Category Archives: CrossCountry_Reports

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


Hampshire Cross Country League – BAC going well

BAC had another strong men’s team out for the second Hampshire League Cross Country fixture at Popham Airfields

The third fixture of the 2017/18 season of the Hampshire Cross Country League took place at Popham Airfield, Basingstoke on Saturday 2 December, and, although BAC‘s teams weren’t quite as strong as at the previous fixture at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, the Senior and Veteran Men and Senior and Veteran Women are all ranked towards the top of their respective tables leading, hopefully, to a satisfactory, at least, conclusion to the season. We welcomed Laszlo Toth and Theo Irvine, competing for the first time in the yellow and blue vest, and Craig Palmer, who competes for BAC as his second claim club in order to run in this League, continues to make a very valuable contribution.

The only less happy note was the absence, once again, of a substantial BAC representation at lower age level, with on this occasion, the boys coming entirely from the Farwell family and the girls from the Sandell family.  So, congratulations to Tom Farwell, 25th of 53 in the U15 boys race in 13.33, to Sam Farwell, 55th of 81 in the U13 boys race in 11.44, and to Anya Sandell, 34th of 55 in the U15 girls race in 16.12.  No doubt, had there been U11 races, Anya‘s younger brother Isaac would have been running.  Let’s hope that in due course Tom, Sam and Anya will have some company with BAC teams in their age categories.

However returning to the good news, Dave Long, who led the Mens’ race for much of the way, was first of the BAC athletes to finish, followed very closely by Craig Palmer Dave and Craig were 8th and 9th respectively so an excellent foundation!  Rob McTaggart, Josh Cole and Steve Way completed the BAC Senior Mens’ team, with Steve leading the BAC Veteran Men, the team being completed by Pat Robbins and Sanjai Sharma.  On the day, BAC‘s Senior Men were 5th of 10 complete teams in Division 1, and are 3= aggregate for the season so far.  Aldershot, Farnham and District will never be caught (as ever!), but Southampton, in second place, are within sight, but the real battle is amongst BAC, Reading and Basingstoke and Mid Hants, all of whom are so close that one stutter, or one brilliant performance, could make all the difference.  It isn’t just about the leaders, though.  It was a real pleasure to see 13 BAC men competing with the BAC vest everywhere.

The BAC ladies fielded another competitive lineup

The ladies, too, had a very successful day with Harriet Slade, Nikki Sandell and Joy Wright making up the Senior Womens’ team which finished a highly creditable 6th of 19 complete teams, the aggregate position being 7th of 21 teams.  Yvonne Tibble completed the Veteran Womens’ team (with Nikki and Joy), which finished an excellent 3rd of 12 complete teams on the day, and remain 3rd aggregate for the season of 14 teams.  Kirsty Drewett was on hand to provide the vital back up should this have been needed.

With the best two performances so far counting, BAC athletes are beginning to appear in the top 10 individual aggregate positions.  Of the Senior Men Dave Long is 6th and Craig Palmer 10th.  Steve Way is 6= Veteran Man, and in the Veteran Women table Emma Dews is 4th and Nikki Sandell 9th.

So, with three fixtures gone and two remaining it’s all to go for.  Your club needs you at Reading on 13 January and Aldershot on 10 February!

The yellow and blue army were out in full force

BAC success at Hampshire Cross Country League fixture


Some of BAC’s mens’ team -Simon Hearn, Richard Brawn, Jud Kirk, Stuart Nicholas, Craig Palmer (behind the elbow!), Steve Way, Pat Robbins, Sanjai Sharma, Steve Cox and Nick Kenchington

A strong contingent of BAC men and women competed at what must be the toughest of the Hampshire Cross Country League venues at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, near Petersfield, on Saturday 11 November. This is a new course and involved climbing almost to the top of Butser Hill, the highest point in Hampshire, followed by a sharp descent, and then doing this again, in the case of the men, three times!

The start of the mens’ race, Craig Palmer, David Long and Josh King showing early form

However, this did not daunt a very strong BAC mens’ team, whose objective was to build on the solid fifth place in Division 1 of the League achieved at the first fixture of the season, at Kings Park, to ensure that first division status is maintained at the end of the season.  To say this was done is an understatement, with the Senior Mens‘ team finishing 2nd on the day, with only the untouchable Aldershot, Farnham and District club in front, and now lie 2nd equal in the table after two fixtures.  BAC‘s Veteran Men also had a highly successful day, finishing 3rd of 24 teams.

Rich Brawn soaks up the atmosphere before the start

There was another 2nd position by BAC – the Veteran Women, more about this later.

The course involved climbing the far slope almost to the top (the mast is the highest point in Hampshire) and down the near slope (three times for the men!)

The BAC charge was led by Jacek Cieluszecki, who chased David Long around the course, just edging past David towards the finish, so that David finished just one place behind Jacek, but, as 8th and 9th respectively, it looked as if BAC were on course for a low points count.  This was confirmed when Craig Palmer crossed the line  seconds later, pursued very shortly by Josh King, and when Rob McTaggart finished in 48th position it was clear this was a good result – to have the entire team in the top 50 is always good news!  BAC‘s Senior Men are 2nd in the table, equal with Southampton Athletic Club, so let’s hope the exciting contest with SAC to finish the season 2nd (behind AFD who can never be caught!) of a few years ago can be repeated!

BAC‘s Veteran Men can also be very satisfied with the result from Butser Hill.  The team of Steve Way, Pat Robbins and Sanjai Sharma, by finishing 3rd of 24 teams (there is only one Veteran Mens‘ division), ensured that that the 4th position achieved at the first fixture at Kings Park was retained as the aggregate position.

In all, 14 BAC men competed in this fixture, and it was a real pleasure to see so many of the yellow and blue vests around the course. Congratulations to all who took partThe only sad feature was that there was not one single BAC U20 or U17 man, nor U15 or U13 boy, although, in the U11 boys’ race, it was great to see Isaac Sandell tackling the course.

There was also a strong BAC Senior Womens‘ team present, with the team of Emma Dews, Harriet Slade and Nikki Sandell finishing 7th on the day, of 27 teams (like the Veteran Men, there is only one Senior Women division), an excellent result, placing the team 7th aggregate in the team.  Emma and Nikki also scored for the Veteran Womens‘ team, and supported by Yvonne Tibble, the team finished an astonishing 2nd on the day, resulting in a 2nd aggregate position.  Just in case anything went wrong (which it didn’t!) Joy Wright and Kirsty Drewitt provided the essential back-up.  The situation concerning BAC‘s youngsters was almost as sparse as with the boys, with no BAC U17W, U13G nor U11G taking part, but, in the U15G race, it was very encouraging to see Amelia Reynolds and Anya Sandell competing.

Results (BAC): Senior/Veteran Men: 8. Jacek Cieluszecki 35.53; 9. David Long 36.02; 13. Craig Palmer 36.24; 21. Josh King 37.25; 48. Rob McTaggart 39.12; 64. Steve Way 40.11; 72. Stuart Nicholas 40.38; 96. Pat Robbins 42.08; 109. Sanjai Sharma 42.53; 156. Richard Brawn 45.28; 166. Nick Kenchington 46.09; 179. Jud Kirk 47.33; 198. Simon Hearn 49.07; 231. Steve Cox 52.18 (286 in race): Senior/Veteran Women: 29. Emma Dews 26.22; 47. Harriet Slade 27.49; 50. Nikki Sandell 28.25; 67. Yvonne Tibble 29.44; 77. Joy Wright 30.31; 93. Kirsty Drewitt (161 in race): U15 Girls: 28 Amelia Reynolds 15.40; 36. Anya Sandell 16.15 (48 in race): U11 Boys: Isaac Sandell (results not yet published – this race isn’t part of the League).

The following photographs (copyright: hammy8241) were taken by Paul Hammond of Eastleigh RC and are reproduced with his permission, for which many thanks………

David Long
Jacek Cieluszecki and Josh King
Craig Palmer
Rob McTaggart
Emma Dews
Harriet Slade
Nikki Sandell


Stuart Nicholas looks determined
Yvonne Tibble
Kirsty Drewitt


Hampshire Cross Country League season starts at Kings Park

BAC ladies’ XC team, Mandy Adams, Harriet Slade, Emma Dews, Kirsty Drewitt and Yvonne Tibble

The 2017/18 season of the Hampshire Cross Country League opened on Saturday 14 October with the first fixture in beautiful sunny weather at Kings Park.

Craig Palmer storming to 15th position

For BAC‘s senior mens’ team the aim this season has to be, at least, to remain in Division 1 of this highly competitive League and thanks to some outstanding performances Saturday was an encouraging start. It is BAC‘s good fortune that Craig Palmer has joined second claim, for the purpose of cross country competition, as Craig‘s astonishing run brought him to the finish line in 15th position. Throughout the mens’ race, Craig was being pursued by Josh King, who edged ever nearer to Craig, finishing one place behind him in 16th. BAC is also fortunate to have recruited fairly recently Stuart Nicholas, running in his first cross country race, who also had an excellent run to finish third BAC athlete. Steve Way followed very shortly afterwards, probably running better than he expected after injury problems, and, completing the BAC mens’ team, Pat Robbins also ran well to finish only one minute (exactly!) after Steve. Steve and Pat were BAC‘s first two veteran men, the veteran’s team being completed by John Phillips, also recently joined (or, more accurately, rejoined after many years!), which meant that BAC‘s veteran mens’ team is no less than the 4th team of the 18 complete veteran men teams (there is only one veteran division), which is an excellent start to the season. BAC‘s senior mens’ team, after one fixture, are 5th of 10 teams in Division 1, so a solid start, but hopefully we can improve on this as the season progresses, and there is certainly no room for complacency! The U20s also ran in the same race as the senior and veteran men, and BAC was sole representative was Brandon Meredith, who should be pleased with his 13th U20M position. Please see the full BAC mens’ results below.

Josh King chasing to finish 16th
Stuart Nicholas in his first xc race (pacing Jamie Grose ex BAC now PAC)

Turning to the ladies, some excellent running led to a satisfactory start to the season.  Despite this being only her second race this year, Emma Dews‘ strong running kept her at the front of the field for the entire race, finishing 12th overall in 22.58 and 2nd veteran lady.  Harriet Slade and Yvonne Tibble, finishing 30th in 24.27 and 70th in 27.14 respectively, completed the senior ladies’ team , and of the 20 complete teams, BAC were placed 8th (there is just one ladies’ division), so that is an excellent start to the season.  Emma and Yvonne were the first two BAC veteran ladies’ the team being completed by Kirsty Drewitt (88th in 28.28) with the veteran ladies’ team also having an excellent start, lying 5th of the 14 veteran ladies’ teams.  Well done too to Mandy Adams who was 124th in 31.53 and provided the essential backup in case of any dropouts.  A total of 156 completed the senior/veterans race, apparently the largest field for many years.

Brandon Meredith on his way to finishing 13th U20

What was slightly disappointing from BAC‘s point of view was the lack of youngsters competing, with not even one  U17M or U17W BAC athlete.  However, well done to those youngsters who did compete, and especially the three U13 girls, as this produced a BAC team result for their category.  They were Martha Preece, who, of the 79 finishers, was 15th in 12.51, Lara Broderick, 56th in 14.16 and Abigail Phillips, 61st in 14.40.  The fact that the team was 11th of the 11 complete teams really doesn’t matter – it is very encouraging to see a BAC team in the younger age groups, and there were plenty of clubs taking part in this race who didn’t have a team.  In the U15 girls, Anya Sandell was 34th of the field of 56 in 17.34, in the U13 boys Sam Farwell was 55th of the 85 finishers in 13.00 and in the U15 boys Tom Farwell was 26th of the 64 finishers in 14.45 and Jasper Todd was 36th in 15.16.  What a pity there wasn’t a third U15 boy to make up a team!  Once again, well done to all the youngsters who competed and kept the BAC flag flying throughout the day.

In addition to the League races, there were also boys’ and girls’ U11 races at Kings Park, which gave an opportunity for our Development Evening youngsters to compete.  It is encouraging that, had these races been part of the League, we could have had an U11 boys’ team!  Of the 75 who completed this race, Archie Kilburn was 12th in 8.21, Sam Brewer 57th in 9.39, Isaac Sandell 59th in 9.43 and Nathan Mearns 66th in 10.00.  There were two Bournemouth U11 girls amongst the field of 47, Ida Waring who was 10th in 9.10 and Katie Kilburn, 26th in 9.43.

This fixture was organised and run by BAC, and many thanks are due to all the marshals, officials and helpers without whom the fixture could not have taken place.  Kings Park appears to be a popular venue for Hampshire Cross Country League clubs (although it is true the first fixture always attracts large numbers) as, throughout the day, including the U11 races, an astonishing 894 athletes completed 10 separate races.

BAC results (senior/veteran/U20 men): 15 Craig Palmer 32.03; 16 Josh King 32.08; 57 Stuart Nicholas 34.45; 60 Steve Way 34.59; 76 Pat Robbins 35.59; 83 Brandon Meredith 36.20; 91 John Phillips 36.47; 96 Tom Paskins 36.52; 108 Richard Wade 37.09; 136 Ross Smith 38.32; 148 Nick Kenchington 39.39; 158 Simon Hearn 40.14; 185 Jud Kirk 41.52.

BAC ladies’ XC team, Mandy Adams, Harriet Slade, Emma Dews, Kirsty Drewitt and Yvonne Tibble

BAC athletes Adrian and Toby in contrasting off road races

Adrian (1401) and Chris pleased to finish Man v Mountain

On Saturday 2 September Adrian Townsend tackled the 22 mile obstacle course which is the Man v Mountain race starting at Caernarfon Castle in Wales, and four days later Toby Chapman successfully defended his title in the Sourton Tors Fell Race on Dartmoor.

Of Man v Mountain, Adrian writes:  “Last Saturday I ran Man v Mountain with my mate Chris. The route starts from Caernarfon Castle and weaves its way up to the summit of Snowdon and down the other side into Dinorwic Quarry then back up the Vertical Kilometre and finally back down to the quarry where there’s an array of water based challenges. 22 miles with 5295 ft of ascent. Chris had suffered a number of bad injuries in training so the plan was to run together at a steady pace, have crack at the vertical kilometre and enjoy the day. The weather was great and we got some amazing views as we headed up to and over the summit. At 25% gradient the vertical kilometre at 3 miles from the finish was tough and I paid for my efforts with bad cramp in both legs. The final challenges included a quarry jump with a lake swim, abseil and water slides with more lake swimming and a river crossing. All good fun with crampy legs! We finished together in just over 5 hours in 135th place out of 1197 and I was 2nd super vet for the vertical kilometre.”   It really does sound like fun!

Toby Chapman on his way to defending his title in the Sourton Tors Fell Race

Toby‘s race was rather shorter, at 2.6 miles, but nevertheless demanding, climbing, as it does, the 300m to Sourton Tor.  It is an evening race, which Toby won last year, so he had a title to defend, which he successfully did, winning yet again.  Toby says:  “always fun to go fast”.  Those were the days!

Road Runners Christmas Party and Awards, Road and XC County Medals, Portsmouth Coastal Marathon, BAC in Madrid, Peter Thompson challenge and Wessex XC League


Antonio Ruiz and his brother Carlos pleased with their 10k race in Madrid

With the road/cross country section enjoying a Christmas meal at which there were a number of awards, Stuart Nicholas and Antonio Ruiz running well for BAC in Portsmouth and Madrid respectively, and Peter Thompson‘s amazing challenge shortly to commence, BAC is as active as ever!

Steve Parsons and his wife, Ros, entering into the party spirit

On Friday 16 December over 40 of BAC‘s road and cross country runners assembled at the Kitchen Club, adjacent to Iford Golf Course, for an enjoyable Christmas meal followed by a disco, efficiently organised by Rich Nelson and Ian White.  It has been a very successful year for this section of the club, both on the road and cross country, and, in order to mark this, Rich, our Club Captain, arranged for a number of trophies to be awarded, a gesture which was appreciated, not just by the recipients, but by everyone present.  In addition, throughout the year, County Championship medals, gold, silver and bronze, have been won by BAC athletes, and as these medals have not been available at the Championship races (a situation it is hoped will change for 2017), the opportunity was taken to award these to the winners who were present.  This was a very enjoyable and successful evening, and many thanks to Rich and Ian for their hard work in the organisation.  It was also a chance to say goodbye to Gonzalo Mogorron, who has been in Bournemouth from Spain at language school for the past six months, and has really become involved in club affairs, attending training and competing regularly.  We wish Gonzalo good luck in the Seville Marathon in February, and in his new job which he starts in Madrid in January.  So, who were the evening’s trophy winners?  The first trophies were for the ‘Runners’ Runner’ – the winners having been voted for by their fellow club members, and these went to, male, Sanjai Sharma, and, female, Yvonne Tibble.  Then came the Captain’s Awards, decided on by Rich himself.  These went to, male, Tom Paskins and Alex Gould, and, female, Nikki Sandell and Emma Dews.  The Best Newcomer Award winner was Marcus O’Toole, and the Most Improved Runners were, male, Pawel Surowiec and, female, Sam Laws.  A special award went to Emma Dews as the Star BAC Team Baker for her delicious cakes at cross country fixtures, and at the ‘get-together’ after the Boscombe 10k!  Although not all the County Championship medal winners were present to receive their medals, here is a complete list of BAC‘s medal winners:  10 miles (Lytchett 10) Steve Way (Gold and Masters’ Gold), Gemma Bragg (Gold):  Marathon (North Dorset Village Marathon) Jon Sharkey (Gold), Simon Way (Silver and Masters’ Gold), Anthony Clark (Bronze):  10k (Purbeck 10k) Jon Sharkey (Gold), Peter Thompson (Bronze), Emma Dews (Silver and Masters’ Gold), Nikki Sandell (Masters’ Bronze):  Half Marathon (Stur Half) Josh Cole (Gold), Sanjai Sharma (Silver and Masters’ Gold).  Many congratulations to all BAC‘s award and medal winners.  Of course, there were a number of other BAC road/cross country award winners at the club’s Presentation Evening in November, as those who were there will know, and BAC teams and athletes are in line for some Dorset Road Race League trophies for 2016, as those of us who run in the Broadstone Quarter on New Year’s Day and attend the presentations which follow will find out!

Congratulations, also, to Stuart Nicholas, who was a remarkable 7th of a total of 1014 competitors in the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon on Sunday 18 December.  Stuart‘s time of 2.53.09 was highly creditable on a course which, although flat, takes in various surfaces, including gravel, sand and, every so often, a bit of tarmac!

Well done too to Antonio Ruiz, who was flying the BAC flag in Madrid on the same day.  Antonio, like Gonzalo, was a language student from Spain here in Bournemouth, although for a considerably longer period, during which Antonio trained with and competed for the club, and also helped with the training at the Wednesday Junior Development evenings.  Antonio is returning from long term injury, so his run in a 10k race in Madrid at the weekend (wearing his BAC vest!) in 38 mins 20 secs (Antonio was 200th of a total of 2500) was very encouraging.

Peter Thompson starts a remarkable challenge shortly in St Petersburg, Russia, the aim being to run 44 marathons in 44 countries in 44 days in order to raise awareness of mental health issues.  Peter is raising money for two charities, Mind ( and a local charity, Livability Holton Lee (, and amongst the marathons Peter will be running are the London Marathon, followed by Lisbon, in Portugal, which will be the 24th, just over half way.  We wish Peter every success in this unique endeavour, which will hopefully raise a large sum for two excellent charities.

Peter Thompson will be taking on a greater challenge than the Christmas 10k 2015!

There are yet more BAC medal winners to report following the Wessex Cross Country League fixture which was also the County Cross Country Championship race.  Congratulations to Nikki Sandell on winning the Veteran Women Gold medal, and to David Long, the County Cross Country Champion, on winning the Senior Men Gold, and Marcus O’Toole, who is the County Bronze medallist.  Brandon Meredith just missed out, finishing 4th of the U20 Men Championship competitors.  The full BAC results from the League fixture are as follows: S/U20M: 1. David Long 28.23; 11. Marcus O’Toole 32.30; 13. Brandon Meredith 32.55:  S/VW: 3. Nikki Sandell 26.20:  U17W: 9. Kate Stanger 19.27:  U15B: 5. Tom Farwell 12.59:  U15G: 21. Ella Barlow 16.30:  U13B: 10. Morgan Sommerseth 11.27:  U13G: 9. Anya Sandell 12.56; 10. Ruby Bowden 12.57; 18. Emily Stonier 15.01:  U11B: 12. Sam Farwell 7.09; 31. Samuel Brewer 8.38; 33. Isaac Sandell 8.47:  U11G: 39. Holly Stonier.

Antonio Ruiz and his brother Carlos pleased with their 10k race in Madrid

Christmas 10k, Bovington Marathon, Wessex XC (inc. County Champs) and Ultra Trail Cape Town


Richard Brawn with his Christmas Pudding – well earned after a PB in the Christmas 10k

There was plenty of activity this weekend with a well-attended Christmas 10k, BAC wins at the Dorset County Cross Country Championships (David Long) and the Bovington Marathon (Jez Bragg), but perhaps with Damian Boyle outshining everyone in a mountainous 100k trail race starting and finishing in Cape Town, South Africa.

20 BAC athletes competed in the Christmas 10k on Sunday 11 December, organised by Chris Potter and Christchurch Runners, who were able to put on an excellent and ever-popular race despite not having the usual facilities and start/finish area available to them.  Many of the prizes went to BAC‘s athletes, including Rob McTaggart, 2nd overall, Sanjai Sharma, 1st V55, Graeme Miller, 2nd V45, Emma Dews, 2nd Lady overall and Yvonne Tibble, 1st FV55.  One week ago, Yvonne ran the Blandford ParkRun in 20.30, giving her an age-graded result of 90.73%, which was something like the fifth highest age grading IN THE COUNTRY, and Yvonne‘s run was the fastest in all ParkRuns in the country in her age category!  Yvonne‘s time in the Christmas 10k consolidates her position at the top of the club 10k Championship table – Yvonne also currently tops the 10 mile table!  BAC‘s ladies team consisting of Emma, Yvonne and Joy Wright won the prizes as first ladies’ team in the race.  Results (BAC): 2. Rob McTaggart 33.19;  9. Billy McGreevy 35.57;  12. Sanjai Sharma 36.16;  16. Tom Paskins 36.29;  33. Graeme Miller 37.59;  40. Emma Dews 38.34;  44. Chris O’Brien 39.08;  47. Adrian Townsend 39.32;  48. Ross Blakemore 39.33;  49. Simon Hearn 40.44;  67. Richard Brawn 40.44;  69. Jud Kirk 40.53;  70. Steve Cox 41.16;  81. Simon Hunt 41.51;  88. Tony Hunt 42.05;  94. Yvonne Tibble 42.34;  100. Joy Wright 43.27;  193. Daniel Gilbert 49.58;  287. Joe Price 55.56;  321. Will Price 58.11.  There were 487 finishers.

Taking place at the same time, unfortunately, was the final Wessex Cross League fixture of the season, which also doubled as the Dorset Cross Country Championship, at Bryanston School.  The results aren’t yet available, but we know from a video posted on Facebook by Brandon Meredith that David Long managed to hold off Jamie Grose to win the Championship, and that Marcus O’Toole and Brandon himself were also competing, and that Brandon was 13th overall in the SM/U20M race, and was 6th U20.  It’s believed that the some or all of the Sandell family were also competing at Bryanston, but there will be a further report after the full results have become available.

Further west in Dorset, also taking place at the same time, was the Bovington Marathon, an off road event starting and finishing at the Bovington Tank Museum.  Full results aren’t available, but we do know that Jez Bragg tanked round the course to win in a time of 3.08.21.  Andy Gillespie was also competing, and finished “hard on Jez‘s heels”, 89th in 4.24.4.  Andy describes the course as “a bit muddy in places, but 90% gravel trails and woodland paths”.  According to the website the distance is 26.2 (ish) miles.

Damian Boyle and medals after completing a 100k challenge which took in Table Mountain, in the background

Further afield, Damian Boyle was tackling the 100k Ultra Trail Cape Town, starting and finishing in Cape Town, and taking in Table Mountain and two other mountains (14500′).  Of the 64 finishers, Damian was 16th, and 3rd Vet, in a time of 13 hrs 57 mins and 31 secs.  This is the longest race in which Damian has competed, and he describes it as “an incredible race in most spectacular surroundings”, and a race which can be recommended to all our Ultra runners.

A couple of the views enjoyed by Damian……………

Richard Brawn with his Christmas Pudding – well earned after a PB in the Christmas 10k