Nestled in the heart of the ancient New Forest National Park woodlands, the brand new Maverick inov-8 Original event followed the usual Maverick protocol of providing runners with a choice of three different distances. The ‘Short‘ distance race was 6km. The ‘Middle‘ distance was 17km and the ‘Long‘ race was 24km.
Each race started off from Holmsley Inclosure, following an enchanting route through numerous other Forestry Commission Inclosures.
Two Bournemouth AC members took part in the event, with Chris Phelan-Heath going in the 6k race and Emma Caplan opting for the 24k distance.
Having represented the club in the Wessex League cross country fixtures since relocating to the area and finishing the season as 3rd senior male, Chris was well adept at handling the off-road trails.
He proved that by recording an emphatic victory in the ‘Short‘ race, crossing the line in a superb time of 23:47. That put him over one-and-a-half minutes ahead of his nearest rival Sam Davis who was 2nd in 25:21.
The win wasn’t without controversy though as, although Chris thought he was in the lead, a rival competitor did in fact manage to get to the finish before him.
It transpired though that other guy, whose name was ironically Daniel Corner, had cut the final corner, thus missing out a large section of the course. The marshals realised that he had not completed the full course though and subsequently disqualified him, confirming Chris as the rightful winner.
Despite almost being cheated out of his victory, thoroughly enjoyed the race and he didn’t find the route too technically challenging. There was a tough hill on the second mile and there were occasions where he had to stop and open gates which kind of killed his momentum a bit.
Overall, it was a great result for Chris though and no doubt they’ll be some exciting things to come from him over the new season. He was able to fend off competition from 99 others in the 6k race.
It wasn’t the first time Chris has been victorious in the New Forest either. Last year, whilst representing his former club of Lincoln Wellington, he won the New Forest Marathon 5k.
Meanwhile, in the 24k race, Emma Caplan had an excellent run and was 1st lady over the line with her time of 1:38:52. That put her in 14th position overall out of a field of over 200 runners.
Despite getting lost on a few occasions out on route, Emma enjoyed the run and said it was a nice change to run on the forest trails as opposed to the promenade.
Not being used to that sort of run, she found the small blue arrows she was having to follow quite hard to see and managed to go the wrong way three times. That bumped her distance up a little from the 14.1 miles that everyone else did.
Considering it was quite a hilly route, she did well to record the time and pace she did over a 14.3 mile distance. She actually went through the half marathon point in 1:30:52 according to Strava, which bodes well for her going forward.
It was a good opportunity for Emma to get some decent mileage in as well after entering the Boston Marathon in April. That’s the ‘real’ Boston Marathon by the way – the one in Lincolnshire – not that one in the USA!!
After recording a 2nd placed finish at the Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon on Boxing Day, it’s been a good, solid start to the season from Emma and a decent base to work from in her marathon training.
It wasn’t the only recent success Emma has had in the New Forest either after she was 1st lady in ‘The Stinger’ back in November, finishing in an impressive 5th position overall.
Jason Bell, who has been training with Bournemouth AC on some of the Tuesday night interval sessions had a good run as well, finishing in 13th place and recording a time of 1:38:32.
The ‘Long’ race was won by Andrew McCaskill in a time of 1:23:03, with Rob Spencer of St Albans Striders taking 2nd place in a time of 1:25:44.
It hadn’t been long since those final few fledgling fireworks were sent up to the sky, the last verse of Auld Lang Syne was heard echoing around the bar and the clocks had chimed to mark the dawning of a new year. Thoughts of celebrations and resolutions quickly turned to competitive action on the running circuit as the 2019 season of the Dorset Road Race League got underway.
It is always a tough ask for Rich Nelson to assemble a team together on New Years Day capable of challenging for the top positions at the Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon. This year though, Bournemouth AC were boosted by inclusion of last year’s race winner Jacek Cieluszecki and Comrades Marathon hero Steve Way amongst their ranks.
That would at least give them a fighting chance against a strong looking Poole AC line up that boasted last year’s Dorset Road Race League runner up Chris Alborough, along Gareth Alan-Williams and Richard Swindlehurst.
For the BAC ladies’ team, Nikki Sandell was back in road race action, alongside Emma Caplan and Helen Ambrosen as they launched their bid to reclaim the crown off last year’s winners Poole Runners.
It had all the makings of a fiercely fought race that would no doubt set the tone for the season ahead.
The course is a testing two lap route starting and finishing on The Broadway at Broadstone. It incorporates the infamous Gravel Hill, which is a tough incline for even the most accomplished of runners.
Just as he did on the first day of 2018, Jacek Cieluszecki bossed the proceedings, controlling the race well and cruising in for the victory in a time of 35:16.
Having been ill for a week in December, Jacek wasn’t really sure how it was going to go so it was pleasing to get the win, even though he did find Gravel Hill a bit tougher than he did last year. His time was only 15 seconds off what he did in 2018 though, so not a huge difference really.
Picking up from where he left off in 2018, Chris Alborough crossed the line in 2nd place, 36 seconds after JC, registering an impressive time of 35:52. Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders continued his magnificent recent form to take 3rd place in 35:39.
Philip Bridge of Wells City Harriers was 4th in a time of 36:12, then it was Steve Way completing the top five, reaching the line in a time of 36:35.
Steve said he only entered Broadstone to ensure he didn’t over indulge too much over Christmas and New Year… and it almost worked.
In truth though, he has been putting in some good mileage throughout December and that should help get him ahead of curve in comparison to last year when he was out of action over Christmas with the flu.
Following his incredible podium finish at the Comrades last year, Steve will be back again this time round hoping for another spectacular display. All he needs is five months of perfect, uninterrupted training and he’ll be ready to roll.
Gareth Alan-Williams took 6th place in 37:03, with Jonathan Cooper of Egdon Heath Harriers in 7th with a time of 37:44. Stu Nicholas was the next Bournemouth AC man over the line, taking 8th place with his time of 37:51.
Stu managed a terrific PB at the Christmas 10k a few weeks ago but was unable to replicate those same levels at Broadstone. Although the majority of the course is flat, and should in theory be fast, the long, slight incline of Gravel Hill certainly mixes it up a bit.
Next in for BAC and fourth scorer for the team was Tom Paskins who finished in a time of 40:33 to take 25th place.
Entering the race at least prevented Tom from going out on New Year’s Eve and getting on the beers and his time was over a minute quicker than what he did at Broadstone last year. Therefore, he was glad he made the sacrifice. Plus the weather was a bit better this year as well as it rained throughout the whole race in the 2018 edition.
Coming in a close 2nd place in the ladies‘ race, Emma Caplan crossed the line in a time of 40:51 putting her 28th overall. She was only 31 seconds behind the female race winner Emily Freeman.
For the first couple of miles, Emma ran with Serena O’Connor of Poole Runners but she then edged away from Serena and finished comfortably ahead in the end, with Serena coming in as 3rd placed lady in 42:32.
Completing the scoring men’s scoring team for Bournemouth AC, Matt Du Cros registered a time of 42:19 to take 46th place. Matt hadn’t trained much over the previous two weeks so he was pretty pleased with the result.
Next up it was another hard fought battle for supremacy between Phil Cherrett and Jud Kirk. Going into the race, Phil had quite relaxed expectations since it wasn’t long after the Christmas excesses.
In the first kilometre he was running alongside Emma and Tom, which was great fun but it was something he’d ultimately pay for later on in the race.
Half way up Gravel Hill on the first lap, he doubted that he’d even be able to finish the race but thankfully he kept running and maintained focus whilst he was being overtaken by others.
Managing to recover and return to his own pace, Phil steadied his ship and got back into rhythm before hitting Gravel Hill for the second time. It was still a struggle but only two people went past him this time, so it was less demoralising.
As he rounded the final corner with only a few hundred metres left, Phil felt great. He was proud of himself for how he’d battled on through the difficult moments.
Finding the resolve for a good sprint finish, Phil went past four competitors to finish in 90th place with a time of 45:47. Overall, he was pleased with his run but he is not keen to run up Gravel Hill again any time soon.
Finishing shortly after Phil, in 94th place, was Jud, the defending Dorset Road Race League champion for the 60-64 category. Jud had previously been suffering from a hamstring injury that had put him on the side-lines for most of December.
He seems to have recovered from that now, for the most part, and is looking forward to the challenge of retaining his title in 2019. His main rival for the category win last season was Nigel Haywood of Purbeck Runners and on this occasion, Nigel pipped Jud to the post, taking 2nd place in the 60-69 category. That put Jud in 3rd with his time of 46:02.
Nigel finished 91st in the final standings, with Jud three places behind. The injury was in the back of Jud’s mind though and it may have prevented him from going in full flight mode like he would have done otherwise.
The main goal for Jud though was to get around without aggravating the hamstring and he managed to do that so that was the most important thing.
The second Bournemouth AC lady to complete the course was Nikki Sandell, who finished in 101st place with a time of 46:44. That made her 8th placed female on the day.
She was 46 seconds off the time that she did at Broadstone last year but she got round and that was her main goal. She did enjoy the fact that it wasn’t raining this time.
For the vast majority of last season Nikki was focusing on the pole vault so that brought about quite change from her regular running routine of 2017 when she finished up Dorset Road Race League women’s champion.
Finishing in 130th place in a time of 48:47 it was Steve Parsons. After only running a handful of times in December, including the Round the Lakes 10k on Boxing Day, and succumbing to the temptation of over indulge of the Christmas period, he didn’t think he’d be in great shape going into the race.
Nevertheless, he decided to go off hard and just see what happens. Unfortunately, what he had feared might happen did happen and he blew up on the first ascent up Gravel Hill and never really recovered after that.
He found the rest of the race pretty hard going, with others overtaking him as he made his way round. That is something that never helps the enjoyment.
He’s still pleased to have completed the race though and it at least gives him an indication of where his form lies going into the Imperial Series of three 10-mile road races starting in February.
Recording a cracking time of 50:17, Ian Graham was the first in the 70 plus category to get over the line. His time was an improvement of over six minutes on what he did at Broadstone last year and three minutes quicker than what he did two years ago, so he certainly doesn’t appear to be slowing down with age.
Finishing in 149th place overall, he felt strong all the way round, even on the second ascent up Gravel Hill, which is a really good sign for where his fitness is right now.
The category win earned him a very fine trophy and a bottle of wine and he also received a towel and a certificate for finishing as MV70-74 champion in the Dorset Road Race League for 2018, so it was a very good day for Ian.
Crossing the line in 180th place with a time of 52:44 was the next Bournemouth AC member, Mike White. Despite having a back niggle, Mike enjoyed the race and found it to be a good course for giving honest feedback on the festive excesses.
Last year Mike was over two minutes quicker at Broadstone so he knows he needs to work on his fitness over the coming month. He’s looking forward to getting some club sessions under his belt before taking on the Lytchett 10 in early February.
The third lady over the line for Bournemouth AC and completing the scoring team for the Dorset Road Race League was Helen Ambrosen. She was thrilled to be 1st female over 60 and it was another category win to add to her impressive recent haul.
Her time of 53:35 was over five minutes quicker than what she did at Broadstone last year so all the racing she has been doing recently seems to be paying off. She was 35th female on the day and 193rd overall.
After running well at the Round the Lakes 10k on Boxing Day, club membership secretary Dave Parsons was hoping to follow that up with another solid performance at Broadstone.
Similarly to what happened at Round the Lakes, Dave became embroiled in a battle with a rival of his from the 60-69 age category in Barry Telling of Littledown Harriers.
Much like at Round the Lakes, Dave was strong on the 2nd lap and was able to open up a decent gap over Barry over the last couple of miles.
Finishing in a time of 56:27, Dave finished in 227th place, with Barry Telling coming in in 236th place in a time of 57:10. Dave is enjoying being back out there racing and it’s clear to see that, although not as fast as he used to be, he still has that competitive spirit in him.
Overall there were 434 runners who took part, making it a very successful start to the 2019 running calendar.
As far as the team positions went for the first fixture of the 2019 Dorset Road Race League season, Poole AC came on top in the Men’s First Division, with their best five of Chris Alborough (2nd), Gareth Alan-Williams (6th), Richard Swindlehurst (12th), Steve Cook (17th) and Gary Tissington (20th).
The team of JC (1st), Steve Way (4th), Stu Nicholas (7th), Tom Paskins (22nd) and Matt Du Cros (40th) put Bournemouth AC in 2nd place.
In the Ladies’ First Division, it was reigning champions Poole Runners who got off to a good start, with their top three of Serena O’Connor (2nd), Fern Kimber (3rd) and Isabelle Somers (27th) securing them the win.
Egdon Heath Harriers got 2nd with their trio of Alexandra Door (4th), Hannah Martin (13th) and Stella Campbell (16th). The team of Emma Caplan (1st), Nikki Sandell (6th) and Helen Ambrosen (29th) took 3rd position for Bournemouth AC but it was very tight between all three clubs with only four points separating them.
The next fixture in the Dorset Road Race League is the Lytchett 10 on February 10th, where it is looking like BAC might struggle again after the race filled up before most people had had the chance to even contemplate entering.
It’s then onto the Bournemouth 10 on 24th February, which is of course organised by Bournemouth AC, with Ian White heading up the arrangement committee. That will hopefully provide BAC with an opportunity to bite back at Poole AC in the Men’s First Division as they may already have two wins to their name by then.
After winning the 5k race in the Spring/Summer edition of the Bournemouth Beach Race back in April, Trevor Elkins was invited back to defend his title in the Winter Edition.
The event is a low tide beach run along the shoreline of Bournemouth Beach heading out towards Sandbanks, starting and finishing on the west side of Bournemouth Pier.
As well as being run across the sand, the race carries a further twist in the fact that there are 26 groynes to jump over on route, making it almost like a steeplechase.
It was a little tougher than when he did the race back in April as well as on one of the groynes, the marshal was making each participant run up the beach before hurdling it. Plus there was an obvious difference in temperature as well which made it more difficult to warm the muscles up sufficiently. It was on soft sand as well which is very challenging to run on.
An old adversary of Trevor’s, Ross Wayne of Purbeck Runners was also lining up in the 5k race, along with 126 other challengers so Trev knew he’d have to be on top of his game to stand any chance of defending his title.
When the race got underway, knowing a fast start was vital, Trev assumed position at the front of the field. He manged to build up a bit of a gap over his nearest rivals and all was going smoothly.
At the half way stage in the proceedings he could see that he was being chased down by Tim Harley. At first it appeared that the gap was closing but Trev still had some gas in the tank.
In the last mile, he managed to find another gear and pull away from Tim and the gap between the two of them began to increase. It was a strong run from Trevor and he reached the line to pick up the victory in a time of 20 minutes 52 seconds.
That gave him an average mile pace of 6:43 which is pretty good considering it is on the sand and there were so many groynes to negotiate.
Tim Harley took 2nd place in a time of 21:31, giving Trevor a winning margin of 39 seconds. Ross Wayne took 3rd in 22:32 and the first woman to cross the line, Vicki Dibdin, took 4th place in 23:06.
Trevor’s time was only 34 seconds off what he did in the previous Bournemouth Beach Race when he broke the course record, so considering the colder climate, he had to be pleased with that. His heart rate was quite low during the race as well so there is certainly scope for Trev to go quicker.
As it panned out, he probably could have won the 10k race instead if he hadn’t been granted a free entry to the 5k off the back of his previous win. Both races started off at the same time and Trev was comfortably ahead of any of the 10k runners when he crossed the line.
The 10k race was won by Chris Lowrey in a time of 41:59, with Joe Thompson taking 2nd in 42:38 and Kayvan Javid 3rd in 42:50. The first lady in the 10k race was Mel Varvel who finished in 45:26.
Trev has been through some tough times in 2018, both personally and with his running so it will be a great confidence booster to him to have finished the year on a high.
It should help instil some belief in him that he’ll be able to get back to his best in 2019 and then hopefully progress further from there once he does.
The festive frivolities continued with the annual Boxing Day ‘Round the Lakes 10k’ race at Poole Park. The course consists of three laps, going round the cricket pitch and the lake. Those familiar with Poole parkrun would know the route well.
Of course, with the race being staged on Boxing Day, the athletes taking part could easily be forgiven for perhaps not being in peak condition.
The tendency is often to over-indulge on Christmas Day, whether it’s cramming in too much turkey, drinking one too many sherries or scoffing that second helping of Christmas pudding that you know you really shouldn’t. That can easily result in a hangover of sorts come Boxing Day morning.
What better way to shake it off though than a quick 10k blast round Poole Park? If it’s not an opportunity to chase down a personal best, it’s at least a chance to burn off some of those excess Christmas calories.
Despite all that though, the race generally attracts a very high standard field and this year’s race did still see some exceptional performances produced. Piers Copeland of Wimborne AC raced round the course in 31 minutes 56 seconds to secure an excellent victory, with Daniel Mulryan of Poole Runners following closely behind in 2nd place, recording a time of 32:01. Sam Costley of Southampton AC took 3rd place in a time of 32:51.
One man who didn’t have to worry about overdoing it on the turkey was Bournemouth AC’s very own Sean Edwards. The mean, lean, vegan machine smashed his 10k PB to reach the line in a stunning time of 34:35. That put him in 11th place on a day, a second ahead of Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC who was 12th.
It was the first time Sean had been under 35 minutes so he was over the moon with that outcome. It was a great to end the season merrily on a high for Sean and overall it’s been a fantastic one for him in running terms.
Finishing 6th overall in the Dorset Road Race League was a terrific achievement and Sean was also 1st in the Men’s 21-24 category. No doubt there will be good things to come from him in 2019.
The next BAC member of the line was Dr Ollie Stoten, who completed the course in a super-quick time of 38:06. That put him in 33rd place in the overall standings.
It didn’t measure up to Ollie’s performance at the Boscombe 10k the previous month where he crossed the line in 37:33 but it was still a decent run from Ollie, who is of course much more of a long distance runner.
Ollie’s year has seen him tackle several big ultra-marathon races including the Namib Race, a 7-day, 250km trek across the desert in Namibia. He also competed in the Brecon Beacons 10Peaks race (89km), the Chiltern Wonderland 50 (50 miles) and the Ridgeway Challenge (86 miles).
Finishing as 3rd placed lady on the day, Georgia Wood crossed the line in a stellar time of 38:14 to take 35th place overall. Whilst it didn’t quite match up to her run in the Valencia Trinidad Alfonso where she recorded an incredible PB of 37:14, it was still a decent outing for Georgia and gives her every reason to be positive for the season to come.
The women’s race was won by Grace Copeland, who made it a magnificent day for the Copeland household, crossing the line in 35:20 to land 15th place overall. Samantha Amend of Belgrave Harriers was 2nd lady in 37:55, putting her 30th overall.
Taking 39th place overall, László Tóth was next over the line in the yellow and blue vest. László was just out to enjoy himself and appreciate the social side of the run and who can blame him after the phenomenal year that he’s had.
Over the course of 2018, László has seen his performances sky rocket to unprecedented heights, culminating in a stunning PB of 35:19 at the Boscombe 10k. He’s also managed to reduce his parkrun time to 16:27 and recorded a 1500m best of 4:24.3 on the track and an 800m PB of 2:04.9.
The next BAC member to arrive at the finish was Stuart Glenister, who reached the line in a time of 39:42 to take 54th place. It was good for Stu produce a solid sub-40 run after a year that has seen him make limited performances for the club.
Stu did compete in the recent Hampshire Cross-Country League fixture though at Popham Airfields and he’ll hopefully be in action more often in a yellow and blue vest in 2019.
In last year’s Round the Lakes race, Steve Parsons had ran it with Kirsty Drewett and Kirsty had ended up getting a PB that day so he decided to do the same this time out.
It was slightly different on this occasion though in that they both seemed to struggle to get any rhythm going and it felt like a bit a slog the whole way round. Despite feeling like they’d worked harder than they did on last year’s run, they ended up a minute off their 2017 times.
Crossing the line in a time of 46:16, Kirsty was 105th overall and Steve was 106th in 46:18. Kirsty was 12th placed woman on the day and 2nd in her category.
Kirsty’s year has been somewhat blighted by injuries but she still managed a 10 mile PB of 76 minutes, a half marathon best of 1:45:18 and managed to complete her first ever marathon at the Purbeck Running Festival.
Steve has had an excellent year, setting a new 10k PB of 43:18 at Boscombe and has stepped up to both the 10 mile and half marathon distances for the first time, performing very well in his first attempts.
Next over the line for BAC it was Joe Price who came in 148th place in a time of 48:38. It was the first race Joe has competed in since 2016 so it was good to see him back out there representing the club.
Posting her fastest 10k time since 2016, Helen Ambrosen had an excellent run, finishing as 1st female over 60 with her time of 49:47. That made her 27th lady on the day and 157th overall.
Helen has been competing in quite a few of recent road races for the club as well as the Hampshire Cross-Country League fixtures and her performances have certainly been on an upward curve over the course of the year. It was great to see her end the season on a high with both a time to be proud of and a category win.
Arriving at the finish in a superb time of 52:40, Dave Parsons crossed the line in 198th place and 3rd in the Men’s over 60 category.
Dave’s main aim for the race was to beat his time at the Guernsey Easter 10k earlier in the year, which he did by almost two minutes. He had a good battle with Barry Telling of Littledown Harriers, an old adversary of his.
Feeling fairly strong throughout the course of the race, Dave managed to pull away from Barry in the second half of the race and ended up finishing ahead of him comfortably.
Enjoying the race a lot more than he expected to, Dave was glad to be back on the racing circuit and was already looking forward to his next appearance at the Broadstone Quarter on New Year’s Day, which is of course the first Dorset Road Race League fixture of the 2019 season. Before then though, there was time to get back to the mince pies and eggnog.