Steve Way runs another world best and Jez Bragg returns to form

Steve Way wins the Barry 40 Mile Track Race
Steve Way wins the Barry 40 Mile Track Race

BAC is very fortunate to count Steve Way and Jez Bragg, two nationally and internationally recognised Ultra runners, amongst its athletes. Both Steve and Jez competed this weekend, displaying the talent we all admire.

Steve ran in, and won, the Barry 40 Mile Track Race on Sunday 20 March, a gruelling 161 lap event which is the longest Ultra race in the UK.  Steve‘s aim was to beat the World V40 best time of 3.59.24.  Controlled, disciplined running resulted in a race win in a time 3.54.52 – objective achieved!  Steve‘s first words to Sarah, his wife, as ever present to support him, of “I’m back” were highly appropriate!

Jez Bragg, appropriately number 2, on his way to 2nd place in the NF50k
Jez Bragg, appropriately number 2, on his way to 2nd place in the NF50k

The previous day, Saturday 19 March, Jez ran in the New Forest 50k race, part of the New Forest Festival of Running, consisting of a variety of off-road races.  Jez has had to put up with a number of ailments and niggles recently, and this particular race was not in his original schedule.  However, at a very late stage, Jez felt in sufficiently good form to enter this race, and so ran without any specific preparation, and without the taper usually considered necessary for such a distance.  So it really demonstrates Jez‘s ability that he finished second, of a total of 72 (and a number of DNFs) in 3.40.47.

Well done to Steve and Jez – we are very proud of you!

Steve Way wins the Barry 40 Mile Track Race
Steve Way wins the Barry 40 Mile Track Race

Inter-Counties XC, Bath & Silverstone HMs, Larmer Tree Marathon and Brutal Duathlon

Anthony Clark (3rd) and Jon Sharkey (winner) in the Larmer Tree Marathon
Anthony Clark (3rd) and Jon Sharkey (winner) in the Larmer Tree Marathon
The Cross Country season drew to a close at the weekend with the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Cofton Park Birmingham.  BAC was represented by Brandon Meredith competing for Dorset at a national event for the first time.  Brandon put in a steady run over a long hilly course coming 237th from 250 in the U17M category. Over to Brandon for his thoughts, “there was a very high standard of competition, I was really impressed by how professionally run the event was, how well the course was laid out, the attention to detail, complete with paramedics on quad bikes!”  Bridget Dence was running in her sixth consecutive championships and dug in for a solid 43rd from 267 in the U17W.  Once again the Dorset team performed admirably finishing 9th from 34 counties in this category including a podium finisher.  The BAC contingent was completed by three competitors in the SW team, Nikki Sandell 140th, Heidi Tregenza 143th and Joy Wright 234th from 249.  Dorset is going through something of a renaissance in cross country at a junior level, with real strength in depth and competition for places in each team.  The U13G team finished in an admirable 4th place from 41 counties, not bad for a small county!  Well done to all.

Turning to the road, BAC was represented this weekend in a number of races, including the Bath Half Marathon, which Steve Way completed in 1.10.01 to finish 13th, and 1st V40, of 11,318 competitors. More information about this, and about Steve‘s training, can be found on his blog at www.steveway.co.uk.  Also running a half marathon on the same day, Sunday 13 March, was Andy Gillespie, who ran the distance at Silverstone in 1.39.16, 799th of a total of 6750.  Two weeks earlier, Andy had competed in the Meon Valley Plod, which was at its muddiest, hilliest best, finishing 77th of 280.

Two off-road events saw BAC representation over the weekend.  The Larmer Tree Marathon on Sunday 13 March was won by Jon Sharkey in 3.06.19, with Anthony Clark third in 3.08.52 (of a total of 302).  Jon, Anthony, and the 2nd placed athlete, Ian Hammett from Bedford Harriers AC, ran together for 19 miles, at which point it turned into a race between Jon and Ian, which Jon won with 25 seconds to spare.  Anthony, however, who is training for the Anglo-Celtic 100k Plate which takes place in less than two weeks time, 27 March, in Perth, stuck to his pre-race plan to maintain a steady effort, and rolled in looking very comfortable.  The day before, 12 March, Damian Boyle ‘enjoyed’ the magnificent Purbecks scenery in the Brutal Duathlon 2016, the first time Damian has competed in a duathlon wearing the BAC vest.  Damian says that Ross Smith “has nothing to fear” and that he “did well on the run, but apparently it isn’t enough just to own a bike!”   Nevertheless, Damian was 5th, and 1st V45, in 1.37.12, against a winner’s time of 1.29.08.  The penultimate competitor completed the course in 2.25.26, with the final duathlete obviously having a difficult time, finishing in 4.12.39.  The organisers clearly had very patient timekeepers!

Anthony Clark (3rd) and Jon Sharkey (winner) in the Larmer Tree Marathon
Anthony Clark (3rd) and Jon Sharkey (winner) in the Larmer Tree Marathon

Wimborne 20, English Schools XC Championships and Mud Man 2016 Duathlon

They're off!! The inaugural Wimborne 20 gets under way
They’re off!! The inaugural Wimborne 20 gets under way

Well done to Wimborne AC for bringing a 20 mile race back to Dorset! The inaugural Wimborne 20 took place, based at Gaunts Common, on Sunday 6 April, with a strong BAC presence, and several BAC individual and team wins. Steve Way was the overall winner of the race, with Emma Dews winning the ladies’ race. Both the mens’ and the ladies’ team trophies were won by BAC, the mens’ team consisting of Steve, Peter Thompson, Graeme Miller and Simon Way, and the ladies’ team Emma, Nikki Sandell and Gemma Bragg. Steve, of course, won the 1st V40 prize, with Peter, who was 2nd overall, winning the 1st SM prize. Other prizewinners were Simon Way, 1st V50, Emma, 1st FV40, and Nikki (who was 2nd lady overall), 1st FV35. Results (BAC): 1. Steve Way 1.53.55; 2. Peter Thompson 1.54.37; 6. Graeme Miller 2.05.24; 7. Simon Way 2.05.41; 11. Jez Bragg 2.08.26; 14. Sanjai Sharma 2.10.35; 23. Emma Dews 2.14.00; 25. Anthony Clark 2.14.44; 30. Nikki Sandell 2.18.03; 31. Gary Woolnough 2.18.26; 40. Gemma Bragg 2.23.58; 46. Ross Blakemore 2.26.37; 67. Tony Hunt 2.37.31; 72. Caroline Rowley 2.38.12; 134. Helen Ambrosen 2.56.48. There were 225 finishers.

More Photos from the Wimborne 20 below……………………

Bridget Dence after an impressive run at the English Schools XC
Bridget Dence after an impressive run at the English Schools XC
The prestigious English Schools Cross Country Championships were held on Saturday 5 March in the majestic setting of Wollaton Park Nottingham. 2,000 athletes compete across six age groups at the event and a start line of up to 350 athletes in each race makes for an impressive sight.
BAC was represented by Bridget Dence running for the fifth consecutive year. Bridget finished in a very creditable 33rd place from 307 in the Senior Girls race. She was the second Dorset girl home in a strong team, finishing in an excellent 9th position from 37 counties. There is no grading of counties according to size at the Championships and Dorset girls finished ahead of many larger rivals including Hampshire and the metropolitan areas of London and Greater Manchester, a magnificent achievement, and as a result, they won the Sidney Rose Trophy, which is for the winning team of counties with up to 100,000 secondary school pupils.  The last time Dorset won this was in 1983, but the growing strength of the Dorset Cross Country girls is demonstrated by the fact that at the Championships last year, at Blackburn, Dorset girls were 2nd in the competition for this trophy, but still a massive 500+ points behind the winners, Somerset.  Hopefully this form will continue, and perhaps next year there may be more BAC athletes supporting Bridget as part of the Dorset team.  But, in the meantime, well done to Bridget for her contribution!
Ross Smith Human Race Overall Winner's Trophy 2015-16
Finally, another BAC winner is Ross Smith, who continues to excel in off-road duathlons.  On Saturday 5 March, Ross was 2nd in the Mud Man 2016 Duathlon, which took place on Army Military Training Ground at Camberley, Surrey, on a course described as “stony, muddy, hilly” taking in “dirty trail runs”.  This race was the third of a series of Duathlons (the previous two being the Wild Man and the Ice Man!) and Ross finished the series as the overall series winner – well done!  On Saturday, Ross was second of 127 finishers and, needless to say, there were numerous DNFs!
Back to the Wimborne 20……………………………….
Steve Way
Steve Way
Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson
Sanjai Sharma
Sanjai Sharma
Anthony Clark
Anthony Clark
Nikki Sandell
Nikki Sandell
Gary Woolnough
Gary Woolnough
Gemma Bragg
Gemma Bragg
Caroline Rowley
Caroline Rowley
They're off!! The inaugural Wimborne 20 gets under way
They’re off!! The inaugural Wimborne 20 gets under way