FIVE Monross Trailblazers braved the freezing cold to run the Seven Sins cross country race in the Forest on Dean on 28th December.

172 runners started the race at the Wenchford picnic site at Blakeney straights, which is known as "Seven Sins" for the seven hill climbs it features on the seven mile forest trail.

The same race was run on consecutive days, so the course was already very muddy and cut up from the 156 runners who completed the course the previous day.

The race director set the runners off at 10am and the first and longest hill was on them very quickly, climbing 350 feet in the first mile.

This quickly separated the runners out and the front group established a lead they would maintain for the duration of the race.

Andy Stephens was among the lead group, running strongly from the off. Flats and descents helped the runners recover and hills two, three and four were tackled by the four mile marker.

The first of two water tunnels approached at four and a half miles and runners were routed through freezing cold water – thankfully only ankle deep. Legs struggled to shake off the cold as the short, sharp hill five was climbed, followed by hill six at 150 feet.

The runners could then hear the noise from the finish area and they rounded the trail and ran through the last water tunnel and a short climb up hill 7 to the finish line.

Andy Stephens finished in 3rd place (52:39), Barry Davies in 7th (56:50). Matthew Hall finished strongly in 22nd place (1:02:11) followed by David Knapper 31st (1:04:12) and James Fletcher in 37th (1:04:51). Vanessa Ball completed the Monross team with a great time of 1:15:05.