BAC members paint the town yellow at Wimborne 10

Eight Bournemouth AC members including Gary Woolnough and Chris O’Brien took to the tarmac to tackle Wimborne 10

Despite not being listed as a Dorset Road Race League fixture this year, the Wimborne 10 still attracted a very high class field, including eight Bournemouth AC members. The results for the yellow and blue army were exceptional, boasting four category wins along with four fantastic new 10 mile PB’s.

Getting back to something close to her best form, Emma Dews finished as 2nd lady in a phenomenal time of 1:03:56. This put her in 32nd place overall in a field of 475 starters. It also gave her 1st place in the FV40-44 category.

Emma was just over a minute and a half behind Joanna Hanna of Poole AC, who won the ladies race in an incredible time of 1:02:25, putting her in 17th overall.

Emma Dews in pursuit of the leading lady, Joanna Hanna

A 35 second gap separated Emma from the 3rd placed woman who was Kate Cadbury. Vicki Ingham of Poole Runners was 4th in 1:06:55.

Buoyed by a great performance in the Abingdon Marathon, Sanjai Sharma seems to have got his mojo back now and he had another strong performance, winning the MV55-59 category in a time of 1:02:02. This put him in 12th place in the overall standings.

In fact it was the exact same position that Sanjai had finished in last year and was only 40 seconds shy of the blistering PB he set that day.

Sanjai Sharma continued his good recent form by putting another excellent display

After managing to overtake a few others he had been battling with over the second half of the race, Sanjai was pleased with the outcome and had nothing left in the tank when he crossed the line.

The race was sponsored by Farrow & Ball and Sanjai was quite happy to receive his prize of  decorating book and a voucher for 10 litres of paint. No doubt at least some rooms in his house will be getting a makeover in the near future.

Sanjai collects his decorating book and paint vouchers for finishing as 1st MV55-59

Securing victory in the MV50-54 category, Gary Woolnough was pleasantly surprised to earn himself a new 10 mile PB, finishing in a superb time 1:04:21. This put him in 35th place overall and was an excellent result considering he hasn’t really done in major races since the London Marathon back in April.

Gary ran most of the race with his fellow BAC team mate Chris O’Brien with the pair working together well as they progressed along the undulating road based route.

Coming off the back of his magnificent marathon PB at Abingdon four weeks ago, Chris didn’t feel he had fully recovered from his exploits and was careful not to overcook it as he negotiated his way round the course.

BAC team spirit: Gary and Chris ran most of the race together, both finishing comfortably inside 65 minutes

It was only the final hill that proved challenging for Chris and, since he hadn’t planned for an all-out assault, he dropped back a bit on the incline. That didn’t stop him flying down the avenue of trees for a strong finish though and he crossed the line in what turned out to be a new official PB of 1:04:28. This put him in 36th place just 7 seconds behind Gary.

Another BAC member to win a prize was Anthony Clark who, although he was the 2nd MV40-44 over the line, was still awarded the category win as Mark Smith of  Poole AC had already received a prize for coming 2nd overall.

Anthony Clark had not been well in the lead up to the race but decided on the morning of the race that he couldn’t resist giving it a go

This suited Anthony fine as he took home the Farrow & Ball paint vouchers. Having been ill all week prior to the race, Anthony wasn’t even sure he was going to run. He felt a bit better on the morning of the race though so decided to give it a go.

His original plan was to set at 60 minute pace, but Anthony was aware that Lee Dempster of Lychett Manor Striders was targeting a sub 58 minute PB. Ant decided to make it his mission to help Lee achieve his goal.

Anthony sacrificed his own race in favour of helping Lee Dempster of Lychett Manor Striders to an epic new PB

Reaping the benefit of having Anthony alongside him, Lee ran extremely well, sealing a terrific new PB of 57:44 which put him in 3rd place. Ant followed in just after to take 4th position in a time of 57:50.

Anthony crosses the line in 4th place overall in a time of 57:50

The race was won by Craig Palmer of Littledown Harriers, who finished an incredible time of 54:55. Craig has been running for Bournemouth AC in the Hampshire League Cross Country fixtures recently and has been a massive help to the team with two superb displays thus far.

Before he turned up for training with BAC 6 months ago, 1:15 for a 10 miler would have been an aspiration for Mike White. His form has improved dramatically since though and that culminated in a PB of over 3 minutes at Wimborne. This gave Mike a finishing time of 1:12:22, putting him in 93rd place.

It is always nice to see some of the relatively new members of the club flourishiong off the back of the Tuesday and Thursday night training schedule that team captain Rich Nelson devises.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the Wimborne 10 course, Mike is now eagerly looking at future road races he can do to keep his good form going and chase down some more PBs.

The Wimborne 10 represented a step up in distance for Kirsty Drewett as it was her first attempt at a 10 miler. She took to it remarkably well and felt comfortable throughout. In fact, she classed it as her strongest and most controlled run to date.

Kirsty Drewett was taking on the challenge of her first ever 10 mile race

Crossing the line in a stellar time of 1:18:36, Kirsty finished in 156th position and was 5th in the FV35-39 category. She was 21st lady on the day.

Taking 5th place in the MV55-59, Jud Kirk had a decent return to form, clocking a time of 1:09:48. It was only two days prior that Jud found out he would be taking to the start line after Graeme Miller was forced to pull out.

Jud Kirk is being chased by a pack of Littledown Harriers

The first 5 miles of the race went well for Jud but the wheels came off a little after that. He pushed on through though despite the tricky climb in the last mile and crossed the line in 71st place overall.

Jud was pleased to finish under 70 minutes and took 5th place in the MV55-59 category

 

 

BAC success at Hampshire Cross Country League fixture

 

Some of BAC’s mens’ team -Simon Hearn, Richard Brawn, Jud Kirk, Stuart Nicholas, Craig Palmer (behind the elbow!), Steve Way, Pat Robbins, Sanjai Sharma, Steve Cox and Nick Kenchington

A strong contingent of BAC men and women competed at what must be the toughest of the Hampshire Cross Country League venues at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, near Petersfield, on Saturday 11 November. This is a new course and involved climbing almost to the top of Butser Hill, the highest point in Hampshire, followed by a sharp descent, and then doing this again, in the case of the men, three times!

The start of the mens’ race, Craig Palmer, David Long and Josh King showing early form

However, this did not daunt a very strong BAC mens’ team, whose objective was to build on the solid fifth place in Division 1 of the League achieved at the first fixture of the season, at Kings Park, to ensure that first division status is maintained at the end of the season.  To say this was done is an understatement, with the Senior Mens‘ team finishing 2nd on the day, with only the untouchable Aldershot, Farnham and District club in front, and now lie 2nd equal in the table after two fixtures.  BAC‘s Veteran Men also had a highly successful day, finishing 3rd of 24 teams.

Rich Brawn soaks up the atmosphere before the start

There was another 2nd position by BAC – the Veteran Women, more about this later.

The course involved climbing the far slope almost to the top (the mast is the highest point in Hampshire) and down the near slope (three times for the men!)

The BAC charge was led by Jacek Cieluszecki, who chased David Long around the course, just edging past David towards the finish, so that David finished just one place behind Jacek, but, as 8th and 9th respectively, it looked as if BAC were on course for a low points count.  This was confirmed when Craig Palmer crossed the line  seconds later, pursued very shortly by Josh King, and when Rob McTaggart finished in 48th position it was clear this was a good result – to have the entire team in the top 50 is always good news!  BAC‘s Senior Men are 2nd in the table, equal with Southampton Athletic Club, so let’s hope the exciting contest with SAC to finish the season 2nd (behind AFD who can never be caught!) of a few years ago can be repeated!

BAC‘s Veteran Men can also be very satisfied with the result from Butser Hill.  The team of Steve Way, Pat Robbins and Sanjai Sharma, by finishing 3rd of 24 teams (there is only one Veteran Mens‘ division), ensured that that the 4th position achieved at the first fixture at Kings Park was retained as the aggregate position.

In all, 14 BAC men competed in this fixture, and it was a real pleasure to see so many of the yellow and blue vests around the course. Congratulations to all who took partThe only sad feature was that there was not one single BAC U20 or U17 man, nor U15 or U13 boy, although, in the U11 boys’ race, it was great to see Isaac Sandell tackling the course.

There was also a strong BAC Senior Womens‘ team present, with the team of Emma Dews, Harriet Slade and Nikki Sandell finishing 7th on the day, of 27 teams (like the Veteran Men, there is only one Senior Women division), an excellent result, placing the team 7th aggregate in the team.  Emma and Nikki also scored for the Veteran Womens‘ team, and supported by Yvonne Tibble, the team finished an astonishing 2nd on the day, resulting in a 2nd aggregate position.  Just in case anything went wrong (which it didn’t!) Joy Wright and Kirsty Drewitt provided the essential back-up.  The situation concerning BAC‘s youngsters was almost as sparse as with the boys, with no BAC U17W, U13G nor U11G taking part, but, in the U15G race, it was very encouraging to see Amelia Reynolds and Anya Sandell competing.

Results (BAC): Senior/Veteran Men: 8. Jacek Cieluszecki 35.53; 9. David Long 36.02; 13. Craig Palmer 36.24; 21. Josh King 37.25; 48. Rob McTaggart 39.12; 64. Steve Way 40.11; 72. Stuart Nicholas 40.38; 96. Pat Robbins 42.08; 109. Sanjai Sharma 42.53; 156. Richard Brawn 45.28; 166. Nick Kenchington 46.09; 179. Jud Kirk 47.33; 198. Simon Hearn 49.07; 231. Steve Cox 52.18 (286 in race): Senior/Veteran Women: 29. Emma Dews 26.22; 47. Harriet Slade 27.49; 50. Nikki Sandell 28.25; 67. Yvonne Tibble 29.44; 77. Joy Wright 30.31; 93. Kirsty Drewitt (161 in race): U15 Girls: 28 Amelia Reynolds 15.40; 36. Anya Sandell 16.15 (48 in race): U11 Boys: Isaac Sandell (results not yet published – this race isn’t part of the League).

The following photographs (copyright: hammy8241) were taken by Paul Hammond of Eastleigh RC and are reproduced with his permission, for which many thanks………

David Long
Jacek Cieluszecki and Josh King
Craig Palmer
Rob McTaggart
Emma Dews
Harriet Slade
Nikki Sandell

 

Stuart Nicholas looks determined
Yvonne Tibble
Kirsty Drewitt

 

Trevor Elkins steams into second place at the Avon Valley Railway 10k

Trevor Elkins travelled to Bristol to compete in the Avon Valley Railway 10k

On the same weekend that many BAC members were slugging it out on Butser Hill in an extraordinary Hampshire League Cross Country fixture, Trevor Elkins was engaging in a race of his own that was very similar to a cross country race.

Trevor had ventured over the Bristol for the Avon Valley Railway 10k. Having done quite a bit of running over in Bristol and Bath over the last couple of years, the area wasn’t entirely alien to him and he had had some strong performances over that way in the past. The races tend to be pretty well organised and fun as well.

Two of Trevor’s friends, Gary Freeman and Christopher White also took part in the race

The first 2k and the last 2k of the course were on concrete, running alongside the Avon Valley railway line. The other 6k was over fields and land in the area. It was over that sector of the course where all the fun and games occurred.

Trevor was feeling strong for the race and was in confident mood as proceedings got underway. At first he was in around 8th or 9th place as many of the other competitors got a bit carried away and sped off.

Trevor stayed composed though, looking to conserve energy for the later stages of the race. By the end of the first 2k, he was neck and neck with the race leader. They then headed down into the valley and the complexion of the race took a significant turn.

As they hit the off-road sector, the course became very muddy and slippery. Trevor had opted for road shoes instead of trails, since he knew that 4k of the route was on tarmac.

The muddy, off-road section proved very tough to negotiate

Although the slippery surface was difficult to negotiate, Trevor kept the pace up, jockeying for position with Brad Cox, who was in the lead. Even though Brad had trails on, he was still slipping around a fair bit but he eventually managed to open out a gap over Trevor as he wrestled to stay on his feet.

Trevor jostled for position with Brad Cox at the front of the race in the first 2k before they took to the muddy and waterlogged fields

As well as the muddy, slippery ground, there was also a few inclines to contend with. Some sections were also waterlogged and meant ploughing through a 50 to 250 metre area of water. It seemed like to Trevor that the more he waded into the water, the more it slowed him down as his trainers sank into the mud.

The waterlogged ground made the task all the more challenging for Trevor as he sank into the mud with every forward step

At the 8k stage the route went back ono the road and Trevor was able to start making gains on Brad again as the mud and water on his trail shoes began to weigh him down. There was still quite a big gap between the two though and in the end, Trevor decided to settle for second place. He could see that there was a pretty big gap between him and the third place runner so he could afford to ease off the pace a bit by that point.

The trophy Trevor picked up for finishing in 2nd place overall

As he reached the finish line, the clock had just edged of the 44 minute mark, giving him a time of 44:04. Whilst this may not sound a particularly fast time for  10k race, when you factor in the difficulty of the terrain, it was actually a very good effort indeed.

Trevor ran very well to secure a superb 2nd placed finish in a time of 44:04

A lot of the runners had slipped over in the fields and were caped in mud. it was a miracle Trevor had managed to stay upright in road shoes. He was thinking about the last time he had been in a similar race and had collected so much mud and excess weight on his trainers that it slowed him down as the race went on and he lost the man he was tracking, who had opted for road shoes. Trevor was not prepared to risk making that same mistake again.

After some heavy rain in the run up to the race, the condition of the course was always going to present problems

He ended the race 53 seconds down on the winner, Brad Cox, who’s finishing time was 43:11. Brad is a very accomplished runner and does have ultra training in him, so to be up there vying for the top spot was an achievement in itself for Trevor.

1st and 2nd: Brad and Trevor jostled for the lead throughout the race with Brad eventually sealing the win

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double delight for Stu Nicholas at Halloween Challenge and Enigma Fireworks

Stu Nicholas had given himself the task of completing two marathons in the space of six days and he was out to win them both!

One man who saw his Halloween and Guy Fawkes celebrations go off with a bang was Stu Nicholas, who claimed an incredible two marathon victories in the space of week, winning the Halloween Challenge on 31st October and the Enigma Fireworks five days later on 5th November.

Stu is always looking for new ways to challenge himself and doing two marathons in the space of six days was perhaps taking things up a notch, even by his standards. But it wasn’t enough to just complete the two marathons. He wanted to win them.

The first one was the Halloween Challenge that took place at the Saphire Hoe nature reserve in Dover. The event was put on by the Saxons, Vikings & Normans Marathons & Challenges.

It was a six hour timed challenge where the idea was to complete as many 3.85 mile loops as you can within the given timeframe. Quite a large number of the competitors opted to do a marathon, which meant they would need to complete 7 laps of the multi-terrain course.

In both of his marathon races, Stu had a to complete 7 full laps and he was aiming to do it quicker than anyone else

Armed with only one small square of fudge for nutrition, Stu set off on his quest to complete his 34th marathon to date. Naturally, he set off at a frighteningly quick pace that seemed to scare off all of his nearest rivals.

At the end of the 7th lap, Stu crossed the finish line for the final time, completing the 26.2 mile distance in an astonishing time of 3:01:54. By the time he’d finished, he’d managed to ghost away from all the other participants and had built up a huge gap over the 2nd placed man. In fact, his winning margin had amounted to over 28 minutes by the time the runner up completed his 7th lap.

The spoils from Stu’s first of two outstanding performances, the Saxons, Vikings & Normans ‘Halloween Challenge’

It was then a case of ensuring he recovered well and had recuperated ready for his next marathon, the Enigma Fireworks, which took place on the following Sunday at Caldecotte Lake in Milton Keynes.

The race was again run on a 7 lap course but with the addition of one further small loop to make up the distance. This time though, it was laps around the lake with each lap consisting of 3.55 miles and predominantly off-road.

It was a crisp 9am start so Stu wrapped up warm and set off like a rocket in a bid to raise the body temperature up to something sensible at least.

Once he got into his stride though, there was no stopping Stu. Despite having run a marathon just five days prior, he was on fire, completing the 26.52 mile distance in an astonishing time of 2 hours 50 minutes and 33 seconds. This was the third fastest time anyone had ever done that course in.

His explosive speed had simply blown everyone else away, giving him a comfortable winning margin of 7 minutes 24 seconds. It was another truly spectacular display from Stu, proving that with the talent he possesses, the sky really is the limit.

Stu had a blast at the Enigma Fireworks marathon and was over the moon to seal his second magnificent marathon victory in the space of six days

 

 

BAC men’s team on top at Gilly Hilly

Five members of the men’s team are prepped and ready to battle the lumps and bumps of the Gilly Hilly.
Left to right: Jud Kirk, Jez Bragg, Jon Sharkey, Rich Brawn, Steve Parsons

The next Dorset Road Race League fixture was The Gilly Hilly Race, which was staged by the Gillingham Trotters Running Club. The 7.5 mile route was on undulating but very scenic country roads around the Gillingham area of Dorset.

The race has managed to maintain it’s traditional, old school Dorset feel and, as it turned out, featured a little something for everyone. That’s if you like running up hills, getting confronted by horses, colliding with hay trucks or fighting through brambles! The Gilly Hilly Race of 2017 had all that and more.

In spite of the various ‘race incidents’ that took place involving Bournemouth AC members, it was actually a very successful day from a  BAC perspective. Toby Chapman claimed the race win, getting to the line in a phenomenal time of 43 minutes 52. This gave him an 24 second margin of victory over Joseph Donworth of Frome RC, with Duncan Ward of Dorset Doddlers coming in 2 seconds later to take 3rd.

Toby Chapman collects his prize from the Mayor of Gillingham for winning The Gilly Hill Race of 2017 in an incredible time of 43:52

Bournemouth AC also collected the men’s team winners prize as well, which was decided by the cumulitive time of the top 3 runners. Toby, Jon Sharkey and Jez Bragg  claimed that honour.

Jon Sharkey took 6th place on the day with a time of 44:34 with Jez securing 9th in a time of 45:22. They could easily have been denied their moment of glory if hadn’t been for the eagle-eyed Sharkey, who spotted that they had made a mistake in the results and had in fact omitted him from the original printed list.

The race organiser Ines Braun was quick to act and manage to rectify the error and sure enough, Sharkey was back on the list and the BAC trio were awarded the prizes they rightfully deserved.

Toby Chapman (left) and Jon Sharkey (right) won the men’s team competition along with Jez Bragg who had to head off before the prizes were given out

It was also 1st place for the men’s team in the Dorset Road Race League competition as well, with Toby, Sharkey, Jez, Graeme Miller and Tom Paskins finishing as the 5 scorers.

By his own high standards, Graeme didn’t have the best of races but he did still manage a 13th place finish with his time of 46:20. He hadn’t run since the interval session on the previous Tuesday so wasn’t feeling super confident about how it would turn out.

Once he’d gone through the first mile, he knew he’d be in for a tough and painful race, but he persevered and completed the race in a very creditable time, although it was 1 minute and 40 seconds slower than the time he clocked  in the same race two year’s ago.

Tom was also well off the pace by his own very high standards but he was still the 26th fastest runner over the line, finishing in a time of 47:58. Tom has had a very good season though including strong performances in the Boston Marathon, the Portland 10 and the Round The Rock 10k, as well as a famous 4 wins in four half marathons in four days at the Extreme North Quadrathon.

With all his main targeted races for year done and dusted it is understandable that Tom has eased off the training a bit and is not quite at the top of his game at the present time. That said, it was still a valuable contribution to the team effort on the day from Tom, who usually comes into his own on tough, hilly courses.

Despite the win here and the prospect of another potential win in the final fixture of the season, the Boscombe 10k, it is looking like the BAC men’s team will have to settle for 2nd place in the league this time round.

Poole AC have put together a great run of results since the Puddletown Plod back in June, winning every fixture since and have capitalised on the difficulties that BAC team captain Rich Nelson has had in getting a competitive team together.

It’s frustrating because, as performances in The Gilly Hilly Race showed, if we can get a full strength team out, Bournemouth AC are undoubtedly still the team to beat.

There could yet still be a sliver lining though, as the BAC ladies team could yet steal top spot. The league table hasn’t been updated yet after the previous race which was Gold Hill. Before that though, they were in pole position.

Despite the absence of Nikki Sandell who suffered an achilles injury in the lead up to the Bournemouth Marathon and Emma Dews as well, the ladies still managed to get a team of 3 together for Gilly Hilly, as required.

The first BAC lady over the line was Yvonne Tibble, who came in 74th place overall in a time of 55:51. Yvonne was actually the 6th woman to finish and also took the honour of 1st place in the 50-59 category.

Initially though, she was not awarded the trophy for the category win but as it turned out, the person who had been given the prize was actually a man, so Yvonne discovered about her victory later on.

This was despite an unfortunate incident where a horse reared up inches in front of her face. It was only the expert skill of the rider that prevented the horse from landing on her. The incident left her slightly shaken but she was able to gather herself and continue on.

Kirsty Drewett had her hopes of registering a sub 1 hour time scuppered when a passing Range Rover overtook her on one of the tight country roads. Unfortunately, another vehicle was approaching from the other direction. This forced the Range Rover to cut back in after passing Kirsty.

The driver seemed to forget that he was towing a trailer full of hay and the trailer hadn’t quite passed Kirsty yet which caused her to leap backwards to try to avoid it. Unfortunately she didn’t leap back far enough and the hay at the back caught her shoulder and sent her into the bushes.

To make matters worse the two vehicles were now wedged across the road without enough space for either of them to get past. This meant a further hold up as Kirsty was unable to get past the blockage in order to continue with her race. By the time she did get going again, it was too late and she’d already lost too much time to achieve her target.

She collapsed in a heap as she crossed the finish line, which is a sure sign that she’d given her all. Her time had been hampered somewhat by the hay trailer incident and she clocked 1:00:49, which isn’t bad considering her ordeal. That placed her 123rd overall and 29th lady over the line.

Completing the ladies’ team line-up and ensuring they received points for fielding the required number of team members was Louise Price.

Louise didn’t overly enjoy the race and found the hilly course tough to negotiate but she took one for team and ended up finishing in 1:05:13, putting her in 163rd place overall out of 235 finishers. She was the 52nd lady to finish.

There were several other males competing in The Gilly Hilly Race for BAC. Richard Brawn had a good run, claiming 35th place in a time of 49:15.

Richard Brawn put his recent increase in hill practice to good use, finishing in a time of 49:15 which put him in 35th place

Richard wasn’t signed up to the race originally but Pat Robbins had to pull out after suffering a bit of plantar fasciitis, thus transferring his number to Rich. Rich was quite keen to test himself on an undulating course after recently adding a lot more hill work into his training routine.

This tactic seemed to work and Rich was able to keep a reasonable pace throughout the consistent ups and downs of the first 4 miles. After that the course flattened out a bit and Rich was able to pick up the pace and maintain it till the end, picking up several places as he did.

Rich powers his way toward the finish after managing to gain several places in the latter stages of the race

He had an Egdon Heath Harrier right behind him pushing him all the way as well which helped give him the incentive to keep pushing. He was also engaged in a good battle with Nick Berry of the Dorset Doddlers in the last half a mile of the race, with Rich eventually pulling away just before the final climb.

Two weeks after he secured an impressive marathon PB of 3 hours 10 minutes at Abingdon, Adrian Townsend was back in action. Adrian loves these kind of local races and his epic marathon effort didn’t seem to affect him much as he crossed the line a stellar time of 50:16.

Adrian Townsend looks as cool as ever as he approaches the finish to round off a good couple of weeks after his previous marathon PB at Abingdon

The next BAC member to cross the line was Jud Kirk, who came in 50th place with a very respectable time of 52:16. Jud usually enjoys a hilly race but even he found the undulation of Gilly Hilly a bit of struggle. Jud was exhausted as he crossed the line and it was clear to see that he’d given everything he had.

Taking 80th place, Steve Parsons crossed the line in a solid time of 56:45. Steve found himself often gaining places on the inclines but then sometimes losing them on the downhill sections. Toward the end of the race he began to tire a bit and was extremely glad to see the finish line when it arrived on the horizon.

Steve Parsons found the constant undulation tough going but still managed to complete the race in a commendable time of 56:45

If there had been a prize for the over 70 category, Ian Graham would have won that. Ian had a decent run, crossing the line of a time of 1:01:14, putting him in 126th place. This was despite falling into some brambles and ripping some flesh on his shoulder.

The focus now switches to the final race of the Dorset Road Race League season which is the Boscombe 10k on 26th November. BAC will be hoping for another win to finish the season off strongly in the men’s competition and will be hoping to see the ladies’ team seal their league victory.

Some of the members of the Bournemouth AC team parade their medals after a tough but ultimately rewarding race.
Left to right: Rich Brawn, Kirsty Drewett, Jud Kirk, Louise Price, Tom Paskins, Yvonne Tibble, Steve Parsons, Ian Graham

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony, Ross and Rich scale the summits of The Stickler

The Stickler isn’t your average 10 mile race. It is billed as the Dorset 3 Peaks Challenge, featuring over 1500ft of climbing, with the route taking in the hills of Okeford, Hod and Hambledon. The tricky off road terrain starts off on the infamous Stickle Path.

Three intrepid crusaders from the Bournemouth AC fraternity were brave enough to take to the steep slopes. They were Anthony Clark, Ross Smith and Rich Nelson.

Anthony Clark is due to start training for some of his targeted races in 2018 soon and just saw The Stickler as a bit of fun really. Of course, 1500ft of climbing wouldn’t be everyone’s idea of fun but Anthony isn’t just your average athlete.

Anthony Clark enjoyed the off-road, 10 mile route with over 1500ft of climbing

Having represented England twice in the Anglo-Celtic Plate 100k race, he knows what it feels like to really push his body to limit. That said, the hills of The Stickler are enough to challenge even the hardiest of competitors.

With no pubs out on the route, Anthony felt compelled to go the full distance this time and, despite the extremity of the climbs, he still managed to keep a good pace going throughout, completing the course in a superb time of 1:12:01.

That may not sound like an especially fast time for a 10 miler but for this particular race, it really is. This put Anthony in 12th place in the overall standings, and 3rd MV40 over the line.

Anthony soars toward a 1 hour 12 minute finish which is impressive on route of such extreme inclines

The first hill out on the course was the most brutal one of the three, reaching a height of over 750ft to the top of Okeford Beacon. Ross Smith is beginning to fit a few more races into his busy schedule now and found The Stickler the perfect opportunity to test his metal on a very tough course.

Working nightshifts has made it difficult for Ross to keep up his running recently but he did compete in the first Hampshire League Cross Country fixture at Kings Park and is hoping he’ll be able to fit a lot more training and racing in next year when he starts up a new business venture.

Ross has a history of numerous successes including a silver medal in the European Cross Duathlon Championships last April demonstrating his tremendous pedigree.

Ross crossed the line in 16th place in a time of 1:13:50 which is quite staggering really considering the lack of running he’s had. There was a total of 542 finishers in the race.

It was good to see Ross Smith back out there and he met the menacing climbs with strength and gusto

BAC team captain Rich Nelson was also in action. Rich can’t resist a hilly race, having completed some tough races in his recent past including the Brecon Beacons Ultra. That race was a 32 mile trek with an elevation gain of over 11,500ft.

Even Rich struggled on the unforgiving peaks of the Stour Valley and confessed that he almost pulled out of the race at certain points, which really underlines how tough it was. He dug in though and managed to conquer the steep climbs and get to finish line.

There was considerable relief as he made it to the end, clocking a time of exactly 1 hour 30 minutes. This is still a commendable time on such a challenging route, putting Rich in 146th place overall.

Rich Nelson found it a struggle getting up the relentless peaks but he stuck it out till the end, finishing in 1 hour 30 minutes

All of those who completed the race deserve a lot of credit for doing so and also deserved a very well earned rest afterwards. The Stickler is certainly not a race for the faint hearted and exemplifies Dorset running in its truest form.