For a good few weeks, Richard Brawn had been searching for a 10k race in the local area. It was a distance he hadn’t done in an official race since the Weymouth Bay 10k back in March so he was desperately keen to seek one out in order to measure his progress. That search eventually led him to the D’urberville Dash, which is takes place in Wool.
The D’urberville Dash is a multi-terrain course, incorporating a testing mix of forest tracks, fields and country roads. It is mildly undulating but predominantly flat, with one large section of downhill road where you can really stretch the legs.
One of Richard’s main goals at the moment is to run a sub 40 minute 10k which is something he’s still yet to achieve. He knew that wouldn’t be feasible on a tricky off-road course though so was just hoping to get as closed to 40 minutes as he could.
As it turned out, the race did actually sell out, due to an influx on entries on the day, bringing the number of registered entries up to the 400 mark. This seemed to take the race organisers by surprise, as they hadn’t been expecting the late surge of interest. In fact, they didn’t even have enough t-shirts to supply one the whole field.
That aside though, the organisation of the race was excellent and the route was very well marshalled and marked out throughout. Despite a lot of rain in the two days leading up to the race, the route had been thoroughly checked and given the go ahead.
It quickly became apparent to Richard that it was going to be more like a cross-country run than a fast road course. After the road section that ran for the first three quarters of a mile, the route then turned through a field and then into the woods.
The path through the forest was very narrow, with very little room to overtake. It was important to find the right moment if you did need to pass anyone, which Richard successfully did on the first woodland section.
It was on another forest track leading up to the end of third mile that Richard again found himself behind someone. With the track being so narrow, it would have been difficult for Richard to pass the guy in front who was slowing down quite considerably.
This stretch of running below the threshold gave Richard some much needed respite and once they came out of the wood and back onto the road, he was able to then power on, having recuperated some energy.
At the half way mark there was a drinks station and Richard had already decided not take on board any water and to use this as an opportunity to keep his race rhythm going and push on. That was exactly what happened and Richard was able to accelerate away and build up a decent gap between himself and his nearest rival.
Unfortunately, the group ahead had already extended their gap too far whilst Richard had been held up in the forest for him to catch them. He spent the rest of the race on his own, although he did almost catch one other competitor towards the end.
After the long downhill stretch of road on the fourth mile it was then back into the woods and along the same paths that the runners had trodden on the way out. Although it was well marshalled, Richard was still a little edgy about going the wrong way since there was no one else in sight.
Luckily he successfully managed to navigate his way to the end of the forest and through the field before hitting the road again for the last half a mile.
Richard gave everything he had in the final dash toward the finish and was ultimately pleased with his time of 41 minutes 35 seconds. This put him in 22nd place overall and 5th in the M35 category.
He was also particularly chuffed with the bright orange t-shirt he received at the end of the race, as well as the great selection of homemade cakes they had on offer.
After a string of recent successes, including wins at the Red Bull Wings for Life, the Poole 10k and the Portland 10, Jacek Cieluszecki decided to take things up a notch and tackle the Eiger Ultra Trail 51k race.
The Eiger Ultra Trail is set in Grindelwald, Switzerland and is thought to be one of the most challenging races in the Swiss Alps. The E51 Panorama Trail incorporates a height difference of 3100m and is famed for the stunning panoramic views that can be seen atop the Faulhorn summit.
The first 18km is all ascent, as the route goes up toward Grosse Scheidegg and beyond. There is another sharp climb from 21 to 24k which takes the runners up to the highest point of the race, Faulhorn, at 2680m. The course then begins a long descent down to Schynige Platte before heading all the way down to Burg Lauenen at 43k. It’s then 8km up to the finish.
With most of the top contenders in the race belonging to dedicated mountain running teams, Jacek knew he was going to have to be at his very best to achieve any kind of result against these experienced mountain racers.
Fortunately, Jacek was at his very best and put in an astonishing performance that saw him finish in 5th place overall with an incredible time of 5 hours 29 minutes and 12 seconds. This was out of field of 499 men and 185 women. There was also a category for couples, with 62 pairs completing the race. Jacek also claimed a place on the podium as 2nd placed vet.
It was a very pleasing result for Jacek, who was tentative in the lead up the race after his previous attempts at mountain races had not gone as well as he’d hoped. This time it was different though. He’d done some quality sessions on the Purbeck hills and had practiced and honed his downhill running technique. Jacek believes that the key to his success was being able to go fast on the descents.
There are actually four different races to choose from in the Eiger Ultra Trail event. E101, E51, E35 and E16 – each referring to the distance in kilometres. Jacek’s wife Ela, who is also an accomplished long distance runner, entered the E35 race.
Despite taking a fall at one stage on the scarily fast and technical descent, Ela shrugged off the scrapes and bruises and persevered to finish as 57th placed lady in a time of 6 hours, 19 minutes and 30 seconds.
All in all it was a nice little trip to Switzerland for the pair of them – and certainly a very productive one. In fact, it was probably one of those situations where you feel like you need a holiday just to recover from the holiday you’ve just been on.
Three Bournemouth AC members featured in the Lychett Relays over the weekend, with Peter Thompson and Billy McGreevy forming part of the “Marathons for the Mind” team and Sanjai Sharma being drafted in as a late replacement for the Hamworthy Harriers Kings team.
The event was organised by Lychett Manor Striders and the race featured teams of five people with each team member completing one lap of the 5k course. The winning team would be the fastest accumulated time once all five have finished. There were separate categories for Mens, Ladies, Mixed and Juniors.
The course was a lovely scenic route round the Holton Lee grounds at Holton Heath. It was entirely off-road, with surfaces consisting of heathland footpaths, grass and a short stretch of tarmac.
Billy and Peter were in a Men’s team with three others. Billy kicked things off with a very quick leg, clocking a superb time of 17:41. He then passed the batten onto Leigh Genco, who was then superceded by Gareth Hale and Nigel Halligan.
Peter Thompson ran the final leg for team “Marathons for the Mind” and put in another very fast lap, registering a time of 18:13. This shows Peter has recovered well from his incredible 44 marathons in 44 days adventure across Europe and it hasn’t put him off running at least, which is good news for BAC.
This put the total combined time for “Marathons for the Mind” at 1 hour, 46 minutes and 55 seconds. They were the 11th fastest team overall and 8th best men’s team.
Sanjai ran the first leg for his team and put in another very strong performance, completing the course in a time of 18:23. Once the other four Hamworthy Harriers Kings had finished their laps, the total combined time was 1 hour 48 minutes and 50 seconds. This put them in 15th place overall and 10th best men’s team.
The event had a real fun and inclusive feel to it, with the participants encouraged to bring friends and family along to socialise in the lovely surroundings and enjoy some drinks for the bar, as well as a barbecue and home-made cakes. There was a disco later in the evening and even camping available on site.
As well as the showpiece relay race, there was also a Minithon, for the kids. This enabled Billy’s 15-month-old daughter Grace to take part in her first ever race. She seemed to be a natural, so this could well have been the launch of a budding BAC career. In fact, Billy says they are targeting the 2036 Olympics, so watch this space!
The IAU 24 Hour World Championship took place over the weekend with Bournemouth AC’s Pat Robbins in action for Great Britain. Pat was one of a team of 11 that had been selected to represent the nation at the event that was staged in Belfast this year.
Just to be selected for such a prestigious event was a huge accolade for Pat and would give him the opportunity to pit his wits against some of the very best ultra runners in the world.
The course was a flat 1.7km loop around the lake at Victoria Park and the aim was to complete as many laps as possible, which equates to covering as much distance as you can within the 24 hour time frame. The winner would be the competitor who has covered the most distance.
Despite the extraordinarily high standard of the field, Pat had high hopes of finishing well up in the standings. All was going smoothly for the first half of the race, so up until about 12 hours in. Unfortunately it was at this point that his attempts were about to be derailed.
He first began to feel a pain in his quads. This was then followed by some stomach cramps. Pat believes the quad pains can be put down to the hilly 100 miler he did 12 weeks prior.
He got some treatment on the legs and the stomach over the next couple of hours and persevered. Another factor that made it difficult was that the timing system was down for most of the race, meaning the runners had very little idea how they were actually doing, besides the estimations of the team management.
At the 20 mile mark, Pat was lying in 52nd position having completed 120 laps and covered just over 123 miles. Although this would have still have been a fantastic achievement in a field of 290, it wasn’t where Pat wanted to be. Since the treatment he’d received for his quad and stomach issues though, Pat had got a second wind and was determined to finish the race strongly.
Over the last four hours, Pat began to really put the hammer down and power his way up the standings. In fact, his finish was so strong that he gained 19 places, ending the day in 33rd place overall.
Pat completed a phenominal 145 laps by the time the 24 hours had elapsed giving him a grand total of just under 150 miles. This was a quite incredible distance to cover by any standards and made Pat the 28th best male.
Considering where he was after the quad and stomach issues, this was a seriously strong finish and Pat can take a lot of heart from that. He was also the second best Brit, after Steve Holyoak who managed two more laps.
In terms of the men’s team competition, Great Britain finished in 8th place out of 28 nations, amassing a total of just under 716 kilometres between them.
Pat wasn’t the only Bournemouth AC connection to the race. Paul Consani was also present at the event, acting as a member of the crew for his brother Marco, who was also competing for team GB.
Marco finished the race in 60th position, completing a total of 32 laps, equating to just under 136 miles. This was another very impressive performance.
Showing they are a family of amazing running talent, Marco’s wife Debbie Martin-Consani was also in the race representing Great Britain. She finished as 39th best lady, racking up a total of 123 laps, so almost 127 miles.
All three should be very proud of their efforts. Running constantly for 24 hours is always going to be a monumentally difficult task, whatever your level of fitness and running background may be. Pat’s exertion is the latest of a string of ultra competitions where Bournemouth AC members have excelled on the world stage, once again demonstrating the great calibre of athletes that the club possess.
“Let’s just say I’m now quite familiar with that route” was Stu’s rather humerous response when asked how he got on at the Littledown Marathon on Sunday. For those of you who don’t know, the course for the Littledown Marathon is very simple. It’s the marked out one mile circuit at Littledown Park, 26 times over!
It’s a route that is often used by Bournemouth AC for Thursday night training runs. In fact, only last week a group from BAC were doing a session there which involved a few laps of the Littledown loop. Whilst in the recovery phase, they were contemplating how hard it would be to run around the course 26 times. That was the challenge that Stu Nicholas took on on that hot and sunny Sunday morning.
Although it’s flat by nature, the surface is quite uneven at Littledown Park which does actually make it quite tough to run around. Plus it’s mostly grass as opposed to concrete. The approach Stu was going to take was to just switch off and let his legs go on autopilot and just hope for the best.
The conditions were quite cool at first but it soon heated up. Stu had his partner and his brother on hand to give him some much needed encouragement and they thoroughly enjoyed their morning basking in the sunshine whilst Stu was racking up the mileage. In fact there was great support all the way around from onlookers which really helped him to keep going and stay focused despite the repetitive nature of the race.
Stu liked the idea that it was going to be a mental challenge as well as a physical one, which would make it different to your average marathon. He handled it by breaking it down into chunks, so doing six first, which meant he had 20 left. Then another seven laps took him to half way. It was getting a bit monotonous towards the end but Stu did well to persist and maintain the pace.
In fact, Stu did so well that not only did he complete all 26 laps and the full marathon distance, he finished in second place overall with an incredible time of 2 hours 54 minutes and 55 seconds. That’s an average mile page of 6 minutes 40 seconds.
The chap who was leading the race faded towards the end as well and Stu was closing in on him fast but in the end he just managed to beat Stu to it, finishing a mere eight seconds ahead.
Nevertheless, it was still a mightily impressive performance from Stu and he can be very proud of his efforts. He’s now demonstrated that he can handle a very testing mental challenge as well as a difficult physical one.
Admirably, 60 out of 62 competitors completed the full distance in the end, with the longest taking just under seven hours to finish.
After the race Stu celebrated with a dark chocolate Magnum ice cream and a pint of ale in the Saxon Bear in Christchurch. Both very well earned after a tough morning’s work. Rumour has it that Stu is already looking forward to the next training session at Littledown Park.
As the day of the Portland 10 came round many Bournemouth AC members were dreading the prospect of the tough, hilly route they were about to negotiate. As anyone who is familiar with the Isle of Portland will know, there is very little flat surface, meaning a very taxing 10 mile race was inevitable.
The fact it was a Dorset Road Race League fixture meant that Bournemouth AC had to get a team of at least five men and three ladies together in order to count in the all-important team competitions.
As always, BAC team captain Rich Nelson battled to scrape a team together, which he eventually managed after a fair bit of chasing and hounding. Ian Graham was down to do the event initially but had had to pull out due to injury. In the end Alex Goulding reluctantly stepped up to complete the mens’ team and they were good to go.
The race started near Portland Red Triangle Cricket Club and after a lap around the central area of the isle it then worked it’s way down to the most southerly point, Portland Bill, with it’s instantly recogniseable and iconic lighthouse. From there the route went steadily back up toward the centre of the isle before finishing with part of a lap round the cricket ground.
It turned out to be every bit as tough as the elevation graph suggested. Everyone found the constant undulation with very little respite between inclines extremely tough to contend with. Everyone except Jacek Cieluszecki that is.
Jacek set off at a blistering pace leaving all the other competitors trailing in his wake. By the time he reached the two mile mark, Jacek and already opened up a considerable margin over his nearest competitor. That gap would only grow as the race went on.
Jacek’s unassailable lead meant that the only battle he really had was to keep himself going knowing that race win was surely sewn up. By the end of race, Jacek had opened up an advantage of almost five minutes on the second placed runner. The race organisers could scarcely believe it as he crossed the line in an astonishing time of 54 minutes 24 seconds, tearing up a course that should really have been a very slow one on paper.
Another BAC member who had an exceptional race was Tom Paskins. Tom has been in sensational form of late and managed to turn in yet another superb performance to finish in 8th place with a time of 62:10. Again, on a course this tough that is some achievement.
Tom had sited that he had been incorporating more hills into his training of late after noticing a weakness in that area compared to others around him. That additional hill focus definitely seems to be paying off and Tom is now reaping the benefits of correcting that flaw.
In fact, Tom was having an interesting tussle throughout the race with Iain Trickett of Dorset Doddlers. Iain overtook Tom at first but Tom was able to find some extra strength in order take his place back. However Iain responded by getting past once again near the end and managed to hold on, finishing ahead of Tom by just four seconds. Iain is widely regarded as one of the top distance runners in the area so to be battling him for placings demonstrates the great progress Tom has been making of late.
Alex Goulding wasn’t overly enthusiastic about hitting the hills of Portland but Rich managed to twist his arm in the end. Alex came into the race off the back of a hard training session with Andrew Ridley the previous day after bolting round the Bournemouth parkrun course in lightening quick pace as usual.
These exertions wouldn’t have helped Alex as he struggled to get to grips with the undulating route at Portland. He set off at a steady pace hoping to be able to pick it up a bit later on in the race. Sadly he found his energy levels wavering and he was unable to attack the race in the latter stages as well as perhaps he could’ve done on fresh legs.
The 10 mile distance is also a little further than the shorter distance races that Alex prefers but he decided to take one for the team on this occasion. In the end he did not disappoint either, still managing to secure a top 10 finish, which is quite an achievement in such a high standard field. His time was 63:25 which, although it didn’t impress Alex himself, most people would have been overjoyed with a result like that.
In the women’ race, Nikki Sandell was having an intriguing little battle of her own with Isobel Rea of West 4 Harriers. This was for 1st placed lady. Nikki had been leading the way up until around the 6 mile mark when Isobel caught her up.
An interesting head-to-head battle ensued with Isobel eventually managing to escape on the final climb. Isabel recently completed the Comrades Marathon, an 86km ultra in South Africa featuring many of the world’s top ultra runners, including Bournemouth’s very own Steve Way. This gives an idea of the kind of prowess Isobel has, so to be battling her is again a testament to Nikki’s excellent form.
Nikki’s finishing time was a season’s best of 67:59 which again, given the profile of the course, is a magnificent effort. This put her in 32nd place overall.
Next over the line for BAC was Richard Brawn. Richard has been in great form of late, recently securing a new half marathon PB as well as a couple of new parkrun PB’s. Richard started off relatively well but began to fade as the race went on.
Struggling to cope with the seemingly continuous elevation, he lost a fair few places in the latter stages and in the end was happy to finish just under 70 minutes with a time of 69:54. This put him in 45th place.
Fifth scorer for the mens’ team was Jud Kirk. Jud again didn’t manage the sort of time he would expect from a 10 mile race but given the difficulty of the course, his time of 74:10 was still a decent effort. This was enough for 66th position on the day.
Shortly afterwards Linn Erixon Sahlstrom arrived, securing a superb time of 75:13 in her first ever 10 mile race. Linn is more of an ultra runner by nature so the 10 mile distance to her would be classed as a short distance. Linn was the 6th lady over the line and was 70th overall.
Completing the ladies team, Yvonne Tibble managed yet another category win, adding a Portland Bill tea towel to her ever increasing collection of prizes. Besides being 1st V55, Yvonne was the 8th lady to finish and placed 74th overall with her time of 77:36.
In terms of the team competitions, Poole AC won the mens’ with four members in the top ten, in comparison to Bournemouth’s three. There didn’t seem to be a women’s team prize but if they’re had been it would’ve gone to Bournemouth with all three ladies finishing in the top ten.
Considering the struggle that it was just to get a team together, this would have to go down as very successful outing for BAC. Hopefully there will be more interest for the Rock Around The Rock 10k, which is also in Portland, as well as the other future Dorset Road Race League fixtures.