a BBQ would turn a good race into a great family evening. We think that 22 June 2007 proved the last point but there's still space for a few tweeks.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 November 2013 21:23