Nine BAC Athletes Selected to Compete at English Schools Finals

The athletes with their coaches Zac Kerin, Tim Ward and Paul Rees.

Congratulations To BAC Athletes Selected To Represent Their County At The 2019 English Schools’ Athletic Association Track And Field Finals.

Nine BAC athletes have been selected to represent Dorset or Hampshire Schools at Birmingham on Friday 12th July and Saturday 13th July at The ESAA Track and Field Finals.

The following eight athletes have been selected to represent Dorset Schools:-

Yasmin Bridet- 80 m Hurdles & Relay, Inter Girls.

Isabelle Franklin- Long Jump & Relay, Inter Girls.

Brooke Irionside- Long Jump & Relay, Inter Girls.

Abigail Phillips- 300m & Relay, Junior Girls.

Adam Phillips- Discus, Senior Boys.

Isabella Shepherd- Hammer, Senior Girls.

Leah Sullivan- Long Jump & Relay, Junior Girls.

Mia Wilkinson- 75m Hurdles & Relay, Junior Girls.

Lana Blake has been selected to represent Hampshire Schools at  Long Jump & Relay, Inter Girls.

Seven of the Athletes. Hopefully more photos including Bridget Bidet & Adam Phillips will follow.

The English Schools Athletics Track & Field Competition and Finals first took place in 1925 and has continued every year since except during the Second World War. It is the fourth biggest sports completion in the world and the biggest held over two days.

There are three categories of counties in the competition. The biggest counties, including Hampshire, (Category A) with a secondary school population of over 100,000 are allowed to select up to sixty athletes. Those with a population of between 60,000 and 100,000 (Category B) are allocated a lower number. Dorset, with a population below 60,000 (Category C) are now allowed to select up to 32 athletes.  To be selected an athlete normally has to reach at least a specific “English Standard” time or distance based on their age group, gender and event.

The Junior Age Group is for under 15, Inter Age Group is for under 17 & Senior Age Group is for under 19.

BAC hope the athletes, parents, relatives and coaches enjoy the trip to Birmingham. Hopefully the athletes can stay injury free and rise to the challenge of the size and intensity of the event. Judging is of the highest order. Any minor error, normally going un-noticed, is sure to be picked up at this event, so please check all the rules and regulations for whatever event you are participating in.

By William Kearsey

Simon Hearn lands in Normandy for The Pegasus half marathon

Simon Hearn at the Pegasus Half Marathon in Normandy
Simon Hearn travelled across to Normandy to take on The Pegasus half marathon in a race where he was hoping to secure a new PB

One week on from all the 75th anniversary of D-Day celebrations and memorials, it was a great time for Simon Hearn to arrive in Normandy.

His main focus was on the Normandy Running Festival though and Les Courants de la Liberté (The Courts of Freedom) where he would take on Le semi-marathon Pegasus.

The Normandy Running Festival is based on the D-Day theme and it’s fitting to stage Les Courants de la Liberté at the location of the battleground where so many of the allied forces gave their lives to fight for the freedom and sovereignty we enjoy to this day.

The Pegasus half marathon was a big target race for Simon and he’d spent several months working to a set training programme that he’d found online and looking to get in the best possible shape he could for the event.

Simon loves to experiment with different training plans and sees them as a way of freshening up his approach and keeping it interesting. It’s also a means of challenging himself and pushing himself to that next level.

For this particular training plan, the indication was that it was working well for Simon. The previous month he’d secured a new 10k PB at the Royal Berkshire 10k in Reading which came out of the blue. It was a huge boost for Simon as it revealed that he was in great form and gave him confidence that he could do well in The Pegasus.

There are no guarantees of course though. He still needed to produce on the day and brought with it some level of pressure. He was going all out for a PB though, which would mean he had to at least get under 1 hour 29 minutes.

His plan was to stick to just under 1:30 pace for the first 10 miles and then just push on from there with everything he had. It was a hot day but there was a slight breeze which helped prevent too much suffering.

Staying with the 1:30 pack for the majority of the race, Simon was itching to pick up the pace at mile 8 but held back and played it safe. He felt good going along at the pace he was running at and didn’t want to rock the boat at this point. He was in his comfort zone and it seemed that all the hard training was paying off.

He’d controlled the pace well and when it was time to go, he accelerated away from the 1:30 group and showed amazing strength. He’d executed his plan extremely well and it was all falling into place.

Sure enough, it turned out to be a fantastic new PB for Simon as he went across the line in 1:28:35. That put him in 126th place in the overall standings in a field of nearly 4,000 people. In his age category, he finished 12th.

The standard of the field was incredibly high as well, with Paul Koech winning the race in a time of 1:05:31. He was followed by Dieudonne Nsengiyumya who finished in 1:06:09 and Loic Letellier 3rd in 1:07:47. In fact, five men went under 1:10, which is pretty impressive.

It was a cracking result for Simon though and thoroughly deserved after everything he’d put into it. He was overjoyed with his new PB. I hindsight, he could have got an even better time if he hadn’t played it safe. That’s okay though as he knows now that he has the potential to go even faster.

To still be able to produce a personal best after eight years of running is really quite remarkable from Simon and it just goes to show, if you really put your mind to something, it’s amazing what you can achieve.

Simon Hearn prepares to take on the Pegasus Half Marathon in Normandy
It had turned out to be the perfect race for Simon and he was over the moon to register such a terrific new PB




Chris O’Brien gets bitten by the ultra bug

Chris O'Brien and Emma Draper at Endure 24
For the second year running, Chris O’Brien teamed up with Emma Draper to take on the Endure 24 event as a mixed pair

Following his epic 14-lap, nigh on 70-mile relentless grind at last year’s Endure 24 event in Reading, Chris O’Brien’s initial reaction was to place the activity in the ‘it was fun, but never again’ filing cabinet and slam the drawer firmly shut.

Running is a funny thing though. In the immediate aftermath of a race, you remember the pain and suffering that you went through. The agony and the hardship are very vivid and prominent in the mind.

Over time though, those memories tend to fade. You remember the feeling of achievement, the ecstasy of success and the thrill of the chase. But you forget about the troubles along the way. The pain and the strife gradually dissipate from conscious recollection.

That might be why, when propositioned again by his Team BugFace  partner in crime, Emma Draper, about lining up for the event as a mixed pair again, he somehow found himself agreeing.

Shortly afterwards he began to wonder, what on earth was he thinking?? It was too late by then though. He’d already agreed to it and there was no backing out now. He had to face the music and run.

It was to be Chris’s fifth year at the event. The first two years he’d completed it was part of a team of five. In 2017, one member of the team was forced to pull out through injury which left them with just four members.

When they had a team of five, Chris’s team had tended to do pretty well, finishing just outside the top four. Of course, it was a little more difficult with only four.

Completing 35 milers in the first two years and 40 miles the following year, Chris had certainly made a valuable contribution to the success of his team.

Last year was the first time he and Emma had decided to give it a go as a mixed pair, which put them in a different category altogether. Of course, it meant the running was a lot more regular and the rest time was significantly less before he found himself back out there for another lap.

Somehow, Chris managed to get through 14 laps, with Emma completing 13. That was a enough to see them wind up with almost 135 miles between them, putting them in  3rd place.

Training hadn’t gone so well for either of them this time round though and they weren’t feeling as fit as they were the previous year.

As a consequence, they agreed to just take it easy and do what they could, so no pressure.  Deep down though, both Chris and Emma have a competitive edge and they didn’t want to slip down too far from the third place they obtained last time round. In truth, they were looking for at least a top-ten finish.

Bugface mixed pair team at Endure 24
Chris and Emma prepare to take to the start line in what promises to be an epic yet brutal next 24 hours

Unfortunately for them though, and all the other competitors, the course was made that much more difficult this year by the conditions. It had rained a lot and the ground was wet, leaving the route extremely muddy in places.

Completing his first 4.87 mile lap in exactly 37 minutes, at an average pace of 7:35 minutes per mile, that was it. He’d started it now. He’d got the ball rolling. All he had to do was keep it rolling for the next 23 hours and 23 minutes.

Emma successfully completed her first lap as well and the race was on. Chris completed his second lap in just under 38 minutes, which was 8 minute mile pace and then pretty much the same for his third lap.

After completing his third lap, Chris was caked in mud and already feeling exhausted. Emma hadn’t had any sleep the night before due to an upset stomach so Chris said to her that he didn’t mind if they called it a day.

Secretly hoping she’d say yes, he got a firm “No, I’m fine. I’ll keep going” response from Emma. For the next couple of laps he mentioned it again to Emma, desperately trying to avert the continuation of this torture. But Emma was determined to continue.

At one point one of Emma’s friends popped her head into his tent whilst he was resting to check that he wasn’t going to quit. What could he say though? He couldn’t let Emma down. And that gave him the proverbial kick up the jacksy that he needed. Like it or not, he was in it for the long haul.

By 5pm Chris had completed his fourth lap and they were sitting in 3rd place out of the 36 mixed pairs in the competition. That was a good incentive for Chris to keep going and keep the pace up.

The next couple of laps he completed in around 43-and-a-half minutes, so at an average pace of just under 9 minutes per mile. That took him up to nearly 30 miles already. But there was still a long way to go. It was only just after 8pm.

Chris managed to fit two more laps in before midnight, finishing each of them in 45 minutes and 42 seconds, at an average pace of 9:21 minutes per mile. He was still going well but it was only the half way stage in the proceedings. He’d now covered close to 40 miles.

For a while Chris and Emma had slipped to 4th place in the rankings but were now back up to 3rd. It was very tight between the two teams though and still all the play for.

The overnight laps were a little more tricky to negotiate, with those on shift having to feel their way through the slippery mud in pitch black, with only the lights from their head torches to guide them.

The course was mixed terrain, taking in some lovely forest tracks and countryside paths. There were a few hills in there as well, just to take the difficulty level up a notch further.

At the half way point in the course there were some crazy folk blasting out rock and roll music from a camper van and handing out cocktails which provided a brief bit of respite.

The mud began to dry out a touch over night, making it less slippery and more thick and gloopy. It had rained a lot on Saturday lunchtime when the race started but had eased off as the day went on.

For his overnight laps, Chris was down to about 10 minute miling but he was still completing them in under 50 minutes. Emma was running most of her laps in around an hour by this point so that meant Chris was getting slightly more rest between laps than she was.

If you take away the time it takes to get from the changeover point to the tent and factor in a toilet stop and some time to refuel and eat something, that doesn’t leave a lot of time though before you’re back out there. hris couldn’t really risk sleeping either as he needed to make sure he was there to take over whenever Emma completed her lap.

Chris started his 12th lap at 6:50am so it was getting light again by then. He managed a quicker lap that time, taking only 47 minutes before passing on the baton.

Then whilst Emma was out on the course there was another huge downpour that not only drenched her but also turned some sections of the course into a quagmire reminiscent of a wet and muddy farmyard that had been driven through several times by a tractor.

One advantage of doing so many laps for Chris though was that he knew the course so well that he was able to find the paths least trodden which helped him get through some of the tougher sections.

They were now a lap ahead of the team in 4th place and only a lap behind the team who was in 2nd. Time was running out though and they knew they were unlikely to catch up.

The event organisers had to divert some parts of the course as they were in such a bad condition meaning Chris’s 13th lap was slightly longer. He ran well though to finish it in 48:48.

Emma got one more lap in before Chris embarked upon his 14th and final lap. Again, he got round with no trouble, completing it in 49:20, bringing his total mileage up to a flabbergasting 70 miles.

Even though the 4th placed team had stopped running at 25 laps, Emma was keen to get her final lap in before the event ended. She did just that, brining her total up to 14 laps and 70 miles, the same as Chris.

Chris and Emma complete Endure 24
Chris and Emma cross the line together for the final time, having completed an amazing 14 laps each of the 5-mile circuit

That gave them a finishing total of 28 laps which was an absolutely staggering effort. In fact, it was many laps as anyone did, as the top two teams also finished up on 28 laps. The only difference was, they’d completed them in a slightly faster time.

That meant it was Runny McRunface who came out on top, completing their 28 laps in 23:34:55, giving them an average lap time of 50:32.

Fuelled by Pizza took 2nd place, completing their 28 laps in 23:55:44, putting their average lap time at 51:17. Then it was Chris and Emma, Team Bugface, taking a brilliant 3rd place, completing their 28 laps in 24:54:10, giving them an average lap time of 53:22.

Chris and Emma after Endure 24
After it was over the overwhelming feeling for Chris and Emma was one of relief

It really was a hell of a performance by Chris and Emma and they’d been rewarded for it with a 3rd placed finish, which they were over the moon about.

Emma had ran five miles further than she did in last year’s event and Chris had completed the same amount of laps but had done it 38 minutes faster than he did last year, with his total running time standing at 10 hours 40 minutes and 17 seconds.

It was a remarkable achievement from the pair of them, particularly given that their training had been patchy at best and the preparation for it less than ideal.

Emma and Chris pick up their trophies for finishing as 3rd placed mixed pair
Emma and Chris pick up their trophies for finishing as 3rd placed mixed pair

What they did have in abundance though was heart, and that was what mattered most in this event. It was about determination and an unshakeable desire to keep going, regardless of what obstacles were put in their way.

The overwhelming lesson from this story is, never give up. Chris could have easily thrown the towel in after the first three laps. He was already feeling tired and less than optimistic about their chances.

But instead of jacking it in, he stuck out and eventually got into a rhythm and he went from strength to strength, knocking out the laps with relentless precision.

Sometimes in running, to get the best results, you have to persevere through the bad times in order to make it through to see the good times. That’s where heart and desire and grit and determination come into play. As Chris and Emma proved in this event, If you have enough of those qualities, you can conquer anything.

Emma Draper & Chris O'Brien were 3rd place Mixed Pair at Endure 24
Completing 14 laps and running almost 70 miles each, Chris and Emma will no doubt look back on this 24 hours with immense pride












Jon Sharkey hunts down victory in Civil Service 10k

With the opportunity to become Civil Service Athletic Association 10k champion, Jon Sharkey went over to the Olympic Park for the Civil Service Sports Council Capital Challenge

He doesn’t do many races these days but when he does enter one, Jon Sharkey always seems to deliver. On this occasion, it was over to the Olympic Park in London for the Civil Service Sports Council Capital Challenge which also incorporated the Civil Service Athletic Association 10k Championships.

The course consisted of a road route around the Olympic Park area. Knowing the course wasn’t accurately measured, Sharkey decided, rather than sticking a specific pace, he would just run it according to how he felt.

He must have been feeling pretty good though from the outset as he started off at 5:27 pace for the first mile. He then continued at around 5:30 pace for the next few miles, leaving him with technically only 2.2 miles left.

With a 5:42 fifth mile and a 5:38 for his sixth mile, it was an extremely strong run from Sharkey. He then cranked the pace up even further for the final 0.29 miles.

It was enough for Sharkey to get the line in under 35 minutes, with his official time being registered at 34:59. That saw him seal an excellent victory, giving him a winning margin of 17 seconds over his nearest rival, Robert White, who took 2nd place in 35:16.

The field consisted of 180 people in total but the standard was slightly down on previous years which increased Sharkey’s chances somewhat.

You can only beat whoever is put in front of you though and Sharkey did that so it was a very pleasing result for him. It also meant he could call himself the Civil Service Athletics Association 10k Road Race Champion. Another accolade to add to his decorated resume.

Jon Sharkey in the CSCC Capital Challenge
Sharkey stormed round for the win in a time of 34.59, thus becoming CSAA Road Race 10k champion


Julian Oxborough wings it at Heron Half Marathon

Julian Oxborough in action at the Heron Half Marathon
Julian Oxborough was in action at the Heron Half Marathon in Yeovilton, looking for a sub-three-hour time

For the second year in a row, Julian Oxborough headed over to Yeovilton for the Heron Half Marathon. The race is held on the same day and is part of the same event as the Yeovil Marathon, organised by Yeovil Town Road Running Club.

Last year Julian completed the course in 3 hours 4 minutes and 38 seconds so that gave him a good benchmark to aim for. If he could improve on that, that would be a result. If he could get under three hours, even better.

He was coming off the back of a great time at Glastonbury so was feeling pretty high. Not the music festival though… The “Round the Tor 10k” race at the Glastonbury Road Run event.

Before that he’d had to withdraw from a few races due to ill health so it was a positive step for Julian to be back out there again and he did well to finish in 1:14:44.

Of course, he knew a half marathon was going to be tougher than a 10k but he felt prepared and ready to give it his best shot.

The route was on a fairly flat road surface round the villages surrounding the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, which is home to over 100 Royal Navy aircraft operated by front line and training squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm and Commando Helicopter Force.

The weather was fairly warm on the day so Julian decided to set off fairly conservatively. For the first few miles he was going at between 12 and 13 minutes per mile. Up to the ninth mile, he remained at under 14 minutes per mile.

Julian Oxborough going well in the Heron Half Marathon
Julian set off at a comfortable pace which left him feeling pretty good throughout the race

On the ninth mile he caught up with some runners whom he recognized from the start line. In fact, they were the very same runners who had ridiculed him at the start of the race, telling him to take it easy as he’ll have no one else around him to worry about.

He waved at them and said “Have a nice day!” as he went past. They perhaps won’t be making that same mistake again.

For the next four miles Julian was keeping to just over 14 miles before going back down to sub 13 minute miling for the last mile and cranking it up a notch for the final 0.2 of a mile.

Julian arrives on his final lap to complete the course
Julian arrives for his final lap knowing his mission is very nearly complete

Since he was finishing so strongly, it was clear to see that Julian was feeling good on the day and had paced the race fairly well. In fact, his finishing time was 2:56:38, giving him an improvement of 8 minutes on his time from last year.

He was over the moon with that result and although he found it mentally tough, he’d managed to find the resolve to keep pushing on as the miles went by.

His finishing position was 230th and he was 33rd in the M50-59 category. It was his third fastest half marathon since coming back into running. The other two were the Salisbury Half Marathons of 2016 and 2017.

Julian Oxborough after the Heron Half Marathon
A good run from Julian had seen him shave 8 minutes off his time from last year

Funnily enough, the next race Julian has got lined up is the Salisbury Half Marathon in September. He’s hoping for a time of around 2:30, which would be a huge improvement.

There’s a lot of hard work ahead if he’s going to achieve that goal but one thing is for sure and that is that Julian will give it his best and will make sure he acquits himself well for it.

The Heron Half Marathon finisher's medal
The medal Julian took home with him after completing the Heron Half Marathon

JC wins as BAC boys give it some welly at Puddletown Plod

JC, Tom, Rich & Matt line up for BAC in the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon
Jacek Cieluszecki, Tom Paskins, Rich Brawn and Matt du Cros were amongst the small team of Bournemouth AC men who made it to the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon

With race entries capped at 300 for the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon it was always going to prove tricky for Bournemouth AC team captain Rich Nelson to get a competitive team together for the sixth fixture of the Dorset Road Race League season.

After a fair bit of toing and froing and some neat juggling though, Rich did manage to assemble a reasonable team as the club continued their challenge for men’s Dorset Road Race League First Division title.

Jacek Cieluszecki and Josh Cole had been drafted into the line-up to add some much needed steel to squad which also included Rich Brawn, Tom Paskins and Matt Du Cros. After Ian Graham pulled out, Wayne Walford Jelks had also taken a last minute entry to complete the team for BAC.

Jacek Cieluszecki & Rich Brawn at the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon
Travelling: BAC’s MVP, JC (left), arrived on court with Rich Brawn (right)

Unfortunately on this occasion there was no Bournemouth AC ladies present so this was going to go down as a throw-away fixture for them. That’s not a total disaster though as the Dorset Road Race League is decided on the best 7 of 12 races, so there is room for a few nil pointers in the season.

The start of the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon
The field lines up in the field ready to get the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon underway

When the race got underway, a lead group of three was established, consisting of JC, Josh Cole and Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders. Behind them were a few Egdon Heath Harriers, along with Chris Wood of Wimborne. Then slightly further back there was Rich Brawn and Joseph Sherwood of Littledown.

Jacek Cieluszecki gets his race underway
Jacek was one of the main contenders to get the win

Due to work commitments, Josh Cole has been forced to do the bulk of his training over two sessions per week so it was always going to be difficult for him to be at his best over a hilly half marathon route.

As consequence, he was dropped from the lead group, leaving just JC and Lee Dempster out front. They were together for the first four miles, then on the fifth mile, Jacek began to flex his muscles a bit and accelerate away from Lee. From that point on, it was all academic really, as once JC takes the lead in a race, he invariably doesn’t give it up.

Having not really trained much for a half marathon race, Rich Brawn was hoping that he’d be able to tap into the fitness gains he’d made whilst training for the London Marathon. He’d done a couple of long runs the week before but wasn’t sure if it would be enough to see him out for the full 13.1 miles.

High on confidence though after a recent parkrun PB and a 5-mile best in the last Dorset Road Race League fixture, the May 5, Rich started off quickly but knew there was a good chance he’d struggle to maintain the pace in the latter stages.

Rich Brawn gets his race underway
Rich Brawn wasn’t sure what to expect from the race but he set off quickly nonetheless

The course for the Puddletown Plod features some good downhill stretches over the first few miles. The kicker is though, you then have to go back the hills over the last few miles, which making it a very testing out-and-back course.

About 6 miles in, Rich was joined by Neil Sexton and John Towner of Poole Runners who had caught him up. Rich has had some good tussles with Neil in recent races so he wasn’t surprised to see him arrive.

The three of them ran together for the next couple of miles but Rich was starting to struggle a touch. The heat was starting to get to him and the relentless hills were quite energy sapping. He could tell from the way Neil and John were running that they were feeling strong.

After about 8 miles, Rich knew he wouldn’t be able to continue at that pace for another 5 miles so decided he’d have to let Neil and John go. As they began to edge away from him, Rich cracked. It was like a cyclist in a grand tour when they suddenly crack in the mountains and get left behind by the group. He felt like he had no fight left in him.

JC is the first man to come down the road
JC was the first man to come down the road as he neared the end of the race

Meanwhile at the front of the race, JC had ran superbly over the first 9 miles at around 5:35 pace, extending his advantage over Lee as the race went on. The real climbing started on the 10th mile and continued up to the end of the 12th mile.

Jacek Cieluszecki comes past in the Puddletown Plod
Jacek was well out front and looking strong in the latter stages

For JC though, the hills were meat and drink and he powered up them well, leaving him with a 1-mile burst to the line. Finishing in a time of 1:13:19, Jacek sealed a strong and convincing victory. Lee came over the line 1 minute and 22 seconds later to take 2nd place in 1:14:41.

Jacek Cieluszecki comes down the road in the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon
It was a good job it was a national speed limit road given the pace Jacek was going at

Josh Cole had ran well to hold on to 3rd place, finishing in 1:17:46. Unfortunately he had picked up an injury during the race though which left him limping over the line. It felt like a bad one as well and may potentially keep him out of action for quite some time.

Josh Cole goes past in the Puddeltown Plod Half Marathon
Josh Cole races through for a good 3rd place finish

Paul Bullimore of Egdon Heath Harriers picked up 4th place, finishing in 1:18:12, with Chris Wood taking 5th in 1:20:17 and Joseph Sherwood of Littledown in 6th in 1:20:37.

Josh Cole powers down the road in the Puddeltown Plod
Unfortunately the run came at a cost for Josh as he picked up an injury that could keep him out for some time

Edgon also got another couple of scorers in the top ten, with Bruce Campbell taking 7th in 1:21:09 and Graham Sherwin in 10th 1:21:42. Lytchett Manor Striders pair Tom Andrews and Edward Crawley took 8th and 9th in 1:21:25 and 1:21:37 respectively.

Rich Brawn in the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon
Rich Brawn found the hills toward the end of the race tough going

Neil Sexton had had cracking run to take 11th place, recording a good PB of 1:21:50. His Poole Runners teammate John Towner crossed the line in 12th, exactly a minute later.

Rich Brawn comes down the road
Rich nears the end of a very challenging race

Rich Brawn had found the hills over the last section of the race tough to contend with, particularly the long stretch up from miles 11 to 12.

Rich Brawn at the Puddletown Plod
Rich presses on toward the finish in a race that would, in the end, bring him a decent new PB

He mustered up a bit of strength for the last mile though and managed to hold onto 13th place, securing himself a decent new PB of exactly 1 hour 23 minutes. That beat his previous best from the Berkhamsted Half Marathon by 40 seconds.

Rich Brawn shows off his medal
It was a good run from which that saw him take 13th place and finish as 3rd scorer for the team

Tom Paskins had been suffering from a bit of a hamstring injury which had prevented him from going as quickly as he might have liked during the race. He’d also been struggling with hay-fever, which was causing him some breathing difficulties and the Puddletown Plod course is generally quite unforgiving for an infliction of that sort.

As a result Tom was well below what he would usually be capable of in a half marathon, crossing the line in exactly 1 hour 27 minutes, putting him in 28th place. Unfortunately, three more Egdon Heath Harriers had come in in the three minutes between 1:24 and 1:27, as well as four Littledown Harriers.

Tom Paskins in the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon
It was a race that didn’t go exactly to plan for Tom as he was suffering from a hamstring injury and a bout of hay-fever

That saw Bournemouth AC pushed down to 3rd in the Dorset Road Race League, with Egdon taking out the win and Littledown sneaking in for a surprise 2nd place. It certainly not the result the BAC team had been expecting.

Having not run a great deal since his North Dorset Village Marathon, the Puddletown Plod wasn’t exactly a race that Matt du Cros was relishing. He’s aiming to complete all 12 of the Dorset Road Race League fixtures this season though so, having completed the marathon, he wasn’t about to let that record slip.

Matt du Cros gets his race underway
An ever-present in the Dorset Road Race League thus far, Matt du Cros (080) had a record to keep up

As a result, his aim was simple and that was just get round unscathed. Starting the race off very conservatively, he began to grow in strength as the race continued. Over the latter stages, he found he had a lot more energy left, finishing with a strong last few miles that propelled him up the leader-board.

Matt du Cros in the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon
Matt was feeling strong toward the end of the race

Reaching the line in 1:35:13, Matt ended the day as 5th scorer for Bournemouth AC, taking 49th place overall. After the race he couldn’t help feeling that he should have gone off harder in the early part of the race. Since he’d had so much left at the end, he knows he could have done better if he’d got the strategy right.

Matt du Cros comes down the road
Matt had so much energy left at the end of the race he felt that he should perhaps have gone faster at the start

In the women’s race, it was Isobel Rea of West 4 Harriers who took out the win, crossing the line in 1:27:38. That put her in 30th place overall. Alexandra Door of Egdon Heath Harriers found an opening to take 2nd place in a time of 1:32:50, putting her in 43rd place overall.

Her Egdon teammate Sophie Elford went on to finish as 3rd placed lady, completing the course in 1:36:56. Crossing the line as 9th placed female, Sarah Hyde completed the winning team for Egdon Heath Harriers, with Lytchett Manor Striders taking 2nd place and Littledown Harriers getting 3rd.

That meant current league leaders Poole Runners found themselves languishing in 4th position for that particular fixture. They still of course had a commanding lead over the season thus far, with Egdon Heath remaining in 2nd and Bournemouth AC staying in 3rd, just above Littledown.

Wayne Walford Jelks arrives at the school field
Wayne Walford Jelks arrives for his final lap round the field before completing the course

Although he found it a struggle with minimal training behind him, Wayne Walford Jelks still managed to make it round, crossing the line in 2:08:05 to put him in 215th place overall. It may not have been one of his fastest races but it will serve as a good starting point for Wayne in his bid to recover his fitness.

It was a tough race for Wayne but he got through it, giving himself a good base to build from for future races

In the league standings for the Men’s First Division, that win had brought Egdon Heath Harriers level with Bournemouth AC at the top of the table. It is looking increasingly like they will provide a strong challenge to BAC throughout the season so it should be an enthralling battle between the two for the coveted Dorset Road Race League title.

That also meant it would be all to play for in the next league fixture, the Pubeck 10k, with each race potentially proving vital in deciding the who will emerge as this year’s champions.

Four members of Team BAC at the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon
It wasn’t the result they’d hoped for but the BAC men’s team finished up in 3rd place in the DRRL standings for the Puddletown Plod

BAC members get stuck in at Poole Festival of Running

Bournemouth AC team at Poole Festival of Running
There were still at least some yellow and blue vests on show at Poole Festival of Running despite the Twemlow Anchors takeover

For many years now, the Poole Festival of Running has been an event well supported in numbers from a Bournemouth AC perspective, as well as the other local clubs around the area. This year’s edition saw an interesting twist to the proceedings when the Twemlow training group containing many of Dorset’s finest club runners made the controversial decision to ditch their club vests in favour of a freshly printed Twemlow Anchors attire. That was a move that certainly ruffled some feathers on the Dorset club scene.

The weekend proceedings began with Saturday evening’s 5k ‘Run for Cancer’. In that race Jacek Cieluszecki was looking to defend his crown from last year, when he came out on top in both the 5k and the half marathon race the following day.

Others vying for top honours in this year’s 5k included JC’s Bournemouth AC teammate Rob McTaggart and Chris Alborough of Poole AC. The Dorset Runners’ equilibrium was about to take its first denting of the weekend when Steve Gallienne from Bideford AAC swooped in to steal the spoils.

Jacek Cieluszecki in the Poole Festival of Running 5k
Jacek Cieluszecki was looking for a win in the ‘Run for Cancer’ 5k for the second year in a row but he faced some unexpected competition from Steve Gallienne of Bideford

Posting a spectacular time of 15:30, Steve had prevailed over Jacek with a winning margin of 7 seconds. Just as he had at Wings for Life in Florida and in the Maraton Juranda in Poland the previous weekend, JC had to settle for 2nd place.

That said though, he was pleased with his time of 15:37, which was pretty decent, especially just one week after a 2:35 marathon. Rob McTaggart also had a good run to take 3rd place, crossing the line in 15:45, with Chris Alborough taking 4th in 15:57. There were 383 finishers in total.

Rob McTaggart in the Poole Festival of Running 5k
Rob McTaggart gave the Twemlow Anchors vest its first airing in the 5k race where he took 3rd place in 15:45

Both JC and Tag were in action again the following morning as they lined up in a star-studded field for the 10k race, also featuring Steve Way, Ant Clark, Dave Long, as well as Chris Alborough and Chris Wood of Wimborne AC.

With prize money at stake as well, you could guarantee that all the big names would be giving it their all which made for an exciting spectacle. The Twemlow Anchors did not seem to be weighed down by the new vest tops and dominated the proceedings, occupying the majority of the top ten places.

Start of Poole Festival of Running 10k
A star studded line-up had gathered for the 10k race on Sunday morning

However, it was Steve Gallienne who again showed up to upset the applecart and romp home for the win, scooping the lion’s share of the lute on offer. Crossing the line in another extremely impressive time of 31:13, Steve completed a smash and grab raid that no one was expecting.

Dave Long in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Dave Long was one of those in the hunt for the prize money

Even the super speedy Dave Long couldn’t quite contend with the Bideford man. Disco ran well though and at the end of a high mileage week, delivered a pleasing performance to reach the line in 31:47.

Dave Long in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Disco had to be content with 2nd place in the end after Steve Gallienne completed a 5k and 10k double

In third place, it was last year’s winner of the 10k race, Steve Way. Since returning from some high altitude training in the Alps as part of his preparation for the Comrades Marathon, Steve was looking in much better shape and had found some good form just at the right time.

Steve Way in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Steve Way arrived back from his training in the Alps looking in great shape

Finishing in 32:12, it was an encouraging run for Steve and helped give him further confidence for Comrades the following weekend.

Steve Way in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Steve took a solid 3rd place in a time of 32:12

The next man to come in, taking 4th place in exactly 33 minutes, was Jacek. Resisting the temptation of the Twemlow tank top in favour of the traditional yellow and blue of BAC, JC completed very good double-header and he was pleased with his efforts.

Jacek Cieluszecki in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Despite pressure from the Twemlow Anchor boys, JC remained faithful to the yellow and blue of BAC

Next over the line was David Broadley of Poole AC, sealing a 5th place finish in a time of 33:27. He came in just ahead of Tag, who managed 6th place to go along with his 3rd place in the 5k the previous day.

Steve Way, Tag and JC in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Steve, Tag and JC were running together for some of the race

Registering a time of 33:36, that was good enough to see Tag take 3rd prize for the 5 and 10k double behind Steve Gallienne and JC. He ended the weekend £50 richer as a result but he certainly felt like he’d earned it.

Rob McTaggart in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Tag storms down the Quay on his way to a 6th place finish

Ant Clark followed in shortly after to take 7th place in a time of 33:57 arriving with Twemlow Anchors training buddy Mark Smith who was 8th in 33:58. Ant had also been with Steve on his training excursion to the Alps and was now feeling ready to go for Comrades after this last little taper effort.

Anthony Clark in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Ant Clark was enjoying the flatter landscape of Poole after his training spell in the Alps

Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC and Chris Alborough completed the top ten, finishing in times of 34:08 and 34:43 respectively, Chris being the next man to complete his 5 and 10k double.

The first female over the line was Louise Damon of Winchester & District who came in in 14th place, clocking a time of 35:58. She was followed by Lucy Marland who was 16th in a time of 36:07.

Former Bournemouth AC member Heidi Tregenza, now representing Cornwall AC, took the prize for 3rd female, finishing 18th overall in a time of 36:11.

Emma Caplan in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Emma Caplan comes round the corner on her way to a good 38 minute finish

Emma Caplan was 4th woman to get to the line, finishing in a time of 38:01. That put her in 27th place overall and first in the F40-49 category.

Emma Caplan in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Emma took 4th place in the women’s race
Ian White and Tamzin Petersen in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Ian White and Tamzin Petersen running alongside each other

Weighing in with his first sub 7-minutes-per-mile average pace 10k for quite some time, Ian White showed his form is progressing well. He finished in a time of 43:38 to take 95th place overall.

Ian White in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Ian looks in good form as he comes along the Quay
Ian White in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
The sausage man did not hit the wall and kept to a very consistent 7-minute-mile pace

Sneaking in with a nice new 10k PB, Tamzin Petersen continued her cracking form of late to cross the line in 44:45. That bettered her time at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival last October by 14 seconds and put her 5th in the Senior Female category and 120th overall.

Tamzin Petersen turns the corner in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Tamzin turns the corner on the Twemlow section of the course

Following up her recent 5 mile PB at the May 5 in Canford Heath and a 3rd placed female finish at the Ramsbury 5 mile race before that, it’s been a good couple of months for Tamzin.

Tamzin Petersen in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Tamzin heads toward a brilliant PB of 44:45

Unfortunately it wasn’t such a successful outing for Phil Cherrett. He was violently sick after the first 5k and then a couple more times before getting to 8k. By then he’d already lost a lot of time but somehow managed to muster up a decent finish to get over the line in 47:48.

Phil Cherrett in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Phil Cherrett was going okay for the first 5k but was then struck down by a sickness bug

That put him in 171st place overall. It was a miracle he even finished at all though after suffering in the way that he did.

Phil Cherrett in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Despite making several stops between 5 and 8k, Phil persevered and completed the course

The next Bournemouth AC member over the line was Katrina White, who completed the course in a time of 48:52. That saw her to 16th place in the Senior Female category and 193rd place overall. It was over a minute quicker than the time she posted at the Bournemouth Bay Run in April so a pleasing run for Katrina.

Katrina White in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Katrina White makes her way down the Quay
Katrina White in the Poole Festival of Running 10k
Katrina nears the end of a good sub-49 minute run

After being out of action for a while due to a calf injury, Simon Hunt took it slow and steady, managing to make it through the race okay. Crossing the line in a time of 48;50, Simon was 6th in the M60-69 category and 199th overall. His wife Marilyn who runs for City of Salisbury also ran, completing the course in 1:06:33, which put her 17th in the F60-69 category. A total of 850 runners completed the 10k race.

In the team competition for the 10k, it was a clean sweep for Bournemouth AC, with Dave Long, Steve Way and JC taking 1st in the men’s and Emma, Tamzin and Katrina taking 1st place in the women’s.

The Half Marathon race started off at the same time as the 10k but only featured one Bournemouth AC representative and that was Pawel Surowiec. Pawel had only landed back from a trip to Washington on Friday night and was still feeling jet lagged when he took to the start line.

Pawel Surowiec starting the Poole Festival of Running Half Marathon
Despite only recently flying back from Washington, Pawel Surowiec lined up for the Half Marathon race

As a consequence he wasn’t really feeling mentally ready for the challenge that a half marathon would present and that made it difficult for him. Nonetheless though, he pressed on and completed the course, crossing the line in a time of 1:36:23. That put him in 49th place out of 403 finishers.

Pawel Surowiec in the Poole Festival of Running Half Marathon
A relieved Pawel heads toward the finish line to take 49th place in the Half Marathon in 1:36:23

Lee Dempster was flying the flag for the Twemlow Anchors in the Half Marathon and he picked up the victory, crossing the line in an excellent time of 1:15:13. That gave him a winning margin of almost two-and-a-half minutes over his Lytchett Manor Striders clubmate Scott Parfitt, who finished 2nd in 1:17:41.

BAC athletes perform well at SEAA 2019 Championships

BAC athletes turned in some excellent performances at Bedford last weekend on 1st & 2nd of June. Bedford was again the stage this year for the South of England Athletic Association’s Senior & Under 20 Championships.

Winning a Gold Medal, Sophie Merritt came first in Senior Women’s Shot with a putt of 14.13 meters.

Phoebe Dowson continued her trend for 2019 by winning a silver medal by coming second in Senior Women’s Discus with a throw of 50.14 meters. Phoebe continues to be ranked second in the UK for Women’s Discus. Sophie Merritt came 4th in the same event with a throw of 42.16 meters.

A Silver medal was also won in the Senior Men’s 3000 m Steeplechase by Jamie Grose in a time of 9 min 30.17 seconds.

A surprise Bronze Medal was won by Jasmin Cooke in U 20 Women’s High Jump with a height of 1.63 meters. It was Jasmin’s second taste of competition at this sort of level with all it’s added pressure.  She also competed at Lee valley EESA in U17’s last year and received a bronze medal

Jack Messenger came 6th in the Sunday morning’s Final of the Senior Men’s 400 m Hurdles in a time of 55.45 seconds. Jack had battled through in the 10 AM Saturday morning’s heats with a qualifying time of 54.75 seconds to reach the final.

The Senior Men’s 5000 m was thankfully for all competitors a straight Final. Former local Craig Palmer returned to Bedford and along with Josh King were up near the front in the first half of the race. The fast pace eventually told on Josh who couldn’t hang onto the leaders and finished 11th in a credible time of 15 min 39.58 seconds. Craig paced his race exceedingly well, finishing 7th in a PB of 15 min 21.41 seconds.

Rob Woolgar on the Saturday finished 6th in Senior Men’s Long Jump with a jump of 6.77 m. Rob unfortunately didn’t finish the Senior Men’s 110 m Hurdles Heats held the next day. Despite Rob’s height, elevating one’s self successfully over the high hurdles is not an easy task.

Chloe Burrows ran the Heats of Senior Women’s 100 m in 12.30 seconds, in the Semi Final she came 7th in 12.51 seconds.

Joel Harvey and Kevin Richardson ran in the Senior Men’s 400 m Heats. Joel qualified for the Semi Finals in a time of 50.77 seconds, Kelvin did likewise in a time of 50.97 seconds. They both ran in the same Semi Final, Kevin coming 5th in 50.05 seconds and Joel 6th in 50.08 seconds.

Madeleine Smith was disappointied coming 10th in Senior Women’s Triple Jump with 11.46 m due to registering a number of no jumps. She struggled with the warm still conditions, normally contending with cold windy conditions.

Although not a Higher Claim BAC member, David Clarke is a BAC uni student member. David ran in the Senior Men’s 1500 m under High Wycombe club colours . David regularly trains at KP and is always cheerful. He was just even more cheerful on Saturday as it was a straight Final, coming 12th in a time of 4 min 11.22 secs.

Hopefully I have not overlooked any BAC competitors. Special mention must be made of Hazel and Jemma Bates who went all the way to Bedford to officiate on Sunday and to Mike Phillips who did likewise on Saturday. Without such sacrifices competitions at any level would not take place. I overheard the officials being told at 9 AM on Sunday they would be granted £4 for food and drink instead of a packed lunch for their toils lasting till gone 5 PM.

Report by William Kearsey

Triumph at Hampshire Vets Match, Basingstoke

Three BAC athletes were in action for Southampton in the Hampshire Vets League on Monday night in Basingstoke

Joy legging it home to win the 400m A.

Southampton Ladies Masters team won the Hants Vets League Match and the men were second.

Andrew Sheerin won M35 Hammer and was 3rd in Shot. He impressed all with some big warm up throws in the Hammer and was on top form as usual. We are looking forward to seeing some more PBs soon from the muscular, throwing man.

Janet Dickinson competed mainly in the younger W35 age group.  She won the Hammer, 100m and came a close second in Javelin.  It was another first place for Janet in W50 High Jump.  Only taking limited attempts at all these events as they followed each other in close succession.  In fact the High Jump and Hammer took place at the same time so Janet had to switch between throwing and jumping.  Fortunately they were next to each other to facilitate this.

Janet Dickinson W50 throwing the Javelin after just winning the 100m. She went on the win Hammer and w50 High Jump before running the 400m leg in the relay. 

Joy Wright had an excellent evening, winning the W35 400m by a significant margin. She won the High Jump and came a near second in W35A 100m into a stiff breeze. Again the High Jump was cutting it fine due to a late start and Joy just managed to secure a winning jump before running almost 200m to the relay start. She was delighted to be back from long term injuries and illness.

Joy’s winning high jump with ample clearance.

The match concluded with the usual relay and this time it was a Medley, comprising 2x 200m, 400m & 800m. It was the perfect way to end the day with a win. Janet ran 400m and Joy 800m as part of the winning team.

Winning Medley relay team pictured.  Becky Mulley,  Tracey Bezanze along with our Joy and Janet after the final race.  All did many individual events as well.

Congratulations to Southampton ladies winning the match by 6 points, ahead of Winchester. There were fantastic performances all round.  Well done to the men’s team on an excellent second place.

A win puts the ladies team in the driving seat for the league. A victory at Aldershot on the 8 July will mean an automatic place in the finals in Kent on 1 September.

It was a fantastic evening throughout.  Well done to everyone that competed, officiated, managed the teams and provided tea and cakes!

Stu Nicholas in great shape at the Cornish Imerys Trail Marathon

Stu Nicholas in the Cornish Imerys Trail Marathon
It was a very different sort of a race for Stu Nicholas as he took to china clay country for the Cornish Imerys Trail Marathon

Returning to his natural home of Cornwall to compete for this second claim club of St Austell isn’t abnormal for Stu Nicholas. It’s something he likes to do every so often. In fact he completed his 50th marathon there last November making for a very memorable occasion that day.

His  latest race over in that part of the world was a very different prospect though. The Cornish Imerys Trail Marathon offers a very unique running experience. It is staged on land belonging to Cornwall’s China Clay industry, giving it a type of terrain very rarely encountered by a runner.

Stu Nicholas on the china clay of the Imerys Trail Marathon
Stu had his work cut out to keep a good pace going on the lumpy china clay surfaces of the Imerys Trail Marathon

It was very lumpy and bumpy underfoot making it extremely tough going, even for an experienced marathon maestro like Stu. He negotiated the difficult surroundings like a true pro though and was soon up the front, on his own, leaving everyone else trailing in his wake.

Stu Nicholas goes past in the Cornish Imerys Trail Marathon
Once he put his foot down and took control of the race, there was no stopping Stu

He made light work of the china clay mining surfaces and moulded a superb performance with a fine finish. And what’s more, although it was such tough ground to run on, Stu still completed the course in under three hours, which was extremely impressive.

Stu Nicholas goes through in the Cornish Imerys Trail Marathon
Although the terrain was tough going, Stu made it look easy

His time of 2:59:12 was 21 minutes and 27 seconds quicker than his nearest rival on the day, who was Wendy Chapman of Truro Running Club.

Stu Nicholas makes his way in the Cornish Imerys Trail Marathon
Stu was ahead of his nearest rival by quite some margin

It was another strong win for Stu after he recently came out on top in the Dark Ox Quarter Marathon. He also secured a new PB of 2:43:10 at the Brighton Marathon in April.

And at the Imerys Trail Marathon, despite the fact that it was such a surreal environment, Stu had delivered another marathon masterclass. In fact, he described it as almost lunar. One thing was for sure though and that was that he was over the moon with his emphatic and dominant display.

Stu Nicholas winning the Cornish Imerys Trail Marathon
Sweeping home for the win in a time of 2:59:12, it was a mightily impressive performance from Stu