The first weekend of June – and, some might even say, the start of summer – has become synonymous in the local running calendar with Poole Festival of Running.
This year the event was bolstered by the edition of a brand new Half Marathon race to go with the Minithons, the charity 5k and a new single lap course for the 10k taking in Poole Quay.
As usual, a strong army of yellow and blue vests descended on the venue and they weren’t there to make up the numbers. They were there to make their presence felt!
The first race of the weekend was the “Run for Cancer 5k” race that started on Saturday at 5pm. Fresh from his spectacular Wings for Life victory in Australia, Jacek Cieluszecki was back on familiar ground but was looking to keep the winning habit going.
Using the Poole Park area for a lot of his training runs, Jacek was very much at home at the Festival of Running and he’s often seen banging out sub 16 minute parkruns there as well.
Last year’s Poole Running Festival was a rip-roaring success for JC as he secured the win in the 10k race. He was hoping he’d be able to follow that up with another 1st place this time round.
There was competition though, in the shape of Gavin Pritchard, who gave Stu Nicholas a run for his money at the Dorchester Marathon, Poole AC duo James McCafferey and Duncan Cooper and Sean Edwards of Lytchett Manor Striders.
No-one could match Jacek‘s blistering pace though and he blew them all out of the water, sealing the victory in a super-fast time of 15:49.
Arriving at the finish line 50 seconds later, Sean Edwards took 2nd place in a time of 16:39. Duncan Cooper came in 5 seconds later to take 3rd, with James McCaffery in 4th.
After the race, Sean joked that he was 1st runner who wasn’t JC, which, given the sheer dominance that Jacek has displayed recently, could almost be a valid category.
Also in action in the 5k race for Bournemouth AC was Wayne Lyle, who finished in 11th place in a time of 18:18. It was a 13 second improvement on his time at the Poole Festival of Running last year for Wayne, although he was expecting to be faster.
He gave it everything he had though and it was nice to Wayne back in the area representing BAC again. A total of 377 runners completed the “Run for Cancer 5k”.
The 10k race also featured some of BAC’s big hitters, with Steve Way, Rob McTaggart and Josh Cole all vying for top spot. They had competition from other angles as well, with Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat and Sean Edwards again in the mix. There were also a number of Poole AC’s top names lining up as well, including David Broadley, Brian Underwood and Jamie Grose.
With Steve finishing ahead of Tag in the Bournemouth 10 and Tag getting the better of Steve at the London Marathon, it was destined to be a good showdown between the two of them.
After Tag’s outstanding performance in London in very trying conditions, there was some talk of Steve passing the torch onto Tag as Bournemouth AC’s top dog. Since then though, Steve had set an even faster marathon time of 2:28:19 at Dorchester.
At the Poole Running Festival 10k, it was Steve who came out on top, reaffirming his supremacy with a time of 32:40. He followed up a controlled effort in the first half of the race with a marginally quicker second half.
He wasn’t quite able to crank it up as much as he would’ve liked though due to few bumps and a headwind but it was still a decent run for Steve though in his last race before jetting off to South Africa for the Comrades Marathon.
It was actually Will Brewin who took 2nd place, crossing the line in a time of 33:26 before Tag clocked in in 3rd position in 33:42. It wasn’t a great run from Tag and he’s certainly capable of going faster but he’d had a few beers the night before so wasn’t at his absolute best.
He did still get £100 prize money for taking 3rd place though so that was a bonus. If he gets a a few more cash prizes Tag has vowed to put the money toward a pair of 4 percenters like the ones Steve wears, so if he gets his hands on a pair of them, watch this space!
Jamie Grose took 4th place in a time of 34:29 before Josh Cole arrived at the finish to seal 5th place, just ahead of Andy Leggott. Josh’s time was 34:45.
Four Poole AC runners completed the top 10, with Brian Underwood taking 7th, David Broadley 8th, Gareth Alan-Williams in 9th and Matthew Ashton in 10th.
The next Bournemouth AC member home was Adrian Townsend, who came in 36th place in a time of 39:52. It was an improvement on Adrian’s time the previous weekend at the Vitality 10,000 where he finished in 40:13.
Adrian wasn’t a massive fan of the new course though and said he much preferred the old course. There were too many twists and turns in this one for his liking.
Taking 3rd place in the M50-59 category though, it was a decent result for Adrian, all things considered. After the race, Adrian celebrated with a pint of coconut rum stout, which he said was possibly the weirdest beer he’d ever had.
As a new member to the club, Ben Walliman announced his arrival with a cracking run to take 45th place in a time of 40:48. Ben has mostly represented Zoom Triathlon Club in the past but is now looking to further his running attributes with BAC.
Reaching the line in a time of 41:32, Harry Sherwood claimed 51st place in the overall standings and took 3rd place in the U21 Male category. It wasn’t Harry’s best effort but still a pretty decent time nonetheless.
After his exploits at Bredon Hill the previous weekend, Simon Hunt was back in action again and he had a very good run considering he’d been feeling the after effects of the Bredon Hill climb for a good few days afterwards.
In contrast to Adrian, Simon said he enjoyed the new one loop route through Poole Quay, although the lap around the houses before entering Poole Park for the finish was a bit of a sting in the tale.
With a very solid time of 42:29, Simon took 58th place overall and was 2nd in the M60-69 category. It was a great way to sign off before he heads off on his holidays.
BAC newcomer Andrew Brookes showed he’d got some good potential, crossing the line in 45:31 to seal a magnificent new PB. He set off a bit too quickly which caused him to struggle a bit over the middle part of the race.
Rallying well though, he managed to pick it up in the last mile before finishing in 109th place overall. A total of 854 people took part in the 10k race.
The inaugural Half Marathon race started at the same time as the 10k and featured a jaunt around Upton Country Park before heading back along Poole Quay.
Going for a Festival weekend double, Jacek Cieluszecki was back in action again the day after collecting the 5k win. In the Half Marathon race, Jacek was facing challenges from John Bassinder of Poole AC and Mitchell Griffiths of Westbourne amongst others.
After the exploits the previous afternoon, Jacek’s legs were feeling a little stiff at first. As a result, he found it quite tough going but was still able to run a very strong and controlled race to cruise in for the win, finishing in 1:14:06.
Over 5 minutes had passed before John Bassinder arrived at the line to take 2nd place in a time of 1:19:16. Kevin Green took 3rd in 1:20:13, with Mitchell Griffiths securing 4th in 1:21:31.
Bournemouth AC’s very own Graeme Miller finished in 6th place, finishing in a very strong time of 1:22:30. Graeme said he would have taken 6th place if offered it before the start but afterwards he felt he should have gone a bit faster.
Having run the course a few times in training, Graeme was worried about potential bottlenecks but he was very pleased to find it all went smoothly on the day.
By the time he reached the 2nd mile, Graeme was in 6th place but he could see the two runners in front of him in 4th and 5th and they were only about 50 metres ahead. He made a concerted effort to catch them before they entered Upton House.
Going past the pair at 5 miles, Graeme managed to stay ahead until mile 7 but they then came back and overtook him. It became apparent that Graeme had used a little too much energy trying to catch the two in front and paid the price in the second half.
He gave it a go though so couldn’t really complain about the result. Sometimes you have to just roll the dice and take that risk and hope it pays off. Graeme has vowed to work even harder in training and come but even stronger.
Another BAC member to make it into the top 10 in the Half Marathon race was Sanjai Sharma, whose time of 1:24:41 gave him 10th in the overall standings and 2nd in the M50-59 category.
The decision to start the 10k and Half Marathon races at the same time didn’t seem to be a problem, although it possibly could’ve been with a bigger field.
Although he would’ve liked to have gone under 1:24, Sanjai was still happy with his time as he’s not really doing any serious training at the moment. He’s now looking forward to a bit of downtime from racing.
The next move for Sanjai was to jet off to France to link up with Peter Thompson as he continues on his Tour de France journey. This will mean a first ultra distance run for Sanjai, since Pete is doing at least 30 miles every day.
No doubt seeing Sanjai and Simon Way and the others who go over there will be a much needed boost for Pete as he marches on in his epic challenge.
Just two places after Sanjai, was Tom Paskins, who came in 12th with a time of 1:25:25. Tom was hoping to be closer to the 1:20 sort of mark but the hot conditions on the day did make it difficult for everyone to realise their potential.
That said, Tom was still glad he did the race and is hoping that the Half Marathon becomes an annual fixture at the Poole Festival of Running as he’d definitely be keen to do it again.
After doing the Vitality 10,000 the previous week, it was back out on the road for Joy Wright and since she’s been doing a lot of her training on the track recently, the Half Marathon was quite a step up in distance for her.
Rising to the challenge well though, Joy successfully completed the course, crossing the line in a time of 1:45:39, which put her in 91st place.
It also gave her in 4th place in the F40-49 category so, although Joy still feels that she needs to work on her speed endurance, it was still a reasonable result under the circumstances. A total of 355 runners completed the Half Marathon race that day.
Also taking to the start line in a BAC vest was Trevor Elkins. Trev has had some pretty good runs recently, winning the Race The Tide Beach Race in Bournemouth and the Run the River 15k in Bristol.
He’d also had a good training run with Ant Clark and the X-Miles group the previous weekend round virtually the whole of the Half Marathon route so he had high hopes for a good time.
Making the conscious decision not to look at his watch for the first 10 miles of the race, Trevor was planning to run it entirely on how he feels, rather than allowing himself to be influenced by time and pacing.
Initially, the tactic seemed to work and flew through the first 5 miles feeling very strong. All was going smoothly until he reached around mile 8 or mile 9. That was when he started to run into trouble.
By the time he’d reached the 10 mile point he’d lost a bit of ground but was still doing well, currently sitting in 19th place and arriving in around 1 hour 6 minutes.
At about the 10.5 to 11 mile point through, Trev’s body started rocking and he began to feel dizzy. He felt like he had nothing left in the legs and they’d practically turned to jelly. At that point, he had to pull out of the race.
It was frustrating for Trevor as he’d been going so well up until then. 19th place would have been a tremendous result as well, but sadly, it just wasn’t to be.
It’s unclear what the root cause of the issue was. Whether it was unbearable heat that did it or whether it was just fatigue after several back-to-back weeks of races.
Looking at the results though, it seems that someone must have carried his chip over the line later on that day as he was on list with a time of 8 hours 33 minutes and 21 seconds.
Whilst that appears as a bit of the blot on his Power of 10 profile, at least it gives him a target he knows he’ll surely beat when he does his next half marathon.