The final fixture of the Wessex Cross Country League took place at Bryanston School on Sunday 16 December with some BAC first individual and team places for the season and, as the fixture was also the Dorset County Cross Country Championship, a number of BAC gold, silver and bronze medals. In the meantime, at the third Hampshire CrossCountry League fixture at Popham Airfield on Saturday 1 December, despite the absence the entire team from the previous fixture at Aldershot, some exceptional performances kept BAC very much in the running.
There has been greater support of this year’s Wessex Cross CountryLeague from BAC than for many years, and this is reflected in the final aggregate results. Winners for the season in their respective age groups are Laszlo Toth (senior men), Nikki Sandell (veteran women), Neve East (U13 girls) and Amelia Reynolds (U15 girls). Other notable placings were Chris Phelan-Heath (3rd senior man), Julia Austin (3rd veteran woman), Isabel Cherrett (7th – of 24 – U11 girl), Oscar Ewen Matthews (2nd U13 boy) and Martha Preece (5th – of 26 – U13 girl). There were BAC team wins for senior men, senior and veteran women, U13 girls and U15 girls and a second team placing for the U13 boys. On the day at BryanstonSchool the notable performances were from David Long, Sean Edwards, Stuart Nicholas and Laszlo Toth with a 1,2,3,4 in the senior men (although Ben Lewis of Poole AC, U20 man was 2nd in the race), Georgia Wood, 1st senior woman (although just pipped on the line by Serena O’Connor of Poole Runners, U20 woman), Nikki Sandell and Julia Austin, 1st and 2nd veteran women respectively, Holly Collier, 2nd U20 woman, finishing an astonishing 3rd in the combined U20W, SW and VW race, Isabel Cherrett, 8th U11 girl, Arief McKenna and Oliver Hill, 2nd and 8th U13 boys respectively, NeveEast, Martha Preece and Erin Wells, 1st, 6th and 11th U13 girls respectively, Jasper Todd, 1st U15 boy and Amelia Reynolds, 3rd U15 girl. In the County Championship there was a BAC clean sweep for the senior men, the winners being David Long (gold), Sean Edwards (silver) and Laszlo Toth (bronze), and other medal winners were Georgia Wood (gold, veteran women), Julia Austin (silver, veteran women), Neve East (gold, U13 girls), Arief McKenna (silver, U13 boys), Amelia Reynolds (silver, U15 girls) and Jasper Todd (gold U15 boys). Many thanks to everyone who has participated in the Wessex Cross Country League this year – it has been very enjoyable to see the number of BAC vests in the various races at all levels. Please see below for the full BAC results in championship and the league fixture at Bryanston School.
The absence of some of BAC‘s top runners due to various reasons at the third Hampshire Cross Country League fixture at Popham Airfield on 1 December meant that it was going to be difficult, but after some exceptional running BAC is still on course for a good placing at the end of the season. Well done to our five scoring senior men. Laszlo Toth and Stuart Nicholas have been involved in healthy rivalry this year, and both ran out of their socks at Popham to finish 42nd and 45th respectively. Also running above themselves were Ross Smith and Rich Brawn, 54th and 86th respectively, and well done to Matthew du Cros, who finished only just outside the top 100, an excellent performance in a very strong league, to complete the team. The senior mens’ team were 8th in Division 1 on the day, but on aggregate remain 2= taking the best two results so far. BAC‘s veteran mens’ team of Richard Wade, Stuart Glenister and Simon Hearn were 11th on the day, and the team on aggregate is 11th (of 24) in the season so far. For the ladies, the outstanding performance came from Holly Collier, who was 9th overall (3rd U20 woman). Nikki Sandell and Julia Austin completed the BAC team, which was 10th (of 24) on the day, and lies 8th aggregate for the season. Nikki and Julia were joined by Kirsty Drewett to make up the veteran womens’ team, which finished 5th (of 18) on the day and is 4th aggregate for the season. Slowly but surely the number of youngsters competing in the league is growing, a trend very much to be welcomed, and there were outstanding runs at Popham from Jasper Todd, who was 18th of 59 U15 boys, Amelia Reynolds, 9th of 57 U15 girls and Martha Preece, 11th of 71 U13 girls. There has been an U13 boys team at every fixture so far. Please see below for full BAC results at Popham.
Dorset County Championship results, Bryanston School, 16 December(BAC): Senior Men: 1. David Long, 2. Sean Edwards, 3. Laszlo Toth; Veteran Women: 1. Georgia Wood, 2. Julia Austin, 5. Louise Price; Veteran Men: 5. Simon Hearn, 10. Ian Graham; U17 Women: 5. Laura Reeves; U15 Boys: 1. Jasper Todd; U15 Girls: 2. Amelia Reynolds, 12. Abigail Phillips; U13 Boys: 2. Arief McKenna, 14. Oscar Ewen Matthews; U13 Girls: 1. Neve East, 4. Martha Preece, 5. Erin Wells, 10. Ida Waring.
Wessex Cross Country League, Bryanston School, 16 December (BAC results): Senior/Veteran Men: 1. David Long 29.32, 3. Sean Edwards 31.48, 4. Stuart Nicholas 32.15, 5. Laszlo Toth 32.21, 10. Chris Phelan-Heath 34.21, 21. Simon Hearn 35.57, 22. Richard Wade 36.29, 43. Ian Graham 45.01; Senior/Veteran Women: 2. Georgia Wood 25.22, 10. Nikki Sandell 28.59, 11. Julia Austin 29.08, 19. Kirsty Drewett 31.07, 24. Louise Price 33.01, 32. Helen Ambrosen 34.52, 33. Jayne Wade 37.07; U11 Girls: 8. Isabel Cherrett 7.17; U13 Boys: 2. Arief McKenna 10.36, 8. Oliver Hill 11.25, 19. Oscar Ewen Matthews 11.44, 23. Sam Farwell 11.59, 25. Louie Todd 12.10, 31. Sam Brewer 13.41, 32. Nathan Mearns 13.53, 33. Isaac Sandell 14.00; U13 Girls: 1. Neve East 11.02, 6. Martha Preece 11.34, 11. Erin Wells 12.08, 26. Ida Waring 12.38, 32. Sienna Treloar; U15 Boys: 1. Jasper Todd 11.54; U15Girls: 3. Amelia Reynolds 13.24, 16. Ruby Bowden 15.08, 17. Anya Sandell 15.31, 19. Abigail Phillips 15.48; U17 Men: 10. Tom Farwell 16.45; U 17Women: 8. Laura Reeves 21.56; U20 Women: 2. Holly Collier 25.44.
Hampshire Cross Country League, Popham, 1 December (BAC results): Senior/Veteran Men: 42. Laszlo Toth 38.01; 45. Stuart Nicholas 38.08, 54. Ross Smith 38.28, 86. Richard Brawn 39.45, 104 Matthew du Cros 41.06, 134. Richard Wade 42.47, 136. Stuart Glenister 42.52, 153. Simon Hearn 43.59, 161. Theo Irvine 44,38, 196. Brandon Meredith 46.45; Senior/Veteran Women: 9. Holly Collier (3rd U20W) 24.35, 51. Nikki Sandell 28.05, 58. Julia Austin 28.31, 72. Kirsty Drewett 29.29, 128. Helen Ambrosen 34.31, 139. Jayne Wade 36.44; U15 Boys: 18. Jasper Todd 14.06, 30. Callum Olden 14.47; U13 Boys: 74. Sam Brewer, 75. Isaac Sandell, 77. Nathan Mearns; U15 Girls: 9. Amelia Reynolds 15.48, 46. Anya Sandell 18.11; U13Girls: 11. Martha Preece 12.37.
As it traditionally does, the Christchurch Christmas 10k attracted the attention of numerous Bournemouth AC members on the lookout for a bit of festive cheer. That could perhaps come in the form of a promising performance or perhaps even a PB if they were in peak condition.
This year an eight-strong contingent of the yellow and blue army lined up at the start of the race hoping to end the season on a high. At the very least, they knew they’d end up with a nice Christmas pudding and a hot cup of soup and that was enough of an incentive for most of them.
Of course, on the country lanes of the rural side of Christchurch, a lot depends on what the weather is like on the day. The course is predominantly flat all the way round and lends itself to a fast time, should the conditions allow.
Last year though, the runners came face-to-face with an extremely strong wind and a night of heavy rain had left the roads waterlogged in places which would prove tricky to negotiate.
At first it looked like this year’s race would be destined for much the same, with extremely high winds and substantial rainfall evident the day before. The weather forecast for the race day was much the same.
Fortunately though, as the runners made their way to the race HQ at East Christchurch Sports and Social Club on the morning of the event, it turned out that the wind wasn’t quite as strong as it had been the previous day.
It also wasn’t raining either. In fact, it was actually quite a bright and sunny morning. The temperature was on the chilly side but all things considered, the conditions were actually near enough ideal. That put the possibility of a fast time back on the agenda.
Jacek Cieluszecki was originally down on the list to run but after a very tough ultra at the CTS Dorset event the previous weekend, which he duly won, he’d decided to sit this one out and give his legs a rest of the rigours of racing. That threw the race wide open and meant for a number of other contenders, a victory could well be within their grasp.
The main threats from a BAC perspective were carried by Jon Sharkey and Stu Nicholas. If either of them had a good run, they could certainly be up there vying for the top spot.
A strong supporting cast of Ross Smith, Rich Brawn, Paul Consani and Adrian Townsend were also raring to go, along with the BAC ladies, represented by Kirsty Drewett and Helen Ambrosen.
The race actually started and finished in Ambury Lane, which is just around the back of the Christchurch Bypass (A35). It was a fair distance from the race HQ so the athletes were escorted over the start area in groups.
Many of the runners were getting into the festival spirit, dressing up in Santa outfits, or as elves, reindeers and even a few Christmas puddings. The atmosphere had a nice friendly sort of feel to it. But that didn’t mean that once the claxon sounded that some serious racing wouldn’t ensue.
Once proceedings got underway a lead group was quickly established containing both Jon Sharkey and Stu Nicholas. Tom Stevens of Southampton was also up there, along with Bill Day of Poole Runners.
Since it was a relatively flat route, it’s the kind of race where you can afford to be pushing quite hard right from the outset. Ross Smith was out for another 10k PB, having managed to seal a narrow one at the Boscombe 10k two weeks earlier.
The Boscombe 10k is a much more difficult route though, containing quite a few ups and downs and twists and turns. It also includes Queens Park South Drive which is quite a tough hill and can be a bit of a pace killer. On a good day, you’d expect to get a faster time at the Christmas 10k.
Having finished roughly a minute behind Ross in a couple of the recent Hampshire League Cross Country fixtures, Rich Brawn had employed the tactic of just trying to keep as close to Ross as he could, or at least to try and keep Ross within eyeshot.
At the Christmas 10k, he’d decided to try that same tactic, hoping it would drag him round to a fast time. Since Ross had gone off so quickly though it soon became evident to Rich that he wasn’t going to be able to keep up. After about two miles, Ross was completely out of sight, forcing Rich to have to deploy the age-old method of just running as fast as he could.
Meanwhile, back at the front of the race it was a familiar face in the form of the St Albans Strider, Robert Spencer, who was taking it on. Robert is beginning to make a bit of a name for himself down on the south-coast, having finished in 3rd place at the Boscombe 10k behind Iain Trickett and BAC’s Rob McTaggart.
The previous weekend he was first finisher at Poole parkrun and now he was in the hunt for a proper race win to go with it. He was tracked by James Gilfillan, who doesn’t run for a club but is often the first man home at Moors Valley parkrun.
As it turned out, it was to be Robert Spencer’s day though and he claimed the race win, getting over the line in a time of 33:27. James Gilfillan took 2nd in 33:53, with Tom Stevens of Southampton getting 3rd in 34:09.
The first BAC member home was Jon Sharkey, who sealed a very good 4th place, crossing the line in 34:35. It’s only been a few months really since Sharkey came back to the racing circuit after taking some time out following the birth of his son Ruben.
He’s done remarkably well since his return to competitive action though, taking 11th place at the Hoburne 5, 7th at the Wimborne 10 and now 4th at the Christmas 10k. It will be interesting to see what he can do next season if he he’s able to find the time to keep getting out there and putting in the miles.
Coming in 9 seconds after his BAC teammate, Stu Nicholas was next over the line, taking a superb 5th place with a terrific new PB of 34:44.
In truth, Stu is much more of a long distance man and 10k’s are not really his forte. Consequently, he struggles a bit with the pacing. He’s a regular at parkrun, often coming in as finisher at Bournemouth, so he knows how quick he can afford to go in a 5k. But 10k is always a touch more difficult to judge.
At the Boscombe 10k, he felt like he set off too quickly which made it difficult for the remainder of the race. This time he had a much stronger run though and he got his reward. The 10k PB was a fantastic way to end what has been a marvellous season for Stu, all things considered.
Ross Smith had a storming run and managed to maintain the ferocious pace he’d set off at to come in with a magnificent new PB of 35:44, putting him in 8th position. That beat his time at the Boscombe 10k by 20 seconds.
It was again, a superb way to end the season for Ross, who has had some excellent runs over the past few months including some excellent performances in the Hampshire League Cross Country.
Ross is of course, primarily a duathlete, so he juggles his running training with cycling as well. In fact, he recently competed for Great Britain in the European Cross Duathlon Championships in Ibiza, where a puncture on the bike leg hampered his hopes reaching his potential.
The race to be the next Bournemouth AC man over the line came down to a sprint finish between Rich Brawn and Paul Consani. Rich had been ahead of Paul the entire race and actually had no idea that Paul was right behind him.
With a mile left to go, Rich knew he was on course to beat the time he did at the Boscombe 10k two weeks prior, so he was aware that a PB was on the cards. He was feeling quite strong at that point though so tried to crank up the pace a bit.
The race was going well and he was edging ever closer to the finish line. As he got onto the finishing straight though, he could hear someone coming up behind him.
He could tell from the sound of the footsteps that whoever it was was going faster than him at the time and was about to fly past him. There was nothing much he could do about it though. He was pushing as hard as he could and had nothing left to fight for the place with.
As the person went fast, he heard a voice mutter “Sorry Rich” as he went by. Sure enough, it was indeed his Bournemouth AC teammate Paul Consani.
Paul swept past and powered over the line to take the coveted 16th spot, clocking a time of 37:31. That meant Rich had to settle for 17th place, registering a time of 37:35.
Ordinarily Rich would have been gutted to lose a place so close to the end but since it was Paul, he didn’t mind so much. He also thought, after he’d narrowly finished ahead of Paul at the Boscombe 10k, it was only fair he let Paul have this one.
Deep down though, Rich was just pleased to be even close to someone of Paul Consani’s calibre and he’d got the PB he was looking for, in pretty much the sort of time he was hoping for, so he was over the moon with that.
Paul had demonstrated sublime determination and tenacity to beat Rich to the line and that was certainly something to be admired. He felt he had redeemed himself after the Boscombe 10k as well, where a little injection of pace from Rich when they got to the top of the hill at Queens Park enabled him to open up the crucial gap that Paul just couldn’t close. No doubt the pair will have many more interesting matchups in store in 2019.
Another BAC member who has finished the season off well is Adrian Townsend, who followed his 39:36 time at the Boscombe 10k with a 39:34 at the Christmas 10k. That put him in 32nd place overall.
It was another solid sub-40 time for Adrian and gives him a good base to build from in 2019, after suffering some troubled times through injury and stomach issues over a large part of this year.
It also meant two back-to-back age category wins for Adrian, after he took home the M55 prize at the Boscombe 10k and again, at the Christmas 10k he was 1st in the V55 category. In fact, no one in the V50 category finished ahead of him either, so technically he won that as well.
Also putting together a good performance, Kirsty Drewett completed the course in a time of 45:58, which put her in 87th place overall. Out of the women in the race, she finished 8th, which was a pretty decent return. She was also 1st in the women’s V40 category.
Kirsty thoroughly enjoyed the race and in contrast to some of her more recent runs, particularly the cross country fixtures she’s done lately, she felt like she had a very controlled run.
Even though she was going at a pretty decent pace, she felt strong the whole way and that is a good indication that she is starting to come back into good form.
After suffering some injury problems over the backend of the year that had halted her progression somewhat, she is now in a much more positive frame of mind and is hoping and she’ll have a chance of conquering her 10k PB of 45:16 at “Round the Lakes” on Boxing Day.
Coming in with a time of 51:36, Helen Ambrosen was the final Bournemouth AC representative to reach the line. She finished in 182nd place overall and was 37th lady.
Helen has been getting progressively quicker as the year has gone on and she bettered her time at the Boscombe 10k by 36 seconds. Much like at the Boscombe 10k, she finished 2nd in the women’s V60 category.
In total there 461 runners who completed the Christmas 10k, marking another successful year for the race, which brings about it’s own unique flavour of Christmas spirit to the proceedings.
There may not have been any team prizes given out but if there had been a men’s team competition, it would have certainly been won by Bournemouth AC, since they had the 4th, 5th, 8th, 16th and 17th placed runners.
All that remained for the BAC members who had taken part was for them to go home, pop that Christmas pudding in the microwave, find some brandy butter to go with it and get stuck in. It is Christmas after all.
Known for being one of the fastest and flattest large-scale marathons in Europe, Valencia provides the perfect stage for runners to realise their marathon potential.
That’s exactly what Craig Palmer and Sanjai Sharma were hoping to do when they travelled over to the delightful Spanish city to give it all they’ve got in the Valencia Marathon.
The conditions were excellent for long distance running as the Bournemouth AC pair lined up in the streets of Valencia with over 19,000 others, all looking to put in a performance they could be proud of.
In fact, there would have been three BAC men taking to the start-line but sadly Simon Way was unable to run due to a hip injury he picked up in training. He thinks it may even be bursitis which, if confirmed, will put him on the side-lines for quite some time.
Having already booked the trip out there with Sanjai though, Simon went along anyway to enjoy exploring the wonders of the city and also be on hand to support Sanjai and Craig as they progressed along the route.
With his best marathon time of 2:30:46 having been registered at the London Marathon in 2017, Craig knew he’d have to produce something truly special to have any chance of eclipsing that.
As for Sanjai, he was targeting a time of 2 hours 50 minutes, which was always going to be a real challenge but he’d trained hard for it and brought with him a wealth of marathon running experience to call on.
It was destined to be a memorable day for both Bournemouth AC members as each managed to produce a terrific run. The course is predominantly suburban but includes a very scenic stretch along the Mediterranean coastline.
The route incorporates areas of the city where the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Americas Cup were hosted. The stunning Ciudad de la Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) provides the starting and finish points of the race. On the approach to the finish, the runners pass over the shimmering blue pools of the Museo de las Ciencias (Science Museum).
Craig set off at somewhere between 5:40 and 5:50 pace and went through the first 10k in exactly 18 minutes. He then proceeded to reach the 10k point in 36:04, so he was running remarkably consistently at that stage. He went on to arrive at the half way point in 1:15:31.
Even if he could match that in the second half of the race though, it wouldn’t quite equal his previous best, but it would still be a top-quality run.
For the next four miles he was hovering at around 5:40 pace before putting in an even quicker mile at mile 18. His splits continued to be impressive and on the 21st mile he began to ramp up the pace yet further.
A 5:33 mile at mile 22 demonstrated how strong he was feeling in the latter stages of the race and it was beginning to look like his second half of the race was going to be remarkable.
With a PB in reach and a negative split looking increasingly likely, Craig soared through the last two miles in splits of 5:30 and 5:28 to get to the final sector in fine fettle.
Hurtling toward the finish and an even quicker pace, Craig crossed the line in a quite incredible time of 2:29:16. In doing so, he’d joined a very exclusive list of BAC runners who have completed a marathon in under 2-and-a-half hours. It was a dream race for Craig and he couldn’t really have done it any better.
He’d run a 1:13:45 for the second half of the race, giving him an phenomenal negative split. That time was good enough to see him place in the top hundred, which is some achievement in a field of 19,246 runners.
In fact, it put him 95th place, which was an absolutely outstanding effort. He was the 11th best British runner out of 748, crowning an incredibly successful outing for Craig.
It was a steady start to the race for Sanjai, who went through the first 5k in 20 minutes 31 seconds. Arriving at the 10k point in 40:43, it was again a very consistent pace for early part of the race.
Reaching the half marathon point in 1:25:18, Sanjai was pretty much bang on schedule for the time he was anticipating. He would have to run the second half of the race just as quickly though so that wouldn’t be easy.
Sanjai has produced a few marathons of around the 2:50 mark over recent years though so he knows what it takes and how to manage a race in order to achieve that sort of time.
Having increased the pace up slightly over the last 10 kilometres, Sanjai kept on at that same speed for the next 5k, arriving at the 25km point in 1 hour 41 minutes.
He then managed to crank the pace up a notch again for the next 10k, getting to the 35km point in 2 hours and 1 minute. As he got to the 23 mile point, he knew he was almost there but had to keep pushing over the last 5k.
It was at this point that his body began to overheat a little. His determination took over though and he got his head down and dug in. It was then that his strength really began to show.
Finding himself able to go even faster over the last few miles, he went through the 40k point in 2:22. That left just the final couple of kilometres to power through.
Arriving on the finishing straight, Sanjai had in fact ran his fastest few miles of the entire race in the last three and crossed the line in a tremendous time of 2:49:24.
That put him in 704th place overall and a very impressive 9th place in the M55 category. That was out of 859 runners in the category. He was also the 57th best British runner out of 748. It was a really pleasing performance from Sanjai and he was chuffed to have bettered the time he was aiming for.
All that remained now was for Sanjai and Craig to meet up with Simon and begin their refuelling strategy, which of course meant getting on the beers and the tapas.
They would both return home to not-so-sunny Dorset having done themselves and their club extremely proud and having also enjoyed a very nice city break in the process.
The Endurancelife CTS Dorset isn’t the kind of event you go into expecting an easy ride. The Jurassic Coast Path where the races are stages is renowned for it’s tough, unforgiving terrain, providing hills-a-plenty for the competitors to tackle along the way.
With a “Half Marathon” distance of 16.1 miles and ascents totalling 3,559 ft, an “Ultra” distance of 33.3 miles with 4,910 ft of ascent and an “Ultra Plus” of 45.5 miles and an elevation of 8,040 ft, these races are not designed for the faint hearted, They are difficult and require great strength and stamina, together with an iron will to succeed.
This year though, in addition to all that, the event was made substantially tougher by the inclement weather conditions that gave the athletes a torrid time as they made their way round the course of their chosen distance.
A cold and misty weather front had descended on Lulworth Cove, bringing with it 45 mph winds and sweeping rain that in turn brought about a soggy, muddy surface for the runners to contend with. The thick fog made it difficult at times to even see the path ahead, making it all the more tricky as the participants attempted to battle their way through the severe adversity.
Three brave Bournemouth AC members were in action on the day, with Dr Ollie Stoten taking on the 16 mile “Half Marathon” distance race, as he did in last year’s event. Jacek Cieluszecki opted for the 33.3 mile “Ultra” distance race, with Ben Walliman going extreme to tacked the 45.5 mile “Ultra Plus“.
So how did they all get on? Needless to say, they all found it difficult and had their own struggles to overcome. The original plan for Jacek had been to take on the 45.5 mile “Ultra Plus” distance. After seeing the horrendous weather conditions, he changed his mind though and went for the “Ultra” instead.
That didn’t mean it was going to be easy of course though. He still had a tough 33.3 miles ahead of him that were bound to be challenging.
Jacek was the first man to arrive at checkpoint 1 though, at Upton, reaching the marker in 54 minutes 57 seconds. He was 18 seconds ahead of Tom Le Lievre who was in 2nd at the point.
He arrived at checkpoint 2 with an advantage of exactly 3 minutes over Tom, registering a time of 3:19:39 to further extend his lead at the front of the race.
At the next checkpoint, he was still comfortably in front, reaching the milestone in 4 hours and 19 seconds. At this point, he had an advantage of 2 minutes 22 seconds over Tom. The pair were now way ahead of the rest of the field, with the 3rd placed runner arriving over 28 minutes behind JC.
At the final checkpoint, Jacek arrived in a time of 4:32:42. Tom followed in 5 minutes and 20 seconds later, meaning it looked like Jacek was well on course to seal the victory. He was now 35 minutes ahead of Mary Menon who was 3rd.
Reaching the finish in a time of 4 hours 54 minutes and 11 seconds, Jacek cruised in for the victory. In total, he’d covered 34.5 miles and had climbed 6,215 ft.
JC’s nearest rival, Tom Le Lievre arrived 8 minutes and 20 seconds later, clocking a time of 5:02:31. Jonathan Pybus took 3rd in a time of 5:33:50, with Mary Menon finishing in an excellent 4th place overall and 1st female in a time of 5:34:32.
192 people took part in the “Ultra” distance race, with 155 of them making it to the finish.
Not to be perturbed by the adverse weather, Ben Walliman stuck to his task in the 45.5 mile “Ultra Plus” race and he was determined to get through it. His training had gone well and he’d already put together quite a few long runs along the course which he really benefited from.
Arriving at the first checkpoint in 1 hour 9 minutes and 53 seconds, Ben was in 31st place at that stage. There was still a long way to go though and he knew the bulk of the hard work was yet to come.
By the time the next checkpoint arrived he’d climbed to 26th place, registering a time of 4 hours 27 minutes and 20 seconds. Knowing the course so well did give him an advantage, particularly on the technical descents where he was able to overtake quite a few runners as he knew the best lines.
Going through the third checkpoint in just under 5 hours 26 minutes, he was now in 31st place. About 24 miles in he’d hit a tough spot but after a quick call home to speak to his wife and his eldest son who is 2-and-a-half years old, his head was back in the game and he got stronger from that point on.
At the next checkpoint, he was back in 26th place, having been running for approximately 6 hours and 15 minutes. At the following checkpoint, he’d gained a few more places, arriving in 7 hours 4 minutes which put him in 23rd place.
By the time the next checkpoint came round, he was back in 26th place, coming in with a time of 8:18:38. He then went through the final checkpoint in just under 9 hours and 11 minutes, putting him in 24th place.
There wasn’t far to go now and he just knew he had to hang in there. The last 10k loop was the best for Ben and he just about managed to hold off the guy who had been chasing him down for the last mile. It came down to a sprint finish for 24th place, which Ben duly won, crossing the line in a time of 9 hours 47 minutes and 21 seconds.
Given that his main target for the race was, firstly to finish it of course, and secondly, to do it in under 10 hours, he’d succeeded on both fronts and was massively pleased with his efforts.
Covering 47 miles in total, Ben had wracked up an elevation gain of 8,159 ft during the course of a race, which gives an indication of how brutally hilly the course was.
A total of 150 people took part in the “Ultra Plus” race, with 94 completing the full 47 mile distance.
It was a great day for Ben, all things considered and it will serve as a great confidence booster for future longer distances in tough conditions. His next big race is the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge in May which is 106 kilometres.
In the 16 mile “Half Marathon” race, Ollie Stoten made it to the first checkpoint in 30 minutes and 56 seconds which put him in 21st place.
Reaching the second checkpoint in 1:57:14, he then found himself in 18th place. All that remained after that was the final push for the line.
Arriving in a time of 2:38:48, Ollie crossed the line in 17th place, out of a field of 464, which was a good solid run for him. It was a little slower than the 2 hours 20 minutes he did the year before but as lot of that could be put down to the thick mud and high winds on the day.
Ollie covered 17 miles in total, so a lot more than would be expected in a traditional half marathon. He also reached an elevation gain of 4,000 ft in the process which gives an indication of how challenging the course profile was.
Alex Van Tuyl of Clapham Chasers won the race in a time of 2:08:53. He was followed by Pete Baksh who was 2nd in 2:16:47 and Matt Hammerton who was 3rd in 2:19:41.
World Masters Athletics Federation have introduced Awards for the Best Masters athlete in each discipline in addition to their annual Best Masters Male and Female Athletes Award.
Nominees are selected following numerous hours spent trawling through results, records, PBs, analysing statistics and studying the WMA criteria.
BAC’s Janet Dickinson, a professor at Bournemouth University has been nominated by British Masters Athletics for the World Masters Athletic Federation Awards 2018 for her Multi Events performances and achievements.
Janet won the silver medal at the World Masters Heptathlon this year in Malaga, Spain, competing for Great Britain. Nationally she won six different British Athletics Championships including Heptathlon and Pentathlon.
Janet set new British Heptathlon Records at the British Championships and again at the World Masters Championships.
Janet is coached by Paul Rees and a is member of Bournemouth Athletic Club and Bournemouthbarbell.
Congratulations to Janet on her excellent performance and we wish her every success for 2019. WMA should announce the winners shortly.
After tying up the First Division title in the Dorset Road Race League for the 2018 season with an emphatic victory at the Wimborne 10, the Boscombe 10k was really just a procession for the Bournemouth AC men’s team.
That didn’t mean of course that those who were out there weren’t going to give their all and strive for team success for the race itself. There were of course individual honours up for grabs and the chance for the runners to raise their rankings in the individual standings for the Dorset Road Race League.
After Littledown Harriers sealed the runners up spot in the Ladies’ First Division by taking 2nd place at the Wimborne 10 behind Poole Runners who were convincing winners of the league title, the Bournemouth AC ladies would have to settle for 3rd place this year.
Given the trials and tribulations they had just getting a team out over the summer months though, the season had ended strongly for the BAC ladies and boosted by the return of Emma Caplan (Dews) they had climbed the table well over the latter part of the season.
The Boscombe 10k race is organised by the Bournemouth Joggers and the race HQ is Bournemouth AC’s very own club training ground of Kings Park, which makes feel almost like a home fixture for BAC but without having to worry about any of the organisation.
They planned to enjoy the race and then get together in the club office for coffee and cakes afterwards, so with the pressure off, it was to be a joyous occasion for all BAC members involved.
The line up for the race was still quite strong, with Iain Trickett looking to seal the individual Dorset Road Race League title. Despite having won the last five fixtures in a row though, that wasn’t done and dusted yet as he’d only done six races. He still needed to finish reasonably high to wrap that up, since it is the best seven races for each athlete that count.
Iain’s main rival for the title, Chris Alborough, was also in the race, taking part in his 7th fixture of the season. He knew that in order to win the title he’d have to most likely win the race and hope that Iain slipped up in a big way so it wasn’t likely, but was still mathematically possible.
After an excellent run at the Wimborne 10, Rob McTaggart was also in the mix, carrying Bournemouth AC’s best hopes of vying for the race win. Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC was also in the line up, along with some of Bournemouth AC’s other top level contenders in Stuart Nicholas, László Tóth and Ross Smith.
There was also a rare appearance in league action for one of BAC’s resident ultra-marathon supremos in the shape of Dr Ollie Stoten. The race started with three quarters of a lap around the track before heading through Kings Park and out into the wilderness.
After coming out of Kings Park, the route takes its participants down Harewood Avenue and over towards Littledown, then it’s through the subway under the Wessex Way and around Queens Park Golf Course from there.
The course incorporates the dreaded Queens Park South Drive, which has played host to many a hill session for Bournemouth members on a cold, crisp Thursday evening.
They’re normally used to sprinting from lamp-post to lamp-post though, as opposed to running up the whole hill on the fourth mile of a 10k race. It always going to be a testing section. From there it was just case of making your way back to Kings Park for the grandstand finish along the track.
As the race got underway, an initial lead group was formed containing Rob McTaggart, along with Iain Trickett, Chris Alborough and Andy Leggott. László Tóth and Stu Nicholas were also in the mix at the early stages.
That lead group was soon whittled down to four people, with Tag, Iain and Chris still present. They were joined by Robert Spencer of St Albans Striders.
It turned out to be a bit of a ‘cat and mouse’ exercise though, with no one willing to take the race on and make a break for it. That meant that the group of four remained in tact all the way until they arrived back at Kings Park.
As they got onto the track it turned out to be BAC’s resident 5,000m specialist Tag and serial winner Iain Trickett who were the strongest. As they approached the finishing straight, it became apparent that it would be a straight shootout between the two to take top honours.
Iain was coming off the back of a dramatic finish at the Wimborne 10 the previous weekend where he managed to outdo Tag, as well as Craig Palmer and Chris Alborough.
He looked confident again, just sitting on Tag’s shoulder as they arrived onto the finishing straight, waiting to pounce. Once again, his acceleration proved too much for Tag and Iain went on to claim victory number six in a row.
Crossing the line in a time of 34:08, Iain had also claimed the crown for the Dorset Road Race League individual champion of 2018. That meant Tag would have to settle for 2nd place with his time of 34:10.
Robert Spencer, the St Albans strider took 3rd place in a time of 34:12 with Iain’s main DRRL rival Chris Alborough taking 4th place in 34:14. Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC wasn’t too far behind, taking 5th place in a time of 34:53.
Crashing in with an incredible new PB of 35:19, László Tóth took a superb 7th place, capping off a scintillating run of form that has seen him set new PB’s in 800m, 1500m and 1 mile races on the track, plus parkrun and 5 mile bests as well.
Having been in the front group at the start of the race, Stu Nicholas didn’t have much in the legs and his pace dropped somewhat from that point on.
Although he felt like he was going backwards though, he didn’t get overtaken by anyone and still recorded a top-ten finish, crossing the line in a time of 35:44.
Although he wasn’t entirely happy with his performance, that’s still a pretty good time for a tricky, undulating 10k course. Stu found the twists and turns a bit annoying, especially the sharp bends when going under the subway.
Not too far behind Stu came Bournemouth AC’s fourth scorer Ross Smith, who secured himself a new PB with his time of 36:04 to take 13th place on the day. That narrowly bettered his time at the Glastonbury Round the Tor last year by four seconds.
The next BAC member over the line was Dr Ollie Stoten, who became the fifth scorer for the team, completing the race in a time of 37:33. Ollie is more of a long distance/ultra man in truth so this was actually only his second ever 10k race.
His other one was Round the Lakes on Boxing Day, which he finished in 38:07, so his that meant his time at the Boscombe 10k was in fact a new PB.
Over the second half of the race Ollie had overtaken two of his fellow Bournemouth AC teammates in Rich Brawn and Tom Paskins. He caught Rich on the straight after they’d gone up Queens Park South Drive.
They then ran together for a bit until they reached a sharp downhill section on Queens Park Golf Course. Ollie accelerated away at that point, leaving Rich for dust. He then went on to catch Tom Paskins as well who was about 30 seconds up ahead.
After struggling a bit in a couple of his races in the aftermath of his stellar effort at the Chicago Marathon, it was good to see Tom back running well again.
The marathon had taken so much out of him that it’s taken a while for Tom to get back into his stride. In truth he didn’t really mind that though as he’d geared his training toward making sure he’s at his peak for his big target race. It’s very difficult, if not impossible to stay on that level the whole time. Crossing the line in 25th place, Tom recorded a time of 37:44.
Also hoping for a sub-38-minute time, Rich Brawn was next over the line, but he struggled to reach his full potential. After going through 10k in under 38 minutes in both his previous two 10 mile races, the Wimborne 10 and the Great South Run, Rich had good reason to be optimistic.
It just didn’t quite come together for him on the day and he went over the line in 38:09 to take 32nd place. The only silver lining for Rich was that he did manage to finish ahead of Paul Consani, which he hadn’t really done in a proper race before.
For much of the race Paul was right behind Rich but a gap was formed when Rich accelerated after reaching the top of the hill at Queens Park South Drive.
Paul wasn’t far behind though, reaching the finish 11 seconds later to take 36th place on the day. That put him 4th in the M40n category.
In his first race for over a year, it was great to see Alex Goulding back in competitive action again. An ongoing ankle injury had kept Alex out of action for a long time and left him at one stage thinking his running days were behind him.
It had only been three weeks since he’d started running again, having just a few parkruns under his belt by that point. He felt he needed a goal to aim for though so up for giving it a go.
After such a long time out, Alex had forgotten how arduous a 10k can be but it was a great feeling when he finished and he was able to pick off a few people in the last mile which was pleasing.
He’d seen that Emma Caplan had started off strongly and he managed to tag onto her pace which helped him round. Near the end of the race he found that he still had a bit left in the tank so edged in front of her.
Arriving at the line in a time of 38:48, Alex took 40th place and 5th in the M40 category. The race served as a reminder to him that getting fitter and faster is a slow process and there are no overnight fixes. Whilst he’s already seen improvements in his speed, his endurance still needs a lot of work.
The most enjoyable thing at the moment for Alex though is getting back to Tuesday training which he’s missed greatly over the course of the year. There’s nothing like feeling the wind on you hair, or head in Alex’s case, as you sail along the promenade in the BAC interval sessions.
Crossing the line shortly after Alex, Emma Caplan was 1st female on the day, clocking a time of 39:07. Although she added another women’s race win to her over-growing collection, Emma still wasn’t completely happy with her run.
She still knows she has a little way to go before she’s back running at her absolute best but she has to remember, she too has only been back running for a short time after giving birth. It’s just really a case of being patient and keeping on that improvement curve.
The next lady over the line arrived over two minutes later and that was Diana Leggott of Lonely Goat RC who came in 75th overall in a time of 41:12.
After successfully negotiating the Wimborne 10 the previous week, Adrian Townsend managed to complete his second consecutive race at the Boscombe 10k.
That was a massive plus for Adrian after injury problems prevented him from even making it to the start line at Gold Hill in the previous DRRL fixture.
He’d also suffered a couple of retirements in both the Sturminster Netwon Half Marathon and the London Marathon due to stomach issues.
It looks like he may have laid those ghosts to rest now though and Adrian ran well at the Boscombe 10k though, crossing the line in 39:36 to take 55th place. That gave him 1st place in the M55 category which capped the morning off nicely for Adrian.
Shortly after the next Bournemouth AC member arrived in the shape of Simon Hearn, who had run extremely well to take 62nd place in a time of 40:10.
Although he was hoping for a sub-40 deep down, it was still a decent result for Simon considering he had a slight cold and didn’t feel like he was firing on all cylinders. Simon was 5th in the M50 category.
Having already sealed the win in the Dorset Road Race League 60-64 category for the 2018 season, Jud Kirk could have been forgiven for resting on his laurels a bit at the Boscombe 10k.
He did nothing of the sort though and crossed the line in an excellent time of 41:17, which meant he ended the season in style with an M60 category victory to add to the collection. Jud’s nearest rival in the DRRL, Nigel Haywood of Purbeck Runners was 2nd M60 on the day, registering a time of 43:13.
A disappointing race for Pawel Surowiec saw him get to the line in 43:09, taking 95th position overall. Pawel has been travelling around a lot recently in his work so that has effected his ability to train with any real regularity which might explain the slight dip in form that he’d seen.
Nine seconds later, a very tired Steve Parsons arrived at the line, just scraping into the top 100, taking 99th place in a time of 43:18. It was clear to see that Steve had given absolutely everything out there and he’d kept up an amazing record that had seen him secure a new PB on all three of his previous outings at the Boscombe 10k.
It was probably his most raced distance and thus his best PB, so he knew it would tough to better his time of 43:31 from last year. He knew his form was decent though after number of recent course PB’s and a 10 mile best at Wimborne the previous weekend so it was certainly worth a shot.
Since it was a shorter race than many that he’s done recently, Steve felt like he was going quite quickly the whole way round, as opposed to trying to manage his pace like he normally does. That was good though as it helped him push himself, although equally, it made it very hard work.
After the first couple of kilometres a couple of people went past him but he then settled into a good pace and started to pick them back off. After around the 3k point he wasn’t overtaken by anyone that he didn’t then go back past later on in the race.
Gaining a fair few places whilst going through the golf course, it was then onto Queens Park South Drive, which Steve was very familiar with from the BAC hill sessions.
Having done so many reps on that hill before, Steve was able to tell himself that it was only one rep and once it was done there were only a few small inclines left.
Whilst he had to work hard going up Littledown Drive, he knew that coming down Littledown Avenue he’d have the chance to recover a bit whilst still running quickly and preparing for the final kilometre.
Coming into Kings Park he knew a PB was on but he was really feeling it so had to grit his teeth and push through the pain. His Mum, Dad and kids were at the entrance to the track and he got huge cheer from them which was exactly what he needed at that point to help him finish strongly.
He thought he was going to collapse at the end and had a few wobbly steps when making his way through the finish tunnel and back round to the clubhouse. He didn’t really care though as he’d got the PB he wanted.
Steve’s wife Rozanne also managed a terrific new PB, taking three minutes off her previous best to come in just under the hour mark in a time of 58:58. She was well pleased with that and couldn’t wait to toast it with a glass of Prosecco later.
Another success story of the day was Ian White, who was gunning for a sub-45-minute finish. Arriving at the line in a time of 44:18, he actually ended up quite comfortably under his target time, which was another big step forward in his progression. Taking 125th place in the overall leaderboard, Ian was also 13th in the M45 category.
The second Bournemouth AC lady to complete the race was Julia Austin who registered a time of 44:49, putting her 132nd overall. That made her 9th female on the day and 2nd F50.
She had been hoping for a quicker time and was on the sub-44-minute time but the Queens Park hill proved to be tougher than she’d expected and she lost about a minute on that.
Joining Julia in the scoring team for BAC was Jo Dilling who arrived at the finish 19 seconds later to take 136th place overall and 10th placed female. With a time of 45:08, Jo was 4th in the F45 category.
The hill at Queens Park also cost Jo as well as that infringed her chances of a sub-45 finish. She was still pleased with her time though and very much enjoyed the track finish where she was able to overtake a few competitors who had passed her earlier in the race.
That meant that the trio of Emma, Julia and Jo were victorious in the team competition with the 2018 runners up Littledown Harriers taking 2nd place the 2018 champions Poole Runners taking 3rd.
Arriving at the finish in 159th and 160th place, Tamzin Petersen and Phil Cherrett ran together with Tamzin securing her quickest time yet on the Boscombe 10k course. She went over the line in 45:53 to take 20th placed female and 6th in the Senior Female category.
Phil had a couple of niggles so he knew a PB wasn’t on the cards. He really wanted to do the race though as it was his 7th race of the Dorset Road Race League season so he knew he’d get in the final rankings if he did it.
Fortunately he was able to turn to Tamzin to keep him focused and distract him from any pain whilst on his way round. The race didn’t start off as planned but they made constant progress throughout the duration, chasing down and overtaking those ahead.
Next two other Bournemouth AC runners arrived on the finishing straight together, although that situation wasn’t quite as contrived. They were Mike White and Ian Graham.
A dog-eat-dog sprint finish ensued between the two of them, with Mike pipping Ian to post and taking 174th place in a time of 46:34. Knowing it wasn’t going to a PB for him, Mike just treated the race as a fast training run. He’s back training hard again now though and is confident he can push on in 2019.
Followed in immediately after Mike, Ian took 175th place with an official time of 46:38. Ian Graham finished 2nd in the M70 category on the day, with Ian Barnes of Poole Runners getting the category win in 43:46.
Off the back of a disappointing run at the Wimborne 10 the previous weekend, Louise Price was hoping to redeem herself at the Boscombe 10k. On this occasion she had a much better run, finishing in a time of 51:10, which put her in 276th place overall and 58th female out of 230.
In the F50 category, Louise was placed 10th out of 38 which was a pretty good result. Appreciating the support she had whilst going round the course, Louise thoroughly enjoyed the race.
Next home for the yellow and blue army was Helen Ambrosen who came in 293rd in a time of 52:12. That made her 64th female and put her 2nd in the F60 category, beaten only by Jane Neal of Poole AC who finished in 48:51. After a tough week of training that had left her feeling a touch of fatigue, Helen was happy with the end result.
Recording a fantastic new PB of 54:27, Samantha Laws was the final Bournemouth AC member to arrive at the finish, taking 337th place out of a total of 537 who completed the race.
That put her 83rd in the women’s race and 17th in the F45 category. Sam’s previous best of 55:44 was set at the Boscombe 10k in 2016, so she bettered that by 1 minute and 17 seconds.
The results from the top five scorers – Tag, László, Stu, Ross and Ollie were enough to secure victory for Bournemouth AC in the men’s team competition.
The scenario mirrored the overall results of the 2018 season, with Poole AC taking a valiant 2nd place with their top five of Chris Alborough, David Jones, James McCafferey, Gary Tissington and Harry Lauste.
So in terms of the final standings for the Dorset Road Race League, Bournemouth AC won the Men’s First Division with a perfect record of 7 wins from their best 7 races giving them a score of 7 in a ‘lowest score wins’ format. Poole AC were 2nd on 11 points with Poole Runners 3rd on 22 and Littledown Harriers 4th on 23.
In the Ladies’ First Division, Poole Runners were the victors, also managing a perfect record of 7 wins from their best 7 races to give them a score of 7. Littledown Harriers took 2nd on 14 points with Bournemouth AC in 3rd on 16.
In the Men’s individual league table, Iain Trickett topped the tree with 8 points from his best 7 races, so that was 6 wins and one 2nd place. Chris Alborough was 2nd on 25 points, with Brian Underwood of Poole AC in 3rd on 34 and Chris Wood of Wimborne 34th on 46.
Bournemouth AC’s highest scorer was Stu Nicholas, who finished 5th with 49 points. Together with running 14 marathons, that equated to a very fine season for Stu, who has been able to excel in both his own personal venture whilst also helping the team out at every given opportunity.
Another BAC member who had a great season was Sean Edwards, who was 6th overall with 60 points. Sean was of course affiliated to Lytchett Manor Striders for the first part of the season and had scored for them in a few races which meant when he transferred to BAC his results weren’t counted in the team competition.
In the individual though he continued to produce good results and his performances were enough to see him victorious in the 21-24 category.
Other BAC members placing well in the final standings were Rich Brawn who was 14th with 169 points and Tom Paskins who was 15th with 172 points.
In the individual competition for the ladies it was Clare Martin who claimed the title with 19 points from her best 7 races. Jessica Marshall of Weymouth was 2nd with 26 points with Paula Barker of Poole Runners in 3rd on 36.
The highest placed Bournemouth AC women was Tamzin Petersen who finished 8th with 102 points. Louise Price was 18th with 216 points.
Then there was of course a win for Jud Kirk in the 60-64 category as he finished the season with 335 points. That put him 33rd overall. His nearest rival, Nigel Haywood of Purbeck Runners finished on 395 points which put him 38th overall.
There was also a win for Ian Graham in the 70-74 category, with his total of 684 points putting him in 53rd place overall. That was enough to see him finish comfortably clear of Pete Clarke of Weymouth who was 2nd on 796 and Geoff Parrott who was 3rd on 800.
After the Boscombe 10k race many of the BAC members gathered in the office for coffee and cakes and to celebrate what had turned out to be cracking season, all things considered.
Team captain Rich Nelson has to take a lot of plaudits for battling against adversity to assemble a team of five men and three ladies for each fixture that would be able to challenge for the top positions.
That was no easy task but he put everything he had into it to help put the club in a position to reclaim the crown that Poole AC took off them in the Men’s First Division last season.
Hopefully next season the BAC ladies team will also be able to mount a serious challenge for the top spot and it will be all hands on deck to ensure the yellow and blue army give a good account of themselves again in 2019 season.