Category Archives: CrossCountry_Reports

Hampshire XC League finale plus Southern XC Championships

Simon Hearn, who does so much coaching the youngsters and providing a BAC base at fixtures, competing at Dibden







There were some spectacular BAC performances at the final Hampshire Cross Country League fixture of the season at Dibden Inclosure, New Forest, on Saturday 9 February, and earlier at the Southern Cross Country Championships held at Parliament Hill, London on 26 January. Featuring in both were Rob McTaggart, 19th Senior Man (of 194) in the New Forest, and 87th (of…….wait for it……………1154) at Parliament Hill, and Jasper Todd, who was 8th U15B of 47 at the Hampshire League fixture (and is the 10th U15B for the season) and finished an astonishing 34th in a field of 296 in the Southern Championships. Martha Preece also produced quality runs in the U13G races at both fixtures, finishing 90th of 316 at Parliament Hill and 15th of 60 at DibdenHolly Collier continues to amaze, finishing 9th Senior Woman at Dibden (3rd U20W), and, for the season, has achieved the heights of 2nd female overall.

Rob McTaggart on his way to 19th position at the final Hants XC League fixture in the New Forest

There had been high hopes of a 2nd or 3rd Senior Men team final position as the final fixture of the Hampshire Cross Country League at Dibden Inclosure on 9 February approached, but, the day before, it looked as if BAC would have neither a Senior or Veteran Men team at all, except by relying on an ageing Ian Graham to run as the last scorer for both teams.  Fortunately, Sanjai Sharma came to the rescue, with the result that there was a reasonable outcome, if not what had been hoped for nor what BAC is capable of producing.  Nevertheless, many thanks to those who turned up and ran their socks off so that, at the end, the BAC Senior Men comfortably retain their Division 1 status, which is the main aim throughout the season.  Rob McTaggart led the team home, and, with Richard Brawn, Stuart Glenister, Sanjai Sharma and Simon Hearn all finishing within the top 100, Division 1 status was secure.  Ian Graham, having thought, the previous day, that it was inevitable that he would have to run, ran anyway in case anyone dropped out.  Stuart, Sanjai and Simon completed the Veteran Mens‘ team, ensuring a position in the season’s results, which otherwise would not have occurred as BAC had no Veteran Mens‘ team at an earlier fixture.  On the day, BAC‘s Senior Men were 7th of 9 teams, and, on aggregate for the season, 6th of 9 teams, which has to be considered satisfactory – however, a glance at the positions for each of the five fixtures (3,2,8,6,7) gives a clue as to what might have been.  On the day, BAC‘s Veteran Men were 9th of 19 teams, 11th of 19 for the season.  The fact that there were more BAC ladies than men competing at Dibden is an indication of the fantastic progress of BAC‘s ladies over the last few years.  Holly Collier was amazing as ever, with strong runs from Nikki Sandell and Julia Austin securing an excellent team result of 5th of 20 teams on the day, and BAC‘s Veteran Ladies of Nikki, Julia and Kirsty Drewett finishing as the 6th team of 16 on the day.  BAC‘s teams had plenty of support with Louise Price, Mandy Adams, Annette Lewis and Jayne Wade also completing the course.  Annette is a very welcome addition to the BAC squad – although Annette couldn’t score for BAC this time as she has competed this season for Poole Runners she will certainly count next season!  So, at the end of the season, BAC‘s Senior Ladies were 7th aggregate of 18 teams, the Veteran Ladies an amazing 4th of 13 teams, and there were individual aggregate placings for Holly Collier (2nd overall female – by a quirk of the resulting Holly was 3rd U20W, with Poole Runner‘s Serena O’Connor 2nd; Serena was 3rd overall!) and Nikki Sandell who was 9th Veteran Lady.  Well done BAC ladies!!  A feature of Hampshire Cross Country League races this year has been the welcome increase in the number of BAC youngsters taking part (a tribute to the hard work of Simon Hearn and Tom Cochrane).  For instance, another very notable individual placing was Jasper Todd, who finished the season as 10th aggregate U15B.  At Dibden Jasper ran well, as always, to finish 8th in a field of 47.  There has been an U13B team at each and every one of the 5 fixtures this season, which must be a first for many, many years, and, in this respect, BAC is one of only six clubs who can claim this.  Congratulations to Louie Todd, Sam Brewer and Isaac Sandell who made up the BAC team at Dibden.  Clubs which have produced teams at just four fixtures still count in the final results, and BAC‘s U13B team was 9th for the season.  BAC was also represented in the girls’ races – Anya Sandell in the U15G and Martha Preece in the U13G. Many thanks to everyone who supported the various BAC teams in the Hampshire Cross Country League season, and especial thanks to Simon Hearn, who has taken the club tent and banner to all the fixtures, which does so much to enhance the ‘cross country experience’!  Subject to confirmation, the next season is likely to start at Kings Park on 19 October.  Please see below for full BAC results.

Holly Collier leads the BAC ladies home at Dibden

Please see below for more photos from Dibden…………..

Simon was also providing support to the BAC athletes competing in the Southern Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill on 26 January, which was very much appreciated.  In addition to Rob McTaggart, Jasper Todd and Martha Preece, already mentioned, BAC vests were also worn at the fixture by Neve and Lauren East and Louie ToddNeve ran particularly well, as can be seen from the full results which follow.  Here are the full BAC results from Parliament Hill: Rob McTaggart (SM; 87th of 1154; time 51.15; distance 15k), Lauren East (U17W; 97th of 176; time 22.51; distance 5k), Jasper Todd (U15B; 34th of 296; time 16.18; distance 4.5k), Neve East (U13G; 24th of 316; time 13.03; distance 3k), Martha Preece (U13G; 90th of 316; time 13.52; distance 3k), Louie Todd (U13B; 257th of 330; time 14.06; distance 3k).

Results (BAC) of Hampshire Cross Country League, Dibden Inclosure, 9 February. Senior/Veteran Men: 19. Rob McTaggart 34.41, 63. Richard Brawn 38.41, 83. Stuart Glenister 40.17, 85. Sanjai Sharma 40.24, 96. Simon Hearn 41.35, 177. Ian Graham 50.41; Senior/Veteran Women: 9. Holly Collier (3rd U20W) 23.15, 28. Nikki Sandell 26.04, 47. Julia Austin 27.23, 76. Kirsty Drewett 29.59, 82. Louise Price 30.31, 95. Mandy Adams 31.43, 105. Annette Lewis, 110. Jayne Wade 34.05; U15B: 8. Jasper Todd 15.21; U13B: 60. Louie Todd, 66. Sam Brewer, 67. Isaac Sandell; U15G: 41. Anya Sandell 20.12; U13G: 15. Martha Preece 11.03.

More photos of BAC athletes at Dibden………………..

Richard Brawn
Stuart Glenister
Sanjai Sharma, whose late decision to compete may have saved BAC’s Division 1 status, at Dibden
Nikki Sandell
Julia Austin
Kirsty Drewett closely followed by Mandy Adams
Louise Price
Annette Lewis
Jayne Wade


BAC starlets impress at Southern Cross Country Champs

Louie Todd in the South of England AA Cross Country Championships
Louie Todd was one of six Bournemouth AC members competing at the South of England AA Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill, five of whom were from the youth development squad

On what is perhaps the toughest and most brutal cross country course in the country, no fewer than five Bournemouth AC members from the youth development squads were bold enough to make the daunting trip over to Parliament Hill and lace up their spikes for the South of England AA Cross Country Championships.

In the Under 13 Girls race, both Martha Preece and Neve East were in action for the yellow and blues, whilst Lauren East went in the Under 17 Girls category. Louie Todd competed in the Under 13 Boys division, with his brother Jasper Todd flying the flag in the Under 15 Boys race.

There was also room for one big kid amongst the line up, with Rob McTaggart pitting his wits against the region’s finest  in the Senior Men‘s race.

Under the expert stewardship of Tom Cochrane and Simon Hearn, the BAC junior athletes have really been flourishing of late and the hard work they have been putting in in training is clearly paying dividends.

The juniors participate in track sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and as a bonus session, Simon has been running a training group over at Hengistbury Head on Sunday mornings where they practice hills.

Those additional hill sessions would have certainly helped in the South of England AA Championships as Parliament Hill is renowned for its extreme inclines and undulating profile throughout.

As is always the case at Parliament Hill, the mud was thick and it must have felt like wading through treacle at times for the athletes as they trudged round their respective routes, jostling for position in much larger fields than they would ordinarily be used to.

Continuing her fantastic recent run of results, Neve East had another outstanding performance to finish in 24th place out of 316 in the Under 13 Girls race. Recording a time of 13:03 for the 3k course, Neve finished less than a minute behind the race winner Ruby Vinton of Ipswich Harriers.

Neve East in the Southern Cross Country Championships
Neve East, in her trademark pink socks, glides across the mud with an eloquent ease as she races toward a lofty 34th place finish

Considering she was up against the best young girls in the South of England, it was a remarkable achievement from Neve in what has been a truly magnificent season.

Winning her age category in the Wessex Cross Country League, Neve also finished 8th when competing for Dorset in the South West Inter County Championships.

She also won the Dorset County Championships for the Under 13 Girls at Bryanston School a couple of weeks before Christmas.

Also running an excellent race in the Under 13 Girls category was Martha Preece, who crossed the line in 90th place in a time of 13:52, so again, well up the field despite the high standard of the opposition.

Martha Preece in the Southern Cross Country Championships
Martha Preece works her way toward the finish where she would comfortably take a top 100 position

Martha has also had a cracking season on the cross country circuit and was part of the same Dorset team as Neve that took 3rd place at the South West Inter Counties, finishing in a highly impressive 19th place that day.

Taking 5th position in the Under 13 Girls category in the Wessex League Cross Country this season, it`s clear to see that Martha has a bright future ahead of her.

On top of that, she was also 4th in the Dorset County Championships and regularly finished high up the pecking order in the Hampshire Cross Country League fixtures.

Meanwhile, back at the South of England AA Champs, the Under 17 Girls had a 5k route to contend with and Neve’s sister Lauren East featured in that race for Bournemouth AC.

She came in in a very creditable 97th place in a field of 176, which was a decent result for Lauren, especially considering that she was up against the best that the South of England has to offer. Lauren`s time was a very solid 22:51.

Lauren East in the Southern Cross Country Championships
Lauren East blasts her way round the 5 kilometre course in the Under 17 Girls race

There have been many positive results for Lauren over the numerous cross country fixtures she’s taken part in this season and finishing 26th in the South West Inter Counties could well be one of the highlights. She also finished 10th in the last Hampshire League Cross Country fixture at Prospect Park in Reading.

As for the boys, it was Louie Todd wearing the famous yellow and blue in the Under 13 race, which was also 3 kilometres in length. He gave it everything he’s got, securing 257th place out of the 330 who took part and clocking a superb time of 14:06.

Having also competed in a number of the Hampshire League and Wessex League Cross Country fixtures over the course of the season, Louie has shown great enthusiasm to get involved, as has his brother Jasper, who featured in the Under 15 Boys race at the South of England AA Champs.

Louie Todd in the South of England AA Cross Country Championships
Louie Todd battles his adversaries in the Under 13 Boys race where he did his coaches proud to come in 257th in a very high standard field

Demonstrating the terrific talent he has in his armory, Jasper Todd was 34th over the line, completing the 4.5k course in a staggeringly quick time of 16:18. That was out of a field of 296.

Jasper’s achievements for the season so far include a 10th place finish in the South West Inter Counties where he was part of a Dorset team that took 3rd place in the Under 15 Boys category.

Also winning a gold medal in the Dorset County Championships at Bryanston School, this would have to go down as an extremely successful season from Jasper’s perspective.

Finishing just outside the top ten in a couple of the Hampshire League Cross Country fixtures, Jasper also took 2nd place in the Wessex League race at Lytchett School back in October.

Jasper Todd in the South of England Cross Country Championships
Jasper Todd, to the left of the picture, had a terrific run, putting the hill training he`d been given to great effect in the Under 15 Boys race

Going along to support the juniors that he coaches, Simon Hearn was extremely proud of their efforts at the South of England AA Championships and was thrilled to see them all performing so well.

In fact the junior athletes deserve a lot of recognition for all the hard work they’ve put in over the season and there’s certainly no doubt that these bright prospects are putting Bournemouth AC on the map when it comes to the youth athletics scene.

Also in action for Bournemouth AC in the Senior Men`s race was Rob McTaggart, who has been involved in some pretty raucous races at Parliament Hill over the years.

In fact, he’s competed in the Southern Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill on five separate occasions now and also featured in the event at Stanmer Park in Brighton last year. He’s also been to Parliament Hill for the National Cross Country Championships on a couple of occasions.

Rob McTaggart in South of England Cross Country Championships
Rob McTaggart featured in the Senior Men`s race where he wasn`t prepared to be brushed aside easily in a fiercely competitive and feisty field

Very few of those races have gone by without incident though and this one was no different. Tag found himself face down in the mud on a couple of occasions, once just 600m into the race and the second time at around 4km.

He rallied well though did his best to move through the field and make up for any lost ground. Although he had a couple of bad patches on the muddier sections, he was very satisfied with his performance and even managed a decent sprint finish at the end to take 87th place.

That was a mightily impressive result in a huge field of 1,154 men and of course, being the South of England Championships, the standard of the competitors he was up against was extremely high.

Completing the brutal 15 kilometre course in a time of 51 minutes and 15 seconds, it was certainly one of his best cross country performances to date and demonstrates how he often manages to raise his game in the most challenging of races, and in particular, those where the stakes are notably high.

Cross Country – SW Regional Championships and Hampshire XC League

Richard Wade and Simon Hearn (running for both County and Club), Ian Graham and Stuart Glenister (who would have been selected for County had he not transferred to BAC just that day)

The South West Regional Championships took place Yeovil on Sunday 6 January with BAC well represented, its athletes competing in both club and county colours. The event is an inter-county competition between counties from Cornwall in the west to Dorset and Wiltshire in the east It is also a club competition and those athletes selected to represent their county, and run in county colours, also represent their club alongside their non selected club mates who run in club colours. Several BAC athletes achieved podium positions in the inter-counties competition – congratulations to gold medallist Georgia Wood, the South West F35 Champion, and bronze medallists Helen Ambrosen, 3rd South West F55, and Neve East and Martha Preece, part of the 3rd placed Dorset U13G team,  Jasper Todd, part of the 3rd placed Dorset U15B team, and Amelia Reynolds, part of the 3rd placed Dorset U15G team. Congratulations also to ex BAC athlete Heidi Tregenza, running for her native Cornwall, and achieving no less than a gold medal as the overall South West Ladies’ Champion! This was a well organised, enjoyable fixture, helped by the fact that the large BAC and WAC tents were combined, which became the base for all the Dorset athletes, promoting a great team spirit. The course is one of the best available, used also for the Wessex XC League, and it is a tremendous pity that this time next year it may well be covered with housing. Please see below for full BAC results.

Georgia Wood – top of the podium as the SW Regional F35 champion
Helen Ambrosen (right) with her bronze medal as 3rd SW Regional F55
Heidi Tregenza – ladies SW regional cross country champion and gold medallist

See below for more photographs of the SW Regional XC Championships………


Holly Collier and Nikki Sandell line up for the start of the senior ladies’ race at Reading

The penultimate fixture of the Hampshire Cross Country League season took place at Prospect Park, Reading, on Saturday 12 January.  There were some excellent BAC performances, particularly from Rob McTaggart, 17th in the SM race, Holly Collier, 9th in the SW race and Neve East, 2nd in the U13G race.  Holly is the only BAC athlete to feature in the top 10 individual aggregate placings so far, being 7th female, and an excellent 3rd U20W.  The only complete teams fielded by BAC at Reading were the SM and S/VW, and although the SM team wasn’t the strongest the club could produce, BAC is still on course to finish the season in a highly respectable position in Division 1 of the League, provided we come fully up to the mark at the final fixture at Dibden Inclosure on February 9.  There were no BAC Veteran Men competing at Reading, but as one result can be dropped, the Veteran Men team will still feature in the season’s results provided a team competes next time. BAC‘s Veteran Women are currently 4th aggregate for the season, so a good result at the final fixture would leave them well placed. Please see below for full BAC results.

Richard Brawn is determined on a Prospect Park, Reading Hill

See below for more photographs of the Hampshire Cross League fixture at Reading………………….

Results (BAC) at SW Regional Championships, Yeovil, 6 January 2019: Senior Men (total field 162): 83. Richard Brawn 35.27, 107. Richard Wade 37.39 (6th of 17 M50), 108. Stuart Glenister 37.44 (18/38 M40), 128. Simon Hearn (9/17 M50) 39.37, 156. Ian Graham (6/7 M60) 46.10, BAC team 6/9, DC team 6/6; Senior Women (total field 91): 7. Georgia Wood (1/24 F35) 21.19, 70. Kirsty Drewett (18/24 F35) 27.37, 76. Louise Price (14/19 F45) 28.29, 79. Helen Ambrosen (3/5 F55) 30.04, 85. Jayne Wade (18/19 F45) 31.21, BAC team 6/9, DC team 5/5; U17W: (total field 41) 26. Lauren East 18.24, DC 4/5 team; U15B: (total field 49) 10. Jasper Todd 14.39, DC team 3/6; U15G (total field 56): 16. Amelia Reynolds 15.06, DC team 3/5; U13B (total field 68): 66. Louie Todd 16.00; U13G (total field 62): 8. Neve East 13.44, 19. Martha Preece 14.18, 36. Erin Wells 14.54, DC team 3/6.

Results (BAC) Hampshire Cross Country League, Reading, 12 January 2019: Senior Men (total field 207): 17. Rob McTaggart, 61. Stuart Nicholas 35.34, 62. Craig Palmer 35.38, 63. Richard Brawn 35.44, 88. Ross Smith 37.22, 93. Mat du Cros 37.58, BAC team 6th of 9 on the day, season aggregate 3= with Basingstoke & Mid Hants (Southampton 2nd and Reading RR and Reading AC both 5=); Senior Women (total field 150): 9. Holly Collier (6th U20) 20.25, 43. Nikki Sandell (9th VF) 22.48, 53. Julia Austin (15th VF) 23.47, 84. Louise Price (32nd VF) 26.03, 113. Jayne Wade (52nd VF) 28.55, BAC SW team 9/19 on the day, season aggregate 8/21, BAC VW team 6/12 on the day, season aggregate 4/15; U17W (total field 22): 10. Lauren East 16.23; U15G (total field 44): 13. Amelia Reynolds 12.27, 39. Anya Sandell 14.55; U13B (total field 66): 60. Isaac Sandell 14.06, 64. Nathan Mearns 15.51; U13G (total field 61): 2. Neve East 11.08, 18. Martha Preece 11.58.

Some more images of the SW Regional Championships at Yeovil…

Dorset ladies’ team at SW Championships including Kirsty Drewett (2nd left), Jayne Wade (4th left), Louise Price and Helen Ambrosen (6th and 7th left)
Stuart Glenister and Simon Hearn tackle the SW Championship course at Yeovil
Richard Wade about to tackle one of the Yeovil hills
Richard takes the tactical inner curve at Yeovil – does he overtake Stuart??

More BAC athletes running also for Dorset at Yeovil…….

Kirsty Drewett
Holly Collier
Jayne Wade
Helen Ambrosen
Louise Price
Simon Hearn and Richard Brawn

And a few more photographs from the Hampshire XC League……..

Julia Austin on course at Reading
Louise Price tracks her opponents
Nikki Sandell digs in
Jayne Wade – yet another hill!
Richard Brawn happy with his run at Reading, despite………………
………… with someone else’s spikes!!

Cross Country: Wessex League Triumph and Hampshire League show still on the road


BAC’s mens’ team at Popham – Theo Irvine, Stuart Glenister, Richard Wade, Richard Nelson, Stuart Nicholas, Matt du Cros, Richard Brawn, Laszlo Toth, Simon Hearn, Ross Smith, Jud Kirk and Brandon Meredith

The final fixture of the Wessex Cross Country League took place at Bryanston School on Sunday 16 December with some BAC first individual and team places for the season and, as the fixture was also the Dorset County Cross Country Championship, a number of BAC gold, silver and bronze medals. In the meantime, at the third Hampshire Cross Country League fixture at Popham Airfield on Saturday 1 December, despite the absence the entire team from the previous fixture at Aldershot, some exceptional performances kept BAC very much in the running.

There has been greater support of this year’s Wessex Cross Country League from BAC than for many years, and this is reflected in the final aggregate results.  Winners for the season in their respective age groups are Laszlo Toth (senior men), Nikki Sandell (veteran women), Neve East (U13 girls) and Amelia Reynolds (U15 girls).  Other notable placings were Chris Phelan-Heath (3rd senior man), Julia Austin (3rd veteran woman), Isabel Cherrett (7th – of 24 – U11 girl), Oscar Ewen Matthews (2nd U13 boy) and Martha Preece (5th – of 26 – U13 girl).  There were BAC team wins for senior men, senior and veteran women, U13 girls and U15 girls and a second team placing for the U13 boys.  On the day at Bryanston School the notable performances were from David Long, Sean Edwards, Stuart Nicholas and Laszlo Toth with a 1,2,3,4 in the senior men (although Ben Lewis of Poole AC, U20 man was 2nd in the race), Georgia Wood, 1st senior woman (although just pipped on the line by Serena O’Connor of Poole Runners, U20 woman), Nikki Sandell and Julia Austin, 1st and 2nd veteran women respectively, Holly Collier, 2nd U20 woman, finishing an astonishing 3rd in the combined U20W, SW and VW race, Isabel Cherrett, 8th U11 girl, Arief McKenna and Oliver Hill, 2nd and 8th U13 boys respectively, Neve East, Martha Preece and Erin Wells, 1st, 6th and 11th U13 girls respectively, Jasper Todd, 1st U15 boy and Amelia Reynolds, 3rd U15 girl.  In the County Championship there was a BAC clean sweep for the senior men, the winners being David Long (gold), Sean Edwards (silver) and Laszlo Toth (bronze), and other medal winners were Georgia Wood (gold, veteran women), Julia Austin (silver, veteran women), Neve East (gold, U13 girls), Arief McKenna (silver, U13 boys), Amelia Reynolds (silver, U15 girls) and Jasper Todd (gold U15 boys).  Many thanks to everyone who has participated in the Wessex Cross Country League this year – it has been very enjoyable to see the number of BAC vests in the various races at all levels.  Please see below for the full BAC results in championship and the league fixture at Bryanston School.

BAC’s ladies team at Popham – Kirsty Drewett, Helen Ambrosen, Jayne Wade, Julia Austin, Nikki Sandell and Holly Collier

The absence of some of BAC‘s top runners due to various reasons at the third Hampshire Cross Country League fixture at Popham Airfield on 1 December meant that it was going to be difficult, but after some exceptional running BAC is still on course for a good placing at the end of the season.  Well done to our five scoring senior men.  Laszlo Toth and Stuart Nicholas have been involved in healthy rivalry this year, and both ran out of their socks at Popham to finish 42nd and 45th respectively.  Also running above themselves were Ross Smith and Rich Brawn, 54th and 86th respectively, and well done to Matthew du Cros, who finished only just outside the top 100, an excellent performance in a very strong league, to complete the team.  The senior mens’ team were 8th in Division 1 on the day, but on aggregate remain 2= taking the best two results so far.  BAC‘s veteran mens’ team of Richard Wade, Stuart Glenister and Simon Hearn were 11th on the day, and the team on aggregate is 11th (of 24) in the season so far.  For the ladies, the outstanding performance came from Holly Collier, who was 9th overall (3rd U20 woman).  Nikki Sandell and Julia Austin completed the BAC team, which was 10th (of 24) on the day, and lies 8th aggregate for the season.  Nikki and Julia were joined by Kirsty Drewett to make up the veteran womens’ team, which finished 5th (of 18) on the day and is 4th aggregate for the season.  Slowly but surely the number of youngsters competing in the league is growing, a trend very much to be welcomed, and there were outstanding runs at Popham from Jasper Todd, who was 18th of 59 U15 boys, Amelia Reynolds, 9th of 57 U15 girls and Martha Preece, 11th of 71 U13 girls.  There has been an U13 boys team at every fixture so far.  Please see below for full BAC results at Popham.

Dorset County Championship results, Bryanston School, 16 December  (BAC): Senior Men: 1. David Long, 2. Sean Edwards, 3. Laszlo Toth; Veteran Women: 1. Georgia Wood, 2. Julia Austin, 5. Louise Price; Veteran Men: 5. Simon Hearn, 10. Ian Graham; U17 Women: 5. Laura Reeves; U15 Boys: 1. Jasper Todd; U15 Girls: 2. Amelia Reynolds, 12. Abigail Phillips; U13 Boys: 2. Arief McKenna, 14. Oscar Ewen Matthews; U13 Girls: 1. Neve East, 4. Martha Preece, 5. Erin Wells, 10. Ida Waring.

Wessex Cross Country League, Bryanston School, 16 December (BAC results): Senior/Veteran Men: 1. David Long 29.32, 3. Sean Edwards 31.48, 4. Stuart Nicholas 32.15, 5. Laszlo Toth 32.21, 10. Chris Phelan-Heath 34.21, 21. Simon Hearn 35.57, 22. Richard Wade 36.29, 43. Ian Graham 45.01; Senior/Veteran Women: 2. Georgia Wood 25.22, 10. Nikki Sandell 28.59, 11. Julia Austin 29.08, 19. Kirsty Drewett 31.07, 24. Louise Price 33.01, 32. Helen Ambrosen 34.52, 33. Jayne Wade 37.07; U11 Girls: 8. Isabel Cherrett 7.17; U13 Boys: 2. Arief McKenna 10.36, 8. Oliver Hill 11.25, 19. Oscar Ewen Matthews 11.44, 23. Sam Farwell 11.59, 25. Louie Todd 12.10, 31. Sam Brewer 13.41, 32. Nathan Mearns 13.53, 33. Isaac Sandell 14.00; U13 Girls: 1. Neve East 11.02, 6. Martha Preece 11.34, 11. Erin Wells 12.08, 26. Ida Waring 12.38, 32. Sienna Treloar; U15 Boys: 1. Jasper Todd 11.54; U15 Girls: 3. Amelia Reynolds 13.24, 16. Ruby Bowden 15.08, 17. Anya Sandell 15.31, 19. Abigail Phillips 15.48; U17 Men: 10. Tom Farwell 16.45; U 17 Women: 8. Laura Reeves 21.56; U20 Women: 2. Holly Collier 25.44.

Hampshire Cross Country League, Popham, 1 December (BAC results): Senior/Veteran Men: 42. Laszlo Toth 38.01; 45. Stuart Nicholas 38.08, 54. Ross Smith 38.28, 86. Richard Brawn 39.45, 104 Matthew du Cros 41.06, 134. Richard Wade 42.47, 136. Stuart Glenister 42.52, 153. Simon Hearn 43.59, 161. Theo Irvine 44,38, 196. Brandon Meredith 46.45; Senior/Veteran Women: 9. Holly Collier (3rd U20W) 24.35, 51. Nikki Sandell 28.05, 58. Julia Austin 28.31, 72. Kirsty Drewett 29.29, 128. Helen Ambrosen 34.31, 139. Jayne Wade 36.44; U15 Boys: 18. Jasper Todd 14.06, 30. Callum Olden 14.47; U13 Boys: 74. Sam Brewer, 75. Isaac Sandell, 77. Nathan Mearns; U15 Girls: 9. Amelia Reynolds 15.48, 46. Anya Sandell 18.11; U13 Girls: 11. Martha Preece 12.37.

Cross Country Season Marches On

Men's team at the Hampshire League Cross Country race in Aldershot
Some of the BAC squad sheltering from the rain at Aldershot

The return of ‘proper’ cross country weather marked the third Wessex Cross Country League fixture at Yeovil and the second Hampshire Cross Country League fixture at Aldershot. At this point, there are some excellent BAC aggregate positions in both leagues. In the Wessex League BAC‘s U13 Boys‘ and U13 Girls‘ teams are both in the lead, as are the Senior Mens‘ and the Veteran Womens‘ teams, and in the Hampshire League the Senior Mens‘ team lies in second position as does the Veteran Womens‘ team.  In the last fixtures there were some outstanding individual performances, with, at Yeovil, Neve East winning the U13 Girls‘ race and Martha Preece finishing fifth, Oscar Ewen Matthews second of the U13 Boys, Amelia Reynolds third U15 Girl, Laszlo Toth the fourth Senior Man and Nikki Sandell the fourth Senior Woman. At Aldershot, in one of the strongest cross country leagues in the country, the individual BAC highlights were Holly Collier‘s 16th position in the Senior Womens‘ race (Holly was second U20 Woman), Jasper Todd finishing as 11th U15 Boy, and an incredible team of David Long, Jacek Cieluszecki, Josh King, Craig Palmer and Rob McTaggart scoring second (to Aldershot, Farnham and District, who are never going to be caught) in the Senior Mens‘ race.

The third Wessex Cross Country League fixture took place at Yeovil on 4th November, and, unlike all the earlier cross country fixtures, which have taken place in glorious sunshine, at last there was a grey sky and some drizzle.  The course, too, was about as true a cross country course as it is possible to imagine – just two large laps of undulating (to put it mildly) countryside seemingly far removed from any urbanisation – actually about two miles away from Yeovil. Here are the BAC results: U13B; 2. Oscar Ewen Matthews 11.18, 13. Sam Farwell 12.23, 19. Isaac Sandell 14.11, 21. Nathan Mearns 15.14 (team aggregate 1st of 9 teams): U13G; 1. Neve East 11.05, 5. Martha Preece 12.02, 12. Erin Wells 12.46, 30. Mariah Marshall 15.09 (team aggregate 1st of 11 teams): U15G; 3. Amelia Reynolds 16.20, 18. Anya Sandell 19.05: U17M; 8. Tom Farwell 19.05; Senior Men; 4. Laszlo Toth 29.39, 26. Richard Wade 33.36, 53. Ian Graham 41.02 (team aggregate 1st): Senior Women; 4. Nikki Sandell 21.23, 9. Julia Austin 22.43, 15. Kirsty Drewett 23.53, 26. Helen Ambrosen (team – Veteran Women – aggregate 1st).

Holly Collier and Nikki Sandell in the Hampshire League Cross Country race at Aldershot
Holly Collier and Nikki Sandell at the start of the womens’ race

There might have been some drizzle at Yeovil, but cross country weather returned with a vengeance at Aldershot for the second Hampshire Cross Country League fixture on 10 November – pouring persistent rain producing mud everywhere. Here are the BAC results: Senior Men; 16. David Long 33.48, 17. Jacek Cieluszecki 33.55, 19. Josh King 34.10, 25. Craig Palmer 34.38, 40. Rob McTaggart 35.23, 77. Stuart Nicholas 37.31, 96. Ross Smith 38.20, 110. Richard Brawn 39.12, 159. Tom Paskins 41.42, 166. Simon Hearn 41.54, 184. Richard Wade 42.44, 190. Jud Kirk 43.06, 272. Richard Nelson 48.19 (Senior Men team 2nd on the day and 2= aggregate, Veteran Men team 10th on the day and 9= aggregate, Jacek 1st Veteran Man aggregate, one race to count).  Spare a thought for Laszlo Toth who misjudged his warm up time and missed the start of the race by about two minutes! U15B; 11. Jasper Todd 15.36, 18. Callum Olden (non scoring for BAC having competed for another club this season) 16.10: U13B; 74. Sam Brewer 14.13, 76. Isaac Sandell 14.16, 85. Nathan Mearns 15.23 (team 13th on the day and 10= aggregate): Senior Women; 16. (2nd U 20W) Holly Collier 24.22, 68. Nikki Sandell 27.32, 109, Kirsty Drewett 30.16, 171. Helen Ambrosen 34.20, 202. Jayne Wade 40.21 (Senior Women team 13th on the day and 7= of 29 teams aggregate, Veteran Women team 12th on the day and 2= of 20 teams aggregate, Emma Caplan 6= and Georgia Wood 8= Veteran Women aggregate, one race to count). U17G;17. Lauren East 18.34. U15G; 46. Anya Sandell 19.52, 50. Ruby Bowden 20.22. U13G; 25. Martha Preece 13.13.

Rich Brawn after the Hampshire League Cross Country race at Aldershot
Rich Brawn is proud of his run at Aldershot – and rightly so!

So it is all to go for!  The next fixtures are 1 DecemberHampshire Cross Country League at Popham, Basingstoke, and 16 DecemberWessex Cross Country League at Bryanston School, which is also the Dorset County Championship race for 2018.

Cross Country Season under way

We are now well into the cross country season (though you wouldn’t know it from the weather) with two Wessex League fixtures and one Hampshire League fixture under our belt. More BAC athletes than in recent years took part and a particularly pleasing aspect has been the number of youngsters competing. There have been some excellent individual and team results as well, perhaps most notably Neve East, who won the first U13 girls Wessex League race at Canford Heath, was second at the second fixture at Lytchett School, and won the Hampshire League (one of the strongest cross country leagues in the country) at Bournemouth, and also Amelia Reynolds winning her two Wessex League U15 girls races and finishing twelfth at Bournemouth. After two Wessex League fixtures BAC‘s U13 boys, U13 girls, senior men and veteran women teams are all first, with the U15 girls second and the senior women third. Laszlo Toth and Nikki Sandell top the senior men and veteran women categories respectively. In the Hampshire League, BAC‘s senior men are third team in Division 1, led by storming performances from Craig Palmer and Josh King, with our veteran women team, led by Emma Caplan and Georgia Wood lying second of 15 teams.

The 2018/19 Hampshire League got under way at Kings Park, hosted by BAC in unexpectedly warm and sunny weather on 13 October, and huge thanks are due to the organisers and volunteers who ensured that, on the day, 949 athletes were marshalled safely and accurately through ten separate races of varying distances, all of which started exactly on time, with the results published the very next day.  In addition to the league BAC organised two U11 races for boys and girls respectively, and many thanks to Hazel and Jemma Bates who organised the entries and the resulting for these races, in which a total of 114 boys and girls took part.  In the senior mens’ race, the five BAC athletes who made sure we continue to contest Division 1 by achieving third place were Craig Palmer, Josh King , Rob McTaggart, Graham Robinson and Stu Fox, and completing the BAC contingent were Ross Smith, Laszlo Toth, Matt du Cros, Richard Wade, Simon Hearn, Stuart Glenister and Richard NelsonStu Fox, Richard Wade and Simon Hearn were the BAC veteran men team achieving 8th position of 20 teams. Emma Caplan, Georgia Wood and Julia Austin made up both the senior women (6th of 24 teams) and veteran women (second as already mentioned) teams.  The ever present Tom Farwell was BAC‘s sole representative in the U17 men race, and Jasper Todd and Leon Griffin ran in the U15 boys race.  We had no fewer than 9 athletes in the U13 boys race, with Arief McKenna (6th), Oliver Hill and Archie Kilburn making up the team which was 9th of 15 teams, the rest of the squad being Louie Todd, Alfie Stopler, Ben Worley, Sam Brewer, Isaac Sandell and Nathan Mearns Lauren East and Laura Reeves ran for BAC in the U17 women race, and in the U15 girls race BAC‘s team of Amelia Reynolds, Anya Sandell and Ruby Bowden, supported by Abigail Phillips were 7th of 11 teams.  Also 7th of 11 teams were the U13 girls team of Neve East, Martha Preece and Ida Waring.  In addition to the league itself, as referred to, 55 girls and 59 boys ran in two U11 races with 9 Bournemouth based athletes (led by Isabel Cherrett, 10th) in the girls race and 5 Bournemouth based athletes (led by Stanley Peters, 10th) in the boys race.

The Wessex Cross Country League opened in hot, sunny weather at Canford Heath well organised, as ever, by Poole AC, on 7 October.  A total of 27 BAC athletes participated, the first being Isabel Cherrett, our sole U11 girl representative. (In this league, unlike the Hampshire League, the U11 races count as part of the league.) BAC‘s 5 athletes in the U13 boys race were Oscar Ewen Matthews, who was 4th, Oliver Hill, Sam Farwell, Sam Brewer and Isaac SandellNeve East was the winner of the U13 girls race, followed by Martha Preece, Erin Wells, Ida Waring, Emily Coltman and Imogen Gent Leon Griffin flew the BAC flag in the U15 boys race, with Amelia Reynolds, who was third, Anya Sandell, Ruby Bowden and Abigail Phillips running in the U15 girls race.  As at Bournemouth, Tom Farwell was BAC‘s only U17 men athlete, but Lauren East and Laura Reeves were both present in the U17 women race. The U20 men, senior and veteran men all race together, and although Brandon Meredith was BAC‘s only U20 man he was still an excellent 6th in the combined race.  Of the senior men, Laszlo Toth was second, closely followed by Chris Phelan- Heath with Ian Graham following not so closely.  Nikki Sandell won the senior/veteran women race with BAC‘s team completed by Kirsty Drewett and Helen Ambrosen.

The second Wessex League fixture, again in unseasonal weather, took place at Lytchett School on 21 October.  Excellently organised by Poole Runners, the course was unusual in that 90% was in a field with the course going up and down it four times.  After four laps the senior men got to know every inch of that field! There was a total of 30 BAC athletes competing, many of whom had competed at Canford Heath. To summarise; U11 girls: Isabel Cherrett; U13 Boys: Oscar Ewen Matthews, Sam Farwell, Louie Todd, Alfie Stopler, Isaac Sandell and Nathan Mearns; U13 girls: Neve East (2nd), Martha Preece, Erin Wells, Ida Waring, Emily Coltman and Mariah Marshall; U15 Boys: Jasper Todd (2nd); U15 girls: Amelia Reynolds (2nd), Anya Sandell, Ruby Bowden and Abigail Phillips; U17 men: Tom Farwell; U20 men: Brandon Meredith (6th in combined S/V/U20 men race); Senior/Veteran men: Laszlo Toth (1st), Chris Phelan-Heath (5th), Ian White and Ian Graham; Senior/Veteran Women: Nikki Sandell (2nd), Julia Austin (3rd), Kirsty Drewett, Helen Ambrosen and Sam Laws.

The next fixtures are 4 November (Wessex League, Yeovil) and 10 November (Hampshire League, Aldershot).  Will we be having proper cross country weather by then?

Successful BAC finish to Hampshire XC season

Dave Long led BAC’s senior men to a successful Hants XC League 3rd final position in Division 1

As BAC embarked on the final fixture of the 2017/18 Hampshire Cross Country League season on a new, very muddy course at Aldershot on Saturday 10 February there were high hopes for a successful end to what has been one of the best campaigns in this League for some time.

And the Senior Men certainly delivered!  Dave Long led a spectacular team performance, finishing 3rd in a high quality field, and with Jacek Cieluszecki 6th, Craig Palmer 8th, Rob McTaggart 16th and Steve Way 18th, the team’s score for the day was a mere 51, placing the team second in Division 1 (behind Aldershot, Farnham and District, whom no-one was going to catch), well ahead of third placed Reading AC.  With, during the season, two 5th place finishes and three 2nd place, the final position in the Division 1 table (of one of the strongest cross country leagues in the country) of BAC‘s senior men was 3rd – a very impressive achievement.

Of course, it isn’t all about the winners, and it was pleasing to see a further five BAC vests competing round the course.  Stuart Nicholas was the 6th BAC athlete to cross the line, and such was the quality of his run which resulted in a finish in 34th position that, had Stuart been the 5th scorer, the Senior Mens’ team would still have been 2nd!

BAC‘s Veteran Men have also been doing well this season, with some excellent results in the earlier fixtures.  Unfortunately, at Aldershot, there was no complete veteran team, with just Steve (who was the 1st Veteran Man) and Richard Wade completing the course.  Richard Nelson, despite injury, and setting a Captain’s example as always, started the race, but it quickly became clear that serious injury could result and he made the sensible – and only – decision to drop out.  In the event, it is clear that Richard‘s injury has been aggravated, and we wish him a speedy recovery.  Nevertheless,  because of the strong performances at the earlier fixtures, BAC‘s Veteran Mens’ team finished the season in 5th position, of 17 teams, which is a very creditable result.  Next season, of course, Jacek, who became a veteran during this season, will count towards the veteran as well as the senior results.

BAC‘s ladies fielded a full Senior and Veteran team at Aldershot, welcoming Jo Dilling wearing a BAC vest for the first time.  Nikki Sandell led BAC‘s ladies to the finish, and with Jo and Louise Price the team finished as 12th Senior Ladies’ team on the day, of 19 complete teams, and, aggregate for the season, were 6th of 17 teams.  The same team also doubled as the Veteran Ladies’ team and, in this capacity, were 6th of 13 teams on the day, and, on aggregate for the season, were a highly respectable 3rd of 9 teams.

Yet again, there was a scarcity of BAC youngsters competing – in fact, at Aldershot there was just one, namely Anya Sandell in the U15 girls race.  Anya has been ever present during the season, and it is be hoped that in the future Anya will have some BAC company – it would be very pleasant to report on some BAC youngsters’ team performances in this League.

With the end of the season come some BAC individual top 10 placings.  Of the Senior Men Dave Long is 3rd and Craig Palmer 4th.  Of the Veteran Men Steve Way is 4th and Pat Robbins 9th, and of the Veteran Women Nikki Sandell is 3rd.

So it has, in general, been a successful season for BAC and thanks and congratulations to all who have taken part and contributed, and particular congratulations to our top 10 finishers.

Results (BAC): Senior/Veteran Men: 3. Dave Long 34.08; 6. Jacek Cieluszecki 34.50; 8. Craig Palmer 35.00; 16. Rob McTaggart 36.01; 18. Steve Way 36.11; 34. Stuart Nicholas 37.20; 67. Ross Smith 39.55; 90. Richard Brawn 41.41; 104. Richard Wade 42.29; 106. Laszlo Toth 42.43: Senior/Veteran Women: 26. Nikki Sandell 27.50; 50. Jo Dilling 30.11; 83. Louise Price 33.13: U15G: 32. Anya Sandell 21.01.

Dave Long led BAC’s senior men to a successful Hants XC League 3rd final position in Division 1

Fantastic four feature in Southern Cross Country Championships

Dave Long - Southern XC Championships
Dave Long was primed and ready to give his all in a race he’d been focusing on and training for over the past three months

It was over to Stanmer Park in Brighton for the Southern Cross Country Championships of 2018 and four intrepid Bournemouth AC crusadors made the trip to East Sussex to mix it with the very best that the south of England has to offer.

Steve Way, Jacek Cieluszecki, Rob McTaggart and Dave Long were the BAC contingent hoping to make an impression on the muddy, undulating and extremely challenging 9 mile course.

Steve has been hitting the high mileage again since the turn of the year, working toward his main target of the Comrades ultra marathon in June.

After suffering a setback over the new year when a bout of flu took him out of the game for a couple of weeks, Steve has struggled to get back into his stride but he still has time on his side to reach the level he needs to get to.

With several local race wins to look back on in 2017, including a huge triumph in the Bournemouth Marathon, Jacek has been in great form and picked up where he left off on New Year’s Day by winning The Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon.

Tag has also been looking in very good shape over recent times, taking 21st place in the last Hampshire Cross Country fixture at Prospect Park in Reading.

He also took 3rd place in the Christchurch Christmas 10k in the second week of December and feels he is due for a sub 32 minute finish or a sub 70 minute half marathon, given the right race and right conditions.

Dave has been in scintilating form of late, putting in a tremendous display in the Hampshire Cross Country League fixture at Prospect Park to take 3rd place in the men’s race.

After going through an auspicious 12 week training programme, he was more than ready to tackle the rigours of the Stanmer Park circuit and face the inevitably stiff competition.

In fact, it was Dave who faired the best out of the BAC representatives, putting one of his best ever displays to register an incredible 15th place finish in a field of 740 of the south of England’s finest.

Dave Long - Southern XC Championships
Dave Long put in a memorable display, taking 15th place in a phenomenal time of 53:24

The course was pretty horrific with some very testing sectors of the sloppy, sticky variety of mud. Dave isn’t usually at this best over that kind of terrain but he managed it very well on the day.

The race wasn’t without incident for Dave either. He was holding onto the group of runners placed 11th to 14th until the start of the second hill. He then opted to take a riskier line round a muddy corner to make sure he didn’t get dropped from the group.

Unfortunately, that proved to be a mistake and Dave ended up on his backside. By the time he got back to his feet and got going again, the group were out of sight. He continued to give chase until he came onto the home straight where he could see them again.

The distance was too much by that point though so Dave enjoyed the end of the race, safe in the knowledge that he had run much better than even he expected he would.

After his fall, Dave felt like he had been in a proper cross country and  with numerous cuts and scrapes down his back, arm and leg, he certainly had the war wounds to show for it. Dave’s finishing time was a staggering 53 minutes and 24 seconds.

The next BAC member to reach the line was Jacek, who came in 45th place in a time of 55:36. Originally, Jacek was targeting a top 20 finish but he had been feeling slightly unwell most of the week in the lead up to the race which meant that he was not quite in peak condition.

At this kind of level, those small margins can make all the difference. It was still a solid run from JC though and he loved the experience. It seems that the tougher the race and the higher the elevation, the more he enjoys it.

Jacek Cieluszecki - Southern XC Championships
Jacek Cieluszecki wasn’t in peak condition but still romped over the line 55:36 to take 45th place

Shortly after, Tag arrived at the finish line, taking 74th place in a superb time of 56:32. Tag is another one who revels in the throws of a proper cross country race in its truest and rawest form, or “balls out racing” as he calls it.

Tag has taken part in the Southern Cross Country Championships in the past non many occasions and has sometimes not done himself justice, particularly last year when he came 132nd. This time he was glad to achieve his highest placed finish to date and it certainly bodes well for his prospects in the forthcoming races he has on his radar.

Rob McTaggart - Southern XC Championships
Rob McTaggart managed his highest finish yet in the Southern XC Champs, crossing the line in 74th place in a time of 56:32

By contrast, Steve didn’t have one of his better days. The hill heavy, mud laden course wasn’t really to his liking and made for a rather depressing slog.

That said, he still managed to secure 145th position, completing the course in a time of 59:48. This would still be a very good run by most peoples’ standards but Steve is obviously used to finishing a lot higher up the field. He did joke afterwards that he was basically just Jacek’s taxi driver!

Steve Way - Southern XC Championships
Steve Way wasn’t at his best but still managed a commendable time of 59:48, putting him in 145th position

Craig Palmer, who has been running for BAC in the Hampshire League Cross Country fixtures this season, was also in action. He represented his first claim club Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers and ran extremely well, taking 41st place in a time of 55:28.

The overall race winner was John Gilbert of Kent AC, who completed the course in an unbelievable 51:07. He was followed by Adam Hickey of Southend on Sea in 51:12 and Max Nicholls of Tonbridge in 51:42.

All things considered, this has to go down a decent day for Bournemouth AC, with Dave Long’s masterclass being the highlight, but also 3 men in the top 75 is no mean feat and all 4 in the top 150.

Unfortunately, to qualify for the team competition, you needed to have 6 members in the race. The top scoring team was Bedford & County AC, who had John Eves in 5th, Darren Deed in 7th and Will MacKay in 16th amongst their contingent.

Highgate Harriers finished 2nd, with Serpentine 3rd, Kent AC in 4th, Hercules Wimbledon in 5th and Aldershot, Farnham & District in 6th.

There were no Bournemouth AC representatives in the ladies race this year. That was won by Phoebe Law of Kingston AC & Poly Harriers in 28:56. Emily Hosker Thornhill of Aldershot, Farnham & District was 2nd in 29:18 with Charlotte Christensen of Cambridge & Coleridge coming in 1 second later in 3rd.

Aldershot, Farnham & District also had Philippa Bowden in 4th, Kate Bingle and 5th and Lauren Hall in 22nd, thus scooping the team prize, which comprised of the top 4 scorers. Cambridge & Coleridge were 2nd with Serpentine in 3rd, Winchester & District 4th and Southampton AC in 5th.



Hampshire Cross Country League success at Reading


Dave Long (left) and some of the BAC team he led to 2nd place at the Hants XC League fixture at Reading (also Jud Kirk, Graham Robinson, Richard Brawn, Steve Cox, Pat Robbins and Stuart Nicholas)

What a weekend of athletic triumph! England‘s cricketers trounced the Australians in the first ODI, and then the Cherries floored Arsenal with a 2-1 win. But before all that, and most importantly, BAC‘s senior men romped to a clear second place in Division 1 at the penultimate fixture of this season’s Hampshire Cross Country League at Reading on Saturday 13 January.

Craig Palmer

The BAC charge was led by Dave Long who is surely pleased with his last minute decision to compete.  Dave ran an intelligent, tactical race, keeping with the leading group until it dwindled down to just three, Dave and the two leading AFD athletes, well ahead of fourth.  Dave eventually judged that he would be unable to take the AFD athletes so, instead of expending unnecessary effort in an attempt to do so, and being well clear of the next athlete, Dave eased off to finish a comfortable third.  Not far behind, Craig Palmer and Josh  King were battling it out for a top spot, with Craig finishing eighth, and Josh tenth, just 11 seconds later.  Rob McTaggart and Graham Robinson were also running out of their skins, and it paid off, with 21st and 28th finishing positions respectively.  So BAC‘s senior men concluded the day with their best result of the season, just 70 points, to place them second on the day, well ahead of third placed Southampton AC on 111 points.  BAC‘s aggregate position for the season so far is third.  No-one is going to catch Aldershot, Farnham & District, but, having finished 5th, 2nd, 5th and 2nd it is all to go for to achieve 2nd of Division 1 for the season, but it will need a similar performance at the last fixture at Aldershot on Saturday 10 February.

Josh King
Graham Robinson

Spare a thought for Stuart NicholasStuart powered round the course at Reading to finish a magnificent 40th, despite having competed in – and won! – not one, but two, marathons only a week earlier.  On any other day Stuart would have counted in the team, but the fact that, had anything gone wrong, or any of our ‘super five’ team athletes not made it to Reading, Stuart‘s 40th position would still have left us with an excellent result, shows just how important the sixth runner is.

Stuart Nicholas

BAC are, of course, going well in the veteran men and veteran women competitions.  Pat Robbins was BAC‘s first veteran man to cross the line, running very strongly to finish 66th overall, to be followed by Jud Kirk, who had ‘called in’ at Reading to compete during a journey from Cambridge back home to Bournemouth.  The team was completed by Steve Cox, and finished in 12th position on the day.  However, based on the best three results, BAC‘s veteran men are 3rd equal aggregate – 3rd equal with Poole AC, so a good result at Aldershot is essential!  Unfortunately, the ‘Reading curse’ struck again for the ladies, with BAC represented by just Nikki Sandell and Kirsty Drewett.  Although, therefore, there is no team result for the day, BAC still lies 6th in the table for the senior women, and an impressive 3rd for the veteran women, but a strong turnout at Aldershot will be needed to maintain these positions.

Kirsty Drewett and Nikki Sandell
Pat Robbins

The Hampshire Cross Country League is one of the strongest in the country, so Richard Brawn was well pleased with his finish in the top 100.

Richard Brawn

More photos below….photos with thanks to Sarah Swift, Richard Brawn and Steve Cox…………

A number of BAC athletes, based on their best three performances, appear in the top ten individual rankings.  Of the senior men, Dave is third and Craig is fifth.  Of the veteran men, Steve Way is sixth and Nikki is third of the veteran women.

Once again, BAC‘s youngsters were conspicuous by their absence, with representation almost exclusively from the Farwell (Tom – U15 boys and Sam – U13 boys) and Sandell (Anya – U15 girls and Isaac – U11 boys) families, though it was pleasing to see in addition Sam Brewer competing with the U13 boys and Nathan Meares with the U11 boys.

Results (BAC): Senior/Veteran Men: 3. Dave Long 31.52; 8. Craig Palmer 32.33; 10. Josh King 32.44; 21. Rob McTaggart 33.39; 28. Graham Robinson 34.08; 40. Stuart Nicholas 35.39; 66. Pat Robbins 37.07; 96. Richard Brawn 39.39; 120. Jud Kirk 41.54; 160. Steve Cox 46.54: U15 Boys: 25. Tom Farwell 14.53: U13 Boys: 48. Sam Farwell 12.31; 62. Sam Brewer 14.25: U11 Boys (not part of the League): 40. Isaac Sandell 12.11; 50. Nathan Meares 12.50: Senior/Veteran Women: 32. Nikki Sandell 23.04; 65. Kirsty Drewett: U15 Girls: 28. Anya Sandell 14.48.

More photos…………….

Josh King and Rob McTaggart
Nikki Sandell
Steve Cox
Kirsty Drewett
The start of the mens’ race
Anya Sandell
Isaac Sandell
Dave Long (left) and some of the BAC team he led to 2nd place at the Hants XC League fixture at Reading (also Jud Kirk, Graham Robinson, Richard Brawn, Steve Cox, Pat Robbins and Stuart Nicholas)


Josh King, Tom Paskins and Harriet Slade feature in South West Cross Country Championships

Josh King
Josh King had high hopes for the South West Club & County Cross Country Champions in Yeovil

Aldon Hill in Yeovil was the venue for the South West Club & County Cross Country Championships of 2018 held on Sunday 7th January. Bournemouth AC had two members representing both club and county in the shape of Josh King and Tom Paskins.

Both Josh and Tom were in the Senior Men’s category with the race kicking off at midday. The course was 3 laps and 8.5k in length. There were a couple of reputable climbs and some steep descents on each lap, along with some challenging section under foot. These all had to be negotiated 3 times over, of course. The tough profile, combined with the freezing cold weather made it feel like a proper cross country race at least.

Josh enjoys a challenging course though and had high hopes for a good performance. Unfortunately it didn’t quite come together for him on the day and he was a little disappointed with the end result.

That said though, it was still a terrific run by most peoples’ standards, landing him a 15th place finish overall in a time of 32:04. In such a high standard field, that’s still a very good achievement, although it’s not where he would have wanted to be.

Josh King
Josh relishes the opportunity to get to grips with a challenging course and Aldon Hill presented a tough and testing run for even the most hardy of competitors

The race was won by Phil Norman off Woodford Green in a time of 29:53, who was representing Devon. Also running for Devon, Aaron Richmond of Bideford was 2nd in a time of 30:36.

The 1st Dorset runner over the line was Tom Austin of Poole AC, who took 3rd place in a time of 30:40. Josh was actually the 2nd Dorset runner to finish out of the 18 representitives.

Tom Paskins started off at a steady pace as he had a bit of a pain in the left knee and didn’t want to destroy himself so early on in the season. The pain eventually subsided after a couple of laps and he was able to pick up the pace.

Crossing the line in a time of 39:46, Tom finished in 109th place overall and was the 13th Dorset runner to complete the race. Other than the knee complaint, his legs felt pretty good and he was pleased not to get lapped by the super-fast guys at the front of the field. It was a good experience for Tom and despite the cold weather, he was glad he got out there and did it.

Tom Paskins
Tom Paskins opted to wear his BAC vest instead of paying the £13 that they were charging for a green Dorset one

In the county competition for the Senior Men, Dorset finished 4th out of the 6 counties involved. Devon finished 1st and as well as having the top 2 finishers, they had 5 athletes in the top 20. Avon were 2nd, with Somerset in 3rd. Cornwall were 5th and Wiltshire 6th.

Also running for Dorset on the day were Chris Alborough of Poole AC (30th, 33:11), Dominic Wilmore of Poole Runners (34th, 33:18), Jamie Grose of Poole AC (35th, 33:27), Piers Copeland of Wimborne AC (42nd, 33:59), Tom East of Poole Runners (51st, 34:39), Joseph Kelliher of Wimborne AC (58th, 35:08), Steve Claxton of Poole Runners (74th, 36:08), Ian Luke of Poole Runners (85th, 37:05), Joseph Mitchell of Poole Runners (93rd, 37:53), Adam Gough of Dorchester AC (104th, 39:17), Simon Wildbur of Poole AC (116th, 40:29), Clint Cornick of Dorchester AC (119th, 41:27), Mike Jurd of Wimborne AC (120th, 41:47), David Crowther of Dorchester AC (125th, 43:20) and Peter Kingswell-Farr of Wimborne AC (128th, 44:31).

There was a total of 134 participants in the Senior Men’s race. The club competition was won by Bristol & West AC who had 5 runners in the top 30. Wells City Harriers were 2nd, with Team Bath in 3rd, Cornwall AC in 4th, Taunton in 5th, Westbury Harriers in 6th and Poole Runners in 7th.

You had to have 5 club members to make up a team, so Bournemouth AC didn’t feature in the team competition. Originally a strong team of 5 had been assembled but a combination of illnesses and changes of plans meant that it didn’t happen in the end.

Firstly team captain Rich Nelson, who was doing all the organising, was taken ill and was unable to make it. This debilitating virus that has been going round also got the better of László Tóth, who was down to race but was forced to pull out as a result.

Rob McTaggart was also initially on the list but then the Telford 10k that he’d also entered was rescheduled to the same day, having been postponed due to snow. This was a big target race for Tag and he was intending on doing it but only made is as far as Oxford before he was sick and had to abandon the idea.

Craig Palmer but he opted to go for the Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire County Championships instead, where his first claim club of Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers is located. Craig came 6th overall in the race, which was held at Biggleswade on the Saturday, completing the 11k course in a time of 48:24.

In the Senior Women’s race, on one Bournemouth AC lady, Harriet Slade, was representing club and county. Unfortunately she’d picked up a calf injury during the week though, most likely as a result of overuse.

After resting it for a bit prior to the race day, she was hoping it would be okay. However, as soon as she hit the hills she could feel the calf muscle pulling and the pain she’d been experiencing previously had returned. It was a sharp sort of pain, similar to that of shin splints, and in the end it got the better of her, forcing her to pull out at the end of the first lap.

She was reluctant to do so but had to think of the bigger picture. It wasn’t worth the risk of making the injury worse and potentially putting herself on the sidelines for a lot longer.

Harriet Slade
Harriet Slade started the race but unfortunately didn’t make it to the finish due to a calf injury which caused her to pull out after the first lap

The race was won by Ruth Barnes of Avon Valley Runners. Ruth was also representing Wiltshire and she clocked a time of 20:35 on a course that was around 5.3k in length.

Charlie Arnell of Torbay AC and Devon was 2nd in 21:52, with Natalie Griffiths of Bristol and West AC and Avon in 3rd in a time of 22:02. Emma Stepto of Cornwall AC and Cornwall was 4th.

The 1st Dorset runner over the line was Amy Bond of Poole AC, who finished 5th in a time of 22:22. Also representing Dorset were Sharon Hutchings of Dorset Doddlers (42nd, 25:20), Sharon Shaw of Poole Runners (44th, 25:36), Helen Southcott of Maiden Newton Runners (54th, 26:27), Sarah Swift of Poole Runners (66th, 29:06) and Tina Mercer of Wimborne AC (68th, 32:42).

Avon topped the standings in the county competition for the Senior Women, with 4 ladies in the top 10. Devon were 2nd, with Wiltshire in 3rd, Cornwall in 4th and Dorset in 5th.

In terms of the club competition for the Senior Women, Bristol & West AC also won this as well, with 4 athletes in the top 15. Avon Valley Harriers were 2nd, with Chippenham Harriers in 3rd, Taunton AC in 4th, Westbury Harriers in 5th and Cornwall AC in 6th.

Josh King
Josh wasn’t at his absolute best on the day but still managed a very good 15th place finish registering a time of 32:04 on an 8.5k course