High Five for Tag at Victory 5

Rob McTaggart (black top, blue shorts) was in action at the Victory 5 mile race at Lakeside in Portsmouth

The Victory 5 is one of Europe’s biggest 5 mile race, often attracting leading runners from the UK and overseas. Although not too far from home, it isn’t often on the radar of many Bournemouth AC members. This year, however, Rob McTaggart decided to throw his headband into the ring and give it a go.

The only problem was that the race was staged the day after the Hampshire League Cross-Country fixture at Popham Airfields. Because he knew he’d be in cross country action, Tag wasn’t too optimistic about his chances in the Victory 5, fearing that a hard slog through the muddy fields of Popham might take quite a bit out of him.

He was pensive on the morning of the race as he set off on his warm up run. To his surprise though, it turned out he was actually feeling in very good condition, and had run a 6.30 mile with relative ease. At that point, he decided the race was on and he was gearing up for a fast time.

The Victory 5 race was in it’s 71st year and is steeped in history. Unfortunately, this year the continuation of work on the Portsmouth sea defences prohibited use of a certain section of the course.

One of the main attractions of the race has traditionally been going round the tract at the Mountbatten Centre. The race organisers, ideally wanted to keep that element but the proposal of an alternative route to avoid the closed section was rejected by the local authority.

That meant a completely new course had to be established. The new course was based at Lakeside North Harbour on Western Road, Cosham. It was a two lap route incorporating a trail section around the back of the lake.

The Victory 5 is one of the biggest 5 mile races in Europe and attracts a highly competitive field

There were a few tight corners but the course was still very flat and conditions were good on the day so a fast time looked like it might be on the cards for many of the participants.

Tag was out of the blocks quickly and after penning a 5:08 for his first mile, he knew a good run was on the cards. As the race unfolded, he found himself on his own, with a fair distance between himself and the runner ahead of him and also a comfortable gap to the runner behind.

As the race reached the closing stages, Tag was gradually closing the gap on the man ahead but realised he wasn’t going to get in contact. This meant he had crossed the line in 5th place, which was a terrific result given the standard of the field he was up against. There were 717 finishers in total.

Tag was glad to see that the time was pretty impressive as well. In fact, he’d recorded a fantastic new PB of 25:48, putting his average pace at an incredible 5:10. This was a quite spectacular performance and, particularly considering he’s run the cross-country race the day before, it had taken Tag slightly by surprise.

A 5 mile race is often a very good indicator of what sort of time a runner is capable of in the more common ran distance of 10k. This result in the Victory has given Tag the belief that a sub 32 minute 10k might well be on the cards in a future race. Given the right course and the right conditions, and in the form he’s in now, Tag would certainly have every chance of achieving that unprecedented target, so watch this space!

A terrific time of 25:48 gave Tag a magnificent 5th place finish in the Victory 5 and has given him the belief that a sub 32 minute 10k could be a very feasible and imminent target

Hampshire Cross Country League – BAC going well

BAC had another strong men’s team out for the second Hampshire League Cross Country fixture at Popham Airfields

The third fixture of the 2017/18 season of the Hampshire Cross Country League took place at Popham Airfield, Basingstoke on Saturday 2 December, and, although BAC‘s teams weren’t quite as strong as at the previous fixture at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, the Senior and Veteran Men and Senior and Veteran Women are all ranked towards the top of their respective tables leading, hopefully, to a satisfactory, at least, conclusion to the season. We welcomed Laszlo Toth and Theo Irvine, competing for the first time in the yellow and blue vest, and Craig Palmer, who competes for BAC as his second claim club in order to run in this League, continues to make a very valuable contribution.

The only less happy note was the absence, once again, of a substantial BAC representation at lower age level, with on this occasion, the boys coming entirely from the Farwell family and the girls from the Sandell family.  So, congratulations to Tom Farwell, 25th of 53 in the U15 boys race in 13.33, to Sam Farwell, 55th of 81 in the U13 boys race in 11.44, and to Anya Sandell, 34th of 55 in the U15 girls race in 16.12.  No doubt, had there been U11 races, Anya‘s younger brother Isaac would have been running.  Let’s hope that in due course Tom, Sam and Anya will have some company with BAC teams in their age categories.

However returning to the good news, Dave Long, who led the Mens’ race for much of the way, was first of the BAC athletes to finish, followed very closely by Craig Palmer Dave and Craig were 8th and 9th respectively so an excellent foundation!  Rob McTaggart, Josh Cole and Steve Way completed the BAC Senior Mens’ team, with Steve leading the BAC Veteran Men, the team being completed by Pat Robbins and Sanjai Sharma.  On the day, BAC‘s Senior Men were 5th of 10 complete teams in Division 1, and are 3= aggregate for the season so far.  Aldershot, Farnham and District will never be caught (as ever!), but Southampton, in second place, are within sight, but the real battle is amongst BAC, Reading and Basingstoke and Mid Hants, all of whom are so close that one stutter, or one brilliant performance, could make all the difference.  It isn’t just about the leaders, though.  It was a real pleasure to see 13 BAC men competing with the BAC vest everywhere.

The BAC ladies fielded another competitive lineup

The ladies, too, had a very successful day with Harriet Slade, Nikki Sandell and Joy Wright making up the Senior Womens’ team which finished a highly creditable 6th of 19 complete teams, the aggregate position being 7th of 21 teams.  Yvonne Tibble completed the Veteran Womens’ team (with Nikki and Joy), which finished an excellent 3rd of 12 complete teams on the day, and remain 3rd aggregate for the season of 14 teams.  Kirsty Drewett was on hand to provide the vital back up should this have been needed.

With the best two performances so far counting, BAC athletes are beginning to appear in the top 10 individual aggregate positions.  Of the Senior Men Dave Long is 6th and Craig Palmer 10th.  Steve Way is 6= Veteran Man, and in the Veteran Women table Emma Dews is 4th and Nikki Sandell 9th.

So, with three fixtures gone and two remaining it’s all to go for.  Your club needs you at Reading on 13 January and Aldershot on 10 February!

The yellow and blue army were out in full force

Ollie Stoten impresses in CTS Dorset half marathon

Ollie Stoten took on the 16.1 mile CTS Dorset half marathon, which featured over 3,500ft of ascent

The Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series Dorset half marathon isn’t your average race of that distance. The route extends to 16.1 miles and incorporates 3,559ft of ascent. That was the task that Ollie Stoten faced as on Saturday 2nd December as he set off to brave the elements at Lulworth Cove.

Ollie is a new member of Bournemouth AC and he has certainly been putting in the hard training of late, regularly reaching 50 to 60 miles a week. He’s also included a lot of elevation, quite often featuring in the top 3 list for climbing in the BAC Strava group.

This was the ideal sort of preparation required to tackle the tough and arduous trek along the Jurassic Coastal Path. Unfortunately, the weekend didn’t get off to the best of starts for Ollie when he realised he’s forgotten a rather important bit of kit that runners depend on rather vehemently. That was of course, his trainers.

By hook or by crook, he was able to get hold of some trainers to avert that potential disaster before taking to the start line. Despite that hiccup, Ollie started the race well, reaching the first checkpoint in just under 29 minutes, putting him in 11th place.

Ollie got all the way to Lulworth only to realise he’s left one key ingredient behind… His trainers!

The second checkpoint was at Tynham, which he arrived at in just over 1 hour 43 minutes, placing him in 9th. From there it was full speed ahead to the finish.

Ollie finishing strongly, gaining one more place between the last checkpoint and the finish line, completing the race in 8th place with a superb time of 2 hours 20 minutes and 25 seconds.

In a field of 416 finishers, and in fact quite a few more that did not make it to finish line, this was a very good result for Ollie. Throughout the course of the race, Ollie’s elevation gain had reached over 4,000ft.

No doubt we’ll be seeing a lot more him in a BAC vest in the near future and fingers crossed he’ll remember his trainers for the next one.

Ollie finished the race in 8th place with a time of 2 hours and 20 minutes – an impressive result considering the elevation he had to conquer





Jacek smashes course record at CTS Dorset ultra

Jacek was not stopping to admire the iconic sights of Durdle Door as he went on a quest for victory in the CTS Dorset ultra

There are very few superlatives that can accurately describe the sheer dominance of this man in virtually every local race he enters of late. And the next race on his hit-list was the Dorset edition of the Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series 2017. I am of course referring to the one and only Jacek Cieluszecki.

The CTS Dorset consists of 5 different races. A 10k, a half marathon, a marathon, an ultra and an ultra plus. Jacek had opted to go for the 33.3 mile ultra and, as word got around of his participation, instead of it being a question of, would he win it, it was more a question of, would he break the course record, and by how much would he do it.

Jacek with his friend Artur Majewski who did the 10k event

Jacek has been in scintillating form of late, winning the Bournemouth Marathon as well as a host of other local races including a couple of the Dorset Road Race League fixtures, the Portland 10 and the Round the Rock 10k. He also claimed 1st place in the English edition of the Red Bull Wings for Life and also finished very high up in the OCC Mont-Blanc and Eigar 51, a couple of high profile mountain ultras.

The CTS Dorset race was right up his street, with the route running along the Jurassic Coast Path featuring 5,786ft of climbing. Jacek does a lot of his training on the hills of the Purbeck and is very well equipped to deal with the severity of the inclines and the often unforgiving nature of the Dorset coastal weather-front. The high cliffs and stunning ocean backdrop provide a spectacular setting to perform on.

With over 5,750ft of climbing, the CTS Dorset ultra is one of toughest out there, but like a true pro, Jacek took it all in his stride

The race started off at Lulworth Cove and by the time he had reached the first checkpoint at Upton, Jacek had already built up a lead of almost 3 minutes. The lead was destined only to increase as the race went on.

The second checkpoint was at Tyneham, which Jacek arrived in just under 3 hours. He was now 13 and a half minutes ahead of his nearest rival.

Even before the race began, Jacek knew he’d have a good chance of beating the course record of 5 hours 6 minutes and 20 seconds, which was set by Alex Collins last year. That target was a good motivator for Jacek to keep driving forward despite being way out in front on his own.

Jacek spent the entire race out in front on his own with only really his determination to set a new course record to drive him on to maintain his blistering pace throughout

Before long, he was at the third checkpoint, which was the marathon marker. He was now 3 hours 37 minutes in and had an advantage of 16 minute over Tom Le Lievre who was in 2nd. In fact, he wasn’t that far off the pace of the course record for the CTS Dorset marathon, which is 3:29:16, so that could certainly be a target he could conquer for another day.

For now though, it was a case of battling through the tough last 6 miles. This stage of the race was particularly hilly, with some extremely high gradients. Even Jacek had to dig in a bit on these ones.

He arrived at the 4th and final checkpoint in 4 hours 12 minutes. The 2nd placed runner would arrive 19 minutes later. With the last 3 miles to go, Jacek was already home and hosed. It was now a question of how much time he could chalk off the course record.

As he approached the line there were scenes of jubilation. Jacek hadn’t just beaten the course record, he had absolutely annihilated it. His finishing time was a staggering 4 hours 35 minutes and 28 seconds. In fact he’d knocked almost 31 minutes off the previous course record. He’d also amassed an elevation gain of 7,218ft.

Jacek won the CTS Dorset ultra race in style, annihilating the course record by over 30 minutes in the process

As one would expect, Jacek was very pleased with his amazing victory and his incredible course record and it has rounded off a tremendous year for him, all-in-all. He can take a lot of pride in what he has achieved and no doubt there will be many more successes in the future.

The Dorset CTS ultra plus could be a consideration. That is 45.5 miles with over 8,000ft of ascent. In fact, Bournemouth AC’s very own Toby Chapman won it last year. The course record for that race currently stands at 6:33:42 and that is certainly a target Jacek could conceivably conquer in future if he decided to give it a go.


BAC Youngsters Shine At Sportshall

The second of this season’s Sportshall events was held at Canford School on Saturday 25th November and our young athletes performed excellently finishing first in both the Under 11 girls and boys competitions.

Our Under 13s also shone finishing second in both the Girls and Boys competitions.

In recent years, BAC has found it difficult to field strong teams but now the hard work being put in at the Wednesday Junior Development sessions together with the enthusiasm of the coaches and the athletes has seen a terrific change in the Club’s fortunes.

Full results can be found on the Team Dorset Athletics Network site www.teamdorsetathletics.btck.co.uk/ These performances hopefully bode well for the 2018 Track & Field season as the team spirit will stand the athletes well for those competitions.

Runners up spots sealed for both BAC teams at Boscombe 10k

Tom Paskins and Harry Sherwood were among the many BAC members who featured in the Boscombe 10k

Going into the last Dorset Road Race League fixture of the season, both the Bournemouth AC Men’s and Ladies teams knew they would not lifting the league title this year. This was a very different situation for them to be in, given that both have won their respective leagues for the past four seasons, with the men’s team finishing first every year since 2009.

It’s been a difficult season though and with so many of the top members being unable to turn out on many occasions it was always going to be an uphill battle. This was either due to injury or just simply having other priorities, whether it be spending more time with the family or training for high profile ultras.

That aside though, the yellow and blue crew were determined to finish the season on a high and seal a 2nd place finish for both the men’s and ladies team. Although the Boscombe 10k is staged at Kings Park, it’s actually the Bournemouth Joggers who organise it, which gives the BAC team an opportunity to take a back seat and enjoy the occasion, taking in some tea and cakes after the race to celebrate the season’s accomplishments.

There was still business to take care of out on roads though of course. Nikki Sandell was looking to seal the trophy in the ladies league. She had been fearing that Clare Martin of Purbeck Runners could steal her crown if the Achilles injury she’s been suffering with recently impaired her too much. She did know that a top ten finish would be enough to confirm her victory.

As it panned out, Nikki finished as the 6th placed female on the day, crossing the line in a time of 41:19. This put her in 88th place overall out of a field of 533. Clare Martin didn’t actually show up anyway but she had already done 7 out of the 12 races so she had a result in the bag for each of them regardless.

Nikki is on her way toward sealing a superb win in the ladies individual standings of the DRRL

After missing the last two fixtures following her injury, Nikki knew she had to at least complete the Boscombe 10k to bring her up to the magic 7. At least Nikki’s win in the individual standings meant there was still a moment of glory for Bournemouth AC in an otherwise modest season.

Yvonne Tibble had a very good season, finishing in 3rd place overall and the final ladies standings. At the Boscombe 10k she claimed yet another F55 category win to add to her impressive overhaul. Her time of 43:28 put her in 120th place overall.

Yvonne took another 1st place in the F55 category to add to her ever growing collection and finished 3rd in the ladies individual competition for the DRRL

Emma Dews was the second lady over the line behind the magnificent Joanna Hanna of Poole AC who finished 28th overall in a time of 37:26. Emma’s time of 38:33 put her in 45th place overall which was still a fantastic result.

Emma Dews was the 2nd lady to cross the line in a time of 38:33

The overall race winner was once again Craig Palmer of Littledown Harriers in a blisteringly fast time of 34:16. Craig has been running for BAC in the Hampshire League Cross Country races recently and has proved a great asset in that competition and with his spate of recent road race victories it’s easy to see why.

The first fully fledged BAC member to cross the line in the race was actually Laszlo Toth who finished in a breath-taking time of 36:38, which put him in 18th place overall.

Laszlo has been training with BAC on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for quite some time now but hadn’t actually officially joined the club until very recently. He didn’t actually count as a scorer for BAC in the Boscombe 10k but next season he will, which will be a massive boost to the ranks.

Laszlo Toth is now a signed up member for BAC and showed at the Boscombe 10k why there was such a clamour to get him on board

Richard Wade took 36th place in a super strong time of 37:52. Richard is another who has quite recently signed for the club and again, we’ll be looking forward to seeing him turning on the style in next season’s DRRL fixtures.

Richard Wade is on his way to a 36th place finish in a time of 37:52

The conditions on the morning of the race were quite good for running, although it was rather chilly. Even Paul Consani was wearing gloves, which gives some indication of  what the temperature was like as the runners attempted to warm up beforehand. If a Scotsman is wearing gloves then you know it must be cold.

Paul Consani looks in fine fettle in the latter stages of the race as he works his way along the path

That didn’t slow Paul down though, as he gave a very impressive display, finishing in a time of 38:41, which put him in 46th place. Not far behind Paul were Richard Brawn and Harry Sherwood who finished in 50th and 51st places with literally a second separating the two.

Richard Brawn is putting some serious work in as he knows he needs to maintain the pace to see off the chasing pack

Richard’s time of 38:57 was a terrific new PB and it was in fact the first time he’d gone sub 40 for a 10k. Richard had been having a bit of a battle with Adrian Townsend throughout the race, with Adrian seemingly catching Rich up at any point he took his foot off the gas.

Rich had been surprised to overtake Tom Paskins at around the half way point in the race, with Tom struggling to replicate his best form over the latter stages of the season.

The main hill of the race was Queens Park West Drive, which is one that BAC often use for hill training on Thursday nights. It was on this hill that Tom actually overtook Rich again but once they got to the top and the ground levelled out again, Rich was able to kick on.

He wasn’t about to let this golden opportunity to beat the great Tom Paskins go amiss and he managed to crank the pace up significantly in the last mile.

Harry had also finished really strongly and had caught Rich up as they entered Kings Park to approach the grand stand finish. Rich managed to stay ahead though, with a small gap between the pair as they embarked upon the lap around the track before reaching the finish.

Harry put in an incredible sprint finish which saw him cross the line only a second behind Rich. In fact, because it was a chip timed race, Harry did actually get a quicker time than Rich as he clocked a 38:56. This was also a magnificent new PB for Harry. Harry is another new member, having only just joined the senior ranks and, at a very young age, it is clear to see he has a very bright future ahead of him.

Tom (left) and Harry (left centre) are neck and neck in the closing stages of the race

Tom finished in 57th place in a time of 39:08, which is a very moderate time by his standards. There was still some good news for Tom though as he finished the season as Bournemouth AC’s best placed individual in the men’s rankings, with the combined results of his other 7 appearances putting him in 11th place. Nine seconds later Adrian crossed the line to take 60th position in a time of 39:17.

Adrian Townsend remains focussed on the job in hand as he makes his way toward the track and Kings Park

Harriet Slade secured a brilliant new PB of 40:37 to take 76th place overall. She was also 5th lady over the line, again underlining the tremendous progress she’s been making recently.

Harriet Slade chases down a remarkable new 10k PB of 40:37

The next BAC member to cross the line was Jud Kirk who completed the race in a time of 42:38. This put him in 106th place overall and 3rd in the M55 category.

Jud was the second highest BAC member in the men’s individual standings for the DRRL, with the best 7 of his 8 appearances putting him in 31st position. This showed that although Jud perhaps hasn’t been running as fast as he would’ve liked, he’s still been very consistent in his performances. In fact, he was a highest placed out of anyone in the league in the 55-59 category.

Jud Kirk finished in 31st place in the men’s individual standings and was the highest up in the 55-59 category

The next two BAC members over the line in the Boscombe 10k were a pair who have both been making huge strides recently and thus it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see them both set terrific new PB’s.

Phil Cherrett powers his way toward a fantastic new PB of 43:15

Phil Cherrett finished in 116th place in a time of 43:15 and Steve Parsons came in 121st in 43:31. The pair ran together for the vast majority of the race, pushing each other all way before Phil opened up a small gap in the closing stages.

Steve Parsons gets his colour coordination right as he bursts through for super new PB of 43:31

It was another BAC pair that crossed the line in close proximity in 176th and 177th positions with Andy Gillespie just beating Tamzin Petersen to the tape by a single second.

Andy of course prefers longer distance races and is more of a marathon runner than a shorter distance competitor. He’s still always prepared to do his bit for the team although he doesn’t always enjoy the prospect of having to run at the much faster pace than he would normally. His finishing time was 46:09 which put him in 5th place in the M55 category.

Andy Gillespie isn’t a major fan of the shorter faster races but he still gives it his all

Although Tamzin had a very good run to finish in 46:10, she was frustrated to find that she had come in just 2 seconds off her 10k PB, which was set in this same race last year. Tamzin was 8th in the senior female category.

Tamzin gives the thumbs up as she makes her way across familiar territory at Kings Park

They may not have won the league this time round but it was still a season of many successes for BAC and they can still be extremely proud of their efforts.

Nikki Sandell won four of her races and also finished 2nd and 3rd. Then there was Jacek Cieluszecki‘s two amazing victories in Portland where he just blew everyone else away, plus a win in the Lychett 10 earlier in the year. It seems like a long time ago now but Steve Way had a 1st, two 2nds and a 4th place in the first four fixtures of the season. There was also Toby Chapman‘s blistering win in the Littledown 5.

In fact, every single BAC member who took part in any of the races has helped to contribute to a good season and they certainly earned the vast array of cakes that were consumed in the office after the conclusion of the Boscombe 10k.

No one deserved it more than team captain Rich Nelson though, as he battled hard to get a competitive team together for each race and ensured everyone was well trained and prepared for the task ahead. He was also always on hand to give his team members all the support and encouragement they needed every step of the way.