Mitch Griffiths in the Great South Run

BAC members go for broke at Great South Run

Mitch Griffiths in the Great South Run
Mitch Griffiths led the charge for Bournemouth AC at the 2019 Simplyhealth Great South Run and he was joined by nine of his clubmates in action over the course of the weekend

There have been some top notch performances from Bournemouth AC runners in the Great South Run over the years, not least Disco Dave Long’s spectacular sub-50 last time out where he executed a near perfect race to seal a top ten place.

There wasn’t likely to be anyone in a BAC vest quite so high up in the 2019 edition but Mitch Griffiths had been in brilliant form of late, producing a new 5-mile PB at the Littledown 5 and a new parkrun PB of 17 minutes on the nose at Poole.

Competing in the race for the seventh year in succession, Rich Brawn was looking forward to being back in the race he regards as his favorite of the calendar year.

The first time Rich entered the Great South Run was back in 2013 when he recorded a time of 1:08:20 and finished 337th. That race really sparked Rich’s interest in getting more competitive with his running and from that day on he was hooked.

Since 2014, every year he’s taken part in the event, Rich has recorded a new 10-mile PB, gradually improving his times all the way up to last year where he recorded a huge PB of 1:01:22.

This year due to a plantar fasciosis injury in the heel, he’s been unable to train to the same level that he did last year so he knew he wasn’t in shape to repeat the same heroics. He would have to try and temper his pace accordingly and just try to get as close to that time as he possibly can.

Rich Brawn before the Great South Run
Rich Brawn can scarcely contain his excitement as he awaits the start of the 2019 Great South Run

For Phil Cherrett, the Great South Run was sure to be the biggest race he’s participated in yet. He’s done events at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival before but this was going to be a level up in terms of grandeur, numbers in the field and crowd support. For that reason, he was excited to see what was in store.

It was only last year that he competed in his first ever 10-mile race, which was the Bournemouth 10. Later that year he went on to set a 10-mile PB of 1:11:38 at Wimborne so that was the target to beat this time round.

It was a fifth consecutive appearance in the Great South Run for Julian Oxborough dating back to 2015 when he ran it in 1:53:31. Julian also took part in the Great South Run several times when he was younger as well, in his former running days.

Back then, Julian was posting some pretty fast times and was still representing Bournemouth AC. It was in 1991 he made his Great South Run debut, finishing in a time of 1:06:40 which put him in the top 500 out of 5,000 participants. That was also his first ever 10-mile event.

Julian Oxborough in action at the Great South Run
Julian Oxborough was in his fifth year in a row at the Great South Run

There were also some Bournemouth AC ladies representing as well, with Alison Humphrey hoping to go for a sub-70 time. Earlier in the year she finished in exactly 1:10:00 at the Bournemouth 10 so if she could produce something similar at the Great South Run she’d have a good chance of achieving that goal.

Alison was joined in the race by Joy Wright, who is has been more focused on track running over recent times. She did complete the half marathon race at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival two weeks prior though so that would have helped with her endurance.

Also in action for Bournemouth AC was Louise Broderick, who helps out with the Junior Development Group on Wednesday nights. Louise is a sporadic runner as she often has difficulty finding the time to get out and train.

She always enjoys racing though when she gets the chance and was looking forward to getting out there and giving it her all. Louise also took part in the Great South Run back in 2015 when she ran it with a friend, completing the course in a time of 1:16:39.

Although he hasn’t done a lot of running lately, Mike White was also in the starting line-up having entered on an early bird deal last year. Mike done a few of the local 10-mile races over the past couple of years including the Wimborne 10 which he did in 2017 and 2018 and the Lytchett 10 which he did earlier this year. This was his first stab at a really big 10-miler though.

Having been given a number from a friend of his from Zoom Tri Club only a few days before the race, Paul Consani was also in the mix. He’d completed an Ironman race on the last weekend of August though and, although he knew he had plenty of endurance in the tank from that, he hadn’t done any speed work since so he wasn’t expecting a great time by his standards.

Nevertheless, the Great South Run is a terrific race to be a part of and when the opportunity came up, it was just too good for Paul to turn down.

Paul Consani in the Great South Run
Paul Consani (in the purple) had taken a number from a friend of his who had pulled out last minute

When the morning of the race arrived, the runners were pleased to see that conditions appeared to be ideal. The direction of the wind meant that when they hit the seafront for the last two miles they would have a tailwind, which would really help over the latter stages. For much of the rest of the route there would be a slight headwind but because that is more inland, it tends not to matter as much.

As always with the Great South Run, it was the elite women who set off first. This was where Eilish McColgan took centre stage. She was hoping to emulate her Mum, Liz, in winning the race for a second year in a row.

She was also looking to beat her Mum’s Scottish national record of 52 minutes which she did back in 1997. As soon as the gun went off, Eilish sped off leaving the others trailing in her wake. It wasn’t about just winning the race for her. She had a target to go for and was extremely focused.

When the elite men set off, along with the rest of the field, it was Rich Brawn who was furthest up the field for BAC. It wasn’t long before Mitch Griffiths cruised up and overtook him though. As he went past, Mitch asked Rich if he was going for a sub-60.

Knowing he wasn’t in good enough shape for that though, Rich replied saying no, not today. He had to then watch as Mitch strode away looking incredibly strong. Rich had already decided he was going to be sensible with his pace though and not risk burning himself out too much and he stuck to that.

Mitch started off at 5:50 pace for the first mile, which was ideal really for a solid sub-60. The course usually comes up slightly long on the Great South Run so running at 6-minutes-per-mile would most likely not quite get him what he wanted.

Mitch Griffiths looking controlled in the Great South Run
Mitch was looking to beat the 59:40 time he set at the Bournemouth 10 back in February

Going through the 5k point in a time of 18:10, Mitch was well on course to better the 59:40 that he managed at the Bournemouth 10 earlier in the year. The question was though, would he be able to maintain that pace?

At the 10k he went through in 36:29, meaning he’d kept the pace remarkably consistent. Miles 7 and 8 in the Great South Run are often the toughest of the race though.

Mitch did well extremely well to minimise his losses though and was still comfortably under 6 minutes per mile on those two. Going through 15k in 54:44, it was looking like he would be sailing well under the 60-minute marker.

He didn’t relax at all though, he continued to push and in fact, ran his fastest two miles of the entire race on those last two miles along the seafront, clocking a 5:44 for both of them.

With an official finishing time of 58:36, it was a huge PB for Mitch, by over a minute. He was delighted with that and it put him in 89th place overall, out of 16,000.

Mitch Griffiths powers along in the Great South Run
Mitch strides toward a tremendous finishing time of 58:36

As for Rich, he was trying to stay as close to 6-minutes-per-mile as he could at first. He knew he’d probably fade over the second half of the race though.

Going through the first 5k in 18:50, he was feeling okay at that point but nowhere near as strong as he was last year. He made it through 10k in 38:17 which he was pleased with at that point. But he knew he’d struggle over the next two miles, as he always does.

His pace then dropped from roughly 6:05 to 6:23 and then 6:28 for the 7th and 8th miles. He didn’t mind that so much though as he knew there was a tailwind for the last two miles so he’d most likely pick the pace up then.

Rich Brawn digs in in the Great South Run
Rich was feeling pretty strong as he went through the four mile point

He went through the 15k point in 58:08, leaving him with a mile left to go. He was hoping to at least get under 1:03 so that was still on the cards.

He was feeling pretty strong in the last mile but unfortunately as he was nearing the end of the race he got a stitch which prevented him from pushing on much.

In the end Rich crossed the line in a time of 1:02:11, which he was fairly pleased with, all things considered. That put him in 181st place overall. It was only 49 seconds off his time from last year as well, so it wasn’t a huge deficit.

Rich Brawn in the Great South Run
Although it didn’t match up to his time from last year, Rich was still fairly pleased with his time under the circumstances

Arriving at the finish in a time of 1:04:34, Paul Consani was actually pleasantly surprised with his time given the lack of speed work. Although it won’t go down on his official record, Paul came in 271st place overall.

Paul Consani cruises along in the Great South Run
Paul looks a cool customer as he cruises toward a sub-65-minute finish

Alison Humphrey didn’t quite get the sub-70-minute time she was hoping for in the end but she wasn’t far off. Crossing the line in 716th place, she recorded a finishing time of 1:10:35. That was good enough to see her coming in as 51st female and 6th in the women’s 45-49 category.

Alison Humphrey in the Great South Run
Alison Humphrey ran well to come in as 51st lady in a time of 1:10:35

The next Bournemouth AC member over the line was Joy Wright, who had a pretty good run to finish in a time of 1:11:28. That put her in 815th place overall and 64th lady. She was also 12th in the female 40-44 category, so it was a decent result for Joy in the end.

Following in shortly after Joy was Phil Cherrett, who arrived in 846th place with a time of 1:11:49. Phil started off at around 7-minute-mile pace.

He actually ran very consistently, except for on miles 7 and 8 where he slowed a fair bit. That ended up costing him a PB but it was still a fairly good run from Phil and he was 129th in the Male 40-44 category.

Phil Cherrett in the Great South Run
Phil Cherrett heads past Southsea Pier on his way to a 1:11:49 finish

Reaching the finish in a time of 1:19:55, Louise Broderick was next over the line for Bournemouth AC. That put her in 2,357th place overall and made her 323rd lady. She was 54th in the women’s 45-49 category.

Having forgotten how busy and congested it gets in large scale races like the Great South Run, Mike White positioned himself too far back and ended up locked in at the steady pace in the early stages of the race.

Mike White in the Great South Run
Mike White got caught out a bit at the start after beginning the race too far back

He’s learnt his lesson from that though and intends to ensure he arrives earlier next time to avoid a similar scenario. With a finishing time of 1:20:59, Mike came in in 2,619th place overall and was 346th in the Male 45-49 category.

Mike White battles on in the Great South Run
Once he was able to get into his stride, Mike managed to pick the pace up and find his rhythm

Running his second fastest time in the Great South Run since he came back to running, Julian Oxborough finished up in 13,210th place with his time of 1:57:23.

Julian Oxborough in the Great South Run
Julian was the envy of many other runners in his flame embroiled shorts

That was a significant improvement on his time of 2:15:26 from last year so that was pleasing for Julian. In face, every mile he did was substantially quicker than the equivalent mile in 2018. He finished 887th in the Male 50-54 category.

Julian Oxborough jumps for joy in the Great South Run
Julian jumps for joy when he finds out the finish is just around the corner

It turned out that Eilsih McColgan did break her Mum’s Scottish national record. In fact, she smashed it, knocking 22 seconds off to finish in a stunning time of 51:38.

That was enough to see her take 22nd place in the overall standings. Her margin of victory over the next lady to come in was 3-and-a-half minutes.

Julian Oxborough after the Great South Run
Julian stands on the podium with his medal after completing the race in a much quicker time than he did last year

The winner of the overall race was Marc Scott, of Richmond an Zetland Harriers, who finished in an incredible time of 46:58. He was followed by Ben Connor of Derby who finished in 47:16 and Emile Cairess of Leeds City who was 3rd in 47:32.

Mahamed Mahamed of Southampton ran well to finish in 6th place with a time of 48:08. Scott Overall was 7th in 48:46, with Andy Vernon taking 8th in 48:38. His Aldershot, Farnham & District teammate Joe Morwood was 9th in 48:44.

Julian Oxborough with Timmy Mallet at the Great South Run
The last thing Julian wanted after running 10 miles was to be hit over the head with a mallet but that tends to be what happens when you encounter Timmy Mallet

Last year’s winner Chris Thompson had to settle for 12th place this time round, finishing in 49:23. He was just behind Alex Tueten of Southampton who crossed the line in 48:56. Steve Gallienne, who upset the applecart in the Poole Festival of Running 5k and 10k, was 16th in a time of 50:38.

Jasper Todd races round in the Great South Run 5k
BAC youngster Jasper Todd was in action in the Great South Run 5k which took place the day before the main race

As well as the 10-mile race on the Sunday, there was also a 5k race which took place on Saturday. That race also had Bournemouth AC representation as well in the shape of Jasper Todd.

Jasper is a rising star in the BAC ranks and whipped round in a time of 17:01, which was a terrific new 5k PB for him. That put him in 13th place overall out of over 600 competitors.

Jasper Todd in the Great South Run 5k
Jasper put in an exquisite performance to cross the line in 17:01, taking 13th place

The race was won by Paul Navesey of Crawley in a staggering time of 14:46. He fended off competition from James Heneghan of Cardiff who finished in 15:16 and Sam Charig of City of Portsmouth, who crossed the line in 15:21.

The 2019 edition had been another terrific event, as the Great South Run always seems to be, once again reaffirming its status as one of the world’s premier 10-mile races. Rich Brawn, in particular, enjoys the weekend as he gets to visit his brother Dave, who ran his 11th consecutive GSR and recorded an excellent PB of 1:07:48.

Plus, some of Rich’s old friends from his previous club, Dacorum & Tring, came down for the weekend as well so it was nice for him to catch up with them and have lunch with them afterwards. Rich will almost certainly be back at his favourite race again in 2020.

Dave and Rich Brawn at the Great South Run
The Great South Run always presents an opportunity for Rich to link up with his brother Dave who runs for Portsmouth Joggers