The 2017/18 season of the Hampshire Cross Country League opened on Saturday 14 October with the first fixture in beautiful sunny weather at Kings Park.
For BAC‘s senior mens’ team the aim this season has to be, at least, to remain in Division 1 of this highly competitive League and thanks to some outstanding performances Saturday was an encouraging start. It is BAC‘s good fortune that Craig Palmer has joined second claim, for the purpose of cross country competition, as Craig‘s astonishing run brought him to the finish line in 15th position. Throughout the mens’ race, Craig was being pursued by Josh King, who edged ever nearer to Craig, finishing one place behind him in 16th. BAC is also fortunate to have recruited fairly recently StuartNicholas, running in his first cross country race, who also had an excellent run to finish third BAC athlete. Steve Way followed very shortly afterwards, probably running better than he expected after injury problems, and, completing the BAC mens’ team, Pat Robbins also ran well to finish only one minute (exactly!) after Steve. Steve and Pat were BAC‘s first two veteran men, the veteran’s team being completed by John Phillips, also recently joined (or, more accurately, rejoined after many years!), which meant that BAC‘s veteran mens’ team is no less than the 4th team of the 18 complete veteran men teams (there is only one veteran division), which is an excellent start to the season. BAC‘s senior mens’ team, after one fixture, are 5th of 10 teams in Division 1, so a solid start, but hopefully we can improve on this as the season progresses, and there is certainly no room for complacency! The U20s also ran in the same race as the senior and veteran men, and BAC was sole representative was Brandon Meredith, who should be pleased with his 13th U20M position. Please see the full BAC mens’ results below.
Turning to the ladies, some excellent running led to a satisfactory start to the season. Despite this being only her second race this year, EmmaDews‘ strong running kept her at the front of the field for the entire race, finishing 12th overall in 22.58 and 2nd veteran lady. Harriet Slade and Yvonne Tibble, finishing 30th in 24.27 and 70th in 27.14 respectively, completed the senior ladies’ team , and of the 20 complete teams, BAC were placed 8th (there is just one ladies’ division), so that is an excellent start to the season. Emma and Yvonne were the first two BAC veteran ladies’ the team being completed by Kirsty Drewitt (88th in 28.28) with the veteran ladies’ team also having an excellent start, lying 5th of the 14 veteran ladies’ teams. Well done too to Mandy Adams who was 124th in 31.53 and provided the essential backup in case of any dropouts. A total of 156 completed the senior/veterans race, apparently the largest field for many years.
What was slightly disappointing from BAC‘s point of view was the lack of youngsters competing, with not even one U17M or U17W BAC athlete. However, well done to those youngsters who did compete, and especially the three U13 girls, as this produced a BAC team result for their category. They were Martha Preece, who, of the 79 finishers, was 15th in 12.51, Lara Broderick, 56th in 14.16 and Abigail Phillips, 61st in 14.40. The fact that the team was 11th of the 11 complete teams really doesn’t matter – it is very encouraging to see a BAC team in the younger age groups, and there were plenty of clubs taking part in this race who didn’t have a team. In the U15 girls, Anya Sandell was 34th of the field of 56 in 17.34, in the U13 boys Sam Farwell was 55th of the 85 finishers in 13.00 and in the U15 boys Tom Farwell was 26th of the 64 finishers in 14.45 and Jasper Todd was 36th in 15.16. What a pity there wasn’t a third U15 boy to make up a team! Once again, well done to all the youngsters who competed and kept the BAC flag flying throughout the day.
In addition to the League races, there were also boys’ and girls’ U11 races at Kings Park, which gave an opportunity for our Development Evening youngsters to compete. It is encouraging that, had these races been part of the League, we could have had an U11 boys’ team! Of the 75 who completed this race, Archie Kilburn was 12th in 8.21, Sam Brewer 57th in 9.39, Isaac Sandell 59th in 9.43 and Nathan Mearns 66th in 10.00. There were two Bournemouth U11 girls amongst the field of 47, Ida Waring who was 10th in 9.10 and Katie Kilburn, 26th in 9.43.
This fixture was organised and run by BAC, and many thanks are due to all the marshals, officials and helpers without whom the fixture could not have taken place. Kings Park appears to be a popular venue for Hampshire Cross Country League clubs (although it is true the first fixture always attracts large numbers) as, throughout the day, including the U11 races, an astonishing 894 athletes completed 10 separate races.
BAC results (senior/veteran/U20 men): 15 Craig Palmer 32.03; 16 Josh King 32.08; 57 Stuart Nicholas 34.45; 60 Steve Way 34.59; 76 Pat Robbins 35.59; 83 Brandon Meredith 36.20; 91 John Phillips 36.47; 96 Tom Paskins 36.52; 108 Richard Wade 37.09; 136 Ross Smith 38.32; 148 Nick Kenchington 39.39; 158 Simon Hearn 40.14; 185 Jud Kirk 41.52.
The showpiece race of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival was, of course, the full marathon. The route started out at Kings Park, just as the Half Marathon had two hours earlier. By the time it got going large crowds had congregated around Bournemouth Pier, most of whom had been there to see the finish of the Half Marathon.
The prize money for winning the race had been considerably reduced this year which resulted in the absence of the Kenyan athletes that came over for the event last year. This meant that local runners would have the chance to shine this time round which made for a much more exciting spectacle.
One man who was determined to seize that opportunity was Bournemouth AC’s very own Jacek Cieluszecki. Jacek has had an incredible season, winning the British edition of the Red Bull Wings for Life and victories in the Portland 10 and the Round the Rock 10k Dorset Road Race League fixtures. He’s also competed in some high profile mountain ultra races including the Eiger 51 and the OCC Mont-Blanc.
Despite his glittering array of victories, a win in the BMF Marathon was something the had so far eluded Jacek. He came 6th in it last year, 7th in 2015 and 7th in 2013. In the form that he’s in at the moment though, there was always a good chance that this could be his here.
Jacek set off at a blistering pace of around 5:30 m/m which was simply too fast to live with for virtually all the other competitors. There was one young chap who tried to stay with JC for the first 3 miles. He may well have just wanted a brief moment in the limelight though as he soon faded away.
This left Jacek to go it alone for virtually the whole race, unless there was anyone out there quick enough to catch him. Keeping the pace consistent at around the 5:45 m/m mark, he soon built up an unassailable lead. It was soon abundantly clear the JC was going to win the race. It was only really question of how big the margin would be between himself and the 2nd placed runner and also what time he would do.
As he came past the finish line the first time round which the runners had to do at mile 17, people could scarcely believe their eyes, both at how fast he was going and also how far ahead he was. There was simply no one else in sight. The second place runner arrived about 10 minutes later.
The atmosphere was electric around the Bournemouth Pier area after Jacek had gone past. He now had just over 9 miles left to go and could feed off the energy of the crowd to keep him going.
After going up the overcliff path to the left of Hot Rocks, the route then veered over to Sandbanks before working its way back to Bournemouth Pier approach for the grand stand finish.
As he crossed the line, the clock stopped at 2 hours 31 minutes and 59 seconds. This was a quite astounding effort, especially considering he was out on his own for virtually the whole race. It was also his fastest time to date in the BMF Marathon, eclipsing his previous effort from of 2:33:14 which he did in 2013.
Before the race Jacek had set himself the target of anything under 2:35 so he was delighted with the time. Having spent most of the summer training in the Alps and the Purbeck, he knew he’d lost a little bit of speed but had probably gained in strength and stamina.
Jacek’s nearest rival Anthony Webb of Medway Park Phoenix arrived 10 minutes and 43 seconds later, crossing the line in 2:42:42. This is still a very good time; it’s just that the time Jacek set was so incredible.
Anthony Clark was also in the race but was forced to pull out at the 17 mile point due to a hip injury. He was in 5th place at the time but just didn’t think it would be worth struggling through another 9 miles and potentially making the injury worse. Well, it was either that or he noticed people sitting outside Hot Rocks in the sun drinking pints of beer and he got too tempted by that to carry on!
Another BAC member who was in the starting line up but sadly didn’t make it to the finish was Nikki Sandell. Nikki had picked up an Achilles injury in training two weeks before she was due to so the Marathon and sadly it hadn’t healed properly by the time race day arrived.
Despite that, she thought she may as well give it a go and turned up for it anyway. Unfortunately she only managed 1.5 miles before having to pull out. The pain was too much and it would have been impossible to continue for another 25 miles in that state. She knew this would be the likely outcome though so had already pretty much accepted her fate in truth. It didn’t prevent her sticking around to watch the rest of the race, support her teammates and enjoy the remainder of the day.
In the second part of his Bournemouth Marathon Festival double-header, Mark Hillier took on the full marathon, having run the 10k the previous day.
Mark was fairly conservative in the first half of the race and was cautious not to aggrevate any of his injuries or niggles. he then stepped it up a bit in the second half and at the end of the race he was pleased to see that he’d done a negative split.
He feels that perhaps he could have got under 3:30 but ultimately, he was dead chuffed with his time of 3:38:18, which put him in 269th place.
Mark did the London Marathon in 1989 when he was 18 and then again when he was 1991. He then stopped running for about 10 years whilst making a foray into mountain biking. About 5 years ago, he started running again, but doing only shorter distance races to half marathon distance.
A few months back, Mark reckons he started to have a midlife crisis resulting in him entering Race to the King – a 53 mile ultra over the South Downs. He was kind of hoping this would temper his sudden urge to push himself to the limit but he ended up doing better than he expected and, even though it hurt, all it did was fuel his desire to push himself even further.
He has now entered the Marathon des Sables, which is renowned for being the toughest footrace on earth. The race consists of 156 miles done in six stages over seven days through the Sahara desert with temperatures regularly hitting 50 centigrade. He’s hoping this will be enough to finally quell that desire to take things to the extreme.
As part of his training he headed down to Devon a few weeks ago to do a 33 miler over Dartmoor. The weather was grim and it was all off-road, so it was more like 1/3 running, 1/3 hiking and 1/3 dragging himself through the mud. But he completed it and thoroughly enjoyed it. He’s also entered the Bovingdon Marathon in December and is contemplating whether he is brave enough to enter the Brecon Beacons 46 miler in mid-November.
Carl Jenkins, who has been training with BAC recently on Tuesday and Thursday nights, was also running. Carl completed the course in 3:42:59, putting him in 314th place.
This was a decent time given that he hadn’t done much proper marathon training in the lead up to the race and it was still 7 minutes quicker than last year.
When he’s on top form though, Carl is a force to be reckoned with, and his PB is 3:02:28 which he did at the Rotary Shakespeare Marathon in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2011.
He’ll now be turning his attention to the ABP Southampton in April where he’ll be running his next marathon. Hopefully, with an adequate amount of training, he should be on course for a much quicker time than the one he’s just posted at at the BMF.
Whilst Jacek was racing over the finish line to seal his glorious victory, Tamzin Petersen was crossing the line for the first time meaning she was now at the 17 mile point in her race.
Tamzin had been aiming for a sub four hour finish and had been following a rigorous training programme in order to get herself the best chance of hitting her target. This meant four months of extremely long runs, every single weekend.
She got through it though and was poised to do well and give it all she’s got on race day. The first 12 miles went smoothly and felt comfortable although she was running at a slightly faster pace than she’d trained at. Then the trouble started!
She was struck by a massive cramp in her calf. She had also felt this the day before as well and it seemed to have just appeared for no apparent reason. Her hip then started to play up as well which added to the frustration. She then saw her parents who had come to cheer her on and was able to grab some painkillers from them before shuffling on.
She managed to run the next 5 miles, digging in as deeply as she could, determined not to pull out of the race she’d trained so hard for. By the time she got to the 16 mile stage she already knew she wasn’t going to meet any or her goals, or even get a PB. That made the last 10 miles a real mental battle.
To give credit where credit is due, she carried on through and managed to see the race through till the end, which shows a lot of character. Her finishing time was 4:10:22 which put her in 734th place.
Whilst it was not the race she wanted, she lives to fight another day and will no doubt have the mental fortitude to put this behind her and move onto the next challenge. All is not lost though. She has made good progression since starting her marathon training and that progression that she’s made will be far more important to her in the long term than the glory gained from a one-off race.
This highlights one of the most brutal aspects of marathon running. No matter who you are and what training you’ve put in, it all comes down to that 3 or 4 hours of racing in which anything could happen. Suffering cramps toward the end of a race is regular theme for marathon runners and they have ruined many a marathon before and they will do many times again.
At the other end of the scale, if everything goes right, as it did for Jacek, you can achieve something truly momentous that will stay with you forever.
The second day of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival kicked off on with an 8am start for the Half Marathon. Although this entailed getting out of bed and up a little earlier than usual for many of the participants, once daylight began to emerge they were pleased to see that the conditions were great for running.
There seemed to be very minimal breeze, which would be key with many sections of course going along the promenade and the overcliff roads. It was also cloudy at this early stage in the day but with no sign of any rain about so the temperature was not too hot but not chilly either. The Half Marathon runners must have really felt they’d lucked out in comparison to the conditions for the 10k race the day before.
Following on from his 2nd place finish in the Supernova 5k the previous day, Rob Taggart once again found himself at the sharp end of the field. The Half Marathon was the only race of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival that Tag was yet to have a crack at.
The race started off from Kings Park, with the elite club runners immediately setting a very quick tempo. Peter Baksh of Beckenham was the man in front in the early stages of the race and he set a pace that no others were able to live it. By the end of the race Peter had built up a lead of over two minutes on his nearest rival Simon Goldsworthy of Guildford & Godalming.
Peter crossed the line in a stunningly quick time of 1 hour 10 minutes and 29 seconds. Simon’s time in that got him 2nd spot of the podium was 1:12:53.
Behind them the battle for 3rd place was ensuing between Tag and Stuart Holloway, who runs for City of Salisbury. As they made their way along the promenade from Boscombe Pier to Bournemouth with two miles left to go, Tag was sitting on Stuart’s shoulder.
Tag was hoping that his track speed would be a help when reaching the closing stages of the race and, just as he did in the 5k, he was able to find the strength for a strong sprint finish to pip Stuart to the post and take 3rd place by 7 seconds.
Given the lack of training he’d had going into the weekend, Tag was really pleased with his finishing time of 1:13:29 and was delighted to take his second podium place of the weekend.
Will Brewin took 5th place in the race with a time of 1:13:58, followed by Matthew Hammerton of Romsey in 6th with a time of 1:14:14. Next there was a small pack of four, which included Stuart Nicholas of BAC. Stu had commandeered three others and the four of them worked together, taking turns to drive the pacing. The group also included Bayley Massey, who had won the 5k race the day before.
The first eight miles of the course were relatively flat and smooth. You then get hit by a short sharp rise as you make your way through Boscombe Chine Gardens which leads onto East Overcliff Drive. It’s a hill that is sometimes used by BAC on their hill sprint training sessions.
This hill can slow the pace down significantly if you haven’t saved enough energy for it and as you follow onto East Overcliff Drive there is then another slight incline of the road which forces you to work hard before heading back down onto the promenade for the final stages of the race.
By the time they got off Boscombe and back onto promenade, the pack of four that Stu was in had dispersed slightly. They were all still within quite close proximity of each other though and all ended up finishing within 13 seconds of each other. Stu crossed the line in 8th place with a time of 1:14:30.
Taking on his second race of the weekend, having previously secured 3rd place in the 5k the previous day, Billy McGreevy was in the hunt for a second PB of the weekend. He was looking to go under 1 hour 19 minutes for the first time very and , as it panned out, he ended up very close to that target.
Billy’s finishing time was 1:19:08, which put him in 17th place. It was another fantastic run from him and was a 9 second PB. He was a little disappointed not to break 1:19 on this occasion but is confident of conquering that marker next time round. Had he not run such a fast 5k the previous day, he may well have done it on this occasion, but he was still very happy he did having gained his spot on the podium.
Making his BAC debut, Joseph Morrison was another club member who secured a fabulous new PB as he weighed in with a time of 1:26:47. This shaved a good 2 minutes off his previous best time.
Joe has been a regular at the Tuesday night training sessions on the promenade in recent weeks and had been running very well. Despite the impressive PB, Joe’s race management certainly left room for improvement. He had a friend who completed the race in 1:20 and had tried to stick with him in the early stages of the race.
In fact, Joe’s completed the first 10k in 38:36, which would have been a PB for him in a 10k race! Inevitably, the fast start caught up with him as the race progressed and he began to struggle in the second half of the race. By the end he was really clinging on as he ticked the miles off till he saw the welcome sight of the finish line.
Slightly further down the field, three BAC members found themselves running together. Richard Brawn, Trevor Elkins and Peter Thompson had seen each other in the early stages of the race and had got chatting.
They were all running at a similar sort of pace and decided to stick together for the long haul. This turned out to be a great decision for the trio as they were all running at a comfortable enough pace to be able to converse but still push fairly hard throughout. This made the race a lot more pleasant and made it seem almost like a long tempo training run rather than an all-out, do or die race where every second counts.
Whenever they approached an area of the race where larger crowds had gathered, people could be heard shouting and cheering when they caught sight of the three Bournemouth AC local runners emerging in a line together. That said, some of those cheers may have been aimed more at Peter, who is a very famous face since his 44 marathons in 44 days in 44 different countries escapade.
Rich and Trevor were both targeting a sub 1:30 finish for the race and when they hit the promenade with just over three miles left to go, they knew they were in a position to meet that target. It was then just a case of seeing how much they under they could go.
Rich’s PB was just over 1 hour 29 minutes so at this point he turned his attention to beating that. Trevor’s last half marathon race was Bath back in March where he did 1 hour 32 minutes. That was on much weaker legs though and he has since upped his mileage and trained a lot harder.
For Peter, it was a nice steady pace and he was never really in any difficulty. He was just enjoying the experience and had fun running with Trevor and Rich and that’s what it’s all about to him; enjoying the experience with others.
The trio stayed together until around the last half a mile or so when Rich decided it was time to push on. Rich has noticed he’s been running a strong last mile in races recently and has usually had enough in the tank to up the pace in the latter stages.
He began to open up a gap on Trevor and Peter before hitting Bournemouth Pier and making a final dash for the line. Rich was delighted to see that he had achieved a superb new PB of 1:27:18. This put him in 79th place in a field of 3,995.
Filtering in shortly after Rich, Trevor had also secured himself a new PB finishing in 1:27:35. Prior to the race Trevor had been suffering from a dodgy stomach so was not sure how he would fair once the race got going. Fortunately he seemed to settle into it okay and the stomach ache faded. It was Trevor’s first race for the club and he felt proud to be wearing the BAC vest.
Amazingly, Trevor is more of a 100m sprinter than a distance runner and is actually hoping to join up with the track team in the near future. In fact he used to be capable of a 10 second 100m back in his school days and can still probably hit around 11 seconds. Trevor finished the Half Marathon in 83rd place.
Just 5 seconds late Peter crossed the line, coming in 85th with a time of 1:27:40. It has been long road but Peter is now beginning to return to full fitness since his 44 marathon exploits. He’s still a long way off where he used to be but he’s feeling healthy and that’s the main thing.
Another BAC member going all out for a PB was Pawel Surowiec. Pawel has been turning out for training very regularly on both Tuesday and Thursday nights and had been running well during sessions. He needed to get close to 1 hour 32 minutes in order to secure a PB.
The race had been going okay for Pawel until he hit the hill going through Boscombe Chine Gardens after mile 8. That hit him hard and he had to dig deep into the energy reserves to get to the top.
From that point onwards it was tough for Pawel to pick the pace back up. He got to the line in a time of 1:32:10 which gave him a marginal new PB. This put him in 175th place.
Following a spell of 6 months on the side-lines due to an ITB injury, Tom Piloni had only started running again back in June and was almost back to square one at that point. His longest training run in the lead up to the race was a slow 12 miler which didn’t feel particularly easy.
Despite not having the best preparation, Tom ran surprisingly well on race day, finishing in a decent time of 1:36:12, which put him in 298th place.
There was even a BAC married couple of the race, with Michael Cowham and Cherry Sheffrin both in action. The pair were close together throughout the race but Cherry overtook Mike near the end of the race and wound up finishing 13 seconds ahead of him in a time of 1:42:37. This put her in 577th place.
Mike came in 13 seconds later and 13 places later in a time of 1:42:50, putting him in 590th place.
Another BAC member tackling the Half Marathon race was John Preest, who completed the course in 1:45:44. That put him in 783rd position in the standings.
Estelle Slatford was chasing a half marathon PB of 1:48 and was going well for the first half of the race. She then began to struggle a bit with lower back pains that caused her to slow down quite considerably. In spite of the pain, she kept pushing but ended up crossing the line in a time of 1:52:55. She was a touch disappointed with that, but ultimately enjoyed the race.
The Supernova 5k race at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival took place on Saturday 7th October at 7pm and as the dusk fell on the evening, the seafront was lit up by runners sporting various types of lights, glow-sticks and luminous outfits. It was truly a sight to behold.
A massive 1,653 competitors lined up along the promenade for the race and in amongst them were Bournemouth AC members Rob McTaggart and Billy McGreevy.
Tag has had quite an illustrious history with the Bournemouth Marathon Festival having won both the 5k and 10k races in previous years. Last year he was the first Brit in the Marathon. He’s also had a couple of 2nd places to his name in the 5k.
He hadn’t quite had his usual volume of training in the lead up to weekend this time round having done minimal running since the end of the track season. Despite that though, he knew he’d still be in the with a shot of being up there with the front runners if he performs well.
Billy has been running really well lately, putting in very strong performances in the Poole Festival of Running 5k and 10k earlier in the year and managing an excellent sub 3 hour marathon at the New Forest last month.
The stage was set for a great contest between the two of them and any potential others who would be good enough to stay with them. As it panned out, it was Bayley Massey of Cambridge Harriers who stole the show, winning the race in a time of 16:17.
Sure enough, the battle for 2nd place was between Billy and Tag. Billy had another incredibly strong run and had caught up with Tag in the latter stages on the race. In the end, Tag was forced to put in a big sprint finish to stay ahead, crossing the line just 4 seconds before Billy.
To finish so close to Tag and push him so hard really highlights the progress Billy has been making of late. His time of 16:32 was a fantastic new PB and a very proud moment.
After taking up their places on the podium, both Tag and Billy had to then regroup and begin to focus on the second phase of their BMF dual, the Half Marathon, that they were set to compete in the next day.
The widely anticipated and ever popular Bournemouth Marathon Festival kicked off at 4pm on Saturday 7th October with the Supersonic 10k.
There was a real buzz around the place as the athletes lined up in their starting pens along the promenade next to Bournemouth Pier, with the elite club runners at the front and stretching all the way round to the roundabout on Bath Road. The event had once again captured the imagination of huge numbers from the local area and had attracted athletes and clubs from far and wide. A field of 2,232 runners took part in the 10k race.
Four days prior to race day Bournemouth AC had been contacted by visually impaired runner Khalid Elkhereiji. It turned out his guide runner for race was injured so he had approached the club to ask if anyone would be prepared to step in and assist. Khalid was hoping to finish in around 42 minutes so he needed a guide runner who is capable of comfortably finishing a 10k in under 40 minutes.
Almost immediately, Jez Bragg responded back and answered Khalid’s calling, saying he would do it. It would be Jez’s job to communicate the pace to Khalid and made him aware of any hazards as they progressed along the course, plus to ensure he was running at the intended place and maintain morale throughout the race. This part was especially important when running into the headwind in the second half of the race.
Jez actually found running as a guide quite a liberating experience. For the first time in a race, he didn’t think about himself at all. It was all about supporting someone else, which was a completely different and very refreshing mind-set.
Although they’d only done a one mile warm up together, the race went smoothly for Khalid and Jez and Khalid finished very strongly to secure a new PB of 42:12. This was a very impressive effort given the westerly wind along the promenade and put Khalid in 73rd place overall.
The winner of the race was Ben Lewis of Poole AC, with a blistering time of 34:03. Ben is predominantly a track runner but he has been known to do the odd 5 mile or 10k road race. He is still in the U20 age group as well so will no doubt have a very bright future ahead of him.
It was a familiar face in 2nd place, as Graham Robinson reached the line in a phenomenal time of 34:40. Although Graham runs for Sandhurst, he is well known amongst the BAC fraternity, having represented the club in the Hampshire League Cross Country on numerous occasions.
The first official BAC athlete to cross the line was Simon Hearn who finished 48th in a time of 40:44. Simon hadn’t done a race since the Hull 10k back in June and hadn’t been training as regularly as usual in the lead up to the race so he felt a bit ring rusty.
He had earmarked a time of under 42 minutes as his target, so, although it wasn’t close to a PB for him, he was quite happy with the result. He was 6th in the male 45-49 category.
In his first ever race for the club, Phil Cherrett was on the hunt for a PB. Phil has been attending the Tuesday night training sessions on a regular basis and has demonstrated an explosive turn of pace on occasions. He’s been putting in a concerted effort to improve his strength and stamina and was hopeful that on race day, the hard training would pay off.
He started out a little too hard, despite making a conscious effort to slow himself down. He found kilometres 4 to 8 quite tough going, especially running into the wind but he really felt the sessions he’d done with BAC helped him battle through.
With a mile left to go, he knew he was on for a sub 45, so he’d beaten his time from the previous year. It was then just a case of, would he be able to topple his PB time of 44:44. And the answer, was yes. Emphatically! He managed to pick up the pace in the closing stages to finish in a fantastic time of 43:37. This put him 109th in the overall standings.
Phil was delighted with the run and is very much looking forward to seeing more improvements in his running going forward thanks to the training sessions at BAC.
The first lady over the line for the club was Joy Wright, who finished in 14th female in a time of 44:06. She was 122nd overall and took 3rd place in the 40-44 category, finishing just 5 seconds ahead of her nearest rival in the category, Zoe Hayward.
Zoe had attempted to overtake Joy a few times toward the end of the race and was not best pleased when Joy put in her usual ‘do or die’ sprint finish to pip her to the post.
It wasn’t quite as fast a time as Joy would have wanted but she had been unwell and is recovering from an Achilles injury so given the circumstances it was a pretty good result. In fact, she felt so sick that she was relieved to make it to the finish line without vomiting!
In the last 2k she also had a fly go into her eye and surmised that it must be hitch hiking to the finish. At least the fly chose a good person to ride with as Joy zoomed to the line.
Another BAC lady taking on the 10k event was Louise Broderick. Louise is an assistant coach for the junior development group on Wednesday nights and helps the club out in various ways when she can.
Louise’s time of 46 minutes 55 seconds put her in 4th place in the female 45-49 category and she finished 224th overall. She found the 4pm start time difficult to get to grips with and hasn’t had much time to train this year so she was pleased with her performance. She was the 30th woman to cross the line out of 1,335.
Having entered both the 10k and the Marathon for the BMF, Mark Hillier was in for an interesting couple of days. A friend of Mark’s was running the 10k in his first ever race, so Mark decided to run with him, despite having already entered the Marathon.
As planned, Mark completed the 10k race with his friend in a time of 53:06, putting him in 533rd place. This was a comfortable pace for Mark and meant that he had a lot left in the tank for the Marathon the next day, which would no doubt prove crucial.
An unfortunate fixture clash placed the next Dorset Road Race League fixture, the Gold Hill 10k, on the same weekend as the Bournemouth Marathon Festival. That meant team captain Rich Nelson was set for another difficult task in getting a team together. Nevertheless, he did somehow manage it, with a team of five men and three ladies ready to brave the sumptuous slopes of Shaftesbury.
It would probably be a fair assessment to say that some BAC members were secretly glad they’d already pre-booked their races for the Bournemouth Marathon Festival given that the Gold Hill 10k is notorious for being one of the toughest local races around.
The course has a combined elevation gain of approximately 870ft and features a constant theme of undulation throughout. The route also incorporates the iconic Gold Hill, the setting from the famous Hovis advert of 1973 that was directed by Ridley Scott and was voted Britain’s favourite advertisement of all time.
Hills like that are bead and butter to Jez Bragg and he rocketed round the course in 38 minutes 46, earning him 8th place in the standings. Jez is renowned for pushing himself to the absolute limit, taking part of races like the Dragon’s Back, a 315km mountain ultra run over 5 days and featuring 15,500m of ascent.
For an athlete of Jez’s ilk to say that Gold Hill is a tough race says it all really. Although he’s used to ascents of biblical proportions, when you’re hitting them at 10k pace they smack you hard.
Jez admits that he set off a bit too quick and paid the price for that toward the end of the race. He was 4th going into the last kilometre but dropped a few places before crossing the line. He still managed to finish around a minute quicker than he’s done the course before so it was still an excellent performance.
Another man who is no stranger to tough races is Pat Robbins. Pat competed in the 24 hour World Championships earlier in the summer where he covered almost 150 miles. Gold Hill is a very different kind of tough though and Pat had to use all of his tremendous talent and tenacity to do as well as he did. Pat was pleased with his time of 40:45 which put him in 14th place.
The BAC member over the line was Jud Kirk who took 52nd place in a time of 45:50. Given the profile of the course, Jud was quite pleased with the way he ran in a race where it was really a huge sense of achievement just to finish.
Heading up the proceedings for the ladies’ team was Harriet Slade who came in 55th place in a time of 45:59. Harriet had been ahead of Jud for most of the race but in the end he just pipped her to the post.
As fourth placed female overall, Harriet made another valuable contribution to the scoring for the ladies who are still hopeful of winning the league if they can get enough interest from the two remaining fixtures. Her teammates will certainly be hoping Harriet joins them for more road races in the near future.
Taking 2nd place vet lady for the second year running, Yvonne Tibble finished in 69th place overall in a time of 48:14. Yvonne enjoyed the race, taking in the stunning picturesque views as she scaled the heights.
Having ran it last year, she was fully aware how tough the hills were and didn’t let the memories from her previous experience deter her and she had decided she would be prepared to take on for the team on this occasion. She also managed to acquire a second rather pretty hand painted, glazed bowl to go with the other she won in the previous year, meaning she now has a matching pair.
“Absolutely horrific was Steve Parsons synopsis of the race. He found the relentless hills very tough going and found that when he wasn’t running up a steep hill he was coming down one, which wasn’t much better.
The second half of the race was virtually all uphill and felt extremely demoralising to Steve, particularly when having to drop down steeply, knowing you would be having to climb all the way back up again.
The gradients were pretty crazy and the last hill right at the end of the race felt ‘like torture’ to Steve. The constant up and downs made it very difficult to maintain a rhythm during the run. He recalls one section of the course where he came hurtling down the hill flat out only to be greeted by a really steep climb immediately after, forcing a difficult change of pace.
Steve finished in 79th place with a time of 50:54, having completed the first 5k in 23:15 and the second half in 27:17. That gives a good indication of just how much tougher the second half of the race is.
The last hill sticks out in Steve’s memory was the final hill at about 9.5k, which was ‘like a wall’. He finished in 79th place with a time of 50:34. With very sore legs after the race, in particular his calves, Steve was finding getting down the stair extremely difficult.
In the immediate aftermath he said he’d never do it again, but after falling the wrong side of 50 minutes, he might be tempted to give it another go once the memory of it has faded a little bit.
One man who has done the race more than once is Ian Graham. He’s done it a few times in fact, but always seems to have managed to forget how hard it is until he’s back in the thick of it again.
It was Ian’s first race for six months or so, having spent a significant amount of time on the side-lines through injury. It was good to see Ian back in action and he was indeed the rock holding the team up, finishing in 126th place with a time of 56:06
Third across the line for the BAC ladies was Samantha Laws, who came in 215th place with a time of 1 :11:01. Sam found the race challenging both mentally and physically but in the end completed it in a commendable time.
She was particularly keep on the medals that were handed out to all the finishers. They were actually all hand made from clay, making them rather unique in comparison to the standard bling you normally get.
One Bournemouth AC member who really loves to push himself to the absolute limit with his running is Toby Chapman. And if there’s one race that is guaranteed to take its participants to the absolute limit is the Saloman Ultra Pirineu.
The Saloman Ultra Pirineu is a 110km mountain run held in the magnificent Cadí Moixeró Natural Park in the Spanish Pyrenees. The race is famed for its colossal 6,800m elevation gain linking eight different mountain huts. In fact, the slopes are so steep, they mostly entail hiking up, rather than running and even that is a very tough ask for the average runner.
The race starts and finishes in the small town of Bagà, which is near Barcelona. The route combines high mountain passes with urban areas and carries a capacity field of 1,000 runners. The setting is spectacular with breath-taking scenery and magical sunsets.
Toby is no stranger to tough mountain ultras having recently entered the Mont-Blanc Marathon 80km race. He managed almost 50km before being forced to abandon his quest due to sickness. By that time he’d been running for over nine and a half hours.
He was hopeful that the Ultra Pirineu would be a bit more runnable and would suit him better, despite being further in distance. Either way, he was primed and ready and determined to give it his best shot and leave everything out on the slopes of the Pyrenees.
The race started on Saturday 23rd September at 7am. It was an elevation gain of 1000m to the first checkpoint, which was at Rebost. This was 7.6km into the race. Toby arrived there in just under 1 hour 25 minutes which put him in 323rd place.
After that, a further 924m of climbing took him to Niu d’Aliga, taking the distance up to 13.7km. He’d now been racing for 2 hours 37 minutes and was in 253rd position.
It was mostly downhill to the next checkpoint at Serrat Esposes. He’d now covered 28km and the fact that this was a runnable section helped Toby gain several places. He was now in 199th place, having been going for 4 hours 33 minutes.
After a short uphill stretch, it was then downhill again to the next checkpoint at Bellver. This was at the 39.6km mark and Toby arrived in 5 hours 44 minutes. He was now in 172nd position.
He then had to ready himself for a further 10km of climbing before reaching the next checkpoint at Cortals. This took the total elevation gain to 3,268m and Toby had been going for 7 hours 31 minutes. He had now moved up to 140th place
The following stoppage point was just over 60km into the race. The elevation was now up to 4,181m and Toby had been racing for 9 hours 38 minutes. The route then continued uphill for a few kilometres before working its way down to Gosol.
Reaching Gosol meant Toby had now covered 73km and had arrived in 11 hours 54 minutes. That put him in 162nd place. By the time he set off on the next stretch it was after 7pm.
It was then onto the penultimate pitstop at Estasen. This was 82km into the race. Toby hit this point at 13 hours 41 minutes. He was now in 148th place. The total elevation gain was now up to 5,093m.
This left 18km to go to the finish. The next checkpoint was at the 99km stage. Upon reaching this, the finish line really would been almost in sight. Sadly Toby never actually made it that for. He was forced to pull out at the 96km point suffering from severe dehydration.
Whilst it was gutting to get this far and not make it to the end of the race, there was just no way he could continue. His body was shutting down and sadly he had no option but to withdraw.
Despite registering another DNF, Toby was able to see the positives of the race and was pleased with his performance. It was also a great learning experience and the more of these types of races he does, the more he’ll master the nuances of staying hydrated and getting the right nutrition and rest.
Plus completing 96km with such a huge elevation gain will be a massive confidence booster for Toby as he now knows he can do it. If he’d just got his hydration levels right he would probably have made it to the end. Races like this can hang in the balance on aspects like that and it’s so important to get it right.
Only 603 out of the 1000 people who started the race actually made it to the end, which gives some indication of how tough it is, even for experienced mountain ultra runners. The physical demands on the body are just so extreme.
It hasn’t put Toby off though and given the courage and determination he possesses, there’s no doubt he’ll continue with his foray into challenging mountain ultra races that can push him to the absolute limit and beyond.
The Hoburne 5 commanded a little less attention from the Bournemouth AC hierarchy than it did the previous year when it was a Dorset Road Race League fixture. That didn’t stop six BAC members from making an appearance though, with some having the drag themselves through the mire a bit to even make it to the start line.
Christchurch Runners had rolled out a brand new course this year, although the race still started and finished from the same HQ at Hoburne Holiday Park.
The route wasn’t massively different but there seemed to be differing opinions about whether it was more or less undulating than last year. It still retained it’s twisty characteristics though which made it hard to maintain a constant pace.
One man who had absolutely no problem with the new route was BAC member Karl Welch, who tore the course up to take first place in a staggeringly quick time of 27:43.
Amazingly, it was Karl’s first race since the Hampshire League Cross-Country fixture at Kings Park last year. He hadn’t trained at all over the summer due to being promoted at work, which resulted in him doing extra hours. This made it it a bit of a struggle to balance out running and working out with the additional time he was putting in at work.
Fortunately this situation has improved a bit recently and Karl has managed to get back to hitting 35 to 40 miles a week. He had been mostly just putting the miles in tough rather than doing any sessions as he felt he needed to get his fitness back and lose a bit of timber first, which he has now done.
For the most part, Karl enjoyed the new route, although he did feel that there were some additional hills in there that he found quite tough. He didn’t really know what sort of time to expect as, like most of us, he hasn’t done many five races, but he can certainly be extremely satisfied with the result.
The winning margin was 33 seconds, over Aaron Froukhians of Totton RC. Andrew Ridley, who often comes to training with us on Tuesday and Thursday evenings took 3rd place in a time of 29:04, seeing off competition from Frank Handy of New Forest Runners, who was 4th in 29:10.
Finishing in 18th place overall was Jud Kirk, who took 3rd in the vm50 category. Jud preferred the new course to the old one, even though it was still quite twisty and he posted a similar sort of the time to what he did at the Littledown 5 a couple of weeks ago, finishing in 33:37.
Jud said he felt like he was going faster so he was a little disappointed when he got to the line and saw his time. It’s made him realise he needs to do more shorter runs to get the leg speed up.
The next BAC member over the line was Mike White, who recorded a time of 35:55. That put him in 32nd place and 9th in the vm40 category. Mike was sandwiched in between two Littledown Harriers, finishing 1 second behind Stephen Amey and 1 second ahead of Heather Khoshnevis.
Having only started training with Bournemouth AC this summer Mike feels that it’s really helped him up his game. This was his first ever race as a club member and he found that the benefits he’s gained from the Tuesday night interval sessions really came in useful on the day. He’s now on the cusp of hitting his PB targets again and he is sure that he if he keeps up the training he will push on.
The Hoburne 5 was also graced with the return to action of a certain Mr Ian White. Ian hasn’t been seen in competitive racing for quite some time but has been putting in a bit of training recently in an attempt to gain some fitness back.
He had chosen the Hoburne 5 as the ideal opportunity to make his long awaited return and dusted his trainers off and dug out his BAC vest from the back of the wardrobe.
Although he would have liked to have been in better shape, Ian still enjoyed being out there. He finished in a very commendable time of 38:02, taking 49th place overall and 11th in the vm40 category.
Two seconds later, Steve Parsons crossed the line, taking 50th place. Steve was having a dilemma in the lead up to the race as he had signed up to do the Hoburne 5 on the Sunday and had been invited to a beer festival on the Saturday night.
He was having a hard time deciding which one of the two events he should sacrifice. However, he couldn’t seem to make up his mind and in the end decided to do both. That meant turning up to the race feeling slightly worse for ware after a few too many ales at the beer festival.
Despite his hungover state, Steve was determined to make it to start line, as he had what he considered to be unfinished business with the Hoburne 5. Last year he started the race but unfortunately did not make it the end after suffering an asthma attack which forced him to pull out.
Although he wasn’t at his best, Steve was pleased to have finished the race this time, albeit sweating ale out all the way round. He managed to hang onto the back of Ian White most the way round, which gave him a bit of motivation and took his mind off the discomfort at least. He thinks the smell of the ale seeping out of his pores was probably enough to keep Ian going as well!
Also in the race for BAC was Samantha Laws, who finished in 125th place with a time of 46:55. Sam was 6th in the vf40 category and was reasonably happy with her run.
There was an added bonus for Steve after the race, when they did a raffle with the race numbers and wouldn’t you just know it, Steve got lucky. And of course, the prize turned about to be two bottles of Flack Manor ale and a glass to drink them with. He didn’t quite know whether to laugh or cry when he saw it. Knowing Steve though, he probably drank them when he got home anyway.
With many BAC athletes focusing their attentions on the Bournemouth Marathon Festival which is fast approaching, the Salisbury Half Marathon was a one that flew under the radar a bit for most of us. We did, however, have some representation in the race in the shape of Julian Oxborough.
Back in the early 1990’s, Julian used to run for Bournemouth AC and was a very good runner in his golden days, capable of doing half marathons in 1 hour 25 minutes.
After a long period out of the game and many changes in his life, Julian has recently got back into running and it’s great to see he has drive to complete races and improve his times, even though his faster days may be behind him.
Despite moving to Somerset, Julian still considers Bournemouth as his true home and still loves to run for BAC. He was targeting a 2 hour 55 finish for the Salisbury Half.
The event was extremely well organised and a great atmosphere was created by supporters out on route. It was a double loop course with very flat profile.
As the race got underway, Julian settled into a steady pace and felt relaxed. He managed to stay strong for the first seven miles, keeping a good pace. Unfortunately, his watch didn’t though and the battery ran out.
At this point he considered pulling out as he had no idea what pace he was running at. He persevered though and continued with the race and in the end he was very glad to have done so.
Crossing the line in 2 hours 46 minutes and 34 seconds, Julian had run his fastest half marathon of the modern era. Since he’s come back into running, Julian has reset the clock on all his PB’s and looks at this as an entirely separate stage of his running career.
Finishing in 780th place overall, Julian was also 74th in the M50-59 category. He was pleased with his performance and will be hoping to use this as a springboard toward becoming a good vet runner. He is under no illusions though and knows he has a lot of work ahead of him. At the moment he’s just taking it one day at a time.
Interestingly, 39 runners were disqualified from the race for wearing headphones. This is something that if often threatened in races, but rarely ever carried through. In the Salisbury Half though, they did actually enforce the rule, much the dismay of numerous competitors.
The safety of the participants should always be paramount though in any race, along with the safety of drivers and other road users who may be passing by. Being unable to hear the instruction of the marshals or the sound of vehicles in the road could potentially be dangerous, so the actions of the race organisers were in fact commendable under the circumstances.
The Invictus Games 2017 took place in Toronto, Canada, between 23rd and 30th September and featured two Bournemouth AC members representing Great Britain. Luke Sinnott took part in the IT2 100m, 200m and 400m and Mark Bowra was in the IF2 Discus and Shotput finals.
The Invictus Games was the brainchild of Prince Harry, set up for members or former members of the armed forces from countries all around the world who have been disabled, either physically or mentally. The Games in Toronto was the third edition of the Invictus Games, following London in 2014 and Florida in 2016.
Luke lost both his legs whilst serving in the Army in Afghanistan in 2010 after becoming the victim of an Improvised Explosive Device. Luke demonstrated the extraordinary character to, not only come back from that, but also to forge a very successful athletics career.
Luke joined Bournemouth AC two years ago and was an inspirational special guest at the BAC presentation evening 2015. He mainly specialises in the Long Jump T42, competing for Great Britain in the World Champions in July. In fact, he finished 4th in the event with a PB jump of 6.15m and was only 10cm shy of a medal.
There was no Long Jump event though in the Invictus Games, so Luke competed in some of the track events instead. First he won his IT2 100m heat in a time of 14.05. Shortly after, he won his 200m heat in a time of 28.50.
This put him into the finals of both events, where he took the silver medal in the 100m with a time of 14.32. An hour later he was competing in the 200m final, where he went one better, taking the gold medal in an incredible time of 27.99.
Then in the afternoon of that very same day, Luke lined of the 400m final as well. Incredibly, he managed to add to his medal haul, taking a second gold medal, with a time of 1.03.94.
Needless to say, it was a tremendously successful Games for Luke. He had been determined to win a medal after pledging to bring one back for the family of Corporal David Barnsdale. Corporal Barnsdale was a friend and colleague of Luke’s who was also in the bomb squad. He was killed in Helmand Province in 2010 when a bomb exploded.
This gave Luke an added motivation to succeed and he did not just want to bring any medal back to Corporal Barnsdale’s family. He wanted it to be gold – and indeed it was.
Also travelling to Toronto in search of Invictus Games glory, Mark Bowra was another BAC member who is often seen perfecting his craft at Kings Park.
Mark was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Marines. He has always been very sporty and was a member of BaySUP (The Standup Paddleboard club) based in Bournemouth. His life changed dramatically in 2014 when he suffered a severe stroke, which affected his physical ability and speech.
Mark wasn’t going to let the disability get the better of him though and was determined to get back into sports. He’s since excelled in throwing events and was proud to represent Great Britain in both the IF2 Discus and the IF2 Shotput at the Invictus Games.
With a distance of 15.02m, Mark took 5th place in the Discus and with a best throw of 5.97m he finished 6th in the Shotput. This marked a very successful couple of days of athletics for BAC athletes and for Great Britain.
Luke and Mark are not only war heroes, they are also sporting heroes. Their achievements at the Invictus Games are truly inspirational and demonstrate that with hard work and dedication, and with the right attitude, any obstacle can be overcome.