After recording a good solid victory at the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon the previous weekend and sealing second place in the SAL 5000m the day before, for his next trick, Rob McTaggart lined up for the Salisbury 10.
Planning to run the 10 miles at marathon pace, with a four mile warm up beforehand and a few miles as a cool down afterwards, it was a race that would test Tag’s discipline as the countdown towards London draws ever closer. It just so happens that his marathon pace is faster than most people can run a 10-mile race in anyway.
The Salisbury 10 is a Hampshire Road Race League fixture so the standard is usually fairly high at the top end of the field, with the likes of Southampton, Winchester and City of Salisbury vying for points.
The course takes a scenic route north of Salisbury following the banks of the River Avon through the gently undulating Woodford Valley, featuring views of the cathedral spire on the return leg.
The cathedral is of course a popular visiting spot for tourists worldwide, or at least it is as far as the Russian tourist board are concerned anyway.
Resisting the temptation to go off with the leaders, Tag showed restraint in the early stages of the race and concentrated on running his own pace, which was largely between 5:30 and 5:40 pace.
Consequently, he wound up on his own for the entire race and, although he had hoped there would be others going along at a similar pace, it was not the case.
At around 8.5 miles he caught Julian Manning who was in second place at the time. He had been out of sight for most of the race but seemed to flounder somewhat in the latter stages. Saying that though, Tag did run a very strong last three miles, picking the pace up slightly as he moved through the gears.
With Richard Waldron of Southampton way out front, that was how it stayed for Tag and he cruised over the line in 55:26, taking second place in almost exactly the same time he ran the Bournemouth 10 in back in February.
Julian Manning held on for 3rd place in a time of 55:55, with Alastair Pickburn of New Forest Runners taking 4th in 56:58. Richard Waldron’s winning time was 53:20, putting him over two minutes ahead of Tag.
Tag has had a few run-ins with Richard Waldron in the past though, finishing two places ahead of him at the Eastleigh 10k recently. The year before in the very same race they had a good battle, with Richard just pipping Tag to the post by three seconds.
As soon as he’d gone over the line, Tag was straight into his warm down run and once he’d completed that it was the end of another very successful and promising session in the build up to London.
With the big day looming large on the horizon, Tag is looking in prime condition and showing all the signs that he’s ready to put in a performance to remember.
In his last long run before heading up for the Highland Fling, the brutal 53-mile trail race he did last year, Toby Chapman was at the Taunton Marathon looking to secure back-to-back victories.
Last year he snatched the win by overtaking Robert Farley of Bitton Road Runners in the last 10k of the race. Could he emulate that success this time round though? That was the question.
It was in the midst of a big week of training for Toby though so he was running it on tired legs. He established quite early on that he wasn’t on for anything spectacular so from that point it was just a case of making the legs last the distance.
For the first four miles he was going at around 5:50 pace. After that he dropped to around 6 minutes per mile for the next six miles or so. For the remainder of the race, he managed to keep the pace fairly constant at between 6 and 6:10 minutes per mile.
For the first 15 miles of the race Toby had company from his old adversary Robert Farley and the pair were out in front together, neck-and-neck all the way.
The pair had built up a significant advantage over the rest of the field and by that point, no one else was in sight. After that though, Toby began to stretch out and accelerate away from Robert. From then onwards, it was all academic.
Increasing his advantage as the race progressed, by the time he got to the line, Toby had built up a lead of over four minutes on Robert, who was still in second.
Registering a time of 2:39:51, Toby won the race fairly comfortably and was pleased to record a time that was 1 minute and 19 seconds quicker than what he did last year.
With an average pace of 6:05 per mile, it was a very impressive run from Toby , especially as he was carrying some fatigue, and he felt pretty good throughout the race.
These were encouraging signs for Toby with the Highland Fling just around the corner and he’s very much looking forward to the event. His approach will be to be patient and to stay consistent and he’s hoping he’ll be able to go a reasonable amount quicker than last year.
In his previous attempt he managed a top five finish, completing the course in a time of 7:57:50, so it will be interesting to see if he can improve on that this time round and where that might take him if he does.
It wasn’t the easiest course for a fast time with a tough headwind going along the promenade for the first three miles and then a tough zig-zag that was a bit of a pace killer.
A strong contingent of Bournemouth AC members lined up for race though with Alex Goulding, Chris Phelan-Heath, Phil Cherrett, Ian White and Katrina White all representing the club.
It was another positive step on the road back to his best form for Alex Goulding as he took part in his first race since the Boscombe 10k back in November.
In terms of competitive running, Alex has only really done parkruns recently but he’s been gradually improving his times week-by-week and the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k would be a good tester for where he’s at with his fitness.
After getting a good pace going for the first 5k, Alex almost felt like that was all he could muster up. He wasn’t used to running hard any further than that.
He stuck with it though and was able to grind out a decent second half to finish in a time of 37:22 which put him in 9th place overall. It was still well below what Alex is capable of but he’s getting there. It will just take some time before he gets back to his full potential over a 10k distance.
Taking a rare break from the trails, Chris Phelan-Heath decided to take a punt on a rare road race foray and it worked out well for him, culminating in an excellent time of 37:34. That put him in 11th place overall.
After six months of pure trail running, Chris wasn’t sure how it would go on tarmac but he felt strong and even had a few more gears to go up if needed.
His race strategy was to run 3 miles and around 6 minutes per mile and then the rest a touch faster to hopefully give him a negative split. That was pretty much how it turned out as well so it was a very solid run from Chris.
After his magnificent run at the Eastleigh 10k where he secured a PB of 37:27, Trevor Elkins was back in 10k action looking to emulate that time.
After starting off quite quickly, Trev’s pace dropped a touch though and he found himself suffering a bit of fatigue. The headwind may have had an impact as well as Trev failed to reach the heights he did at Eastleigh. Finishing in a time of 39:32, Trev took 24th place in the overall standings.
Trev’s partner Gemma Vincent was also in action that day in the 5k race, which she ran to raise money for Spring, a charity that helps parents and relatives cope through the loss of a child.
Gemma isn’t really a runner by nature so it was a great achievement for her to complete the race but he did, even managing a cheeky spring finish at the end. Most importantly though, she raised a large amount of money for a charity very close to her heart.
Another man on the comeback trail after a recent injury was Phil Cherrett, who finished in 170th place with a time of 48:55. Again, that is well below what Phil is capable of but he is trying to take things easy as he was worried about his knee throughout the race.
In truth a may have been a tad too early in the calendar after his injury and also illness had kept him out of action for so long. He knew he wasn’t anywhere near PB shape so just ran it for fun.
Thankfully the knee held firm and Phil was able to complete the race for the fourth year in a row. His time was almost exactly the same as his time from the year before so that will give him some encouragement that he will be able to rediscover his best form once he gets back to peak health and fitness.
Having not done a lot of running recently due to a knee injury see suffered in the Bournemouth Marathon Festival Half Marathon last October, Katrina White was targeting a sub-50 time.
Some help was on-hand for her though as Ian was also running and took it upon himself to help pace his daughter through the run. The first couple of miles went okay for them but Katrina began to struggle a bit over the middle two miles.
Managing to pick the pace up well for the last two miles, the pair managed to pull it round and give themselves a chance of sub-50 finish. It was going to be touch and go through.
They both stopped their watches on 50:01 so it was an anxious wait to see if they had actually done it when the official time came through.
It turned out they had, with both registering a chip time of 49:58, so although it was a close call, it was mission accomplished in the end for Katrina and Ian.
Katrina took 178th place overall and was 26th female, with Ian taking 179th place. The fact they were so close to the target time just served to emphasise the accuracy of Ian’s pacing. He’d say it was never in doubt.
The winner of the race was David Broadley, giving the Twemlow Track boys a double after Rob McTaggart won the half marathon. David clocked a superb time of 34:26, putting him a minute ahead of Ryan Wheeler who was 2nd in 35:28.
Jonathan Day and Joseph Bull battled it out for 3rd place, with Jonathan coming out on top by just one second, finishing in a time of 36:00.
The prize for first female went to Ruby Orchard who crossed the line in 38:41, which put her in 16th overall. She narrowly edged out Jessie Lutwyche who finished 17th in a time of 38:49.
Third place went to Gemma Russhard who completed the course in a time of 40:39, giving her 29th place overall. There were 636 runners in total who completed the 10k race.
After the Bournemouth 10 went down a storm earlier in the year, the annual Spring dose of coastal racing action came in the form of the Health-on-Line Bournemouth Bay Run, featuring a half marathon and a 10k as well as a 5k and a 1k for the kids.
With the event taking place three weeks before the London Marathon, it’s an ideal one to use as a training run in preparation for that, which is exactly what Rob McTaggart and Samantha Laws were looking to do.
Tag was intending the run five miles before the half marathon, and an additional five afterwards, brining his total for the session up to 23 miles.
Sam was going for 7 miles before starting the half marathon, giving her a total of 20 miles for the session.
Of course, they knew that would more than likely compromise the quality of their races a touch but with the main focus being on London, that is par for the course in races that take place in the weeks and months leading up to it.
Also taking part in the half marathon race, Gemma Bragg has been on fire since returning to running recently after a long injury lay off. She’s already recorded a first lady finish at the Lytchett 10 as well as coming in as 4th female at the Bournemouth 10 and 6th woman at the Wimborne 20. She was hoping the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon would be another one to add to her list of successes.
A stiff headwind made for a tough first six miles or so along the promenade. That brought about a fairly moderate start for Tag as he found himself isolated in what he thought at the time was 2nd position.
Since he wasn’t aiming to run too hard, Tag was prepared to settle for that but as the race went on he did manage to pick up the pace a bit, putting in a very good shift for the last five miles.
Crossing the line in a time of 1:15:27, Tag ended the race about 30 seconds behind the guy in front. However, it transpired that he didn’t actually have a number and hadn’t even entered the race. That meant Tag was awarded the official race win.
He then followed that up with his five mile warm down afterwards to round off a pretty decent training run for the day with fairly minimal effort expended.
Meanwhile, Gemma Bragg was having an excellent run of her own. She’d managed to find a group of chaps to run with on the way out to avoid getting knocked out by the nagging headwind.
Maintaining her pace well over the second half of the race, Gemma finished as first lady and recorded her first ever sub-1:30, crossing the line a superb time of 1:28:32.
That was an improvement of just over two minutes on her previous best and put her in 24th place overall in a field of 950 people. It was a terrific result for Gemma and, needless to say, she was extremely pleased with the run.
Embarking on her half marathon race off the back of the 7 miles she’d already run, Sam was keen to see how much her fitness had improved since her marathon started.
Completing the course in a time of 2:00:18, Sam came in 530th position and was the 111th lady over the line. That put her 18th in the F45 category.
Whilst it wasn’t quite a quick as the time she posted in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon last year, the fact that she’d ran 7 miles beforehand and was only two minutes down on her personal best time represented encouraging signs for Sam.
What was even more encouraging though was the time she completed the overall 20 mile run, which was 3 hours 5 minutes and 28 seconds. That was the fastest she’d ever run over that distance and was exactly 11 minutes quicker than the time she ran the Wimborne 20 in at the beginning of March.
That underlines what a huge improvement she has seen since starting her marathon training and the fruits of her labour are beginning to bloom.
Sam has worked so hard to get into the best possible shape for London and has been putting in some extremely high mileage over the course of the weeks and months. She’s also been attending the hard marathon training sessions on Tuesday night’s and completing other interval sessions of her own.
Targeting a sub-4-hour finish at London, the form she is currently showing will certainly give her the belief that she can go on a conquer that target and perhaps even be significantly quicker.
Tag’s margin of victory turned out to be a minute-and-a-half, with Philip Jones taking 2nd place in a time of 1:16:56. 3rd place went to James Dean in a time of 1:18:08. He’s thought to be no relation to the American actor though who starred in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’.
The next female in after Gemma was Laura Pettitt who crossed the line in 81st place overall in a time of 1:35:44. That meant Gemma had a lead of over 7 minutes on her nearest rival. Becky Hollowbread rolled in for 3rd place in a time of 1:36:32, putting her 87th overall.
Next in line for Tag was a double-race weekender, consisting of a 5000m on the track in the first Southern Athletics League fixture of the season at Eton, followed by the Salisbury 10 the day after.
All the ingredients were there for a momentous day in Manchester for the Bournemouth AC members who travelled up north for a race that is fast emerging as the biggest marathon race in the UK aside from London.
The Bournemouth AC contingent in the race was just about as strong as it could be, with Steve Way, Ant Clark and Craig Palmer all taking to the start line. The club also had female representation in the race as well in the form of Alison Humphrey, who has recently resurrected her allegiance after several years of not competing.
For Steve and Ant though, the Manchester Marathon was a means to an end as, although it is a big race, for them it was merely just one more step along the way as they work toward getting into peak condition for the Comrades Marathon.
The circumstances were slightly different for Craig, as he was going all out for a good time and perhaps looking at the possibility of beating the 2:29:16 that he posted at the Valencia Marathon in December.
It wouldn’t be an easy task though of course as a sub-2:30 marathon is always a big ask. Craig is a man very much in form though as he showed with his superb sub-70-minute display in the Vitality Big Half Marathon recently.
He also ran well at the Chichester Priory 10k in February, recording a time of 31:18, as well as running out comfortable victories in both the Lytchett 10 and Bournemouth 10 league races.
Despite the high mileage he’s been putting in, Ant has also been demonstrating some fantastic form of late, not least when he secured a new half marathon PB of 72:31 at Fleet a few weeks ago.
The fact that he hadn’t tapered at all for the race and will still able to post such a superb time was a brilliant sign for Ant. On that very same day, Steve had also been in half marathon action at Bath, where he recorded a terrific time of 72:09.
Being his own fiercest critic though, Steve wasn’t entirely happy with his run and had been hoping for slightly better. Again though, in the midst of such a high mileage routine, he may just not have been fresh enough to go as quickly as he would’ve liked.
Steve and Ant also both competed in the Wimborne 20 at the beginning of March as well, with Steve finishing 3rd in a time of 2:02:08 and Ant taking 5th in 2:05:41.
Again, there was no tapering for either of them for the Manchester Marathon and no carb depletion either. It was just the continuation of a relentless block of tough training runs, albeit a slightly faster one.
There wasn’t any TV coverage of the Manchester Marathon though which meant Craig was unable to build on the exposure he got at the Big Half where he appeared on the BBC red button footage on numerous occasions.
There was finish line camera footage though which was broadcast on YouTube where you could watch the athletes as they arrived on the home straight to complete the race.
It was very exciting watching that and waiting to see when the Bournemouth AC brigade would appear. The first one to emerge on the screen was Craig, who had had a phenomenal run.
Incredibly, he was the 11th man to reach the line, registering a tremendous new PB of 2:27:18, which was two minutes quicker than his time at Valencia.
To finish so high up in such a huge race was a real accolade for Craig and considering the standard of the competition he was up against, it was an amazing achievement.
And before the clock could tick over 2 hours 30 minutes, the next BAC member arrived, and it was Ant. Milking the applause from the watching crowds as he made his way down the finishing straight, it was a truly special moment for Ant.
He’d done it. He’d added his name to that esteemed list of Bournemouth AC greats to get under that illusive 2:30 barrier. It was a great feeling for Ant and he was ecstatic as he crossed the line.
Registering an official time of 2:29:33, Ant had come in in 17th place. It was another remarkable achievement from a BAC man and one that will no doubt live long in the memory.
The fact he hadn’t tapered for it only served to make it an even bigger achievement. Ant was also 1st MV40 over the line, which was quite a statement in such a star-studded field.
That wasn’t the end of the excitement from a BAC perspective either. Following immediately behind, it was his teammate and training partner Steve who rocked up to the line just as the seconds ticked over the 2:30 mark.
It was another great run from a BAC man and, although it wasn’t one of Steve’s quickest marathon efforts, under the circumstances, it was still a step in the right direction for Steve and he could at least be relatively pleased with the final result.
Ending up with an official time of 2:30:08, Steve took 18th place in the overall standings, rounding off a very impressive show of strength from BAC elites and portraying the club in a very positive light.
In fact, no other club had three men that finished higher up than Craig, Ant and Steve and it was very nearly a smash and grab raid for the team prize. Sale Harriers may have just shaded that though, since they had Gareth Raven who was 2nd and Callum Rowlinson who was 5th, along with Nathan Harrison who was 24th.
Alison ran well as well, giving it everything she had to finish in a time of 3:26:51. That was a very good achievement for Alison considering it’s been a long time since she’s run a marathon of any sort.
That made Alison 174th lady to cross the line and 21st in the FV45 category. In the overall standings, she was 2,577th. In total, there were 13,372 people who made it to the finish line on the day, underlining what a huge event the Manchester Marathon is.
The winner of the 2019 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon was Aaron Richmond of Bideford AAC and he finished in a time of 2:21:34. That put him over 4-and-a-half minutes ahead of his nearest rival, Gareth Raven of Sale Harriers who crossed the line in 2:26:07.
Filtering in shortly after was Jo Corbett, who registered a time of 2:26:12. Mark Long of City of Derry Spartans was 4th in 2:26:25, with Callum Rowlinson of Sale in 5th with a time of 2:26:30.
The top female in the race was Jenny Spink of Bristol and West AC who completed the course in 2:35:19 putting her 36th overall. The next lady in was Fanni Gyurko of Central AC who finished in a time of 2:39:50, putting her in 67th overall.
The third woman to cross the line was Johanna O’Regan of St Neots Riverside Runners who registered a time of 2:42:15.
After the performances of Craig and Tag were captured so prominently on the BBC at the Big Half, it was great to once again see Bournemouth AC members flourishing on the big stage at the Manchester Marathon and showing the wider audience what a talented bunch they are.
With hills aplenty, muddy sections galore, several stiles to clamber over and many intricate trails and tracks to negotiate, the Dorset Ooser Marathon sounds like something that would have most runners quaking in their Hokas. Not Jacek Cieluszecki though. That’s his idea of bliss and he was well and truly in his element in those surroundings.
JC wasn’t the only Bournemouth AC member brave enough to try their luck in the Dorset Ooser though. Kirsty Drewett was also in action as well, taking on the Half Marathon. Jacek’s wife Ela, who also ran the Barcelona Marathon with him recently, entered the Half Marathon race as well.
The Dorset Ooser is a put on by Badger Trail Events and takes its runners into deepest darkest Dorset via old tracks, hidden hollows, ancient woodlands and forgotten trails.
The races start from an ancient thatched barn in the tiny hamlet of Turners Puddle, right in the heart of Dorset. It’s straight uphill from the outset, where the route then follows farm tracks through fields and then winding through ancient woodland trails, heathlands and other picturesque hamlets amongst the glorious Dorset countryside.
It’s not all fun and games though and admiring the scenery. The marathon features 13 hills, over 1,000 metres of elevation, some muddy sections, 7 stiles to hurdle and two fords. In fact, such is the difficulty level of the marathon that it carries two UTMB points for anyone accomplished enough to complete it.
In keeping with the theme of appreciation of the wonderful Dorset countryside and in the spirit of environmental friendliness, the Ooser is a cupless race, meaning no disposable plastic cups will be handed out.
Instead, runners are encouraged to bring their own hydration packs or invest in a super light re-usable folding cup. It’s a theme most European trail races now adopt and more UK ones are now beginning to take on as well.
It had only been three weeks since he ran a 2:34 marathon in Barcelona and since then he’d also won the Weymouth Half Marathon as well, but once he gets on a roll, there’s no stopping Jacek. He conquers all in his path with a devastating velocity.
Getting off to a good start and thrusting himself into an early lead, it was all academic from that point on. JC outclassed all his opponents and accelerated further and further away from the rest of the field throughout the run.
He didn’t even have any water with him, or a cup, but it didn’t matter. Jacek tore round the course at a pace that onlookers could barely believe.
The only slight hiccup was when he got lost for a while on the 25th mile. The route was mostly marked out with small flags, tape or arrows. Unfortunately, Jacek was hurtling down the descent at such a speed that he managed to miss an arrow that was on the gate and ran straight by.
That cost him around about two minutes before he realised he’d gone wrong and found his way back to the designated route. In some circumstances, that could have been catastrophic. In this instance though, Jacek was almost half an hour ahead of his nearest rival, so there was no danger of him losing the lead.
Crossing the line in a time of 2:53:46, Jacek had ran a brilliant race and the slight detour had brought his total distance covered up to 27 miles.
Despite an elevation gain of 2,654ft, Jacek somehow managed to run at an average pace of 6:25 per mile, which is quite staggering really over such a taxing route.
The 2nd placed runner, John Melbourne of Tadworth AC arrived at the finish 27 minutes later, registering a time of 3:20:50, so it was as comprehensive a victory for Jacek as you’re ever likely to see. Paul Russhard took 3rd place in a time of 3:22:50.
Tracy Cook of Dorset Doddlers was first female over the line and did very well to come in 6th overall in a time of 3:34:51. Jessica Anand was 2nd female in a time of 3:55:04, which put her in 24th place overall, with Charlotte Baker of Gillingham Trotters taking the prize for 3rd lady in a time of 3:59:48.
A total of 247 people completed the race, all finishing comfortably within the eight hour cut off time.
Meanwhile in the Half Marathon race, Kirsty Drewett was having a whale of a time, out there enjoying the start of the British summertime.
Luckily, Kirsty also enjoys the tougher, trickier trail routes and spends a lot of her time over the Purbeck enjoying the fresh countryside air. And running of course.
In fact, she chose the Purbeck Marathon as her first ever attempt at the distance, so that underlines the courageous and adventurous approach she takes with her running.
Since she wasn’t going for any particular time though, Kirsty just treated it as a fun run, admiring the lovely countryside and taking in the views as she went along.
Despite walking up most of the hills and not really pushing herself to the limit at any point, Kirsty still finished in 49th place in the final standings, completing the course in a time of 2:04:07. Not a bad result for a casual morning in the Dorset wilderness.
Kirsty’s elevation gain for the run came to 1,188ft and she finished with an average pace of 9:13 per mile, which isn’t bad considering she walked up a lot of the hills. Jacek’s wife Ela ran well as well, taking 56th place and registering a time of 2:08:31.
Former Bournemouth AC man Sean Edwards, now back in Lytchet Manor Striders colours after a brief stint in the yellow and blue, was the only man to complete the half marathon course in under 1 hour 30 minutes.
His time of 1:28:06 netted him the win, with a margin of almost three minutes over Nicholas Twomey of Ranelagh Harriers who was 2nd in a time of 1:30:53.
Bruce Campbell of Egdon Heath Harriers took 3rd place in a time of 1:35:16. The first female over the line was Caroline Stanzel who was 10th overall, completing the course in a time of 1:38:55.
She was followed by Sarah Trim of Running for Time who registered a time of 1:42:31 to put her in 12th overall. Tamsin Neale of Burnham Joggers was 3rd lady, finishing in 1:45:32 which put her in 15th on the overall leader-board.
Next up for Jacek is the Rotary Easter Quarter Marathon in Boscombe which he will complete as part of a longer training run. He’ll then head over to Florida for the Wings for Life Run on 5th May, where he’ll attempt to be the last man standing for the third time in a row.
Nick Marshall’s marvellously marshalled Quadkids performed wonders on Sunday, 7th April at Winchester in the first Wessex Quadkids League match of the 2019 season.
Overall BAC finished 2nd with 1,650 points behind Winchester’s winning total of 1,736. New Forest Juniors were an extremely close 3rd with 1,649! Camberley came 4th with 1,234, Newbury 5th with 1,207 and Isle of Wight 6th with 1,150 points.
The Boys team, with a full team of 10 athletes, came a close 2nd with 935 points just behind Winchester who had 948 points.
The Girls team were 3rd with 715 points, behind 2nd placed New Forest Junior’s 759 and winners Winchester with 788. Due to Easter holidays, injury and illness the Girls team unfortunately were reduced to 6 out of the maximum 10 allowed.
From the Boys Team, individually William Launder finished 1st out of all 44 Boys competing. Leo Thomasson finished 4th’, Ollie Thomson 10th, Charley Peters and Harley Vincent joint 12th, Thomas Butler 15th, James Davie 21st, Jake Selwood 22nd, Noel Slade 33rd and Connor Bailey-Pearce 35th.
William Launder’s 1st place followed on from his 1st place in last week’s Bournemouth Open Quadkids.
From the Girls Team, individually Esme Hurst-Atkins finished 4th, Elizabeth Davie 7th, Clodagh O’Brien 10th, Alba O’Brien 19th, Chrissie Thomson 17th and Laurel Gent 34th.
Thanks also to Alison Davie, Ian Thomson, Leon Atkins, Darren Launder, Mark Peters, Robin James and Danielle Marshall for helping on the day or helping to coach the athletes.
The photos of Nick Marshall and the team seem to confirm a good day out by all.
This year it was the turn of Scotland to host the Anglo-Celtic Plate which brought the event to a sunny but chilly Perth for the fiercely contested annual British 100k Championships.
The race pits teams of five men and three women from each country in the British Isles against each other to compete for the trophy by achieving the fastest cumulative time over the lapped 100k distance.
It is an event that Bournemouth AC members have played an important role in over recent years, with both Ant Clark and Jez Bragg representing England in last year’s race, with Ant having taken a silver medal in the competition for two years running.
This year’s race again featured Bournemouth AC involvement as Ollie Stoten took to the road, although not competing in the international competition. The event is also open to anyone else brave enough to attempt the distance.
With a proven track record in extreme endurance events though, it’s no surprise that Ollie was prepared to give it a whirl and even though he was up against top quality opposition, you wouldn’t bet against him stacking up well.
In January Ollie ran the 45 mile Country to Capital race from Wendover to London, completing the course in 5 hours 10 minutes and 44 seconds to finish in 6th place.
Then last October he ran the Fenland Runner Monster Ultra which was 68km, finishing in 4 hours 57 minutes putting him in 3rd place. Before that he ran the Chiltern Wonderland 50 mile race, a route which incorporated 6,550ft of elevation. Again, he took 3rd place there, crossing the line in 7 hours 2 minutes.
He was also 3rd in the 89km 10Peaks Brecon Beacons Ultra, where he tackled 14,900ft of elevation, finishing in 11 hours 16 minutes. Perhaps his biggest challenge of all was the 4 Deserts Namib Race, which was a 7-day, 250km trek across the desert, where he also ended up taking 3rd place in a time of 25 hours and 24 minutes.
The Self Transcendence 100k was ran on a 2.38km course on the North Inch Park in Perth by the banks of the River Tay. That meant completing 42 laps in order to rack up the distance required. It was as much a mental task as it was a physical one.
The real challenge of course is to have the endurance to keep going at the same pace throughout the entirety of the run. It’s so difficult to do though as longer the time goes on the more the fatigue begins to set in and the more the pain takes it’s toll.
Putting in a fantastic shift though, Ollie kept to a pace of just over 7 minutes per mile for the first 35 miles. That was an achievement in itself really. But there was still another 28.5 miles to go, which underlines the enormity of the task he was faced with.
His pace gradually began to wain a bit after that but he was still going pretty well considering the amount of mileage he already had on the clock.
He never went down to much below 8 minutes per mile though and once he reached the 60th mile he found the strength to pick the pace up again for the final 4.5 miles to finish in an incredible time of 7 hours 49 minutes and 38 seconds.
That put him in 11th place on the overall leader-board and made him the first non-national runner to cross the line. Of course, Ollie always has high expectations and would have loved to have gone sub 7:40 but he can most certainly feel proud of the effort he put in and the fantastic result he came away with.
Conditions on the day weren’t overly favourable either, with a tough crosswind on some sections of the course undoubtedly having an impact.
The winner of the race was Charlie Harpur of Mid Essex Casuals, who was representing England. He completed the course in a staggering time of 6 hours 44 minutes and 18 seconds, giving him a margin of 7 and a half minutes over the defending champion Rob Turner of Scotland.
Rob was the man who narrowly pipped Ant Clark to the post last year in that dramatic finale, eventually taking victory by a mere 7 seconds. Rob’s time in this year’s edition was 6:51:49, with his Scottish national teammate Kyle Greig taking 3rd in 6:54:42.
Taking 4th place in a time of 7:02:58, Kevin Rojas of Brighton & Hove AC was the next man over the line, with Ollie Garrod of South London Harriers wrapping up the team win for England in the Anglo Celtic Plate, completing the race in 7:09:37.
That put England’s total combined time for their top three at 20:56:54. The team of Rob Turner, Kyle Greig ang James Stewart who finished in 7:25:31 gave Scotland 2nd place with a total time of 21:12:03.
The women’s race was won by Sophie Mullins of Fife AC who was representing Scotland in a time of 8:03:39 which put her in 13th place overall. She was followed immediately by her club compatriot Morgan Windram, who finished in 8:21:36 putting her in 14th overall.
That of course gave Scotland the win in the Anglo Celtic Plate which is decided by the combined time of the top two women, which came out as 16:25:16.
Joanna Murphy, also of Scotland, was 3rd female and 15th overall, crossing the line in 8:28:01, with Lynne Allen, again of Scotland taking 4th and 17th overall with her time of 8:33:26.
Betty Bohane of Royston Runners came in as 5th lady and 18th overall in a time of 8:46:11 and Melissa Venables of Spa Striders reached the finish in a time of 8:5817 to come in as 7th female and 23rd overall. That gave England a combined time of 17:44:29.
Although he had to endure a lot of suffering along the way, it was definitely worth it for Ollie and he can feel safe in the knowledge that he gave it everything he’s got and that’s the most important thing.
He also matched up well in the face up such stiff competition, finishing ahead of many athletes who were representing their countries on the day so that will be a source of great encouragement for Ollie.
Who knows? Perhaps the England selectors may even have noticed him and marked him down as one to keep tabs on when considering their options for next years event.
The first Wessex track & field league match took place on Sunday 7th April in Winchester.
BAC had a very good turnout for the girl’s team and spirits were high and enthusiasm flowed throughout the day. Everyone put in their very best and the support they gave each other was tremendous! A very big thank you to the BAC officials who were there on the day and to all the parents for their support.
New Forest Juniors
Isle of Wight
The overall results didn’t really reflect the amazing individual achievements of the day. Of the 27 scoring events the girl’s team entered, we achieved a top three finish in 25 of them!
The U17 girls got 1st place in all 6 scoring events. The U13G did very well indeed, coming 3rd overall out of six teams. There were also 16 PBs!
Unfortunately we had a few gaps in events which makes a huge difference to the overall match score. So, we will try to have a full team sheet in all of the events for future matches and we’ll stand a very good chance.
Under 13 Girls
Sofina Sommerseth and Holly Stonier had great 100m runs with a PB for Holly, 13.70. Gaby Fisher-Wyatt and Amy Tonkyn ran in the 100m NS and both achieved PBs. Holly and Amy also both got PBs in the 200m; 29.9 and 29.10 respectively. Well done girls.
Darcy Hawkins and Ida Waring both came third in their 800m races; both ran very well. Erin Wells ran her first 1200m – she ran a very good race with a time of 4:25.30. Mariah Marshall also ran her first 1200m and despite a bad stitch pushed all the way to the end, not giving up.
Well done to Alice Phipp who ran her first 70m hurdles in 16.20.
Big congratulations to the U13G 4x100m relay team who came 1st – well done Holly, Amy, Gaby and Sofina.
Great results in the field as well with Sofina coming 1st in the long jump (4.01) and Gaby 2nd place (3.93). Brilliant jumping! Mariah and Alice came 2nd and 3rd respectively in Shot (5.75 and 4.07).Congratulations to Mariah who came 1st in javelin (13.75).
Under 15 Girls
Leah Sullivan ran a great 100m, 13.60, and so did Mia Armstrong – both girls getting third place in their races. Mia Armstrong and Freya Bradfield both got PBs in their 100m, 14.4 and 14.9; well done girls!
In the 200m Abigail Phillips ran a fantastic race and got a PB, 26.90. Abigail carried this on in the 300m where she flew in, achieving 1st place again with another PB of 42.7! Amy Doble also got a PB for the 200m, 29.50 – great run Amy! It was super to see Martha Preece running her first 800m of the season with a new PB of 2:34.90.
The U15G 4x100m relay team ran a very good race and came in 3rd place, well done to Abigail, Freya, Mia and Amy.
Over on the long jump, terrific jumping brought Leah Sullivan in first place with 4.91!
Under 17 Girls
It was a pleasure to watch, Amelia Verney and Brooke Ironside both achieve 1st place in their 100m races with Brooke getting a new PB of 12.10! After a rest, the same for the 200m, Brooke and Amelia ran superb races, both getting 1st place in their respective races. Fantastic girls!
The U17G 4x100m relay came flying in at 50.50 and 1st place! Well done Amelia, Leah, Brooke and Isabelle.
Lana Blake, 5.22, and Isabelle Franklin, 4.45, both won their long jump competitions with some tremendous jumping!
There were fantastic performances from the non-scoring athletes – well done to you all.
Alice Phipp LJ 3.22, Ida Waring 200m 31.4, Mia Armstrong 200m 29.9 PB, Freya Bradfield 200m 30.0 PB, Imogen Gent 800m 2:57.1, Lana Blake 100m 12.9, Isabelle Franklin 100m 13.4, Amy Tonkyn 100m 14.3 PB, Gaby Fisher-Wyatt 100m 15.5 PB, Freya Bradfield 100m 14.9 PB
It was a really good day, everyone should be very proud of themselves. Hopeful that more athletes, with the support of their parents or guardians, will participate in the future Wessex league competitions and we can up our overall match score.
Certainly no stranger to the three-day eventing formula, Andy Gillespie was up to his old tricks again, this time taking on the Jurassic Coast Challenge, which meant taking on three marathons in three days.
Although he’s well aware of how demanding these events are and has the experience and knowhow to get the job done, that doesn’t make it easy for Andy and he still knows he’s going to have to dig deep to get the job done.
His record of completing marathons is impeccable though and he’d managed to successfully complete every single one of the 92 marathons he’d attempted before this year’s JCC.
Last year Andy conquered both the Devon Coast Challenge and the Atlantic Coast Challenge as well as the Jurassic Coast Challenge so he knew only too well the enormity of the task that lay ahead.
Despite all of his experience though, he still has to go through his fair share of trials and tribulations, just like any other marathon runner. The first day of the JCC turned out to be a struggle for Andy. It was one of those days when he wasn’t really feeling on form but just had to do his best to tough it out and get through it.
The routes for Day 1 and Day 2 had been swapped around this year, due to another event taking place at Lulworth on the Saturday. That meant Friday was the Weymouth to Lulworth leg, via Portland.
It started in the beach carpark on the road that crosses to Portland. The first checkpoint was at the lighthouse around 6 miles in and Andy felt okay at that point and was comfortable. Arriving in a time of 54 minutes and 8 seconds, Andy was sitting in 88th place at that time, out of 188 who started the event.
The route followed the coast path around the back of the prison and down pass the Olympic rings and back to the second checkpoint at the event HQ, which was at the Portland sailing academy. That was about 12 miles in and Andy arrived in a time of 2:11:37, which had moved him up to 80th position.
From there you make your way into Weymouth and to one of the parts of the course that really irritate Andy as some people like to cut corners. That of course is not in the spirit of the event and is something that will be addressed in the future as the organisers were in fact trialing a GPS system which records each persons route.
Andy tends to find he has a bit of trouble not telling people when I sees the cheating going on. The route actually went around the fort and back over the estuary bridge before heading round the theatre where the Weymouth 10 mile race starts off from.
You then have the couple of miles along the seafront before you head out to Osmington. It was around this point that it started to go wrong for Andy. His energy levels seemed to deplete rapidly and he felt a little sick at times, which is rare for him.
Arriving at the third checkpoint in a time of 4:08:55, Andy was now in 84th place. He couldn’t really get any food down at this point though so struggled through the six miles over to Lulworth.
He ended up walking a fair bit over the roller coaster at Durdle and really didn’t think he could carry on at this point. Reaching the end of the first marathon in 5:55:28, he was languishing in 87th place and was feeling really down in the dumps. He was, however, told to “man up. You’re only doing marathons” by someone on Strava and that comment seemed to resonate with Andy.
That evening he did manage to eat and drink a fair bit after a nice hot shower and got a good night’s sleep in. As they had a longer transfer to the original day 1 start at Charmouth the next day, Andy was put into group 2, the faster run group. Yes, you did read that right!! That meant he didn’t start running until nearly 11:00 so had a longer recovery time.
The first five miles on day 2 included over 1800 feet of climb and included Golden Cap, so Andy’s strategy was to get past this bit in one piece and then try to pick it up later. This seemed to work well and he even went across the gravel beaches with no bother.
Arriving at the first checkpoint in 1:47:41, Andy was in 91st place. He had then moved up to 87th by the time he reached the second checkpoint, clocking in at 3:31:25.
By the third checkpoint, he was up to 83rd place, coming in in a time of 4:42:34, before finishing strongly to register a time of 6:36:23, which put him in 79th place on the day. Other than one blister under his big toe nail, he was now in pretty good nick and was confident he could finish the event after all.
Although he was scheduled to go with the second group again for day 3, Andy managed to sneak onto the group 1 bus. He then started at the back of the group heading out from Lulworth Cove. The final destination was the ferry at Studland. The weather was fantastic which did wonders to help Andy’s spirits.
Again it was particularly hilly from the start with all the lumps and bumps that the coastal path has to offer. The first checkpoint was at Kimmeridge where Andy arrived in 1:39:21, putting him in 89th place. The route then we headed inland to Kingston before picking the coastal path up again just before the steps at St Aldhelms Head.
The second check point on day 3 was at the coast guard station and to to Andy that signaled the start of the run home. He arrived in 3:15:47, putting him in 80th place on the day.
Although very tired, he enjoyed the run into Swanage and it was along this section that he was caught by Jon Sharkey, who had entered for Day 3 only. He was a clear leader and running really well and he did make me feel a little slow, but of course, Jon is a tad younger.
Sharkey rolled back the years and romped home to seal a brilliant victory, crossing the line in 4:17:44, which was a very pleasing result for him. That gave him an advantage of over 6 minutes on his nearest rival, who was Kevin Price.
Once in Swanage and through checkpoint 3, where he clocked in at 4:56:11, putting him in 79th place, it was over Old Harry to Studland.
VOtwo have a reputation to keep up and you have to run the full length of the beach just to make sure that you use up any left over energy. Andy reached the finish in 6:40:58, which put him 78th on the day.
Over all, the entire JCC run amounted to 83.9 miles, with Andy chalking up a total combined time of 19 hours 12 minutes and 49 seconds, which put him in 68th place overall.
That was 43 minutes quicker than last year, which was a bonus for Andy considering how he felt at the end of day one. That’s now 95 marathons down for Andy as he edges ever closer to the magic 100.
The overall winner of the three days combined was Robert Laing of Kent AC who finished in a time of 12:56:08, giving him a winning margin of almost 5 minutes over Ammon Peipgrass of Harpenden Arrows who was 2nd in a time of 13:01:28.
The first lady in the overall standings was Abigail Jones of Poole AC who finished with a total combined time of 15:34:36, putting her in 10th place on the leader-board.
That gave her a winning margin of just over 9 minutes over Maria Parnham who was 2nd lady, finishing with a total combined time of 15:43:55 to take 11th on the overall standings.