Category Archives: Road_Reports

Steve Way crashes Comrades podium party with performance of his life

Steve Way looking strong in Comrades Marathon
Steve Way was hoping to improve on the impressive 9th place finish he managed the previous year at the Comrades Marathon

Going into the Comrades Marathon off the back of a very solid block of five months worth of uninterrupted training, Steve Way‘s preparation for the race had been as close to perfect as it was ever likely to get.

Registering some extremely clinical and cut-throat victories in the Bournemouth 10, the Bournemouth Bay Half Marathon, the North Dorset Village Marathon and the Dorchester Marathon, Steve was undoubtedly in fantastic shape.

As well as running a very good 50k race at the Anglo Celtic Plate, Steve had also managed several other well-paced long training runs of 30 plus miles that had had the Strava community in awe. And, more importantly, he’d hit all  of his huge weekly mile targets, giving him every reason to be optimistic about another gold medal winning performance at Comrades.

The Comrades Marathon carries the prestige of being the world’s largest ultramarathon race with a field capped at 20,000 people. It’s also the world’s oldest ultramarathon, dating back to 1921 when the first one was held.

The race is steeped in history and has seen many of the true greats of ultra distance running doing battle over the years. The race alternates each year between an ‘up run’ and a ‘down run’ always being staged between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg in South Africa.

The distance can vary as the course always changes slightly year-on-year but it’s generally around 90 km (56 miles). Due to the vast distance and the extreme and constant undulations throughout, the Comrades Marathon is known in many ultramarathon circles as the ultimate human endurance race.

For the South African people, the event is an intrinsic part of their culture and when the race comes around, the whole country comes to a standstill (except those running of course) and watches, cheers on or just marvels at the runners as they take on the challenge.

On the day of the race, it’s almost like it’s one big festival, up and down the country and it’s clear to see what it means to the people. The Comrades Marathon is ‘their’ event and they take great pride in it. They do it in their own unique way and it would surely be fair to say, no one else in the world can do it better.

This enthusiasm and significance of course translates to the runners as well and over the years, the South Africans have well and truly mastered the race. This is emphasised by their sheer dominance in the standings each and every year.

To break the mould of a South African 1,2,3 is extremely difficult. To infiltrate the trend of an African 1,2,3 is almost unheard of. It is extremely rare for a European runner to finish in the top ten even, like Steve did last year. In fact, he and Fritjof Fagerlund of Sweden were the first Europeans to do it since Jonas Buud in 2014, which demonstrates how hard it is.

So what were the aims for Steve this time round? First and foremost, it would take a great performance to improve on last year’s 9th place. If he could do that, that would be a success. The dream for Steve though was a top five finish. How realistic that dream was was yet to be determined.

Last year, Steve ran the race entirely on heart rate, monitoring it throughout and sticking to a level that he felt he could maintain for the duration of the race. That seemed to work as he gradually worked his way through the field, picking people off progressively throughout the race.

This year though, he decided to adopt a new tactic, which was to go with the group of favourites. He knew they’d start off a bit faster than he would have done otherwise but it was important to stay in touch with the top runners if he wanted to finish right up there.

The first mile of the Comrades Marathon is basically about ensuring you don’t get trampled on by the surge of runners as they head off on their journey.

After a quick first mile at 5:26 minute mile pace, the group of favourites, including Steve, settled down to 6 minute miling for the next four miles which were uphill.

On the downhill sections they were really ramping the pace up, averaging 5:22 for the 6th mile which was on a very steep decline. From mile 8 to mile 12 it was all uphill and, although he was able to stay with the group of favourites, Steve felt he was exerting more energy than he should be at this stage.

Steve Way in Comrades Marathon
For the first 13 miles or so Steve had been running with the group of favourites but he had begun to feel that the pace might be too quick for him at that stage

He felt he was running more at marathon pace in terms of effort and was worried that if he continues at that pace he might end up struggling later on in the race. At the same time though, he didn’t want to allow himself just to drop off the back of the group as it would have almost felt like giving up.

Instead, he decided to do what any runner would in that situation and stop for a wee. That then relieved the pressure of having to run at such an intense pace and enabled him to relax a bit.It later turned out that that wee might have cost him £5,000 but hey… When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go.

As a result of the pit-stop he’d lost around 10 places, putting him back to 38th place at the 30k checkpoint. Now the race was on for Steve. He needed to take control of his own pace and work his way back through field.

Steve Way powers along in Comrades Marathon
After his £5,000 pee, Steve began to set out reeling in the people in front of him one by one

Steve had Trevor Witcher and his wife Sarah out there with him and Steve had requested that they let him know what position he was in and how many minutes off a gold medal he was as he went past them at the 54k point, so he could tell how far behind the 10th place runner he was.

As it turned out, Steve was in 11th place, which was further up the field than he thought and crucially, he was only 2 minutes off the person in 10th. That was a good sign. From that point onward it was mostly downhill to the finish in Durban.

The tactic from here was to keep going until he saw someone in front of him, focus on catching that person and once he’s picked that person off, find the next one and do the same. As he seemed to be catching people one by one it was easy to count down so he could work out what position he was in, or so he thought.

Steve Way at 57k in Comrades Marathon
At the 57k point Steve was in 11th place and was just 2 minutes off 10th and another gold medal winning performance

With just 20k to go he was in 8th place, so there was still a fair amount of work to do. He was finishing strongly though and whilst others were getting tired, Steve’s excellent race strategy began to pay dividends.

He’d soon overtaken three more people and was up to 5th place with 9k left to go. This was the ultimate dream for Steve and he was so pleased to have achieved it.

The race was shown live on South African TV and there was also an online stream that could be watched around the world. The commentators on the live coverage were quite shocked to see Steve going so well.

They had been concentrating mostly on Bongmusa Mthembu who had strode away from the rest of the field and was out in front by quite some distance. They hadn’t been paying too much attention to what was going on behind and didn’t seem to notice Steve’s rapid rise in the standings.

The commentators did seem quite impressed by the fact that Steve had acquired the use of a downhill treadmill to train on. They had apparently drawn the conclusion that Steve must live in an area where there are no hills!

As he approached the magnificent Moses Mabhida stadium for the grandstand finish, Steve was closing in on the runner in front of him. The gap between the two of them was now less than half a minute. But he’d run out of road and it turned out he’d have to settle for what he’d got.

Steve crossed the line thinking he’d finished 5th which he was over the moon about. He’d realised his dream and it was an amazing and emotional moment.  It turned out though that Steve can’t count. He’d actually finished in 3rd place.

Steve Way finishes Comrades Marathon
Steve crossed the line in an incredible time of 5:35:27 which was 14 minutes quick than he did on the ‘up run’ the previous year

As he was embraced by his Nedbank team manager Nick Bester, Nick then broke the news to him that he’d actually come in 3rd position. Steve was in shock. He’d been overjoyed with what he thought as a top five finish. Now it was a moment of absolute euphoria as he learned he’d taken a podium spot. It was simply beyond anything he could have imagined.

With an  official time of 5 hours 35 minutes and 27 seconds, Steve had indeed claimed a place on the podium of the Comrades Marathon, the world’s biggest and most prestigious ultramarathon. It was a truly remarkable achievement. His average pace for the entire 90.2 km (56.3 miles) was an astonishing 5:57 m/m.

Steve Way looking relieved after Comrades Marathon
Steve was relieved to have finished the race but the feeling soon turned to shock and euphoria when he learned he’d come 3rd

Steve was the first European to secure a spot on the podium since Jonas Buud in 2013 and he was the first Brit to do so since Cavin Woodward in 1976.

As it turned out, he’d finished a mere 18 seconds behind Joseph Mphuthi of South Africa who had taken 2nd place. If the race had been half a kilometre further he would have surely taken 2nd place. And if it wasn’t for that pit-stop he’d had to make he quite possibly would have finished 2nd. The difference in prize money between 2nd and 3rd has resulted in it rather humorously being labelled as the infamous £5,000 pee.

With all his prize money and bonuses added together though, Steve earned around £15,000 before tax for his 3rd place so it was still a very lucrative race. In fact it was more money than he’d won in the rest of his running career combined.

Steve Way with cheque and bronze medal - Comrades Marathon
It had been a very rewarding day for Steve as he was presented with a bronze medallion and a rather large cheque for his 3rd place

Of course, it’s not all about the money though. It is about the sense of achievement. It’s about the satisfaction you get when you’ve worked really, really hard to achieve something and it all comes together on the day and the accomplishment is realised.

Steve Way with 3rd place trophy in Comrades Marathon
Steve was proud to take his place on the podium having beaten some greats of the ultramarathon world

Steve said afterwards that it was the best day of his life and his greatest ever performance – and he’s certainly had some good ones in the past to compare it to. That gives some indication of just what an incredible feat it was to come 3rd in the Comrades Marathon.

Steve Way celebrating at Comrades Marathon
It was a dream come true for Steve and he could barely contain his delight

On top of the gold medal he’d won for a top ten finish, Steve was also given a fantastic looking trophy and a bronze medallion for his 3rd place. He was also awarded a rather humongous cheque for 170,000 Rand (South African currency). It’s certainly going to be fun and games trying to get that through customs on the way back.

Nedbank team with trophies in Comrades Marathon
Steve and the rest of his Nedbank team show off their impressive haul of silverware

Off the back of his monumental performance, Steve is hopeful that he might just have done enough to earn him a place in the British team for the World 100k Championships in September. If the UKA do come calling, it will certainly be well deserved for Steve.

Steve Way with Nedbank teammates in Comrades Marathon
It had been an extremely successful Comrades Marathon for Steve and his Nedbank teammates

It wasn’t just his club that he did proud that day. And it wasn’t just Dorset runners either. He did the whole of British Athletics proud. And if he hadn’t already done so, Steve has certainly now cemented his status as one of the true legends of the sport.

Steve Way took 3rd place in Comrades Marathon
Steve described it as the best performance of his life and his 3rd place finish in the world’s most competitive ultramarathon was unquestionably a mark of greatness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julian Oxborough off to a flyer at Heron Half Marathon

Julian Oxborough in Heron Half Marathon
Julian Oxborough was looking to spread his wings in the Heron Half Marathon, a race staged on rural roads around the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton

Just two weeks after completing the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Julian Oxborough was back in action again, this time in more local race to him.

Lining up to take part in the Heron Half Marathon, Julian was viewing the race more as a training run, looking to take it steadily and focus on the consistency of his pacing.

Originally he was looking to target a 2 hour 45 minute finish but since the conditions were very tough on a blisteringly hot day, he decided to readjust his aim to 3 hours.

The Heron Half Marathon is named after the HMS Heron, an airfield of the Royal Navy and British Army which is situated a few miles north of Yeovil, just off the Dorset border. It is staged on the same day as the Yeovil Marathon, with both races starting and finishing at the athletics track at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.

The course is fast and flattish but containing some small inclines. The route is mostly on rural country lanes, going through Ilchester, Limington and the quaint village of Ashington before heading towards Mudford. It’s then over to Chilton Cantelo and through the hamlet of Urgashay before heading to the finish.

Julian Oxborough during Heron Half Marathon
Julian worked hard to keep his pace consistent, soaking up the support and encouragement from spectators and marathon competitors going past

It was a really well organised race, with bottles of water with sports caps, coke, jelly babies, pretzel sticks and other goodies provided for the runners as they worked their way round the course.

The support was brilliant throughout and Julian appreciated the encouragement he was given from the leading marathon runners as they passed him which really helped him make it to the finish.

There was one set back for Julian as he had a calf muscle strain that caused him to consider pulling out at one stage. He battled on though and was pleased he did in the end, crossing the line in a time of 3 hours 4 minutes and 38 seconds.

The Heron Half Marathon medal for 2018
The finisher’s medal contained a picture of a heron as the emblem

That put him in 260th place and 32nd in the Male Vet 50+ category. Although it wasn’t his fastest half marathon, Julian was really pleased with the consistency of his pacing.

Overall it was a good effort from Julian and although he feels like he still has a long way to to get his fitness to where he wants it to be, the hard training he’s been putting in is definitely paying off.

Having recently run a 5k in under 27 minutes in training, Julian is making huge strides with his speed and his goal is just to continue to improve and to do a few more races in the build up to the Bournemouth Marathon in October.

Julian Oxborough after Heron Half Marathon
Completing the race in 3 hours 4 minutes and 38 seconds, Julian came in 260th place and 32nd in his category

 

Chris O’Brien and companion kill it at Endure 24 Reading

Emma Draper & Chris O'Brien before Endure 24
Chris O’Brien teamed up with Emma Draper to take on the Endure 24 event as a mixed pair

It was that time of year again for Chris O’Brien where he heads over to Reading to take part in the annual Endure 24 event. The general premise of Endure 24 is to complete as many circa-5-mile laps as you possibly can during the course of the 24 hour period.

The task can be undertaken in teams of 8, teams of 5, as a pair or as a solo runner. And there is a category for male, female and mixed for each of those. Of course, the more laps completed – the more distance you covered, so essentially the aim is the run as far as you can within the allotted time.

Last year Chris took the challenge on as part of a team of 4, completing 7 laps and contributing a total of 40 miles to his team’s overall number.

Running the event as one half of a mixed pair for this year, Chris knew that this time round he would be negotiating a much higher number laps than last year and thus racking up a significantly higher mileage. It was going to be a big challenge but an exciting one for Chris and one that would undoubtedly take him to his limits.

Partnering Chris for the event as the other half of team Bugface, it was the lovely Emma Draper. The pair went into the event without any real expectations other than perhaps having an outside chance at finishing in the top 10.

Emma Draper and Chris O'Brien from behind at Endure 24
Chris and Emma were hoping they’d be able to work well together and put in an awesome display as a duo

Having not really done any specific training tailored for the event and having spent a significant part of the year on the sidelines through injury, Chris was unsure how he would cope with the distance. The injury he’d picked up had cost him the opportunity to run the London Marathon this year, although he did manage to defer entry.

The terrain on the course was pretty harsh with it being mostly on very hard ground, either on a stony track or hard, lumpy grass. It wasn’t overly forgiving for the legs when having to run on it repetitively for 24 hours. Still, that was all part of the fun!

Originally they’d planned to take it in turns to do a lap each throughout the day, then over night they were intending on doing three double laps each to allow the other person to get some sleep in between.

For the first couple of laps, Chris went at just over 8 minutes per mile pace and it took him just over 39 minutes to complete the lap. His 3rd lap was 8:36 pace, before getting closer to 9 minutes per mile for the next 3 laps.

Chris O'Brien on grassy part of course at Endure 24
Chris makes his way across the grassy section of the course

By early evening they’d discovered they were in 3rd place in the standings for the mixed pairs. That gave them the motivation to push as hard as they could be the remainder of the event, knowing they were right up there.

At 9:20pm it was time for Chris to set off for his 7th lap and he’d already racked up nearly 30 miles. It was beginning to get tough but he still managed to get through it at 9:46 pace.

As night fell, for his next outing he went for a double lap, starting it at 11:10pm and finishing it at 12:50. That gave him a bit of respite whilst Emma was doing her double lap, meaning he didn’t need to set off for his next lap until 3am.

Chris O'Brien falls over at Endure 24
Chris had clearly misunderstood the meaning of ‘fell running’

Doing a double lap though (almost 10 miles) on really tired legs was awfully difficult. And they found that the break wasn’t enough time to get any actual sleep either and it made it much harder to get going again afterwards.

They switched back to doing single laps after that and it seemed to work better for them as they were able to stay alert during the breaks.

At one point in the night they even had a brief stint in 2nd place before dropping back down the 3rd in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Chris started his 11th lap at 4:48 am and completed it at an average pace of 10:24 m/m. He and Emma continued to churn out the laps relentlessly as the day wore on. They managed two more laps each before Chris started on his 14th and final lap at 10:44 am.

Chris O'Brien at the start of his last lap at Endure 24
Tired and weary, Chris gets his 14th and final lap underway

That was it after that. They’d done all they could and since there was a condition whereby you had to have started the final lap by 12 pm and had to have completed it by the cut off time of 1 pm, team Bugface were happy to stick with what they’d got.

Incredibly, Chris had covered just shy of 70 miles of the duration of the 24 hours and Emma had managed 65 herself. It was an absolutely monumental effort from the pair of them and they could certainly say that they’d given everything they had. It was now over the organisers to tot everything up and work out the final standings.

Emma Draper and Chris O'Brien finishing at Endure 24
Chris and Emma had done themselves proud, having continued alternating laps with no sleep throughout the entire duration

It had been a really close call between Bugface and team that was in 2nd, the Wackey Hogs for a substantial part of the event. There was little to choose between the two and after the 24 hours had elapsed there was some confusion of which of the two teams had actually come out on top.

In the end it turned out Wacky Hogs had pipped them to post, finishing on 29 laps, with Bugface on 27, courtesy of Chris‘s 14 laps and Emma‘s 13. That meant they’d chalked up a massive 135 miles between them. They were over the moon with that result though considering they’d not really had any expectations to begin with.

Endure 24 medal
Chris and Emma had certainly had to work extremely hard for their finisher’s medal

Ever since finding out they were in 3rd place 6 hours into the event, they’d managed to hold onto the position. In fact, over the duration, they had managed in increase the gap between themselves and the He-man and Ve-gan team who finished 4th on 23 laps.

Impressively, Chris had ran 30 more miles this year than he did the previous year as part of a team of 4, so that was quite an increase. Who knows what he could accomplish next year? Perhaps even a tilt as a solo runner could be on the cards, although when that was put to him, he was very quick to stress how much he loved doing it with Emma and how well they worked together as pair.

Emma Draper & Chris O'Brien after Endure 24
Completing a total of 27 laps and 135 miles between them, Chris and Emma were extremely pleased with their 3rd place finish

 

 

 

 

“I will run 100 miles” says Linn Erixon Sahlström

Linn Exison Sahlström makes her way in the Jurassic Coast 100
Linn Exison Sahlström was embarking on a challenge that would push her to the absolute limit and beyond as she battled the Jurassic Coast 100 mile race

Completing a hundred miles is perhaps something most runners might target in, lets say a month – or possibly for the Steve Way’s and Ant Clark’s of this world, at the height of their training – in a week. But to do 100 miles in a single race… Well, that’s just taking it to a whole new level.

That was the task Linn Exiron Sahlström was faced with as she got ready to tackle the Jurassic Coast 100 – a 100 mile race along the entire length of the Jurassic Coast from Poole to Exmouth.

As anyone knows who has either run any races or done any training on the Jurassic Coast will know, it is incredibly tough terrain. It’s rocky uneven surfaces and extremely hilly nature make it hugely challenging for even the most accomplished runners out there.

Right from her early stages of running, Linn has had a burning desire to complete a 100 mile race and she always wanted to believe that it was a race of that distance would be her forte.

In fact, in her first ever race back in 2011, Linn completed the Trans Scania 250km in Sweden, which took her 53 hours. She finished 4th overall in that race and since then she was bitten by the ultra bug and has not looked back.

Despite having a clear talent and mental aptitude for extreme endurance running, Linn had had three failed attempts at 100 mile races where she’d either started too aggressively only to burn out midway through, or had to bow out through injury, as was the case in her full UTMB attempt in 2013.

Because of that chequered history, Linn felt she really needed to finish this one in order to lay the distance ghost to rest. That gave her an inner, steely determination to succeed.

Linn Erixon Sahlstrom about to start Jurassic Coast 100
Linn couldn’t wait to hit slopes of the Jurassic Coast and get her 100 mile mission underway

Due to undertaking a Masters Degree in Chiropractics, Linn has had limited head-space to mentally prepare for longer races, although she has still manged to fit in a few in-between her studies.

She finished as 2nd female in a 100k race in the Lake District and has also ran a 100k race from Manchester to Sheffield where she came 5th overall and was 1st woman. In 2016 she did the Ring ‘o’ Fire which is was a 3-day stage race of 150 miles around Wales.

Her CV also includes several mountain races in Switzerland, Germany and France, all under the 100k range. In spite of all that though, Linn feels the ‘real’ ultra running distance is 100 miles and she was desperate to add the Jurassic Coast 100 to her list of triumphs thus far.

It wasn’t going to be an easy ride though and the conditions over the course of the race were obscenely difficult. A thick mist had descended over the coastline and it would persist into the night, making the navigation a little more challenging that expected.

Linn Erixon Sahlström going through the mist in Jurassic Coast 100
The thick mist made it even more of a challenge, as if running an extremely hilly 100 miler isn’t tough enough already!

The route started out at South Haven Point, near Poole, before continuing past Old Harry Rocks and along the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast.

The highlights along this section included Durlston Country Park, Dancing Ledge, Chapman’s Pool, Kimmerage Bay, Lulworth Cove and the iconic Durdle Door. After continuing on through Weymouth, the route then follows the South West coast path all the way to Exmoor.

Spending the bulk of race on her own, Linn tried her best to navigate through the thick mist, looking out for the acorn sign that marks the path and trying to avoid falling off the cliffs as she progressed.

Linn Exison Sahlström enjoying the journey in the Jurassic Coast 100
It was Linn’s fourth attempt at a 100 mile race and she was absolutely determined to see it through this time, no matter what

It was an epic journey and elevation was brutal for the toes with so many steep and relentless inclines. Despite all that though, Linn made it to the end, finally getting that monkey off her back and completing a 100 mile race.

Not only did she complete the race though, she was also 1st female over the line and incredibly came in 5th place in the overall standings. It was a quite phenomenal result that must have surprised even Linn herself a little bit.

Linn Erixon Sahlström finishes Jurassic Coast 100
An amazing result for Linn saw her cross the line as 1st female and take 5th place overall

What was even more amazing was that as well as the 16,000 ft of elevation she’d had to negotiate over the course of the race, Linn also ended up doing an extra 5 miles on top of the 100 that she was meant to be doing.

The drop out rate for the race was 47%, which gives a great indication of how challenging it really was. All those who were able to complete it had certainly been tested to their absolute limits.

Linn Erixon Sahlström after the Jurassic Coast 100
The 47% drop out rate underlined how difficult the race really was and what an incredible achievement it was for Linn to make it to the end

Linn’s finishing time was 27 hours 46 minutes, which was an incredible result when you factor in the difficulty of the course coupled with the extremely tricky conditions.

Despite being 1st female though and finishing 5th overall, it wasn’t really about that for Linn though and it wasn’t about time either. The only metric of success for her was the completing of the race. It was about proving to herself that she could do it.

And if conquering a 100 mile race is what constitutes becoming a ‘real’ ultra runner, then Linn can certainly now consider herself firmly in that category.

Linn Erixon Sahlström first lady in Jurassic Coast 100
Linn celebrates a truly monumental experience that will live long in the memory

BAC boss proceedings at Poole Festival of Running

Jacek Cieluszecki by water in Poole Half Marathon
Jacek Cieluszecki was going for glory in both the Run for Cancer 5k and the inaugural Half Marathon at the Poole Festival of Running

The first weekend of June – and, some might even say, the start of summer – has become synonymous in the local running calendar with Poole Festival of Running.

This year the event was bolstered by the edition of a brand new Half Marathon race to go with the Minithons, the charity 5k and a new single lap course for the 10k taking in Poole Quay.

As usual, a strong army of yellow and blue vests descended on the venue and they weren’t there to make up the numbers. They were there to make their presence felt!

The first race of the weekend was the “Run for Cancer 5k” race that started on Saturday at 5pm. Fresh from his spectacular Wings for Life victory in Australia, Jacek Cieluszecki was back on familiar ground but was looking to keep the winning habit going.

Using the Poole Park area for a lot of his training runs, Jacek was very much at home at the Festival of Running and he’s often seen banging out sub 16 minute parkruns there as well.

Jacek Cieluszecki in Run for Cancer 5k
After his win at Wings for Life Australia, Jacek Cieluszecki was back on home turf in the “Run for Cancer 5k”

Last year’s Poole Running Festival was a rip-roaring success for JC as he secured the win in the 10k race. He was hoping he’d be able to follow that up with another 1st place this time round.

There was competition though, in the shape of Gavin Pritchard, who gave Stu Nicholas a run for his money at the Dorchester Marathon,  Poole AC duo James McCafferey and Duncan Cooper and Sean Edwards of Lytchett Manor Striders.

No-one could match Jacek‘s blistering pace though and he blew them all out of the water, sealing the victory in a super-fast time of 15:49.

Arriving at the finish line 50 seconds later, Sean Edwards took 2nd place in a time of 16:39. Duncan Cooper came in 5 seconds later to take 3rd, with James McCaffery in 4th.

Jacek Cieluszecki wins Run for Cancer 5k
Jacek collects his prize for winning the 5k race

After the race, Sean joked that he was 1st runner who wasn’t JC, which, given the sheer dominance that Jacek has displayed recently, could almost be a valid category.

Also in action in the 5k race for Bournemouth AC was Wayne Lyle, who finished in 11th place in a time of 18:18. It was a 13 second improvement on his time at the Poole Festival of Running last year for Wayne, although he was expecting to be faster.

He gave it everything he had though and it was nice to Wayne back in the area representing BAC again. A total of 377 runners completed the “Run for Cancer 5k”.

Wayne Lyle in Run for Cancer 5k
Wayne Lyle (left) made a rare appearance on the scene in the 5k race

The 10k race also featured some of BAC’s big hitters, with Steve Way, Rob McTaggart and Josh Cole all vying for top spot. They had competition from other angles as well, with Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat and Sean Edwards again in the mix. There were also a number of Poole AC’s top names lining up as well, including David Broadley, Brian Underwood and Jamie Grose.

Steve Way, Tag and Josh Cole in Poole 10k
Steve Way lead out a strong assembly of Bournemouth AC representatives in the 10k race including Rob McTaggart and Josh Cole

With Steve finishing ahead of Tag in the Bournemouth 10 and Tag getting the better of Steve at the London Marathon, it was destined to be a good showdown between the two of them.

Tag and Josh Cole in Poole 10k
Tag at the start of the race with Josh Cole in behind

After Tag’s outstanding performance in London in very trying conditions, there was some talk of Steve passing the torch onto Tag as Bournemouth AC’s top dog. Since then though, Steve had set an even faster marathon time of 2:28:19 at Dorchester.

Steve Way in Poole 10k
Steve Way was looking to reaffirm his status as BAC’s top man

At the Poole Running Festival 10k, it was Steve who came out on top, reaffirming his supremacy with a time of 32:40. He followed up a controlled effort in the first half of the race with a marginally quicker second half.

Steve Way by wall in Poole 10k
It was Steve’s last race before he headed off to South Africa for the Comrades Marathon

He wasn’t quite able to crank it up as much as he would’ve liked though due to few bumps and a headwind but it was still a decent run for Steve though in his last race before jetting off to South Africa for the Comrades Marathon.

Steve Way leads in Poole 10k
Steve lead the way from the outset and put in a fine display to sign off from the local scene in style

It was actually Will Brewin who took 2nd place, crossing the line in a time of 33:26 before Tag clocked in in 3rd position in 33:42. It wasn’t a great run from Tag and he’s certainly capable of going faster but he’d had a few beers the night before so wasn’t at his absolute best.

Tag going well in Poole 10k
Tag’s BAC vest was in the wash after being drenched in sweat at the BAL fixture the previous day so he donned is German top instead

He did still get £100 prize money for taking 3rd place though so that was a bonus. If he gets a a few more cash prizes Tag has vowed to put the money toward a pair of 4 percenters like the ones Steve wears, so if he gets his hands on a pair of them, watch this space!

Tag on the march in Poole 10k
Tag cruises round the streets of Poole
Tag moving swiftly in Poole 10k
Tag didn’t have the best of days but still scooped £100 in prize money for taking 3rd place

Jamie Grose took 4th place in a time of 34:29 before Josh Cole arrived at the finish to seal 5th place, just ahead of Andy Leggott. Josh’s time was 34:45.

Josh Cole in pack in Poole 10k
Josh Cole on the right of the pack

Four Poole AC runners completed the top 10, with Brian Underwood taking 7th, David Broadley 8th, Gareth Alan-Williams in 9th and Matthew Ashton in 10th.

Josh Cole by wall in Poole 10k
Josh battles hard to keep the pace going
Josh Cole in Poole 10k
Josh powers through the streets of Poole

The next Bournemouth AC member home was Adrian Townsend, who came in 36th place in a time of 39:52. It was an improvement on Adrian’s time the previous weekend at the Vitality 10,000 where he finished in 40:13.

Adrian wasn’t a massive fan of the new course though and said he much preferred the old course. There were too many twists and turns in this one for his liking.

Adrian Townsend and Tom Paskins at Poole Festival of Running
Adrian Townsend in the Poole 10k with Tom Paskins, who was doing the Half Marathon, in behind

Taking 3rd place in the M50-59 category though, it was a decent result for Adrian, all things considered. After the race, Adrian celebrated with a pint of coconut rum stout, which he said was possibly the weirdest beer he’d ever had.

As a new member to the club, Ben Walliman announced his arrival with a cracking run to take 45th place in a time of 40:48. Ben has mostly represented Zoom Triathlon Club in the past but is now looking to further his running attributes with BAC.

Ben Walliman by wall in Poole 10k
Ben Walliman ran well to finish in a time of 40:48

Reaching the line in a time of 41:32, Harry Sherwood claimed 51st place in the overall standings and took 3rd place in the U21 Male category. It wasn’t Harry’s best effort but still a pretty decent time nonetheless.

Harry Sherwood in Poole 10k
Harry Sherwood digging in as he negotiates the 10k route

After his exploits at Bredon Hill the previous weekend, Simon Hunt was back in action again and he had a very good run considering he’d been feeling the after effects of the Bredon Hill climb for a good few days afterwards.

Simon Hunt by wall in Poole 10k
Simon Hunt was relieved to be on flatter ground than he was the previous weekend at Bredon Hill

In contrast to Adrian, Simon said he enjoyed the new one loop route through Poole Quay, although the lap around the houses before entering Poole Park for the finish was a bit of a sting in the tale.

With a very solid time of 42:29, Simon took 58th place overall and was 2nd in the M60-69 category. It was a great way to sign off before he heads off on his holidays.

Simon Hunt in Poole 10k
A decent run from Simon saw him take 2nd place in the M60-69 category

BAC newcomer Andrew Brookes showed he’d got some good potential, crossing the line in 45:31 to seal a magnificent new PB. He set off a bit too quickly which caused him to struggle a bit over the middle part of the race.

Rallying well though, he managed to pick it up in the last mile before finishing in 109th place overall. A total of 854 people took part in the 10k race.

The inaugural Half Marathon race started at the same time as the 10k and featured a jaunt around Upton Country Park before heading back along Poole Quay.

Graeme Miller and Sanjai Sharma in Poole Half Marathon
Graeme Miller and Sanjai Sharma were among the 6 BAC members taking on the inaugural Half Marathon

Going for a Festival weekend double, Jacek Cieluszecki was back in action again the day after collecting the 5k win. In the Half Marathon race, Jacek was facing challenges from John Bassinder of Poole AC and Mitchell Griffiths of Westbourne amongst others.

Jacek Cieluszecki powers along in Poole Half Marathon
Jacek was going for a double whammy after sealing the 5k win the day before

After the exploits the previous afternoon, Jacek’s legs were feeling a little stiff at first. As a result, he found it quite tough going but was still able to run a very strong and controlled race to cruise in for the win, finishing in 1:14:06.

Jacek Cieluszecki in Poole Half Marathon
JC was once again too quick for the rest of the field, even those on bikes!

Over 5 minutes had passed before John Bassinder arrived at the line to take 2nd place in a time of 1:19:16. Kevin Green took 3rd in 1:20:13, with Mitchell Griffiths securing 4th in 1:21:31.

Jacek Cieluszecki by wall in Poole Half Marathon
Jacek cruised in for the win with a margin of over 5 minutes over his closest rival

Bournemouth AC’s very own Graeme Miller finished in 6th place, finishing in a very strong time of 1:22:30. Graeme said he would have taken 6th place if offered it before the start but afterwards he felt he should have gone a bit faster.

Having run the course a few times in training, Graeme was worried about potential bottlenecks but he was very pleased to find it all went smoothly on the day.

Graeme Miller starts Poole Half Marathon
Graeme gets his Half Marathon race underway

By the time he reached the 2nd mile, Graeme was in 6th place but he could see the two runners in front of him in 4th and 5th and they were only about 50 metres ahead. He made a concerted effort to catch them before they entered Upton House.

Graeme Miller by wall in Poole Half Marathon
Graeme had a few apprehensions about the course but it seemed to all go quite smoothly in the end

Going past the pair at 5 miles, Graeme managed to stay ahead until mile 7 but they then came back and overtook him. It became apparent that Graeme had used a little too much energy trying to catch the two in front and paid the price in the second half.

Graeme Miller by the water in Poole Half Marathon
Graeme had a good stab at taking a top 4 finish but in the end had to settle for 6th

He gave it a go though so couldn’t really complain about the result. Sometimes you have to just roll the dice and take that risk and hope it pays off. Graeme has vowed to work even harder in training and come but even stronger.

Graeme Miller and wife Carole Miller after their Poole Festival races
Graeme’s wife Carole completed her first ever 10k

Another BAC member to make it into the top 10 in the Half Marathon race was Sanjai Sharma, whose time of 1:24:41 gave him 10th in the overall standings and 2nd in the M50-59 category.

The decision to start the 10k and Half Marathon races at the same time didn’t seem to be a problem, although it possibly could’ve been with a bigger field.

Sanjai Sharma going well in Poole Half Marathon
Sanjai had his on-brand hat to shield his face from the intense sunshine

Although he would’ve liked to have gone under 1:24, Sanjai was still happy with his time as he’s not really doing any serious training at the moment. He’s now looking forward to a bit of downtime from racing.

The next move for Sanjai was to jet off to France to link up with Peter Thompson as he continues on his Tour de France journey. This will mean a first ultra distance run for Sanjai, since Pete is doing at least 30 miles every day.

Sanjai Sharma by wall in Poole Half Marathon
It was a top 10 finish for Sanjai and 2nd in the M60-69 category

No doubt seeing Sanjai and Simon Way and the others who go over there will be a much needed boost for Pete as he marches on in his epic challenge.

Just two places after Sanjai, was Tom Paskins, who came in 12th with a time of 1:25:25. Tom was hoping to be closer to the 1:20 sort of mark but the hot conditions on the day did make it difficult for everyone to realise their potential.

Tom Paskins in Poole Half Marathon
Tom Paskins powers along by the water’s edge

That said, Tom was still glad he did the race and is hoping that the Half Marathon becomes an annual fixture at the Poole Festival of Running as he’d definitely be keen to do it again.

Tom Paskins by the water in the Poole Half Marathon
It wasn’t quite the time Tom was hoping for but he enjoyed the race all the same

After doing the Vitality 10,000 the previous week, it was back out on the road for Joy Wright and since she’s been doing a lot of her training on the track recently, the Half Marathon was quite a step up in distance for her.

Rising to the challenge well though, Joy successfully completed the course, crossing the line in a time of 1:45:39, which put her in 91st place.

Joy Wright in Poole Half Marathon
Joy Wright progressing well in the Half Marathon race

It also gave her in 4th place in the F40-49 category so, although Joy still feels that she needs to work on her speed endurance, it was still a reasonable result under the circumstances. A total of 355 runners completed the Half Marathon race that day.

Joy Wright balancing in Poole Half Marathon
Steady as she goes for Joy

Also taking to the start line in a BAC vest was Trevor Elkins. Trev has had some pretty good runs recently, winning the Race The Tide Beach Race in Bournemouth and the Run the River 15k in Bristol.

He’d also had a good training run with Ant Clark and the X-Miles group the previous weekend round virtually the whole of the Half Marathon route so he had high hopes for a good time.

Making the conscious decision not to look at his watch for the first 10 miles of the race, Trevor was planning to run it entirely on how he feels, rather than allowing himself to be influenced by time and pacing.

Initially, the tactic seemed to work and flew through the first 5 miles feeling very strong. All was going smoothly until he reached around mile 8 or mile 9. That was when he started to run into trouble.

By the time he’d reached the 10 mile point he’d lost a bit of ground but was still doing well, currently sitting in 19th place and arriving in around 1 hour 6 minutes.

Trevor Elkins in Poole Half Marathon
Trevor Elkins was going well and was in 19th place at the 10 mile point

At about the 10.5 to 11 mile point through, Trev’s body started rocking and he began to feel dizzy. He felt like he had nothing left in the legs and they’d practically turned to jelly.  At that point, he had to pull out of the race.

It was frustrating for Trevor as he’d been going so well up until then. 19th place would have been a tremendous result as well, but sadly, it just wasn’t to be.

It’s unclear what the root cause of the issue was. Whether it was unbearable heat that did it or whether it was just fatigue after several back-to-back weeks of races.

Looking at the results though, it seems that someone must have carried his chip over the line later on that day as he was on list with a time of 8 hours 33 minutes and 21 seconds.

Whilst that appears as a bit of the blot on his Power of 10 profile, at least it gives him a target he knows he’ll surely beat when he does his next half marathon.

Tom Paskins and Howard after Poole Half Marathon
Tom and his brother Howard who also completed the Half Marathon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in a day’s work for Pat Robbins at European 24-Hour Championships

Pat Robbins represented Team GB in European 24-Hour Championships
Pat Robbins was representing Great Britain in the European 24-Hour Championships held at Timisoara in Romania

The remit for a 24-hour race is generally pretty simple. Cover as much distance as you possibly can within the 24-hour period. That means very little time for resting, refuelling, repairing or recuperating. Those that harbour ambitions to do well on an international scale know they have to have the stamina and strength to keep throughout the entire duration of the race.

Just as he was last year in the World 24-Hour Championships last year, Bournemouth AC’s resident rambler Pat ‘Paddy’ Robbins had been selected to represent Great Britain in the big showdown. For Pat, that meant a tough, rigorous training schedule over the Spring to prepare for the gruelling task ahead.

The venue for the 2018 European Championships was Timisoara in Romania, so Pat flew out to join the rest of his British compatriots for a bit of team bonding and camaraderie before the race commenced.

The trouble with 24-hour races though is that no matter how hard you train for them and how many sacrifices you make in the run up to them, you never quite know what’s going to happen on the day. You could pick up an injury or you could contract an illness of some sort. Anything could go wrong really.

The Great Britain squad for the European 24-Hour Championships
The GB squad pose for a team photo before the the dawning of the big event

The boys from Team GB started off steadily, utilizing their experience to ensure they wouldn’t burn themselves out as the race went on. 8 hours into the day it was Spain who were in the lead, from the Czech Republic and Poland.

For the men, it is the top 3 out of the team of 6 who count towards the overall score. By the half way point at 12 hours, Germany had assumed the lead, having covered a total of 397 kilometres between their top three. Spain were now 2nd, just a kilometre being, with France in 3rd, just one more kilometre back.

In the women’s race is was Poland who lead with 379 kilometres between their top 3, with Croatia in 2nd and Hungary in 3rd. In terms of the individual competition, it was Aleksandr Sorokin of Lithuania who was out in the lead, by quite a long way, having covered almost 153 km. Enrico Maggiola of Italy was in 2nd place on 138 km. In the women’s individual, it was Anthonija Orlic of Croatia in the lead with 134 km, with Stine Rex of Denmark in 2nd on130 km.

Pat Robbins in European 24-Hour Championships
Pat was hoping his guns would be firing on all cylinders as he looked to put in a strong performance to aid British medal hopes in the team competition

As the day unfolded, it became evident that the British men weren’t just there to make up the numbers. They were serious medal hopes. 16 hours in and Great Britain had crept up to 3rd place in the men’s rankings, with the trio of Daniel Lawson, James Stewart and Steven Holyoak having amassed 506 km between them. France and Germany were no neck-and-neck on 515.89 km.

In the women’s it was still Poland leading on 500 km from Hungary on 464 km and Croatia on 463 km. Aleksandr Sorokin was still well out front in the men’s, on 193 km, with Stine Rex and Patrycja Bereznowska now joint leaders of the women’s race on 170 km.

18 hours in, Team GB were still holding firm in 3rd place for the men, with France having edged ahead of Germany in the battle for the lead. In the women’s race, the British team of Tracy Dean, Alison Young and Wendy Shaw had crept up to 3rd place on 501 km. They now had Germany in their sites who were at that time in 2nd on 507 km. Poland now had a seemingly unassailable lead though on 558 km.

Poland’s top lady, Patrycja Bereznowska was now just over a kilometre ahead of Stine Rex in the women’s individual, with Aleksandr Sorokin still leading the men’s having now run 210 km.

The British team had climbed to 2nd in the men’s race at the 20-hour point, having now covered 622 km between their top 3 to France’s 634 km. Daniel Lawson was 6th in the individual competition on 216 km, with Aleksandr Sorokin still leading on 226 km. The chasing pack were closing in on him though, with Nicolas De Las Heras Monforte of Spain and Stephane Ruel of France both on 221 km, so just 5k behind.

Tracy Dean was now in 9th place in the women’s competition on 190 km, with Patrycja Bereznowska on 206 km, still marginally ahead of Stine Rex on 205 km.

At 22 hours, Stephane Ruel had caught Aleksandr Sorokin and they were in joint leaders on 242 km. The British men’s team were still sitting in 2nd, 5 km behind France. In the women’s race, Patrycja Bereznowska was beginning to pull away from Stine Rex and was now kilometres ahead.

With just 1 hour left to go, Stephane Ruel had moved into the outright lead in the men’s race and Andrzej Radzikowski was now chasing in 2nd place, with Aleksandr Sorokin slipping into 3rd. Then with 45 minutes to go Radzikowski had taken the lead with Ruel just behind.

That was how it finished as the full 24 hours elapsed, giving Radzikowski the victory, achieving a grand total of 265 km, with Ruel in 2nd place on 263.5 km. After leading virtually the whole way, Aleksandr Sorokin had to settle for 3rd in the end with 261 km. It was a truly gripping end to a fantastic race.

For the women, it was Patrycja Bereznowska who took the title reaching a total of 243 km, ahead of Stine Rex who did just under 242 km and Malgorzata Pazda-Pozorska of Poland who did 240.7 km.

Dan Lawson had a really strong second half of the race, taking 5th place in the men’s individual after completing a massive 253 km. Tracy Dean took 7th place in the women’s race, amassing a total of 224 km.

Team GB with Aleksandr Sorokin of Lithuania
Team GB hanging out with Aleksandr Sorokin who was leading the individual race for virtually the whole race until he got overtaken with just 1 hour left

In the team competition, Great Britain took 2nd place, with Dan Lawson registering 253 km, James Stewart totalling 244 km, which put him 11th in the individual standings, and Steven Holyoak managing 237 km, putting him 17th overall. That produced a total of 735 km.

France took 1st place, with Stephane Ruel on 263.5 km, Ludovic Dilmi on 246.5 km and Patrick Ruiz on 244.5 km, giving them a total of 754.6 km. Germany took 3rd with the trio of Marcel Leuze, Christof Kühner and Stefan Wilsdorf amassing just shy of 726 km between them.

The British ladies team took 3rd place in the end, with Tracy Dean on 224 km, Alison Young on 214 km, putting her 14th in the individual and Wendy Shaw on 206 km, putting her 19th in the individual. That gave them a total of 645 km.

It was Poland who claimed the win, with Patrycja Bereznowska on 243 km, Malgorzata Pazda-Pozorska on 240 km and Monika Biegasiewicz on 236 km. That put them at a very impressive 720 km in total. The trio of Julia Fatton, Antje Krause and Anke Libuda secured 2nd place for Germany with a total of 656 km covered between them.

Unfortunately, Pat Robbins didn’t have the best of days from a personal perspective, ending the race have accrued just shy of 126 km, which put him in 82nd place overall. Whilst that may still sound like a lot, it doesn’t measure up to the 240 km he managed at the World Championships last year.

As previously mentioned though, anything can happen in a 24-hour race and injuries can often scupper the capacity of a runner to reach their true potential. That was certainly true in Pat’s case here. Nevertheless, he still played his role in a fantastic overall performance from the Great Britain team and all 6 members were awarded a silver medal for their magnificent 2nd place.

Great Britain collecting their silver medals in the European 24-Hour Championships
Pat Robbins and his Great Britain teammates on the podium collecting their silver medals for a superb 2nd place

Tamzin tackles Edinburgh Marathon

Tamzin Petersen with Tim at start of Edinburgh Marathon
Tamzin Petersen and her partner Tim take to the start line of the Edinburgh Marathon

With the recent spell of sweltering heat making for uncomfortable running conditions at the London and North Dorset Village Marathons, at least Tamzin Petersen knew that the chances are she wouldn’t have to worry about that as she made her way up to Scotland for the Edinburgh Marathon.

The weather is notoriously cooler north of the border, which can be a curse but when you have 26.2 miles to run, it’s generally a blessing. Tamzin’s main worry was the injury that she’d picked up in the weeks leading up to the race.

A swollen tendon had effectively put her out of action for three weeks, forcing her to take to start line having had barely even one run to her name during that period.

The only time she had been able to get out an put it to the test was at Portobello parkrun the day before, which she fortunately managed to make it through unscathed.

It was far from the ideal preparation, as she should have been using those three weeks to gradually wind the mileage down whilst maintaining the sharpness and strength she’d accrued from the previous 9 weeks worth of training.

The Edinburgh Marathon is a huge race though and she didn’t want to miss out on the experience. She felt she had to at least give it a go. In fact, the Edinburgh Marathon Festival weekend is a massive draw and also features a 5k, a 10k and a half marathon as well as the full marathon, along with several junior races.

The route starts on Pottorow, in the grounds of one of the oldest universities in the world, which is slap-bang in the centre of the city. It takes the runners past Greyfriars Bobby and the National Museum of Scotland before heading over to the High Street and down The Mound.

It then works its way past the Scottish National Gallery and into Princes Street Gardens, where the iconic Edinburgh Castle can be seen in the background.

It then passes the Scott Monument before meandering down the Royal Mile and past the Scottish Parliament building. It then heads east towards the coast before passing the oldest golf course in the world, dating back to 1672.

Heading further east, it then takes in the sights of Gosford House before winding back onto the coast where the finish line lies in wait. With a descent of almost 90 metres to near sea level, it is believed that Edinburgh is the fastest marathon course in the world.

For Tamzin though, off the back of her injury woes, her goals had shifted from the original plan, which was to get a sub 4 hour time, to just hoping to complete it. Having not run for three weeks prior, that in itself was going to be enough of a challenge.

Tamzin was intending to run the race with her partner Tim and the pair set off together, going at a fairly conservative pace to begin with. With her training schedule having gone awry, Tamzin knew she had to take a sensible approach if she was going to make it to the end.

Reaching the 10k point in 56 minutes, all was going smoothly up until the 9th mile. She’d managed to keep to a pretty even pace of just under 9 minutes per mile. Then, nature called, causing Tamzin to have to make a brief pit-stop. Once she got going again, she found that her IT band was starting to hurt a bit.

Putting it to the back of her mind, she soldiered on, reaching the half way mark in 1 hour 59 minutes. This was almost the perfect pace required to hit her original target of under 4 hours.

She managed to maintain the pace for the next 5 miles but by the time she reached 17 mile point, everything was beginning to hurt. At that point she had to stop and she then realised she wasn’t going to hit her original sub 4 hour target.

At this point she told Tim to go on without her, as she knew the last 9 miles were going to be a struggle. The lack of training over the past 3 weeks had finally caught up with her.

Tim carried on and raced to the finish in a time of 3:48. For Tamzin, it became a bit of a slog, as she was forced to run/walk the rest of the way.

Funnily enough, she bumped into Rob Framptom from Poole Runners and he had also stopped to walk. They were then able to encourage each other and obtain the motivation required to make it to the line.

With about a mile to go the sun had finally come out, after a persistent mist had descended over the city for pretty much the entirety of the race, making for somewhat chilly conditions.

Finishing in 3,791st place, Tamzin’s official finishing time was 4 hours 14 minutes and 37 seconds. It wasn’t really a bad result considering the preparation she’d had and she was relatively pleased with her run, all things considered.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of her exertion for the day, as the finish was located 9 miles from the start, meaning she had a half an hour walk to get to the bus stop and an hour bus journey back to the start area. That meant it was a while before she was finally able to get back to her hotel and into the washroom to freshen up.

It had been a good experience for Tamzin and its certainly one she can look back on and be proud of. It’s always difficult when an injury crops up in the lead up to a target race, especially when that target race happens to be a marathon. Tamzin summed it up well by saying in truth, she was happy just to start the race, let alone finish it!

Tamzin Petersen with Tim at start of Edinburgh Marathon
Finishing in a time of 4:14:37 , Tamzin showed great character to put her injury woes to one side and conquer the Edinburgh Marathon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs are good for BAC at Vitality London 10,000

Harriet Slade, Mandy Adams, Joy Wright and Rob McTaggart after Vitality 10,000
Harriet Slade, Mandy Adams, Joy Wright and Rob McTaggart were all in action at the Vitality London 10,000

Off the back of being awarded five free male and five free female entries to the Vitality London 10,000 for a no show at the Southern Road Relays, it would’ve been rude for Bournemouth AC not to fill at least some of those slots.

Having been on the lookout for a good 10k race to provide the platform for a potential PB assault, Rob McTaggart stepped up to the plate and offered to organise the entries for anyone wishing to participate.

Running in London has been quite a novelty for Tag recently, with the nation’s capital providing the venue for two of his best performances of the year.

Following up a huge a PB of 70:25 at The Big Half Marathon, Tag’s do-or-die display in the London Marathon earned him plenty of plaudits, as he was the first BAC member over the line, taking 31st place out of over 40,000 entrants with a time of 2:30:40.

Also lining up for BAC and making the most of the free entries in a race that ordinarily costs £33 were track superstars Harriet Slade, Joy Wright and road running stalwart Adrian Townsend. Mandy Adams and Jodie Sloane of Littledown Harriers also took up a place.

Having already entered the race previously, Trevor Elkins completed the line up for BAC. The Vitality 10,000 was a target race for Trevor and he’d invested a lot of time and hard training in the build up to this race.

Feeling in good form after banging out a 15:23 1500m  on the Saturday before the race, Tag was optimistic about his chances of getting close to the 32 minute barrier.

For the first 4.5k of the race he was going quite well but then a horrific bout of hay-fever got the better of him. That resulted in a woeful last 1.5km which probably cost him a sub 32.

In fact, it was so bad that he was on the roadside retching in the last kilometre and only managed to get going again when he saw Steph Twell approaching behind. At that point his instinct kicked in and he was able to persevere and save himself the indignity of getting ‘chicked’.

Despite all that, Tag still finished in an outstanding time of 32:32, which put him in 93rd place out of over 14,000 people who took to the start line.

With a plan to finish in the high 37’s, Trev was looking to set off at about 6:20 pace for the first mile and then aim for 6:10’s after that. Then if all was well he’d try and crack it up for the second 5k.

Unfortunately, his plan did not come into fruition on the day. He started off slowish, taking care not to set out too fast and risk burning himself out. He just couldn’t seem to get his legs to switch into gear though when he wanted to push on.

On top of that, his breathing was erratic, resulting in him stopping and walking after 3 or 4 miles. He got going again and managed to make it to the end but there would be no PB for Trevor on this occasion.

Registering a time of 39:23, Trevor came in 706th place. Although he was disappointed with his performance, he did appreciate the finisher’s medal he got afterwards. And he was able to find some solace in the fact that he finished within 10 minutes of Sir Mo Farah, who won the race in a time of 29:44.

Trevor Elkins after the Vitality London 10,000
Although it wasn’t quite the performance Trevor Elkins was looking for, he did like the medal he was given afterwards

There seemed to be some issues with the starter pens in the race that did impact some of the runners in the early stages. It caused a few problems for Adrian Townsend and he felt he had a terrible first three miles as a result.

There seemed to be hundreds of slower runners ahead of him who clearly should have started much further back. That meant he got held up a fair bit as he attempted to weave his way through the field. There were a lot of similar complaints on the Facebook page after the race.

It was a shame because the course would have been very fast with a clear run. There were six different pens but that meant that over 2,000 runners would be in each pen. The pens perhaps needed to be divided up further to reflect the differing abilities of the runners that were mixed together.

Trevor Elkins with cardboard Mo Farah at Vitality 10,000
#TheRealMoFarah

It didn’t say which pen number he was meant to be but Adrian started in the first one. He reckons that some of those right at the front of the first pen probably finished in about 45 minutes, so they should have been nowhere near the front at the start of the race. It was a bit of a shambles really.

Despite the tricky start, Adrian rallied well though, crossing the line in a time of 40:13, which put him in 834th place overall and 30th in the 50-54 age group.

Harriet Slade with Championship Athlete Assembly sign
Harriet relished the chance to mix it with some of the world class athletes that she looks up to

Making the most of her opportunity to mingle with the elite runners, Harriet Slade got to meet some of her athletic heroes before the race started, including Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill. Naturally of course, they were both star struck to meet Harriet and couldn’t wait to get a selfie with her.

When it came to the more serious business of the run itself though, Harriet wasn’t especially pleased with her performance. Being put in with the elites had meant she’d had to start a bit further forward that she perhaps should have been.

Harriet Slade with Sir Mo Farah at Vitality 10,000
Friends in high places: Harriet shared a tent with a true idol of hers in Sir Mo Farah, who went on to win the race

In an effort to stay ahead of the chasers, Harriet ended up setting off a bit too quickly and she went through the 5k point in 20:19. This was perhaps a little too quick and she paid the price for that in the second half of the race as she’d effectively burnt herself out. Finishing in a time of 42:21, Harriet came in 1,187th overall and was 175th lady over the line.

Harriet Slade with Championship Athlete Assembly sign
Harriet relished her opportunity to mingle with some of the elite athletes that she looks up to

Another BAC member who felt she had a poor run was Joy Wright. Recently injury and illness have hampered Joy’s training quite significantly. She’d also competed in the Westminster Mile the day before so that had taken quite a bit out of her.

Again, the Westminster Mile hadn’t gone as well as she would’ve hoped. Although she got to the 800m point in 2:37, she blew up before the finish and ended up coming in at 6:04. This was a little disappointing when you consider that Joy is a 61 to 62 minute 400m runner.

Trevor Elkins with Gemma Steele at Vitality 10,000
Gemma Steele liked the picture of her and Trevor so much that she posted it on her Instagram to be viewed by her many thousands of followers

In the Vitality 10,000 though, despite not being in the best of form, Joy stayed determined and got the job done in the end. Crossing the line in a time of 46:28, Joy finished in 2,272nd place overall and 369th woman.

It was still good for Joy to get the mileage in the bag though and it will hopefully kick-start her journey toward improving her endurance, in particular speed endurance, which is imperative in the track season.

Rob McTaggart and Jodie Sloane at Vitality 10,000
Jodie Sloane of Littledown Harriers also seized her opportunity for a selfie with one of the elites

Despite perhaps not quite getting the times they were hoping for, all the BAC members enjoyed their morning in London and certainly had fun mixing it with some of the all-time greats of the sport. The Vitality 10,000 always delivers on atmosphere and the support you get out on the course is second to none.

Harriet Slade and Mandy Adams with Jessica Ennis-Hill at the Vitality 10,000
Harriet and Mandy were also lucky enough to meet another hero of theirs in the shape of Jessica Ennis-Hill

 

 

Steve Way too good in Dorchester Marathon

Steve Way and Stu Nicholas in the Dorchester Marathon
Steve Way and Stu Nicholas were among those going for broke in the scenic Dorchester Marathon

In only its second year running, after a very successful inaugural event in 2017, the Dorchester Marathon and Casterbridge Half Marathon were the talking point of local racing down in Dorset for the weekend.

In last year’s race it was Simon Way who impressed, very nearly sealing victory in the marathon, just being edged out of it in the last 200 metres in a dramatic finale after leading for the previous 9 miles.

This year it was the turn of Steve Way to have a tilt at the title. Steve’s been in fine form of late, winning the Bournemouth Bay Half Marathon and the North Dorset Village Marathon. His main focus at the moment though is the Comrades Marathon, which takes place on 10th June.

Winning local races is merely a bi-product of his training for Steve. His training is all conducted with the bigger picture in mind. He usually goes into these races with a tactic of picking a pace that he needs to run at and trying to run at that pace for the entirety of the race. If that gets him the win then so be it. And to be fair, it often does, as there aren’t too many people who are capable of matching the sort of pace he is capable of running at in a marathon,

Also competing in the marathon race for Bournemouth AC in his 44th marathon on the road toward the big 50, was Stuart Nicholas. Stu was came into the race fresh from a good performance in the North Dorset Village Marathon where he finished up in 9th place in a time of 2:58:42.

The Dorchester Marathon route is staged across rural, countryside roads. A torrential downpour in the morning had left the roads in a glossy condition, with puddles a plenty for the runners and riders to negotiate.

As the race got underway, Steve and Stu both assumed position in the lead pack. It wasn’t long before Steve broke away though and took control of the race.

The lead pack in the Dorchester Marathon
The morning rain had left the roads in a somewhat damp condition as the race got underway

At first, Steve was tracked by Adam Holland from Tavistock AC but it wasn’t too long before Steve was out front on his own, leaving the rest of the field trailing in his wake.

Steve Way chased by Adam Holland
Steve leads the Way from Adam Holland of Tavistock AC

After tempering his pace for the first couple of miles, Steve soon slipped into a rhythm and going at around 5:30 m/m pace on the flat and slowing slightly for more hilly sectors but rarely going above 5:40 pace.

Steve Way leads Dorchester Marathon
Steve worked hard to keep a constant pace despite the rolling undulations

The consistency of Steve’s run was very impressive given that it was quite an undulating route. The end result was, another magnificent win for Steve, setting a new course record in the process as he crossed the line in a phenomenal time of 2 hours 28 minutes and 19 seconds.

Steve Way gets his winning prize
Steve collects his winner’s hamper after securing a fantastic new course record

Taking 2nd place on the day was Johnny Suttle of Queens Park Harriers, who finished almost 20 minutes behind Steve. He had simply blown the rest of the field away.

Steve Way comes in for the wind
Steve cruises in with arms outstretched to mark another in his ever growing list of magnificent running achievements

As for Stu, his day didn’t get off to the best of starts when some early road closures caused him some difficulty in getting to the race HQ, resulting in him arriving only 20 minutes before the race started.

After his nightmare drive through the torrential rain, Stu was gearing up for a wet one but thankfully it cleared up and the glorious sunshine came out to play, making for rather muggy conditions.

In the early stages of the race, Stu’s legs felt really heavy and as he went past the 6 mile point, it felt more like he’d done 16 miles! It took some real mental fortitude for Stu to push through those difficulties and he set about attempting to reel in Gavin Pritchard, who would in the end finish just behind him. Having that focus really helped get him through the race.

Stu Nicholas in the Dorchester Marathon
Stu found it quite tough going to begin with but did his best to push on through

With 11 miles done, Stu was still wrestling with the mental and physical battle he was enduring and at that point he felt like binning it off. Then Jon Sharkey appeared en route with some words of encouragement, which helped him temporarily resume focus.

At around the 20th mile the marathon route coincided with the Casterbridge Half, providing Stu with a welcome distraction as there was now all of a sudden plenty of new targets and people to overtake. That might just have saved his race in fact. It was certainly something the stimulate the mind at least.

Soon he was at mile 25, which was largely downhill and therefore a welcome relief to just allow the legs to run free. Crossing the line in 4th place, with a superb time of 2:54:04, Stu was the grateful recipient of a hug from the medal marshal and he soon had a watercress smoothie in hand and the recovery had begun. A total of 603 people successfully completed the course.

Despite the rather stressful drive, he was ultimately pleased with how it went. And he’s learnt one important lesson from it which is to read the race instructions a little more thoroughly next time.

Stu Nicholas with Gavin Pritchard and Artur Mejewski at Dorchester Marathon
Stu (left) is pictured here with Gavin Pritchard (centre) and Artur Majewski who ran the Casterbridge Half

Meanwhile, Bournemouth AC also had representation in the Casterbridge Half Marathon, with Louise Broderick flying the flag in that race. Louise helps with the coaching for the Junior Development Group on Wednesday nights but she also likes to get out and run when she can.

The half marathon route started with a quick leg through town, passing Kingston Maurward before travelling through the picturesque Puddletown Forest. It then joined onto the marathon route to finish the course through the scenic Waterston.

Although she suffered a bit in the unexpected heat and found the hilly nature of the course quite tough to contend with, Louise really enjoyed the event and appreciated the lovely, scenic route.

Finishing in 140th place, Louise crossed the line in a time of 1 hour 52 minutes and 7 seconds, taking 8th place in the Female 40+ category. There was a total of 1,012 people completing the race.

Louise Broderick after the Casterbridge Half Marathon
Louise Broderick (left) enjoys a watercress smootie after a very hot Casterbridge Half Marathon

 

Simon Hunt makes a run at the Bredon Cricket Club Tower race

Simon Hunt going up Bredon Hill
Simon Hunt was battling a hill he’d conquered many a time before in his younger days as he took on the Bredon Cricket Club Tower Run

It was a trip down memory lane for Simon Hunt as he bowled it over to Bredon Cricket Club for the Tower Run, a 10k race that follows country lanes, tracks and paths to the 299m summit of Bredon Hill.

The Bredon Hill area was Simon’s old stomping ground when he was at college back in the 70’s. In fact, they used to have an inter-college relay race each year going up Bredon Hill, around the Tower and back to college. He was interested to do the race just for old time’s sake really.

The question was, could he roll back the years and run with the same freedom and enthusiasm that he did in his college days? He’s certainly still got a spring in his step and it would be fair to say that he’s far from over the hill yet, although that’s slightly ironic given that the main objective of this race was to get over the hill.

Simon Hunt in Bredon Cricket Club Tower Run
Simon would have plenty of opportunity to reminisce about the good old days whilst scaling the 299m climb up Bredon Hill

The Bredon Cricket Club Tower Run is still very much in its infancy, with this being only its second year running. With a lot of thunder storms about over the weekend, there was always the threat of some increment conditions but luckily they managed to avoid all that and it was a reasonably nice morning, although the air was pretty humid.

The course profile was pretty simple really. It was essentially 5k up the hill and then 5k back down again. The top of the hill is marked by an Iron Age fort and the 18th-century Parson’s Folly tower, boasting glorious views of the surrounding countryside.

Not about to be stumped by the severity of the incline, Simon gave it everything he had, pushing hard on the way up and then properly letting rip on the way down.

It wasn’t an EA accredited race and there were no official results put up but Simon recorded a finishing time of 48:41. This was not bad considering the 844 ft of elevation he’d had to wrestle with for the first three miles. Again, it’s unclear exactly what position he actually came in but he thinks it was about 13th.

Simon Hunt hits the slopes in the Bredon Cricket Club Tower Run
Simon’s tactic was to push hard on the way up the hill and then let fly on the way back down

Although there were a few no shows, the turnout was pretty good, with 132 people taking to the start line. The organisers were well pleased with that and it was an improvement on the numbers from last year, despite the fear that rain might stop play.

After the race competitors and spectators were treated to the barbecue and music from Kings of the Hill, so a great opportunity for Simon to let his hair down, if he’d had any. No doubt he had a bit more back in his old college days though!

Unfortunately the storms that had passed over had left the pitch too wet for the planned 20-over cricket match between the village’s cricket and football clubs.

Over the next few days Simon’s legs remained sore from his exploits, causing him to miss the Tuesday night training session. He said it felt more like he’d run a marathon than a 10k!

Simon Hunt finishing the Bredon Cricket Club Tower Run
Completing the race in a time of 48:41, Simon proved that, although it’s been a while since his old college days, he’s still got it