Chris O’Brien heads for the hills of the Winchester Half Marathon

After completing 13.1 miles in training the previous day, Chris took on the brutally undulating Winchester Half Marathon

Now working toward the latter stages of his marathon training, Chris O’Brien decided to take things up a notch and enter the Winchester Half Marathon, the day after completing a 13.1 mile training run at his intended marathon pace.

This was always going to be a tough ask in itself, but when you consider the course profile of the Winchester half it puts an altogether different slant on the achievement.

Chris described the route as “pretty brutal” and said the hills just seemed to go on forever. Whilst there were some downhill sections that helped bring the pace back up, it seemed there was always another incline to follow. “Even the downhills had sneaky little uphills in them,” Chris proclaimed.

Chris works his way up one of the many tough hills he had to face during the Winchester Half Marathon

That didn’t seem to stop Chris from clocking a mightily impressive time though, finishing in a time of 1:29:05. This put him in 23rd place overall, out of a field of 1,334. It didn’t quite match the time from his training run the previous day, which 1:27:38 but that was along the seafront, whereas the 988ft elevation gain made the Winchester race a very different prospect.

Chris had an average pace of 6:51 m/m and was also 7th in the V40 category. It’s probably a fair assumption to make though that most of those were finished ahead of him hadn’t covered the same distance the previous day.

Chris sprints toward the line to finish in a time of 1:29:05, putting him in 23rd place

Despite the strain of the undulation, Chris did still enjoy the lovely scenery and said the support from the marshals and spectators out on route was first class.

This was to be the last race for Chris before Abingdon Marathon on 22nd October, although he’ll have one more long training run before the taper. Abingdon is a flat course so that will hopefully make it easier for Chris to establish a consistent pace.

He does feel that hills are not necessarily his strong suit but Chris did feel the benefit off the strength training that he’s been doing as it helped him dig in for longer on the uphills and change up gears when it evened out and on the descent.

Chris currently has a marathon PB of 3:00:29 which he set at Manchester in April this year. He’s hoping that Abingdon will be his first sub-three hour marathon. He’s been training for a time of 2:55 to 2:56 but is allowing some drift room in the last 10k as all his previous marathons have seen a drop in pace over that section. He’s hopeful that the strength work he’s been doing will help to reduce that drift somewhat.

Chris is looking strong in the last mile of his final race before the tapering for his forthcoming marathon begins


Joy and Janet Win Speed Heptathlon and Decathlon Championships

Joy and Janet Dickinson did BAC proud at the Speed Heptathlon and Decathlon Championships at Basingstoke on Saturday 23 September 2017.

Juliet Dobson, Janet Dickinson, Paul Rees, Hazel Bates, Joy Wright, Jemma Bates

The Speed Decathlon event was held at Down Grange, Basingstoke for the 4th consecutive year, following the success of previous years. The competition included a ONE HOUR Decathlon, speed Heptathlon for ladies and a team Decathlon.

Basingstoke and Mid-Hants AC have themselves been a successful multi-events club in recent years, boasting many internationals across various age groups. This event was to celebrate this and offer a rare opportunity to compete in a one hour speed decathlon and speed heptathlon in 42 minutes.

The driving force behind the resurrection of this event was Geoff Butler based on the concept that a group of athletes could together complete all 10 Decathlon events in the correct order, aiming to start the 1500m before 60 minutes elapsed from the 100m gun start.

Janet jumped (literally) at the rare chance to compete in a Decathlon, a combined event consisting of ten track and field events, usually contested by men.  Janet’s experience as a multi-event athlete and current British Heptathlon Champion (age graded) shone threw amongst a strong field of competitive athletes.  Joy, as a novice, opted for the Heptathlon (only 7 events), perhaps constrained by the daunting thought of the pole vault, triple jump, and back to back hurdle events (80m & 100m).  Perhaps her debut success will fuel her desire for more combined-events in the future.

As the day unfolded, it was soon became apparent that the event was organised by extremely passionate individuals, devoted to making it one to remember.  The day ran extremely smoothly with young assistants taking athlete’s bags around and providing support where needed whilst cheering competitors on.  The timers keepers and officials were highly competent and efficient with the bonus of good humoured fun.   It certainly was an event to mark the end of a fabulous BAC track and field season.  Trophies were awarded to the winners, celebrated in style on the podium, plus many prizes for individual best event scores and a goody bags to take home.

Apart from the slight windy gusts, the weather was fabulous, with beautiful sunshine providing both warmth and glorious blue skies.
Athletes from Italy, Holland, Germany and Sweden were competing and the incredible atmosphere amongst the athletes, officials and organisers was exceptional.

BAC were well represented by Juliet Dobson, Jemma and Hazel Bates (pictured top), our wonderful lady officials, who joined a high class team of officials, ensuring a smooth running competition.

Podium Joy

The day started well with Joy’s unexpected win in the 80m hurdles.  In Joy’s pod group was a her main rival, a pleasant master’s athlete who travelled from Sweden especially for the event.

Once the hurdles were out of the way, Joy soon got into the swing of things and achieved some respectable performances.  These included High Jump 1.35m, Shot 7.90m, 200m 29.25, Long Jump 4.13m, at least 60cm shy of the board (pictured photo), Javelin 22.59 and finally a lactic 2:52, 800m.

High Jump Joy
200m Joy
Long Jump taking off well behind the board








Javelin Joy

Joy dominated the ladies Heptathlon winning with a clear 600 points from the nearest competitor.

Joy being congratulated by one of the event organisers


Joy was somewhat baffled by the score calculations but was exceptionally surprised and pleased with her performance.  Even more so when she achieved the award for best overall 200m and 800m scores.


Prize Joy

Janet Dickinson scored a remarkable 5593 points to win the mixed Decathlon, beating a large field of 30 athletes, (mainly men) and impressively the three Decathlon team.  Janet convincingly beat all competitors by over 500 points in this challenging age graded event.

Janet at the top of the Podium amongst and impressive array of athletic talent

In great style Janet’s performances included a season’s best Long Jump of 4.75m, (a significant achievement in a speed event especially using a different take-off leg), 80mH 15.53, shot put 8.17m, High Jump 1.38m, 400m 80.95, Discus 24.32, Pole Vault 1.80m, Javelin 26.70 and a gruelling 1500m in 7.16.
Janet achieved best overall scores for both her Long Jump and High Jump performances.

Janet flying over the 80m hurdles
Janet’s Shot Put

Janet sprinting the home straight
Janet Pole Vault
Janet collecting Prize for best overall event score, High Jump & Long Jump

At the end of the day’s proceedings and after the presentations, the traditional Chunder (beer) mile was undertaken by a competitive set of brave (or slightly nutty) runners.

It was undoubtedly a fun and entertaining end to an amazing day (especially for the spectators).



Congratulations to the Geoff Butler, the Chunder Champion 5 years running.

Geoff Butler, Chunder Champion

The whole event was excellently run from start to finish and one to look out for next year.  Those experienced or new to the event will undoubtedly enjoy a fabulous day, so don’t miss out and join the BAC Team next September!

Thank you to Basingstoke for putting on such a great competition and well done BAC ladies and team Officials, a suitable end to a great season at BAC!

Stu nicks second place at Pubeck Marathon

Stu Nicholas took on possibly his biggest challenge yet in the shape of the mighty Purbeck Marathon

The Purbeck Marathon is indeed, to all intents and purposes, ‘a proper marathon’. The tough hills, muddy and rocky ground and tight and twisty paths ensure that, along with the added distance brining it up to 26.7 miles. It’s enough to challenge even the most capable of distance runners.

After the success of his last big race, the Littledown Marathon, where he finished second place, Stu Nicholas was ready to up the anti with a new and even tougher challenge. And it was an entirely different sort of challenge as well. The 26 laps of the marked at mile route round Littledown Park was as much a mental challenge as it was a physical one. But the Purbeck Marathon is all about strength, endurance, grit and determination.

Stu set off at a sensible pace, although that was dictated by the terrain as much as it was by his own restraint. The first 4 or 5 miles were on a tight wiggly coastal footpath, which made for interesting running.

Having opted for road shoes, Stu was beginning to regret that decision, since the rain from the previous days had softened the ground somewhat. Fortunately the path widened after that.

Since he’s still fairly new to the area, Stu hasn’t been able to explore much of Dorset thus far. Running the Purbeck Marathon was a hell of a way to do it though and he enjoyed the breath-taking views.

That said, he had spent a few days on a ‘staycation’  in the Corfe area over the summer so he was familiar with the Chapmans Pool to Kimmeridge part of the route. The rest though, was a step into the unknown.

This didn’t seem to hold him back though as he ploughed through the course, gaining some good momentum as the race went on and slowly working his way up the field.

After going through Tyneham at around the 18/19 mile mark, Stu took second place. This was then confirmed by the people watching on the side-lines.

The leader was nowhere in sight though. Alex Van Tuyl of Clapham Chasers had set a blistering pace from the start and somehow managed to maintain it. This resulted him shattering the previous course record, a very high benchmark that was in fact set by BAC’s very own Steve Way. Alex’s astounding finishing time was 2:56:34.

That didn’t detract at all from Stu’s stunning performance though, as he crossed the line in 3 hours 12  minutes and 50 seconds, sealing a superb 2nd place out of a field of 190 competitors. He was almost 5 and a half minutes ahead of Barry Miller from Reading Joggers who took 3rd. It was an achievement that must rank pretty highly on Stu’s ever growing list of successes thus far.

Stu completed the extremely hilly 26.7 mile  course in a remarkable time of 3:12:50 to claim a magnificent 2nd place




Big turnout at Littledown for BAC

Team BAC were out in force for the Littledown 5

The Dorset Road Race League was back in full on Sunday 17th September with the shortest race of the season, the Littledown 5, on the agenda.

After a tricky last few fixtures where team captain Rich Nelson had struggled to scrape a team together, it was good to see a large contingent of members signing up for the race. Of course, the fact that it was being held at Littledown Park, right on our doorstep, may have had something to do with it. Nevertheless, a good team spirit and a healthy representation was certainly a step forward.

The day did start with a negative though, after news emerged that Steve Way would be unable to take part.  Steve had been suffering from a glute injury and had been unable to run all week following a treadmill marathon he’d undertaken the previous weekend. After giving it a test run in the morning he decided he’d have to pull out.

Although they were one down, there were still enough BAC men ready to step up to the plate and hopefully get five fairly decent scorers on the board.

Alex Goulding sets off on a fast and ferocious five miler

At the front of the field, Toby Chapman was locked into a four way battle for supremacy. In fact all four athletes finished within 17 seconds of each other. In the end it was Craig Palmer who prevailed, giving Littledown Harriers a great home win. David Broadley of Poole AC came in 2nd place, with Toby taking 3rd in a super quick time of 27:04. Dominic Wilmore of Poole Runners was the other member of that lead group, taking 4th.

Toby Chapman was battling right at the front end of the field, taking a magnificent 3rd place in 27:04, just 14 seconds behind the race winner

Another strong performance on the day came from Graeme Miller, who crossed the line in 22nd place with a time of 29:04. After struggling with injury throughout the earlier part of the year and most of the previous year, Graeme is now getting back to something close to his best form which is great to see. Graeme was 3rd in the M45 category.

Graeme Miller shows he’s back in good form with a 29:04 finish putting him in 22nd place

Just four seconds behind Graeme was Alex Goulding, taking 23rd place in the standings. Alex wasn’t quite so pleased with his performance as it was 9 seconds slower than the time he did in this race last year when he came 4th. It’s not really a huge difference in time though and Alex did well to finish where he did in a much higher standard field than the previous year, when it was not a DRRL fixture.

Alex powers down the finishing straight to take 23rd place in 29:08

Another who was slightly down on his time of last year was Tom Paskins. Tom finished in 30th place with a time of 30:10. By most peoples’ standards this would have been a great run but for Tom it wasn’t quite what he was hoping for.

This was understandable though, given the amount of racing that Tom has done recently. The previous weekend he ran his second fastest ever half marathon at the New Forest. Three weeks prior to that he’d run four half marathons in four days at the Extreme North Quadrathon. It may be the case that the Littledown 5 was simply one race too far for Tom. He’s still had a great run of form of late though and has been progressing very well.

Tom Paskins approaches the line in 30th place, finishing in a time of 30:10

Finishing as fifth scorer for the mens’ team, Richard Brawn ran his fastest 5 mile race to date, to finish in a time of 31:21. This put him in  43rd place. Richard had been targeting a sub 32 minute finish so was pleased to be able to exceed that target. He was also using the race to gage the progress he’s been making in his half marathon training and was pleased to see that he his 3 week vacation hadn’t adversely effected his fitness or speed.

Richard Brawn speeds toward the finish to record his fastest 5 mile time to date in 31:21

After the first few miles, Richard was slightly off the pace he needed to be at for a sub 32 minute finish but he had been going at a comfortable pace, conserving energy for the latter stages. He managed to pull a significant amount of time back on the last mile and was glad to finish the race strongly.

Nikki Sandell was 3rd placed lady in a time of 31:31

Taking 3rd place in the women’s race, Nikki Sandell raced to a 31:31 finish which put her 45th overall. Nikki was doing the last long run of her marathon schedule that day which meant that after completing the 5 mile race, she then had to continue on for another 17 miles. She certainly earned the Wispa and pork scratchings that she had for her post-run refuel.

Nikki approaches the line conscious of the 17 mile warm down run she’ll be undertaking afterwards

Also in the midst of a marathon training routine, Chris O’Brien was planning to run the 5 miles at roughly his intended marathon pace of 6:45 m/m. As it panned out though, he ended up running with Simon Hearn, offering Simon some helpful encouragement in the latter stages of the race.

The pair crossed the together in a time of 32:25, putting them in 56th and 57th place. This was Simon’s second fastest time over the distance and he was looking to use it as a barometer to see where he’s at with the view to the Bournemouth 10k in a three weeks time. Chris and Simon were 8th and 9th in the M45 category.

Chris O’Brien and Simon Hearn hit the finish together to cross the line in 32:25

Usually specialising as a track runner, Harriet Slade took a rare foray into road running and she was very glad she did, setting herself a magnificent new PB time of 32:55. This made her 5th lady over the line and 1st in the SW category. She then went onto to finish off the tree house she’d been building for her sons, proving she’s got DIY skills as well as running talent. Harriet was 62nd overall.

Harriet Slade secured a superb new 5 mile PB of 32:56

The next BAC member to finish was Jud Kirk, who came in 74th in a time of 33:42. Again it was slightly down on his time last year when he did 32:24. Unfortunately he found that he just didn’t have enough in the legs on the day. Jud has been focusing a bit more on triathlons recently so that may have been a factor. He did still place 5th in the M55 category though.

Jud Kirk carries the grimace of a man who will be very glad to get this over and done with

In another race of a much shorter distance than she is usually used to Linn Erixon Sahlström put in a very solid display taking 86th position and 9th placed lady. Linn was 4th in the F35 category.

Linn Erixon Sahlstrom looks controlled as she heads down in finishing straight of a much shorter race than she’s normally used to

Finishing as the 11th woman over the line, Joy Wright clocked a stellar time of 35:09, putting her 91st overall. Joy is now reaching the end of her track season and will soon begin to refocus her efforts on road running. She was 2nd in the F45 category.

Joy Wright was 2nd in the F45 category with her time of 35:09

Next to cross the line for BAC was Steve Parsons, who finished in a time of 35:57, giving him a fantastic new PB. It put him in 105th place and 32nd in the M35 category. After a little bit of time out Steve is now getting back to running more regularly and appears to be progressing well.

Steve Parsons just nipped under the 36 minute marker

Despite having completed a 22 mile training run the day before in preparation for the forthcoming Bournemouth Marathon, Tamzin Petersen still managed to do her bit for team, clocking as time of 37:01. This put her in 121st place overall and 25th woman. This also meant she was 6th in the SW category.

Tamzin Petersen digs in to complete a 6th placed finish in the SW category in 37:01

One man who was certainly out of his comfort zone doing a shorter, faster race was Andy Gillespie. Andy is currently in training for the Atlantic Coast Challenge, which involves completing three marathons in three days, with undulating routes and some sandy sections adding to the difficulty of the task.

Only five miles done and can already see the finish line! That’s somethings of a rarity for Andy Gillespie

This gives a good indication of the kind of races Andy is more akin to but he gave the Littledown 5 a good shot anyway, finishing in 37:31 which put him in 129th place and 14th in the M55 category. This was around the sort of time he was expecting.

Joy, Simon and Chris make their way down the path

Next to arrive at the finish was Kirsty Drewett, who took 143rd place on the list and 32nd lady in a time of 38:10. This put her 11th in the F35 category.

Kirsty Dewitt battling with some Poole Runners in her quest to get to finish

Rounding things off from the BAC perspective was Estelle Slatford, who crossed the line in a time of 39:13. This gave her 160th place overall and 39th placed woman. She was 15th in the F35 category. There were 280 finishers in total.

Estelle Slatford is glad to see the finish line in sight as she heads for a time of 39:13

In truth it wasn’t the best day ever for Bournemouth AC in terms of having many members high up in the standings. It would appear the Poole AC would have won the day boasting four men in the top ten positions. Putting that aside though, it was good to see a good number of BAC members getting involved in a DRRL fixture and hopefully that will set a good premise for the forthcoming events.

Kirsty, Andy and Tamzin battle the twisty five mile course



















BAC four perform at New Forest Marathon

Chris O’Brien had to negotiate some muddy and slippery surfaces in the New Forest 5k

The New Forest Marathon event comprises of four different races; a marathon, a half marathon, a 10k and a 5k. Bournemouth AC had representation in three out of the four races, with Billy McGreevy entering the marathon, Peter Thompson and Tom Paskins in the half-marathon and Chris O’Brien in the 5k.

A fair bit of rainfall in the two days prior meant that the ground had softened significantly, making it into a proper off-road environment for the participants to contend with. Billy McGreevy went into the marathon with the aim of keeping to a 6:45 average pace throughout.

Billy McGreevy lines up for the New Forest Marathon

Despite a few hills on the course and some boggy sections, Billy was able to keep to his intended pace and finished the race in a stellar time of 2:56:35. This put him in 8th place out of a field of 738. The achievement of posting a sub-three-hour time on this kind of terrain should not be underestimated.

Billy looks up to the heavens and gives the weather the thumbs up before embarking on the marathon race

The half marathon race saw the return to competitive action of Peter Thompson. Understandably, Peter has had to have a long period of recuperation after his 44 marathons in 44 days challenge so it was really good to see him back out there racing again.

He also showed that he’s still got the speed to be up there with the best, completing the race in a super quick time of 1:19:34 which put him in 10th place out of 1,905 finishers. Again, it was an extraordinarily quick time given the difficulty of the course.

Peter Thompson was back in racing action as he sped to a 10th place finish in the New Forest half marathon

Coming in just two places after Peter, Tom Paskins recorded his second fastest half marathon time to date, crossing the line in 1:21:17. This was a fantastic result for Tom considering the off-road and undulating characteristics of the race.

It was only three weeks since Tom completed a fantastic victory in Extreme North Quadrathon, which entailed running four half marathons in four consecutive days. Tom won all four of the races, taking home the title in true style. Fortunately the after effects of such a tough and exasporating challenge don’t seem to have slowed him down.

Tom Paskins accrued a more regular sized medal this time after completing the New Forest half marathon

In the 5k race, Chris O’Brien put in a strong display, finishing in 2nd place with a time of 21:46. The course was very slow due the extensive mud, making it very slippery in places and practically turning it into a cross-country race.

In fact Chris was only 22 seconds behind the race winner but he didn’t want to tempt fate and push too hard on the muddy bits when it is so close to the Bournemouth Marathon, which is currently his primary focus.

Chris was coming off the back off a half marathon PB that he claimed the previous weekend at Maidenhead so the signs for his marathon training progress are looking very good at the present time. He did, however, feel a degree of sympathy for the guy who would have come first if he hadn’t taken a wrong turn just before the finish.

Chris holds his arms aloft as he approaches the line to claim a magnificent 2nd place in the 5k race


Chris and Yvonne make headway at Maidenhead Half

Chris O’Brien took part in the Maidenhead Half Marathon as a way of benchmarking his marathon training progress

As far as flat and fast half marathons go, Maidenhead is up there with the best of them and is renowned as being good potential PB territory.

Chris O’Brien made there journey up to Berkshire with the goal of getting under 1 hour 25 minutes for the first time. He was also using the race as a benchmark to assess his progress in the run up to the Abingdon Marathon which, on the day of the race was seven weeks away.

The signs look good for Chris, as he felt strong for the vast majority of the race, only really beginning to struggle in the last three miles. That said though, he managed to battle the fatigue and fight back to end with a 100 metre sprint finish when he gained a place before crossing the line in a magnificent time of 1:24:49.

Chris is in full swing as he goes in search of a new half marathon PB

This not only meant that he’d got under his benchmark but he’d also secured a new PB by 21 seconds. Plus he’d gone 24 seconds quicker than his time from this same race last year.

He finished in 92nd place overall out of 1,350 finishers and was 28th in the MV40 category. This all points towards good progress for Chris as he continues with his marathon training regime.

Yvonne Tibble was also in action for BAC as well, taking 4th place in the WV50 category with a time of 1:38:19. Impressively, she was the 50th woman over the line out of 493 and came 335th overall.

Chis powers toward the finish to record an exceptional new PB time of 1:24:49

Bournemouth Open Meeting Autumn 2017

Bournemouth played host to the autumn open meeting to mark the end of the track season on a wet and windy September’s day. Over 300 athletes competed across a wide range ages from U13 through to Veteran (35+). Despite very wet and windy weather conditions, numerous athlete’s ended the season on a high achieving Personal or Season’s Bests.

BAC athletes showed promising talent across numerous events in achieving an impressive number of PBs. In the sprints, 100m by Jack Davies (U20) 11.0s, Joe Haywood (U17) 11.4s, Dylan Cooper (U17) 11.6s, Dan Kirby (U17) 11.7s, and Tom Betts (U17) 11.7s. In the 200m, Dan Kirby (U17) performed well clocking 24.7s PB.

Jack Davies (red) storming home in the 100m with Keelan Abley pictured right

100m Boys
100m Boys
100m Girls

In the Jumps, Joe Haywood equalled his Long Jump PB of 5.89m. Janet Dickinson and Madeline Smith took on the Long Jump to win age group categories with Madeline 2nd overall and Janet 4th.
Iona Sheerin won the High Jump with a new all-time high PB of 1.61m. Louise Galloway was close in 3rd place with 1.56m.

Janet hitting the long jump board

In the Throws, Izzy and Amy set a new Hammer PB in an excellent competition. Danielle Broom (U20) threw the Discus 39.27m to take home the Gold, Isabella Shepherd threw 22.1m to place third U17. Janet took silver in the Javelin with 24.29m in a close competition where everyone worked hard to deal with the conditions.

Dan Brunsden Throwing the Discus

Dan Brunsden showed great form with a clean sweep across all throw events to win Discus (42.55m), Shot (14.21M), Javelin (42.48), Hammer (44.55m) and finally the heavy weight throw at the end with 14.82m. Pheobe Dowson won the weight throw with 13.25m. An enjoyable and fun event for all.
Other great performances in the men’s throws were delivered by our very own Andrew Sheerin, Stephen Dobson and Andy Turner.

Andy Turner throwing
Steve Dobson throwing the discus
Andy Sheerin throwing the discus
Andy Sheerin prepping to throw the discus

Dan in Action

It will be one to remember as we draw a close and reflect on a long and successful track & field season. BAC athletes can now celebrate an SAL league win and promotion and the success of the men holding their own in the BAL.

Congratulations to all involved whether competing, officiating, organising and/or supporting athletes.  Bring on 2018!

Full results can be found here

BAC athletes Adrian and Toby in contrasting off road races

Adrian (1401) and Chris pleased to finish Man v Mountain

On Saturday 2 September Adrian Townsend tackled the 22 mile obstacle course which is the Man v Mountain race starting at Caernarfon Castle in Wales, and four days later Toby Chapman successfully defended his title in the Sourton Tors Fell Race on Dartmoor.

Of Man v Mountain, Adrian writes:  “Last Saturday I ran Man v Mountain with my mate Chris. The route starts from Caernarfon Castle and weaves its way up to the summit of Snowdon and down the other side into Dinorwic Quarry then back up the Vertical Kilometre and finally back down to the quarry where there’s an array of water based challenges. 22 miles with 5295 ft of ascent. Chris had suffered a number of bad injuries in training so the plan was to run together at a steady pace, have crack at the vertical kilometre and enjoy the day. The weather was great and we got some amazing views as we headed up to and over the summit. At 25% gradient the vertical kilometre at 3 miles from the finish was tough and I paid for my efforts with bad cramp in both legs. The final challenges included a quarry jump with a lake swim, abseil and water slides with more lake swimming and a river crossing. All good fun with crampy legs! We finished together in just over 5 hours in 135th place out of 1197 and I was 2nd super vet for the vertical kilometre.”   It really does sound like fun!

Toby Chapman on his way to defending his title in the Sourton Tors Fell Race

Toby‘s race was rather shorter, at 2.6 miles, but nevertheless demanding, climbing, as it does, the 300m to Sourton Tor.  It is an evening race, which Toby won last year, so he had a title to defend, which he successfully did, winning yet again.  Toby says:  “always fun to go fast”.  Those were the days!

Janet Dickinson Wins British Masters V50 Heptathlon in Sheffield

Janet Dickinson (left), British Heptathlon Champion with some of the other 50+ competitors at Sheffield


The Heptathlon is the championship-level combined events for women consisting in total of seven track and field events.  This year the British Masters Heptathlon championships were hosted at Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium on 2-3 September 2017.

Persistent issues with Janet’s dominant take-off leg in the jump events impeded her training in the lead up to the championships.  As a result Janet modified her technique less than 4 weeks ago to take-off from her left leg.  Although it has been a challenge, she believed it was necessary to play safe.  This demanded focus, commitment and determination. Well the hard work certainly paid off!

Janet achieved an amazing PB score of 4832 points despite being well shy of her best 200m and high jump performances.  She knows there’s plenty to play for next year.

Janet showing great strength over the hurdles

Half way through the championships, Janet was on good form and headed to one of her favourite pubs in Sheffield, obviously after a much needed rest and refuel.  A lot of hard work first before enjoying a ‘proper northern bitter again at last’.  Perhaps that’s the secret to her success?  If only it were that easy!

Janet is delighted to come away with a win, despite things not going to plan, especially in the high jump and 200m. This shows great promise for next season’s championships and we wish Janet every success.

Next event is the Bournemouth open meeting on 10 September followed by the Speed Heptathlon in 43 mins later in the month along with Joy.

Jacek and Manol conquer the Alps at the OCC Mont-Blanc

Jacek Cieluszecki competed in the OCC race at Mont-Blanc, pitting his wits against some of the world’s top mountain ultra racers

The OCC is one of five different events that come under the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) banner and Bournemouth AC had two representatives taking on some of the world’s leading mountain ultra runners in the 56km Orsières – Champex – Chamonix race. They were Jacek Cieluszecki and Manol Dimitrov.

The Alpine route incorporates an elevation gain of 3,500 metres and travels through three countries, starting off in Italy before moving along the Swiss and French borders. For Manol, it was going back to Chamonix, where he first gained his enthusiasm for mountain running. Since then he’d done a lot of running in the Alps so it was familiar ground for him.

Jacek is no stranger to the unscrupulous slopes of the Alps either, having previously raced the Eigar 51 – another high profile mountain ultra. His experience of the Eigar 51 was an extremely positive one, finishing in an incredible 5th place overall in a field littered with top talent.

Given their previous experiences, Manol and Jacek knew it wouldn’t be the terrain that posed them a problem in the OCC race. What they couldn’t account for though was the weather. The day before the race it was sunny and the athletes must have been looking forward to running in such great conditions. That all changed on race day though, when the heavens opened and the rain just kept on coming. This inclement weather at high altitude added a very different dimension to the proceedings, making for a rather more unpleasant experience for Manol and Jacek than it otherwise would have been.

The day before the OCC race, the conditions were bright and sunny but that all changed on race day when the dark clouds loomed and the heavens opened over Mont-Blanc

Jacek wasn’t about to let the torrential downpour get the better of him though and he battled though it, reaching the first checkpoint of Champex Lac in 28th place. This was only just over 9.5km in and an elevation gain of of 776m had already been reached.

The next phase of the race incorporated an even steeper climb, heading up towards La Geite which took the elevation up to 1625m. Jacek got to the checkpoint, which was just shy of 21km in, in 2 hours and 9 minutes. This put him in 31st.

It was then a downhill stretch to Trient, at which point Jacek was down to 35th place, arriving at the 25.73km mark in exactly 2 hours 34 minutes.

After this there was another sharp incline that would eventually lead the runners up to the highest point of the race, to the top of Les Tseppes, which stands at over 2,100m. By the time they reached the checkpoint which was near the top, the total elevation gain had risen to 2354m and a distance of almost 29km had been covered. Jacek was now in 33rd place in a time of 3:10:13.

Once the top of the mountain had been reached, it was then a descent down to Vallorcine at 36.3km. Jacek arrived there in 32nd place in 3:49:42.

Next it was onto Argentière, just over 44km into the race. By this point, Jacek had climbed up to 29th place, arriving in just under 4 hours 36 minutes.

The final climb led up to the last checkpoint at Flégère. Upon reaching the top, the total elevation gain had risen to 3400m. This was now a massive 49.23km completed and the end was finally in sight. Well, not literally in sight as there was still another 12.5km remaining but at least once they reached this, they knew it was one final push to the finish. Jacek was now up to 27th place with a time of 5:20:42.

The finish was at Chamonix Arrivée. Jacek continued his strong form in the latter stages of the race, gaining a further four places to finish in a remarkable 23rd place overall, out of 1,565 starters. His official finishing time was a 5 hours 54 minutes and 56 seconds, putting him only just over 25 minutes behind the race winner. Given the extraordinarily high calibre field, this was a great result for Jacek. He also finished up as 3rd placed vet, capping off another superb chapter in his increasingly impressive running career.

Manol reached the first checkpoint at Champex Lac in 68th place in a time of 1 hour and 1 minute. He then tackled the climb up to La Giète, reaching the checkpoint in 2:21:27, which put him in 69th. It was then down to Trient at the 25.73km mark, which Manol arrived at in 2:47:33. He was now in 70th position.

Manol Dimitrov was no stranger to running in the Alps and had to use all his expertise to tackle the difficult conditions

Next he made his way up the highest peak of the race, passing the checkpoint at Les Tseppe in 3:33:16, putting him in 76th. It was then down to Vallorcine at the 36.3k point in the race. Manol hit this in 4:17:34, putting him in 77th place.

He reached the 44.19km point in the race at Argentière in 5:13:42 and in 78th position. On the final climb up to Flégère, Manol started to really kick on, finding the strength to overtake 12 people to propel him to 66th place.

He followed that up by gaining a further three places before reaching the finish at Chamonix, where he clocked a final time of 6 hours 40 minutes and 40 seconds. This put him 63rd in the standings. It was again, a very impressive result given the high standard of the field and meant he was in the top 5% of those who finished the race.

Both Manol and Jacek deserve huge plaudits for their performances and it was great to see BAC athletes doing so well in such a challenging race and flourishing when up against the very best that mountain ultra running has to offer.

Despite extremely adverse conditions, Jacek proved he has well and truly mastered the Alps, completing the 56km course in 5:54:56, putting him in 23rd place overall and 3rd placed vet