Category Archives: Road_Reports

Richard Brawn does the D’Urberville Dash 10k

Richard Brawn put his off-road running skills to the test at the D’Urberville Dash 10k

For a good few weeks, Richard Brawn had been searching for a 10k race in the local area. It was a distance he hadn’t done in an official race since the Weymouth Bay 10k back in March so he was desperately keen to seek one out in order to measure his progress. That search eventually led him to the D’urberville Dash, which is takes place in Wool.

The D’urberville Dash is a multi-terrain course, incorporating a testing mix of forest tracks, fields and country roads. It is mildly undulating but predominantly flat, with one large section of downhill road where you can really stretch the legs.

One of Richard’s main goals at the moment is to run a sub 40 minute 10k which is something he’s still yet to achieve. He knew that wouldn’t be feasible on a tricky off-road course though so was just hoping to get as closed to 40 minutes as he could.

As it turned out, the race did actually sell out, due to an influx on entries on the day, bringing the number of registered entries up to the 400 mark. This seemed to take the race organisers by surprise, as they hadn’t been expecting the late surge of interest. In fact, they didn’t even have enough t-shirts to supply one the whole field.

That aside though, the organisation of the race was excellent and the route was very well marshalled and marked out throughout. Despite a lot of rain in the two days leading up to the race, the route had been thoroughly checked and given the go ahead.

It quickly became apparent to Richard that it was going to be more like a cross-country run than a fast road course. After the road section that ran for the first three quarters of a mile, the route then turned through a field and then into the woods.

Richard negotiated the tricky, multi-terrain route to finish in 22nd place with a steller time of 41:35

The path through the forest was very narrow, with very little room to overtake. It was important to find the right moment if you did need to pass anyone, which Richard successfully did on the first woodland section.

It was on another forest track leading up to the end of third mile that Richard again found himself behind someone. With the track being so narrow, it would have been difficult for Richard to pass the guy in front who was slowing down quite considerably.

This stretch of running below the threshold gave Richard some much needed respite and once they came out of the wood and back onto the road, he was able to then power on, having recuperated some energy.

At the half way mark there was a drinks station and Richard had already decided not take on board any water and to use this as an opportunity to keep his race rhythm going and push on. That was exactly what happened and Richard was able to accelerate away and build up a decent gap between himself and his nearest rival.

Unfortunately, the group ahead had already extended their gap too far whilst Richard had been held up in the forest for him to catch them. He spent the rest of the race on his own, although he did almost catch one other competitor towards the end.

After the long downhill stretch of road on the fourth mile it was then back into the woods and along the same paths that the runners had trodden on the way out. Although it was well marshalled, Richard was still a little edgy about going the wrong way since there was no one else in sight.

Luckily he successfully managed to navigate his way to the end of the forest and through the field before hitting the road again for the last half a mile.

Richard gave everything he had in the final dash toward the finish and was ultimately pleased with his time of 41 minutes 35 seconds. This put him in 22nd place overall and 5th in the M35 category.

He was also particularly chuffed with the bright orange t-shirt he received at the end of the race, as well as the great selection of homemade cakes they had on offer.

The bright orange t-shirt was well worth the 6.2 mile effort in Richard’s eyes

 

 

Jacek reaches new heights in Eiger 51 Ultra Trail

Jacek Cieluszecki took on the challenging and unrelenting mountain trail of the Eiger 51

After a string of recent successes, including wins at the Red Bull Wings for Life, the Poole 10k and the Portland 10, Jacek Cieluszecki decided to take things up a notch and tackle the Eiger Ultra Trail 51k race.

The Eiger Ultra Trail is set in Grindelwald, Switzerland and is thought to be one of the most challenging races in the Swiss Alps. The E51 Panorama Trail incorporates a height difference of 3100m and is famed for the stunning panoramic views that can be seen atop the Faulhorn summit.

The first 18km is all ascent, as the route goes up toward Grosse Scheidegg and beyond. There is another sharp climb from 21 to 24k which takes the runners up to the highest point of the race, Faulhorn, at 2680m. The course then begins a long descent down to Schynige Platte before heading all the way down to Burg Lauenen at 43k. It’s then 8km up to the finish.

With most of the top contenders in the race belonging to dedicated mountain running teams, Jacek knew he was going to have to be at his very best to achieve any kind of result against these experienced mountain racers.

Jacek stood up to the test against some very experienced and dedicated mountain runners

Fortunately, Jacek was at his very best and put in an astonishing performance that saw him finish in 5th place overall with an incredible time of 5 hours 29 minutes and 12 seconds. This was out of field of 499 men and 185 women. There was also a category for couples, with 62 pairs completing the race. Jacek also claimed a place on the podium as 2nd placed vet.

Jacek (left) takes his place on the podium for 2nd placed vet

It was a very pleasing result for Jacek, who was tentative in the lead up the race after his previous attempts at mountain races had not gone as well as he’d hoped. This time it was different though. He’d done some quality sessions on the Purbeck hills and had practiced and honed his downhill running technique. Jacek believes that the key to his success was being able to go fast on the descents.

Jacek utilises his tremendous quad strength as he works his way up the steep alpine slopes

There are actually four different races to choose from in the Eiger Ultra Trail event. E101, E51, E35 and E16 – each referring to the distance in kilometres. Jacek’s wife Ela, who is also an accomplished long distance runner, entered the E35 race.

Jacek’s wife Ela took part in the E35 race, proving Jacek’s not the only adventurous and talented distance runner in the family

Despite taking a fall at one stage on the scarily fast and technical descent, Ela shrugged off the scrapes and bruises and persevered to finish as 57th placed lady in a time of 6 hours, 19 minutes and 30 seconds.

All in all it was a nice little trip to Switzerland for the pair of them – and certainly a very productive one. In fact, it was probably one of those situations where you feel like you need a holiday just to recover from the holiday you’ve just been on.

Jacek achieved a mightily impressive result finishing 5th overall and 2nd in his age category

 

 

Peter Thompson and Billy McGreevy team up in Lychett Relay

Billy McGreevy (second from left) and Peter Thompson (middle) with their teammates for the Lychett Relay

Three Bournemouth AC members featured in the Lychett Relays over the weekend, with Peter Thompson and Billy McGreevy forming part of the “Marathons for the Mind” team and Sanjai Sharma being drafted in as a late replacement for the Hamworthy Harriers Kings team.

The event was organised by Lychett Manor Striders and the race featured teams of five people with each team member completing one lap of the 5k course. The winning team would be the fastest accumulated time once all five have finished. There were separate categories for Mens, Ladies, Mixed and Juniors.

Peter flies through his lap at the Lychett Relays showing he’s still got the speed

The course was a lovely scenic route round the Holton Lee grounds at Holton Heath. It was entirely off-road, with surfaces consisting of heathland footpaths, grass and a short stretch of tarmac.

Billy and Peter were in a Men’s team with three others. Billy kicked things off with a very quick leg, clocking a superb time of 17:41. He then passed the batten onto Leigh Genco, who was then superceded by Gareth Hale and Nigel Halligan.

Billy and his daughter Grace, who is replenishing the calories with a biscuit after her hard-fought Minithon

Peter Thompson ran the final leg for team “Marathons for the Mind” and put in another very fast lap, registering a time of 18:13. This shows Peter has recovered well from his incredible 44 marathons in 44 days adventure across Europe and it hasn’t put him off running at least, which is good news for BAC.

Peter showed no signs of after effects from his astonishing 44 marathons in 44 days

This put the total combined time for “Marathons for the Mind” at 1 hour, 46 minutes and 55 seconds. They were the 11th fastest team overall and 8th best men’s team.

Sanjai ran the first leg for his team and put in another very strong performance, completing the course in a time of 18:23. Once the other four Hamworthy Harriers Kings had finished their laps, the total combined time was 1 hour 48 minutes and 50 seconds. This put them in 15th place overall and 10th best men’s team.

The event had a real fun and inclusive feel to it, with the participants encouraged to bring friends and family along to socialise in the lovely surroundings and enjoy some drinks for the bar, as well as a barbecue and home-made cakes. There was a disco later in the evening and even camping available on site.

Billy’s daughter Grace looks a real natural in her first ever race. She must take after her Daddy

As well as the showpiece relay race, there was also a Minithon, for the kids. This enabled Billy’s 15-month-old daughter Grace to take part in her first ever race. She seemed to be a natural, so this could well have been the launch of a budding BAC career. In fact, Billy says they are targeting the 2036 Olympics, so watch this space!

Billy, Peter and the rest of team “Marathons of the Mind” really enjoyed the race, and the event as a whole

 

 

 

Pat Robbins stars in 24 Hour World Championship

Pat Robbins represented Great Britain at the IAU 24 Hour World Championships in Belfast

The IAU 24 Hour World Championship took place over the weekend with Bournemouth AC’s Pat Robbins in action for Great Britain. Pat was one of a team of 11 that had been selected to represent the nation at the event that was staged in Belfast this year.

Just to be selected for such a prestigious event was a huge accolade for Pat and would give him the opportunity to pit his wits against some of the very best ultra runners in the world.

The course was a flat 1.7km loop around the lake at Victoria Park and the aim was to complete as many laps as possible, which equates to covering as much distance as you can within the 24 hour time frame. The winner would be the competitor who has covered the most distance.

Pat having a laugh with his GB teammate Sharon Law ahead of the big showdown

Despite the extraordinarily high standard of the field, Pat had high hopes of finishing well up in the standings. All was going smoothly for the first half of the race, so up until about 12 hours in. Unfortunately it was at this point that his attempts were about to be derailed.

He first began to feel a pain in his quads. This was then followed by some stomach cramps. Pat believes the quad pains can be put down to the hilly 100 miler he did 12 weeks prior.

He got some treatment on the legs and the stomach over the next couple of hours and persevered. Another factor that made it difficult was that the timing system was down for most of the race, meaning the runners had very little idea how they were actually doing, besides the estimations of the team management.

At the 20 mile mark, Pat was lying in 52nd position having completed 120 laps and covered just over 123 miles. Although this would have still have been a fantastic achievement in a field of 290, it wasn’t where Pat wanted to be. Since the treatment he’d received for his quad and stomach issues though, Pat had got a second wind and was determined to finish the race strongly.

Over the last four hours, Pat began to really put the hammer down and power his way up the standings. In fact, his finish was so strong that he gained 19 places, ending the day in 33rd place overall.

Pat completed a phenominal 145 laps by the time the 24 hours had elapsed giving him a grand total of just under 150 miles. This was a quite incredible distance to cover by any standards and made Pat the 28th best male.

It’s difficult to tell if this is smile or a grimace from Pat as he works his way through a total of 145 laps and almost 150 miles within the 24 hour window

Considering where he was after the quad and stomach issues, this was a seriously strong finish and Pat can take a lot of heart from that. He was also the second best Brit, after Steve Holyoak who managed two more laps.

In terms of the men’s team competition, Great Britain finished in 8th place out of 28 nations, amassing a total of just under 716 kilometres between them.

Pat (second from left) congregates with the rest of his Great Britain teammates ahead of the 24 Hour World Championships

Pat wasn’t the only Bournemouth AC connection to the race. Paul Consani was also present at the event, acting as a member of the crew for his brother Marco, who was also competing for team GB.

Marco finished the race in 60th position, completing a total of 32 laps, equating to just under 136 miles. This was another very impressive performance.

Paul Consani (left) crewed for his brother Marco (right) as he competed for team GB

Showing they are a family of amazing running talent, Marco’s wife Debbie Martin-Consani was also in the race representing Great Britain. She finished as 39th best lady, racking up a total of 123 laps, so almost 127 miles.

All three should be very proud of their efforts. Running constantly for 24 hours is always going to be a monumentally difficult task, whatever your level of fitness and running background may be. Pat’s exertion is the latest of a string of ultra competitions where Bournemouth AC members have excelled  on the world stage, once again demonstrating the great calibre of athletes that the club possess.

Pat Robbins did his nation and his club proud with a magnificent performance in the 24 Hour World Championships

 

No Repetitive Strain for Stu Nicholas at Littledown Marathon

Stuart Nicholas embarks upon a long and laborious journey round Littledown Park on his quest to complete the Littledown Marathon

“Let’s just say I’m now quite familiar with that route” was Stu’s rather humerous response when asked how he got on at the Littledown Marathon on Sunday. For those of you who don’t know, the course for the Littledown Marathon is very simple. It’s the marked out one mile circuit at Littledown Park, 26 times over!

It’s a route that is often used by Bournemouth AC for Thursday night training runs. In fact, only last week a group from BAC were doing a session there which involved a few laps of the Littledown loop. Whilst in the recovery phase, they were contemplating how hard it would be to run around the course 26 times. That was the challenge that Stu Nicholas took on on that hot and sunny Sunday morning.

Although it’s flat by nature, the surface is quite uneven at Littledown Park which does actually make it quite tough to run around. Plus it’s mostly grass as opposed to concrete. The approach Stu was going to take was to just switch off and let his legs go on autopilot and just hope for the best.

The conditions were quite cool at first but it soon heated up. Stu had his partner and his brother on hand to give him some much needed encouragement and they thoroughly enjoyed their morning basking in the sunshine whilst Stu was racking up the mileage. In fact there was great support all the way around from onlookers which really helped him to keep going and stay focused despite the repetitive nature of the race.

It was a lovely scenic route, but perhaps less so after you’ve seen it 26 times

Stu liked the idea that it was going to be a mental challenge as well as a physical one, which would make it different to your average marathon. He handled it by breaking it down into chunks, so doing six first, which meant he had 20 left. Then another seven laps took him to half way. It was getting a bit monotonous towards the end but Stu did well to persist and maintain the pace.

In fact, Stu did so well that not only did he complete all 26 laps and the full marathon distance, he finished in second place overall with an incredible time of 2 hours 54  minutes and 55 seconds. That’s an average mile page of 6 minutes 40 seconds.

Even 26 laps around Littledown Park wasn’t a bridge too far for Stu who seems to have mastered the art of marathon running, whatever challenges the course may bring

The chap who was leading the race faded towards the end as well and Stu was closing in on him fast but in the end he just managed to beat Stu to it, finishing a mere eight seconds ahead.

Nevertheless, it was still a mightily impressive performance from Stu and he can be very proud of his efforts. He’s now demonstrated that he can handle a very testing mental challenge as well as a difficult physical one.

Admirably, 60 out of 62 competitors completed the full distance in the end, with the longest taking just under seven hours to finish.

After the race Stu celebrated with a dark chocolate Magnum ice cream and a pint of ale in the Saxon Bear in Christchurch. Both very well earned after a tough morning’s work. Rumour has it that Stu is already looking forward to the next training session at Littledown Park.

There’s nothing like a nice, sunny, Sunday morning canter around the park – 26 times! As you do

Jacek lights up Portland 10 as BAC team rally well

Team BAC prepare to tackle the hills of Portland

As the day of the Portland 10 came round many Bournemouth AC members were dreading the prospect of the tough, hilly route they were about to negotiate. As anyone who is familiar with the Isle of Portland will know, there is very little flat surface, meaning a very taxing 10 mile race was inevitable.

The fact it was a Dorset Road Race League fixture meant that Bournemouth AC had to get a team of at least five men and three ladies together in order to count in the all-important team competitions.

As always, BAC team captain Rich Nelson battled to scrape a team together, which he eventually managed after a fair bit of chasing and hounding. Ian Graham was down to do the event initially but had had to pull out due to injury. In the end Alex Goulding reluctantly stepped up to complete the mens’ team and they were good to go.

The race started near Portland Red Triangle Cricket Club and after a lap around the central area of the isle it then worked it’s way down to the most southerly point, Portland Bill, with it’s instantly recogniseable and iconic lighthouse. From there the route went steadily back up toward the centre of the isle before finishing with part of a lap round the cricket ground.

It turned out to be every bit as tough as the elevation graph suggested. Everyone found the constant undulation with very little respite between inclines extremely tough to contend with. Everyone except Jacek Cieluszecki that is.

Jacek set a blistering pace that no one else could live with

Jacek set off at a blistering pace leaving all the other competitors trailing in his wake. By the time he reached the two mile mark, Jacek and already opened up a considerable margin over his nearest competitor. That gap would only grow as the race went on.

The only issue with Jacek’s speed was that the guy on the lead bike was having problems keeping up

Jacek’s unassailable lead meant that the only battle he really had was to keep himself going knowing that race win was surely sewn up. By the end of race, Jacek had opened up an advantage of almost five minutes on the second placed runner. The race organisers could scarcely believe it as he crossed the line in an astonishing time of 54 minutes 24 seconds, tearing up a course that should really have been a very slow one on paper.

Jacek claims the prize for 1st place with a sensational performance

Another BAC member who had an exceptional race was Tom Paskins. Tom has been in sensational form of late and managed to turn in yet another superb performance to finish in 8th place with a time of 62:10. Again, on a course this tough that is some achievement.

Tom had sited that he had been incorporating more hills into his training of late after noticing a weakness in that area compared to others around him. That additional hill focus definitely seems to be paying off and Tom is now reaping the benefits of correcting that flaw.

Tom Paskins was in scintilating form showing those hills who’s boss

In fact, Tom was having an interesting tussle throughout the race with Iain Trickett of Dorset Doddlers. Iain overtook Tom at first but Tom was able to find some extra strength in order take his place back. However Iain responded by getting past once again near the end and managed to hold on, finishing ahead of Tom by just four seconds. Iain is widely regarded as one of the top distance runners in the area so to be battling him for placings demonstrates the great progress Tom has been making of late.

Alex Goulding wasn’t overly enthusiastic about hitting the hills of Portland but Rich managed to twist his arm in the end. Alex came into the race off the back of a hard training session with Andrew Ridley the previous day after bolting round the Bournemouth parkrun course in lightening quick pace as usual.

Alex Goulding in his unmistakeable red cap

These exertions wouldn’t have helped Alex as he struggled to get to grips with the undulating route at Portland. He set off at a steady pace hoping to be able to pick it up a bit later on in the race. Sadly he found his energy levels wavering and he was unable to attack the race in the latter stages as well as perhaps he could’ve done on fresh legs.

The 10 mile distance is also a little further than the shorter distance races that Alex prefers but he decided to take one for the team on this occasion. In the end he did not disappoint either, still managing to secure a top 10 finish, which is quite an achievement in such a high standard field. His time was 63:25 which, although it didn’t impress Alex himself, most people would have been overjoyed with a result like that.

Alex is relieved to get the finish line and get it over with

In the women’ race, Nikki Sandell was having an intriguing little battle of her own with Isobel Rea of West 4 Harriers. This was for 1st placed lady. Nikki had been leading the way up until around the 6 mile mark when Isobel caught her up.

An interesting head-to-head battle ensued with Isobel eventually managing to escape on the final climb. Isabel recently completed the Comrades Marathon, an 86km ultra in South Africa featuring many of the world’s top ultra runners, including Bournemouth’s very own Steve Way. This gives an idea of the kind of prowess Isobel has, so to be battling her is again a testament to Nikki’s excellent form.

Nikki Sandell was the lead woman for the first 6 miles or so

Nikki’s finishing time was a season’s best of 67:59 which again, given the profile of the course, is a magnificent effort. This put her in 32nd place overall.

Nikki picks up her prize for 2nd placed woman

Next over the line for BAC was Richard Brawn. Richard has been in great form of late, recently securing a new half marathon PB as well as a couple of new parkrun PB’s. Richard started off relatively well but began to fade as the race went on.

Richard Brawn was glad to reach the top of hill, not realising that there was another one just around the corner

Struggling to cope with the seemingly continuous elevation, he lost a fair few places in the latter stages and in the end was happy to finish just under 70 minutes with a time of 69:54. This put him in 45th place.

Richard checks his watch as he dashes to line to finish under the 70 minute marker

Fifth scorer for the mens’ team was Jud Kirk. Jud again didn’t manage the sort of time he would expect from a 10 mile race but given the difficulty of the course, his time of 74:10 was still a decent effort. This was enough for 66th position on the day.

Jud Kirk battles to negotiate the tough, hilly course

Shortly afterwards Linn Erixon Sahlstrom arrived, securing a superb time of 75:13 in her first ever 10 mile race. Linn is more of an ultra runner by nature so the 10 mile distance to her would be classed as a short distance. Linn was the 6th lady over the line and was 70th overall.

Linn approaches the finish line in her first ever 10 mile race

Completing the ladies team, Yvonne Tibble managed yet another category win, adding a Portland Bill tea towel to her ever increasing collection of prizes. Besides being 1st V55, Yvonne was the 8th lady to finish and placed 74th overall with her time of 77:36.

Yvonne Tibble on her toward another great category win

In terms of the team competitions, Poole AC won the mens’ with four members in the top ten, in comparison to Bournemouth’s three. There didn’t seem to be a women’s team prize but if they’re had been it would’ve gone to Bournemouth with all three ladies finishing in the top ten.

Considering the struggle that it was just to get a team together, this would have to go down as very successful outing for BAC. Hopefully there will be more interest for the Rock Around The Rock 10k, which is also in Portland, as well as the other future Dorset Road Race League fixtures.

It was a good solid performance in the end from Team BAC and they can be proud of their efforts in an extremely tough race

Uphill Task for Toby Chapman at Mont-Blanc Marathon

Toby Chapman prepares to tackle his biggest challenge yet – The Mont-Blanc Marathon 80km

The Mont-Blanc Marathon 80km race is one of the most notorious races in the running calendar anywhere across Europe. It provides the opportunity for runners to test themselves to the ultimate limit, with the 82km route incorporating 6000 metres of vertical. It is widely recognized as one of the most technical races in France, but also one of the most beautiful.

This was the challenge that Toby Chapman set out to accomplish this summer. It was always going to be an extraordinarily tough feat but that is the kind of mentality Toby has. If it’s guaranteed that you are going to succeed then it isn’t really a challenge in the first place.

Toby had done a fair bit of training in the Alps in the lead up to the race so he knew what he was letting himself in for and had given himself the chance to get to grips with the conditions he would be facing.

The race kicked off from the Place de I’Église in Central Chamonix at 4am local time on Friday 23rd June. The runners were immediately thrust into an elevation gain of 1442m up to the first checkpoint at Brévant. This was 11km in and Toby arrived in just under 1 hour 53 minutes, putting him in 112th place.

It was then down to Flégère for the next checkpoint which Toby reached in 2 hours 48 minutes. That was 19km done and Toby had moved up to 106th.

37 minutes later, Toby arrived at the 22km mark, Tete Aux Vents, in 117th place. Then it was down to Buet, where he clocked in at in 4 hours 20 minutes. This was already a massive 29km completed and Toby was now 140th at this point.

The trail then climbed around 1300m to the Col du Corbeau before descending to the next checkpoint at Le Molard. This was now 38km done and Toby had been running for 6 hours 12 minutes. He was now 133rd in the standings.

There was another steep climb up to the next checkpoint situated at Barrage Emosson. This took Toby up to 43.3km covered with a total elevation gain of 3491m. He’d now been running for just over 8 hours and was really feeling the effects of the altitude.

The route then descended down just as steeply to Chatelard Village. Unfortunately this was destined to be the final checkpoint that Toby would reach. He was now 9 hours 12 minutes in and was really suffering with altitude sickness. He’d amassed a total of 47.5km and was in 186th place.

Next up was another climb, up to Catogne at the 53.2km mark. Sadly, Toby did not make it that far. He’d been feeling very sick when running uphill for the past four hours and had tried taking increased fluids on board, additional food and increased rest periods. Unfortunately none of this seemed to help and Toby had to abandon the race. He’d been running for almost 9 hours 35 minutes.

Toby was sadly forced to withdraw after covering 47km in nine and a half hours of mountain running

Whilst it was gutting for Toby not to have been able to complete the full 80km of the race, on reflection he should be able to look back on his efforts with immense pride. 47km of running up and down huge peaks with an elevation gain of 3,544m is still an amazing achievement that most hardy runners wouldn’t even dream of attempting.

It just goes to show though that in running nothing is certain. You can put in all the training and make every effort to get into the best possible physical and mental shape for a race, but anything can happen on the day. Injury could hit, illness can take hold, weather conditions could hamper performance. It is the great unknown of running and it’s one of the reasons we all love it so much and rejoice on those rare occasions when it all comes together as planned.

Toby showed great courage to push himself out of his comfort zone and attempt something that he knew was going to be incredibly difficult, even for an athlete of his great calibre. No doubt, he will grow from this experience and will come back stronger and even more determined to succeed in his next challenge.

Toby was not overawed by the idea of running up the highest mountain in Western Europe and showed amazing character and strength to get as far as he did

 

 

 

 

 

BAC pull together for Purbeck 10k

Alex Gould and Stu Nicholas making good headway at the front of the field in the Purbeck 10k

The Purbeck 10k saw a successful return to the scoreboard in the Dorset Road Race League for Bournemouth AC after Rich Nelson managed to scrape a mens’ team together at the last minute.

A week prior to the event, only four BAC men had signed up, but with a little bit of wheeling and dealing Rich managed to draft in Stuart Nicholas and Jez Bragg to bolster the team significantly. As usual, the ladies had managed to get a team together so they were good to go.

The course was a lollipop style out and back route but as it was fairly undulating throughout it was tricky to get the pacing right. In the first 3k there was a long downhill stretch which of course then turned to an incline in the latter stages of the race. They were also running into a headwind on the return approach which also contributed to the significantly tougher second half.

Stu Nicholas was first home for BAC, finishing in 6th place with a very quick time of 35:43. Stu set off at a very quick pace which he found difficult to maintain for the rest of the race. He knew the hill at the end was deceptively tough though so kept a bit in the tank for a strong finish.

Stu doesn’t run 10k races all that regularly and it turned out that his finishing time was actually a 30 second PB. He had originally planned to stay close to Alex Goulding, since the pair had done a fair bit of training together on Tuesday nights in the lead up to the race.

Unfortunately Alex wasn’t in top form though after suffering from a recent illness that he’s found very difficult to shake. Despite that though, Alex still manufactured a top ten finish, which in such a competitive field is still a very good achievement. Alex came in 9th place with a time of 36:25, putting him 2nd in the V40 category.

Alex and Stu both recorded top ten finishes in an extremely competitive field

Jez Bragg and Tom Paskins were pretty close to each other throughout the whole race. It was a bit of a shell shock for Jez to be running at 6 minute mile sort of pace after his recent exploits in the Dragon’s Back Race. The Dragon’s Back Race was a five day mountain event, covering a total distance of 315km, so that was all about endurance and entailed running at a much steadier pace.

Despite that Jez adapted well to running at the faster pace and even had enough energy left to out-sprint a fellow Dragon’s Back competitor Dave Jones of Poole AC. He also held off Tom Paskins as well, who crossed the line in the same time as Jez in 37:20, although Tom’s chip time was actually two seconds quicker. Jez came in 15th with Tom in 16th.

Tom initially found it hard to get going, since it was a Friday night race which is slightly out of the ordinary but he soon managed to settle into a rhythm. He was very pleased with his performance given the consistent undulations and enjoyed the lovely views of Corfe Castle that could be seen en route. Tom was also particularly impressed with the post burgers as well, as he made the post of the opportunity for an essential post race refuel.

Tom Paskins in the blue t-shirt next to Sanjai Sharma, with Jez Bragg on the inside, all finishing in scoring positions for BAC

The fifth scorer the mens’ team was Sanjai Sharma, who posted a very solid time of 38:45 to claim 40th place overall and 4th in the V50 category. Although it was his slowest 10k for quite a while, Sanjai had been running on tired legs following a very busy week so he wasn’t too disappointed with his performance.

Completing the line up for the mens’ team was Steve Parsons, who finished in 154th place with a time of 46:46. This was still fairly high up in the standings in a field of 470 finishers.

Due to a undulating nature of the course, Steve found it hard to get any rhythm but he was pleased with the end result after having recently been out for three weeks with an injury. Even though Steve is still in the process of getting back to full fitness, he still managed to knock 1 and a half minutes off his time from last year.

Steve Parsons cruises to a 46:46 finish, beating his time from last year by a minute and a half

In the womens’ race, Emma Dews finished in 2nd place with a stellar time of 39:32. it was Emma’s first race since October last year and he felt she struggled a bit, particular in the second half of the race where the hills and the headwind came into play.

Her first 5k was very quick, completing it in 19:04 but the pace fell away slightly in the second half of the race, which she did in 20:28. This resulted in a fair few people overtaking her, including the lady who came in 1st place, which was a bitter pill to swallow for Emma.

Emma tends to go into local races with a ‘win or bust’ mindset so is always disappointed when he she doesn’t come out on top. She still enjoyed the social element of it though as the team gathered in the pub afterwards for a post race refreshment.

Yvonne Tibble was locked in a battle with Carol Jones, the lady who finished 1st in the V55 category last year. This time it was a different story though, as Yvonne came out on top, sealing yet another category win in a time of 46:15. This was 20 seconds quicker than Carol. Although it wasn’t a quick time by her standards, Yvonne was pleased with the result. Carol, on the other hand, was not.

Kirsty Dewitt on the outside left, Tamzin Petersen just obscured by 351 and Steve Parsons in the middle of the road

Tamzin Petersen also put in a strong performance, finishing as 19th placed lady out of 204 in a time of 47:45. Tamzin was a little disappointed as her time was significantly slower than what she did in the Poole 10k earlier in the month but that was to be expected, given the substantial uphill sections and the crosswind throughout the second half of the race. Tamzin had also been away in South Africa earlier in the week meaning her preparation hadn’t been ideal going into the race. Given that, she should be fairly pleased with the outcome.

Kirsty Drewett was 34th lady over the line, completing a reasonably successful outing for the women, all-in-all. Kirsty ran a strong out leg, going through the first 5k ahead of schedule. The second half of the race she found tougher, losing around two minutes, although her splits for the second 5k were fairly even so she was pleased with her improvement in that respect.

It would appear that the mens’ team finished in 3rd place on the day and the ladies team were 4th, although that is yet to be officially confirmed.

Steve Parsons heads toward the finish to complete a decent display from the mens’ team

Simon Hearn battles it out with son Sebastian at the Hull 10k

Simon Hearn and son Sebastian went head-to-head at the Hull 10k

After following a strict and tailored training plan for the past six weeks, Simon Hearn made the trip up to Hull to compete in the “Run For All” Hull 10k. What was unique about this race though was that Simon was doing it with his son Sebastian, which was fitting since it also happened to be on Father’s Day.

Sebastian, who is now 17, was a BAC member when he was younger but moved away to attend Harrogate Army College. Simon knew that Sebastian had been doing some running whilst he’s been up there and had heard that he’d been posting some very good times for races of that kind of distance but he was still hoping to be the stronger of the two on the day.

The conditions were extremely hot on the morning of the race with temperatures soaring to around 30 degrees, meaning it was always going to be difficult for Simon to get the sub 40 time that he was aiming for. He set off quickly, posting a 6:15 for his first mile before settling into a more comfortable pace.

After his fast start, Simon spent the rest of the race looking over his shoulder to see if Sebastian was catching him. However, it turned out that his son had actually sneaked past him on the second mile without Simon realising, so in fact, the whole time he’d been looking behind him, Sebastian was actually ahead of him.

As Simon got close to finish, to his surprise, he overheard the commentator saying Sebastian’s name over the tannoy. At first he thought there must have been some mix up with the numbers since he hadn’t seen his son come past him, but as he crossed the line he saw that Sebastian was already there.

Simon’s finishing time was 40:37, which put him in 59th place in a field of 4,200 and 7th place in the M45 category. This was a strong performance by any standards, but especially in the intense heat.

In fact, Sebastian had actually come in 22 seconds ahead of Simon, in a superb time of 40:15, which put him in 48th position and 17th in his age category.

It was a bittersweet moment for Simon, who, whilst he was disappointed not to have beaten his son, was also pleased to see Sebastian running so well and immensely proud of him.

The crowd that came out to watch the race and support the runners was enormous and in fact, Simon had never seen so many people cheering the runners on in any race he’d done before. This helped make the occasion an even more memorable one.

Putting the competitive element aside though, it was a great experience for Simon to be able to do the race with Sebastian and for a father and a son to both be running at that kind of level is probably quite unusual so huge respect to both of them.

Simon was narrowly pipped to the post by Sebastian, with both achieving an impressive top 60 finish

 

Joy Wright enters impromptu half marathon in Madeira

Joy Wright does her bit to help restore the reputation of Brits abroad

Whilst enjoying a well earned vacation in the sunnier climes of Madeira, in true BAC member fashion, Joy Wright decided to rock up and take part in an impromptu half marathon that just happened to be on in the area at the time.

The race was called Meia Maratona Atlântida and was staged on a hilly route along the south coast of the island starting at Câmara de Lobos.

Joy knew very little about the race and hadn’t planned on doing it at all. She’s currently focusing more on the track but found out about it when talking to a lady in a camping shop and just thought why not give it go. And it turned out to be a great decision.

She actually finished 4th female in the race and took 1st place in the V40 category. This came as great and completely unexpected result for Joy.

In fact, she could even have snuck into the top three, narrowly missing out by just 11 seconds. She actually thought she was in 4th place throughout so consequently wasn’t too worried when she was overtaken by two women on the last hill with just 200m to go.

As it turned out she had enough left in the tank for a sprint finish down the hill for the last 80m. In the process she overtook one of the ladies who had passed her on the hill, along with a couple of men as well. If she had known she was actually in third place, she could have perhaps put up more of a fight to hold onto the position.

When all is said and done though, she had to remind herself that it wasn’t about the competitive element, it was the experience that she really did it for, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Finishing 4th and winning the V40 category was just the icing the cake.

Joy’s finishing time of 1:42:28 was certainly a performance to be proud of. In fact, it might even go some way toward helping to restore the reputation of Brits abroad. And she wasn’t even wearing a football top at the time. She did happen to have a beer afterwards though, although in her defence, it was a beer company sponsoring the event so it would have been rude not to.

Joy just rocked up to the random half marathon in Madeira and ended up taking top spot on the podium for the female V40 category