Snowdonia Marathon, The Stickler, Great South Run, Abingdon Marathon and Parkruns

Jez and Gemma Bragg at the Snowdonia Marathon 2015
Jez and Gemma Bragg at the Snowdonia Marathon 2015

Pouring rain for at least the first hour made a tough event even tougher for Jez and Gemma Bragg as they competed in the Snowdonia Marathon, a 26 mile race in the most mountainous area of Wales, involving an ascent of almost 3000 feet. Of the 1500 who completed the race, Jez was 46th in (in his own words!) “not a great time” of 3.06.47, and Gemma ran an amazing 3.34.53 to finish 233rd.  Most of us would have been ‘over the moon’ with Jez‘s run, but he has been beset recently with injury problems from which he is now, happily, recovering, and Jez sees his run as “another positive step towards a return to health and a return to fitness”.  Jez is, of course, one of the top and best known Ultra Runners in the country, and we are very proud of both Jez and Gemma, and delighted that the BAC vest was there to be seen in such a prestigious event so far from home!

The next day, the BAC vest was on display nearer to home in the 21st running of the Stickler, an off-road, just over 10 mile, race starting and finishing at Shillingstone.  It’s tough, but it might be pushing things a bit too far to compare it with the Snowdonia MarathonDamian Boyle was the first BAC athlete to finish, 26th of a total of 416, in 1.15.52.  Nick Kenchington finished 67th, in 1.22.02, and Ian Graham was 157th in 1.32.19.  Also shown in the results as BAC was a certain Mike Hoey, 112th in 1.26.36.  Mike is an ex-BAC ‘legend’, and says he now runs “one race per year”.  He is no longer, sadly, a member of BAC, and entered the race ‘unattached’, but it seems he is still on the database of Dorset Doddlers, who organise this excellent race, as a member of the club.

Meanwhile, in Portsmouth, Rob McTaggart was 28th of the 13953 who completed the Great South Run (10 miles) in 52.42.  In 454th position in 1.08.00 was newly recruited Joy Wright, and in 1109th was Andy Gillespie in 1.14.04, not bad considering Andy‘s recent long-distance exploits and the Salisbury Parkrun the day before!

A week previously, on Sunday 18th October, Paul Dixon-Box finished 19th of a total of 709 in the Abingdon MarathonPaul describes the occasion as a “tough day, with cramp from 16 miles”.  That being so, Paul did very well to finish so far up the field, in a time of 2.48.46 – a PB by almost six minutes!

With so much going on, BAC activity in the Parkruns was limited on Saturday 24 October. In the Bournemouth Parkrun, of the 368 finishers, Ian White, Steve Cox, Jud Kirk, Helen Ambrosen and Sam Laws took part, in the Poole Parkrun, of 649, Graeme Miller was 8th and Ross Smith 12th, and, in the Salisbury Parkrun,  Andy Gillespie continued his unbroken run of supporting this relatively new venture.

 

Weymouth 10, Amsterdam Marathon, Chalke Valley 10k and Parkruns

 

BAC's Weymouth 10 Squad Jez Bragg, Graeme Miller, Gemma Bragg, Steve Cox, Louise Price, Nikki Sandell, Simon Hearn, Ross Smith, Ian Graham and Heidi Tregenza (absent - Simon Hunt and Andy Gillespie)
BAC’s Weymouth 10 Squad Jez Bragg, Graeme Miller, Gemma Bragg, Steve Cox, Louise Price, Nikki Sandell, Simon Hearn, Ross Smith, Ian Graham and Heidi Tregenza (absent – Simon Hunt and Andy Gillespie)

A few ‘last minute’ decisions to compete turned what might have been a disappointing Weymouth 10 mile race (organised by Egdon Heath Harriers) on Sunday 18 October 2015 into a successful day for BAC. Congratulations to both the Mens and the Ladies teams, each of whom won their respective Open races, and the individual prize winners. Jez Bragg (having travelled to Weymouth from Devon on the morning of the race) was the first of the BAC squad to finish (5th overall of a total field of 295), followed very closely by Graeme Miller, who won the prize as first Veteran, with Ross Smith, running his first ten mile race, the third BAC scorer. Heidi Tregenza was the first BAC lady to finish, winning the prize for second lady overall, followed 14 seconds later by Nikki Sandell, third lady overall, with the winning BAC ladies’ team (both Open and Dorset Road Race League) completed by Gemma Bragg.  The mens’ League team (of 5) completed by Simon Hearn and Steve Cox, were second on the day to Poole Runners.  There are two League races left, and, as things stand, no mens’ team in Division 1 can achieve 7 wins. BAC men have 3  wins and 5 second placings, so it could all be decided on the next two races.  BAC ladies have 5 wins so far, and one more win may achieve a win for the year, but it could still depend on how some other teams perform.  So, the importance of strong mens’ and ladies teams in the next two races, Gilly Hilly 7.5 (1 Novemberwww.gillinghamtrotters.talktalk.net) and Boscombe 10k (22 Novemberwww.bournemouthjoggers.co.ukNO ENTRIES ON THE DAY), cannot be over-emphasized!  Weymouth 10 results (BAC): 5. Jez Bragg 60.02; 6. Graeme Miller 60.08; 13. Ross Smith 62.28; 39. Simon Hearn 67.21; 42. Heidi Tregenza 68.11; 43. Nikki Sandell 68.25; 50. Steve Cox 69.20; 53. Gemma Bragg 69.45; 72. Simon Hunt 73.04; 100. Andy Gillespie; 117. Ian Graham 78.27; 130. Louise Price 80.37.  All the trophies were presented by the Mayor of Weymouth, who also handed out a banana to each race finisher!

BAC Mens Team receive their Weymouth 10 trophies from Weymouth's Mayor - Ross Smith, Graeme Miller and Jez Bragg
BAC Mens Team receive their Weymouth 10 trophies from Weymouth’s Mayor – Ross Smith, Graeme Miller and Jez Bragg
BAC Ladies Team receive their Weymouth 10 trophies from Weymouth's Mayor - Heidi Tregenza, Nikki Sandell and Gemma Bragg
BAC Ladies Team receive their Weymouth 10 trophies from Weymouth’s Mayor – Heidi Tregenza, Nikki Sandell and Gemma Bragg

More trophy winner photos below………………………..

Meanwhile, on the same day, on the Continent, Peter Thompson was showing that his excellent form continues by completing the Amsterdam Marathon in a PB time of 2.25.31, to finish an outstanding 25th, of a field of over 12,000.  Furthermore, Peter was the first Brit to finish by some 4 minutes.  Any selectors watching?! Peter is developing the habit of excelling in major events, following his win in the Maidenhead Half Marathon, and second place in the Bournemouth (Festival) Half Marathon.  Also running in Amsterdam was Billy McGreevy, who finished 645th in 3.02.27.  Perhaps a change of jobs and house move have affected Billy‘s training, as his PB is ten minutes quicker than this, achieved in London this year.

Peter Thompson and Billy McGreevy with their Amsterdam Marathon finishing medals
Peter Thompson and Billy McGreevy with their Amsterdam Marathon finishing medals

Going back one week, Jon Sharkey and Gemma Bragg competed in the Chalke Valley Challenge 10k, described as a “measured course on quiet country roads which undulate (which usually means it’s hilly) through some magnificent scenery”.  No results from this year’s race have been published, but it seems from a photo that Jon and Gemma won the respective mens’ and ladies’ races, presumably with Jon as the overall winner.  Anyway, we’ll assume that’s what happened.

Gemma Bragg and Jon Sharkey with their Chalke Valley 10k Challenge trophies
Gemma Bragg and Jon Sharkey with their Chalke Valley 10k Challenge trophies

375 runners completed the Bournemouth Parkrun on 17 October, with Emma Dews finishing 6th, and Sebastian Hearn running yet another PB to finish 7th.  Considering that the race (because that’s what Parkruns are at the front!) was won by a JM15-17, it’s no shame – quite the opposite – that Seb was 2nd JM15-17!  Also running were Ian White, Alison Humphrey, Jud Kirk and, no doubt holding himself back in  preparation for the Weymouth 10 the next day, Simon Hearn, who was this day shown a clean pair of heals by his son!  The previous week, 10th October, Paul Consani was 6th of the 356 runners, joined in the run by Ian White, Jud Kirk and Sam Laws.  At the Poole Parkrun on 10 October, Peter Thompson prepared for the Amsterdam Marathon by winning, with Karl Welch second of the total of 650.  Andy Gillespie continues his regular appearances at the Salisbury Parkrun competing on both 10th and 17th October.

Back to the Weymouth 10…………………………………

Graeme Miller receives his Veteran winner trophy from Weymouth's Mayor
Graeme Miller receives his Veteran winner trophy from Weymouth’s Mayor
Heidi Tregenza is presented with the Weymouth 10 2nd Lady trophy by Weymouth's Mayor
Heidi Tregenza is presented with the Weymouth 10 2nd Lady trophy by Weymouth’s Mayor
Nikki Sandell is presented with the Weymouth 10 3rd Lady trophy by Weymouth's Mayor
Nikki Sandell is presented with the Weymouth 10 3rd Lady trophy by Weymouth’s Mayor
BAC's Weymouth 10 Squad Jez Bragg, Graeme Miller, Gemma Bragg, Steve Cox, Louise Price, Nikki Sandell, Simon Hearn, Ross Smith, Ian Graham and Heidi Tregenza (absent - Simon Hunt and Andy Gillespie)
BAC’s Weymouth 10 Squad Jez Bragg, Graeme Miller, Gemma Bragg, Steve Cox, Louise Price, Nikki Sandell, Simon Hearn, Ross Smith, Ian Graham and Heidi Tregenza (absent – Simon Hunt and Andy Gillespie)

 

Hampshire Cross Country League, Farley Mount and European Duathlon Championships

 

BAC Ladies Team Heidi Tregenza, Nikki Sandell, Louise Price, Gemma Bragg, Emma Dews and Caroline Rowley
BAC Ladies Team Heidi Tregenza, Nikki Sandell, Louise Price, Gemma Bragg, Emma Dews and Caroline Rowley
BAC Mens Team Jez Bragg, David Long, Steve Cox, Richard Nelson, Simon Hearn, Ian Graham, Simon Hunt and Mike Farrell
BAC Mens Team Jez Bragg, David Long, Steve Cox, Richard Nelson, Simon Hearn, Ian Graham, Simon Hunt and Mike Farrell

The first fixture of the Hampshire Cross Country League (now sponsored by Alton Sports), season 2015/16, took place at Farley Mount, Winchester, on Saturday 10 October, and there is no doubt that, from BAC‘s point of view, the stars of the show were BAC‘s Ladies, who achieved not one, but two, very impressive team results. More of that later.  The first BAC vests to be seen on the course were worn by Tom Farwell and Conor Charlwood in the U13 Boys‘ race. Tom was 39th in 12.49 and Conor 54th in 13.25. Well done to Tom and Conor for competing – it’s perhaps a pity that BAC didn’t have a third U13 boy to make up a team. Then, in the U13 Girls‘ race, the BAC vest was seen again, by Anya Sandell, who was 68th in her race in a time of 15.56. Anya clearly enjoyed her first cross country race competing for BAC, and, of course, Anya stayed to support her Mum, Nikki, in the ladies’ race, and gave fantastic support to all the BAC athletes running in the following races. Well done, Anya!

Anya Sandell clearly enjoys cross country!
Anya Sandell clearly enjoys cross country!
Anya Sandell shows the determination needed for cross country running
Anya Sandell shows the determination needed for cross country running

The next race in which BAC was involved was the U17 Men, in which Brandon Meredith was 25th in 18.58, and Sebastian Hearn was 32nd in 19.42.  As in the earlier races, it was great to see Brandon and Sebastian competing, but it would have made their day if there had been one more BAC U17 man to complete a team.  The coaches work very hard to encourage the middle distance group they train to join the club and to compete, but it seems very difficult.

Brandon Meredith
Brandon Meredith
Sebastian Hearn
Sebastian Hearn

Then we came to the highlight of the day!  BAC fielded what must have been the strongest ladies team in living memory, and what a result!  With Heidi Tregenza finishing 10th in 24.45, Emma Dews 15th in 25.18 and Nikki Sandell 23rd in 26.11, BAC Ladies were the 4th team of a total of 19 complete teams (there is just one Ladies Division).  And with Gemma Bragg finishing 49th in 27.59 BAC had the security of depth in case of unforeseen problems, which fortunately didn’t occur.  In 66th position in 29.09 was Caroline Rowley, who completed the womens’ veteran team (with Emma and Nikki), which finished 2nd veterans team of a total of 9 complete veterans’ teams.  Louise Price (ever present!) finished 75th in 30.09. This was an excellent result for Louise – the total field was 129 – demonstrating her continuing progress. So, just to emphasize, BAC Ladies had two team successes at Farley Mount – 4th Senior Ladies’ team, and 2nd Veteran Ladies’ team.  Heidi went on to win the ladies competition in the Studland Stampede the next day, and it looks as if Gemma was a winner at the Chalke Valley Challenge 10k, also the next day.  More of this next week…………………….

Emma Dews and Heidi Tregenza
Emma Dews and Heidi Tregenza
Nikki Sandell
Nikki Sandell
Gemma Bragg
Gemma Bragg
Caroline Rowley
Caroline Rowley
Louise Price
Louise Price

Unfortunately, there wasn’t the same success for BAC‘s men, but well done to all those who did turn up to compete.  Of the eight BAC athletes, six were vets, the only two Senior Men being David Long and Jez Bragg – hats off to David and Jez.  However, this did mean we had not one, but two, vets teams (only one counts in the results), in a competition in which BAC vets usually hardly feature!  David had an amazing run to finish 14th (34.11), and Jez, not up to full fitness, did us proud in 70th position(38.33) (of a total of 251).  The Senior Mens’ team was completed by Simon Hearn (160th 43.06), Richard Nelson (181st 44.56) and Steve Cox (190th 45.16), with Simon, Richard and Steve making up the BAC Vets team.  The ‘reserves’, enjoying themselves on a beautiful sunny day, with perfect conditions for cross country, were Simon Hunt (201st 46.13), Ian Graham (226th 48.52) and, competing in his first cross country for some years, Mike Farrell (237th 50.52).  The end result was that BAC Senior Men are tenth of ten teams in Division 1, with 615 points, a long way behind the ninth placed team who scored 400.  The fact is that BAC would only have been 5th in Division 2! The silver lining is that a BAC vets team is on the score sheet, finishing a creditable 7th of the ten complete teams in Division 2. So, there’s a lot of recovering to do to retain our Division 1 status. We need the troops out for the next fixture, which will be at Popham Airfield, Basingstoke, on Saturday 7 November.  It’s possible there’ll only be three more fixtures (Popham, Bournemouth and Reading) to recover the position because, as yet, no venue has been found for the final fixture due on February 13th.

David Long
David Long
Jez Bragg
Jez Bragg
Simon Hearn
Simon Hearn
Richard Nelson
Richard Nelson
Steve Cox
Steve Cox
Simon Hunt
Simon Hunt
Ian Graham
Ian Graham
Mike Farrell
Mike Farrell

More photos below…………………………………

Ross Smith is 7th M35-39
Ross Smith is 7th M35-39

Going abroad for the moment, Ross Smith appears to have done well in the European Duathlon Championships, held in Spain on 11 October.  There aren’t many details (see previous report for a fuller description of the competition), but Ross finished 76th overall, and 7th in his age group 35-39, which seems an excellent result.  Ross says “it was tough in 26 degrees. My legs are battered, but it was a great experience”.  Let’s hope Ross‘ legs recover in time for Popham on 7 November!

Ross Smith is ready for the European Championships
Ross Smith is ready for the European Championships

Back to Farley Mount……………………….

Anya and Nikki Sandell
Anya and Nikki Sandell
BAC's base at Farley Mount
BAC’s base at Farley Mount

 

Free Chiropractic Treatment on Thursday Evenings

A free injury assessment and treatment service is available to ALL BAC Members, whatever their age or ability. This service is available most Thursday evenings until next summer.

Final year students from the nearby Anglo-European Chiropractic College are offering their skills and services, for free, to assess and treat injuries where appropriate. They are also available to give advice on exercises or training methods to help avoid injuries occurring and to speed up recovery.

To make use of this service, members should go to the BAC club office in advance, and sign up for a 15 minute session. Please note that any member under 18 should be accompanied by their parent or guardian during the assessment/treatment.

(It is anticipated that the free Tuesday Evening Physiotherapist service for ALL BAC Members, which ended last week as planned, will resume as usual next Spring).

Bournemouth Marathon Festival, Atlantic Coast Challenge and Parkruns

Toby Chapman is about to finish 12th in the BMF Marathon
Toby Chapman is about to finish 12th in the BMF Marathon

The third Bournemouth Marathon Festival took place over the weekend of 3/4 October, consisting of 1.5k and 2k children’s’ races, followed by a 10k and 5k on the Saturday, and a Half Marathon and Full Marathon on the Sunday. Once again the weather played its part, producing, for the most part, perfect conditions, sunny but not too hot, and not too much breeze. Apart from the children’s’ races, 7232 athletes took part over the weekend, and, as the results aren’t categorised by club, it hasn’t been easy to identify all the BAC athletes who competed, so apologies to anyone who’s been missed.  The ‘Supersonic 10k’ on Saturday afternoon was won by Karl Welch in 34.52, followed by Damian Boyle, 10th in 36.55 and Chris O’Brien, 20th in 38.15.  Both Damian and Chris knocked over 1 minute off their 10k PBs.  Also with a PB, the next BAC athlete to finish was Simon Hearn who was 37th in 39.41, 11 seconds inside his previous best time.   In 51st position was Michael Halpenny, in 41.1, and, believed to be running her first 10k, in 161st position (of a total of 1440) was Louise Price, with a time of 46.2.  In the ‘Speed of Light 5k’ on Saturday evening, Rob McTaggart was second in 16.4.  This race was quite an impressive sight, as all runners were issued with head torches, which most of them wore, which produced a continuous line of white lights which could be seen all the way along the promenade between Bournemouth and Boscombe piers.  However, the many spectators who don’t know who the athletes are would not have known that BAC had a winner in the 10k, and a second place in the 5k, as neither Karl nor Rob were wearing their club vests – why not?  The vast majority of our athletes are proud to pull on the blue and yellow vest and show their allegiance – why not all?  The next day, Sunday, both the Half Marathon and Marathon started in Kings Park, which was alive with activity from about 5.30 am!  Of the 2953 who completed the Half Marathon, in second position was Peter Thompson, who ran the course in 1.12.59.  Also running very well was Gary Woolnough, who knocked 90 seconds off his PB to finish 51st in 1.25.48.  If there had been a team event in the Marathon, BAC would certainly have been up there, as Jacek Cieluszecki was 7th in 2.35.19, and was first V35, with Stuart Fox (recently rejoined, which is very welcome news) 10th in 2.40.41 (2nd V35), and Toby Chapman 12th in 2.44.50.  Of the 1873 marathon finishers, Tony Hunt was 266th in 3.39.54. For a short video giving something of the atmosphere of the Marathon, have a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCIPhv4PZ1w (courtesy of Brandon Meredith).  The Bournemouth Marathon Festival could not have taken place without a vast army of volunteers, amongst whom BAC had a presence, including Steve Cox, Jud and Paula Kirk, Simon Hearn, Ian Graham at the starts, and very likely others along the various courses.

Meanwhile, further west Andy Gillespie was completing the Atlantic Coast Challenge, a gruelling event involving three marathons in three days, over 2/3/4 October, from Padstow to Lands End along a “wild and rugged ” course with “steep climbs and descents”.  Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan from the organisers point of view, with many competitors taking a short cut, despite numerous warnings against this, on the first day, and Andy himself having to help out a fellow competitor on the second day, which obviously affected his total performance.  The outcome is that, as Andy says, the results are “a mess and irrelevant”, and certainly they do seem rather meaningless, and it’s impossible from them to work out how anyone has performed.  Nevertheless, Andy completed the three marathons, which is quite an achievement, and brings his total marathon count up to 60.

At the Bournemouth Parkrun on 3 October, of the 363 runners, Paul Hill reverted to his traditional finishing position of second, with Ian White finishing 13th, Jud Kirk 18th and Steve Cox 27th.  Jez Bragg was the winner of the Blandford Parkrun, and Gemma Bragg was 12th of a total of 97.  548 completed the Poole Parkrun, the only BAC representative being Ross Smith, who was 10th.  Ross will be competing in the European Duathlon Championships in Spain next weekend, and we wish him the best of luck.  This involves a cycle-dominated race of three laps with 1000 feet of climb per lap, following a 4 mile run and followed by a 2 mile run.  Ross says he is ready to “smash it or be smashed”, but that it “should be fun”!

Belated report from English Schools Combined Events Championships and Photos from South West Inter Counties

Apologies for the delay in getting this report and the following photos on the website. The Combined Events took place in September, while the photos date from the South West Inter Counties in August.

Congratulations to Olivia and Verity for achieving PBs in the Heptathlon at the English Schools Combined Events Final at Bedford.

Long after many had thought the 2015 Track & Field Season had ended, Olivia Galloway and Verity Cowell had been busy continuing with their training so they could represent Dorset Schools in the Intermediate Girls Heptathlon Final which was held in Bedford on Saturday and Sunday the 19th & 20th of September.

Olivia and Verity had helped Dorset Intermediate Girls progress by winning the South West Regional Finals for Intermediate Girls in late June to qualify for the English Finals.

At the finals last weekend Olivia achieved a PB with a total of 4242 points to finish 14th. Verity also achieved a PB with a total of 3531 points, coming 29th. The Dorset team finished last of the 5 finalists.

Well done to both athletes for achieving PBs so late in the season in what is a gruelling competition at the best of times. Well done to all their coaches at BAC for the hours and hours of assistance throughout the year.

Hopefully Olivia and Verity will now take the opportunity for a belated, if brief, break of a few weeks prior to starting their winter training for the 2016 season!

 

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