Returning for 2019 with a set of three new routes, the Maverick inov-8 Original Dorset provided something for anyone to get their teeth into, with the Wilkswood Farm as the designated HQ this time round.
The route heads out toward to rugged Jurassic coastline with it’s spectacular views over the cliff edges that truly take your breath away. I suppose you could argue that the elevation along coastline takes your breath away as well though, but that all goes toward making it a challenging but ultimately rewarding and memorable run.
The contestants had a choice of three different distances. The ‘Short’ route, which was 7km; the ‘Middle’ route, which was 16km; and the ‘Long’ route consisting of 24km.
Having these new routes to follow made for an exciting prospect for the three Bournemouth AC members who were present at the event. That was of course, with the provision that they were successfully able to follow the designated routes though.
Bournemouth AC runners have had some difficulties in these types of trail races on previous occasions, often because they’ve been too quick to allow the marshals time to get to their posts. Unfortunately, the Maverick inov-8 Original Dorset event for 2019 did not go off without incident either.
Thankfully it wasn’t Jacek Cieluszecki who went wrong this time though. He’d opted for the ‘Short’ distance race and with the first mile being largely uphill, it wasn’t long before he assumed the lead, powering up the incline at a rate that most people would struggle to go at on the flat.
After the first mile the route levelled out a bit before a long downhill section between miles two and three. Then on the third mile it was up a very steep incline before coming gradually back down towards the finish from mile four onwards.
As we’ve come to expect lately, Jacek bossed the race and there was no one else able to live his the pace he was setting. Reaching the finish line in a blistering time of 32:11, he’d come out with an average pace of 6:12 minutes per mile for the 5 mile course. That was despite the 700ft of elevation.
The only man who could get near him was Andy Blow, who huffed and puffed but just could dislodge the Polish protagonist. Andy steamed in to take second place though in a time of 33:03.
Little did they know, all the action was going on behind Jacek and Andy. That involved another Bournemouth AC member in Chris Phelan-Heath.
After the first three miles, he was sitting comfortably in third place. Unfortunately for him though, he was about to take a wrong turn that would prove very costly.
It turned out that a marshal who was meant to move to the spot he went wrong on was still waiting for the last few backmarkers to go through on his first station so he hadn’t yet moved to the post he was meant to be at when the lead runners came along.
Ending up way off-track, Chris had a resort to the old boy scout method of using the sun to try and navigate his way to the finish. In the end he did manage to find his way back but he’d ended up running an additional 3k which didn’t do his position in the overall standings any good.
Despite the detour, he arrived at the finish in a time of 43:15, which would have still put him in 15th place. To make matters worse, the race organisers then seemed to disqualify Chris for not following the official race route!!
It was a shame as it had all started so well for Chris but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It just wasn’t to be for him on this occasion. As a gesture of goodwill though, they did offer him an entry into the Dorset Dark Race, so that at least goes some way toward compensating him for the disappointing mishap.
Meanwhile, in the ‘Middle’ distance race, Georgia Wood was flying the flag for BAC – and she certainly did that well, finishing in an incredible third place overall.
Her time for the 16km route was 1:16:12 and of course won her first prize in the women’s race. It was a cracking run from Georgia and a very positive indication of what great form she was in leading up to the Edinburgh Half Marathon which was her target race.
The field contained 213 people in total, 102 of which were women. To finish so high up was a terrific achievement from Georgia.
As he often seems to in local races, James Phillips picked up the win in the ‘Middle’ distance race, finishing in a time of 1:09:02. That was over six-and-a-half minutes ahead of Petar Minev who crossed the line in second place in 1:15:38.
Georgia’s nearest rival in the women’s race was Danielle Shrosbee who finished in a time of 1:25:10, so that was a gap of nine minutes, making it a very comprehensive victory for Georgia.
The ‘Long’ distance race was won by Chris Southern, who completed the 24km in 1:56:27. He was followed by James Dennis who crossed the line in 2:05:42 and Tom Clancy who finished in 2:05:53.
The first lady in that race was Emily Lillywhite-Iredale who came in at 2:12:57. She was followed by Sophie Parsons who reached the line in 2:22:50.
The lure of the Lymington Lifeboat 10k has proved a temptation too good to resist for some Bournemouth AC members over the past few years. In fact, Steve Parsons and his wife Roz, along with their three children, have now taken part in the event for three years in a row.
Also entering the race for the third consecutive year, Pawel Surowiec was once again in action and looking to see if he could improve on the 42:18 and 42:19 times he’d posted at the event thus far.
Alex Goulding was injured throughout most of last year so missed out on the 2018 edition of the Lymington Lifeboat 10k. He was there in 2017 and 2016 though and his best time on the course so far was a sensational 35:40.
Since returning from injury he hasn’t quite managed to get back to his scintillating best yet though so a similar time to that wasn’t on the cards this time round. He was still hoping to come away with a decent time though that would be another step in the right direction.
It was the 18th year running for the Lymington Lifeboat 10k and, although the course is multi-terrain, with much of the route on grass, it is very flat so does lend itself to a fast time in the right conditions.
Sadly for Steve, it wasn’t to be his day. His energy levels just simply weren’t there and he struggled to reach anything close to the sort of times he’d normally expect in a 10k race.
Last November at the Boscombe 10k, he whipped round in 43:18 to set a fantastic new PB but he’s currently some way off that form. In the end he registered a somewhat disappointing time of 52:40 at Lymington this time round, although he wasn’t expecting to run well anyway so it wasn’t a huge surprise.
That put him in 360th place in the overall standings. He got round though and that was his only real goal on the day, so in that sense, it was mission accomplished.
As for his wife Roz, she ran her first ever 10k race at Lymington two years ago, finishing in a time of 1:06:52. Last year she improved on that by nearly two minutes, finishing in 1:04:59.
This time she performed even better, knocking a full two-and-a-half minutes off her 2018 time, completing the course in 1:02:29. That was an excellent result for Roz who currently seems to be improving with each race she does. She finished in 753rd place overall.
Beating his time from last year by 15 seconds, Pawel arrived at the finish line in 42:03, putting him in 60th place. He was a bit disappointed with that though as he had been hoping for something close to 40 or 41 minutes but it wasn’t to be on this occasion.
He’d raced pretty hard though, especially over the latter stages where he found himself embroiled in a battle with three other guys. That culminated in him completing the last kilometre in 3:30.
After that he was exhausted and found himself dropping off to sleep shortly after as he was sitting on the ground resting up against the main building.
Securing a good top-ten finish, Alex cruised across the line in 36:49, which put him in 9th place overall. Most people would consider that to be a fantastic result but Alex knows he’s capable of so much better.
At the peak of his powers, back in 2017, he was getting in the low 35s. He seems to have rediscovered his form in training again and is able to display a similar turn of pace to what he had before but at the moment it isn’t translating to races.
It may just be the speed endurance that he’s lacking, particularly when going over the 5k distance that he’s currently most used to running. It wasn’t a complete disaster though and he was looking to see further improvement at the May 5 league race the following weekend.
The Lymington Lifeboat 10k for 2019 was won by James Phillips, who finished in a time of 33:14. He was followed by Adam Jundi, who was second in 33:52 and Hugh Mackenzie in third with 34:08.
Fourth position went to Alastair Pickburn of New Forest Runners, who clocked a time of 35:34, with his clubmate Robin Copestick taking fifth place in a time of 36:40.
The top lady was Sophie Bubb of Lymington Triathlon Club. She finished 19th overall, crossing the line in a time of 38:36. She was followed by Jessie Lutwyche who finished in 39:32 to take 27th place overall.
The prize for third female went to Gemma Russhard who completed the course in a time of 40:28, putting her 39th overall. A total of 1,011 runners successfully completed the course on the day.
An extended course length of 27.2 miles… Numerous long, steep climbs with the elevation gain reaching 1,169 metres… Many gates and stiles to negotiate… Some difficult hillsides to traverse… That might sound like hell to most people, but to Kirsty Drewett, it was her idea of heaven.
In running terms, Kirsty tends to be of the more adventurous persuasion. She’d only completed one marathon before in her running history prior to the Hellstone and that was the Purbeck Running Festival Marathon – not an easy one to negotiate for your first attempt.
She loves a challenging course though and often looks for events that she feels will push her to the limit. The Hellstone Marathon certainly fell into that category.
Making a spontaneous, last minute entry just under a week before the event was scheduled to take place, Kirsty had well and truly jumped in the deep end.
Ever since she did the Dorset Ooser Half Marathon, the sister event to the Hellstone which is also organised by Badger Trail Events, the idea of doing this inaugural event had appealed to her. And after plucking up the courage and taking the plunge to enter the Hellstone Marathon – it didn’t disappoint.
The race HQ was the cricket ground at Little Bredy and with the weather turning out to be fabulous on the day, Kirsty couldn’t help but be excited about what was ahead.
The fact it was quite small, low key event gave it an added charm and made for a great atmosphere at the start.
The race started from the cricket field next to Brinehead House and the route headed straight uphill from the word go. It then followed windblown hilltops, farm tracks, small footpaths, bridleways and steep fields, both up and down.
It took the runners past ancient stones, a forgotten chapel and a wishing well and was virtually all off-road with constant undulations.
For the first third of the race Kirsty felt a bit warm and was anxious about whether she’d be able to get through it in those conditions. Thankfully though, the sun went in and the breeze picked up as she hit the ridgeways. It was still a lovely bright day though and that suited Kirsty just fine.
The route had everything. Fields, ridgeways, villages, farms, monuments, styles, gates, views over to Portland and beautiful woodlands. It was good to run on for the most part as well, aside from a couple of patches of flatter sections with quite long grass that required you to actually pick your feet up!!
Finding herself running at a similar pace and using a similar race strategy as another lady she found around 8 miles in, Kirsty and her newfound running buddy trundled on together.
They chatted away as the miles went by and Kirsty began to feel much stronger than she’d expected. They seemed to be making their way steadily through the field as well.
From miles 22 to 24 though, it started to become tough going for Kirsty and she realised she hadn’t been taking in her fuel. Since she had been flagging the past couple of miles, her running buddy pushed on.
After stopping off for a short break at the aid station at 24.5 miles, Kirsty was soon on her way again and at the top of that hill, she got her energy back and managed to find her rhythm again.
Finishing really strongly, she gave it everything she had from that point on. She perhaps should have realised it was going to be slightly further than the official marathon distance, given that the aid station was so late on.
The last long descent was challenging on weary and tired legs but Kirsty made it and she was thrilled to put in such a good effort. Sadly, she was outside the five hour mark again, just as she was at the Pubeck Marathon last summer.
Crossing the line in a time of 5 hours and 58 seconds, Kirsty finished in 38th place overall out of 134 competitors and even more impressively, she was 7th placed female put of 50.
Covering 27.23 miles in total, she’d wracked up an elevation gain of 3,120ft and finished with an average pace of 11.07 minutes per mile.
The winner of the race was Adam Slater of Bridport Runners, who finished in a time of 3 hours 46 minutes and 18 seconds. Tracy Cook of Dorset Doddlers was first female and second overall, completing the course in a time of 3:47:08.
Mark Bennett of Egdon Heath Harriers took third place in 3:55:19, with Steve Reading the only other person to finish inside four hours, clocking a time of 3:59:06.
The atmosphere at the end of the race was memorable, with everyone lounging around the village enjoying a mug of steaming coffee and consuming their fair share from the vast array of cakes on offer.
The organisation of the race had been excellent from start to finish and the aid stations were stacked, the marshals were incredibly kind and the signage was perfect. It was a fabulous event all round and one that Kirsty is most definitely keen to do again.
Usually one might head to Glastonbury for a week of festival fun and frolics; camping out in a muddy field each night in order to see their favourite bands or artists take to the stage and perform for the masses.
For Julian Oxborough though, there wasn’t so much as a can of cider in sight. He had a very different reason to visit the location as he was taking part in the “Round the Tor 10k” at the Glastonbury Road Run event.
After being unable to race in the last couple of events he`d signed up for due to illness, Julian was ready and raring to go this time out and was looking forward to getting out there and seeing how he would fare.
The Glastonbury Road Run event featured a 5k, a 3k and a 1 mile fun run for the junior school kids in the area, as well as the 10k race that Julian was participating in.
The “Round the Tor 10k” is also part of the Somerset Road Race Series. Although it’s quite a competitive event in spirit, there is also a fancy dress competition sponsored by local newspaper the Mid-Somerset News.
The original Glastonbury Road Run was held over a 5.69 mile course around Glastonbury Tor in 1981 and races have been held on an annual basis ever since, with the exception of 2004 when the race was cancelled due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak.
The 10k road race is now the largest of its kind in Somerset, with approximately 800 people taking part. The route is mostly across undulating, rural roads around the ancient and mysterious Isle of Avalon.
It predominantly follows the original 1981 route, starting and finishing near the alleged burial place of King Arthur within the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey.
One of the things Julian noticed at the start of the race was that there were a lot of Millfield students there, all wearing different t-shirts. There were hundreds of them.
Millfield is the local private school and it turns out that each Millfield boarder has to take part in one of the races. More than likely there are house points up for grabs, as well as personal glory.
Many of those who featured in the 10k race ended up getting carried away and starting too fast in an attempt to keep up with the elite club runners. That was something they would pay for later as the race progressed.
From the start point, Julian and the rest of the 10k competitors headed down through the high street and past the finish before heading out into the countryside.
The support along the way was fantastic, with the streets in town being lined with people, three rows deep. That atmosphere was electric. The route then progressed onto a large loop around the Tor.
Julian`s target was really just to use the race as a training run as he works toward the Heron Half Marathon in June. He started off at a good steady pace but wanted to ensure he didn`t burn himself out. He knew it was quite a tough course so it was not a day to be hunting for a PB.
With each mile that he completed, Julian felt brilliant and increasingly strong. Reaching the 5k point in 35 minutes it was going well, especially since it was on such a hilly course.
At the half way stage there was a water station where they were blasting out loud music. Julian found that quite motivating and it encouraged him to push even more.
As he reached the 9k point, he arrived at the Glastonbury equivalent of ‘Heartbreak Hill’ and it was immensely tough. Luckily there was some support there which helped Julian get through it.
Then at 9.5k there was a photo-shoot, which certainly wasn’t an ideal stage in the race to have it. That was followed by a long, downhill stretch to the finish, where the support was again magnificent.
It was the best finish sector he’d ever seen for a local race, with rapturous cheering all the way. Crossing the line in a time of 1:14:44, Julian finished in 554th place and was 64th in the M50 category.
He was really pleased with that result as he’d been targeting a time of 74 minutes. In terms of placings, he was just glad not to finish last and in fact, he came in ahead of 14 other runners so that was a bonus.
The run should serve to give Julian some good confidence for his forthcoming half marathon and if he can show similar form to what he did in this 10k, he should be absolutely fine.
When you think of the world’s greatest car chases, the ones that spring to mind most tend to be from movies. There’s the Fast and the Furious dynasty for example, with it’s ever impressive array of snazzy sports cars. Or there’s been many a classic scene involving the iconic silver Aston Martin driven by everyone’s favourite smooth talking, Secret Service spy, James Bond.
Those of a certain age might also remember Luke and Bo in the General Lee, desperately trying to escape the clutches of Boss Hogg and Rosco in the Dukes of Hazzard. Then there was David Hasselhoff and Kit, his talking car, in Knight Rider. And who can forget the famous black van with a red stripe that harboured the A-Team as they consistently outwitted Colonel Decker and his cronies.
They’ve all provided some exhilarating car chases that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. How about we throw a curveball into the mix though? What about the Catcher Car off of Wings for Life World Run rolling after Bournemouth AC‘s resident chase evader Jacek Cieluszecki.
Before 2019’s big showdown, it was two years in the row that JC had ended proceedings as the last man standing in his particular location, meaning he was the one who managed to cover the furthest distance before being eventually caught by the Catcher Car.
It was becoming a bit of a speciality for Jacek. Last year he claimed victory in Melbourne, Australia, where the run happened at night time. Armed with only a head torch and a few gels, Jacek ran for a total of 4 hours and 28 minutes before being stopped, covering a distance of 67.3km (41.8 miles). That was 8th furthest in the whole world that day out of 102,862 people.
The previous year he won at Cambridge in England, narrowly edging out fellow Dorset runner Iain Trickett. Despite being chased by Formula One Grand Prix legend David Coulthard, Jacek managed 68.8km (42.75 miles) that day, running for 4 hours 32 minutes. That put him 12th in the world out of over 86,000 people.
Following up those achievements was always going to tough for Jacek but of course, being a winner in one of the organised location runs, he had free rein of whereabouts in the world he wanted to go for his next one. His choice was Sunrise, Florida.
Of course, that gave him and his wife Ela the opportunity to take a vacation in Miami, which was certainly one huge carrot for selecting that location.
On the flip side though, the sweltering heat was liable to make it difficult for all the runners, with temperatures soaring and humidity levels extremely high.
Jacek went out for a short, pre-race jog the day before and it was then that it dawned on him how hot it is. It reminded him of those hot, sticky days we have at the height of summer in the UK.
The level of competition at Sunrise was also looking like it was going to be higher, with the 2019 race attracting several other 2018 winners including fellow Pole Dariusz Nożyński, who was victorious in Poznan, Poland; Karl Aumayr of Austria, who won in Zadar, Croatia and Kleis Mikkel from Denmark, who raced in Aarhus, Denmark.
In a way it was like some of the cream of the crop from last year, coming together to fight it out in the ultimate showdown. Jacek knew he would have his work cut off if he wanted to emerge as the last man standing this time round.
When the gun went off the mark the start of the Wings for Life World Run for 2019, not just in Florida, but in simultaneous locations all around the world, it was Dariusz who assumed the initiative at Sunrise.
Starting off at what appeared to be well under 6 minutes per mile, Dariusz quickly built up a huge gap over the rest of the field. Jacek was in around 6th position in the early stages.
Going at around 6:20 pace for the first 19 miles or so, JC gradually moved up the field until he was in 2nd place. He felt pretty good up to that point. It started to become tough going from then onwards and Jacek’s pace dropped a bit.
The route of the run had taken him onto a lane next to the motorway, with no trees or any kind of shelter from the bludgeoning sun. It was just a long, straight path, with the intense heat sapping away the energy levels.
Despite the treacherous conditions, Jacek demonstrated great spirit to carry on at a pace that was still tremendously quick given that he was going to be surpassing marathon distance quite considerably.
The gap between Jacek and Dariusz was reducing slowly but the advantage he’d taken towards the beginning of the race proved too much in the end.
It turned out to be a Polish invasion of domination in Florida as Wioletta Paduszynska finally got caught by the Catcher Car, taking her place as 1st placed female. Incredibly, she’d finished in 5th place overall at Sunrise. Her distance of 40.49 km put in 27th place in world standings.
American Scott Russell was next to be hunted down the Catcher Car, wracking up a total of 41.67 km. That left just three remaining in the race and they were all previous champions from 2018.
The Dane Mikkel Kleis was in 3rd place and he reached 46.94 km before he was eventually reeled in and eliminated. The left just Jacek and Dariusz out on the course.
There was still a gap of over two kilometres between them though when Jacek was finally met his fate. He’d covered an incredible 48.81 km (30.33 miles) and had been running for 3 hours and 25 minutes.
It wasn’t as much as he’d managed in previous years but the speed of the Catcher Car had changed with the regularity of the increases being cranked up. That meant the results were not comparable to previous years.
To be fair though, even if the Catcher Car had gone along at the same pace, with the conditions as they were, Jacek would have been highly unlikely to have reached anything close the distances he did at Melbourne and Cambridge.
Picking up a tremendous victory at Sunrise, Dariusz managed 51.10 km (31.75 miles) before he was finally caught by the Catcher Car, bringing the race in Florida to an end.
With the conditions as they were in Florida, that did not lend itself to the front runners at Sunrise matching up well against others from around the world. It was simply just so much tougher than in most other locations.
In spite of that though, Jacek had still finished in the top 100 in the world, taking 90th place. Although he was a outright winner at Sunrise, which is one of the most popular locations worldwide, Dariusz only finished 60th in the world, which speaks volumes about how difficult it was in that kind of climate.
It was an enthralling race between the main contenders from around the world though, the Ivan Motorin of Russia eventually running out the global winner. He was running at Izmir in Turkey and covered a grand total of 64.37 km (40 miles).
That was enough to see off competition from the German pair David Schönherr and Florian Neuschwander who were having a great battle for supremacy in Munich.
Schonherr took 2nd in the global rankings, managing 62.88 km with Neuschwander close behind in 3rd with 61.59 km. Two of the pre-race favourites Andreas Straßner and Luis Barboza, both running in Rio de Janeiro finished in 4th and 5th, with Straßner wracking up[ 61.25 km and Barboza 59.93 km.
In fact, it was a double whammy for Russia as Nina Zarina took the women’s global title, running in Zug in Switzerland. She finished with a total of 53.72 km, ahead of Polish lady Dominika Stelmach who was running in Rio (53.46 km) and Nikolina Šustić Stanković of Croatia (52.97 km) who was running in Munich.
Although he had to settle for 2nd place on this occasion, which he doesn’t normally have to do, Jacek had every reason to pleased and proud of his efforts. With an average pace of 6:44 for the 30.33 miles he covered, it was still a mightily impressive run in conditions that are simply not conducive to running those kind of distances.
There were 2,320 runners taking part in the event at Sunrise, Florida, this year. Jacek’s wife Ela also ran, covering 20.45 km (12.71 miles) before being eliminated. She finished 236th at Sunrise and was 62nd female. Globally, she was ranked as 2,416th female.
The Wings for Life World Run is fast becoming the biggest mass participation sporting event in the world. This year over 82,000 people took part and the best thing about it is that it is so inclusive. Anyone can take part, whether running, walking or in a wheelchair.
You can even get the app and run on your own, being chased by a virtual Catcher Car that goes at the exact same pace is all the physical Catcher Cars. Every single result is counted in he global rankings.
It’s a charity event as well and all the proceeds go to Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation. They then use the money to help develop ways to enable people with spinal cord injuries or disabilities to walk again, or perhaps even walk for the first time.
With the race scheduled for the weekend after the London Marathon this year, it was always going to be difficult ask for Bournemouth AC skipper Rich Nelson to get a team together for the North Dorset Village Marathon.
At one stage it looked like they might have five for the men’s league but when Tom Paskins was forced to pull out of the race and give his number up it became evident that it wasn’t going to happen this year.
Because the Dorset Road Race League is done on a best 7 of 12 basis though, you can afford not to field a team for a couple of the races so from a BAC perspective, this one was a write-off.
There were however, still some individual goals to be accomplished from Bournemouth AC members at the NDVM. At the ripe old age of 72, Ian Graham was taking on his first marathon since 2013.
He’d been eyeing up the fastest marathon time in Britain by an over 70 this year and was considering having a go at beating it.
Competing in his first marathon since becoming a proper runner, Matt du Cros entering new territory. He had done the marathon at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival back in 2016 and 2014 but he wasn’t really running much in those days so this one was going to be a completely different prospect.
For the 2019 season, Matt has set himself the target of doing all 12 of the Dorset Road Race League fixtures. That of course meant that he’d have to do North Dorset.
He hadn’t really trained for it at all though and had been on holiday in Chile for three weeks in the build up to the race so his preparation was less than ideal. He still had to give it a go though so he laced up his trainers and headed over to start line. What was the worst that could happen?
The last time Helen Ambrosen competed in a marathon was back in 2016 so it was a big step for her to take on the NVDM. In fairness though, she’d really done her homework for it, banging out some terrific long, hilly runs over at the Purbeck in the build up to the race.
When the day of the race came along, she felt fit and strong and was confident she could do well with the solid block of training she had behind her.
One man who, by contrast, had done a lot of marathons over recent times was Andy Gillespie. He was now on his 96th marathon and countdown toward the 100 Marathon Club was nearing its conclusion.
Completing the Jurassic Coast Challenge at the end of March, Andy already had three consecutive marathons to his name this year and was set to add another three at the Devon Coast Challenge the week after North Dorset.
If he managed to complete all those he’d be on 99 marathons, so would be within touching distance of the century. First thing was first though, and that was to get through the NVDM and he needed to do so unscathed.
Before the NDVM, Matt du Cros’s best marathon time was 4 hours 31 so he knew, barring a complete disaster, he would beat that. Since then, he’d become a very accomplished runner, improving massively over the past couple of years.
The conditions were a lot better than they were the previous year, when the runners had to battle scorching hot sunshine that made it a very uncomfortable and energy sapping process for most of them. This time round it was an overcast day though with a much cooler temperature making the run a bit more manageable.
Despite his lack of training, Matt paced the race like a true pro, starting out at around 7:50 pace and using that as a benchmark for the vast majority of the race.
Most of his miles were done at between 7:50 and 8:10 minutes per mile, depending on how much incline there was. Once he got over the hill that went from mile 19 to mile 20, he began to really kick on over the last 10k.
At that point he was feeling really strong and his pace went up to between 7:30 and 7:50 for remainder of the race. It was a perfectly executed run from Matt and he crossed the line in 49th place, with a time of 3:28:27.
It was certainly an effort to be proud of from Matt and underlined what tremendous promise he has. If he was to enter another marathon and go in with a proper block of training behind him, he could no doubt produce something magnificent.
The next Bournemouth AC member to arrive at the line was Helen Ambrosen who had a superb run to finish first in her age category, although she doesn’t like to mention which age category that is!
She ran her first mile at 9:10 pace, although that was mostly uphill. She then settled in to pace of between 8:40 and 8:50 pace for the next seven miles, except for mile 3 which was mostly downhill so she went a little faster.
For the next four miles she went at around 9 minutes per mile before upping the pace to around 8:50 for next six miles. That took her to the hilly miles of 19, 20 and 21, where she managed to stay between 9 and 9:15 pace.
Then she was back at just under 9 minutes per mile for the last five miles to cross the line in 87th place with a stunning time of 3:54:09. Her average pace for the run was 8:54 and she had managed to stay remarkably consistent throughout the run.
It was great to see that all her hard training had paid off and she had really begun to flourish again as a result. She came in as 12th placed female on the day and was extremely pleased with her performance.
After his four races in four days over the Easter break, Ian Graham could have been forgiven for feeling a little jaded but he took the bull by the horns and turned in a terrific display to cross the line in 118th place.
With a time of 4:14:35, Ian had to settle for second place in the male over 70 category in the end as Peter Kirby of Teignbridge Trotters took the age group win, clocking a time of 4:10:34 which put him in 111th overall.
Unfortunately for him, Andy Gillespie’s run did not go according to plan. He started off at around 8:45 pace for the first eight miles. Then with the hills over the next couple of miles his speed then dropped a little.
He never really seemed to get it back onto his earlier pace after that though and by the half way point in the race he’d begun to really struggle.
The rest of the race was a real battle for Andy. Mentally he was shot and just didn’t want to be there. Nevertheless though, Andy has never given up on any of his previous 95 marathons and he wasn’t about to let that record slip.
Soldiering on to the line, Andy completed the course in a time of 4:23:38 putting him in 131st place. Whilst it wasn’t the run he was looking for, it did bring him one step closer to the magic 100 so despite his disappointment with the performance, that was still a positive.
As he shuffled back to the car, he was given a massive bacon roll and that made him feel slightly better about the situation. Life wasn’t so bad after all.
He knew he’d soon have a chance to redeem himself as well as he was set to take on the Devon Coast Challenge the following weekend, where he would look to complete a further three marathons.
The race was won by Richard Swindlehurst of Poole AC who finished in a time of 2:46:59. Poole AC had also failed to get a team of five men together though, leaving it open for Egdon Heath Harriers to pick up the points.
They duly did that possessing four of the first six finishers, with Simon Arthur taking 2nd in 2:50:05, Ian Middlebrook in 4th with 2:52:02, Graham Sherwin in 5th with 2:52:19 and Bruce Campbell 6th in 2:52:42. Roy Brown of Maverick Runners took 3rd place in a time of 2:50:17.
The first female was Eleanor Bedwell of Clapham Chasers who finished in a time of 3:32:27, just pipping Paula Barker of Poole Runners to the post by 18 seconds. Eleanor was 53rd overall and Paula was 54th.
Heather Khoshnevis and Louise Austin of Littledown Harriers were third and fourth ladies, finishing in 3:38:30 and 3:38:48 respectively. Littledown ran out winners of the women’s team competition, with Poole Runners in second and Dorset Doddlers third.
In terms of the overall league positions, Bournemouth AC still topped the Men’s First Division table with two wins, a second and a fourth but Egdon Heath Harriers had edged closer to them with that win, giving them one win, two seconds and a fourth. Poole AC were in third with one win, a third and two fifth place finishes.
In the Women’s First Division, Egdon Heath Harriers retained top spot with a first, a second, a third and a fourth place finish. Poole Runners were second with a first and three second place finishes. Bournemouth AC are currently sitting in third with one win, one third, one fourth and one fifth place finish.
A top five finish in the 53-mile, mostly off-road, demonstrably demanding trek along the West Highland Way would be enough for most runners to be satisfied with that result and move onto something perhaps a little lighter on the legs for their next challenge.
Not Toby Chapman though. He was determined to return to the Highland Fling fitter, faster and fiercer than ever before to have another tilt at the toughest trail race north of the border.
His training had included some huge weeks of up to 145 miles and over 10,000ft of elevation. He proved more than willing to put the work in in order to arrive at Milngavie in the best possible shape he could be and was leaving nothing to chance.
Finding the time to fit in a couple of local races in his heavy training routine, Toby had set a course record at the Humdinger Half Marathon in February with an impressive time of 1:17:25.
Earlier on in April he also won the Taunton Marathon for the second year in a row improving on his time from the previous year by over a minute coming in at 3:39:51. That was in the midst of a pretty big week of training as well so it was a good sign that he was still able to turn it on despite the fatigue.
Having done the Highland Fling last year though, Toby knew only too well how difficult it was and how much strength, stamina and commitment to the cause it was going to require.
The course runs through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Nation Park and incorporates 7,500ft (2,300m) of climbing and 6,900ft (2,100m) of descent.
This year the weather conditions made the task ahead even tougher for the competitors with heavy downpours continuing throughout most of the day.
Toby’s time in the 2018 event was 7 hours 57 minutes and 50 seconds and he was confident that he could do it a fair bit quicker this time round.
The first four miles of the race are uphill. Toby started out at 7:26 pace for the first mile which included quite a steep incline. He then went at 7 minutes per mile for the next three miles before hitting a nice downhill section for the next two miles where he got to stretch out a bit.
By the time they reached the first checkpoint though, at Beechtree, John Hammond of Carnethy, a club in Scotland, had already stolen a march on Toby. Toby was running with Sam Humphrey of Victoria Park Harriers, Marco Consani of Garscube Harriers and David McLure of Kilmarnock.
Somehow John had managed to establish an advantage of over four minutes on Toby and Sam by the time he got to that first checkpoint. Clocking in at 46:16, John now had a commanding lead to defend. Toby and Sam were next to arrive in 50:33 and 50:36 respectively.
Next it was on to checkpoint 2 which was a Drymen, 12.6 miles in. John clocked in in 1:19:22. He’d extended his lead by a further two minutes by that point, putting him over 6 minutes ahead of Toby, Sam and Marco who came in at 1:25:30.
It was then time for the athletes to be tested over some tough inclines on the way up to the highest point of the race. Then after a sharp climb to the top on mile 18, it was then a huge descent down to Balmaha where the next checkpoint was positioned.
Reaching the checkpoint in 2:14:34, John now had a lead of 6-and-a-half minutes over Toby and Sam who were the next to arrive in 2 hours 20 minutes. They had a 1-and-a-half minute advantage over Stuart Paterson of Carnegie Harriers who had moved up to 4th.
The next 7 miles included some short sharp climbs before they reached the fourth checkpoint at Rowardennan, 27.2 miles in. John came in at 3:17:53, having extended his lead to 7-and-a-half minutes over Toby and Sam, who had now been joined by Stuart, who had caught them up.
There was another fairly big incline on the 29th mile before heading down to Inversnaid, 34.4 miles in. John reached that checkpoint in 4 hours and 20 minutes. Toby and Sam were next to arrive but were now almost 8 minutes down on John. Stuart had now dropped back to about a minute behind Toby and Sam.
The next section of the course was particularly tough, slowing the pace down quite dramatically as they made there way to Beinglas which was 40.9 miles in. That included a very sharp incline before reaching the checkpoint.
Coming in in a time of 5:38:04, John arrived still with a reasonably healthy advantage, although it had now been cut down to 4 minutes 20 by Toby and Sam. They were now over 6-and-a-half minutes ahead of Scott Craighead, who was a clubmate of John’s from Carnethy.
After a sharp descent back down it was then into a period of steady climbing, all the way up to the second highest point of the race which was around the 47.5 mile point.
It was over this section of the course that Sam made his move, accelerating away from Toby and gaining an advantage of almost two minutes. Miraculously, Sam had also caught John up and overtaken him by the time they reached the final checkpoint at Bogle Glen.
Checking in at 6:35:29, Sam’s advantage over John was now 17 seconds, with him arriving in 6:35:46. Toby was now only just over 1-and-a-half minutes behind John, clocking in at 6:37:23.
The race to the line was now really on between the three of them. It was remarkable that after such a long duration of running and over such a tough, hilly course, the three leaders were so close together.
Although he’d lost the lead though, John wasn’t done yet. He dug deep and managed to find the wherewithal to get back in front and in the end managed to open out a sizeable lead over Sam, getting to the line in 7 hours 30 minutes and 29 seconds.
Despite his brief stint as the race leader, Sam was in the end forced to settle for second place, crossing the line in a time of 7:32:08, just over 1-and-a-half minutes behind John.
Completing the podium placings, Toby took a well earned third place, reaching the finish in 7:32:57. It was a truly phenomenal performance from him to and to end the race within 2-and-a-half minutes of the eventual winner was a fantastic achievement.
He was almost 10 minutes ahead of the fourth placed runner as well who was Scott Craighead. Scott finished in a time of 7:42:47. Stuart Paterson took 5th in 7:46:50 with Graham Connolly of Team Pyllon reaching the line in 6th with a time of 7:56:50.
Marco Conani, who is the brother of Bournemouth AC member Paul Consani, took 7th place, completing the course in an excellent time of 7:58:51.
The first female to arrive at the finish was Beth Pascall who came in 9th overall with a magnificent time of 8:02:46. She was followed by Nicola Duncan of Carnethy who finished in 8:19:43, putting her 12th overall.
Finishing up with an elevation gain of 6,749ft, Toby completed the 53 mile course at an average pace of 8 minutes 33 seconds per mile. That’s an amazing performance over such a monstrous route.
Another pleasing aspect of the race for Toby was that as well as claiming a spot on the podium, he’d also beaten his time of last year by almost 25 minutes.
That’s a pretty impressive stat when you consider that he was already at an extremely high standard when he competed last year. It underlines the fact that is still clearly progressing with his running.
Perhaps he’ll be tempted to head back up to Highlands again next year for a final fling to see if he can claim the victory. Who knows?
One thing is for certain though and that is that his next stop will be the Laverado in Italy – a 120km off-road ultra incorporating an elevation gain of 5,800m. Something else you can guarantee is that Toby will put in a performance to be proud of, just as he always does.
Recognised by many to be the very pinnacle of long distance running in the UK, and in fact one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the London Marathon never fails to serve up some spectacular memories to savour for those involved.
It’s also an event that has been known to bring out the best in Bournemouth AC athletes over the years. Who can forget that famous moment in the 2014 edition when Steve Way popped up out of nowhere to finish as the top Brit in 2 hours 16 minutes?
Then there was Rob McTaggart‘s extraordinary death march to the line last year when he broke every rule in the book taking on no water and no gels as others around him were flaking out in the scorching sunshine.
After finishing in 2 hours 30 minutes he then got straight on the beers and ended up collapsing and being taken to hospital suffering from severe dehydration. He really did go ‘all out’ in every sense that day.
In this year’s race it was Tag who was again hoping to lead the BAC charge, looking for a sumptuous sub-2:25 time. He’d been showing a few glimmers of great form in the build up to the race, with a solid win at the Bournemouth Bay Half Marathon and a 2nd place finish in both the Salisbury 10 and the SAL 5,000 metres in the same weekend. Plus a decent 6th place finish in the Eastleigh 10k.
Others like Rich Brawn and Sam Laws were relative marathon novices but they had very clear targets in mind and were prepared to put the hard training in in order to achieve their goals.
Rich was going all out for a sub-3 time whilst Sam had her heart set on a sub-4-hour finish. They both exuded a steely determination to get what they wanted and incorporated the infamous Steve Way 12-week marathon session programme into their training.
After deferring her entry from the previous year when she was injured Estelle Slatford finally got her chance to run at London. She’d had issues finding the time to get a proper regimented training programme going but had done her best to fit the sessions in when she could. She was also hoping for a sub-4-hour finish but was worried that the training she had done might not be enough to see her through.
After being forced to conduct virtually his entire training schedule on the treadmill due to an ongoing glute issue, Graeme Miller was hoping his fitness would translate to the great outdoors when he hit the London streets. He was hoping to go sub-2:50 ideally but knew after minimal outdoor activity, it could potentially prove difficult.
Coming off the back of a splendid sub-2:30 marathon PB at Manchester, along with his club comrade Steve Way who finished just behind him, Anthony Clark was looking to use the London Marathon as a training run with a view to the Comrades Marathon which takes place in June.
He was planning to run the first half of the race as a hard enough effort to be rivalling his half marathon PB pace before switching to Comrades pace for the second half of the race.
Hoping to run the marathon faster than he did at Manchester, for Steve, it was liable to be a fairly hard effort all the way through.
Some Bournemouth AC members had had their training severely hampered, either by injury, illness, or just a general lack of time to fit the training runs in.
Falling into the latter category, Chris O’Brien had had very little training so was not expecting a particularly quick time. He’d only taken the decision to run a month before race day and he knew he wouldn’t be in for a repeat of the sub-3-hour time he registered at Abingdon in the Autumn of 2017 which got him the qualifying time.
Also going into the race without his usual strong block of training behind him, Billy McGreevy wasn’t expecting a time to rival that of previous years. He’d had a couple of good sub-3 times at London but he knew he wasn’t in that kind of form this time round. He’d also been suffering from a knee injury that he was thinking might well effect him over the course of the race.
For a man who is usually so consistent and disciplined with his training every year when it comes to London, this year had been a bit a disaster from Sanjai Sharma‘s perspective.
Again, he’d found it difficult to find the time to get the sessions in in the early part of the year and that set back led to doubts creeping in as to whether he’d be fit enough come the end of April to get anything close to the kinds of times he normally posts.
Sanjai would usually expect to be finishing in around 2:50 but this year was a completely different prospect. Then his luck took a turn for the worse when he contracted an illness in the weeks leading up to the race that had completely wiped him out and left him going into the race with minimal recent training runs behind him.
After achieving her dream of running the six major city marathons and earning the coveted Abbotts World Marathon Major Six Star Medal, Caroline Rowley had taken a bit of time out to recuperate and recover. She wasn’t really targeting any specific time at London but was just looking to enjoy the experience and see what happens.
Usually a 400 metre hurdler by trade, Lewis Bartlett had a very different sort of obstacle in front of him when he decided to tackle the London Marathon. It was his first ever marathon he was running it on behalf of The Brain Tumour Charity, raising almost £3,000 for the cause.
Starting as he meant to go on, Tag was out of the blocks quickly, making the most of the Blue Zone Championship pen getaway. he reached the 5k point in 16:42 and then went on to go over the 10k chip timer at 33:47.
Finding himself in a group of sub 2:23 runners, Tag was exactly where he wanted to be at the point. He checked in at the half way stage in 1:11:59, which was bang on course for a sub-2:25.
He was fine going at that pace for the first 15 miles. On the 16th mile his pace began to drop slightly. Although he was now going slightly slower than his target pace, Tag hung on in there for the next few miles.
When he arrived at mile 20 though, he had nothing left and was suffering the indignity of seeing other runners overtaking him left, right and centre.
By mile 24 he was mentally shot as well as physically and from there it was a difficult plod to the line which took him to unprecedented lows in terms of pace.
It was gutting for Tag as he’d put a lot into his training and had even been persuaded to give up red meat and beer in his quest for success. Those who know Tag will know, giving up beer was a huge sacrifice from his perspective.
Sadly though, it just wasn’t to be and his search for a sub-2:25 marathon will continue, for now at least. His official finishing time was 2:37:59 which put him in 307th place overall.
Meanwhile, Ant Clark had had a much more successful outing and had in fact managed to run the race pretty much exactly as he’d intended.
Pushing the pace for the first half of the race, he went through 5k in 17:29 and 10k in 34:47 before crossing the checkpoint for half way at 1:13:51. The plan had been to run the first half at roughly the same pace he ran his recent half marathon PB at, which he did at the Fleet Half Marathon, finishing in 1:12:31.
After that he dropped down to Comrades effort levels, so 6 to 6:15 pace and a 140 bpm heart rate.
Despite stopping on four different occasions to say hi to people who were watching on the sidelines, including his family whom he shared a few emotional moments with, Ant made it to the line in a time of 2:34:32, making him the first BAC finisher and putting him in 185th place overall and 26th in the 40-44 category.
For most of the race, Ant was accompanied by his Comrades training partner and BAC teammate Steve Way. In fact, after reaching the half way point with Ant at just under 1 hour 14 minutes, which was the same as what he did at Manchester, Steve decided that it felt too much of a hard effort and decided to drop the pace and continue on with Ant.
On mile 19 though, he had to stop and pay a visit to the restroom, costing him a couple of minutes on that mile. He carried on at the same pace for one more mile before dropping the pace back a touch further for the remaining six miles in order to steady his heart rate.
Crossing the line in 2:39:18, Steve took 381st place overall and was 61st in the 40-44 category. With his legs not feeling too great at the end of the race Steve wondered if perhaps he should have just stuck to the original plan and continue going quickly after the half way point.
Having only run outdoors on four or five occasions since December and also missing ten full weeks of training over that time Graeme Miller didn’t really know what to expect. All he knew was that he was going to have a good go at it and see what happens.
He needed to stay under 6:30 pace to achieve his target of a sub 2:50 finish but he actually started off the 6:09 first mile which was way faster than he was anticipating.
It felt good though running at that pace so he continued, reaching the 5k point in 19:13. he then crossed the 10k marker at 38:19. Although he’d have difficulty maintaining that pace, he decided to roll with it and see where it took him.
Arriving at the 10 mile point in 62:09, Graeme was still feeling good and enjoying the run. Reaching the half way stage in 1:21:29, he then began to dream of sub-2:45. Unfortunately though, his legs were saying otherwise.
Managing the maintain the pace pretty well up till 20 miles though, he was still in sub-2:45 territory but his legs were screaming and he began to slow down a fair bit from that point on.
In the end he had to dig deep in order to bring it home in a sub-2:50 but he managed it, crossing the line in a fantastic time of 2:48:10. It certainly wasn’t the textbook way to run a marathon but it worked for Graeme on this occasion and was absolutely ecstatic with his time.
That put Graeme in 912th position overall and placed him 74th in the 44-45 category.
After the race he stopped off for a quick pint before heading to see a play and when he arrived the security guard noticed his London Marathon finishers medal and he and wife ended up getting their seats upgraded from the cheaper seats at the back to the third row, so it was a brilliant result all round for Graeme.
After seeing a couple of friends from his previous club who are of a similar standard get good sub-3 times at the Manchester Marathon, Rich Brawn was feeling pretty confident that he should be able to do it with the training he had behind him.
He’d chosen a marathon pace that was significantly under what he would ordinarily need to get a sub-3 as he didn’t want to leave anything to chance and he wanted to make sure it wasn’t touch-and-go at the end.
The main worry for Rich was the threat of getting cramp – something that had ruined his last couple of marathon attempts. This time he’d taken a lot of precautions against that, including taking magnesium tablets and drinking mineral water in the lead up to the race, using electrolyte drinks, bringing salt tablets to take during the race and even using electromagnetic plasters on the muscles on the backs of his legs.
He’d even managed to get hold of a substance called Crampfix at the expo the day before which you are meant to take as soon as you feel that cramp is on the horizon.
He started off with the figure of 6:38 in his head as a pace that he could potentially run at comfortably enough to hold for the duration of the race.
Expecting it to be a little congested at the start though, Rich was surprised to find that he did have enough space to run at the speed he was hoping to so that was a bonus. He also found that he felt very comfortable running at that pace as well so that gave him great confidence for road ahead.
The first five miles included quite a bit of downhill as well which enabled him to get ahead of his scheduled pace without putting in any extra effort.
There was a spine tingling moment on the 6th mile where you turn the corner and are greeted by huge crowds for the first time. That is when it really hits home that you’re in the London Marathon and the magnitude of the event becomes evident.
With his mind preoccupied by worries about getting an upset stomach as he often does in his long runs and whether his ongoing lower back problems would flare up or cause a pain in his hip-flexor, the crowds were a welcome distraction.
Continuing to churn at the miles at exactly the pace he wanted, Rich got over nine miles before he even remembered to take his first gel. That was good though as he knew that would give him less chance of getting an upset stomach.
Reaching the half way stage in just under 1 hour and 27 minutes, it was so far so good for Rich and he was very much enjoying the race thus far and liking his chances of a sub-3 finish.
From around mile 15 onward his pace dropped slightly but he knew it was still comfortably under the pace he needed to go at to get a sub-3 so he wasn’t too concerned.
His thinking was to try and get to 20 miles and then see how much time had left to do the last 10k. The more time he had, to do it in, the more chance he’d have in allowance in case he did get cramp or start to struggle.
When he got to 20 miles he worked out that he had at least 47 minutes to complete the last 10k. His thoughts then turned to cramp. He knew that was the only thing that could stop him now.
At this point he was feeling really strong and considered pushing the pace but he was so scared about getting cramp that he decided to just carry on as he was.
He considered just taking the shot of Crampfix anyway but decided against it in case it did something that triggered the cramp instead of preventing it.
Going through 23 miles, and then 24 miles, there was still no sign of cramp. He couldn’t quite believe his luck. But it was really playing on his mind.
One of the main highlights of the race for Rich was when he saw people he knew in the crowd watching. He’d seen his brother Dave out there cheering him on and knew his Dad was there watching as well. He also saw some of his Bournemouth AC teammates there including Mitch Griffiths and Pete Thompson.
He particularly enjoyed going past his friends from his former club Dacorum & Tring who always have a massive support network. It was a great boost high-fiving them all near the end as he got into the last few miles.
The first sign of cramp he got was when he was almost at mile 25-and-a-half. It was a pang in his left hamstring, which is usually what happens right before he gets cramp.
He immediately whipped out the Crampfix and took the shot. After that he got two more pangs at the same time, one in each hamstring. He knew he was in trouble now and started to run in a weird kind of style to try to stop the cramp setting in.
He was half expecting to be struck down as he arrived onto the finishing straight but luckily nothing else happened and Rich was able to make it to the line.
Finishing in a time of 2:55:23, Rich was 1,557th overall. He couldn’t believe he’d actually done it and the reality of the situation began to set in. He’d done it! He was now a sub-3-hour marathon runner!
As he went over the line he bumped into Stephen Cook of Poole AC who had crossed the line at roughly the same time. Stephen had posted another excellent marathon time, just three weeks after running a magnificent 2:51:29 at Manchester.
The two local Dorset writers were over the moon to pen such solid sub-3 times. They were also both relieved not to have been beaten by the bumble been that they had overtaken right near the end as well. It was a great buzz.
One person who had probably trained harder than anyone for London was Sam Laws. She’d only ever ran one marathon before that which was the ABP Southampton, completing that in 4 hours 21 minutes. She desperately wanted a sub-4 finish at London though so set about it by embarking on a rigorous training plan 12 weeks out that incorporated three interval sessions per week.
She was also soon banging out her long runs every Sunday and attending the BAC marathon training sessions with Rich Brawn on Tuesday nights.
Hitting unprecedented mileage every week, over the course of her training, Sam went through a huge transformation. She lost a lot weight and gained a huge amount of fitness. And with that came the inevitable thing she’d always previously struggled with – speed.
It was quite noticeable during the latter stages of her interval training how much she’d improved as a runner and how strong she was becoming.
That was highlighted when three three weeks before London she ran the Bournemouth Bay Half Marathon, adding some miles on before and after to make it the fastest 20 mile run she’d ever done. It was over 10 minutes quicker than she’d run at the Wimborne 20 the previous month.
The week before London she secured a new parkrun PB as well and it was her first time under 25 minutes. That was a massive confidence booster for Sam going into the marathon and underlined the progression she’d made over the training period.
It was still of course a nerve wracking experience for Sam though as she knew she still had to produce the goods on the day so in that respect, the pressure was on.
Completing the first 5k in just under 26 minutes, that was quite fast in comparison to the majority of the parkruns she’s done previously. But it felt comfortable now as she was so much fitter.
She then went through 10k in 52:28 and was running a much faster pace than she needed to to get sub-4 time. She was feeling good though so continued to go for it.
Reaching the half marathon point in 1:52:26, she was on course to finish comfortably under her target time if she could continue in the same vain.
Managing to maintain the pace for the next couple of miles she was up to mile 16 before showing any signs of difficulty. Her pace dropped a bit after that but she knew she was well ahead of schedule so wasn’t worried.
Over the last 10 miles she battled on well and all the hard work she’d done in training was clearly paying dividends.
Arriving at the finish in an incredible time of 3:53:20, Sam had not just beaten her target, she’d absolutely smashed it and that was a great feeling.
Needless to say, she was over the moon with the run which saw her finish in 12,512th position overall and 3,239th female. In the 45-49 category she placed 501st and had comprehensively beaten her time at Southampton by a massive 28 minutes.
Her amazing performance showed, if you acquit yourself correctly and want it badly enough, anything is possible.
Considering it was his first ever marathon, Lewis Bartlett handled to race splendidly well. Going through the first 5k in 23 minutes he made a very smooth start, subsequently reaching the 10k marker in 46 minutes.
At the half way stage, Lewis was at 1 hour 39 minutes and looked on course for the sub-3:30 time. Understandably his pace dropped a tad over the second half of the race but he held it together well to reach the finish line in a magnificent time 3:29:30.
It was a terrific run from Lewis and put him in 6,640th place overall which was a truly remarkable achievement. He found it to be an incredible experience running the London Marathon and one that he’d certainly never forget. Going over Tower Bridge was one of the highlights of his race and he was thrilled to have conquered the hallowed route.
Rather than suffering at the end of the race though, Lewis actually felt like he still had plenty left in the tank as he crossed the finish line and felt that he could perhaps have pushed a little harder. That sort of knowhow will come with experience though and if he does another one, he’ll perhaps modify his strategy accordingly.
The marathon training has helped him massively with his preparation for hitting the summer trails and he’ll now focus back on the track in his much more comfortable setting of the 400 hurdles.
He would definitely like to do another marathon though and is hoping it might even be possible to do London again over the next couple of years.
Estelle Slatford started off pretty well, going through the first 5k in 27:11. She then crossed the 10k marker in 54:38 so it was so far so good at that stage.
Reaching the half marathon point in 1:56:48, Estelle was well on course to achieve the sub-4-hour time she was hoping for. For the next couple of miles she kept the pace going well and it was around the 16th mile when she started to find it tough.
Although her pace had dropped slightly, she was still going okay for the next couple of miles. On the 18th mile though, she started cramping up a bit. She decided to slow down a bit but still wasn’t too concerned at that stage.
Before long though her legs really began to ache and she had to stop. From that point on she had to keep stopping to walk in order to ease the pain.
That made things really tough for Estelle over the last 10k but she did extremely well to soldier on and see out the race despite the agony she was in.
Crossing the line in 4:11:07 in the end, Estelle came in 17,679th place and was 5,048th woman to finish. In the 40-44 category, she was 936th.
Although she was a bit disappointed, it was actually not a disastrous time for Estelle considering everything she’d been through. That was down to the fact that she’d run so well for the first 15 miles or so.
Despite the problems she suffered from, Estelle appreciated the event for what it was and enjoyed the amazing support from the huge crowds along the route.
It feels very much like unfinished business to her though and Estelle will definitely be looking to do another marathon at some stage in order to achieve her goal. In fact, she’s already entered the ballot for next year’s race.
The other silver lining for Estelle was that she managed to make it onto the TV screens as well and she was particularly pleased that that was at a time when she was running rather than in the latter stages when she was walking.
Despite his patchy training and niggling knee complaint, Billy McGreevy started off okay reaching the 5k point in 20:41. He then went over the 10k marker in 41:38 before reaching the half way point in 1:28:24.
At that stage it was looking a sub-3 might be on the cards and he continued on pace up until around the 30k point. That was when he really began to struggle and his time fell away a bit.
From there, it was damage limitation for Billy as he focused on just getting to the line as best as he could. Finishing in a time of 3:06:56, he placed 2,980th overall.
It wasn’t a great run from Billy when you consider what he’s capable of but under the circumstances, it wasn’t a bad run either.
The goal for the day from Chris O’Brien’s perspective was really just to finish and above all, to enjoy the race.
He went through 5k in 21:31 and then reached 10k in 42:58. At the half way stage in the proceedings, he arrived at 1:31:19, so it was a pretty decent first half of the race and he had lots of fun in that time.
After completing 15 miles, he began to struggle a bit and his paced dropped. Over the last 10k he really started to suffer and had a dig in well to make it to the finish.
Crossing the line in a time of 3:16:36 in the end. Chris finished up in 4,267th place and was 619th in the 45-49 category.
Caroline Rowley was another who didn’t really have any specific target in mind. After securing the Abbott Six Star World Marathon Major Medal though, the pressure was off a bit for her. She was able to just enjoy the experience and soak it all in.
She went through the first 5k in 26:49 before crossing the 10k line in 53:37. Reaching the half way point in 1:54:49, she began to realise that she could perhaps be on for a sub-4 finish.
Despite not really training for it at all, Caroline held her pace remarkably well over the second half of the race and managed to cruise into the finish in a time of 3:58:25, which put her in 14,241st place overall. She was the 3,782nd lady on the day and took 585th in the 45-49 category.
After the race, Caroline was thrilled to have pulled that performance out of the bag and the buzz she got from it prompted her to rediscover her running mojo. She’s now determined to go for a qualifying time at the Abingdon Marathon in October.
Having had such bad luck getting ill in the build up to the race, Sanjai Sharma knew he was really up against it to get a time anywhere near what he usually does. His only real goal for this one was to finish.
He went through 5k in 21:34 and got to the 10k stage in 43:05. He then continued on at a similar pace to reach the half way point in a time of 1:32:45.
He was actually pleasantly surprised at how well he’d run up till that point. As the race went on though he began to find it tougher and tougher.
The last 10k in particular were a real struggle for Sanjai but credit to him, he stuck at it and made it through the end, crossing the line in a final time of 3:47:01. That put him 10,789th overall and 369th in the 55-59 category.
Whilst it may not have been the sort of time he’d expect under normal circumstances it was still a job well done from Sanjai and he could be proud of the fact that he’d now done 18 consecutive London Marathons.
It’s a very impressive record he has there and certainly not too many could boast a stat like that on their Power of 10. Sanjai has vowed to continue at least until he gets to 20 consecutive London Marathons, so he’s got at least the next two years there.
Jason Bell who regularly trains with the Bournemouth AC Tuesday night group also ran completing the race in a cracking time of 3:04:11. That put him in 2,677th place overall and it was a decent result for Jason considering he’d had an injury which meant he hadn’t been able to train much in the build up to the race.
Whilst it produced something of a mixed bag of results from the Bournemouth AC representatives this year, for those running it for the first time, it certainly served up some special memories and moments to savour and for everyone involved, it was inspiring to be part of the biggest and best marathon on Earth.
Travelling to Guernsey again this Easter to take part in the Easter Festival of Running, Bournemouth AC’s resident ‘Supervets’ Ian Graham and Dave Parsons readied themselves to tackle the annual challenge of four races in four days.
Dave was attending for the 21st consecutive year and for Ian it was his 12th out of the last 13 years. They were joined by Poole Runners’ own ‘Supervet’ Geoff Scott, who was amazingly present for the 25th occasion since his first trip in 1989.
Ian was defending his ‘supervet’ title from last year and although training had been going okay recently, he had quite a tough act to follow after his success in 2018. Dave was just hoping to get round in each race following a hamstring problem which had severely hindered his training.
The first race on Good Friday was the 5k road race which starts and finishes at the athletic stadium on Footes Lane and is mostly conducted on lovely quiet narrow country lanes, finishing on the track.
Ian ran strongly and was very pleased to finish in a time of 22:49 (just over a minute quicker than last year) for 109th place out of the 186 finishers.
After a slightly conservative start, Dave found a good consistent pace to finish 147th in a time of 25:38 (a few seconds faster than in 2018). Geoff, who had recently been finishing outside 30 minutes in parkruns, was very pleased with his time of 28:37 which put him in 174th place.
18 ‘Supervets’ completed the course with Ian finishing 5th (Age graded 77.50%), Dave coming in 8th (67.43%) and Geoff taking 12th (63.48%). Just to clarify, ‘Supervets’ are all over 60 and the organisers use the age graded tables to classify these competitors.
The second race on Saturday was the usual ‘Full Course’ cross country which is held on L’Ancresse Common and is a multi-terrain course of 4.75 miles. This event is held in memory of Keith Falla who was sadly killed when hit by a vehicle whilst he was on a training run. In addition to being a talented Guernsey athlete, Keith was also at one time a member of BAC.
Although it was quite windy, the conditions were otherwise excellent. 119 athletes completed the course and Ian ran another strong race to finish 72nd in a time of 37:29. Again, he was just over a minute quicker than 2018.
Dave found the conditions to his liking and he managed to establish a pace to suit his fitness and was very happy to finish 100th in 43:39, which was over two minutes quicker than 2018! Geoff also enjoyed the race and was pleased with his time of 47:16 which put him in 109th place.
In the ‘Supervet’ category, Ian was 3rd (77.32%), Dave was 7th (64.91%) and Geoff was 8th (63.01%). It was fairly clear now that there were a couple of runners in this category who, as long as they stayed upright for the final scoring race, were going to be just a little too good for Ian to catch and overtake. At least that meant that for him, the pressure was off.
Dave had felt a severe twinge in his left calf just before the end of the race so had some massage treatment in the hope that it would last out the final two events.
And so to Easter Sunday and the ‘Stonecrusher’ cross country relay, an event which no longer counts towards the overall individual results but is a 4 x 1-mile relay over a twisty, rabbit-hole strewn, and rather hilly course. It is great for spectators but quite challenging for the more senior runners competing against, in most cases, much younger and more agile competitors.
The intrepid Dorset trio were joined by a Guernsey based athlete in the shape of Welsh-born Lisa Evans, who had finished just behind Dave in the first two races. The team name chosen was ‘The Peninsulists’ – a reference to the Peninsula Hotel where Dave and Ian have stayed for many years. Ian took first leg and his time of 7:22 put them into 31st place.
Dave took over but unfortunately, after just under half a mile, his calf ‘went’ and he had to slow down in an attempt to avoid too much further damage. He managed to finish in 8:31 but the team had dropped to 34th.
Geoff took over and his leg of 8:57 lost them just one place, putting the Peninsulists into 35th. Lisa ran very well on the final leg and overtook a number of her rivals. However, she was also overtaken by a few and her excellent time of 8:14 brought them home in equal 36th place in an overall time of 33:04.
Despite further treatment on his injured calf, it became clear to Dave that his competition for the weekend was over and his role on the final day would be that of a ‘supporter’.
Easter Monday dawned and another fine day was on the cards going into the final event – the 10k road race. 165 runners completed the point-to-point course with the individual honours and the overall festival victory deservedly going to Jacob O’Hara from City of Portsmouth AC.
Ian found himself in a small group of runners and was content to stick with them, eventually finishing in 101st place in a very creditable time of 49:33.
Geoff, although perhaps a little disappointed to just miss out on a sub-60, was far quicker than his last 10k in Guernsey and finished 150th in 60:44.
In the ‘Supervet’ category Ian was 5th (74.55%) and Geoff 9th (62.54%). A special mention here should go to Julie Lawlor, an FV75 whose time of 51:41 gave her an age grading of 94.29%!!! She is now top of the rankings for 2019 in her age group and seemingly second on the all-time list!
In the overall ‘Supervet’ category Ian came 3rd and Geoff 6th. They should both be proud of their achievements and it is hard to overestimate how tough it is to run four hard races in four days. They, and Dave, are already looking forward to 2020 when, if Geoff can finish all four races, he will have completed 100 Guernsey Easter Races.
A new season and the first SAL was upon us and this year we are in the top league, Division 1.
Saturday was bright & cold with a full bus headed off to Eton. The prospect of taking on some of the best teams in the country might dampened spirits but not in the slightest. The team arrived in true BAC fashion – loud and laughing.
Saturday was at the first time out for many of BAC’s younger athletes. How would they manage this new and competitive environment? Well brilliantly. They sprinted and jumped ahead on many of their older and more experienced competitors. It certainly shows that BAC’s athlete development is doing something very right.
However, it was not just a day for the young, some of our older members, notably Steve Dobson took 2nd place in the shot with 9.18m– an amazing result. Andy Sherrin was 3rd in A string with 10.97m, although he was unhappy with his performance, the points were great against a tough field.
Due to many athletes being unavailable, several athletes took on multiple events during the day. So many athletes put in huge performances with so many PB’s to mark the day.
Holly Collier broke 3 PB’s and won so many events or close a 2nd, including an incredible 1500m, 800m, 3000m, 2000m SC and a 4x400m relay to top it all off. We call her the smiling assassin.
A busy day for Olivia Galloway who won the Javelin, 100h and her 200m race. As well as competing in shot and long jump. As her dad says… “not bad!”
Brooke Ironside, has had a great winter. To see one of our youngest athletes dominating in the 100m and 200m against far older athletes was wonderful. She won the 100m in 12.6 and ran 26.2 in the 200m. Jazmin Cooke ran B string 100m in 13.6 and had a great high jump result, coming 2nd with 1.50m.
We also had impressive performances from slightly older athletes, Janet Dickinson (sorry Janet). Janet’s performance in the 400mh hurdles against a class field was HUGE. She came 3rd. As well as high jump and 400m.
Chloe had a very strong 400m in 61.2, coming 3rd against some tough competition.Our SAL woman throwers are one of our solid strengths in the team. Today was no exception. Danielle, Issy, Amelia and Olivia were all excellent.
It was an impressive win for Olivia Galloway with a 10.39m shot putt and a Javelin throw of 37.40m. Amelia Dobson claimed 2nd place in javelin with 22.11m.
Danielle is going to have a great year; winning the hammer, 52.23m and 2nd in discus against one of the best throwers in the country; simply outstanding. Issy had an fantastic performance with a 2nd place score in the hammer, 38.87m and threw the discus 24.08m.
It was a mother and daughter affair in the woman pole vault; Nikki and Anya Sandell. Anya had a great performance with a 2nd B string jump of 1.80m. It’s only a matter of time before Anya leaps head and shoulders above her mum, obviously Nikki is a great role model and inspiration, having jumped 2.30m before going on to run the 1500 and 3000m. Anya also did high jump and ran a great 800m.
It was a good day for the jumpers with a top scores in triple jump with Madeleine Smith and Amelia winning by a convincing margin, 11.45m and 9.94m respectively and Amelia’s long jump was 4.41m. Lana Blake jumped an impressive 5.19m for 3rd place points in A string.
Harriet Slade was very convincing in the steeple and left delighted with a new PB of 7:42.8 and impressive 2nd place, a well-earned and massive PB of over 20 seconds.
The relays were equally impressive. The woman 100m relay was outstanding, leaving the other teams for dust. The winning time for the woman’s 4x100m team close to the senior club record which has stood for nearly 30 years. Well done Brooke, Isabelle, Lana and Chloe. It was great to watch.
The woman’s 4x400m team was a sterling effort by a mix of middle distance runners and sprinters; all willing to go that extra mile for the team, (well extra ¼ mile).
Well done Harriet, Holly, Olivia and Chloe!
The men were missing a few of their regulars.
So up stepped Adam Nicholas, Fraser Spall, Andy Brown and Steve Cox.
Steve actually earned the name superman from the commentator as he ran from event to event – what an inspiration Steve. We need to get you a cape for the next match (perhaps leave the red pants at home).
Two of the stand out races for the men were the 400m and the 5000m events. Kevin and Muris in the 400m were on form and both crossed the line ahead of the rest of the field. TOP POINTS.
The 5000m saw Josh King and Rob McTaggart take to the field. These two have trained so hard over the winter. They wanted a hard race and that’s what they gave everyone else. Our BAC men led from the start. They took a group with them and slowly dropped them off. It was a great race to watch. Well done Josh winning the A and Tag winning the B. Tag went on to run in the London marathon, a talented distance runner in our midst.
A few special mentions. Firstly to Andy Brown for beating Andy Sherrin in the discus – NOT FUNNY (says Andy).
To Ryan… who woke up feeling like death yet turned up and did the job.
Also Fraser Spall… who did everything asked of him; Javelin, Long Jump, 1500m, High Jump and Steeple Chase where he showed off his diving skills at the water jump. Thanks Fraser you are a team manager’s dream.
Others may have been missed but their effort has not been forgotten. Thank you to everyone competing, supporting and being involved to make it another great day!
We have a tough year ahead of us. We need every athlete in the club to get stuck in.
The spirit of the SAL is what our team managers, Andy Sherrin and Jemma Bates love about athletics.
Well done to you all. If we carry on as we did on Saturday it’s going to be a very enjoyable year.
I echo Andrew’s comments on the team atmosphere & enthusiasm (Jemma Bates)