Alex Goulding and Mitch Griffiths tackle Tarrant Valley 10

Mitch Griffiths and Alex Goulding start the Tarrant Valley 10
Mitch Griffiths (149) and Alex Goulding (201) were contending for top honors in the Tarrant Valley 10 multi-terrain 10km race

Featuring two of Bournemouth AC’s finest and foolhardiest henchmen in Alex Goulding and Mitch Griffiths, the Tarrant Valley 10 was set to be a thrilling showdown.

Serial local race prize pilferer Lee Dempster was also in the lineup along with Lymington Triathlon Club extraordinaire Paul Russhard, Bruce Campbell, M50 maestro Bruce Campbell and Mitch’s former teammate Adam Corbin of Westbourne RC.

The race was staged in the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the village of Tarrant Monkton, with the start and finish located just in front of the Langton Arms pub in the heart of the village.

The course was a 10 kilometre, multi-terrain route beginning on tarmac roads, featuring a testing incline up Hogstock Coppice before leading onto well-surfaced bridleways and farm tracks.

Passing through Sing Close, Long Row and Calcott’s Coppices, the half way point mark is reached at Six Cross Ways in Chetterwood. The runners must then pick their way past Strawberry Coppice before heading up a gentle climb to Launceston Wood.

The next part of the course featured some stunning views of the picturesque North Dorset countryside before heading toward an 800 metre descent down Common Drove. Then it was back onto the road for a 600m dart through the village to the finish.

Mitch Griffiths and Alex Goulding in the Tarrant Valley 10
The race gets underway with Mitch and Alex immediately taking to the front, along with Lee Dempster (222)

As he seems to be doing in the vast majority of local races over recent months, Lee Dempster ran out a convincing winner, hurtling round the route in 34 minutes and 40 seconds. That was good enough to see him in with over a two-minute advantage over his nearest rival, who was BAC man Alex Goulding.

Alex was going for gold so he was disappointed not to get the victory but there are signs that he is beginning to return to the formidable form of yesteryear that he displayed on a consistent basis before an Achilles injury forced him out.

Alex Goulding in the Tarrant Valley 10
Alex ran well to seal 2nd place and is now beginning to rediscover his best form

It’s been a long and arduous road for Alex to rediscover his top gear and find the competitive edge to challenge at the front end of the field again. He’s remained focused and determined though and has kept working profusely hard in training and it’s paid off.

It was the last couple of kilometres where Alex really came into his own, taking around five places to get over the line in a time of 36:55. That was a very good result on such an undulating and demanding route and gave Alex 1st prize in the M40 category.

Alex Goulding finishes the Tarrant Valley 10
Alex finds time to showboat as he motors toward the line to finish in a time of 36:55

It was Kim Little, not to be confused with the American rapper, singer, songwriter Lil Kim who took 3rd place in 37:06 before Paul Russhard arrived at the finish in 4th, posting a time of 37:15.

The top five was completed by Adam Corbin who came in in a time of 37:31, just ahead of Bruce Campbell who was 6th in 37:42.

Also finding the road to recovery a bumpy ride at times after a spell on the sidelines with Achilles tendinitis, Mitch Griffiths has only recently returned to competitive action and is still very much in the process of working out what he can and can’t do.

He started off with an extremely quick first mile, trying to go with the lead pack, and he would inevitably pay for the price for that later on in the race.

Mitch Griffiths finishes the Tarrant Valley 10
Mitch made a fast start but then began to pay for that as the race unfolded

It was around the 5k point when he really ran out of steam and started to struggle. The fourth and fifth miles became very difficult from there and Mitch learnt that his speed endurance isn’t quite where he wants it to be at this point.

Rallying well over the final mile though, Mitch reached the finish in 38:22, putting him in 8th place in the overall standings. That was still a decent time from Mitch on such a testing course but he knows that if he’d got the race strategy right he could have gone quicker.

Mitch Griffiths in the Tarrant Valley 10
Although he didn’t quite run it as he would have wanted, it was still a decent time from Mitch, all things considered

Again, it’s a work in progress for Mitch though and he understands that it will take a bit of time and a bit more hard work to get back to his brilliant best. It’ll come though. He just has to be patient.

Following in close behind Mitch was a man who regularly trains with the Bournemouth AC Tuesday night crew, Stephen Ross. Stephen is usually up near the front of the pack in the intervals along the seafront and his uniquely smooth, gliding style is the envy of many.

He completed the course in 38:25, just three seconds behind Mitch, to take 9th position.

Stephen Ross in the Tarrant Valley 10
Stephen Ross trains with the BAC group on Tuseday nights and crossed the line just after Mitch

In the women’s race it was Paul Russhard’s wife Gemma who ran out the winner, arriving at the finish in 42:03. That put her comfortably ahead of Lynda Faulkner of Dorset Doddlers who was 2nd lady in 44:57.

After their injury woes it will be a big boost for BAC to have Alex and Mitch back in their ranks and firing on all cylinders for the forthcoming Dorset Road Race League fixtures, with both men down on the list for the Round the Rock 10k on the 11th August.

Alex Goulding picks up his prize for 2nd place and 1st M40
Alex is all smiles as he collects his prize for 2nd place overall and 1st M40

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Spencer and Emma Caplan chip in at New Forest 10

Rob Spencer in the New Forest 10
Pulling on the Bournemouth AC vest for only the second time, Rob Spencer lined up for the New Forest 10, with Emma Caplan also featuring in the mixed terrain event

Aside from being a competitive, mixed terrain 10-mile race, the New Forest 10 event had something for all the family, also featuring half mile and one mile fun runs for the kids. There was also a three-mile fun run for children over 14 and adults to take part in.

Emma Caplan went along with her kids and a couple of friends and their families, making the most of the prospect of a great family day out as well as the chance to test herself on the scenic yet challenging course.

Also in action in the 10-mile race was Bournemouth AC new boy Rob Spencer, who was featuring in only his second race for the club, after emerging victorious at the Purbeck 10 in a dream debut.

The question was, could he follow that up with another top class display in the New Forest 10? It was certainly a high standard field with the likes of Matthew Bennett and Matt Coffey, both of Southampton AC, vying for the top spot, amongst several other contenders.

Setting off pretty hard in the opening few kilometres, Rob felt that that pace might be a little too difficult to sustain for the duration of the race so held himself back after that.

With the leaders firmly in sight, Rob was able to maintain a fairly consistent gap between him and the two of them, right through the end of the race.

Crossing the line in a super speedy time of 55:07, Rob secured a comfortable 3rd place finish, with an average pace of 5:31. It was a really strong run from the former St Albans Strider and he’d managed to keep a good consistent pace throughout the remainder of the race after that fast start.

In fact, it wasn’t far off Rob’s 10-mile PB of 54:49 which was set on the road earlier this year so to get the time he did in a trail race was certainly a sign of promising things to come.

Rob Spencer gets his race underway
Rob had a brilliant run to take 3rd place in a time of 55:07, ahead of some high quality opposition

The win was taken out by Steve Osborne who rocketed round in a time of 54:04 to give him an average pace of 5:24. He was followed  by Neil Kevern who reached the finish in 54:41, giving him an average pace of 5:28.

The Southampton pair of Matthew Bennett and Matt Coffey took 4th and 5th places, with Matthew completing the course in 56:55 and Matt clocking a time of 57:47.

Meanwhile, Emma Caplan was having a stellar run of her own, starting off a 6:15 pace for the first mile and holding an almost identical pace for the next three miles. She then passed the 10k point in 39:13.

It was only really miles 8 and 9 where she wavered slightly from the 6:20 pace marker and after a strong push to the line in the final mile, she crossed the line as 1st placed lady in a time of 1:03:28.

That put her in 21st place overall and gave her an impressive average pace of 6:21 for the run. In a total field of 803 finishers, 441 of them were female.

Emma Caplan in the New Forest 10
Emma (on the right of the photo in pink) had a terrific run to finish as 1st lady in a time of 1:03:28

Emma’s nearest rival was over five minutes behind her. That was Hayley Yelling Higham who finished in a time of 1:08:53, putting her in 52nd place overall.

Although it wasn’t the easiest of courses, as you would expect from a race staged in the heart of the New Forest, Emma very much enjoyed the beautiful scenery you get there. She’d come prepared as well with a picnic to enjoy after the race and brought out the Pimm’s to round off a very successful day, all in all.

Unfortunately Emma picked up an injury after that and her knee swelled up so she is currently out of action and undergoing some exercises recommended by the physio to aid recovery.

Next up for Rob it’s the Sturminster Newton Half Marathon, which is the next Dorset Road Race League fixture. He’ll line up as part of an extremely strong Bournemouth AC men’s team that will be looking for maximum points.

Rob does have a wedding to attend the night before though so he could be suffering some after effects from that. What better way to cure a hangover though than running a half marathon in the fresh air of the Dorset countryside.

 

 

 

Stu Glenister grinds it out at Littledown Marathon

Stu Glenister at the Littledown Marathon
It wasn’t a race he’d been planning for but it was more one where he thought “Why the hell not” for Stu Glenister as he mastered the mile circuit at the Littledown Marathon

When you line up for the Littledown Marathon, you know you’re in for a testing day out. The premise of the race is simple enough though. You just follow the marked out mile circuit, all the way round the field by the Littledown Centre. The catch is, you’ve got to do with 26 times!!

That was the task ahead of Stu Glenister when he decided on the spur of the moment that he’d give it a go. Why wouldn’t you, right? It sounds like fun.

He hadn’t really done any specific marathon training for it as such, but he had been through a period where he’d completed six half marathons of five weeks so he certainly had some fitness in the bank from that.

The problem was that he was still feeling some fatigue in the legs from those exploits which would mean that as the race progressed, he would be in for a challenge in order to hold his pace.

Bournemouth AC team captain Rich Nelson was in the vicinity and he was on hand to run alongside Stu for some of it and give him some much needed encouragement.

The course at Littledown is actually predominantly flat but because it’s all on grass and the surface is a little uneven in places, it’s not actually a particularly fast one. Especially since you have the mental battle of knowing you have to go round so many times.

Stu actually handled the rigours of the race remarkably well and, although he slowed down as the race progressed, he showed great determination and resilience to complete the entire 26.2 laps.

Crossing the line in a time of 3 hours 36 minutes and 11 seconds, Stu finished up in 9th place out of 56 runners, which was a superb achievement, all things considered.

No one managed to get close to the time of 2 hours 55 minutes that Stu Nicholas set when he won the race back in 2017. This time round it was Michael Tune of Swindon who took out the win, completing the course in a time of 3:06:35.

That gave him a wining margin of 3 minutes 41 seconds over his nearest rival, John Llewellyn of New Forest Runners who was 2nd in 3:10:16. He was followed closely by Alan Morris who was 3rd in a time of 3:10:27.

Stu Glenister’s performance netted him 1st place in the M40 category, so that was a nice bonus for him and must have gone some way toward making the monotony of running all those laps worthwhile.

In the women’s race it was Juliana Jones of Zoom Triathlon Club who nailed the victory, with a finishing time of 3:45:04. That give her 13th place overall, with Heather Khoshnevis of Littledown Harriers the next person in to seal the position of 2nd female. She crossed the line in 3:49:37.

Stu has been resting up since his marathon exertions and is now easing himself back into training. No doubt it won’t be long before he’s back in the cut and thrusts of racing action again though.

Stu Glenister taking on the Littledown Marathon
A good solid run from Stu Glenister saw him finish in 9th place and take 1st in the M40 category

 

Ollie Stoten affords himself the luxury of the Cortina Trail

Ollie Stoten races to the finish in the Cortina Trail
Ollie Stoten was passing through Italy at the time so he thought he may as well make an appearance in the Cortina Trail race whilst he was there

Toby Chapman wasn’t the only Bournemouth AC man in Italy on the Lavaredo Ultra Trail weekend. Ollie Stoten was also passing through on his camper van European travels and put himself up for the Cortina Trail event on the Saturday morning.

The Cortina Trail race consisted of a 48km course incorporating 2,600m of elevation. That’s the type of race that would normally be right up Ollie’s street of course. The only problem was that this time was different to usual in the sense that he was going in with minimal training behind him.

An athlete of Ollie’s calibre can just turn up to these sorts of events though and perform well so there was still every chance he’d make a pretty good fist of it.

The key for Ollie on this occasion was to start off slowly and keep some energy back for the later stages of the race. He did just that, taking it nice and steady on the first climb.

Once that was over there was a downhill section from the 5th to the 7th mile. Then it was into a long incline taking him up 2,500ft by around mile 12. In fact mile 12 itself consisted of a vertical of 900ft.

Ollie Stoten heads along the Cortina Trail
The race included some extremely tough climbs but Ollie tackled them with expertise

A bit more descending followed over the next four miles with Ollie reaching the first checkpoint at Col Gallina in 3 hours and 1 minute. That was 24.2km in to the race and put him in 84th place in the standings. By this point he’d already wracked up an elevation gain of 1,600m.

He soon found himself heading back on the ascent again though, with a climb of around 500m taking him to the highest point in the race in terms of altitude, which was just over 2,400m.

Heading along the Cortina Trail
The route featured some spectacular views as the runners made their way along the trail

The next checkpoint was at 31.6km and Ollie arrived in 4 hours 14 minutes, putting him in 72nd place. He’d now reached an elevation gain of 2,165m since the start.

The good thing was, he was making progress and moving up the field, which must have given him encouragement for the remainder of the race.

Heading past some ruins in the Cortina Trail
Some ruins that formed part of the stunning scenery on the way

From there there were only a couple more significant climbs. One on mile 21 and one on mile 23. Then it was a long descent of around 7 miles down to the finish at 30 miles.

By the final checkpoint, Ollie had moved up to 58th place, arriving at the 39.3km point of Rifugio Croda da Lago I n 5 hours 15 minutes. His elevation gain now stood at 2,489m.

Lovely views from the Cortina Trail
The breath-taking backdrop made the Cortina Trail a uniquely mesmerising experience for Ollie

He then continued heading down toward the finish, crossing the line in a time of 6 hours 2 minutes and 45 seconds. That put him in 60th place overall, which was a pretty decent return for Ollie in a very high standard field.

He finished with a total elevation gain of 2,590m, having completed the full 48.5km of the course. It was an excellent run from Ollie and one that, given he wasn’t able to train for it in the way that he normally would, he could be immensely proud of.

A total of 1,502 runners made it to the finish in the end, underlining how well Ollie did to finish so high up the field. He was soon back in his camper van and resuming his adventure through Europe with perhaps a few more relaxing stops to come, in the near future at least.

Ollie Stoten finishing the Cortina Trail
Ollie arrives at the finish to complete the course in a magnificent time of 6 hours 2 minutes and 45 seconds

 

 

 

 

Toby Chapman troops all the way in Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Toby Chapman in the Lavaredo Ultra Trail
It was a rocky road ahead for Toby Chapman as he braced himself for the 120km Lavaredo Ultra Trail, incorporating 5,800m of ascent

To say he had a daunting task ahead of him would have to be one of the understatements of the century as Toby Chapman geared up for his toughest challenge yet in the shape the Lavaredo Ultra Trail.

The Lavaredo Ultra Trail weekend includes the Cortina Skyrace, which is 20km and 1,000m of elevation. The Cortina Trail race which is 48km and 2,600m of elevation and finally, the headline event, the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, which consists of a 120km route with 5,800m of ascent.

And as if that wasn’t difficult enough, the race began at 11pm, meaning the first part of it would be conducted over night, leading through to the following day and potentially even the next night.

You’d have to be crazy to go for that option, right? Well, you can certainly put Toby Chapman in that category because that’s the race he went for.

The setting for the Lavaredo Ultra Trail might go some way to explaining why Toby and so many others wanted to go there and put themselves through such a challenging ordeal.

The beautiful mountain town of Cortina in the heart of the Dolomites in Italy is really quite something to behold. It’s steep climbs and spectacular backdrop make it one of the most alluring places to go and visit.

To be fair though, Toby wasn’t there for the scenery. He was there to compete and had certainly put the hard graft in training to get himself into the best possible shape for the task ahead.

Winning the Taunton Marathon in a time that was over a minute quicker than he posted last year and taking 3rd place in the Highland Fling, going 25 minutes quicker than he did last year, Toby had had a pretty successful year thus far.

A good run in the Lavaredo Ultra Trail would give him an even greater sense of achievement. It wasn’t going to be easy though. He knew he had a hell of a journey ahead of him.

Views from the Lavaredo
The magnificent views of the Dolomites from Cortina were nothing short of spectacular as Toby contemplated the huge task ahead

Last year Toby completed the Mont Blanc 90k race which featured 6,220m of vertical and he’d also taken part in the 110km Ultra Pirineu, which included 6,800m of elevation, so he has had experience in high profile mountain events. Starting off at night time though made the Lavaredo something of a different experience and potentially an even tougher prospect.

As the race started, it was straight into the climbing and by the time he’d completed the first five miles he’d already gone up around 2,000ft. That was the nature of the race though and Toby knew he’d have to cope with tougher sections than that as he progressed.

A steep descent followed over the next few miles before he was soon on his way back up again, embarking upon a climb that would take him up a further 2,500ft.

The first checkpoint came 17.9km in and Toby had been running for 1 hour 53 minutes. He was currently in 90th place and had already reached an elevation gain of 821m.

He’d gone over the top of the climb and started to head back down by the time he reached the second checkpoint at Passo Tre Croci. That was 27.9km in and after 3 hours and 3 minutes of running Toby had moved up to 69th place and reached an elevation gain of 1,491m.

Then it was down to Valbona, 34.1km in, with Toby now sitting in 65th place, arriving in a time of 3 hours 39 minutes. So far so good for Toby and he was around about where he wanted to be at that stage.

Another climb followed and Toby was in his element, arriving at Misurina, 42.6km in, in 59th place. He’d now been running for 4 hours 52 minutes and reached an elevation gain of 2,116m.

By the time Toby arrived at the next checkpoint of Rifugio Auronzo, 49.4km in, he had slipped back down to 75th place. He’d begun to struggle a bit going up that ascent and was feeling unwell.

He’d been going for 6 hours 10 minutes and had amassed an elevation gain of 2,719m by this point. It was beginning to take its toll though on Toby.

Luckily, once he reached to top of that mountain, there was a long descent and he was able to gather himself and get into a rhythm. At the next checkpoint, he’d gone back up to 70th place, with 8 hours 19 minutes of running behind him.

He was now 67.1km into the race, so over half way through, which must have been a mental boost. He’d now reached an elevation gain of 3,000m. He was still feeling sick though and that wasn’t a good sign.

Another up-and-over followed, taking Toby to the next checkpoint of Malga Ra Stua, which was 76.6km in. He’d now gone back down to 76th place, arriving in a time of 9 hours 47 minutes. His elevation gain now stood at 3,520m.

It was then a descent down to Pian de Loa, which was 81km in, with Toby losing a further four places to put him in 80th position. He’d now been running for 10 hours 26 minutes. There was still a lot of running to go though. 39 kilometres of it to be precise.

Another long ascent followed for Toby and he did his best to bludgeon his way up it, reaching the next checkpoint at Malga Travenanzes in 12 hours and 4 minutes. That put him in 90th place, which was exactly where he was at the first checkpoint of Ospitale.

He was now 89.8km into the race and had reached an elevation gain of 4,300m. The sickness was really hitting him hard though and over the next 7km he lost a further 29 places, falling back to 119th in the standings.

It was becoming a real struggle for Toby but two things he did have in his locker were stubbornness and determination. He was going to see it through to the end, no matter what.

Amazingly he started to pick up a bit after that and moved up to 110th place by the time he reached Rifugio Averau, which was 100.9km in. He’d now been running for almost 15 hours and had reached an elevation gain of 5,222m.

He’d gained another place by the time he reached Passo Giau, 104.3km in and after 15 hours 39 minutes of racing things were starting to look on the up.

At Mondeval, 108km in, Toby was back to 111th place, arriving in a time of 16 hours 35 minutes. He’d now reached 108km and an elevation gain of 5,544m.

All he needed to do was find the energy for a strong descent down to Arrivo where the finish of the race awaited and with just 12km left, he was nearing the end of his epic journey.

Reaching the penultimate checkpoint of Lago D’Ajal at 117.3km in a time of 17 hours 52 minutes, Toby was almost there. The end was in touching distance. He was now in 117th place and just needed to get his head down and dig deep for the remaining 3km.

As he crossed the finish line, the feeling for Toby was one of relief, first and foremost, since he’d been feeling sick for the last 12-and-a-half hours. But it was also a sense of achievement as well, as despite the troubles he’d had, he’d managed to see it through – and that was something to be proud of in itself.

With a final time of 18 hours 31 minutes and 7 seconds, Toby had come in at 124th place in the overall standings. He’d wracked up an elevation gain of 5,770m over the 121.2km he’d covered.

It truly was a remarkable performance from Toby and, although the sickness had prevented him from finishing as high up the field as he perhaps otherwise would have, it just represented another hurdle for Toby to get over and he managed it well given the circumstances.

A total of 1,302 people managed to complete the course before the 30 hour cut-off point was reached, which shows how well Toby did despite the issues he suffered with.

Toby puts the sickness down to needing to take some proper food on board earlier in the run. That was his downfall on this occasion but it’s always a learning experience when you try to push yourself to the next level and Toby now knows what to do differently next time.

It was still a tremendous experience for Toby and certainly one that will live long in the memory. One of the highlights for Toby was seeing the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, an iconic rock formation of the Dolomites.

Toby Chapman in the Lavaredo Ultra Trail
Toby has vowed to return one day to be reunited with the famous rock formation and have another crack at the Lavaredo, using his experiences this time to improve his fuelling strategy

After the race Toby took a nice relaxing holiday in the Lakes. Or it was going to be a relaxing holiday until he noticed that the Skiddaw Fell Race was on. Well, he was in the area so he thought it would be rude not to.

The race was basically 9.6 miles up to the summit of Skiddaw from Kewsick Football Club and back down again. The route incorporated 2,825ft of climbing though, with over 1,000ft of that being covered in the third mile alone. 

It was certainly a short and sharp one, with some pretty extreme inclines. Toby was up against some pretty hardcore opposition as well but still managed to take 17th place, completing the course in a time of 1 hour 22 minutes and 38 seconds. That was out of a 111-strong field.

After all that running and climbing, hopefully Toby is now taking a well earned rest and allowing himself some time to recharge the batteries and recuperate. No doubt whilst he’s doing that though, he’ll be plotting his next monumental challenge if he hasn’t already done so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitch Griffiths takes flight in Southampton Airport Runway Run

Mitch Griffiths takes on the Southampton Airport Runway Run
After a lengthy injury lay-off, Mitch Griffiths was in flight mode at the Southampton Runway Run 5k

It was up at the crack of dawn for Mitch Griffiths when he took off to catch the early flight from Southampton Airport for a somewhat unique 5k race.

The Southampton Airport Runway Run was set up to raise money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance charity, with 100% of the proceeds going to the cause.

A bout of Achilles tendinitis had kept Mitch grounded for quite some time but he was hope the wings of change were now on the horizon and he’d be able to rediscover his top gear.

Taking to the start line for this race was definitely a huge step forward in his road to recovery and would hopefully be an indicator that he was ready to put the turbulent times behind him.

The participants gathered on the airport runway waiting for the scheduled 5:30am departure. There were no delays and contenders were soon roaring down the runway.

Start of the Southampton Airport Runway Run
Cleared for take off: The Southampton Airport Runway Run gets underway

Mitch got off to a good start, assuming 3rd place to begin with, just behind one guy and one woman. The rest of the field were left lagging behind.

Completing the first mile in 5 minutes 18 seconds, it was a confident start from Mitch. Did he have the skills to keep control for the remainder of the flight path though? That was the question.

Mitch Griffiths is in third as they go down the runway
To start off with, Mitch was in third position and was going at a very quick pace

For his second mile, Mitch registered an even quicker time of 5:26. He was really excelling and was now up into 2nd position. That left just him with just 1.1 miles to go.

He now needed to just hold the pace, nice and steady, to see him through to a safe landing. Completing the last mile in 5:29, it was a very smooth journey for Mitch. He then propelled on to the finish, arriving in a terrific time of 17 minutes 15 seconds.

Mitch Griffiths enjoying the Southampton Airport Runway Run
Mitch thoroughly enjoyed the experience of lacing up his racing trainers again and put in a performance to be proud of

That secured him a superb 2nd place in a field of 1,000 people, which was a first class display, plain and simple. In fact, it was such a good performance it even surprised Mitch himself. He didn’t expect his fitness to be quite at that level in this early stage in his recovery.

Not one to rest on his laurels though, Mitch was back in action the following weekend, swinging by the New Forest to take part in the Sway Carnival 5-Mile Run.

Starting off from Wilverly Plain, the event was sure to put Mitch’s fitness and form to an even sterner test. He was now faced with the task of keeping his pace up for an additional two miles.

That one didn’t go quite so well for Mitch. He completed the first mile in 5:31 but for a much tougher, off-road course, that was a little too quick and he paid the price for it later as the run progressed.

Saying that though, he did still manage to finish in a time of 29:03, which is very good for a 5-miler, even though the course did come up slightly short. That put Mitch in 6th place on the day.

The start of his Bournemouth AC journey has certainly provided plenty of ups and downs for Mitch so far but he’s now looking firmly back on the recovery trail and can hopefully press on from here and pilot a return to his jet-setting best before long.

The top three: Mitch ran well to take second place in the Southampton Airport Runway Run behind the guy on the left, with the woman on the right taking third

 

 

Kirsty Drewett and Simon Hunt bounce back in the Lulworth Castle 10k

Kirsty Drewett takes on the Lulworth Castle 10k
After a tough battle in the hot conditions in last year’s race, Kirsty Drewitt was hoping she’d fare better this time in the 2019 edition of the Lulworth Castle 10k

This year’s crop of Lulworth Castle 10k participants were greeted with high levels of humidity as they gathered at Coombe Keynes for the annual hilly foray through the luxurious Lulworth Estate.

The route runs through a scenic setting over chalk tracks and woodland paths and located just a stone’s throw away from Lulworth Cove and the Jurassic Coast, it’s a big attraction amongst the Dorset running community.

The last couple of years it was Bournemouth AC’s very own Jacek Cieluszecki, who broke the course record on both occasions. This time he was taking part in the Jurassic Coast 100k which opened up the race for someone else to grab a moment of glory.

Just as they did last year though, Kirsty Drewett and Simon Hunt had thrown their names into the hat and gave their Bournemouth AC vests an airing.

After really struggling in the scorching heat in last year’s event, Kirsty felt like she had unfinished business at the race. Her primary goal was to see the views she missed on that fateful day last time out when the conditions got the better of her. Above all, she just wanted to enjoy the race this time round.

Kirsty Drewett at the start of the Lulworth Castle 10k
Kirsty, in the front right of the picture, gets her race underway

As for Simon, he won the M60 category last year which was a great result so he was looking for another solid performance this time round, although he wasn’t arriving in quite such good shape as he was in 2018.

Simon Hunt in action at the Lulworth Castle 10k
After a good performance which earnt him a category win last year, Simon Hunt returned hoping for another decent run out

He did manage to put in a decent display though, completing the course in a time of 48:45 which put him in 44th place overall and 3rd in the M60 category. It wasn’t quite up there with what he did last year but it was still a reasonable run from Simon and he was pleased with the time. 

Simon Hunt takes on the Lulworth Castle 10k
Crossing the line in 48:47, it was a result Simon was fairly happy with, all things considered

Thankfully Kirsty managed the conditions a lot better this time round. She still found it tough, as she always does in the heat but she enjoyed it a lot more than in her previous experience and ran almost two minutes quicker.

Kirsty Drewett looks across in the Lulworth Castle 10k
Kirsty handled the humidity a lot better this time and had a far more enjoyable run as a result

Finishing in a time of 54:20, Kirsty came in 103rd position overall and 24th female. She was also 10th in the F40 category. It was a good run from and will hopefully go some way toward erasing the memories from that difficult day she had in 2019.

Kirsty Drewett in the Lulworth Castle 10k
Kirsty cruised toward a time that was almost two minutes quicker than what she did last year

Joseph Sherwood of Littledown Harriers swooped in the for the victory, crossing the line in a terrific time of 38:44. That gave him a winning margin of around 1-and-a-half minutes over his teammate Luke Dowsett who was 2nd in 40:12. 

Kevin Drayson of Westbourne RC came in shortly after in 40:15 to take 3rd, with Poole Runners’ frontman Joe Godden putting in an almighty performance to take 4th in 40:20.

The prize for first lady went to Caroline Stanzel of Poole Runners who finished 11th overall in a time of 42:47. Sarah Trim from Running for Time was 2nd female in 45:24, putting her 20th overall.

Anne-Marie Bayliss was 3rd woman in 46:16, giving her 24th place in the overall standings. There were 350 runners in total who completed the course. 

As usual, the atmosphere in the race village was magnificent and goes a long way toward making it such an enjoyable event to be a part of. Don’t be surprised to see Simon and Kirsty return for another reconnaissance in 2020.

BAC Athletes at English Schools’ T&F Finals, Birmingham

BAC Athletes at English Schools’ Athletic Association 2019 Track and Field Finals, Alexander Stadium Birmingham.

The Finals held over Friday 12th July and Saturday 13th July had ten BAC (first claim) athletes selected, not the nine I erroneously reported previously. I apologise for omitting Amelia Verney.

All athletes mentioned below represented Dorset Schools unless otherwise stated. 

As earlier reported, the Finals are one of the largest sporting events held globally and thus since inception in 1925 are now meticulously timed and run. The athletes travelled up to Birmingham on Thursday 11th July.

Friday dawned and the first BAC athlete to compete was Abigail Phillips in Event T1 Junior Girls 300m commencing at 10:00 hours, Abigail was drawn in Heat 3. Only 8 of the 24 competitors would go through to the Final T95 to be held at 16.39 on Saturday. Abigail acquitted herself well running in a time of 42.35 secs, her 3rd fastest time. All the more creditable considering how early it was. Abigail did not make it to the Final but surely gained experience for future finals at ES.

Soon after T1 started, Isabella Shepherd was in action in Event F4 at 10:10 Senior Girls Hammer. Isabella could not reproduce the form from earlier in the season and finished 20th with a distance of 37.18. She did however enjoy the whole experience of the 3 days camaraderie and hopefully will continue in the sport now School competition has come to an end for her.

Mia Wilkinson was in Event T6 at 11:18 hours Junior Girls 75 m Hurdles. Mia came 7th in Heat 2 in a time of 12.53 seconds. Mia didn’t progress to Saturday’s Final T81 at 15.09 but hopefully gained a lot of experience from the trip to Birmingham. Although not a first claim member, recent new second claim member Molly White deserves a mention. Molly was 6th in Heat 3 in a time of 12.20 seconds.

Yasmin Bridet was selected for Intermediate Girls 80m Hurdles T9 at 11:32 but unfortunately due to injury was unable to compete. We hope Yasmin makes a full recovery and is fit and ready next year.

Leah Sullivan was in F12 at 12:45 Junior Girls Long Jump. There were 24 competitors. English Schools can be a very daunting competition with more officials, totally different surroundings and other events going on simultaneously sometimes in close proximity. Leah came 24th with a best jump of 4.33 m well down on her PB of 5.08 m. Leah will surely learn from her experience and strive to be back at ES in future.

T21 at 13:54 saw two BAC athletes in Intermediate Girls 200m. Brooke Ironside was first in action in Heat 2, fighting through and coming 3rd in a time of 25.13 seconds. Amelia Verney was in Heat 3, coming 3rd in a time of 25.61 seconds. The first 2 in each Heat qualified along with the 2 fastest losers overall. Brooke qualified for the Final T 75 on Saturday at 14:29 but unfortunately Amelia just missed out as 4th fastest loser.

Saturday saw the athletes back early at the stadium from their overnight accommodation, with Isabelle Franklin in action at 10:00 in F30 Intermediate Girls Long Jump. Also in action was Lana Blake representing Hampshire Schools. Lana, having competed previously at ES, finished 9th with a best jump of 5.32m, down on her PB. Isabelle was 22nd out of the big field of 25 competitors with a best of 4.97, down on her PB of 5.18m. You have to accept the event was at 10:00, not ideal for Long Jump. The athletes have to be up, fed and ready to travel and prepare when it suits the whole team. These are part of the character building aspects of the competition.

About the same time, in Event F31, commencing at 10:15 Adam Phillips was in action in Senior Boys Discus. Adam chose the perfect time for a PB with a throw 46.98 m to come a very commendable 4th.

Brooke’s moment with destiny duly arrived at 14.29 with T75 Intermediate Girls 200m Final. Brooke again battled through to finish fifth in a time of 25.05 secs. It is only Brooke’s 2nd year in athletics. Congratulations to her, her current coaches Zac & Tim and her earlier coach Dave. Despite being only 16, Brooke is one of the fastest 200 m runners in the SW of England.

Due to restriction in the total number of competitors counties can take to the Schools Finals, especially the smaller ones such as Dorset, a relay team can’t always be entered by a county. The relay is 4×100 m only.

Dorset this year had sufficient Junior Girls and Intermediate Girls selected for ES to enter a relay team for each age group, both of which included BAC athletes. The Junior Girls failed to finish in their heat. The Intermediate Girls clocked a very good time in their heat but failed to progress to the Final.

Lana Blake ran in the Hampshire Intermediate Girls relay team, they progressed in their heat on Friday to Saturday’s Final. Lana ran superbly in the second leg of the Final and had two brilliant baton changes, thus helping Hampshire to win that relay Final and gaining herself a gold medal.

I won’t go into the many individual cups for different size counties, ages, genders etc. The award for the aggregate totals of all ages and genders saw Hampshire come third in Group A (the Broadbridge Trophy for the largest counties by school population) with 275 points. Dorset came 6th in Group C, the Tonkin Cup with 66 points. (There are four groups/ aggregate cups/school population categories).

Finally a brief mention of a young man called Alfie Why. Alfie was recently selected to represent his area of Dorset at Dorset Schools Junior Boys Long Jump. He won Dorset Schools with a best jump of 5.55 m. He was thus selected to represent Dorset at SW Schools at Exeter and won that with a wind assisted jump of 6.32 m.

Alfie was then invited to represent Dorset Schools at ES. He accepted their invitation, came to King’s Park for a quick couple of coaching sessions with BAC’s Brian Camp. On Saturday in one of the last events, F48 at 15:30, (probably using the two days extra time to practice a bit and some brief coaching from BAC’s Tim Ward) saw Alfie win the ES Junior Boys Long Jump with a best jump of 6.65m. Hopefully Alfie will return and maybe join BAC.

Hopefully all participants will have enjoyed the experience, have learned something which will further their athletic ability or just put to good use in general life. Especially as many of the team were from the Junior and Intermediate Age group and have the chance to train even harder and return in future years.

Written by William Kearsey

Georgia Wood climbs onto podium at Mont-Blanc 23k

Georgia Wood in the Mont-Blanc 23k
Georgia Wood took on one of her toughest challenges yet as she hit the high mountains in the Marathon du Mont-Blanc 23k

It certainly wasn’t your standard 23k race when Georgia Wood headed over to Chamonix for the Marathon du Mont-Blanc event, but then, Georgia isn’t your standard runner.

Incorporating an elevation gain of 1,680 metres, the Marathon du Mont-Blanc 23k would be more than enough to out any runner through their paces.

Of course, with it being set in Chamonix providing the runners with a chance to experience the Alps in all its splendour, the glorious views make the hardship and severity of the climbs that much more rewarding.

The route starts off at Chamonix Aire des parapentes at an altitude of 1,036m before heading over to Trélechamps at an altitude of 1,385m. Then it’s over to Le Béchar at 1,724m before moving onto the penultimate checkpoint of La Flégère at an altitude of 1,865m. The finish of the race was Arrivée Planpraz, standing at a whopping 2,016m of altitude.

The build up to the race hadn’t been the easiest for Georgia, with several colds, viruses and a poorly baby resulting in very little sleep and some tough times to get through. For the most part she’d only really been training at sea level as well as that’s all she could fit in.

She almost didn’t make the trip in fact as her daughter Chloe had a fever right before Georgia and her partner Tom were about to travel. All that only served to make her more determined though to come home with something to be proud of.

Georgia, Tom and Chloe at the Mont-Blanc 23k
Georgia was lucky enough to be able to count on the support of Tom and Chloe whilst she was out in Chamonix

It was around the time when France were getting  some really hot weather so just to make it even more difficult, temperatures were soaring.

The climbs were quite technical, both on the way up and on the descent. Some sections were so steep that you couldn’t really run up them. At one point Georgia slipped on the snow as well, which was quite a strange concept as in 37 degree heat.

The support on certain parts of the course was amazing and because she had a flag on her number, some people cheered her on in English which helped.

Crossing the line in 2 hours 49 minutes and 3 seconds, Georgia was 3rd female to cross the line and 51st overall. In a race of this magnitude that was a fantastic achievement for her.

The top 3 women in the Mont-Blanc 23k
The top three women in the Marathon du Mont-Blanc 23k with Georgia on the right (3124)

Only Lucille Germain who finished 30th in 2:35:52 and Celine Jeannier who was 48th in 2:46:41 finished ahead of her out of all the ladies in the race. There were 1,901 finishers in total.

Georgia Wood getting her prize at the Mont-Blanc 23k
All the prize winners are rewarded on stage in the ceremony at the end

The last climb of the day for Georgia was when she stepped up onto the podium to collect her prize for her magnificent 3rd place finish. That was a very proud moment for Georgia and she was overjoyed to celebrate with Tom and Chloe afterwards.

Georgia Wood on the podium at the Mont-Blanc 23k
Georgia claimed third spot on the podium marking an excellent run out for her
Georgia Wood after the Mont-Blanc 23k
A triumphant Georgia is all smiles as she walks away with flowers and trophy in hand

 

 

 

Linn Erixon Sahlström retains her crown in Jurassic Coast 100 Mile Ultra

Linn Erixon Sahlstrom in the Jurassic Coast 100 Mile Ultra
All that stood in the way of Linn Erixon Sahlström reclaiming her Jurassic Coast crown was a measly 110 miles of Coast Path and 15,800ft of elevation. What could possibly go wrong?

Defending a title you won in the previous year of a really big race is always difficult. It’s always a danger that if you anything less than a victory could seem like a disappointment. However, every race is a new journey and a new experience and that is what matters most to Linn Erixon Sahlström. It’s not all about the end result.

She wanted to go back to the Jurassic Coast 100 Mile Ultra and possibly have a stab at beating her previous best time but above all she wanted it to be a less painful experience. She wanted to smile more and cry less and generally just enjoy it more.

She knew someone would have to try and break the time of 27 hours and 46 minutes that she registered in last year’s event. She wanted to improve on that, as opposed to just racing for 1st place.

It’s difficult though as, once the race gets going and the adrenaline starts pumping, you tend to get caught up the spirit of the competition and that instinct to be the best takes over.

From the start of the race, it was Karen Fronteras who took the bull by the horns, setting off at a blistering pace, despite the fact that it was a hot day and she had a gruelling 100-mile run ahead of her.

Linn could only try her best to stay close behind her but that almost killed her over the first 10k. She realised she was going to have to let her go and wish her all the best. If she was able to sustain that crazy pace throughout the race she would be a worthy winner, no question about it.

Karen even ran up all the hills from the beginning which is something that is not recommended unless you’re a super elite athlete.

Needing to calm her heart rate down somewhat, Linn tends to struggle a bit in the heat. Luckily she found a guy to trot with whom she’d met during training and they ran at a nice equal pace for three to four hours.

At around the half way point, Linn accidentally passed Karen who had gone the wrong way. At the Chesil Beach checkpoint, which was around 45 miles in, Linn had a freshly made burger from her lovely crew who served her food throughout the run since the food stops from the race organisers offered next to nothing.

Shelley Davies and Linn's support crew for the Jurassic Coast 100 Mile Ultra
Linn’s partner Shelley Davies was on hand with the barbeque to provide her with some much needed fuel to get through the energy sapping course

Linn waited until Karen left and then followed her straight out to see what sort of pace she was going at. After 500 metres though, Linn had to go past Karen after she stepped aside on the trail, clearly beaten by the heat and all of her previous exertions.

As she went past, Linn could feel Karen chipping at her heels and she had to get her game face on and show determination not to let Karen pass. The victory was hers to take and as they reached the half way stage, it was very much game on.

After that Linn began to pull away from Karen and a gap opened up between them. The problem now for Linn was that she didn’t know how far behind her Karen was so she couldn’t really afford to let up at all. In a way that was kind of a fun situation to be in in a 100 mile race.

In the middle of the night, whilst passing through Charmouth, Linn heard some people shouting and it sounded like they were screaming her name. As she got closer though, it turned out they were off their heads and one of the guys lashed out at her on the street, hitting her with both hands in a total rage.

Linn blinded him with her head torch and he tried to hit her again but missed, only making contact with her backpack. She waved her poles in desperation but after almost 15 hours of running she was feeling a little dazed so her reactions were quite slow.

It was a scary experience for Linn and to make matters worse she destroyed her head torch afterwards as well whilst trying to put it back on, probably in state of shock. Luckily they carry spare head torches though to account for occurrences like that.

The good thing was, she was now not scared of going through the under-cliff from Lyme Regis to Seaton, or the “Lost World” as they call it. That was a 6-mile stretch across rooted ground, rather like a rainforest. Last year that section freaked her out a bit but this time she was more confident and feeling stronger in the legs.

With around 20 kilometres to go Linn picked up Darren Curtis-White  who, much like her, was going through a rough patch. It was Darren’s first 100 miler and he and Linn both benefited by helping each other out over the latter stages of the race.

Usually Linn tends not to stick with someone for long periods of time. She likes time on her own. However, when you meet someone who is good company and makes you use your best engine, you stick with them.

Crossing the line together in joint 6th place overall, Linn and Darren finished in a time of 26 hours and 37 minutes. She had successfully defended her title and once again finished as 1st female which was a great feeling for Linn.

Linn Erixon Sahlstrom after the Jurassic Coast 100 Mile
She did it again!! Linn ran out as 1st female, conquering the 110 mile route over an hour quicker than she did last year

Arriving 1 hour 45 minutes later, Karen came through to take the runner up spot, finishing 10th overall in a time of 28 hours 18 minutes. Then, a further hour behind her, Simone Durry came in to take 3rd place in the women’s race, with a time of 29 hours 22 minutes.

Feeling strong throughout the race, Linn had loads of running in her legs and had a beautiful day and night out on the trails, smiling and enjoying it for the most part.

What’s more, she beaten her time from last year convincingly, shaving 1 hour and 9 minutes off her time. That was quite some achievement.

By the end of the race, Linn had covered over 110 miles and had reached an elevation gain of 15,810ft. It was an obscenely tough race, make no bones about it but Linn is becoming such an accomplished ultra runner in the way that she handles the extreme challenged that races like this present.

Linn heads past Durdle Door in the Jurassic Coast 100 Mile Ultra
Linn passes Durdle Door and continues up the path showing great determination to get the win

Linn was eternally grateful to her partner Shelley Davies, who logistically aced the race navigating a van around the small country roads through day and night. She not only provided Linn with electrolytes and water but also a freshly barbequed bacon sandwiches and burger.

It wasn’t just a win for Linn personally, it was really a team effort and she thoroughly appreciated the support she got from her crew.

The overall winner of the race was Daniel Miller who went over the line in 21 hours and 24 minutes, taking victory by quite a considerable margin. Euan Ross took 2nd place, arriving three hours later to register a time of 24:28 with John Howard taking 3rd in 24:59.

Linn is now recovering but is slowly building up to this year’s big adventure which is going to be the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa. That is another 100 mile race, featuring over 11,500 metres of elevation and an average altitude of 2,000 metres.

That means it’s back to the dreadmill and the Purbecks for Linn and this time with a weight vest and a training mask in order to simulate running at altitude.

Linn, Shelley and Sir Tabor after the Jurassic Coast 100 Mile Ultra
Linn celebrates her remarkable run with Shelley and Sir Tabor, the dog