It was a cold, crisp, wintery day. The ground tinged with a glistening white coat. Icy, slippery and precarious but at the same time alluring and inviting. Perfect conditions for a rumble in the New Forest. The Maverick Race brought it’s notorious brand of trail events to Hampshire‘s wooded wonderland.

With the choice of a ‘Short’ 6km route, a ‘Middle’ distance at 13km and a ‘Long’ distance at 22km, there was something for everyone to get to grips with. Provided they could get any grip on the icy surfaces.

Bournemouth AC had representation in each of the three races, with fairly recent recruits Tom Ralph and Neil Smith going ‘Long’. After knocking the bike racing on the head, Ross Smith has returned to Bournemouth AC, which most of the long standing members of the road runners group will be happy to hear.

Ross hit great heights with his biking, representing Great Britain in cross duathlon races and travelling all over the world to compete in different tournaments. He was particularly talented at off-road, cross country biking. But it was a very time consuming hobby, maintaining the bike and getting all the right gear. With running it is much more simple. No equipment needed, other than a pair of sturdy trainers to get over the uneven ground.

Ross was taking on the ‘Middle’ distance 13km route. And of course, no local Maverick event would be complete without Emily Coltman featuring in the ‘Short’ race. Emily has a history of vying for the top female placings, even though she’s still only 16.

Jason Coltman in the Maverick New Forest 'Short' race

Jason Coltman was running with his daughter Emily in the ‘Short’ race

Emily loves cross country and this year has already competed in the Dorset Schools’ Championships, where she came 17th, and the South West Regional Championships, where she finished 27th. She is always a regular in the Wessex Cross Country League as well and finished 3rd in the Under 17 category for the 2022 season.

The races started from Roundhill Campsite in Brockenhurst with most the trails being of a gravelly sort of surface. The routes were billed as being fast and flat but there were a fair few undulations to negotiate.

Neil Smith and Tom Ralph in the Maverick New Forest 'Long' race

Neil Smith and Tom Ralph were taking on the Maverick New Forest ‘Long’ race

Tom and Neil weren’t really treating it as a race as such. They used it as more of a steady run and just enjoyed the route and socialised as they went along. Tom completed the course in 1:56:59 which put him in 150th place out of 312 finishers. Neil arrived shortly after to take 152nd place in 1:57:08.

The route was just over half marathon distance and the elevation gain reached 1,115ft so there were a fair few lumps and bumps along the way.

Neil competed in both of the Boscombe Winter 5k Series races towards the backend of the year and also took part in a few of the Maverick events that were staged in Sussex.

Tom ran well in the Stubbington 10k to complete the course in 42:23 and was third scorer for the team in the Hampshire Road Race League. Tom hadn’t done too much running over the last quarter of the year after completing the London Marathon in October, so he was still very much working his way back to form.

Mike Wright won the ‘Long’ race in a time of 1:22:44 which was just enough to give him a 6 second gap over Luke De-Benedictis who is a very accomplished trail runner.

Neil Smith and Tom Ralph at the Maverick New Forest

Neil and Tom were treating it as more a social run than a competitive race

Ross did pretty well in the ‘Middle’ distance race, getting through the 7.65 miles in 51:12 which put him in 8th place and was enough to secure him the prize for 1st vet. It was quite a close call for that as well, with Duane Matthews finishing just behind him in 51:17.

Tim Parker picked up the race win by quite an emphatic margin, clocking a magnificent time of 40:20. His nearest challenger, Matthew Merrick was 2 minutes 45 seconds behind. There were 259 runners successfully complete the ‘Middle’ distance race.

It was a decent comeback run from Ross and he was really pleased to be pinning a race number of again in a foot race. Ross’s average pace for the run was 6:42 and it was only the fifth mile where he went over 7 minutes for the split. That mile contained quite a tough hill though.

Jason Coltman competing in the in the Maverick New Forest 'Short' race

It was a proper frosty, icy, wintery morning at the New Forest

In the ‘Short’ race, Emily Coltman was running with her dad Jason who has been helping out with the training sessions for the Bournemouth AC juniors on Tuesday nights. They ran extremely well to complete the 6km course in 26:19 and 26:20 which put them in 4th and 5th positions. That was in a field of 92 runners.

Emily Coltman in the Maverick New Forest 'Short' race

Emily (left( ran well to finish as 2nd female

Emily was 2nd placed female after Ellen van Leeuwen who finished 3rd overall in 25:35. Jason was 1st vet, even though he’s in the M50 category, so it was a terrific result for him as well.

Emily Coltman after the Maverick New Forest 'Short' race

Emily coped well with the challenging conditions

It was a Junior, Francis James who claimed a comfortable victory, clocking a time of 22:48, with Daryl Smith taking 2nd in 24:18.

Jason Coltman in action at the Maverick New Forest

Jason came in as first vet in the 6km race

Tom has signed up for the Salisbury 10 at the end of March, which is another Hampshire Road Race League fixture, and is contemplating doing the Lytchett 10 in February.

Emily Coltman stretching at the Maverick New Forest

Proof that Emily does do her stretches after running, whatever the weather

Ross has signed for the Jurassic Express 16k which goes from Swanage next weekend. The route for that one heads along the Jurassic Coast Trail to the ruins of Corfe Castle. Then the following weekend he’ll be in for the Hampshire Cross Country League race.

Jason and Emily Coltman after the Maverick New Forest 'Short' race

It was a proud day for Jason and Emily after they came 4th and 5th in the ‘Short’ race