For the second year in a row, Julian Oxborough headed over to Yeovilton for the Heron Half Marathon. The race is held on the same day and is part of the same event as the Yeovil Marathon, organised by Yeovil Town Road Running Club.
Last year Julian completed the course in 3 hours 4 minutes and 38 seconds so that gave him a good benchmark to aim for. If he could improve on that, that would be a result. If he could get under three hours, even better.
He was coming off the back of a great time at Glastonbury so was feeling pretty high. Not the music festival though… The “Round the Tor 10k” race at the Glastonbury Road Run event.
Before that he’d had to withdraw from a few races due to ill health so it was a positive step for Julian to be back out there again and he did well to finish in 1:14:44.
Of course, he knew a half marathon was going to be tougher than a 10k but he felt prepared and ready to give it his best shot.
The route was on a fairly flat road surface round the villages surrounding the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, which is home to over 100 Royal Navy aircraft operated by front line and training squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm and Commando Helicopter Force.
The weather was fairly warm on the day so Julian decided to set off fairly conservatively. For the first few miles he was going at between 12 and 13 minutes per mile. Up to the ninth mile, he remained at under 14 minutes per mile.
On the ninth mile he caught up with some runners whom he recognized from the start line. In fact, they were the very same runners who had ridiculed him at the start of the race, telling him to take it easy as he’ll have no one else around him to worry about.
He waved at them and said “Have a nice day!” as he went past. They perhaps won’t be making that same mistake again.
For the next four miles Julian was keeping to just over 14 miles before going back down to sub 13 minute miling for the last mile and cranking it up a notch for the final 0.2 of a mile.
Since he was finishing so strongly, it was clear to see that Julian was feeling good on the day and had paced the race fairly well. In fact, his finishing time was 2:56:38, giving him an improvement of 8 minutes on his time from last year.
He was over the moon with that result and although he found it mentally tough, he’d managed to find the resolve to keep pushing on as the miles went by.
His finishing position was 230th and he was 33rd in the M50-59 category. It was his third fastest half marathon since coming back into running. The other two were the Salisbury Half Marathons of 2016 and 2017.
Funnily enough, the next race Julian has got lined up is the Salisbury Half Marathon in September. He’s hoping for a time of around 2:30, which would be a huge improvement.
There’s a lot of hard work ahead if he’s going to achieve that goal but one thing is for sure and that is that Julian will give it his best and will make sure he acquits himself well for it.
With race entries capped at 300 for the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon it was always going to prove tricky for Bournemouth AC team captain Rich Nelson to get a competitive team together for the sixth fixture of the Dorset Road Race League season.
After a fair bit of toing and froing and some neat juggling though, Rich did manage to assemble a reasonable team as the club continued their challenge for men’s Dorset Road Race League First Division title.
Jacek Cieluszecki and Josh Cole had been drafted into the line-up to add some much needed steel to squad which also included Rich Brawn, Tom Paskins and Matt Du Cros. After Ian Graham pulled out, Wayne Walford Jelks had also taken a last minute entry to complete the team for BAC.
Unfortunately on this occasion there was no Bournemouth AC ladies present so this was going to go down as a throw-away fixture for them. That’s not a total disaster though as the Dorset Road Race League is decided on the best 7 of 12 races, so there is room for a few nil pointers in the season.
When the race got underway, a lead group of three was established, consisting of JC, Josh Cole and Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders. Behind them were a few Egdon Heath Harriers, along with Chris Wood of Wimborne. Then slightly further back there was Rich Brawn and Joseph Sherwood of Littledown.
Due to work commitments, Josh Cole has been forced to do the bulk of his training over two sessions per week so it was always going to be difficult for him to be at his best over a hilly half marathon route.
As consequence, he was dropped from the lead group, leaving just JC and Lee Dempster out front. They were together for the first four miles, then on the fifth mile, Jacek began to flex his muscles a bit and accelerate away from Lee. From that point on, it was all academic really, as once JC takes the lead in a race, he invariably doesn’t give it up.
Having not really trained much for a half marathon race, Rich Brawn was hoping that he’d be able to tap into the fitness gains he’d made whilst training for the London Marathon. He’d done a couple of long runs the week before but wasn’t sure if it would be enough to see him out for the full 13.1 miles.
High on confidence though after a recent parkrun PB and a 5-mile best in the last Dorset Road Race League fixture, the May 5, Rich started off quickly but knew there was a good chance he’d struggle to maintain the pace in the latter stages.
The course for the Puddletown Plod features some good downhill stretches over the first few miles. The kicker is though, you then have to go back the hills over the last few miles, which making it a very testing out-and-back course.
About 6 miles in, Rich was joined by Neil Sexton and John Towner of Poole Runners who had caught him up. Rich has had some good tussles with Neil in recent races so he wasn’t surprised to see him arrive.
The three of them ran together for the next couple of miles but Rich was starting to struggle a touch. The heat was starting to get to him and the relentless hills were quite energy sapping. He could tell from the way Neil and John were running that they were feeling strong.
After about 8 miles, Rich knew he wouldn’t be able to continue at that pace for another 5 miles so decided he’d have to let Neil and John go. As they began to edge away from him, Rich cracked. It was like a cyclist in a grand tour when they suddenly crack in the mountains and get left behind by the group. He felt like he had no fight left in him.
Meanwhile at the front of the race, JC had ran superbly over the first 9 miles at around 5:35 pace, extending his advantage over Lee as the race went on. The real climbing started on the 10th mile and continued up to the end of the 12th mile.
For JC though, the hills were meat and drink and he powered up them well, leaving him with a 1-mile burst to the line. Finishing in a time of 1:13:19, Jacek sealed a strong and convincing victory. Lee came over the line 1 minute and 22 seconds later to take 2nd place in 1:14:41.
Josh Cole had ran well to hold on to 3rd place, finishing in 1:17:46. Unfortunately he had picked up an injury during the race though which left him limping over the line. It felt like a bad one as well and may potentially keep him out of action for quite some time.
Paul Bullimore of Egdon Heath Harriers picked up 4th place, finishing in 1:18:12, with Chris Wood taking 5th in 1:20:17 and Joseph Sherwood of Littledown in 6th in 1:20:37.
Edgon also got another couple of scorers in the top ten, with Bruce Campbell taking 7th in 1:21:09 and Graham Sherwin in 10th 1:21:42. Lytchett Manor Striders pair Tom Andrews and Edward Crawley took 8th and 9th in 1:21:25 and 1:21:37 respectively.
Neil Sexton had had cracking run to take 11th place, recording a good PB of 1:21:50. His Poole Runners teammate John Towner crossed the line in 12th, exactly a minute later.
Rich Brawn had found the hills over the last section of the race tough to contend with, particularly the long stretch up from miles 11 to 12.
He mustered up a bit of strength for the last mile though and managed to hold onto 13th place, securing himself a decent new PB of exactly 1 hour 23 minutes. That beat his previous best from the Berkhamsted Half Marathon by 40 seconds.
Tom Paskins had been suffering from a bit of a hamstring injury which had prevented him from going as quickly as he might have liked during the race. He’d also been struggling with hay-fever, which was causing him some breathing difficulties and the Puddletown Plod course is generally quite unforgiving for an infliction of that sort.
As a result Tom was well below what he would usually be capable of in a half marathon, crossing the line in exactly 1 hour 27 minutes, putting him in 28th place. Unfortunately, three more Egdon Heath Harriers had come in in the three minutes between 1:24 and 1:27, as well as four Littledown Harriers.
That saw Bournemouth AC pushed down to 3rd in the Dorset Road Race League, with Egdon taking out the win and Littledown sneaking in for a surprise 2nd place. It certainly not the result the BAC team had been expecting.
Having not run a great deal since his North Dorset Village Marathon, the Puddletown Plod wasn’t exactly a race that Matt du Cros was relishing. He’s aiming to complete all 12 of the Dorset Road Race League fixtures this season though so, having completed the marathon, he wasn’t about to let that record slip.
As a result, his aim was simple and that was just get round unscathed. Starting the race off very conservatively, he began to grow in strength as the race continued. Over the latter stages, he found he had a lot more energy left, finishing with a strong last few miles that propelled him up the leader-board.
Reaching the line in 1:35:13, Matt ended the day as 5th scorer for Bournemouth AC, taking 49th place overall. After the race he couldn’t help feeling that he should have gone off harder in the early part of the race. Since he’d had so much left at the end, he knows he could have done better if he’d got the strategy right.
In the women’s race, it was Isobel Rea of West 4 Harriers who took out the win, crossing the line in 1:27:38. That put her in 30th place overall. Alexandra Door of Egdon Heath Harriers found an opening to take 2nd place in a time of 1:32:50, putting her in 43rd place overall.
Her Egdon teammate Sophie Elford went on to finish as 3rd placed lady, completing the course in 1:36:56. Crossing the line as 9th placed female, Sarah Hyde completed the winning team for Egdon Heath Harriers, with Lytchett Manor Striders taking 2nd place and Littledown Harriers getting 3rd.
That meant current league leaders Poole Runners found themselves languishing in 4th position for that particular fixture. They still of course had a commanding lead over the season thus far, with Egdon Heath remaining in 2nd and Bournemouth AC staying in 3rd, just above Littledown.
Although he found it a struggle with minimal training behind him, Wayne Walford Jelks still managed to make it round, crossing the line in 2:08:05 to put him in 215th place overall. It may not have been one of his fastest races but it will serve as a good starting point for Wayne in his bid to recover his fitness.
In the league standings for the Men’s First Division, that win had brought Egdon Heath Harriers level with Bournemouth AC at the top of the table. It is looking increasingly like they will provide a strong challenge to BAC throughout the season so it should be an enthralling battle between the two for the coveted Dorset Road Race League title.
That also meant it would be all to play for in the next league fixture, the Pubeck 10k, with each race potentially proving vital in deciding the who will emerge as this year’s champions.
For many years now, the Poole Festival of Running has been an event well supported in numbers from a Bournemouth AC perspective, as well as the other local clubs around the area. This year’s edition saw an interesting twist to the proceedings when the Twemlow training group containing many of Dorset’s finest club runners made the controversial decision to ditch their club vests in favour of a freshly printed Twemlow Anchors attire. That was a move that certainly ruffled some feathers on the Dorset club scene.
The weekend proceedings began with Saturday evening’s 5k ‘Run for Cancer’. In that race Jacek Cieluszecki was looking to defend his crown from last year, when he came out on top in both the 5k and the half marathon race the following day.
Others vying for top honours in this year’s 5k included JC’s Bournemouth AC teammate Rob McTaggart and Chris Alborough of Poole AC. The Dorset Runners’ equilibrium was about to take its first denting of the weekend when Steve Gallienne from Bideford AAC swooped in to steal the spoils.
Posting a spectacular time of 15:30, Steve had prevailed over Jacek with a winning margin of 7 seconds. Just as he had at Wings for Life in Florida and in the Maraton Juranda in Poland the previous weekend, JC had to settle for 2nd place.
That said though, he was pleased with his time of 15:37, which was pretty decent, especially just one week after a 2:35 marathon. Rob McTaggart also had a good run to take 3rd place, crossing the line in 15:45, with Chris Alborough taking 4th in 15:57. There were 383 finishers in total.
Both JC and Tag were in action again the following morning as they lined up in a star-studded field for the 10k race, also featuring Steve Way, Ant Clark, Dave Long, as well as Chris Alborough and Chris Wood of Wimborne AC.
With prize money at stake as well, you could guarantee that all the big names would be giving it their all which made for an exciting spectacle. The Twemlow Anchors did not seem to be weighed down by the new vest tops and dominated the proceedings, occupying the majority of the top ten places.
However, it was Steve Gallienne who again showed up to upset the applecart and romp home for the win, scooping the lion’s share of the lute on offer. Crossing the line in another extremely impressive time of 31:13, Steve completed a smash and grab raid that no one was expecting.
Even the super speedy Dave Long couldn’t quite contend with the Bideford man. Disco ran well though and at the end of a high mileage week, delivered a pleasing performance to reach the line in 31:47.
In third place, it was last year’s winner of the 10k race, Steve Way. Since returning from some high altitude training in the Alps as part of his preparation for the Comrades Marathon, Steve was looking in much better shape and had found some good form just at the right time.
Finishing in 32:12, it was an encouraging run for Steve and helped give him further confidence for Comrades the following weekend.
The next man to come in, taking 4th place in exactly 33 minutes, was Jacek. Resisting the temptation of the Twemlow tank top in favour of the traditional yellow and blue of BAC, JC completed very good double-header and he was pleased with his efforts.
Next over the line was David Broadley of Poole AC, sealing a 5th place finish in a time of 33:27. He came in just ahead of Tag, who managed 6th place to go along with his 3rd place in the 5k the previous day.
Registering a time of 33:36, that was good enough to see Tag take 3rd prize for the 5 and 10k double behind Steve Gallienne and JC. He ended the weekend £50 richer as a result but he certainly felt like he’d earned it.
Ant Clark followed in shortly after to take 7th place in a time of 33:57 arriving with Twemlow Anchors training buddy Mark Smith who was 8th in 33:58. Ant had also been with Steve on his training excursion to the Alps and was now feeling ready to go for Comrades after this last little taper effort.
Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC and Chris Alborough completed the top ten, finishing in times of 34:08 and 34:43 respectively, Chris being the next man to complete his 5 and 10k double.
The first female over the line was Louise Damon of Winchester & District who came in in 14th place, clocking a time of 35:58. She was followed by Lucy Marland who was 16th in a time of 36:07.
Former Bournemouth AC member Heidi Tregenza, now representing Cornwall AC, took the prize for 3rd female, finishing 18th overall in a time of 36:11.
Emma Caplan was 4th woman to get to the line, finishing in a time of 38:01. That put her in 27th place overall and first in the F40-49 category.
Weighing in with his first sub 7-minutes-per-mile average pace 10k for quite some time, Ian White showed his form is progressing well. He finished in a time of 43:38 to take 95th place overall.
Sneaking in with a nice new 10k PB, Tamzin Petersen continued her cracking form of late to cross the line in 44:45. That bettered her time at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival last October by 14 seconds and put her 5th in the Senior Female category and 120th overall.
Following up her recent 5 mile PB at the May 5 in Canford Heath and a 3rd placed female finish at the Ramsbury 5 mile race before that, it’s been a good couple of months for Tamzin.
Unfortunately it wasn’t such a successful outing for Phil Cherrett. He was violently sick after the first 5k and then a couple more times before getting to 8k. By then he’d already lost a lot of time but somehow managed to muster up a decent finish to get over the line in 47:48.
That put him in 171st place overall. It was a miracle he even finished at all though after suffering in the way that he did.
The next Bournemouth AC member over the line was Katrina White, who completed the course in a time of 48:52. That saw her to 16th place in the Senior Female category and 193rd place overall. It was over a minute quicker than the time she posted at the Bournemouth Bay Run in April so a pleasing run for Katrina.
After being out of action for a while due to a calf injury, Simon Hunt took it slow and steady, managing to make it through the race okay. Crossing the line in a time of 48;50, Simon was 6th in the M60-69 category and 199th overall. His wife Marilyn who runs for City of Salisbury also ran, completing the course in 1:06:33, which put her 17th in the F60-69 category. A total of 850 runners completed the 10k race.
In the team competition for the 10k, it was a clean sweep for Bournemouth AC, with Dave Long, Steve Way and JC taking 1st in the men’s and Emma, Tamzin and Katrina taking 1st place in the women’s.
The Half Marathon race started off at the same time as the 10k but only featured one Bournemouth AC representative and that was Pawel Surowiec. Pawel had only landed back from a trip to Washington on Friday night and was still feeling jet lagged when he took to the start line.
As a consequence he wasn’t really feeling mentally ready for the challenge that a half marathon would present and that made it difficult for him. Nonetheless though, he pressed on and completed the course, crossing the line in a time of 1:36:23. That put him in 49th place out of 403 finishers.
Lee Dempster was flying the flag for the Twemlow Anchors in the Half Marathon and he picked up the victory, crossing the line in an excellent time of 1:15:13. That gave him a winning margin of almost two-and-a-half minutes over his Lytchett Manor Striders clubmate Scott Parfitt, who finished 2nd in 1:17:41.
Returning to his natural home of Cornwall to compete for this second claim club of St Austell isn’t abnormal for Stu Nicholas. It’s something he likes to do every so often. In fact he completed his 50th marathon there last November making for a very memorable occasion that day.
His latest race over in that part of the world was a very different prospect though. The Cornish Imerys Trail Marathon offers a very unique running experience. It is staged on land belonging to Cornwall’s China Clay industry, giving it a type of terrain very rarely encountered by a runner.
It was very lumpy and bumpy underfoot making it extremely tough going, even for an experienced marathon maestro like Stu. He negotiated the difficult surroundings like a true pro though and was soon up the front, on his own, leaving everyone else trailing in his wake.
He made light work of the china clay mining surfaces and moulded a superb performance with a fine finish. And what’s more, although it was such tough ground to run on, Stu still completed the course in under three hours, which was extremely impressive.
His time of 2:59:12 was 21 minutes and 27 seconds quicker than his nearest rival on the day, who was Wendy Chapman of Truro Running Club.
It was another strong win for Stu after he recently came out on top in the Dark Ox Quarter Marathon. He also secured a new PB of 2:43:10 at the Brighton Marathon in April.
And at the Imerys Trail Marathon, despite the fact that it was such a surreal environment, Stu had delivered another marathon masterclass. In fact, he described it as almost lunar. One thing was for sure though and that was that he was over the moon with his emphatic and dominant display.
It would probably be fair to say that the conditions weren’t exactly awe inspiring when Georgia Wood arrived north of the border for the Edinburgh Half Marathon but she wasn’t about to let that stand in her way.
Georgia trains for events like a proper athlete and does benefit from having a fiancé in Tom Craggs who is an England Athletics coach. At the end of the day though, she still has to go out and do the training herself and work hard to get herself into the best possible shape she can for her target races.
With her mothering duties to baby Chloe keeping her occupied for much of the time though, it’s always a tricky juggling act for Georgia. In fact it’s difficult for both her and Tom as they both want to devote time to running as well as running their businesses and whatever else they’ve got going on at the time.
Georgia quite often tends to get bad luck as well in the lead up to races. For instance, Chloe seems to get ill quite often at that time, which consequently has effect on Georgia. Even if she doesn’t catch the bug, there’s still the knock-on effect of the sleepless nights that she has to cope with.
She was also experiencing a problem with her eye as race day drew ever closer and that had caused her vision to be impaired on occasions when she went over to the track for a training session. She sometimes gets a sty forming which can in turn cause her eye to become swollen.
Nevertheless though, Georgia is pretty good at coping with whatever comes her way and she took it all in her stride. When she arrived at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, she was focused and ready for action.
The Edinburgh Half Marathon has been touted to be one of the fastest courses in the UK so she did at least have that on her side. The route starts off on a downhill curve, then flattens out for the rest of the race, meaning little or no inclines to contend with.
Making a very fast start, it was clear from an early stage what Georgia’s intentions were. Hitting the 10k point in a super-quick time of 37:34, if she was able to sustain that pace, she was on for an epic time.
As she reached the 11 mile point, she began to think that a sub-1:20 time might be possible. If she could push hard over those last couple of miles, it was within her grasp.
Then she turned round the corner and was greeted by a massive headwind. It was gutting as just as she’d got her hopes up that she was going to produce something extra special, they then got dashed.
She did her best to push on through it but inevitably did lose some time in the end. Crossing the line in a still very impressive time of 1:20:46, Georgia was 4th placed female on the day and 1st in the Over 35 category.
What’s more, she’d come in 80th out of the entire field, which consisted of 10,965, or at least that’s how many finished the race. It was an extremely impressive result for Georgia.
It was also a Bournemouth AC club record as well, meaning no female BAC athlete has ever run a faster half marathon. That’s quite an achievement really when you think that Bournemouth AC has always been quite an elite club in terms of the standard of its members.
The previous best half marathon time recorded before that was clocked by Charlotte Penfold at the Waford Half Marathon back in 2010. She ran it in 1:21:13 and must have thought at the time that there was in danger of that being beaten in the near future.
Amazingly though, despite all that, Georgia still wasn’t happy with the run. She had been targeting a sub-1:20 time and was disappointed not to get it. Of course, had the headwind not have been so prevalent in that last couple of miles she may well have got there.
That does of course happen in running sometimes. You don’t always get the conditions you would choose. That’s partly what makes it so challenging. You have to take whatever comes your way and do the best you can.
Ultimately though, it was still a tremendous run for Georgia though and no doubt she’ll look back on it with a lot of pride once the dust settles. There will be other opportunities in the future for her to seek that illusive sub-1:20.
Choosing the Royal Berkshire 10k as a feeler race to find out where he’s at with his fitness, Simon Hearn was hoping for a confidence boosting run ahead of his main target race which is a half marathon in Normandy next weekend.
With a brand new training plan, Simon has been training really hard over the past eight weeks to get into the best shape possible for his half marathon and he’s well and truly rediscovered his running mojo in the process.
Simon loves to mix it up with his training, constantly looking for interesting new training plans once he’s set himself a target race to aim for. He finds the variety of varying the sessions up and doing a different plan helps him get motivated and push on to the next level.
He did have a bit of senior moment in the build up to the race when he entered the May 5 race in Canford Heath which, it turned out, was on the same day as the Royal Berkshire 10k.
Fortunately the May 5 was a league race though so it was quite easy for find someone for Bournemouth AC who could take his place for that one, leaving Simon to concentrate on the 10k he’d originally set out to do.
The Royal Berkshire 10k was held at Green Park in Reading and was a flat, fast and friendly race with a single lap route. It was a nice sunny day as well and with his fitness looking good, everything was in place for Simon to go well. Could he deliver on the day though, that was the question.
Setting his virtual pacer to a speed that would see him complete the race in just under 40 minutes, Simon started off much quicker than that. In fact, for the early part of the race he was going at 6:15 pace.
It felt good though and even though it was faster than he’d planned, he felt really comfortable to that pace so decided to stick with it. As the race progressed, he found he was able to stay at that pace and that surprised him somewhat.
For the majority of the race he’d been running with a group, but because he was feeling so strong, he was able to pull away from them in the last mile. Arriving at finish in a tremendous new PB time of 39:04, it was a performance that shocked even Simon himself.
His previous best time was 39:29 which he did at Bournemouth Bay in 2017. He’d now just eclipsed that by 25 seconds. It was a fairly significant margin.
Finishing in 42nd place out of 1,462, Simon was third over the line in the M50 category out of 142, which was a cracking result for him.
Although he was really satisfied with the run, there was a part of Simon that was now thinking, if only he’d pushed a little harder he could have got a sub-39 time. That is one that will surely be on his mind next time he does a 10k though.
It was probably good in a way that he didn’t realise he’d be getting so close to 39 minutes though as he’s most likely kept something back for his half marathon next weekend and that is the most important thing for him right now.
His aims for the race in Normandy will simply be to get a sub-1:30, which is something he always targets in half marathons. In the form he’s in now though who knows? Perhaps he could be in line for another PB.
Going back to the place where it all began, it was an emotional occasion for Jacek Cieluszecki as he returned to Szczytno in Poland for the 30th edition of the Maraton Juranda.
The Maraton Juranda is actually one of the oldest marathons in Poland, dating back to 1981 when it was first established. As any eagle eyed mathematicians will have noticed, that is more than 30 years ago but the race was actually suspended for an eight year period, meaning this year was the big anniversary.
Since it is staged in his home town of Szczytno, Jacek had had the idea of making a triumphant return for the 30th edition of the race. It seemed only right that he should do so since this was the place where he started his journey with running.
Szczytno is located in the North Eastern region of Poland and was in fact formerly a German city named Ortelsburg. It was only towards the end of World War II that the Germans were driven out and Poland re-established the territory. The city was then placed under Polish administration.
It was the year 2000 when Jacek first started running. At that time he was 23 years old. He ran his first marathon in Szcytno in 2003 finishing in a time of 3 hours 36 minutes. He’s certainly come a long way since then it would be fair to say.
Because the Maraton Juranda is quite a small race and the standard isn’t usually that high, Jacek fancied his chances of picking up the win. It was only when he got onto the start line and saw Wojciech Kopeć that he realised he was going to have a real fight on his hands.
Kopeć is a very accomplished marathon runner and with a PB of 2:17. He’s not quite as strong at the moment but still very quick by peoples’ standards.
As the race got underway, it quickly became evident that it was going to be between Jacek and Wojciech. The course is very flat, giving the competitors every chance of a fast time if they’re on their game.
For the first six miles Jacek was going at around 5:50 sort of pace. Wojciech was slightly ahead at that point and had build up a slender advantage. There was a 10 second gap between them as they went through the 11.5km point, with Wojciech going through in 42:41.
For the next 6 miles Jacek remained between 5:50 and 6 minutes per mile but at the half way point, Wojciech had extended his advantage to 45 seconds, coming in in 1:16:13. Jacek arrived in 1:16:58.
From that point on the race was on and Jacek knew he had a tough task ahead to close the gap. He continued to blast through the miles at just over 6 minutes per mile for most of them.
He was feeling good but a little sluggish and he just couldn’t seem to accelerate any faster in order to close the gap. There was never more than 90 seconds between the pair of them though and in the later stages of the race, Jacek was beginning to clawback some time.
He really pushed hard on the last couple of miles, upping his pace to 5:50 but in the end it wasn’t quite enough and Kopeć took the win. Finishing in 2:35:59, he successfully managed to hold off the challenge from the homecoming hero JC.
There was only 17 seconds between them in the end though, with Jacek crossing the line in 2:36:16. After a full 26.2 miles of running, that’s a very small gap for a winning margin but it was enough.
It was a disappointing result for Jacek as he would have loved to have been victorious, but it was still a fantastic effort all the same. With an average pace of 5:56 for the run, he couldn’t really have asked any more of himself. It just wasn’t to be on the day.
It was the second time recently that Jacek had been forced into the runner up spot by a fellow Polish national. It also happened at the Wings for Life World Run event in Sunrise, Florida, where Dariusz Nożyński had a gap of just over two kilometres on JC after they’d run for over 30 miles evading the chase of the Catcher Car.
Of course, Jacek has still won his fair share of races over the past few months, including the Maverick inov-8 Original Dorset ‘Short’ route, the East Cliff Easter Quarter Marathon, the Dorset Ooser Marathon, the Weymouth Half Marathon and the Portland Coastal Marathon.
With the winning mentality that he has, it’s never feels like a success to Jacek when finishes second. The following weekend it was a double-race weekender for Jacek as he took on the 5k and the 10 at Poole Running Festival.
This Sunday he’ll be hoping to set the record straight and get back to winning ways at the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon which is the next fixture in the Dorset Road Race League calendar.
It turned out to be her toughest, most technical and most demanding race yet, and also the scariest as well, which is saying something as Linn Erixon Sahlström has been involved in some pretty daunting races in the past.
She’s divided and conquered the 123 kilometre TDS race at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, which featured 6,800 metres of elevation.
She’s completed the 100-mile Jurassic Coast Challenge where she finished as 1st female and 5th overall, amassing 16,000ft of elevation.
She ran the 47-mile Brecon Beacons Ultra in November last year, racking up over 5,500ft of elevation. And all the more impressively, in her first ever race she completed the 250km Trans Scania race in Sweden.
Ever since then, she was bitten by the ultra bug and just wanted to do more of them. She’s also completed a 100k race in the Lake District where she finished as 2nd female and a 100k from Manchester to Sheffield where she was 1st female.
The Ultra-Trail Snowdonia 50 was a different prospect altogether though. It was 53 miles, incorporating 5,200 metres of elevation. In this race though, she felt more like a rock climber than a runner.
With her poles facing vertical at times, she attempted the scramble up the backside of Snowdon, desperately trying not to lose her footing on the way up. It was as brutal and death-defying as it was stunning.
The level of scrambling experience required was unlike anything else she’s done before, and having raced in Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany and the UK, that is some statement.
She likes to believe she’s a mountain goat though and if she spent more time on that sort of terrain, she’d surely turn into one. She certainly proved herself to be more than adept on that type of terrain though, running, climbing and scrambling extremely well throughout the course of the race.
Approaching the last checkpoint, she was positioned 3rd lady. That would have been a terrific result for Linn, but things were about to improve significantly.
The two women in front of her both took a wrong turn, which left Linn in the clear to steal a spectacular victory. Navigation is of course a key part of the game and getting that right can make all the difference. She attributed a lot of that to her new Suunto 9 Baro watch which helped her find her way.
It was a totally unexpected triumph from Linn’s perspective but it was so very sweet. Completing the course in a time of 15 hours 57 minutes and 36 seconds, Linn finished in 23rd place overall, out of 128 who made it to the end.
There were 144 in the field to start off with, meaning 16 of those retired and did not complete the course. After 54.5 miles and 17,868ft of elevation, it was a monumental achievement from Linn to finish as 1st lady and certainly one that will live long in the memory.
Ineke Imbo of Belgium was 2nd lady and 24th overall, finishing almost 9 minutes later in a time of 16:06:28. Claire Shelley took 3rd placed lady and 25th overall in a time of 16:08:48.
The overall winner of the race was Josh Wade, who finished in a staggering time of 11 hours and 12 minutes. He was over an hour ahead of his nearest rival Liam Mills who took 2nd in 12:17:48. Ettienne Pillonel of Switzerland was 3rd in a time of 12:23:35.
The victory demonstrated just how competitive Linn is becoming in these types of races and also how amazingly skilled she is on the most technical of ascents. She will no doubt look back on this one with immense pride and fulfilment from what she has a achieved.
With the Jurassic Coast 100 just around the corner as well, Linn was straight back into training, continuing her relentless and unwavering pursuit of ultra glory.
With competition in the Dorset Road Race League heating up faster than the summer season temperatures, it was over to Canford Heath for the next fixture, the May 5, with the main contenders knowing the points could be vital in the push for the 2019 title.
With Edgon Heath Harriers fast emerging as realistic challengers for the men’s crown and Poole AC, as usual mounting a very strong challenge, it was crucial that the Bournemouth AC men pulled a good performance out of the bag.
The women’s first division was also delicately poised with Egdon Heath Harriers occupying top spot, with last year’s champions Poole Runners sitting in second place. Bournemouth AC were hot on their heals and hoping a good performance at the May 5 could take them up the table.
The May 5 event was organised by Poole AC but was actually over a lot of the training ground that is used by Poole Runners for their Tuesday and Thursday sessions so for them it felt a bit like a home fixture.
The race started and finished on the magnificent Ashdown Athletics Track, with the rest of the course winding through roads and pathways in the Canford Heath area.
With a fairly strong team out in both the men’s and women’s divisions, team captain Rich Nelson was hoping BAC would be able to contend for top honours but with Poole AC looking particularly strong in the men’s and Poole Runners on familiar ground in the women’s it was always going to be tight.
The men’s team included Craig Palmer, Rob McTaggart and Josh Cole, as well as a healthy undercard of Tom Paskins, Alex Goulding and Rich Brawn, amongst others. The women’s team featured Emma Dews, Julia Austin and Tamzin Petersen.
As the race got underway and the runners and riders completed their lap around the track and headed out into the badlands of Canford Heath, a lead group had already began to form.
That included Craig Palmer, Rob McTaggart and Josh Cole, as well as Chris Alborough and David Broadley of Poole AC, Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders and Chris Wood of Wimborne.
It was Chris Alborough who took the race on first though and he for the first few miles of the race, he was in front on his own. Craig Palmer was a short distance behind him at that stage but you always got the sense that he was toying with him. In fact, there was plenty of in-race banter going on from Craig which essentially eluded to just that.
Craig’s plan was to run it at a tempo pace of around 5:30 minutes per mile and if he managed to do that he knew there was a good chance that would see him take the win.
That turned out to be the case in the end and Craig managed to reel Chris in and maintained a strong, consistent pace for the last two miles that saw him seal the win.
As he came round the track for his lap to finish off the race, Craig even had time to get his son Robbie out to run with him as he approached the finish.
The only thing that wasn’t so pleasing for Craig was that it turned out his son had better form than him!! And Robbie managed to dip in front of him on the line as well!
Craig’s official finishing time was 27 minutes and 11 seconds. He was followed in by David Broadley who arrived at the line ten seconds later giving Poole AC the second place. David’s time was 27:21.
Chris Alborough took third place in the end, crossing the line in 27:29 and giving Poole AC two men in the top three. Fourth place went to Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders, completing the course in a time of 27:32.
The next Bournemouth AC man was in shortly after him and that was Rob McTaggart, who took 5th in a time of 27:48. It was Tag’s first week back in full training since the London Marathon and he’d done quite a lot of miles so wasn’t feeling too fresh at the start of the day.
Nonetheless, he got through the session okay, although it wasn’t as quick a run as he’d hoped. He then continued on for a few more miles before the prizes were handed out.
Chris Wood was 6th, finishing just in front of the third BAC man, who was Josh Cole. Josh has been restricted to only running on Tuesdays and Sundays recently so he’s been struggling to maintain his levels on minimal training.
That also means that when he does train, he seriously flogs himself to ensure he gets the most he can out of it. The Tuesday before the race he’d pushed so hard in the interval training session, it might well have ended up being detrimental to his performance at the May 5. Josh’s finishing time was 28:15.
It was another brilliant day for Lytchett Manor Striders, as Scott Parfitt and Thomas Andrews took 9th and 10th places in 28:19 and 28:45 respectively. They picked up another victory in the men’s second division to add to the four out of four they’d already won. They look like they’ll winning promotion to the first division at a canter.
The first Egdon Heath Harrier to cross the line was Graham Sherwin who took 10th in a time of 28:52. Then crucially it was Gareth Alan-Williams who was the third man in for Poole AC, taking 11th place in a time of 28:56.
Two more Egdon Heath Harriers were next to arrive at the finish, with Paul Bullimore finishing in 29:13 and Simon Arthur in 29:16 before Joseph Sherwood of Littledown took 15th in 29:17.
With three members in so far for all three leading first division clubs, it came down to the last two placings of the top five to decide who would get maximum league points.
Robert Doubleday was next to cross the line, taking 17th place in a time of 39:32. That was huge for Poole AC and swung things in their favour.
There was an interesting battle going on behind though. Running strongly in the aftermath of his fantastic performance at the London Marathon, Rich Brawn started to feel pretty good at mile three.
He overtook Alex Goulding first, which he was a little surprised about. Then, as they came through the wooded path that lead out onto the approach road to the athletics track, he then went past Tom Paskins and a row of about three other runners who were in front of him.
One of them was Poole AC’s Dave Hicks. Once they got out onto the road and continued up toward the entrance to the track area, Dave recovered his position from Rich and that proved to be a decisive move.
As he got onto the track, Rich could see Dave just ahead of him and Robert Doubleday as well who was just ahead of him but he didn’t have enough left in the tank to make any inroads into catching them.
Rich Nelson was standing at the entrance to the athletics track area and had told Rich he needed to catch Dave up for the team win but it wasn’t to be. Poole AC sealed their first win since the Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon on New Year’s Day which was the first fixture.
With a finishing time of 29:37, Dave took 18th place before Rich crossed the line 7 seconds later to take 19th in a time of 29:44. It was a solid PB for Rich and he was pleased to finish under 30 minutes as that was his main target for the race.
Determined not to be beaten by Rich, Alex had set about trying to claw his way back. In the end he got to within a second of Rich but had to settle for 20th place and 5th Bournemouth AC scorer, crossing the line in 29:45.
In parkruns, Alex has got back to something close to his best but in longer races he’s still lacking the endurance to be able to carry the pace through. He’s hoping that upping his mileage in training will help him improve on that aspect as there’s no doubt he still has the speed there.
Bruce Campbell of Egdon Heath Harriers was 21st in a time of 29:48 before Tom Paskins came in in 22nd place, finishing in 29:51. It was a decent performance from Tom in terms of where he’s at at the moment and he was pleased to finish in under 30 minutes.
In the women’s race, it was Emma Dews who picked up the victory. Crossing the line in a time of 30:37. That put her in 37th overall, comfortably ahead of Caroline Stanzel of Poole Runners who was 2nd lady and 51st overall in a time of 32:05.
April Hogg of Poole AC was 3rd female to arrive at the finish, taking 55th overall in a time of 32.29. She was closely followed by Vicky Ingham of Poole Runners who crossed the line in 32:39.
Emma had been struggling a bit in the aftermath of her superb sub-three marathon in Peterborough so it was good to get a decent run under her belt and an added bonus to get the ladies’ victory.
Given that he was still a bit rusty from his North Dorset Vale Marathon three weeks earlier, Matt du Cros was reasonably pleased with his run, crossing the line in 31:18 which put him in 44th place.
Matt is planning on doing all 12 of the Dorset Road Race League fixtures this season and after successfully completing the NDVM, he’s already got the toughest one out of the way.
Next in for BAC, it was Chris O’Brien, who finished in a time of 33:21, putting him in 67th place. He was reasonably happy with that run, given the fact that a lack of training over the course of the year has put his fitness back somewhat.
He’s feeling more positive now though about finding my regularity in his training and hopefully getting back to the kinds of levels he’d used to over the coming months.
Then it was Jud Kirk who crossed the line in a time of exactly 34 minutes. He was the 2nd man over 60 to arrive at the finish, behind Hamish Murray of Purbeck Runners who finished in 50th place in 32:04.
It was a good sign for Jud that he’s getting back to normal after an injury had kept him out of serious competition for quite some time.
Last year he won his category of the Dorset Road Race League but this season he’s lagging behind Stephen Hogarth or Poole AC and Nigel Haywood of Purbeck.
Neither of them ran on this occasion through and a better result for Jud than in his other three races helped him stay in touch with the category leaders.
Running pretty well to come in in a time of 35:35, Ian White was the next Bournemouth AC member home. He finished in 97th place in the overall standings.
The next BAC member to emerge on the track for her final lap was Tamzin Petersen which was something of a surprise. Usually Julia Austin would be ahead of her but Tamzin has been improving at an alarming rate over recent times and this race underlined the excellent progress she’s made.
Her time of 36:03 was a big new PB for the distance, beating the time she did at the Hoburne 5 last year by 1 minute 44 seconds. She finished 13th lady on the day.
The week before the May 5, Tamzin had actually competed in another 5-mile race which was the Ramsbury 5. That was located near Swindon where her parents live. In that race, she claimed her first ever prize, finishing as 3rd lady in a time of 38:15.
She got a pint glass for that which she then proceeded to have a celebratory drink from afterwards. Lets hope it wasn’t champagne or Prosecco though, as that could have ended badly!
Completing the scoring team for the women, Julia Austin reached the line in 36:25 to take 116th place overall and 17th lady. She also took the prize for 1st V55 so not a bad result for Julia, all things considered.
Plagued by knee and IT band pain throughout the race, Phil Cherrett had a frustrating morning and was never really able to get anything close to what he’s would usually be capable of when fully fit. His time of 37:14 put him in 136th place overall which was not the result or the performance he was looking for.
Another BAC member suffering from injury problems was Steve Parsons, who crossed the line in 174th place overall in a time of 39:32. That was again a time significantly below what he’s capable of, but his hip gave out during the race and he ended up completing most of it on one leg!
Reaching the line in a time of 40:39, Helen Ambrosen had a decent run to finish as 55th placed woman and 192nd overall. On this occasion she just missed out on the category win though. That went to Barbara Murray of Purbeck Runners who was 175th in a time of 39:35. Helen’s average pace for the run was 8:13 minutes per mile.
After that there were two Bournemouth AC runners arriving at the track within very close proximity of each other, with Sam Laws just in front of Ian Graham.
They then proceeded to complete their lap of the track before reaching the finish line to conclude their races. Sam put in a really strong sprint finish to claim a few places down the home straight.
She’d had a cracking run, registering a time of 40:51. That was 4 minutes and 15 seconds quicker than her previous best of 45:06, which she did at the Hoburne 5 last September.
Since she started her London Marathon training in January, Sam has come on leaps and bounds and the transformation in her running is clear for all to see. Finishing in 197th place overall, Sam was 60th female and 12th in the V45 category.
Getting to the line just four seconds later, Ian claimed the V70 crown, with his time of 40:55 putting him in 199th place overall. Ian found it quite tough going, particularly the last couple of miles but was chuffed to pick up a bottle of wine for his age category win.
In the team competition, it was a victory for Bournemouth AC in the men’s, with the trio of Craig Palmer, Rob McTaggart and Josh Cole coming out on top.
In the ladies’ team competition, Poole Runners took the prize, with their top three of Caroline Stanzel (2nd female), Vicky Ingham (4th female) and Gemma Oliver (10th female) being best placed.
In terms of the Dorset Road Race League, Bournemouth AC had to make do with second place in the Men’s First Division, with their scoring team consisting of Craig Palmer (1st), Rob McTaggart (5th), Josh Cole (7th), Rich Brawn (19th) and Alex Goulding (20th).
The Poole AC five of David Broadley (2nd), Chris Alborough (3rd), Gareth Alan Williams (11th), Robert Doubleday (17th) and Dave Hicks (18th) just did enough to nick it.
In the Ladies’ First Division the BAC trio of Emma Caplan (1st female), Tamzin Petersen (13th female and Julia Austin (17th female) also took second place behind Poole Runners.
As far as league positions go for the season so far, that win took Poole AC into joint second place, level with Egdon Heath Harriers. That left Bournemouth AC with a very narrow advantage at the top of the table, but it is certainly looking like it’s going to be an interesting three-way battle for the title.
In the Women’s First Division, BAC moved up into joint 2nd place with Egdon Heath Harriers with Poole Runners maintaining their lead at the top of the table, although there is only a couple of points in it.
That means for next league fixture, which is the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon , it is very much all to play for and the season is shaping up to be an exciting and enthralling roller-coaster ride for the teams battling it out for top honours.
It would certainly be true to see say there are plenty of Bournemouth AC members who are obsessive about their running. It would also be fair to say there are there are some who like to enjoy a beer or two. But the two activities together – running and drinking – don’t typically go hand-in-hand, although Craig Palmer and Rob McTaggart might beg to differ on that front.
The two opposing past-times were combined for Stu Nicholas though when he competed in the Dark Ox Quarter Marathon which was part of the Ox Races weekender organised by White Star Running.
The Dark Ox Quarter Marathon was held on Friday night, taking Stu and his fellow competitors through Chase Wood on a rough, undulating trail with some steep curves in places.
Since there was no visible moon that night there were no concerns about Werewolves in the deep, dark woodland. There were plenty of other dangers though, such as falling over or running into things so the participants were told to enter at their own risk.
They were also informed there would be an ambulance on site to collect the wounded and White Star Running offered free corpse retrieval so bodies could be recovered before they began to decompose too much. That must have put the runners’ minds at ease at least.
Of course, a head torch is the one essential piece of kit that all runners must have before they set off. There would be no hope of navigating through the dark woods without it, that’s for sure.
There was also a beer mile within the race as well, so that was essentially a mini race within the main race. To qualify for that, the runners had to run the first mile, then drink a cup of ale before continuing on for the next five-and-a-half miles.
Completing the first mile in the lead and subsequently necking his cup of ale, Stu was the winner of the beer mile. He then continued on for the rest of the race.
Although it wasn’t fun running with ale sloshing around in his stomach, Stu pushed on and managed to build up a fairly sizeable advantage over his near rival Lewis Clarke of Lonely Goat RC.
Racing to a superb sub-45-minute finish, Stu claimed the Dark Ox Quarter Marathon victory, clocking am official time of 44:49. That put him 42 seconds ahead of Lewis who took 2nd place in 45:31. Third place went to Tom Dukes of Wells City Harriers.
Stu’s partner Anna Trehane also took part in the race, completing the course in 1:10:23 which put her in 49th place overall and first in the F30 category.
A total of 187 successfully completed the Dark Ox race. The fun for the weekend didn’t stop there though. The next morning the Ox Frolic started off, with runners competing either as a solo, in pairs or in groups of three or groups of four. The aim for the game is to complete as many 10.5km laps as possible within the 12 hour time limit.
There was also a 50 mile race, where competitors had to run as many laps as required in order to reach the distance. Then the following day there was the Light Ox, which was a Quarter Marathon over the same route as the Dark Ox, but with the benefit of it being in daylight. Then there was the Ox Half Marathon, incorporating the valleys and the hills of Rushmore Estate.