A select band of hardened Couriers made their way, mostly on ice, to the Forest of the Dean on Sunday 18 Dec to try their luck on that Club’s off-road Christmas Tree 5, held on an unsurprisingly wooded and muddy circuit. 
I am sure you are beginning to wonder which of this teamlet, consisting of Alison, Neil and Steve H. disgraced him/herself in the race. Well, actually none of us, though, of course, if Steve L had been running, it might have been different. No, what happened was that in the mass canicross before the human beings had things to themselves, one participant [canine, not owner] pulled up after fifty yards in the middle of the first grassy stretch to answer a particularly loud, not to say, smelly call of nature. This being a race, the owner, following Paula, felt herself relieved [as was the dog] of any responsibility to embark on clean-up operations and hurried on, face a bit redder than you would have thought for so early in the contest. And then we had to start across the very same patch of ground though, in some cases it was less like running than going through the motions.
For the record, we left with our reputations and clothing more or less unsoiled, having enjoyed the toughish course with its long downhill start and uphill finish, Alison excelling as 3rd female, Neil coming a fine 13th, still without studded shoes, how the hell he didn’t slip in the muck, I don’t know, and Steve H 25th, out of just short of 100. No category prizes which is unusual these days.
Steve H.