BAC Continue to Impress at the SAL in Woking

The sunshine weekend of 14-15 July 2018 generated many success stories for BAC Athletes. Janet Dickinson broke the British Masters Heptathlon record to be crowned champion. Mel Bird placed fourth in Welsh Shot Putt Championships, near her best performance.
Daniel Broom finished her fantastic English Schools career with 6th place in the Discus. She has been involved for five years, winning gold and silver over the past years. She came 5th in the Hammer. Whilst being Captain of Dorset team, Broom won the British Schools International to add a cherry to the top.

Relay Teams 4x400m

The SAL was hosted by Woking Athletic Club on a hot and sunny Saturday 14 July 2018. BAC loaded a coach with the men and women’s athletics team, officials, helpers and supporters for the penultimate match of the season. BAC went into the Runnings in 3rd place in Division 2 but it was uncertain whether this status could be maintained with so many athletes away. However, BAC pulled through to secure a remarkable 2nd place with 202.5 points against the home nation and division leaders, Woking AC. Basingstoke and Kingston were behind with 199.5 and 113 points respectively to show what a close match it was.

It was the usual challenge of rallying the dedicated troops to fill gaps in events. However, this match was a particular challenge with so many spaces to fill and the sun beating down so hard, it could a grown man weep. In true BAC spirit, athletes stepped up to the mark, sprinters filling longer distances such as 4×4 relay spots, runners throwing giant metal balls for the first time (later to discover it’s called a hammer!) and throwers, running and jumping. The support and incredible atmosphere helped fuel them along the way to achieve some remarkable performances.

Dan Brunsden won A string Shot with 14.96m and Andrew Sheerin 2nd with a 10.88m throw and Stephen Dobson threw 8.53m (ns).
Isabella Shepherd came 2nd A string with 8.22m and Rebecca Hannibal 3rd (B) with 5.69m.

Sheerin threw the Hammer 37.84m for 3rd A string spot and Brunsden threw 26.92m for 3rd.
Shepherd won the women’s hammer with a convincing 39.34m. This came after a brief and interesting coaching session to ensure Joy Wright didn’t wrap the hammer around her neck. Wright exceeded her own expectations by reaching beyond the grass to claim 2nd place B string with 16.96m PB.

Isabella Shepherd throwing the Hammer

Brunsden secured another win in Discus with a 45.59m and Sheerin threw 25.99m for 4th place.
In the women’s discus, Shepherd and Wright were back in action both sealing 3rd place points with 20.71m and 16.25m respectively.

Andrew Brown was 3rd in Javelin, A string throwing 51.23m and Brunsden threw 45.85m for 2nd B string.
Amelia Dobson threw well to secure 2nd A string with 23.91m and Wright was 2nd B string after throwing 21.14m.

Dan Brunsden throwing the Javelin

Kevin Hodgson secured a convincing win in the men’s 100m with an 11.1 SB, making his mark on the track 0.6 seconds ahead of 2nd place Kingston. Joe Hayward ran B string in 12.2, close behind the Woking athlete. Muiris Egan ran 11.7 and Ryan Markham 12.1 to put their speed to the test (ns).

The women’s saw Chloe Burrows come home in 2nd place (A string) with an impressive 12.9 and Rebecca Hannibal grabbing another 2nd place (B String) in 13.7.
Jazmin Cooke and Victoria Coombs performed well, running 100m in 13.5 and 15.2

Patrick Sylla won the 200m by a large margin with an SB of 22.4 and another win for Hodgson, 22.9. Egan ran ns in a time of 23.4. These athletes are U23 and continue to show great potential as they develop at BAC.

More of BAC’s talented U23s include Chloe Burrows who won the 200m by almost 2 seconds in 26.0 and Rebecca Hannibal (U17) ran a great 28.6 to secure 2nd place points for the team.

Muiris Egan stepped on track again to run the 400m in 52.1 for 2nd place (A string) and Lewis Sainval was 3rd with 53.3.

The women’s 400m duo sealed 2nd place in both A and B string with Joy Wright and Abigail Richardson running 67.1 and 65.2. Unfortunately Wright coasted in with an Achilles injury and had to withdraw from the 100mH.

Middle Distance
Joshua King won the men’s 800m in a SB time of 2:02.7 and Laszlo Toth ran a great 2:08.1 PB at his second appearance for BAC.

Laszlo Toth 800m

Holly Collier ran an impressive 800m in 2:26.8, winning by a significant margin and Abigail Richardson won B string with another well executed run of 2:28.8.

Holly Collier & Abigail Richardson 800m

Joshua King won A string again in the 1500m in 4:11.6, another SB and Rob McTaggart ran 4:14.6 in a close battle to the line in 2nd place, just missing out on top spot. Laszlo Toth improved on his best performance with a 4:28.3 PB.

Josh King & Rob McTaggart 1500m

Holly Collier ran 1500m in a great time of 4:52.7 to win A string and Abigail Richardson came 2nd B string with a well run 5:07.2.

The men’s 3,000m was dominated by Rob McTaggart as he secured a convincing win in 9:07.3, well ahead of a 2nd placed Woking athlete. Tom Paskins made his second appearance for BAC to run a great PB of 10:16.6 to bring home more points for 3rd B String.

Tom Paskins in the Final Straight 3,000m

Next up, the women’s 5,000m saw Nikki Sandell and Julia Austin battle the heat in a fantastic race in extreme temperatures. Both sealed 2nd place A and B string in 20:42.5 and 21:09.9 respectively.

BAC took a hit in the hurdles due to lower numbers and injuries so only one athlete took on the men’s 110mH, namely Rob Woolgar’s with a sterling effort for a 16.6 PB, 3rd A string.

Steeplechase duo Holly Collier and Nikki Sandell secured 2nd place A and B string with Collier’s 5:54.9 PB and Sandell’s 6:34.5, an outstanding effort despite on-going injury niggles.

Nikki Sandell powers away after the jump in Steeple

Patrick Sylla showed his talent with a convincing win in the Long Jump, 7.05m and Rob Woolgar jumped well to win B string with 6.48m SB.
Amelia Dobson took to the runway to win A string, 4.96m and Victoria Coombs scored more points with 3.61m.

Patrick Sylla and Lewis Sainval won the Triple Jump A and B string 13.22m and 12.73m respectively.
Amelia Dobson jumped 10.49m to come 2nd A string against some tough competition.
Isabella Shepherd worked her magic again to ensure she got a triple jump score for the team, 5.26m.

Lewis Sainval won the High Jump A string, clearing an impressive 1.90m, close to his PB.
Jasmin Cooke performed well for 2nd place in the women’s HJ with a height of 1.48m. Victoria Coombes claimed 3rd place by clearing 1.13m. During which time, Claire Cooke helped marshal the javelin in the style of the most elegant fetcher ever, wearing a lovely, flattering dress.

Andrew Brown cleared 2.35m in the men’s Pole Vault to finish 4th, A string. The women’s event witnessed Nikki Sandell’s 2.15m PB for 2nd A string and a PB for Jazmin Cooke with a 1.15m clearance and more valuable points.

The day’s events were wrapped up with some excellent relay performances. The men’s 4x100m won in 43.8 and the women ran well to come 2nd in 51.7.

Mens 4x100m change over for the Home straight
Chloe Burrows brings the baton home in 4x100m

The men’s 4x400m team ran well to come 2nd in 3:42.4 and the women scrapped together a team and excelled themselves by coming 2nd in 4:28.0.

Womens 4x400m Team
Mens 4x400m Team

BAC surpassed expectation to maintain 3rd place in Division 2 West, especially considering they are newly promoted to a higher division against much tougher competition.

Not only have BAC managed to stay in Division 2 but they have maintained a high league position throughout and it is a credit to each and every BAC athlete, coach official, helper and supporter. Thank you all for your invaluable efforts and contribution – long way the success continue. As they say, “Sky’s the limit”!

The next and final match is a home fixture on Saturday 14 August 2018 and a strong team and match win would be a great end to another amazing T&F season.

László dazzles in the Very Long Bath Half Marathon

Lázsló Tóth competed in the Bath Running Festival Half Marathon
A temporary diversion from track activity saw Lázsló Tóth head over to the Bath Running Festival to tackle the Very Long (and very hilly) Half Marathon

The Bath Running Festival Half Marathon certainly wouldn’t be categorized as your standard half marathon race. It’s 16 miles long for a start! It also incorporates over 2,000ft of climbing, with some vicious hills that are enough to test the mettle of runners of all abilities.

Fortunately, Lázsló Tóth hadn’t come for an easy ride. He’d arrived in search of a challenge that was really going to take him to the limit – and in the Very Long Bath Half Marathon, he’d certainly found that.

Lázsló going well in Bath Running Festival Half Marathon
Lázsló was looking for a race that would give him a true test and the Very Long Half Marathon at Bath Running Festival would certainly do just that

The route incorporates some of the toughest hills in Bath, including the original Roman Fosse Way which comes into play just after the 10km point. Then there’s the climb up to Little Solsbury Hill at 13k before the final ascent back up to Sham Castle at the end of the course.

The breath-taking views of Bath and the surrounding valleys at the top of each hill certainly help to make the effort to get up the climbs all the more rewarding.

Lázsló goes by the castle in the Bath Running Festival Half Marathon
The picturesque surroundings on route gave the Bath Running Festival a unique feel

Concentrating primarily on his track work over recent times, Lázsló has found he’s quite adept at running 800m and 1500m races and has featured in the Southern Athletics League for BAC at the last couple of meetings.

Two weeks ago, at Woking, he completed the 800m in a stunning time of 2:08.1 and registered an improved 1500m time of 4:28.3, showing real promise in these newfound disciplines.

Lázsló Tóth in Bath Running Festival Half Marathon
Lázsló has been doing a lot of his running on the track recently so it made a nice change for him to get out on the roads in a longer distance and a more undulating environment

Of course, he still enjoys his road running forays though and the Bath Running Festival Half Marathon gave him a great opportunity to test his endurance and strength in in a longer distance run.

The first 6k of the race are nice and relaxed, heading down North Road before turning off at Sham Castle Lane to join the Kennet and Avon Canal at Sydney Gardens. The route then heads along the canal to Bathampton and over the toll bridge before lopping round underneath it.

It then follows alongside the River Avon before heading to Bath Easton where the first of three big climbs lies in wait. The original Roman Fosse Way heads straight up the hill with a steep gradient in effect as the terrain changes to woodland.

Lázsló looking composed in Bath Running Festival Half Marathon
Lázsló reaches the top of the final hill up to Sham Castle

After that it’s down St Catherine’s Valley and onto some country lanes for a short time before the steepest climb of the course must be negotiated at 10.5k. That is followed by some much needed flatter ground along the Charmy Down Ridge and a small descent before the climb up to Little Solsbury Hill at 13k.

Once at the top of Little Solsbury Hill, the route then re-joins the River Avon at Bath Easton and retraces its steps back over the toll bridge and onto the canal before heading back up North Road towards Sham Castle, finishing with a lap around the lakes.

Lázsló poses in Bath Running Festival Half Marathon
Lázsló shows the fun side to character which he combines well with his competitive edge

Tackling the tough hills very well and making good use of the downhill sections, Lázsló powered round the course, completing the 16 miles in a stellar time of 2 hours 8 minutes and 34 seconds which, given the profile of the course, was a very good time.

After the race was over, Lázsló moved quickly onto preparing for his next exploit which was the SOAR Summer Mile that he was due to take part in the following weekend. The SOAR Mile is staged on the track in the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

Lázsló crosses the line at the Bath Running Festival Half Marathon
Lázsló crosses the finish line with his head held high, finishing in a superb 6th position in a very competitive line-up

Tag darts in for the win at the D’Urberville Dash 10k

Rob McTaggart leads the D'Urberville Dash 10k
Rob McTaggart was the sole Bournemouth AC entrant into this year’s edition of the D’Urberville Dash 10k

Staged on a lovely scenic loop starting and finishing at the D’Urberville Centre in Wool, the D’Urberville Dash 10k features a testing mixture of road, woodland trail and field pathways.

In last year’s race it was Richard Brawn who flew the flag for Bournemouth AC, finishing in 22nd place with a time of 41:35. This year it was Rob McTaggart who was the singular BAC representative in action.

Although his primary focus is often running in the track team for the British and Southern Athletics Leagues, Tag also likes to do the odd 10k road race and has great pedigree at all distances, in particular marathons.

Back in April he defied the hot weather at the London Marathon to race round in a time of 20:30:40, beating the likes of Steve Way to take the accolade of being the first Bournemouth AC member to hit the line.

Since then he’s had mixed fortunes in road races, finishing in 92nd place in the Vitality 10,000 with a time of 32:32, 3rd in the 10k at Poole Running Festival in 33:42 and 9th in the Eastleigh 10k with a time of 32:57.

Tag did the D'Urberville Dash as part of a longer training run
Although he was running it as part of a longer training run, Tag’s pace was still too quick for the rest of the field

Approaching the race as part of a moderate paced 12.5 mile training run, Tag wasn’t intending to go hell-for-leather. He was just really looking to sustain a strong pace throughout the race.

After some chaotic scenes last year when more people than expected turned up and entered on the day, significant enough numbers had signed up in advance this time round to mean that entries on the day were not permitted.

The course is a tricky one, featuring some long sections along a very thin woodland path that has many twists and turns. The off-road terrain makes it tricky to get a good rhythm going but it’s a nice challenge to undertake, with the countryside setting making for an enjoyable outing for the most part.

Running at a speed that to him may have been moderate but to most others would be unattainable, Tag was out in front for the first few kilometres of the race, accompanied by Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC.

At around the 4 kilometre mark, Tag began to ease away and from that point on, it was just a case of cruising round for the win.

Tag races to victory in the D'Urberville Dash 10k
A good, solid run saw Tag cruise in to win the D’Urberville Dash 10k in a time of 36:26

Crossing the line in a time of 36:26 it was an impressive run from Tag, given that he was in cruise control for much of it and was essentially just treating it as part of a longer training run.

Arriving almost a minute back, Andy Leggott took 2nd place in a time of 37:22, with Dave Hicks of Poole AC following in shortly after in a time of 37:30.

It wasn’t the first time a Bournemouth AC member has won the D’Uberville Dash. Karl Welch actually claimed victory back in 2014, completing a course in a time of 36:10 that day.

Tag cruising to victory in the D'Urberville Dash 10k
Tag finished almost a minute ahead of his nearest rival Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC



Ollie Stoten braves the Brecon Beacons 10Peaks Long Course

Ollie Stoten in the 10 Peaks Brecon Beacons
It was another extremely challenging race for Ollie Stoten as he got ready to do battle in the Brecon Beacons on the 10Peaks Long Course

He’s no stranger to tough, hilly ultra-marathons but this one was so challenging, even Ollie Stoten was in for a rough ride as he took on the Long Course in the 10Peaks Brecon Beacons event.

Just the profile of this race alone would be enough to scare most runners off, with the daunting task of having to scale 10 peaks across an 89-kilometre distance incorporating 4,800 metres of ascent.

The Brecon Beacons is a notoriously difficult landscape for running on, so much so that it has been used as an army training ground for generations and is currently the location utilised by the SAS to put recruits through their paces.

Featuring some spectacular naturally glaciated landscapes and iconic red sandstone cliffs, the Brecon Beacons is home to Southern Britain’s highest point, Pen Y Fan.

Standing at a monstrous 886 metres, the summit of the Fan offers some incredibly stunning views of the Black Mountains, the Bristol Channel and the beautifully sculpted ridge-lines that the runners had to negotiate throughout the race.

Of course, there were nine other very challenging peaks for Ollie and the rest of the competitors to tackle on route as they set out from the race headquarters at Talybont-on-Usk.

To begin with, it heads out to the most westerly point of the course, the Black Mountain, passing over the first two high peaks of Fan Fawr (734m) and Fan Lila (632m).

The next peak is the second highest of the race, Fan Brcheiniog, at 802 metres. That is followed the fourth peak, Bannau Sir Gaer, which stands at 749 metres.

Ollie Stoten in amongst the hills of the Brecon Beacons
The hills of the Brecon Beacons provide a stunning backdrop as Ollie makes his way up one of the many peaks he was required to scale that day

The return journey follows a more northerly route back to Talybont with the toil of some of very painful climbs counterbalanced by the most spectacular landscape and stunning views that South Wales has to offer. That includes the highest and most iconic mountain of the South, Pen Y Fan.

From there it’s just a couple of peaks remaining until the downhill run to Talybont Reservoir and a short flat section then brings to race to its conclusion.

Finding it tough going on such a hot day, Ollie got stuck in a dehydration cave after water was rationed to 1 litre for every two-and-a-half hour stretch.

For much of the race though he was in the lead group, running alongside Galen Reynolds and Ben Thomas. They certainly helped save Ollie’s morale whilst he was able to stay them.

It was Galen who came out on top in the end, completing the race in a staggering new course record of 10 hours 52 minutes 11 seconds. Ben wasn’t far behind, crossing the line in 11 hours 4 minutes and 11 seconds.

As for Ollie, he sealed a magnificent third place, arriving at the finish in a superb time of 11 hours 16 minutes and 19 seconds. It was a super result for Ollie and one which, given the terrain he was running on and the exceedingly tough conditions, he should be very proud of.

To start off with there was a field of 82 people with 54 of those making it to the finish line within the 24-hour cut-off time. The non-completion rate demonstrates just how extraordinarily tough this race actually was.

In total, Ollie had covered an astronomical 54.88 miles and had amassed over 14,900 feet of elevation. That’s a crazy amount of running and climbing to be doing in one session but then – that’s just the way Ollie likes it.

Ollie Stoten braves the 10 Peaks Brecon Beacons Long race
Completing the gruelling 89km course with 4,800m of ascent in a phenomenal time of 11 hours 16 minutes, Ollie took a well deserved third place



Manol and Jacek scale the Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon

Manol Dimitrov in the Scott Snowdonia Trail Ultra Marathon
Manol Dimitrov was taking on the 60.4km Ultra Marathon at the Scott Snowdonia Trail event, with Jacek Cieluszecki going in the Full Marathon

We’ve been getting used to seeing Bournemouth AC athletes taking things to the extreme over recent times. Whether it’s Steve Way in his well revered podium finish at Comrades, JC conquering the world at Wings for Life, Ant Clark with his silver medal at the British 100k Championships, Jez Bragg with his 100k at Belvès, Toby Chapman’s 90k renaissance at Mont Blanc, Pat Robbins at the 24 Hour European Championships, Mark Hillier at the Marathon des Sables, Ollie Stoten in the Namib Desert, Andy Gillespie at the Devon Coast Challenge… The list is endless. Then you’ve got Pete Thompson to takes goes beyond extreme to the verging on unimaginable with his challenges.

It would certainly be fair to say that BAC members are synonymous with pushing themselves to the limit in some of the toughest races and biggest challenges they can find. The latest example of that theme saw Manol Dimitrov and Jacek Cieluszecki tackle the Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon.

The Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon is a challenge in every sense of the word. Featuring a 60.4km Ultra Marathon, a 43.4km Full Marathon, a Half Marathon and a 10k, with elevation gains of up to 2,376m, the Scott Snowdonia is designed to push its participants to the peak of their powers.

Opting for the 60.4km Ultra Marathon race, Manol Dimitrov knew he’d have his work cut out to complete such a gruelling, mountainous course with such a huge and difficult ascent profile. In saying that though, this is exactly the kind of challenge that Manol relishes.

With a real affinity for taking to the high peaks, Manol is very much at home on this type of terrain. In fact, it’s in these types of races that he truly excels.

Last summer Manol and Jacek both took on the OCC Mont Blanc race, a 56km course with 3,500 metres of vertical. Jacek finished 23rd out of 1,565 starters that day and Manol came in 63rd, putting him firmly in the top 5% of finishers.

In one of his more recent mountain exploits, it didn’t quite go so well for Manol. It was the 48km Cortina Trail. Unfortunately, on that occasion Manol was suffering with some stomach issues and was forced to retire 16.4 miles in, having already vomited a couple of times.

Faring a little better in his next outing a week later, Manol came in 164th place in the 42km Buff Epic Trail race. The route included over 3,300m of climbing and took Manol 7 hours 23 minutes and 57 seconds to complete.

The Scott Snowdonia Trail races start and finish in Llanberis, a place known as the Welsh outdoor capital. With its iconic and spectacular climbs up the highest peak of Snowdon, featuring breathtaking panoramic views of the Snowdonia National Park, there are surely no more striking trail marathon routes in the entire UK.

Despite the early elevation, Manol started off really quickly and was in the lead after the first 6 miles. It turned out though, he was too quick and the marshals hadn’t yet managed to put out all the markings in the spots they should have. That resulted in Manol taking a wrong turn and he had to then stop, reorient and go back.

By the time he got back onto the correct path, four people were in front of him. It was a frustrating blow but there was no time to dwell on it. I had to pick up where he left off and continue.

Later on he took another wrong turn, descending down a path he wasn’t meant to be going down. Again, he had to stop, reorient and find his way back onto the correct route.

Manol Dimitrov training on Snowdon
Manol had done some training on Snowdon back in June so he knew the terrain. That didn’t necessarily mean he knew the route though!

It was the third time he went wrong though that was the real killer for Manol. He had been climbing and climbing up this goat track for what felt like an eternity. Little did he know though, there had been a gate between the rocks that he’d apparently missed. It was pretty difficult to spot, especially since he was focusing on his running and was on his own for the vast majority of the time.

It turned out he’d added an extra 12km onto the route and around 4,000ft of additional elevation. That’s a pretty big penalty to pay for a few wrong turns but if you go off piste at Snowdon, that’s the kind of consequences you could face.

Although his chances of winning the race had effectively been ruined, Manol refused to let it get him down, which is a real testament to his attitude and character.

On the downhill run in to the finish at Llanberis, he absolutely smashed it, registering a sub-16-minute 5k which, after 45 miles and nearly 7 hours of running, not to mention 11,800ft of climbing, is pretty damn impressive.

Managing to reel in a few people who had inadvertently overtaken him after his various mishaps, Manol incredibly finished up in 5th place with a time of 6:54:35.

It was a a truly great show of strength from Manol, both mental and physical. It wasn’t so much a positive showcase of his navigational skills, but if the course had been marked out properly and clearly, those detours could’ve been avoided.

It would’ve certainly been interesting to see what he could have done if he had managed to follow the correct path. Who knows? He could even have found himself on the top of the podium.

Perhaps he just felt that 60.4km and 8,000ft of climbing up Mount Snowdon simply wouldn’t enough and he felt compelled to take the scenic route.

Manol Dimitrov in Scott Snowdonia Ultra Marathon
Despite going wrong on several occasions, Manol rallied well to take 5th place in a time of 6:54:35

As for Jacek, he had wanted to do the Ultra Marathon but the places for that race filled up pretty quick so he ended up doing the Full Marathon instead. That was still a good 43.4km and 1,685 metres of elevation, so still a tough route that would prove extremely testing, even for an athlete of JC’s calibre.

To say Jacek has been in good form lately would be an understatement. In fact, he’s been killing it since his spectacular victory in the Wings for Life race at Melbourne.

That was followed by double delight at the Poole Festival of Running when he won both the 5k and the Half Marathon. He then claimed another victory in he Maverick ions-8 X-Series Exmoor 15k, although he had been intending to do the 42k until he took a wrong turn.

After that he won the Lulworth Castle 10k before blowing everyone away to defend his title at the Portland 10.

The Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon was going to be a tougher prospect altogether though, with a competitive field including top British international distance runners Callum Rowlinson and Adam Holland.

With such a competitive line up, Jacek knew he was going to have to be at his absolute best to stand any chance of coming out on top.

The race effectively comprised of three different sectors. The first 3.5 miles lead you up and are followed by 1.5 miles through some marshy fields.

The second part is a fast section which is undulating in places. This is the segment where road runners could probably gain some advantage.

The last part is the ascent up Snowdon, followed by the descent back down. This section is by far the hardest and includes a brutally steep stretch on mile 22.

Once you reach the top of the summit, it is then downhill all the way to the finish line at Llanberis. It’s a fast descent but you have to be careful on it as there are rough and rocky parts to negotiate. So much so that many people ended up taking a tumble or two on the way down.

At the beginning of the race there was a lead group of four, containing last year’s winning and course record holder Callum Rowlinson, Adam Holland, Jack Oates – who is an ambassador for Ant Clark’s X-MIles company – and of course JC himself.

At mile 5, Adam Holland, who is in the top five in the world for marathon victories, started to turn the screw and built up a solid gap. Jacek decided to stay at his pace, cruising along in 4th place, around 30 seconds behind Callum and Jack. Saving some energy for the latter stages, Jacek knew full well that everything could change on the final ascent on Snowdon.

Jacek Cieluszecki with Jack Oates and Callum Rowlinson
Jacek running alongside Jack Oates and Callum Rowlinson

From around miles 16 to 22, the course was all uphill culminating with that massive steep section on mile 22. It was over these uphill miles that Jacek made his move. He went past Callum first to take third before overtaking Adam to climb to second.

That left only Jack out front. Jack was having a really strong run though and for a 22-year-old, he’s a phenomenal runner. As it panned out, JC just didn’t quite have enough in the tank to catch Jack and he was able to seal the win, smashing the course record as he crossed the line in a time of 3:37:54.

Arriving at the finish less than five minutes later, Jacek took 2nd place in a time of 3:42:41. This was still comfortably under the previous course record that Callum had set last year of 3 hours 51 minutes, so, whilst it may not have been a win, it was still a mightily impressive performance from JC.

Having to settle for third place on this occasion, Adam Holland crossed the line in a time of 3:58:55. As for Callum, he didn’t make it to the finish in the end as he was forced to abandon due to a back pain.

All things considered, Jacek was pleased with his performance, although he did feel a slight lack of freshness in the legs over the final section. He enjoyed the event though and it was good to be in a really competitive race and pit his wits against some other top class athletes.

Next up, JC turns his attentions back to the local scene as an opportunity arises for him to complete a Portland quadruple, having won the Portland 10 and Round the Rock last year and having already retained his crown at the Portland 10 this year. The Round the Rock 10k takes place on 12th August and JC will definitely be the man to beat again in that one.

No doubt they’ll be more stories of mountain exploits from Manol in the near future since he seems to revel his high altitude forays. There will be more from JC as well as he is set to compete in a 100k mountain ultra in Poland in September.

Jacek Cieluszecki in Scott Snowdonia Full Marathon
Jacek powered up the final ascent on Snowdon, moving from 4th up to 2nd but he couldn’t quite catch the leader Jack Oates








Sean Edwards and Chris O’Brien leg it in Lytchett Relays

Team Extreme Edwards in Lytchett Relays
Running in the family: Sean Edwards with his unique inter-club family team

Occasionally it’s nice to get involved in an event that is predominantly about having fun and enjoying being part of a team and that is essentially what the Lytchett Relays are all about.

The premise behind the event organised by Lytchett Manor Striders is to run as part of a team of five, with each member taking one leg of the 5k off-road circuit across heathland, gravel paths and grass tracks at the scenic Holton Lee grounds.

Although it is fundamentally a competitive race, the Lytchett Relays has a fun, family friendly vibe to it and a very social kind of atmosphere to go along with it.

As well as the option to pitch a tent and stay the night, there was also a barbecue and homemade cakes, a bar that opens from the afternoon onwards, a disco in the evening, plus races the the kids to get involved in.

There are three categories for the teams to compete in, depending on whether they are comprised of all men, all ladies or a healthy blend of both. There were also categories for individuals as well, just consisting of overall male and overall female, regardless of which team the person was in.

One man who flourished in the individual competition was new recruit Sean Edwards. Sean has arrived a BAC with huge pedigree, having previously represented the club that organised the Relays event, Lytchett Manor Striders.

Now looking to step up his game even further, Sean saw Bournemouth AC as the ideal club to help him move forward with his running.

Although it was his first race donning the yellow and blue vest of BAC, on this occasion, Sean was really representing Team Extreme Edwards.

Interestingly, Sean’s transfer over to BAC meant that all five members of Team Extreme Edwards run for different clubs, despite all being from the same family.

Sean’s dad represents Poole Runners, whilst his step mum runs for Hamworthy Harriers and her sister wears the colours of Dorset Doddlers. Sean’s sister who still represents Lytchett Manor Striders completed the family five.

Taking the last leg for his team, Sean ran a blistering lap, tearing round the course in a time of 16 minutes 55 seconds. That turned out to be the 2nd fastest time out of anyone on the day. Only Brian Underwood of the Poole AC Mixed team was able to better that, finishing in a time of 16:26.

With the help of Sean’s lightening quick effort, Team Extreme Edwards finished in 24th place overall out of a total of 68 teams. Their total combined time was 2 hours 1 minute and 15 seconds. Out of the 23 teams in the Mixed category, Team Extreme Edwards were placed 15th.

Since it was in very hot conditions, with the race starting at 3 in the afternoon, and considering the course was quite bumpy in places, Sean was very pleased with his performance. He’d also done Poole parkrun in the morning on that same day, which makes his time seem all the more impressive.

Sean Edwards in Lytchett Relays
Super Sean tore round the Holton Lee course in a terrific time of 16:55 which made him second quickest individual

The other Bournemouth AC runner in action at the Lytchett Relays but under the guise of Verwood Runners was Chris O’Brien. Chris does some coaching with Verwood Runners and was helping to complete a Mens team for the race.

Chris has been suffering a bit with injury for quite some time now, having contracted a glute issue back in January. In fact, it’s something to do with his pelvis being stuck in the wrong position on the left-hand side.

It has been okay for Chris over recent months when he’s been participated in longer distance competition, like the Endure 24 event he did in June, where he completed almost 70 miles within the allotted time.

It’s more the shorter distance stuff that causes him discomfort. That is why the one 5k lap he’d be doing at the Lytchett Relays would be a good test for him.

Fortunately, other than a bit of stomach cramps, Chris felt fine throughout the run and, although it wasn’t a particularly fast time for him, he was still the quickest member of his team, completing the course in 20 minutes 18 seconds.

It was an all-male team that Chris was part of, and their total combined time was 1 hour 50 minutes and 6 seconds, which put them in 12th place overall. Out of the Mens teams that put them 5th out of 9. Individually, Chris came in at 40th place, out of a total of 177 runners.

The run gave Chris the confidence to book a place in the Hoburne 5 league race at the end of September and he’s looking forward to booking more races in the future where he can don the yellow and blue of BAC.

Chris O'Brien in Lytchett Relays
Chris O’Brien competed as part of a Verwood Runners 3 team that took 12th place in the overall standings

Building up his speed again to level it was at before when he completed his first sub three hour marathon at Abingdon last summer will take quite some doing, but Chris has the tenacity to get back there. It will just take time and a degree of patience.

The overall winners of the Lytchett Relays were the Poole AC Mixed team of Brian Underwood (16.26), John Bassinder (17:40), Lesley Moore (21:23), Dave Hicks (17:09) and Gareth Alan Davies (17:01). They finished in a total combined time of 1 hour 29 minutes and 39 seconds.

That gave them a 2 minutes 36 seconds margin over Poole Runners Mens team 1, who won the male category in a total combined time of 1:32:15. They had Steve Claxton (18:20), Steve Yates (18:32), Paul Currah (18:36), John Towner (19:12) and Dom Wilmore (17:35) in their line up.

A Poole Runners Mens team 2 took 2nd place in the male category with Colin Somers (19:12), Steve Ogles (19:17), Mike Akers (18:58), Nat Willmore (19:30) and Andrew Humphries (18:40) running for them, giving them a total combined time of 1:35:37.

Poole Runners also took first prize in the ladies category as well, with the team of Kate Philpotts (20:15), Sharon Shaw (21:58), Gemma Oliver (21:58), Paula Barker (22:22) and Joanna Westhead 22:59) completing the race in a total combined time of 1:49:32.

The Poole Runners Ladies team 2 took 2nd place in the female category, with their team comprising of Esther Downes (26:17), Faye Law (26:45), Emma Shore (25:10), Rachael Barry (24:52) and Sarah Swift (23:37) achieving a total combined time of 2:06:41.

The top lady in the individual was Fern Kimber of the Super Speedy Juniors who finished in a time of 19:48. Kate Philpotts of Poole Runners was second in 20:15, with Lucy Payne of Plumbers Mates in third in 21:22.

As for Sean Edwards, he now turns his attention to the Sturminster Newton Half Marathon, which will be his first league race representing BAC. He’s also signed up for the Round the Rock 10k the following weekend and will no doubt prove a very useful edition to the team in those upcoming fixtures.

Team Extreme Edwards in Lytchett Relays
The Lytchett Relays proved a fantastic outlet for families, friends and club-mates to get together and enjoy a day’s running, food, entertainment and all-round great fun








Janet Dickinson BAC sets new British Record w50 Heptathlon & Crowned British Champion.

The British Masters Heptathlon Championships were held in Sheffield last weekend, 14-15 July 2018. These championships take place on an annual basis where Great Britain’s finest Masters Heptathletes compete for the honour of being crowned the British Champion. That esteemed honour was awarded to Janet Dickinson BAC, British Champion.

Janet Dickinson, British Champion with Gold Medal

Dickinson set a new British Record for the w50 Heptathlon in the British Multi Events Championships at the two day event in Sheffield. The previous record stood for over 19 years. Dickinson’s total points exceeded Jean Fails excellent 19 year old record by an astounding 218 points. The new British Record now stands at 5163 points.

Janet Dickinson was all smiles after breaking the 19yr old British record.

Dickinson recorded new PB’s in 80m hurdles in a time of 13.78sec, 200m in 28.31 sec. These results rank Dickinson as GB’s current number 1 w50 in 80mH and number 2 over the 200m.

One of the biggest challenges arose on day two as Dickinson strived to overcome a painful knee. However, she managed to score well and keep the record challenge alive.  Dickinson’s High jump was an SB of 1.37m, Long Jump 4.37m, Shot 9.06m and Javelin 26.20m.  The gruelling last event, the 800m was again a different experience yet she came home in 2min 51sec and managed to remain standing afterwards.

Janet Dickinson collecting her Gold medal

The atmosphere was superb with a great spirit amongst the women competitors. It was a very efficiently and pleasantly run competition at an excellent facility. One competitor stated it was an honour to have competed with such great and welcoming group of athletes in the women’s heptathlon. It was especially great to have witnessed a new British record!

Janet Dickinson at Sheffield with Julie Wilson, winner of the British w55 Throws Pentathlon on Saturday before getting back in action on day 2 winning more Gold Medals.

Dickinson has been preparing well for this event and expressed how pleased she was to have broken the British Master v50 Heptathlon record which has stood for 19 years. During an exclusive interview with BAC, she commented on the brilliant support provided by her coach, Paul Rees, as well as the athletes and officials who helped her through the two days including some dodgy moments. The next big championship for Dickinson is the World Masters championships in Malaga in September and BAC wish her every success!

Janet Dickinson with coach, Paul Rees.


SAL Victory in North Braunton!

Team Victory Splash

The long journey to Braunton, Devon was well worth making for the BAC men and women’s team as they triumphed against Radley AC, North Devon and Aldershot. Although it was a convincing win, BAC were pushed hard by Radley who at times were just 3 points behind. A consistent and courageous battle determined a strong finish, putting BAC over 25 points ahead with 214 points and Radley AC on 187.

On the day, the SAL team had an early start, the coach left the Kings Park tarmac at 7am sharp. Considering the long journey they left with smiles, plenty of noise and lots of laughs.
The weather was amazing with the sun a blazing – so was the performance. In fact BAC were on fire with some sporting some very interesting sunburn marks.

It was great to see many new faces making their debut for BAC on the Track & Field scene including Tom Paskins and Laslo Toth.

Some notable performances by the throwers included Danielle Broom and Issobella Shepherd (coach Paul Rees) who fought hard to keep it going in the heat and scoring well for the club. Danielle performed well, with wins in the Shot 10.74m, Discus 41.60m and Hammer, 51.37m as well as a brilliant final leg on an amazing 4 x100m relay team. Issobella threw the Hammer 20.27 and Shot 7.70m in addition to a debut Triple Jump effort to gain extra valuable points and add to her growing list of events contested.

Issy Shepherd
Danielle Broom

Other Bournemouth throwers included the superb Phoebe Dowson, exceeding 53m again in Discus! Dan Brunsden had a great day with a PB in Hammer 47.14m, wins in Javelin 39.37m, Shot 14.20m and Discus 45.49m. A clean sheet of wins in the throwing events for Dan and he also did high jump to maximise points for the team. Dan’s high jump was the talk of the town or more accurately the track. He managed to scale 1.25m for 3rd (same height as 2nd) and with one attempt he remarkably used his well-built, muscular frame to obliterate the entire high jump facility. Impressed witnesses talked in awe of his exceptional efforts and performance, putting many to shame.

Phoebe Dowson

Andrew Sheerin was also on great form throwing a PB in Hammer 37.79m for 1st place and a great shot result, 1st place with 10.96m. Another win in the javelin 29.90m SB. Andrew also scaled the pole vault using an incredibly unique technique, rolling in mind air, up and over the bar like an acrobat. It’s difficult to do it justice in words but he was awesome, clearing 2.20m for 2nd place.

Steve Cox was also on top form in the pole vault and came 2nd (A string) with a PB, 2.60m. It was an exciting performance to watch as the bar went higher and higher. In true BAC form, Steve also pulled in numerous points by covering a multitude of events with zest and enthusiasm, always supporting the action. He ran a PB in the 400mH 85.0 for 3rd, 1st in 200m 30.6, 800m PB 2.52.2 and 4th Steeple which was unfortunately an unofficial time due to the error of the officials. Nevertheless the standings remained, the points were added and the passion to win continued.

Steve Cox 400mH

More top throwing performances came from Janet Dickinson and Joy Wright (both masters athletes) who placed 2nd A string and 1st B String in the Javelin 26.60m and 26.21m PB respectively. Janet also made her mark on the track with a great 200m PB, 28.5, ranking her no.1 in GB age group, 400mH in 76.8, High Jump 1.30m before finishing with a fast starting 4x100m leg.  Joy competed in the High jump and came 2nd (A string) with a PB of 1.38m, a 3rd place 400m (A string) in 63.3 against U20 and is ranked 3rd GB age group. The javelin was delayed and Joy ran the 100m start between throws to gain points in 100mH in 19.4. Joy ran the third leg of the 4x100m taking the bend well to put BAC out in front and the 4x400m.

The South West multi events championships took place the same day and this presented a challenge to fill gaps in events as several BAC athletes were unavailable, particularly the younger ages. This left gaps to fill in sprints and a complete change of 4x100m team which comprised of throwers and middle distance runners. They performed so well to secure 2nd place for the senior women.

The men’s sprinters included Jack Davies and Ryan Markham’s 100m, both in 11.6. Rebecca Hannibal ran 13.3 and Jemma Bates 15.8 to score points for the team. Ladies Team Captain, Jemma ran 400m in 87.4 to bring in the valuable points.

Muiris Egan and Adam Nicholass performed well over 200m against tough competition in a time of 23.3 and 26.3 respectively. Again Muiris did BAC proud with a great 400m win (A) in 53.8 and Adam ran 61.5 for more valuable points.

Muiris Egan 200m
Adam Nicholass Steve Cox behind at the 200m finish

The women’s 200m saw Rebecca Hannibal return to run 27.5 and Janet Dickinson as mentioned above a class 28.5 PB.

Rebecca Hannibal, 200m top bend

Lewis Sainval had a great match with a clean sheet of class wins in 100mH 22.0, High Jump 1.90m (both A string) and Triple Jump 12.92m (B string). He ran, hopped and jumped higher, further and faster by a convincing margin in each event.

Lewis Sainval 110mH

Patrick Sylla had another class win in the Triple Jump 13.48, over 2m more than 2nd place. He also jumped 6.75m in long jump, winning A string by over 1m.  Congratulations to Patrick for being donned ‘Man of the Match’!
Sprinter, Adam Nicholass won B string with 3.97m for top points.

The woman’s triple jump saw Harriet Slade and Isabella Shepherd stepping in to earn valuable points for the club. Neither athlete had any experience in the triple jump yet put in great efforts with Isabella jumping 5.01m. Unfortunately a slight mishap prevented Harriet from scoring in her one attempt before rushing off to her next event.

The team spirit continued to thrive as BAC drew closer to that ultimate win.

Stepping up a distance, Joshua King won the A string 1500m in 4:14.6, SB. Not content with that, Joshua went on to won the 5,000 (A string) in a great time of 16:18.7. Rob McTaggart ran another brilliant race for 1st place (B string) in 16:35.2. Rob also won the B String 1500m in a time of 4:20.3.

Tom Paskins joined the 5,000m in his debut appearance on track for BAC and ran 18:08.7. Marathon man, Tom is well known amongst the road runners and competes in a wide range of distances from 800m to half marathons. He’s not afraid of new challenges and even ran a great Steeplechase 2k for the first time to bring in more points for the team as he was 4th place (A string).

Newcomer Laszlo Toth ran a well-executed 800m in 2:09.5 (ns) before hitting the track for a 1500m PB in 4:30.3 (ns). Laszlo enjoyed his debut match, especially being part of the winning team and the great atmosphere and buzz it brings. He’s looking forward to the next match and is warmly welcomed by BAC.

The women’s steeplechase was an exciting and close race with Harriet Slade well on course to break the 8 minute barrier. However, circumstances dictated the outcome as Harriet tripped and fell during the race. Harriet showed guts and determination as she immediately jumped up and got back into her stride whilst onlookers gasped in amazement. Harriet still ran a PB and came 2nd in 8:02.7. Step aside Mo Farrah. A busy day for Harriet also saw a PB in the 800m 2:26.7 and Pole Vault (PV) 1.20m. She also ran with Nikki Sandell in the 3000m where both came 2nd in 10.56.2 and 12:02.1 respectively. Nikki performed well in the PV scaling a new height of 2.10m for 2nd A string and the 1500m in 5:48.6 to come 2nd ahead of Radley. Holly Collier ran A string and came 2nd in 5:10 which was as great result after an excellent 800m SB of 2:26. Holly ended the day with the steeplechase, her newly embraced event with another PB of 8:21for 2nd (B).

Holly & Harriet Steeple

The club team performed again with determination and much enthusiasm throughout all events. Good times at BAC winning again! Paul Rees

Thanks to the Team Captains Jemma Bates and Andrew Sheerin as well as all officials and supporters alike. Your contribution to the team success is invaluable.

BAC are currently in 3rd place in the division, less than 20 points shy of Basingstoke in 2nd. The top two teams will be promoted to Division 1 and BAC have already shown their potential to achieve this so get the champagne on ice.

Next match is this weekend in Woking on 14 July 2018, where BAC will no doubt give their best performance, resulting in another fantastic day.

Anyone for a dip?

Toby Chapman returns to conquer Mont Blanc 90k

Toby Chapman in Chamonix for the Mont Blanc 90k
Toby Chapman was out for redemption in the Mont Blanc 90k race after he was forced to abandon last year due to altitude sickness

The Mont Blanc 90k race represented unfinished business for Toby Chapman. This time last year he was in the Mont Blanc 80k race as it was then, battling with severe altitude sickness that would eventually put pay to his chances of completing the race.

He’d managed almost 50km and been running for 9 hours 35 minutes before being forced to withdraw from the race. It was gutting for Toby not to be able to complete the distance after working so hard to get himself into the best possible shape he could. But when you’re running on mountains as high as Mont Blanc, with its 6000 metres of vertical, it’s never going to be plain sailing.

Also experiencing disappointment in his other attempt at a mountain ultra race in 2017, the Saloman Ultra Pirineu, a 110k race in the Spanish Pyrenees, Toby had had a couple of tough blows to deal with that year. At the Ultra Pirinieu he’d completed a massive 96km before being forced to pull out through severe dehydration.

It was frustrating as he’d had less than 15k left to go. But again, there is so much uncertainty when running on these kinds of extreme mountains. You can think you’ve cracked and then all of a sudden something hits you and it’s game over.

A lesser man might have decided off the back of those two DNF’s that perhaps these huge mountain ultras just aren’t for them. But not Toby. All they did for Toby was to add fuel to the fire and instil in him an even greater, steely determination to go back and make amends.

At the Mont Blanc 90k he was desperate lay the ghosts to rest of those two DNF’s that had been haunting him ever since.

Of course, that’s easier said than done though. With its ferocious 6220 metres of vertical and 91km length, the race is recognised as one of the most technical ultra trail races in France and is certainly one of the most demanding of its kind.

With narrow, exposed footpaths, snowy sections and an average altitude of over 2000m, the race presents plenty of difficult challenges to overcome.

That said though, the sensational scenery makes up for the difficulty, offering up some incredible sights to behold, including the Mont-Blanc sunrise, the Emosson dam in Switzerland, the Mer de Glace glacier and the sparkling lights on the way down to Chamonix.

The race starts off at Chamonix at an altitude of 1095m and doesn’t get an lower than that throughout. The first 10k is a climb of 1371m which took Toby an hour and 42 minutes to scale. That put him in 41st place at checkpoint number one in Brévent.

Toby Chapman is on his way in the Mont Blanc 90k
Toby set out with a steely determination to make it to the end this time, no matter what it takes

The next checkpoint was Flégere at 18.1k, where Toby arrived in 2 hours 35 minutes putting him in 54th place. Then, by the time he reached the next checkpoint, Tete Aux Vents, at 21.6k, Toby had climbed to 36th place.

Next up was the descent down to Buet, where Toby rolled up at in 3 hours 54 minutes. It was 27.7km from the start, so just under a third of the distance had been covered at this point. Toby had now slipped back to 54th place.

By the time the next checkpoint arrived, the total elevation gain was up to 2500m. Toby had now been running for just over 5 hours and had completed 34.4km.

It was then back down to La Villaz at 38.6km before heading up to Barrage Emosson at 43.6km. It was on the way up to that checkpoint that Toby started to suffer from the altitude. It’s not surprising really since he was at an altitude of over 1800m by that point.

Toby Chapman makes his way along the testing 90km route
Toby makes his way through an area of lush vegetation as he progresses along hugely testing 90km route

Giving himself just over three and a half weeks training out in the Mont Blanc region before the race, Toby had hoped this would provide him some opportunity to get used the altitude a little better.

The problem was though that they’d had such heavy snowfall that winter that he was limited in terms of what altitude level he could actually get to.

Whilst out there, he did some good training with his Bournemouth AC teammate Manol Dimitrov though, who does a lot of mountain running and knows how to handle that type of terrain.

In fact, the week before Toby did his Mont Blanc race, Manol had featured in a 48km mountain race called the Cortina Trail. Unfortunately he had some stomach issues of his own and had vomited a couple of times before abandoning 16.4 miles in.

Manol Dimitrov did some training with Toby in the lead up to the race
Manol Dimitrov was on hand to accompany Toby on some tough mountain excursions in the lead up to the race

It would normally take a runner at least two-to-three weeks to acclimatise properly to high mountain altitude but the more you run in that environment, the more you can learn about what happens to the body and how you can adjust nutrition and speed to cope with the altitude better.

Once Toby got to the top of the climb up to Barrage Emosson he was in 68th and had now racked up an elevation gain of nearly 4000m. It was then down to Chatelard Village at 47.9km, where he arrived in 73rd place with a time of just under 7 hours 54 minutes.

Next it was the climb up to Cotogne, which was the checkpoint he failed to reach last time round. It was on the way up there that he finally succumbed to altitude sickness on that occasion.

He wasn’t about to let that happen again though and powered his way up to the top, arriving in 81st place and in a time of 9 hours 28 minutes. He’d now at least improved upon what he did last year which was a relief, but he didn’t want it to end there.

The next checkpoint was the Col Des Posetties at 57.7km. Arriving in just over 10 hours, Toby has now in 84th place and had reached an elevation gain of over 4400m.

Toby Chapman using his trekking poles
Toby making use of his trekking poles, a valuable asset for mountain ultra running

After that there was quite a bit of descending to do before he got onto the final climb. It was Le Tour first at 62.7km which he reached in 10 hours 41 minutes. Then it was down to Les Bois at 72.8km. Upon reaching that milestone, Toby was now in 80th place and had been going for just under 12 hours and 9 minutes.

It was then onto the final climb, first up to Montenvers and then onto Plan de l’Aiguille. When he arrived the final aid station, Toby was tempted to stop at that point. He knew he was close to town so it would have been easily done.

It seems unfathomable that a runner could go all that way in the race and then pull out so close the end. But that’s how tough these mountain races are. They are as much a mental battle as a physical one.

Grinding out the last climb, once he reached the top, there was no turning back then. He was now in 94th place and had been running for 15 hours 12 minutes. His elevation gain was now up to over 5900m and he’d completed 83.7km of the course.

All that was left was to head down the remaining 8km to Chamonix where the finish awaited. Having gained a few places on that final descent, Toby arrived there in 90th place, crossing the line in a truly remarkable time of 16 hours 9 minutes and 20 seconds.

Toby Chapman crosses the line in the Mont Blanc 90k
That magical moment where Toby crossed the line knowing all his months of hard training and sacrifice had paid off

His total distance covered had reached 93.5km (58 miles) and he had amassed an elevation gain of 6827m (22,400 ft). It had been an incredible journey and he had now had the satisfaction of getting closure on the two DNF’s he suffered last year.

It was a moment Toby will no doubt remember as being a pivotal one in his running legacy. Managing to complete the race despite his problems with altitude sickness was a huge achievement and one that means a great deal to him.

It also showcased the improvements he’s been making in his running over recent times. He’s feeling a lot better in himself and a lot better whilst he’s out there racing, which is great to see.

Toby Chapman reaches the end of an epic race
Although he was exhausted, Toby was thrilled to have made it to the end and laid the ghosts of last year to rest

There were 676 people who managed to complete the race this year and a further 300 or so who were unsuccessful in making it to the end, underlining just how tough it is.

To come in 90th place out of all those competitors was a simply monumental achievement from Toby. Perhaps even more so considering that most of those who finished ahead of him belong to proper mountain ultra clubs and most likely train on that sort of terrain on a regular basis.

When you put all that into perspective, it really was a fantastic run from Toby and he’s done himself proud, his family and friends proud and of course, his club proud as well.

Toby takes some time to reflect after a huge achievement
Toby takes some time out to let it all sink in after an epic journey that saw him realise his dream of conquering the Mont Blanc 90k




BAC scoop the spoils at Portland 10

Bournemouth AC team before Portland 10
Bournemouth AC brought their A-Team to Portland and they weren’t there just to make up the numbers

Last Sunday saw the return of the Dorset Road Race League and it was over to Portland for a tough, turbulent 10 miler that was sure to sort the men from the boys.

Bournemouth AC team captain Rich Nelson had worked hard to assemble a really strong team for the race in the hope that they might be able to come out on top over a consistently solid Poole AC line up.

With the bonus of Rich managing to wangle a couple of late entries to the race, the yellow and blue crew was assembled and ready to be unleashed on the uncompromising island circuit.

In their arsenal were last year’s race winner Jacek Cieluszecki, who tore round the course in dominant fashion on that occasion, registering a time of 54 minutes 24 seconds.

In his first race official race for Bournemouth AC, Craig Palmer was hoping for a good run to follow up his 2nd place in the Purbeck 10k the previous weekend.

There was also a wealth of talent on the undercard for BAC as well, with Tom Paskins returning to Portland after a stunning performance last year saw him take 8th place in a time of 62:10.

Also lining up for BAC after his double marathon a few days earlier was Stu Nicholas, who won one of them and very nearly won the other until he blew up before the last lap.

Adding to that motley crew were László Tóth, who had run a terrific parkrun at Bournemouth the day before, finishing in a time of 17:50. Plus the ever strong and ever reliable Graeme Miller, who had run really well in the half marathon race at the Poole Running Festival to take 6th place in 1:22:30.

Currently in training for the Cross European Dualthlon Championships, Ross Smith was also in action and was hoping to follow up a decent 10k performance at the Poole Running Festival where he took 12th place in a time of 37:24 with another strong display.

They were supported by Rich Brawn, who has had a few PB’s himself over recent times, including a parkrun best of 18:19 at Poole a few weeks prior. Ian Graham was also in action, still looking spritely despite being into his 70’s.

As the race got underway, it quickly became apparent that it was going to follow a similar pattern to last year, with Jacek way out in front, driving up the inclines like they weren’t even there.

Jacek Cieluszecki in Portland 10
Just as he did last year, Jacek Cieluszecki led from the outset

Even Craig couldn’t live with that kind of early pace but he’d established a fairly sizable advantage himself over the 3rd placed runner behind him.

The course is basically a lap and a half round the island, starting just down the road from Portland Red Triangle Cricket Club, which is where the finish is located.

From the start, the route leads down to Portland Bill lighthouse at the most southerly point of the island. Once the first three miles have been completed, there is a turn before the runners head back in the direction they came from, making their way back towards the north of the island.

The 5th and 6th mile feature a beast of a hill that leads up through the town. The worst part is knowing that because the second half of the race is a smaller lap going over what you’ve already done, so you have to go up the hill twice before getting to the top when you can finally cruise into the finish.

The way Jacek cruised up them seem more like a mole hill than a mountain. With his recent lack of speed training and having ran a tough 17 miler at the Pubeck the day before, JC wasn’t expecting to be able to better his time from the previous year.

He still ran well though, crossing the line in a time of 55:54, which was enough to seal a comfortable win. JC’s average page for the run was an impressive 5:33, which is amazing for such a tough, hilly course.

Jacek Cieluszecki was Portland 10 winner
Jacek picks up his prize for winning the Portland 10 race

Just under 3 minutes later, Craig arrived at the finish to take a sublime 2nd place with a time of 58:51. Again, his average speed of 5:53 per mile was super impressive for race of that sort of profile. That made it a magnificent 1,2 for BAC.

Craig Palmer in Portland 10
Craig Palmer took a very strong 2nd place with a time of 58:51

Taking 3rd place for Poole AC was Brian Underwood, in 59:01, with teammate Chris Alborough in 4th finishing in 61:04.

Despite the tragic end to his Teddy Bears Picnic Challenge Run, leaving his feeling completely shattered in the aftermath, Stu showed tremendous character to bounce back from the disappointment and take 5th place on the day, finishing in an excellent time of 61:10.

Craig Palmer was 2nd in Portland 10
Craig picks up the prize for 2nd place

Tom East of Poole Runners took 6th place in a time of 61:51, with the Poole AC duo of John Bassinder and Dave Hicks taking 7th and 8th in 62:04 and 62:18 respectively.

Jacek Cieluszecki picks up prize for 1st M40
JC also picked up the prize for 1st M40

Weighing in with a mind-blowing new 10 mile PB of 62:36, Ross was 3rd scorer for BAC and assumed the final place in the top 10. It was an incredible performance from Ross and one that even he himself was quite surprised at. It certainly bodes well for his training though as he works toward his big duathlon event at the end of October.

Tom Paskins and Ross Smith in Portland 10
Tom Paskins and Ross Smith tackle the hills of Portland

Filing in immediately after Ross was his BAC compatriot Graeme, who took 11th place in a time of 62:39. Graeme was relieved that the sun hadn’t come out to play after such an intensely hot week, and the overcast conditions certainly worked in favour of the runners.

Embroiled in a tussle with László for the first 7 miles, it was the moment when Ross came flying past him at 5.5 miles as if he was standing still that gave Graeme the wake up call he needed.

Graeme Miller and László Tóth in Portland 10
Graeme Miller and László Tóth jostled for position for the first 7 miles

That gave Graeme someone to chase at least for the second half of the race and helped him get into gear. Ross is very strong on the hills though had a tendency to pull away from Graeme on the inclines before Graeme would catch up on the descents.

Before the race Graeme had mentioned to his wife Carole that he though he was in shape for a finish of around 1 hour 3 minutes so he was pleased with his run.

Graeme Miller in Portland 10
After Ross had come flying past Graeme on one of the hills, Graeme did his best to catch him up

After the race, Graeme quickly rushed back to grab a shower before heading off to camp out at Wimbledown over night in order to get tickets for the tennis on the following day.

Tom didn’t have quite as good a run as he did last year, but still turned in a solid performance, crossing the line in 16th place in a time of 63:36.

As for László, he started off promisingly but as the race wore on, he began to tire and his energy levels were depleted. The exertions of the previous day at parkrun may have taken its toll on him as he suffered a fair bit over the final climb.

Crossing the line in a time of 65:12László was very glad to get the race over and done with but he still took 22nd place in a highly competitive field.

Chalking almost 4 minutes off his time from the previous year, Rich Brawn had a very good run, underlining the excellent progress he’s been making of late.

Rich Brawn in Portland 10
Rich Brawn made a significant improvement on his time from the previous year

Finishing in a time of 65:58, Rich came in 28th place, just behind Joseph Sherwood of Littledown Harriers, who he was having a good battle with as they worked their way up to the top of the last hill.

Remembering what happened to him last time after he started off too quickly and really suffered over the second half of the race, Rich tried to take it a bit easier this time, hoping that he’d have some energy saved up for later in the race.

The first couple of miles are predominantly downhill as you head towards Portland Bill so they are always faster. As he got onto the uphill sections, Rich began to find it difficult to establish and maintain a good pace.

Although he found the hill up through town on the 5th and 6th miles tough going, he knew from looking at his mile splits on Strava from last year’s race that he was going quicker than he did then.

It was on the 7th mile that he started to feel strong and began to start going past some of the runners who had previously overtaken him on the way up the big climb the first time.

That was encouraging for Rich and it gave him the impetus to really dig in that final climb and finish strongly. As he reached the cricket pitch where the finish line was located, he was really pleased to see that the clock hadn’t gone past 1 hour 6 minutes yet and made a dash for the line to get in just before time ticked over.

Rich Brawn after Portland 10
Rich was pleased with his time of 65:58 which put him in 28th place

It had been a few years since Ian had done the Portland 10. In fact, his last appearance in the race was 2014. Now in the over 70’s bracket, Ian has had to reduce his weekly mileage somewhat but still enjoys getting out when he can.

Having not done any 10 mile runs in training in the build up to the race but with a couple of 9 milers under his belt, Ian’s only real aim was just to get around and also to enjoy it if he could.

Ian Graham in Portland 10
Ian Graham did well to get a tough 10 miler under his belt

During the race Ian became involved in a tussle with a lady from Poole AC. There was even a bit of argy-bargy as she pushed past him looking for her preferred racing line. This got on Ian’s nerves a bit and he proceeded to sit on her shoulder for the rest of the race, just to annoy her.

Crossing the line in a time of 89:15, Ian came in 156th place overall. He also scooped the prize for 1st place in the 70+ category which was a fantastic reward for his efforts.

Ian Graham picks up prize for 1st M70
It was a win for Ian in the M70 category

Fortunately it didn’t require a penalty shootout to determine who should win the team competition, although in saying that, the race organisers did manage to get it wrong initially when giving out the prizes. They incorrectly awarded 1st prize in the men’s team competition to Poole AC when it should in fact have been Bournemouth AC.

The team competition for the race itself was decided by the cumulative time of the top four runners from each club. The team of Jacek, Craig, Stu and Ross were almost 6 minutes faster than the Poole AC team of Brain Underwood, Chris Alborough, John Bassinder and Dave Hicks. The 2nd BAC team of Graeme, Tom, Laszlo and Rich Brawn were 3rd.

Bournemouth AC were team winners
Jacek, Craig, Stu and Ross were the winning team for the race itself

As far as the Dorset Road Race League goes, it is always the positions of the top five that count for the men’s team competition, so that was a clear victory for Bournemouth AC, with Jacek, Craig, Stu, Ross and Graeme as the scorers. Poole AC were 2nd with Poole Runners in 3rd.

For the ladies team competition, Bournemouth AC unfortunately didn’t have any female members out so there were no points for them there. Poole Runners were the victors in the ladies first division, with Littledown Harriers in 2nd and Egdon Heath Harriers in 3rd.

In the league tables so far, it’s very tight at the top of the men’s first division, with Bournemouth AC now reestablishing their position at the top of the table ahead of Poole AC.

Both teams have three fixture wins to their name, with BAC having managed three 2nd places. Poole AC have two 2nd place finishes but miss out on top sport as they only managed 5th in the Bournemouth 10 fixture.

Rich Brawn with ice cream after Portland 10
The Bournemouth AC members certainly earned their ice creams that day

The ladies team have not dropped down to 4th place in the league after failing to field a team in the previous two fixtures (Portland 10 and North Dorset Village Marathon). Poole Runners top the first division table, with Littledown in 2nd and Poole AC in 3rd.

Hopefully BAC will have more success in getting a ladies team out over the next few races and they can look to climb back up the table.

For the men’s competition, if Bournemouth AC can take this momentum into the next league fixture, the Sturminster Newton Half Marathon on 5th August, and the Round the Rock 10k the week after, they will have a great chance of reclaiming the title back from Poole AC. It’s going to be tight though, so it’s certainly all to play for in the coming months.

Bournemouth AC team after Portland 10
A very successful day for Team BAC saw them take 1st and 2nd places in the individual, 1st place in the race team prize and 1st place in the Dorset Road Race League