Category Archives: Road_Reports

Chris Phelan-Heath and Emma Caplan prevail at Maverick New Forest

Chris Phelan-Heath leading the way in the Maverick Inov-8 Original New Forest
Chris Phelan-Heath was looking for a good honest victory in the 6k race whilst Emma Caplan tried her luck at the 24km distance at the Maverick Inov-8 Original New Forest

Nestled in the heart of the ancient New Forest National Park woodlands, the brand new Maverick inov-8 Original event followed the usual Maverick protocol of providing runners with a choice of three different distances. The ‘Short‘ distance race was 6km. The ‘Middle‘ distance was 17km and the ‘Long‘ race was 24km.

Each race started off from Holmsley Inclosure, following an enchanting route through numerous other Forestry Commission Inclosures.

Two Bournemouth AC members took part in the event, with Chris Phelan-Heath going in the 6k race and Emma Caplan opting for the 24k distance.

Having represented the club in the Wessex League cross country fixtures since relocating to the area and finishing the season as 3rd senior male, Chris was well adept at handling the off-road trails.

He proved that by recording an emphatic victory in the ‘Short‘ race, crossing the line in a superb time of 23:47. That put him over one-and-a-half minutes ahead of his nearest rival Sam Davis who was 2nd in 25:21.

The win wasn’t without controversy though as, although Chris thought he was in the lead, a rival competitor did in fact manage to get to the finish before him.

It transpired though that other guy, whose name was ironically Daniel Corner, had cut the final corner, thus missing out a large section of the course. The marshals realised that he had not completed the full course though and subsequently disqualified him, confirming Chris as the rightful winner.

Chris Phelan-Heath in the Maverick Inov-8 Original New Forest
Chris darted through the Forest at a speed no one else could live with recording an excellent win in the ‘Short’ distance race

Despite almost being cheated out of his victory, thoroughly enjoyed the race and he didn’t find the route too technically challenging. There was a tough hill on the second mile and there were occasions where he had to stop and open gates which kind of killed his momentum a bit.

Overall, it was a great result for Chris though and no doubt they’ll be some exciting things to come from him over the new season. He was able to fend off competition from 99 others in the 6k race.

It wasn’t the first time Chris has been victorious in the New Forest either. Last year, whilst representing his former club of Lincoln Wellington, he won the New Forest Marathon 5k.

Meanwhile, in the 24k race, Emma Caplan had an excellent run and was 1st lady over the line with her time of 1:38:52. That put her in 14th position overall out of a field of over 200 runners.

Despite getting lost on a few occasions out on route, Emma enjoyed the run and said it was a nice change to run on the forest trails as opposed to the promenade.

Not being used to that sort of run, she found the small blue arrows she was having to follow quite hard to see and managed to go the wrong way three times. That bumped her distance up a little from the 14.1 miles that everyone else did.

Emma Caplan in the Maverick inov-8 New Forest
Although she had some issues navigating her way round the New Forest route, Emma tackled the hills and trails of the ‘Long’ race with vigour

Considering it was quite a hilly route, she did well to record the time and pace she did over a 14.3 mile distance. She actually went through the half marathon point in 1:30:52 according to Strava, which bodes well for her going forward.

It was a good opportunity for Emma to get some decent mileage in as well after entering the Boston Marathon in April. That’s the ‘real’ Boston Marathon by the way – the one in Lincolnshire – not that one in the USA!!

After recording a 2nd placed finish at the Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon on Boxing Day, it’s been a good, solid start to the season from Emma and a decent base to work from in her marathon training.

It wasn’t the only recent success Emma has had in the New Forest either after she was 1st lady in ‘The Stinger’ back in November, finishing in an impressive 5th position overall.

Jason Bell, who has been training with Bournemouth AC on some of the Tuesday night interval sessions had a good run as well, finishing in 13th place and recording a time of 1:38:32.

The ‘Long’ race was won by Andrew McCaskill in a time of 1:23:03, with Rob Spencer of St Albans Striders taking 2nd place in a time of 1:25:44.

Emma Caplan climbs a hill in the Maverick inov-8 New Forest
Emma left all the other ladies trailing in her wake as she sped to a 1st female finish in a time of 1:38:52





New Year’s Day delight for JC as BAC battle well at Broadstone

Jacek Cieluszecki leads the way in the Broadstone Quarter
Jacek Cieluszecki was looking to emulate the victory he took in last year’s Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon

It hadn’t been long since those final few fledgling fireworks were sent up to the sky, the last verse of Auld Lang Syne was heard echoing around the bar and the clocks had chimed to mark the dawning of a new year. Thoughts of celebrations and resolutions quickly turned to competitive action on the running circuit as the 2019 season of the Dorset Road Race League got underway.

It is always a tough ask for Rich Nelson to assemble a team together on New Years Day capable of challenging for the top positions at the Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon. This year though, Bournemouth AC were boosted by inclusion of last year’s race winner Jacek Cieluszecki and Comrades Marathon hero Steve Way amongst their ranks.

That would at least give them a fighting chance against a strong looking Poole AC line up that boasted last year’s Dorset Road Race League runner up Chris Alborough, along Gareth Alan-Williams and Richard Swindlehurst.

For the BAC ladies’ team, Nikki Sandell was back in road race action, alongside Emma Caplan and Helen Ambrosen as they launched their bid to reclaim the crown off last year’s winners Poole Runners.

It had all the makings of a fiercely fought race that would no doubt set the tone for the season ahead.

The course is a testing two lap route starting and finishing on The Broadway at Broadstone. It incorporates the infamous Gravel Hill, which is a tough incline for even the most accomplished of runners.

Just as he did on the first day of 2018, Jacek Cieluszecki bossed the proceedings, controlling the race well and cruising in for the victory in a time of 35:16.

Jacek Cieluszecki in the Broadstone Quarter
You can always bank on Jacek to put in a good performance when it really matters

Having been ill for a week in December, Jacek wasn’t really sure how it was going to go so it was pleasing to get the win, even though he did find Gravel Hill a bit tougher than he did last year. His time was only 15 seconds off what he did in 2018 though, so not a huge difference really.

Picking up from where he left off in 2018, Chris Alborough crossed the line in 2nd place, 36 seconds after JC, registering an impressive time of 35:52. Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders continued his magnificent recent form to take 3rd place in 35:39.

Jacek Cieluszecki leads the Broadstone Quarter
When JC’s the race, you simply wouldn’t put your money on anyone else

Philip Bridge of Wells City Harriers was 4th in a time of 36:12, then it was Steve Way completing the top five, reaching the line in a time of 36:35.

Steve said he only entered Broadstone to ensure he didn’t over indulge too much over Christmas and New Year… and it almost worked.

Steve Way looking mischievious in the Broadstone Quarter
Not sure what he’s up to but Steve Way definitely has something of a mischievous look on his face here

In truth though, he has been putting in some good mileage throughout December and that should help get him ahead of curve in comparison to last year when he was out of action over Christmas with the flu.

Following his incredible podium finish at the Comrades last year, Steve will be back again this time round hoping for another spectacular display. All he needs is five months of perfect, uninterrupted training and he’ll be ready to roll.

Steve Way enjoying the Broadstone Quarter
Steve must have burned off a few mince pies on his way to a 5th place finish

Gareth Alan-Williams took 6th place in 37:03, with Jonathan Cooper of Egdon Heath Harriers in 7th with a time of 37:44. Stu Nicholas was the next Bournemouth AC man over the line, taking 8th place with his time of 37:51.

Stu Nicholas in the Broadstone Quarter
Stu Nicholas was third scorer for the team, taking 8th place in the race

Stu managed a terrific PB at the Christmas 10k a few weeks ago but was unable to replicate those same levels at Broadstone. Although the majority of the course is flat, and should in theory be fast, the long, slight incline of Gravel Hill certainly mixes it up a bit.

Stu Nicholas runs past in the Broadstone Quarter
Stu wasn’t quite able to reach the heights of the Christmas 10k where he got a new PB

Next in for BAC and fourth scorer for the team was Tom Paskins who finished in a time of 40:33 to take 25th place.

Tom Paskins in the Broadstone Quarter
Tom Paskins motors down the streets of Broadstone

Entering the race at least prevented Tom from going out on New Year’s Eve and getting on the beers and his time was over a minute quicker than what he did at Broadstone last year. Therefore, he was glad he made the sacrifice. Plus the weather was a bit better this year as well as it rained throughout the whole race in the 2018 edition.

Tom Paskins going well in the Broadstone Quarter
Entering the Broadstone Quarter at least meant Tom wouldn’t be suffering a hangover of any sort this New Year’s Day

Coming in a close 2nd place in the ladies‘ race, Emma Caplan crossed the line in a time of 40:51 putting her 28th overall. She was only 31 seconds behind the female race winner Emily Freeman.

For the first couple of miles, Emma ran with Serena O’Connor of Poole Runners but she then edged away from Serena and finished comfortably ahead in the end, with Serena coming in as 3rd placed lady in 42:32.

Emma Caplan in the Broadstone Quarter
Emma Caplan looks in great shape as she heads in to finish as 2nd placed lady

Completing the scoring men’s scoring team for Bournemouth AC, Matt Du Cros registered a time of 42:19 to take 46th place. Matt hadn’t trained much over the previous two weeks so he was pretty pleased with the result.

Matt Du Cros in the Broadstone Quarter
Matt Du Cros continued his good form to come in in 46th place with a time of 42:19

Next up it was another hard fought battle for supremacy between Phil Cherrett and Jud Kirk. Going into the race, Phil had quite relaxed expectations since it wasn’t long after the Christmas excesses.

In the first kilometre he was running alongside Emma and Tom, which was great fun but it was something he’d ultimately pay for later on in the race.

Half way up Gravel Hill on the first lap, he doubted that he’d even be able to finish the race but thankfully he kept running and maintained focus whilst he was being overtaken by others.

Phil Cherrett working hard in the Broadstone Quarter
This is the face of a determined man as Phil Cherrett gives it everything he’s got

Managing to recover and return to his own pace, Phil steadied his ship and got back into rhythm before hitting Gravel Hill for the second time. It was still a struggle but only two people went past him this time, so it was less demoralising.

As he rounded the final corner with only a few hundred metres left, Phil felt great. He was proud of himself for how he’d battled on through the difficult moments.

Finding the resolve for a good sprint finish, Phil went past four competitors to finish in 90th place with a time of 45:47. Overall, he was pleased with his run but he is not keen to run up Gravel Hill again any time soon.

Phil Cherrett in the Broadstone Quarter
Phil started off too quickly and paid the price later on in the race but he’ll learn from that and come back stronger

Finishing shortly after Phil, in 94th place, was Jud, the defending Dorset Road Race League champion for the 60-64 category. Jud had previously been suffering from a hamstring injury that had put him on the side-lines for most of December.

He seems to have recovered from that now, for the most part, and is looking forward to the challenge of retaining his title in 2019. His main rival for the category win last season was Nigel Haywood of Purbeck Runners and on this occasion, Nigel pipped Jud to the post, taking 2nd place in the 60-69 category. That put Jud in 3rd with his time of 46:02.

Jud Kirk battling in the Broadstone Quarter
Jud Kirk will be looking to fend off the challenge from Nigel Haywood as he looks to retain his DRRL 60-64 title

Nigel finished 91st in the final standings, with Jud three places behind. The injury was in the back of Jud’s mind though and it may have prevented him from going in full flight mode like he would have done otherwise.

The main goal for Jud though was to get around without aggravating the hamstring and he managed to do that so that was the most important thing.

Jud Kirk in the Broadstone Quarter
After a hamstring injury caused him some problems at the end of 2018 it was good to see Jud back out there fighting fit and ready for the season ahead

The second Bournemouth AC lady to complete the course was Nikki Sandell, who finished in 101st place with a time of 46:44. That made her 8th placed female on the day.

She was 46 seconds off the time that she did at Broadstone last year but she got round and that was her main goal. She did enjoy the fact that it wasn’t raining this time.

For the vast majority of last season Nikki was focusing on the pole vault so that brought about quite  change from her regular running routine of 2017 when she finished up Dorset Road Race League women’s champion.

Nikki Sandell in the Broadstone Quarter
Nikki Sandell looks as if she’s enjoying being back in road race action, although looks can be deceiving of course

Finishing in 130th place in a time of 48:47 it was Steve Parsons. After only running a handful of times in December, including the Round the Lakes 10k on Boxing Day, and succumbing to the temptation of over indulge of the Christmas period, he didn’t think he’d be in great shape going into the race.

Nevertheless, he decided to go off hard and just see what happens. Unfortunately, what he had feared might happen did happen and he blew up on the first ascent up Gravel Hill and never really recovered after that.

He found the rest of the race pretty hard going, with others overtaking him as he made his way round. That is something that never helps the enjoyment.

He’s still pleased to have completed the race though and it at least gives him an indication of where his form lies going into the Imperial Series of three 10-mile road races starting in February.

Steve Parsons in the Broadstone Quarter
Steve Parsons returned for the new season off the back of minimal training and maximum indulgence over the festive period

Recording a cracking time of 50:17, Ian Graham was the first in the 70 plus category to get over the line. His time was an improvement of over six minutes on what he did at Broadstone last year and three minutes quicker than what he did two years ago, so he certainly doesn’t appear to be slowing down with age.

Finishing in 149th place overall, he felt strong all the way round, even on the second ascent up Gravel Hill, which is a really good sign for where his fitness is right now.

The category win earned him a very fine trophy and a bottle of wine and he also received a towel and a certificate for finishing as MV70-74 champion in the Dorset Road Race League for 2018, so it was a very good day for Ian.

Ian Graham in the Broadstone Quarter
Ian Graham picked up a win the 70 plus category to go with his prize for finishing the 2018 season as MV70-74 champion

Crossing the line in 180th place with a time of 52:44 was the next Bournemouth AC member, Mike White. Despite having a back niggle, Mike enjoyed the race and found it to be a good course for giving honest feedback on the festive excesses.

Last year Mike was over two minutes quicker at Broadstone so he knows he needs to work on his fitness over the coming month. He’s looking forward to getting some club sessions under his belt before taking on the Lytchett 10 in early February.

Mike White in the Broadstone Quarter
Mike White was using the race to assess where his fitness lies before taking on the Lytchett 10 in February

The third lady over the line for Bournemouth AC and completing the scoring team for the Dorset Road Race League was Helen Ambrosen. She was thrilled to be 1st  female over 60 and it was another category win to add to her impressive recent haul.

Her time of 53:35 was over five minutes quicker than what she did at Broadstone last year so all the racing she has been doing recently seems to be paying off. She was 35th female on the day and 193rd overall.

Helen Ambrosen in the Broadstone Quarter
Helen Ambrosen ran over five minutes quicker than she did the previous year to take 1st place in the female 60 plus category

After running well at the Round the Lakes 10k on Boxing Day, club membership secretary Dave Parsons was hoping to follow that up with another solid performance at Broadstone.

Similarly to what happened at Round the Lakes, Dave became embroiled in a battle with a rival of his from the 60-69 age category in Barry Telling of Littledown Harriers.

Much like at Round the Lakes, Dave was strong on the 2nd lap and was able to open up a decent gap over Barry over the last couple of miles.

Finishing in a time of 56:27, Dave finished in 227th place, with Barry Telling coming in in 236th place in a time of 57:10. Dave is enjoying being back out there racing and it’s clear to see that, although not as fast as he used to be, he still has that competitive spirit in him.

Dave Parsons in the Broadstone Quarter
Just as he did at Round the Lakes the week before, Dave Parsons had a good run to finish ahead of an old adversary of his

Overall there were 434 runners who took part, making it a very successful start to the 2019 running calendar.

As far as the team positions went for the first fixture of the 2019 Dorset Road Race League season, Poole AC came on top in the Men’s First Division, with their best five of Chris Alborough (2nd), Gareth Alan-Williams (6th), Richard Swindlehurst (12th), Steve Cook (17th) and Gary Tissington (20th).

The team of JC (1st), Steve Way (4th), Stu Nicholas (7th), Tom Paskins (22nd) and Matt Du Cros (40th) put Bournemouth AC in 2nd place.

In the Ladies’ First Division, it was reigning champions Poole Runners who got off to a good start, with their top three of Serena O’Connor (2nd), Fern Kimber (3rd) and Isabelle Somers (27th) securing them the win.

Egdon Heath Harriers got 2nd with their trio of Alexandra Door (4th), Hannah Martin (13th) and Stella Campbell (16th). The team of Emma Caplan (1st), Nikki Sandell (6th) and Helen Ambrosen (29th) took 3rd position for Bournemouth AC but it was very tight between all three clubs with only four points separating them.

The next fixture in the Dorset Road Race League is the Lytchett 10 on February 10th, where it is looking like BAC might struggle again after the race filled up before most people had had the chance to even contemplate entering.

It’s then  onto the Bournemouth 10 on 24th February, which is of course organised by Bournemouth AC, with Ian White heading up the arrangement committee. That will hopefully provide BAC with an opportunity to bite back at Poole AC in the Men’s First Division as they may already have two wins to their name by then.










Tide is turning for Trev Elkins at Bournemouth Beach Race

Trev Elkins jumps a groyne in the Bournemouth Beach Race back in April
Trevor Elkins was looking to follow up his victory in the Bournemouth Beach Race back in April with another triumph in the 5k race

After winning the 5k race in the Spring/Summer edition of the Bournemouth Beach Race back in April, Trevor Elkins was invited back to defend his title in the Winter Edition.

The event is a low tide beach run along the shoreline of Bournemouth Beach heading out towards Sandbanks, starting and finishing on the west side of Bournemouth Pier.

As well as being run across the sand, the race carries a further twist in the fact that there are 26 groynes to jump over on route, making it almost like a steeplechase.

It was a little tougher than when he did the race back in April as well as on one of the groynes, the marshal was making each participant run up the beach before hurdling it. Plus there was an obvious difference in temperature as well which made it more difficult to warm the muscles up sufficiently. It was on soft sand as well which is very challenging to run on.

Trev Elkins makes his away along the shore in the Bournemouth Beach Race Winter Edition
Trev makes his way along the shoreline at Bournemouth Beach

An old adversary of Trevor’s, Ross Wayne of Purbeck Runners was also lining up in the 5k race, along with 126 other challengers so Trev knew he’d have to be on top of his game to stand any chance of defending his title.

When the race got underway, knowing a fast start was vital, Trev assumed position at the front of the field. He manged to build up a bit of a gap over his nearest rivals and all was going smoothly.

At the half way stage in the proceedings he could see that he was being chased down by Tim Harley. At first it appeared that the gap was closing but Trev still had some gas in the tank.

Trev Elkins in the Bournemouth Beach Race Winter Edition
Trev was able to establish a good advantage at the front of the race but he was being chased down by his rivals

In the last mile, he managed to find another gear and pull away from Tim and the gap between the two of them began to increase. It was a strong run from Trevor and he reached the line to pick up the victory in a time of 20 minutes 52 seconds.

That gave him an average mile pace of 6:43 which is pretty good considering it is on the sand and there were so many groynes to negotiate.

Tim Harley took 2nd place in a time of 21:31, giving Trevor a winning margin of 39 seconds.  Ross Wayne took 3rd in 22:32 and the first woman to cross the line, Vicki Dibdin, took 4th place in 23:06.

Trev Elkins approaches the pier in the Bournemouth Beach Race Winter Edition
Trev heads back toward Bournemouth Pier knowing he was edging closer to victory

Trevor’s time was only 34 seconds off what he did in the previous Bournemouth Beach Race when he broke the course record, so considering the colder climate, he had to be pleased with that. His heart rate was quite low during the race as well so there is certainly scope for Trev to go quicker.

As it panned out, he probably could have won the 10k race instead if he hadn’t been granted a free entry to the 5k off the back of his previous win. Both races started off at the same time and Trev was comfortably ahead of any of the 10k runners when he crossed the line.

The 10k race was won by Chris Lowrey in a time of 41:59, with Joe Thompson taking 2nd in 42:38 and Kayvan Javid 3rd in 42:50. The first lady in the 10k race was Mel Varvel who finished in 45:26.

Trev Elkins finishing the Bournemouth Beach Race Winter Edition
Trev crosses the line in 1st place, sealing a superb win to add to his previous triumph in the Spring edition

Trev has been through some tough times in 2018, both personally and with his running so it will be a great confidence booster to him to have finished the year on a high.

It should help instil some belief in him that he’ll be able to get back to his best in 2019 and then hopefully progress further from there once he does.






BAC stars pack a punch at Round the Lakes 10k

Sean Edwards in the Round the Lakes 10k
Sean Edwards was one of ten Bournemouth AC members who took some time out from the Xmas partying to compete in the Round the Lakes 10k on Boxing Day

The festive frivolities continued with the annual Boxing Day ‘Round the Lakes 10k’ race at Poole Park. The course consists of three laps, going round the cricket pitch and the lake. Those familiar with Poole parkrun would know the route well.

Of course, with the race being staged on Boxing Day, the athletes taking part could easily be forgiven for perhaps not being in peak condition.

The tendency is often to over-indulge on Christmas Day, whether it’s cramming in too much turkey, drinking one too many sherries or scoffing that second helping of Christmas pudding that you know you really shouldn’t. That can easily result in a hangover of sorts come Boxing Day morning.

What better way to shake it off though than a quick 10k blast round Poole Park? If it’s not an opportunity to chase down a personal best, it’s at least a chance to burn off some of those excess Christmas calories.

Despite all that though, the race generally attracts a very high standard field and this year’s race did still see some exceptional performances produced. Piers Copeland of Wimborne AC raced round the course in 31 minutes 56 seconds to secure an excellent victory, with Daniel Mulryan of Poole Runners following closely behind in 2nd place, recording a time of 32:01. Sam Costley of Southampton AC took 3rd place in a time of 32:51.

One man who didn’t have to worry about overdoing it on the turkey was Bournemouth AC’s very own Sean Edwards. The mean, lean, vegan machine smashed his 10k PB to reach the line in a stunning time of 34:35. That put him in 11th place on a day, a second ahead of Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC who was 12th.

Sean Edwards in the midst of the Round the Lakes 10k
Sean was looking in fine form as he made light work of the Poole Park based course

It was the first time Sean had been under 35 minutes so he was over the moon with that outcome. It was a great to end the season merrily on a high for Sean and overall it’s been a fantastic one for him in running terms.

Finishing 6th overall in the Dorset Road Race League was a terrific achievement and Sean was also 1st in the Men’s 21-24 category. No doubt there will be good things to come from him in 2019.

Sean Edwards competing in the Round the Lakes 10k
Sean races toward a terrific new PB of 34:25, putting him in 11th place in an extremely high calibre field

The next BAC member of the line was Dr Ollie Stoten, who completed the course in a super-quick time of 38:06. That put him in 33rd place in the overall standings.

It didn’t measure up to Ollie’s performance at the Boscombe 10k the previous month where he crossed the line in 37:33 but it was still a decent run from Ollie, who is of course much more of a long distance runner.

Ollie’s year has seen him tackle several big ultra-marathon races including the Namib Race, a 7-day, 250km trek across the desert in Namibia. He also competed in the Brecon Beacons 10Peaks race (89km), the Chiltern Wonderland 50 (50 miles) and the Ridgeway Challenge (86 miles).

Ollie Stoten in the Round the Lakes 10k
Ollie Stoten wore a festive red for the Boxing Day blaster, where he crossed the line in 38:06

Finishing as 3rd placed lady on the day, Georgia Wood crossed the line in a stellar time of 38:14 to take 35th place overall. Whilst it didn’t quite match up to her run in the Valencia Trinidad Alfonso where she recorded an incredible PB of 37:14, it was still a decent outing for Georgia and gives her every reason to be positive for the season to come.

The women’s race was won by Grace Copeland, who made it a magnificent day for the Copeland household, crossing the line in 35:20 to land 15th place overall. Samantha Amend of Belgrave Harriers was 2nd lady in 37:55, putting her 30th overall.

Georgia Wood in the Round the Lakes 10k
Georgia Wood followed up her stunning PB in Valencia with a good solid run that saw her finish as 3rd lady

Taking 39th place overall, László Tóth was next over the line in the yellow and blue vest. László was just out to enjoy himself and appreciate the social side of the run and who can blame him after the phenomenal year that he’s had.

Over the course of 2018, László has seen his performances sky rocket to unprecedented heights, culminating in a stunning PB of 35:19 at the Boscombe 10k. He’s also managed to reduce his parkrun time to 16:27 and recorded a 1500m best of 4:24.3 on the track and an 800m PB of 2:04.9.

The next BAC member to arrive at the finish was Stuart Glenister, who reached the line in a time of 39:42 to take 54th place. It was good for Stu produce a solid sub-40 run after a year that has seen him make limited performances for the club.

Stu Glenister had a good run taking 54th place in a time of 39:42

Stu did compete in the recent Hampshire Cross-Country League fixture though at Popham Airfields and he’ll hopefully be in action more often in a yellow and blue vest in 2019.

In last year’s Round the Lakes race, Steve Parsons had ran it with Kirsty Drewett and Kirsty had ended up getting a PB that day so he decided to do the same this time out.

Steve Parsons and Kirsty Drewett running together in the Round the Lakes 10k
Last year Kirsty Drewett and Steve Parsons ran the race together so they thought why not do the same this time round

It was slightly different on this occasion though in that they both seemed to struggle to get any rhythm going and it felt like a bit a slog the whole way round. Despite feeling like they’d worked harder than they did on last year’s run, they ended up a minute off their 2017 times.

Crossing the line in a time of 46:16, Kirsty was 105th overall and Steve was 106th in 46:18. Kirsty was 12th placed woman on the day and 2nd in her category.

Steve Parsons and Kirsty Drewett in the Round the Lakes 10k
Kirsty was unable to repeat her PB heroics of last year but she and Steve crossed the line together about a minute off that 2017 time

Kirsty’s year has been somewhat blighted by injuries but she still managed a 10 mile PB of 76 minutes, a half marathon best of 1:45:18 and managed to complete her first ever marathon at the Purbeck Running Festival.

Steve has had an excellent year, setting a new 10k PB of 43:18 at Boscombe and has stepped up to both the 10 mile and half marathon distances for the first time, performing very well in his first attempts.

Steve Parsons in the Round the Lakes 10k
Steve struggled to find a good rhythm at Round the Lakes but it didn’t take the shine off what has been an excellent season for him

Next over the line for BAC it was Joe Price who came in 148th place in a time of 48:38. It was the first race Joe has competed in since 2016 so it was good to see him back out there representing the club.

Posting her fastest 10k time since 2016, Helen Ambrosen had an excellent run, finishing as 1st female over 60 with her time of 49:47. That made her 27th lady on the day and 157th overall.

Helen Ambrosen in the Round the Lakes 10k
Helen Ambrosen has been gradually improving her times as the season has gone on

Helen has been competing in quite a few of recent road races for the club as well as the Hampshire Cross-Country League fixtures and her performances have certainly been on an upward curve over the course of the year. It was great to see her end the season on a high with both a time to be proud of and a category win.

Helen Ambrosen in action at the Round the Lakes 10k
Managing her fastest 10k time since 2016, it was a magnificent performance from Helen that saw her finish as 1st woman over 60

Arriving at the finish in a superb time of 52:40, Dave Parsons crossed the line in 198th place and 3rd in the Men’s over 60 category.

Dave’s main aim for the race was to beat his time at the Guernsey Easter 10k earlier in the year, which he did by almost two minutes. He had a good battle with Barry Telling of Littledown Harriers, an old adversary of his.

Dave Parsons in the Round the Lakes 10k
Dave Parsons had a ding-dong with Barry Telling of Littledown which he would ultimately come out on top in

Feeling fairly strong throughout the course of the race, Dave managed to pull away from Barry in the second half of the race and ended up finishing ahead of him comfortably.

Enjoying the race a lot more than he expected to, Dave was glad to be back on the racing circuit and was already looking forward to his next appearance at the Broadstone Quarter on New Year’s Day, which is of course the first Dorset Road Race League fixture of the 2019 season. Before then though, there was time to get back to the mince pies and eggnog.



Strong BAC presence at the Christmas 10k

Kirsty, Paul, Stu and Rich after the Christmas 10k
Seven Bournemouth AC members were there to participate in the festive frolics at the Christchurch Christmas 10k, including Kirsty Drewett, Paul Consani, Stu Nicholas and Rich Brawn

As it traditionally does, the Christchurch Christmas 10k attracted the attention of numerous Bournemouth AC members on the lookout for a bit of festive cheer. That could perhaps come in the form of a promising performance or perhaps even a PB if they were in peak condition.

This year an eight-strong contingent of the yellow and blue army lined up at the start of the race hoping to end the season on a high. At the very least, they knew they’d end up with a nice Christmas pudding and a hot cup of soup and that was enough of an incentive for most of them.

Of course, on the country lanes of the rural side of Christchurch, a lot depends on what the weather is like on the day. The course is predominantly flat all the way round and lends itself to a fast time, should the conditions allow.

Last year though, the runners came face-to-face with an extremely strong wind and a night of heavy rain had left the roads waterlogged in places which would prove tricky to negotiate.

At first it looked like this year’s race would be destined for much the same, with extremely high winds and substantial rainfall evident the day before. The weather forecast for the race day was much the same.

Fortunately though, as the runners made their way to the race HQ at East Christchurch Sports and Social Club on the morning of the event, it turned out that the wind wasn’t quite as strong as it had been the previous day.

It also wasn’t raining either. In fact, it was actually quite a bright and sunny morning. The temperature was on the chilly side but all things considered, the conditions were actually near enough ideal. That put the possibility of a fast time back on the agenda.

Jacek Cieluszecki was originally down on the list to run but after a very tough ultra at the CTS Dorset event the previous weekend, which he duly won, he’d decided to sit this one out and give his legs a rest of the rigours of racing. That threw the race wide open and meant for a number of other contenders, a victory could well be within their grasp.

The main threats from a BAC perspective were carried by Jon Sharkey and Stu Nicholas. If either of them had a good run, they could certainly be up there vying for the top spot.

A strong supporting cast of Ross Smith, Rich Brawn, Paul Consani and Adrian Townsend were also raring to go, along with the BAC ladies, represented by Kirsty Drewett and Helen Ambrosen.

The race actually started and finished in Ambury Lane, which is just around the back of the Christchurch Bypass (A35). It was a fair distance from the race HQ so the athletes were escorted over the start area in groups.

Many of the runners were getting into the festival spirit, dressing up in Santa outfits, or as elves, reindeers and even a few Christmas puddings. The atmosphere had a nice friendly sort of feel to it. But that didn’t mean that once the claxon sounded that some serious racing wouldn’t ensue.

Once proceedings got underway a lead group was quickly established containing both Jon Sharkey and Stu Nicholas. Tom Stevens of Southampton was also up there, along with Bill Day of Poole Runners.

Since it was a relatively flat route, it’s the kind of race where you can afford to be pushing quite hard right from the outset. Ross Smith was out for another 10k PB, having managed to seal a narrow one at the Boscombe 10k two weeks earlier.

The Boscombe 10k is a much more difficult route though, containing quite a few ups and downs and twists and turns. It also includes Queens Park South Drive which is quite a tough hill and can be a bit of a pace killer. On a good day, you’d expect to get a faster time at the Christmas 10k.

Having finished roughly a minute behind Ross in a couple of the recent Hampshire League Cross Country fixtures, Rich Brawn had employed the tactic of just trying to keep as close to Ross as he could, or at least to try and keep Ross within eyeshot.

At the Christmas 10k, he’d decided to try that same tactic, hoping it would drag him round to a fast time. Since Ross had gone off so quickly though it soon became evident to Rich that he wasn’t going to be able to keep up. After about two miles, Ross was completely out of sight, forcing Rich to have to deploy the age-old method of just running as fast as he could.

Meanwhile, back at the front of the race it was a familiar face in the form of the St Albans Strider, Robert Spencer, who was taking it on. Robert is beginning to make a bit of a name for himself down on the south-coast, having finished in 3rd place at the Boscombe 10k behind Iain Trickett and BAC’s Rob McTaggart.

The previous weekend he was first finisher at Poole parkrun and now he was in the hunt for a proper race win to go with it. He was tracked by James Gilfillan, who doesn’t run for a club but is often the first man home at Moors Valley parkrun.

As it turned out, it was to be Robert Spencer’s day though and he claimed the race win, getting over the line in a time of 33:27. James Gilfillan took 2nd in 33:53, with Tom Stevens of Southampton getting 3rd in 34:09.

The first BAC member home was Jon Sharkey, who sealed a very good 4th place, crossing the line in 34:35. It’s only been a few months really since Sharkey came back to the racing circuit after taking some time out following the birth of his son Ruben.

He’s done remarkably well since his return to competitive action though, taking 11th place at the Hoburne 5, 7th at the Wimborne 10 and now 4th at the Christmas 10k. It will be interesting to see what he can do next season if he he’s able to find the time to keep getting out there and putting in the miles.

Coming in 9 seconds after his BAC teammate, Stu Nicholas was next over the line, taking a superb 5th place with a terrific new PB of 34:44.

In truth, Stu is much more of a long distance man and 10k’s are not really his forte. Consequently, he struggles a bit with the pacing. He’s a regular at parkrun, often coming in as finisher at Bournemouth, so he knows how quick he can afford to go in a 5k. But 10k is always a touch more difficult to judge.

At the Boscombe 10k, he felt like he set off too quickly which made it difficult for the remainder of the race. This time he had a much stronger run though and he got his reward. The 10k PB was a fantastic way to end what has been a marvellous season for Stu, all things considered.

Ross Smith had a storming run and managed to maintain the ferocious pace he’d set off at to come in with a magnificent new PB of 35:44, putting him in 8th position. That beat his time at the Boscombe 10k by 20 seconds.

It was again, a superb way to end the season for Ross, who has had some excellent runs over the past few months including some excellent performances in the Hampshire League Cross Country.

Ross is of course, primarily a duathlete, so he juggles his running training with cycling as well. In fact, he recently competed for Great Britain in the European Cross Duathlon Championships in Ibiza, where a puncture on the bike leg hampered his hopes reaching his potential.

The race to be the next Bournemouth AC man over the line came down to a sprint finish between Rich Brawn and Paul Consani. Rich had been ahead of Paul the entire race and actually had no idea that Paul was right behind him.

With a mile left to go, Rich knew he was on course to beat the time he did at the Boscombe 10k two weeks prior, so he was aware that a PB was on the cards. He was feeling quite strong at that point though so tried to crank up the pace a bit.

The race was going well and he was edging ever closer to the finish line. As he got onto the finishing straight though, he could hear someone coming up behind him.

He could tell from the sound of the footsteps that whoever it was was going faster than him at the time and was about to fly past him. There was nothing much he could do about it though. He was pushing as hard as he could and had nothing left to fight for the place with.

As the person went fast, he heard a voice mutter “Sorry Rich” as he went by. Sure enough, it was indeed his Bournemouth AC teammate Paul Consani.

Paul swept past and powered over the line to take the coveted 16th spot, clocking a time of 37:31. That meant Rich had to settle for 17th place, registering a time of 37:35.

Ordinarily Rich would have been gutted to lose a place so close to the end but since it was Paul, he didn’t mind so much. He also thought, after he’d narrowly finished ahead of Paul at the Boscombe 10k, it was only fair he let Paul have this one.

Deep down though, Rich was just pleased to be even close to someone of Paul Consani’s calibre and he’d got the PB he was looking for, in pretty much the sort of time he was hoping for, so he was over the moon with that.

Rich Brawn at the Christmas 10k
Despite being outsprinted by his teammate Paul Consani at the end, Rich Brawn was pleased to secure a new 10k PB of 37:35

Paul had demonstrated sublime determination and tenacity to beat Rich to the line and that was certainly something to be admired. He felt he had redeemed himself after the Boscombe 10k as well, where a little injection of pace from Rich when they got to the top of the hill at Queens Park enabled him to open up the crucial gap that Paul just couldn’t close. No doubt the pair will have many more interesting matchups in store in 2019.

Another BAC member who has finished the season off well is Adrian Townsend, who followed his 39:36 time at the Boscombe 10k with a 39:34 at the Christmas 10k. That put him in 32nd place overall.

It was another solid sub-40 time for Adrian and gives him a good base to build from in 2019, after suffering some troubled times through injury and stomach issues over a large part of this year.

It also meant two back-to-back age category wins for Adrian, after he took home the M55 prize at the Boscombe 10k and again, at the Christmas 10k he was 1st in the V55 category. In fact, no one in the V50 category finished ahead of him either, so technically he won that as well.

Also putting together a good performance, Kirsty Drewett completed the course in a time of 45:58, which put her in 87th place overall. Out of the women in the race, she finished 8th, which was a pretty decent return. She was also 1st in the women’s V40 category.

Kirsty thoroughly enjoyed the race and in contrast to some of her more recent runs, particularly the cross country fixtures she’s done lately, she felt like she had a very controlled run.

Even though she was going at a pretty decent pace, she felt strong the whole way and that is a good indication that she is starting to come back into good form.

After suffering some injury problems over the backend of the year that had halted her progression somewhat, she is now in a much more positive frame of mind and is hoping and she’ll have a chance of conquering her 10k PB of 45:16 at “Round the Lakes” on Boxing Day.

Coming in with a time of 51:36, Helen Ambrosen was the final Bournemouth AC representative to reach the line. She finished in 182nd place overall and was 37th lady.

Helen has been getting progressively quicker as the year has gone on and she bettered her time at the Boscombe 10k by 36 seconds. Much like at the Boscombe 10k, she finished 2nd in the women’s V60 category.

In total there 461 runners who completed the Christmas 10k, marking another successful year for the race, which brings about it’s own unique flavour of Christmas spirit to the proceedings.

There may not have been any team prizes given out but if there had been a men’s team competition, it would have certainly been won by Bournemouth AC, since they had the 4th, 5th, 8th, 16th and 17th placed runners.

All that remained for the BAC members who had taken part was for them to go home, pop that Christmas pudding in the microwave, find some brandy butter to go with it and get stuck in. It is Christmas after all.

Kirsty, Paul, Stu and Rich at the Christmas 10k
The BAC members were pleased to pick up their goody bags and their Christmas puddings and head off home after a superb race to round off an excellent season for the yellow and blues














Craig and Sanjai deliver marathon masterclasses in Valencia

Craig Palmer in action at the Valencia Marathon
Craig Palmer was looking for a performance to remember at the Valencia Marathon, as was his Bournemouth AC teammate Sanjai Sharma

Known for being one of the fastest and flattest large-scale marathons in Europe, Valencia provides the perfect stage for runners to realise their marathon potential.

That’s exactly what Craig Palmer and Sanjai Sharma were hoping to do when they travelled over to the delightful Spanish city to give it all they’ve got in the Valencia Marathon.

The conditions were excellent for long distance running as the Bournemouth AC pair lined up in the streets of Valencia with over 19,000 others, all looking to put in a performance they could be proud of.

In fact, there would have been three BAC men taking to the start-line but sadly Simon Way was unable to run due to a hip injury he picked up in training. He thinks it may even be bursitis which, if confirmed, will put him on the side-lines for quite some time.

Having already booked the trip out there with Sanjai though, Simon went along anyway to enjoy exploring the wonders of the city and also be on hand to support Sanjai and Craig as they progressed along the route.

Simon Way enjoying a beer in Valencia
Having been ruled out of the race with a hip injury, Simon Way was forced watch on from the side-lines but it meant he had more time to sample the local delicacies

With his best marathon time of 2:30:46 having been registered at the London Marathon in 2017, Craig knew he’d have to produce something truly special to have any chance of eclipsing that.

As for Sanjai, he was targeting a time of 2 hours 50 minutes, which was always going to be a real challenge but he’d trained hard for it and brought with him a wealth of marathon running experience to call on.

It was destined to be a memorable day for both Bournemouth AC members as each managed to produce a terrific run. The course is predominantly suburban but includes a very scenic stretch along the Mediterranean coastline.

The route incorporates areas of the city where the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Americas Cup were hosted. The stunning Ciudad de la Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) provides the starting and finish points of the race. On the approach to the finish, the runners pass over the shimmering blue pools of the Museo de las Ciencias (Science Museum).

Craig set off at somewhere between 5:40 and 5:50 pace and went through the first 10k in exactly 18 minutes. He then proceeded to reach the 10k point in 36:04, so he was running remarkably consistently at that stage. He went on to arrive at the half way point in 1:15:31.

Even if he could match that in the second half of the race though, it wouldn’t quite equal his previous best, but it would still be a top-quality run.

For the next four miles he was hovering at around 5:40 pace before putting in an even quicker mile at mile 18. His splits continued to be impressive and on the 21st mile he began to ramp up the pace yet further.

A 5:33 mile at mile 22 demonstrated how strong he was feeling in the latter stages of the race and it was beginning to look like his second half of the race was going to be remarkable.

With a PB in reach and a negative split looking increasingly likely, Craig soared through the last two miles in splits of 5:30 and 5:28 to get to the final sector in fine fettle.

Hurtling toward the finish and an even quicker pace, Craig crossed the line in a quite incredible time of 2:29:16. In doing so, he’d joined a very exclusive list of BAC runners who have completed a marathon in under 2-and-a-half hours. It was a dream race for Craig and he couldn’t really have done it any better.

He’d run a 1:13:45 for the second half of the race, giving him an phenomenal negative split. That time was good enough to see him place in the top hundred, which is some achievement in a field of 19,246 runners.

In fact, it put him 95th place, which was an absolutely outstanding effort. He was the 11th best British runner out of 748, crowning an incredibly successful outing for Craig.

Craig Palmer in the Valencia Marathon
A textbook performance from Craig saw him run a perfect negative split to end up with a place on the esteemed BAC sub-2:30 list

It was a steady start to the race for Sanjai, who went through the first 5k in 20 minutes 31 seconds. Arriving at the 10k point in 40:43, it was again a very consistent pace for early part of the race.

Reaching the half marathon point in 1:25:18, Sanjai was pretty much bang on schedule for the time he was anticipating. He would have to run the second half of the race just as quickly though so that wouldn’t be easy.

Sanjai has produced a few marathons of around the 2:50 mark over recent years though so he knows what it takes and how to manage a race in order to achieve that sort of time.

Having increased the pace up slightly over the last 10 kilometres, Sanjai kept on at that same speed for the next 5k, arriving at the 25km point in 1 hour 41 minutes.

Sanjai Sharma in the Valencia Marathon
Sanjai was able to gradually increase the pace as the race went on, firmly focused on his goal of a 2:50 finish

He then managed to crank the pace up a notch again for the next 10k, getting to the 35km point in 2 hours and 1 minute. As he got to the 23 mile point, he knew he was almost there but had to keep pushing over the last 5k.

It was at this point that his body began to overheat a little. His determination took over though and he got his head down and dug in. It was then that his strength really began to show.

Finding himself able to go even faster over the last few miles, he went through the 40k point in 2:22. That left just the final couple of kilometres to power through.

Arriving on the finishing straight, Sanjai had in fact ran his fastest few miles of the entire race in the last three and crossed the line in a tremendous time of 2:49:24.

Sanjai Sharma toasting a great Valencia Marathon
Sanjai enjoys a well earned beverage after his impressive endeavours

That put him in 704th place overall and a very impressive 9th place in the M55 category. That was out of 859 runners in the category. He was also the 57th best British runner out of 748. It was a really pleasing performance from Sanjai and he was chuffed to have bettered the time he was aiming for.

All that remained now was for Sanjai and Craig to meet up with Simon and begin their refuelling strategy, which of course meant getting on the beers and the tapas.

They would both return home to not-so-sunny Dorset having done themselves and their club extremely proud and having also enjoyed a very nice city break in the process.

Sanjai Sharma enjoying a beer after the Valencia Marathon
It was a very pleasing result for both Sanjai and Craig and they both came back to Bournemouth with their heads held high after a job well done





JC, Doc Ollie and Ben Walliman get stuck in at CTS Dorset

Ben Walliman after completing the CTS Dorset Ultra Plus
Ben Walliman was amongst three Bournemouth AC members in action at the 2018 Endurancelife CTS Dorset along with Jacek Cieluszecki and Ollie Stoten

The Endurancelife CTS Dorset isn’t the kind of event you go into expecting an easy ride. The Jurassic Coast Path where the races are stages is renowned for it’s tough, unforgiving terrain, providing hills-a-plenty for the competitors to tackle along the way.

With a “Half Marathon” distance of 16.1 miles and ascents totalling 3,559 ft, an “Ultra” distance of 33.3 miles with 4,910 ft of ascent and an “Ultra Plus” of 45.5 miles and an elevation of 8,040 ft, these races are not designed for the faint hearted, They are difficult and require great strength and stamina, together with an iron will to succeed.

This year though, in addition to all that, the event was made substantially tougher by the inclement weather conditions that gave the athletes a torrid time as they made their way round the course of their chosen distance.

A cold and misty weather front had descended on Lulworth Cove, bringing with it 45 mph winds and sweeping rain that in turn brought about a soggy, muddy surface for the runners to contend with. The thick fog made it difficult at times to even see the path ahead, making it all the more tricky as the participants attempted to battle their way through the severe adversity.

Three brave Bournemouth AC members were in action on the day, with Dr Ollie Stoten taking on the 16 mileHalf Marathon” distance race, as he did in last year’s event. Jacek Cieluszecki opted for the 33.3 mileUltra” distance race, with Ben Walliman going extreme to tacked the 45.5 mileUltra Plus“.

So how did they all get on? Needless to say, they all found it difficult and had their own struggles to overcome. The original plan for Jacek had been to take on the 45.5 mile “Ultra Plus” distance. After seeing the horrendous weather conditions, he changed his mind though and went for the “Ultra” instead.

That didn’t mean it was going to be easy of course though. He still had a tough 33.3 miles ahead of him that were bound to be challenging.

Jacek was the first man to arrive at checkpoint 1 though, at Upton, reaching the marker in 54 minutes 57 seconds. He was 18 seconds ahead of Tom Le Lievre who was in 2nd at the point.

Jacek powers up the hill in the CTS Dorset Ultra
Jacek Cieluszecki makes his way up the hill, closely tracked by Tom Le Lievre

He arrived at checkpoint 2 with an advantage of exactly 3 minutes over Tom, registering a time of 3:19:39 to further extend his lead at the front of the race.

At the next checkpoint, he was still comfortably in front, reaching the milestone in 4 hours and 19 seconds. At this point, he had an advantage of 2 minutes 22 seconds over Tom. The pair were now way ahead of the rest of the field, with the 3rd placed runner arriving over 28 minutes behind JC.

Jacek Cieluszecki going through the fog in the CTS Dorset Ultra
Jacek soon built up a healthy advantage over his nearest rival

At the final checkpoint, Jacek arrived in a time of 4:32:42. Tom followed in 5 minutes and 20 seconds later, meaning it looked like Jacek was well on course to seal the victory. He was now 35 minutes ahead of Mary Menon who was 3rd.

Reaching the finish in a time of 4 hours 54 minutes and 11 seconds, Jacek cruised in for the victory. In total, he’d covered 34.5 miles and had climbed 6,215 ft.

Jacek Cieluszecki after completing the CTS Dorset Ultra
A superb run saw JC seal the win in the Ultra distance race

JC’s nearest rival, Tom Le Lievre arrived 8 minutes and 20 seconds later, clocking a time of 5:02:31. Jonathan Pybus took 3rd in a time of 5:33:50, with Mary Menon finishing in an excellent 4th place overall and 1st female in a time of 5:34:32.

192 people took part in the “Ultra” distance race, with 155 of them making it to the finish.

Jacek Cieluszecki won the CTS Dorset Ultra
With a winning margin of 8 minutes and 20 seconds, Jacek was pleased with how he managed in the tough conditions he was faced with

Not to be perturbed by the adverse weather, Ben Walliman stuck to his task in the 45.5 mile “Ultra Plus” race and he was determined to get through it. His training had gone well and he’d already put together quite a few long runs along the course which he really benefited from.

Arriving at the first checkpoint in 1 hour 9 minutes and 53 seconds, Ben was in 31st place at that stage. There was still a long way to go though and he knew the bulk of the hard work was yet to come.

By the time the next checkpoint arrived he’d climbed to 26th place, registering a time of 4 hours 27 minutes and 20 seconds. Knowing the course so well did give him an advantage, particularly on the technical descents where he was able to overtake quite a few runners as he knew the best lines.

Ben Walliman attempts to find his way through the mist in the CTS Dorset Ultra Plus
Ben Walliman had done a fair bit of training on the course he was running on beforehand which helped him navigate through the thick fog

Going through the third checkpoint in just under 5 hours 26 minutes, he was now in 31st place. About 24 miles in he’d hit a tough spot but after a quick call home to speak to his wife and his eldest son who is 2-and-a-half years old, his head was back in the game and he got stronger from that point on.

At the next checkpoint, he was back in 26th place, having been running for approximately 6 hours and 15 minutes. At the following checkpoint, he’d gained a few more places, arriving in 7 hours 4 minutes which put him in 23rd place.

Ben Walliman in the thick fog at the CTS Dorset Ultra Plus
Ben gives the thumbs up as he worked his way round the 47 mile course like a true pro

By the time the next checkpoint came round, he was back in 26th place, coming in with a time of 8:18:38. He then went through the final checkpoint in just under 9 hours and 11 minutes, putting him in 24th place.

There wasn’t far to go now and he just knew he had to hang in there. The last 10k loop was the best for Ben and he just about managed to hold off the guy who had been chasing him down for the last mile. It came down to a sprint finish for 24th place, which Ben duly won, crossing the line in a time of 9 hours 47 minutes and 21 seconds.

Ben Walliman after completing the CTS Dorset Ultra Plus
Ben was overjoyed, not just to finish, but also to meet his target of a sub-10-hour finish

Given that his main target for the race was, firstly to finish it of course, and secondly, to do it in under 10 hours, he’d succeeded on both fronts and was massively pleased with his efforts.

Covering 47 miles in total, Ben had wracked up an elevation gain of 8,159 ft during the course of a race, which gives an indication of how brutally hilly the course was.

A total of 150 people took part in the “Ultra Plus” race, with 94 completing the full 47 mile distance.

Ben Walliman completed the 47 mile CTS Dorset Ultra Plus
When he looks back on this one, Ben will take immense pride in his efforts, not just because of the extreme distance and elevation but because of the treacherous conditions he did it in

It was a great day for Ben, all things considered and it will serve as a great confidence booster for future longer distances in tough conditions. His next big race is the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge in May which is 106 kilometres.

In the 16 mile “Half Marathon” race, Ollie Stoten made it to the first checkpoint in 30 minutes and 56 seconds which put him in 21st place.

Ollie Stoten in the CTS Dorset Half Marathon
Ollie Stoten was tackling the same race he took part in at the CTS Dorset last which was the 17 mile “Half Marathon”

Reaching the second checkpoint in 1:57:14, he then found himself in 18th place. All that remained after that was the final push for the line.

Arriving in a time of 2:38:48, Ollie crossed the line in 17th place, out of a field of 464, which was a good solid run for him. It was a little slower than the 2 hours 20 minutes he did the year before but as lot of that could be put down to the thick mud and high winds on the day.

Ollie Stoten looks pleased after completing the CTS Dorset Half Marathon
Ollie was pleased with his efforts, especially given that he’d been working nightshifts in the run up to the race and was feeling drained from that

Ollie covered 17 miles in total, so a lot more than would be expected in a traditional half marathon. He also reached an elevation gain of 4,000 ft in the process which gives an indication of how challenging the course profile was.

Alex Van Tuyl of Clapham Chasers won the race in a time of 2:08:53. He was followed by Pete Baksh who was 2nd in 2:16:47 and Matt Hammerton who was 3rd in 2:19:41.

Ollie Stoten laughs it off after the CTS Dorset Half Marathon
Ollie laughed in the face of the tough hills and thick mud as he raced round the course in just under 2 hours and 39 minutes


BAC end on a high with double victory at Boscombe 10k

Bournemouth AC ladies' team at Boscombe 10k
The Bournemouth AC ladies were out in force for the final fixture of the 2018 Dorset Road Race League season, the Boscombe 10k

After tying up the First Division title in the Dorset Road Race League for the 2018 season with an emphatic victory at the Wimborne 10, the Boscombe 10k was really just a procession for the Bournemouth AC men’s team.

That didn’t mean of course that those who were out there weren’t going to give their all and strive for team success for the race itself. There were of course individual honours up for grabs and the chance for the runners to raise their rankings in the individual standings for the Dorset Road Race League.

After Littledown Harriers sealed the runners up spot in the Ladies’ First Division by taking 2nd place at the Wimborne 10 behind Poole Runners who were convincing winners of the league title, the Bournemouth AC ladies would have to settle for 3rd place this year.

Given the trials and tribulations they had just getting a team out over the summer months though, the season had ended strongly for the BAC ladies and boosted by the return of Emma Caplan (Dews) they had climbed the table well over the latter part of the season.

The Boscombe 10k race is organised by the Bournemouth Joggers and the race HQ is Bournemouth AC’s very own club training ground of Kings Park, which makes feel almost like a home fixture for BAC but without having to worry about any of the organisation.

They planned to enjoy the race and then get together in the club office for coffee and cakes afterwards, so with the pressure off, it was to be a joyous occasion for all BAC members involved.

The line up for the race was still quite strong, with Iain Trickett looking to seal the individual Dorset Road Race League title. Despite having won the last five fixtures in a row though, that wasn’t done and dusted yet as he’d only done six races. He still needed to finish reasonably high to wrap that up, since it is the best seven races for each athlete that count.

Iain’s main rival for the title, Chris Alborough, was also in the race, taking part in his 7th fixture of the season. He knew that in order to win the title he’d have to most likely win the race and hope that Iain slipped up in a big way so it wasn’t likely, but was still mathematically possible.

After an excellent run at the Wimborne 10, Rob McTaggart was also in the mix, carrying Bournemouth AC’s best hopes of vying for the race win. Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC was also in the line up, along with some of Bournemouth AC’s other top level contenders in Stuart Nicholas, László Tóth and Ross Smith.

There was also a rare appearance in league action for one of BAC’s resident ultra-marathon supremos in the shape of Dr Ollie Stoten. The race started with three quarters of a lap around the track before heading through Kings Park and out into the wilderness.

After coming out of Kings Park, the route takes its participants down Harewood Avenue and over towards Littledown, then it’s through the subway under the Wessex Way and around Queens Park Golf Course from there.

The course incorporates the dreaded Queens Park South Drive, which has played host to many a hill session for Bournemouth members on a cold, crisp Thursday evening.

They’re normally used to sprinting from lamp-post to lamp-post though, as opposed to running up the whole hill on the fourth mile of a 10k race. It always going to be a testing section. From there it was just case of making your way back to Kings Park for the grandstand finish along the track.

Start of the Boscombe 10k
The Boscombe 10k gets underway from the familiar surroundings of the track at Kings Park

As the race got underway, an initial lead group was formed containing Rob McTaggart, along with Iain Trickett, Chris Alborough and Andy Leggott. László Tóth and Stu Nicholas were also in the mix at the early stages.

That lead group was soon whittled down to four people, with Tag, Iain and Chris still present. They were joined by Robert Spencer of St Albans Striders.

It turned out to be a bit of a ‘cat and mouse’ exercise though, with no one willing to take the race on and make a break for it. That meant that the group of four remained in tact all the way until they arrived back at Kings Park.

Tag leading the way in the Boscombe 10k
Tag leads the way from Robert Spencer and Iain Trickett

As they got onto the track it turned out to be BAC’s resident 5,000m specialist Tag and serial winner Iain Trickett who were the strongest. As they approached the finishing straight, it became apparent that it would be a straight shootout between the two to take top honours.

Iain was coming off the back of a dramatic finish at the Wimborne 10 the previous weekend where he managed to outdo Tag, as well as Craig Palmer and Chris Alborough.

He looked confident again, just sitting on Tag’s shoulder as they arrived onto the finishing straight, waiting to pounce. Once again, his acceleration proved too much for Tag and Iain went on to claim victory number six in a row.

Rob McTaggart in the Boscombe 10k
Tag was the first man to arrive back at Kings Park as that race neared it’s conclusion for the lead group

Crossing the line in a time of 34:08, Iain had also claimed the crown for the Dorset Road Race League individual champion of 2018. That meant Tag would have to settle for 2nd place with his time of 34:10.

Robert Spencer, the St Albans strider took 3rd place in a time of 34:12 with Iain’s main DRRL rival Chris Alborough taking 4th place in 34:14. Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC wasn’t too far behind, taking 5th place in a time of 34:53.

Crashing in with an incredible new PB of 35:19, László Tóth took a superb 7th place, capping off a scintillating run of form that has seen him set new PB’s in 800m, 1500m and 1 mile races on the track, plus parkrun and 5 mile bests as well.

László Tóth in the Boscombe 10k
László Tóth on his way to a fantastic new PB of 35:19

Having been in the front group at the start of the race, Stu Nicholas didn’t have much in the legs and his pace dropped somewhat from that point on.

Although he felt like he was going backwards though, he didn’t get overtaken by anyone and still recorded a top-ten finish, crossing the line in a time of 35:44.

Stu Nicholas in the Boscombe 10k
Stu Nicholas cruises toward a solid top ten finish

Although he wasn’t entirely happy with his performance, that’s still a pretty good time for a tricky, undulating 10k course. Stu found the twists and turns a bit annoying, especially the sharp bends when going under the subway.

Not too far behind Stu came Bournemouth AC’s fourth scorer Ross Smith, who secured himself a new PB with his time of 36:04 to take 13th place on the day. That narrowly bettered his time at the Glastonbury Round the Tor last year by four seconds.

Ross Smith in the Boscombe 10k
Ross Smith nabbed to sneaky 4 second PB for the distance

The next BAC member over the line was Dr Ollie Stoten, who became the fifth scorer for the team, completing the race in a time of 37:33. Ollie is more of a long distance/ultra man in truth so this was actually only his second ever 10k race.

His other one was Round the Lakes on Boxing Day, which he finished in 38:07, so his that meant his time at the Boscombe 10k was in fact a new PB.

Over the second half of the race Ollie had overtaken two of his fellow Bournemouth AC teammates in Rich Brawn and Tom Paskins. He caught Rich on the straight after they’d gone up Queens Park South Drive.

Ollie Stoten in the Boscombe 10k
It was a rare 10k appearance for Ollie Stoten who is used to going much further distances in his races

They then ran together for a bit until they reached a sharp downhill section on Queens Park Golf Course. Ollie accelerated away at that point, leaving Rich for dust. He then went on to catch Tom Paskins as well who was about 30 seconds up ahead.

After struggling a bit in a couple of his races in the aftermath of his stellar effort at the Chicago Marathon, it was good to see Tom back running well again.

The marathon had taken so much out of him that it’s taken a while for Tom to get back into his stride. In truth he didn’t really mind that though as he’d geared his training toward making sure he’s at his peak for his big target race. It’s very difficult, if not impossible to stay on that level the whole time. Crossing the line in 25th place, Tom recorded a time of 37:44.

Tom Paskins in the Boscombe 10k
Tom Paskins ran well and showed signs that his form is coming back after his exertions in the Chicago Marathon back in October

Also hoping for a sub-38-minute time, Rich Brawn was next over the line, but he struggled to reach his full potential. After going through 10k in under 38 minutes in both his previous two 10 mile races, the Wimborne 10 and the Great South Run, Rich had good reason to be optimistic.

It just didn’t quite come together for him on the day and he went over the line in 38:09 to take 32nd place. The only silver lining for Rich was that he did manage to finish ahead of Paul Consani, which he hadn’t really done in a proper race before.

Rich Brawn in the Boscombe 10k
Rich Brawn on his way to new 10k PB, although not quite as quick a time as he was hoping for

For much of the race Paul was right behind Rich but a gap was formed when Rich accelerated after reaching the top of the hill at Queens Park South Drive.

Paul wasn’t far behind though, reaching the finish 11 seconds later to take 36th place on the day. That put him 4th in the M40n category.

Paul Consani in the Boscombe 10k
Paul Consani arrives at Kings Park ready for the grandstand finish

In his first race for over a year, it was great to see Alex Goulding back in competitive action again. An ongoing ankle injury had kept Alex out of action for a long time and left him at one stage thinking his running days were behind him.

It had only been three weeks since he’d started running again, having just a few parkruns under his belt by that point. He felt he needed a goal to aim for though so up for giving it a go.

After such a long time out, Alex had forgotten how arduous a 10k can be but it was a great feeling when he finished and he was able to pick off a few people in the last mile which was pleasing.

He’d seen that Emma Caplan had started off strongly and he managed to tag onto her pace which helped him round. Near the end of the race he found that he still had a bit left in the tank so edged in front of her.

Alex Goulding in the Boscombe 10k
The Boscombe 10k was Alex Gouldings first race in over a year so he was pleased to be back out there racing

Arriving at the line in a time of 38:48, Alex took 40th place and 5th in the M40 category. The race served as a reminder to him that getting fitter and faster is a slow process and there are no overnight fixes. Whilst he’s already seen improvements in his speed, his endurance still needs a lot of work.

The most enjoyable thing at the moment for Alex though is getting back to Tuesday training which he’s missed greatly over the course of the year. There’s nothing like feeling the wind on you hair, or head in Alex’s case, as you sail along the promenade in the BAC interval sessions.

Crossing the line shortly after Alex, Emma Caplan was 1st female on the day, clocking a time of 39:07. Although she added another women’s race win to her over-growing collection, Emma still wasn’t completely happy with her run.

Emma Caplan in the Boscombe 10k
Emma Caplan was the first lady over the line, completing the course in a time of 39:07

She still knows she has a little way to go before she’s back running at her absolute best but she has to remember, she too has only been back running for a short time after giving birth. It’s just really a case of being patient and keeping on that improvement curve.

The next lady over the line arrived over two minutes later and that was Diana Leggott of Lonely Goat RC who came in 75th overall in a time of 41:12.

Emma Caplan was 1st lady at Boscombe 10k
Emma, with baby in hand, picks up her prize for finishing as 1st lady at the Boscombe 10k

After successfully negotiating the Wimborne 10 the previous week, Adrian Townsend managed to complete his second consecutive race at the Boscombe 10k.

That was a massive plus for Adrian after injury problems prevented him from even making it to the start line at Gold Hill in the previous DRRL fixture.

Adrian Townsend in the Boscombe 10k
Adrian Townsend comes in for an M55 category win

He’d also suffered a couple of retirements in both the Sturminster Netwon Half Marathon and the London Marathon due to stomach issues.

It looks like he may have laid those ghosts to rest now though and Adrian ran well at the Boscombe 10k though, crossing the line in 39:36 to take 55th place. That gave him 1st place in the M55 category which capped the morning off nicely for Adrian.

Shortly after the next Bournemouth AC member arrived in the shape of Simon Hearn, who had run extremely well to take 62nd place in a time of 40:10.

Simon Hearn in the Boscombe 10k
Simon Hearn was striving for a sub-40 time

Although he was hoping for a sub-40 deep down, it was still a decent result for Simon considering he had a slight cold and didn’t feel like he was firing on all cylinders. Simon was 5th in the M50 category.

Having already sealed the win in the Dorset Road Race League 60-64 category for the 2018 season, Jud Kirk could have been forgiven for resting on his laurels a bit at the Boscombe 10k.

Jud Kirk in the Boscombe 10k
Jud Kirk may be grimacing here but he was smiling afterwards when he won the M60 category and also took the category title in the DRRL

He did nothing of the sort though and crossed the line in an excellent time of 41:17, which meant he ended the season in style with an M60 category victory to add to the collection. Jud’s nearest rival in the DRRL, Nigel Haywood of Purbeck Runners was 2nd M60 on the day, registering a time of 43:13.

A disappointing race for Pawel Surowiec saw him get to the line in 43:09, taking 95th position overall. Pawel has been travelling around a lot recently in his work so that has effected his ability to train with any real regularity which might explain the slight dip in form that he’d seen.

Pawel Surowiec in the Boscombe 10k
Pawel Surowiec arrives on the familiar Kings Park turf and presses on toward the finish

Nine seconds later, a very tired Steve Parsons arrived at the line, just scraping into the top 100, taking 99th place in a time of 43:18. It was clear to see that Steve had given absolutely everything out there and he’d kept up an amazing record that had seen him secure a new PB on all three of his previous outings at the Boscombe 10k.

It was probably his most raced distance and thus his best PB, so he knew it would tough to better his time of 43:31 from last year. He knew his form was decent though after number of recent course PB’s and a 10 mile best at Wimborne the previous weekend so it was certainly worth a shot.

Since it was a shorter race than many that he’s done recently, Steve felt like he was going quite quickly the whole way round, as opposed to trying to manage his pace like he normally does. That was good though as it helped him push himself, although equally, it made it very hard work.

After the first couple of kilometres a couple of people went past him but he then settled into a good pace and started to pick them back off. After around the 3k point he wasn’t overtaken by anyone that he didn’t then go back past later on in the race.

Gaining a fair few places whilst going through the golf course, it was then onto Queens Park South Drive, which Steve was very familiar with from the BAC hill sessions.

Having done so many reps on that hill before, Steve was able to tell himself that it was only one rep and once it was done there were only a few small inclines left.

Steve Parsons in the Boscombe 10k
Steve Parsons was hoping his go-faster moustache would help drive him on to another PB

Whilst he had to work hard going up Littledown Drive, he knew that coming down Littledown Avenue he’d have the chance to recover a bit whilst still running quickly and preparing for the final kilometre.

Coming into Kings Park he knew a PB was on but he was really feeling it so had to grit his teeth and push through the pain. His Mum, Dad and kids were at the entrance to the track and he got huge cheer from them which was exactly what he needed at that point to help him finish strongly.

He thought he was going to collapse at the end and had a few wobbly steps when making his way through the finish tunnel and back round to the clubhouse. He didn’t really care though as he’d got the PB he wanted.

Steve’s wife Rozanne also managed a terrific new PB, taking three minutes off her previous best to come in just under the hour mark in a time of 58:58. She was well pleased with that and couldn’t wait to toast it with a glass of Prosecco later.

Another success story of the day was Ian White, who was gunning for a sub-45-minute finish. Arriving at the line in a time of 44:18, he actually ended up quite comfortably under his target time, which was another big step forward in his progression. Taking 125th place in the overall leaderboard, Ian was also 13th in the M45 category.

Ian White in the Boscombe 10k
Ian White was looking for a sub-45 minute finish which would illustrate the great progress he’s made since coming back to running

The second Bournemouth AC lady to complete the race was Julia Austin who registered a time of 44:49, putting her 132nd overall. That made her 9th female on the day and 2nd F50.

She had been hoping for a quicker time and was on the sub-44-minute time but the Queens Park hill proved to be tougher than she’d expected and she lost about a minute on that.

Julia Austin in the Boscombe 10k
Julia Austin was the second Bournemouth AC woman home, finishing as 9th placed lady

Joining Julia in the scoring team for BAC was Jo Dilling who arrived at the finish 19 seconds later to take 136th place overall and 10th placed female. With a time of 45:08, Jo was 4th in the F45 category.

The hill at Queens Park also cost Jo as well as that infringed her chances of a sub-45 finish. She was still pleased with her time though and very much enjoyed the track finish where she was able to overtake a few competitors who had passed her earlier in the race.

Jo Dilling in the Boscombe 10k
Jo Dilling was the third lady for BAC completing the scoring team which went on the win the ladies’ competition

That meant that the trio of Emma, Julia and Jo were victorious in the team competition with the 2018 runners up Littledown Harriers taking 2nd place the 2018 champions Poole Runners taking 3rd.

Bournemouth AC ladies' team were winners at the Boscombe 10k
The trio of Jo Dilling, Julia Austin and Emma Caplan once again proved unstoppable at the Boscombe 10k scooping the women’s team prize

Arriving at the finish in 159th and 160th place, Tamzin Petersen and Phil Cherrett ran together with Tamzin securing her quickest time yet on the Boscombe 10k course. She went over the line in 45:53 to take 20th placed female and 6th in the Senior Female category.

Tamzin Petersen in the Boscombe 10k
Tamzin Petersen ran her fastest race on the Boscombe 10k course to come in as 20th female

Phil had a couple of niggles so he knew a PB wasn’t on the cards. He really wanted to do the race though as it was his 7th race of the Dorset Road Race League season so he knew he’d get in the final rankings if he did it.

Fortunately he was able to turn to Tamzin to keep him focused and distract him from any pain whilst on his way round. The race didn’t start off as planned but they made constant progress throughout the duration, chasing down and overtaking those ahead.

Phil Cherrett in the Boscombe 10k
Phil Cherrett accompanied Tamzin on the way in what was his 7th Dorset Road Race League fixture of the season

Next two other Bournemouth AC runners arrived on the finishing straight together, although that situation wasn’t quite as contrived. They were Mike White and Ian Graham.

A dog-eat-dog sprint finish ensued between the two of them, with Mike pipping Ian to post and taking 174th place in a time of 46:34. Knowing it wasn’t going to a PB for him, Mike just treated the race as a fast training run. He’s back training hard again now though and is confident he can push on in 2019.

Mike White in the Boscombe 10k
Mike White heads toward the track at Kings Park for what would turn out to be an enthralling sprint finish

Followed in immediately after Mike, Ian took 175th place with an official time of 46:38. Ian Graham finished 2nd in the M70 category on the day, with Ian Barnes of Poole Runners getting the category win in 43:46.

Ian Graham in the Boscombe 10k
Ian Graham heads toward a 2nd place finish in the M70 category but a win in his age group for the Dorset Road Race League season

Off the back of a disappointing run at the Wimborne 10 the previous weekend, Louise Price was hoping to redeem herself at the Boscombe 10k. On this occasion she had a much better run, finishing in a time of 51:10, which put her in 276th place overall and 58th female out of 230.

In the F50 category, Louise was placed 10th out of 38 which was a pretty good result. Appreciating the support she had whilst going round the course, Louise thoroughly enjoyed the race.

Louise Price in the Boscombe 10k
Louise Price had a much better run than she did the week before at the Wimborne 10

Next home for the yellow and blue army was Helen Ambrosen who came in 293rd in a time of 52:12. That made her 64th female and put her 2nd in the F60 category, beaten only by Jane Neal of Poole AC who finished in 48:51. After a tough week of training that had left her feeling a touch of fatigue, Helen was happy with the end result.

Helen Ambrosen in the Boscombe 10k
Helen Ambrosen arrives at Kings Park and makes her way toward the finish where she would take 2nd place in the F60 category

Recording a fantastic new PB of 54:27, Samantha Laws was the final Bournemouth AC member to arrive at the finish, taking 337th place out of a total of 537 who completed the race.

That put her 83rd in the women’s race and 17th in the F45 category. Sam’s previous best of 55:44 was set at the Boscombe 10k in 2016, so she bettered that by 1 minute and 17 seconds.

Sam Laws in the Boscombe 10k
Sam Laws puffs out her cheeks as she motors toward the finish to record a terrific new 10k PB

The results from the top five scorers – Tag, László, Stu, Ross and Ollie were enough to secure victory for Bournemouth AC in the men’s team competition.

The scenario mirrored the overall results of the 2018 season, with Poole AC taking a valiant 2nd place with their top five of Chris Alborough, David Jones, James McCafferey, Gary Tissington and Harry Lauste.

Bournemouth AC were the men's team winners at the Boscombe 10k
Tag and Stu were on hand to collect the men’s team prize at the Boscombe 10k, with László also contributing

So in terms of the final standings for the Dorset Road Race League, Bournemouth AC won the Men’s First Division with a perfect record of 7 wins from their best 7 races giving them a score of 7 in a ‘lowest score wins’ format. Poole AC were 2nd on 11 points with Poole Runners 3rd on 22 and Littledown Harriers 4th on 23.

In the Ladies’ First Division, Poole Runners were the victors, also managing a perfect record of 7 wins from their best 7 races to give them a score of 7. Littledown Harriers took 2nd on 14 points with Bournemouth AC in 3rd on 16.

In the Men’s individual league table, Iain Trickett topped the tree with 8 points from his best 7 races, so that was 6 wins and one 2nd place. Chris Alborough was 2nd on 25 points, with Brian Underwood of Poole AC in 3rd on 34 and Chris Wood of Wimborne 34th on 46.

Bournemouth AC’s highest scorer was Stu Nicholas, who finished 5th with 49 points. Together with running 14 marathons, that equated to a very fine season for Stu, who has been able to excel in both his own personal venture whilst also helping the team out at every given opportunity.

Another BAC member who had a great season was Sean Edwards, who was 6th overall with 60 points. Sean was of course affiliated to Lytchett Manor Striders for the first part of the season and had scored for them in a few races which meant when he transferred to BAC his results weren’t counted in the team competition.

In the individual though he continued to produce good results and his performances were enough to see him victorious in the 21-24 category.

Other BAC members placing well in the final standings were Rich Brawn who was 14th with 169 points and Tom Paskins who was 15th with 172 points.

In the individual competition for the ladies it was Clare Martin who claimed the title with 19 points from her best 7 races. Jessica Marshall of Weymouth was 2nd with 26 points with Paula Barker of Poole Runners in 3rd on 36.

The highest placed Bournemouth AC women was Tamzin Petersen who finished 8th with 102 points. Louise Price was 18th with 216 points.

Then there was of course a win for Jud Kirk in the 60-64 category as he finished the season with 335 points. That put him 33rd overall. His nearest rival, Nigel Haywood of Purbeck Runners finished on 395 points which put him 38th overall.

There was also a win for Ian Graham in the 70-74 category, with his total of 684 points putting him in 53rd place overall. That was enough to see him finish comfortably clear of Pete Clarke of Weymouth who was 2nd on 796 and Geoff Parrott who was 3rd on 800.

After the Boscombe 10k race many of the BAC members gathered in the office for coffee and cakes and to celebrate what had turned out to be cracking season, all things considered.

Bournemouth AC team at Boscombe 10k
Great team performances from both the men’s and women’s squads saw Bournemouth AC victorious at the Boscombe 10k rounding off a very successful season

Team captain Rich Nelson has to take a lot of plaudits for battling against adversity to assemble a team of five men and three ladies for each fixture that would be able to challenge for the top positions.

That was no easy task but he put everything he had into it to help put the club in a position to reclaim the crown that Poole AC took off them in the Men’s First Division last season.

Hopefully next season the BAC ladies team will also be able to mount a serious challenge for the top spot and it will be all hands on deck to ensure the yellow and blue army give a good account of themselves again in 2019 season.













Linn Erixon Sahlström battles Beacons Ultra

Linn Erixon Sahlström reaches the finish of the Beacons Ultra
In her last big race of the year, Linn Erixon Sahlström was in Wales for the Beacons Ultra – a 50 mile race that she astonishingly classes as a “fun run”

How do you follow up a 123.4 kilometre TDS race that forms part of the famous Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc event, featuring an elevation gain of 6,800m? It’s not easy because the UTMB is the very pinnacle of the ultra-distance, mountain running realm and once you’ve been there and had that experience, there are very few races that can provide that same buzz, or even anything close to it.

Linn Erixon Sahlström had found it difficult to mentally recharge from the TDS, which she completed two-and-a-half months ago and consequently her training since then has been pretty minimal.

She had hoped that with the prospect of her next race on the horizon, she’d be able to get herself in gear and find that motivation again but it hadn’t happened. It was a good job then that her next conquest was only a “fun run”.

Well, I say “fun run”, by that I mean 47 miles through the Brecon Beacons!! In the crazy, extreme distance, ultra-running world that Linn has become a part of, that does almost qualify as a “fun run”.

By virtue of the fact the Beacons Ultra was ‘only’ a 47 mile race, Linn knew it was going to be a fast one in comparison to the TDS and some other of the other longer races she’s done such as the Jurassic Coast 100 miler that she completed back in June.

Originally her aim was to get a top three finish but seeing as she’d only ran a total of 50 miles over a two week period in the lead up to the race, she was forced to reassess her aims and switch the target to just completing the course. With minimal training behind her, that alone was going to present enough of a challenge.

The longest training run she’d done in preparation for the event was a 10 miler, so once she got beyond that in the race, it started to hurt. Managing to tap into the ultra mindset, she managed to push through the first loop of the two loop course, arriving at the half way stage in just over four hours. That was actually bang on target for Linn and put her in 55th place overall.

At that stage she felt like dropping out though. She wasn’t enjoying it and was finding it difficult to stay motivated but she had no real reason to drop out. She didn’t have any injuries and the aches she did have were manageable. Plus her crew told her that abandoning the race was not an option.

She went out for the second loop knowing that she would actually finish. It was now just a case of embracing the run and enjoying the wonderful scenery that comes with it. The sun was out now as well and some of the views were sensational.

Scenery from the Breacon Beacons
Linn was surrounded by beautiful scenery at the Brecon Beacons where the race was located

Although she was in a bit more of a positive frame of mind by this point, there were a few sluggish drags that were very mentally draining. She also fell over a couple of times because of fatigue, which is something that very rarely happens to Linn.

She managed to dig deep though and summon up her Viking spirit to help her get through the tough moments. She even managed to pick up some speed over the last 15 kilometres and finished strongly, crossing the line as the winner of her own battles.

With a finishing time of 8 hours 45 minutes and 41 seconds, she took 51st place in a field that to begin with contained 241 runners. Only 209 of those runners successfully completed the race, which gives some indication of how tough it was and how much character and tenacity it takes just to get to the finish line.

Linn Erixon Sahlström in the Beacons Ultra
Linn arrived at the finish in 51st place overall and she the 6th woman over the line, clocking a time of 8:45:41

Considering she wasn’t really in the right place, either mentally or physically, for this race, Linn actually did really well. She was the 6th woman over the line, which was a commendable result, and she’d racked up 5,564ft of elevation throughout the course of the race.

The top ladies in the race were all renowned for their speed and all five of them were under the age of 30 as well, which made Linn feel pretty good for finishing where she did, even though she wasn’t sufficiently trained for the task.

Races of around the 50 mile mark tend to favour the young, or the former marathon runners, as they have the speed to get round quickly. Linn knows that her main strength lies in endurance, rather than speed, hence she tends to fair better in longer races.

Linn Erixon Sahlström after the Beacons Ultra
Linn triumphed in her own internal battle with herself as she completed the 47 mile race despite wanting to quit at the half way stage

It does sound strange in a way to think of 50-mile races as being short and fast but that’s where Linn is at in her running. She favours races that are much further in distance than that, such as the 100 kilometre and 100 mile variety.

That said, it can be an exciting challenge for Linn to do one of these “fun runs” as she calls them, ever once in a while, just to get those legs spinning a bit faster. Next time she’ll do it a bit earlier in the season though.

She’s made a mental note not to do any more races in November again as her body and mind both need a break from running competitively. Those are the learnings she will take back with her from her Beacons Ultra experience.

That’s it for Linn now. She’ll be signing off for the season now, allowing herself some time out to rest and reflect on what has turned out to be an excellent season for her, all things considered. Then it will be time to make some exciting plans for next year’s adventures.

Nice sunset over the Breacon Beacons
As the sun sets on her season, as far as competitive races go at least, Linn can look back on her year with immense pride at what she’s accomplished






Pete Thompson and Billy McGreevy go in Gosport Half Marathon

Billy McGreevy and Pete Thompson after Gosport Half Marathon
Billy McGreevy (in the black jacket) and Pete Thompson (in the orange jacket) were both in the lineup for the Gosport Half Marathon

As one of the biggest, fastest and flattest half marathons in the south, it’s easy to see why the Gosport Half Marathon is attracts a decent sized field.

This year’s race featured 1,648 competitors and in amongst them were two Bournemouth AC members, namely Pete Thompson and Billy McGreevy.

Pete Thompson has been off the race circuit for quite a while, understandably, after completing his incredible challenge where he ran the entire route of the Tour de France in 68 days.

The Gosport Half represented a good opportunity for Pete to get back out there in competitive action and see where his fitness is at.

As for Billy, he ran the 10k at the New Forest Marathon event in September, finishing in 3rd place with a time of 36:58. He also completed the ABP Southampton Marathon, which was on the same day as the London Marathon back in April.

In that race he finished 23rd out of 1,103 people, crossing the line in 3:04:41. Although it wasn’t as quicker time as he’d been targeting, it was good for such a ferociously hot day.

Pete and Billy have also done several races together. In July they both formed part of the “Marathons for the Mind” team at the Lytchett Relays, with both running a very fast 5k leg.

The pair also completed the Heartbreak Marathon together in February 2017 and 2016 and they were both in action at the Great Bristol Half Marathon in September 2016. They even both featured in the Amsterdam Marathon in 2015 and the Berlin Marathon back in 2014.

The route for the Gosport Half Marathon consists of two laps, mostly along the seafront at Lee-on-the-Solent. The outbound journey is run on cycle paths and pavement, with the return leg along the esplanade.

Pete Thompson in the Gosport Half Marathon
Pete Thompson hadn’t done many races since his famous Tour de France challenge where he ran the entire route of the world’s biggest bike race over 68 consecutive days

All the runners benefited from fantastic support from the watching crowds as they made their way round the course which came as a welcome source of inspiration.

The race also happened to be a Hampshire Road Race League fixture which meant that it attracted a highly competitive field with points up for grabs for all the top Hampshire clubs.

In spite of the quality opposition that he was up against, Pete Thompson had a really good run, completing the course in a super-fast time of 1:19:45. That put him in 45th place overall, which was not a bad return in such a large field.

Billy McGreevy in the Gosport Half Marathon
Billy McGreevy wasn’t at his absolute peak but was still looking to go quick and finish with a high placing

Billy wasn’t far behind Pete either, coming in at 1:21:06, which put him in 59th place. This was only a couple of minutes off of Billy’s personal best which was set at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival last year. He knew he’s not in PB shape at the moment so to get the time he did was a pleasing result for Billy.

The winner of the race was Tom Merson of Exmouth Harriers, who completed the course in a mega quick 1:07:31. Daniel Eckersley of Kingston AC and Polytechnic Harriers was 2nd in a time of 1:10:59, with Steve Gallienne of Bideford AAC taking 3rd in 1:12:22.

Lorna Russell of Winchester was 1st female in 1:18:47, which put her in 35th overall. Then it was Lesley Locks of Hart Road Runners in 1:20:47 and Emma Jolley from City of Portsmouth AC who crossed the line in 1:21:06.

Billy McGreevy and Pete Thompson after Gosport Half Marathon
It was a good result for both Pete and Billy, with Pete both finishing in the top 60 of a highly competitive field containing many of Hampshire’s top road runners