Mike White proves to be a contender in the Glynneath 5 on Boxing Day

Mike White braved the Boxing Day rain to take part in the Glynneath 5 in South Wales

Whilst spending Christmas with his wife’s family over in South Wales, Mike White managed to take some time out from the board games and charades to get his running shoes on and take to the start line for the Glynneath 5 race on Boxing Day.

The Glynneath 5 is an out and back, 5 mile road race that seems to prove popular with the locals, this year attracting a field of over 500 participants. This was despite the rain, which, considering it’s in South Wales, was fairly inevitable.

After joining BAC in the summer, Mike has been progressing well and has been reaping the benefits of the Tuesday night training sessions which have noticeably improved his fitness.

Having secured a superb new PB of 1:12:22 at the Wimborne 10 in November, Mike knew he was in good form, knocking some 3 minutes off his previous best that day.

Hopeful of another strong PB display, Mike was out of blocks quickly, recording a 6:57 for his first mile. He then followed that up with a 6:56, keeping the pace nice and consistent thus far.

He went even quicker in the 3rd mile, clocking a 6:52, before slipping off the pace slightly in the 4th mile, which he completed in 7:07.

It was then a case of digging in and bringing it home for the last mile and Mike did just that, putting in a remarkably consistent 6:57 to cross the line in a fantastic new PB time of 34:55. This put him in 114th place overall. His average pace for the race was 6:57 so it was a very well executed run from Mike’s perspective.

This was an exactly 1 minute improvement on the time he did at the Hoburne 5 in Christchurch in October and demonstrates the strides he’s been making as a result of his training with BAC.

Mike was pleased to secure a fantastic new PB of 34:55 to take 114th place on the day




Toby Chapman goes back to his roots for the Clevedon Boxing Day Race

Toby Chapman was on very familiar roads as he featured in the Clevedon Boxing Day Race for the 8th year running

It wasn’t only the Round the Lakes race in Poole that drew participation from Bournemouth AC members on Boxing Day. Others who were staying with relatives further field also felt the urge to put aside the mince pies and the turkey leftovers and get their racing gear on.

Over in North Somerset, Toby Chapman was spending Christmas with his parents, in the area where he grew up. Entering the Clevedon Boxing Day Race whilst he is there has become something of a tradition for Toby, having taken part in the race for the past 8 years. Of course, he was once again on the starting line up for the 2017 edition.

The Clevedon Boxing Day Race is a fast, four mile road race organised by Clevedon Athletic Club. The event is extremely popular, attracting a field of 1,063 starters. With the standard of competition very high, Toby knew he’d have to tap into his speed gear to finish anywhere near the front of the field.

Kicking things off with a blisteringly quick 5:03 minute mile, Toby had set the tone for a very quick charge. He followed that up with a 5:23 minute mile and then a 5:32. That left just the final mile to keep the pace up.

Of course, not only did Toby manage to maintain that very fast pace, in fact, he cranked it up a notch, finishing with a very strong 4:57 mile to cross the line in 11th place. His official time was a super-quick 20 minutes and 48 seconds, with an average pace of 5:14.

Strangely enough, this was exactly the same position and exactly the same time that Toby finished in in the 2016 race. At least no one could accuse him of inconsistency. This time out though, since he finished so strongly, Toby felt that he managed the race better that he did the previous year.

It’s been a good year for Toby and certainly one where he hasn’t been afraid to test himself and push the boundaries to the absolute limit. He’s had an intriguing foray into mountain ultra running, competing in both the 80km Mont-Blanc Marathon and 110km Ultra Pirineu.

Toby has also had his fair share of successes in more local races, boasting victories in the Sourton Tours Fell Race in Dartmoor and the Gilly Hilly Race in Gillingham which was one of the Dorset Road Race League fixtures. He also finished 3rd in the Littledown 5 and 5th in the Lychett Manor 10.

Toby demonstrates a controlled stride as he races toward an 11th placed finish in a time of 20:48




No punches pulled on Boxing Day at Round the Lakes

Anthony Clark was one of 10 Bournemouth AC members to take part in the Round the Lakes 10k on Boxing Day

Whilst many of us were suffering the effects of the Xmas over indulgence or polishing off some more of that leftover turkey and mince pies, a small group of BAC crusaders were at Poole Park for the traditional Boxing Day Round the Lakes 10k.

The chance to burn off some of those Christmas calories in a fast and flat race has always proved popular amongst the running fraternity and this year was no exception, with a field of 345 athletes taking to the start line.

Bournemouth AC has a good tradition in the Round the Lakes 10k, with Dave Long being victorious last year and Rob McTaggart winning it the year before.

The conditions on the day were nigh on perfect as the sun was shining, the temperature was reasonably warm and there was virtually no breeze. The only issue was the presence of some large puddles from the rain that had fallen over night.

Having recently upped his weekly mileage to around 80 miles, Anthony Clark is currently in the throws of his training for the Anglo Celtic Plate 100k race on 31st March where he will represent England. Anthony swooped in for a top 10 finish at the Round the Lakes race and was first BAC member home in a time of 34:35.

This gave put Anthony 2nd place in the M40 category and put him 10th overall. This was a pleasing result for Anthony, particularly off the back of enjoying the Christmas Day festivities. It equalled his 10th place finish in the race last year and improved on his time of 35:19.

Anthony (number 54) was first BAC member over the line finishing in 10th place with a time of 34:35

The next man over the line for BAC was Ollie Stoten, who took 33rd place in a time of 38:07.  Ollie has also been putting in some serious hard work of late, hitting around the 60-70 miles per week range.

This was far from Ollie’s best performance but given that he was very tired from having been working nights over Christmas that was understandable.

Finishing as the 5th M50 over the line, Jud Kirk had a decent run, clocking a time of 41:43. Jud set off quite quickly for the first kilometre, then settled into a consistent pace until the last kilometre. It was then that he was embroiled in a battle with two others who he’d been running alongside for the past 5k.

Jud Kirk (AKA Jeremy) has found a bit of form in the latter stages of the year and ran well to finish as 5th M50 in a time of 41:43

One of his adversaries managed to slip away earlier in the final kilometre, but Jud did manage to finish ahead of the other one. Although he was closing the gap, the ground was too much for Jud to make up so he had to settle for a 67th place finish overall.

Crossing the line in 106th place, Steve Parsons ran a good steady race, coasting to a 45:13 finish. Steve has been in great form of late, securing a fabulous new PB of 43:31 at the Boscombe 10k at the end of November.

For this one, he decided to take it easy though and enjoy the run. Steve’s wife Rozanne also did the race and managed to seal a new PB of 1:06:46.

Steve Parsons and his wife Rozanne thoroughly enjoyed the Round the Lakes 10k and were especially appreciative of the bottles of wine they given afterwards

Chasing Steve’s tail throughout the bulk of the race was Kirsty Drewitt. Kirsty was targeting a 47:30 finish, having previously set a PB of 47:52 in the ferocious conditions of the Christmas 10k at Christchurch.

When Steve ghosted past her in the early stages of the race, Kirsty took a spontaneous decision to abandon her race plan and attempt to stay with him. Although it was tough for her to keep going at this pace and it was essentially alien territory, she stuck at it and ultimately shocked herself by crossing the line 3 seconds after Steve.

Kirsty Drewitt did her best to stay with Steve Parsons throughout the race and it paid off, earning her a huge new PB

This gave Kirsty a 107th place finish and a stunning new PB time of 45:16. This was an improvement of 2 minutes 36 seconds on her previous best.

Kirsty has been making tremendous strides of late and it was great to see this illustrated by a racing performance that she could be extremely proud of. It also underlined that her ability goes way beyond what she thought she was actually capable of. She was 13th placed lady on the day.

Mark Westcott (number 372) had a good run to take 174th place with a time of 50:11

Next to finish for BAC was Mark Westcott who crossed the line in 174th position in a time of 50:11. He was followed by Ian Graham who was 196th in a time of 52:07.

Quite a few people seem to have been struck down with the lurgy over the Christmas period and unfortunately, Ian was one of those. This meant that he wasn’t feeling in great shape come race day, hence he never really got going.

After coming down with the lurgy Ian Graham wasn’t on his best form but he still turned out and completed the course in a respectable time of 52:07

One plus point for Ian though was that he did get to watch the front of the race unfold as he was lapped by some of top contenders including Ant Clark. Plus he himself also managed to lap some of the back markers along the way. Ian was 1st M70 over the line.

Ian was dressed for the occasion sporting a black bah humbug hat

Proving he’s still got what it takes at 79 years of age, Tom Cochrane completed the race in a solid time of 54:03 to take 4th in  M70 category and 212th place overall.

Tom Cochrane performed well to finish in a stellar time of 54:03

Following shortly after Tom was Helen Ambrosen who came in 214th overall in a time of 54:06. Helen hasn’t been able to do much running over the past 2 or 3 years and this was in fact her first 10k race for 2 years.

She had done a parkrun on the Saturday, a few days before, and she managed to complete the entire Round the Lakes course at the same pace as she did the parkrun in so that was already a good sign.

Looking to knuckle down to some more regular training and some more races as well, Helen is hoping to see some further improvements in the near future. She was 2nd in the F60 category.

Helen Ambrosen completed her first 10k race in 2 years, finishing as 2nd F60 in a time of 54:06

Rounding things off for BAC was James Brennan, who came in 310th place with a time of 1:03:27.

The race was extremely well organised by Poole AC and with each finisher being awarded a bottle of wine for their troubles, it was a nice post Christmas social event that seemed to send the vast majority of the participants home in good spirits.

Ant looks distracted by something as he turns to the left whilst jockeying for position with Andy Leggott (220) and Brad Hammonds (162)










Mark Hillier and Andy Gillespie brave the Bovington Marathon

Andy Gillespie was looking to tick off marathon number 86 as he tackled the Bovington Marathon

Hilly, muddy, cold and wet were the adjectives used to describe the Bovington Marathon on the White Star Running website and as it turns out, that is a pretty accurate portrayal of what this race is all about. That didn’t stop two brave souls from Bournemouth AC interjecting themselves onto the starting grid, looking to test their metal in a challenging but ultimately rewarding quest.

The two BAC members who had bestowed this honour upon themselves were Mark Hillier and Andy Gillespie. The Bovington Marathon route starts and finishes at the world famous Tank Museum in Bovington.

It was a very cold morning as the pair prepared to battle the multi-terrain course which had a bit of everything, including sandy and gravelly paths, woodland trails and even a couple of streams to cross.

Having entered the Marathon des Sables in 2018 – a 6 day, 251km ultra across the Sahara desert that is proclaimed to be the toughest race on earth, Mark Hillier is clearly not afraid to step up and take on a difficult challenge.

The aim for Mark was to complete the Bovington Marathon course in around 4 hours 15 minutes. Up until mile 19, Mark was going really well and at that point he was looking on course for a sub 4 hour finish. He had actually climbed up to 15th place and could even have been working his way toward a top 10 finish.

Over the next 5 miles though, the wheels came off and he really began to struggle lose his momentum. He ended up losing quite a lot of places as he began to slow down considerably.

For the last few miles he managed to get his legs going again and finish strongly. After racking up a total of 27.5 miles, Mark crossed the finish line, clocking a time of 4:19:31.

Although it wasn’t quite the 4:15 he’s been looking for, that target was based on a guestimate more than anything else. In practice, it was a very tough race and Mark did well to secure the result that he did. He finished in 45th place out of 517 finishers and was 6th in the M45 category.

Having not previously done any White Star Running events, Mark will certainly be looking to do some more in future. The race was very well organised and the marshals were friendly and supportive. He also stated that the finishers medal he got was the best he’d ever had. The medal contained an image of a tank and was, as Mark cited, “proper bling!”

Mark Hillier likes a bit of bling and was therefore very pleased when he was given this finisher’s medal

Off the back of the night of very little sleep, due to being on call, Andy Gillespie struggled to get going. Although the temperature doesn’t normally bother him, it was especially cold on the morning of the race and that did compound the difficulty of the task.

When he reached the half way point, he could tell he wasn’t on course for a fast time, so he decided to just relax and enjoy the run after that and be a bit sociable.

Last year Andy completed the race in 4 hours 20 minutes, so he had been hoping to complete it in around that sort of time but it simply wasn’t his day. He ended up crossing the line in 209th place with a time of 5:17:48, putting him 9th in the M55 category.

It was rumoured that there was a 25% drop out rate on the day, which underlines just how tough the race was.  With the conditions as they were was easy to see that once feet get cold it could be hard to get the circulation going again. Anyone struggling at the back could have been tempted to knock it on the head. Not Andy though, of course.

This was Andy’s 81st marathon and he does not have one single DNF to his name. It’s an extraordinary record and one that he will be absolutely determined to maintain with each race that goes by.

Having stuck it out and made it to the end, it was another one ticked off the list for Andy and the fruits of his labour are that he can now enjoy a guilt free Christmas.

Andy wasn’t at his best on the day but he soldiered on to complete the course, finishing in 5 hours 17 minutes





St. Nicholas wraps up the win in the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon

Stu Nicholas took on the Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon for the fourth consecutive year

In the midst of bringing his impressive marathons completed total up to number 36, Stu Nicholas gave himself the best Christmas present he could ever wish for when he emerged victorious in the Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon this past Sunday (17th December).

It was Stu’s fourth appearence in the tough, multi-terrain race where the route runs from South Parade Pier to the end of the Hayling Billy Line and back. The course is predominantly trail, with a few road sections and a couple of miles along the promenade to start and finish with. The off-road path to Hayling Island includes some testing sandy and muddy surfaces.

Beating off competition from 895 others, Stu took the title in tremendous style, giving himself an additional reason to celebrate besides his impending 29th birthday on 23rd December and Christmas Day two days later.

His illustrious history with the race includes a 2nd placed finish in 2015, only edged out by a terrific performance from Steve Way that year. He finished 5th in 2014, in a year where Anthony Clark claimed the win. Last year, when he was still representing his previous club, St Austell, Stu took 7th place with a time of 2 hours 53 minutes.

This time out he knew he was in good shape. He had run well the previous weekend in the Christmas 10k at Christchurch and had also recently won two marathons in the space of five days, when he conquered the Halloween Challenge and the Enigma Fireworks.

For the first 6 miles, Stu was out front on his own. Then, out of nowhere, Neil Kevern of Blacknell Forest Runners popped up and took the lead. The manoeuvre took Stu by surprise as he hadn’t seen Neil coming. The pair even engaged in the brief chat before Neil pressed on.

Having had 2nd placed finishes in both the Littledown Marathon and the Purbeck Marathon, Stu has been in that position before and knows what it’s like to be so close to victory but not quite there.  This time, he was not prepared to settle for 2nd place.

The course is an out-and-back route, so once the runners reach the end of the Hayling Billy Line they then turn back and have to do it all again. Stu had managed to keep Neil in his sights and at the turnaround point there was a gap of around 800m between them.

The gap then slowly began to close as Stu kept his momentum and continued to push. At around the 20 mile mark, he caught Neil up. This time it was Neil’s turn to be taken by surprise as probably hadn’t been reckoning on Stu coming back at him.

Once again, they had a brief chinwag before Stu assumed pole position. He now knew he just had to keep the pace going until he got to the line. He was getting updates from the lead bike and by the time he hit the promenade for the last 2 miles, he was no longer able to see anyone behind.

Despite losing the lead at one stage in the race, Stu found the resolve to dig in and work his way back to the front

It was then just a case of soaking up the atmosphere as he edged closer to a glorious victory. He reached the line in a magnificent time of 2:47:12. In fact, had the course been the conventional 26.2 miles, he may potentially have gone close to the PB time of 2:43 he set at London last year.

On such a testing route and with the distance actually working out to be closer to the 27 mile mark, this was indeed a rather phenomenal feat.

The fantastic win capped off what has been a cracker of a year for Stu, with many great marathon successes to look back on. He’s now setting his sights on reaching the 50 marathon mark by the end of 2018, so that’s 14 to do in the coming 12 months. Knowing Stu though, you wouldn’t bet against him achieving that.

First things first though, it’s time to put his feet up, relax and celebrate his birthday, and Christmas, and all the festivities that come with it. No doubt he’ll find time to squeeze the odd parkrun first place in between all that though.

Stu holds his medal aloft and celebrates his monumental victory, crossing the line in terrific time of 2:47:12





Treacherous conditions hamper PB hopes at Christmas 10k

Richard Brawn and Chris O’Brien were among 19 Bournemouth AC members in action at the Christmas 10k staged on the rural roads of Christchurch

For many of those taking part, the Christchurch Christmas 10k, otherwise known as the Christmas Pudding Race, is the last race of the calendar year and is often seen as a golden opportunity to end merrily on a high with a cracker of a PB. Unfortunately, the weather conditions turned out to be the Grinch that cruelly ripped away those Christmas wishes.

The night before the race a storm seemed to sweep over southern Dorset brining with it a heavy downpour that continued for quite some time. On the morning of the race, it was clear that the roads would be wet, especially in the rural area where the race was located. On top of that, there was a very strong wind, measuring at 25mph at times that would certainly present the runners with a challenging battle on some sectors of the course.

The adverse conditions didn’t seem to douse the festive cheer though, with many arriving in their Father Christmas outfits or dressed as elves, reindeers or giant Christmas puddings. Others were just simply donning a Santa hat.

The Christmas 10k is usually quite a popular race within the Bournemouth AC fraternity and it was a healthy contingent of yellow and blue that took to start line ready to brave the elements. Whether that is due to the flat and fast course profile, or the fact that you get a Christmas pudding at the end of it, is up for debate.

As the runners made their way down the country lane to the start area it was amusing to see everyone trying their best to avoid getting their trainers wet or muddy as they carefully negotiated their way round the puddles that were strewn across the pathway.

Little did they know that there was a 50ft puddle of water and countless tons of cow mess waiting for them just around the corner after they set off. In fact, when the race organiser stated that the wooden bridge should not be used to get across the water section, it became pretty evident that there would be some fun and games in store.

As the race got underway, it was Craig Palmer of Littledown Harriers who took an early lead. Behind him there was a chasing pack of three, including last year’s winner James Phillips, Rob McTaggart of BAC and Max Costley of Southampton.

Tag had been thinking he might be on course for a sub 32 minute 10k following his superb run at the Victory 5 mile race in Portsmouth the previous weekend where he claimed 5th place with a time of 25:48.

Unfortunately, Tag had his plans for a 10k PB scuppered by the weather on two different counts. Originally, he had entered the Telford 10k, which was due to take place on the same day. Because of the snow though, that race was cancelled. This prompted him to contact the race organisers of the Christmas 10k and he was able to gain a late entry.

Despite being in great shape, the windy conditions and waterlogged surfaces put pay to Tag’s chances of achieving the time that he wanted. And with Craig managing to maintain his advantage through to the latter stages of the race, it became a battle for 2nd place between Tag and James.

Craig sailed through for the win in a time of 33:11. James just managed to pip Tag to second place with only 2 seconds separating the two of them. Tag finished in a time of 33:27. It was the third consecutive year that he had obtained a top three finish in the Christmas 10k.

Rob McTaggart picking up his prize for taking 3rd place overall in a very impressive time of 33:27

One man who did manage to secure a PB though, despite the treacherous conditions was Stu Nicholas, who finished in 6th place in a time of 35:12. Stu tends to compete in longer distance races, entering marathons on a regular basis. He recently competed in two marathons in five days in a Halloween and bonfire night double-header, winning both races.

His 10k PB had been set at the Purbeck 10k earlier in the year, so he knew, with this being a flat road race, in theory, it should be a guaranteed PB. Sure enough, his finishing time was in fact 31 seconds quicker than what he did at the Purbeck.

The next BAC member over the line was Billy McGreevy, who finished in 12th place with a time of 36:39. He was followed 5 seconds later by Laszlo Toth who came in 14th with a time of 36:44.

Laszlo is a newly signed up member and it’s already clear to see what a great asset he will be to BAC in the coming year. Immediately behind Laszlo, was another BAC representative in the shape of Pat Robbins.

Despite suffering from a bit of plantar fasciitis recently, Pat still managed to pull together a good performance, winning the VM45+ category in a time of 36:53. Initially, there was a bit of a mix up in the results and Pat had been given the prize for winning the ladies category so that had to be rectified afterwards.

The mix up meant that Graeme Miller was pushed down to 2nd in the VM45+ category, with his time of 37:16 giving him 17th position in the overall standings. This a good result considering Graeme has been confined to treadmill running the past four weeks following a course of shockwave therapy.

Having been suffering with tendinopathy in his hamstring and an ongoing glute problem, Graeme is the guinea pig for a new machine they have developed at Bournemouth Hospital. Despite that, his time was still a 43 second improvement on what he did last year.

In the VM55+ category, Sanjai Sharma took the top prize, with his time of 38:19 putting him in 24th position overall. Sanjai was a little disappointed as he had been hoping to get under 38 minutes but again, the conditions probably had a lot to do with that. Last year Sanjai had placed 12th in a time of 36:16, but the weather was significantly better on that day.

As usual, Paul Consani had a strong, solid run finishing in 28th place In a time of 38:52. That put him 3rd in the VM40+ category. Paul continued to maintain a good pace throughout, even when battling the horrific crosswinds on the 5th mile.

The next BAC member over the line was Richard Brawn, who took 35th position in a time of 39:47. Whilst it didn’t quite match the heights of the Boscombe 10k two weeks prior, where he set a new PB of 38:57, Richard was pleased to get another sub 40 under his belt.

Having started on a new training programme in preparation for the Marrakech half marathon in January, Simon Hearn has been coming back into form and he had a strong run finishing in a time of 40:24.

Notoriously, Simon has always done well in the Christmas pudding race in previous years, always managing to go sub 40. The flat and fast profile tends to suit him quite well.

Although, he didn’t quite manage a sub 40 this time round, Simon was still pleased with his run, knowing that if the conditions had been more akin to how they were last year, he would have almost certainly done it. Simon came 5th in the VM45+ category.

Finishing just after Simon, in 47th place, was Chris O’Brien, who recorded a time of 40:33. This was significantly down on the sort of time Chris is usually capable of. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the best of days though, suffering from chest pains toward the beginning of the race.

That then progressed onto a stomach ache, which again forced him  to ease off the pace somewhat. Chris has had a very good year though and having recently ran his first ever sub 3 hour marathon at Abingdon, he can take solace in the fact that he achieved his main goal for the year.

Having recently come up through the ranks onto the senior stage, Harry Sherwood had a cracking run at the Boscombe 10k, finishing in a time of 38:56. Unfortunately he also had a bit of an off-day at the Christmas 10k, again falling a touch below his potential.

That said, it was still a fairly decent run in such testing conditions, with Harry finishing in a time of 42:28, putting him in 64th place overall.

Following shortly after, Jud Kirk took 2nd place in the VM55+ category, finishing in a very creditable time of 42:33. This was pretty close to sort of time Jud thought he would do which, given the conditions, was a pleasing result. Jud was 67th overall.

The first BAC lady over the line was Yvonne Tibble who came in in 81st place overall with a time of 44:55. Having run it in 42:34 last year, Yvonne wasn’t especially pleased with her time, but she did still win the VL55+ category, so that was some consolation at least. She was also the 6th placed woman overall.

Yvonne collects her prize for winning the ladies 55+ category with her time of 44:55

One lady who did have a pretty good run though was Kirsty Drewett, who claimed a new PB of 47:52. Her previous best was 48:30 so it was a substantial improvement on that. She still fell slightly short of her intended target of 47:30 but again, taking the conditions into consideration, that was a decent result.

Kirsty was 124th overall and was 13th placed lady. She only just missed out on a prize, finishing 4th in the VL35+ category.

Continuing his progress on the comeback trail, Ian White successfully completed the course, finishing in a time of 48:24. It was the first time Ian had run 6 miles since he took some leave from pounding the pavement, so this was definitely a step in the right direction.

Ian’s PB of 32:59 was actually set in this same race, many years ago, although that was on the original course. He’s got some way to go before he hits those heights again but he did point out that if you combine his 5k and 10k PB’s together, he was just inside that time, so this is a success of sorts. Ian finished in 129th place.

One lady who had a particularly torrid time out there was Tamzin Petersen. Being so lightweight, Tamzin isn’t ideally suited to conditions where she has to power through strong winds. In fact, she’s more likely to get blown away by them in truth.

It was a shame because Tamzin has been running well recently, finishing only 2 seconds outside of her PB at Boscombe a couple of weeks prior. She also had a crack at her parkrun PB at Kings Park the previous day, missing out by only 5 seconds.

With the weather as it was though, she knew a fast time was not going to be on the cards at the Christmas 10k and she did indeed end up finishing well below what she is capable of, crossing the line in 142nd place in a time of 49:03.

It probably goes without saying, but Tamzin didn’t enjoy the experience, stating that she’s never before uttered so many expletives in the space of one race. That sums it up pretty well really. She did still finish as the 14th placed lady though on the day.

Another lady who was glad to get the race over and done with was Louise Price. Again, Louise did not enjoy the wet and windy conditions but came out of it with a creditable result, crossing the line in 172nd place in a time of 51:02. She was the 24th lady to finish.

Also in action for BAC was Mark Hillier, who was attempting to pace a friend round to a 50 minute finish. Unfortunately though, his friend struggled in the tough conditions and despite Mark’s best efforts to drive the pace forward, the pair came in at 52:36.

The previous year Mark ran it in 41:45 so he’s certainly capable of a quick time if running it for himself. Mark is competing in the Bovington Marathon this weekend so it will be interesting to see how he fares in that.

The final BAC member to cross the line was Sam Laws, who came in 286th overall in a time of 57:33. This was a decent result for Sam, especially as she has been suffering with a knee injury recently so hasn’t been able to get out as much as usual.

At the time of the presentation, the race organisers hadn’t yet worked out who won the team competition. BAC would have had a good chance of getting 1st prize the men’s one though, with Tag finishing 3rd, Stu in 6th and Billy 12th. Then there was Pat in 15th and Graeme in 17th.

The only team that could potentially have topped that would have been Southampton AC if it was based on the best 3. They had Max Costley in 4th, Thomas Stevens in 5th and David Coak in 11th.

If there was a ladies competition, BAC would have won that as well by the looks of it, with Yvonne in 6th, Kirsty in 13th and Tamzin in 14th. That’s reason enough to crack open the eggnog and celebrate.

It would probably be fair to say that it was one of those days where you start questioning your own sanity as a runner. Getting out there in the ice cold wind, sometimes up to your knees in muddy water when you could be sat in an armchair at home in front of a nice warm fire doesn’t sound entirely rational. I guess one thing it does prove though is that people will do pretty anything for a Christmas pudding.

The BAC brigade tackled the wet and windy weather well picking up 3 category wins and 4 other prizes between them









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.