Category Archives: Road_Reports

Rob McTag and Gemma Bragg bring the swag to Bournemouth Bay

Rob McTaggart crusing along the promenade in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon
Rob McTaggart cruises along the promenade in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon

After the Bournemouth 10 went down a storm earlier in the year, the annual Spring dose of coastal racing action came in the form of the Health-on-Line Bournemouth Bay Run, featuring a half marathon and a 10k as well as a 5k and a 1k for the kids.

With the event taking place three weeks before the London Marathon, it’s an ideal one to use as a training run in  preparation for that, which is exactly what Rob McTaggart and Samantha Laws were looking to do.

Tag was intending the run five miles before the half marathon, and an additional five afterwards, brining his total for the session up to 23 miles.

Sam was going for 7 miles before starting the half marathon, giving her a total of 20 miles for the session.

Of course, they knew that would more than likely compromise the quality of their races a touch but with the main focus being on London, that is par for the course in races that take place in the weeks and months leading up to it.

Also taking part in the half marathon race, Gemma Bragg has been on fire since returning to running recently after a long injury lay off. She’s already recorded a first lady finish at the Lytchett 10 as well as coming in as 4th female at the Bournemouth 10 and 6th woman at the Wimborne 20. She was hoping the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon would be another one to add to her list of successes.

Tag leads the way in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon
Tag leads the way as the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon runners pour onto the promenade

A stiff headwind made for a tough first six miles or so along the promenade. That brought about a fairly moderate start for Tag as he found himself isolated in what he thought at the time was 2nd position.

Since he wasn’t aiming to run too hard, Tag was prepared to settle for that but as the race went on he did manage to pick up the pace a bit, putting in a very good shift for the last five miles.

Rob McTaggart in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon
Tag was running the race as part of a 23 mile training session

Crossing the line in a time of 1:15:27, Tag ended the race about 30 seconds behind the guy in front. However, it transpired that he didn’t actually have a number and hadn’t even entered the race. That meant Tag was awarded the official race win.

He then followed that up with his five mile warm down afterwards to round off a pretty decent training run for the day with fairly minimal effort expended.

Tag wins the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon
Although he thought he was 2nd, it turned out Tag was the winner of the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon, crossing the line in 1:15:27

Meanwhile, Gemma Bragg was having an excellent run of her own. She’d managed to find a group of chaps to run with on the way out to avoid getting knocked out by the nagging headwind.

Maintaining her pace well over the second half of the race, Gemma finished as first lady and recorded her first ever sub-1:30, crossing the line a superb time of 1:28:32.

Gemma Bragg on the promenade in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon
Gemma Bragg soars down the promenade on her way to a first ever sub-1:30 finish

That was an improvement of just over two minutes on her previous best and put her in 24th place overall in a field of 950 people. It was a terrific result for Gemma and, needless to say, she was extremely pleased with the run.

Gemma Bragg picks up trophy for 1st lady in Bourneouth Bay Run Half Marathon
Gemma picks up her trophy for finishing as 1st lady in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon

Embarking on her half marathon race off the back of the 7 miles she’d already run, Sam was keen to see how much her fitness had improved since her marathon started.

Completing the course in a time of 2:00:18, Sam came in 530th position and was the 111th lady over the line. That put her 18th in the F45 category.

Whilst it wasn’t quite a quick as the time she posted in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon last year, the fact that she’d ran 7 miles beforehand and was only two minutes down on her personal best time represented encouraging signs for Sam.

What was even more encouraging though was the time she completed the overall 20 mile run, which was 3 hours 5 minutes and 28 seconds. That was the fastest she’d ever run over that distance and was exactly 11 minutes quicker than the time she ran the Wimborne 20 in at the beginning of March.

That underlines what a huge improvement she has seen since starting her marathon training and the fruits of her labour are beginning to bloom.

Sam Laws in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon
Sam Laws tied the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon onto a 7 mile run to give her 20 miles in total

Sam has worked so hard to get into the best possible shape for London and has been putting in some extremely high mileage over the course of the weeks and months. She’s also been attending the hard marathon training sessions on Tuesday night’s and completing other interval sessions of her own.

Targeting a sub-4-hour finish at London, the form she is currently showing will certainly give her the belief that she can go on a conquer that target and perhaps even be significantly quicker.

Tag’s margin of victory turned out to be a minute-and-a-half, with Philip Jones taking 2nd place in a time of 1:16:56. 3rd place went to James Dean in a time of 1:18:08. He’s thought to be no relation to the American actor though who starred in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’.

The next female in after Gemma was Laura Pettitt who crossed the line in 81st place overall in a time of 1:35:44. That meant Gemma had a lead of over 7 minutes on her nearest rival. Becky Hollowbread rolled in for 3rd place in a time of 1:36:32, putting her 87th overall.

Next in line for Tag was a double-race weekender, consisting of a 5000m on the track in the first Southern Athletics League fixture of the season at Eton, followed by the Salisbury 10 the day after.

Gemma Bragg with Jez and Milo at the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon
Gemma celebrates a terrific performance with Jez and Milo







Manchester mission accomplished for BAC crew

Ant Clark finishing the Manchester Marathon
Ant Clark was one of four Bournemouth AC members hoping for a dream finish in the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon, along with Steve Way, Craig Palmer and Alison Humphrey

All the ingredients were there for a momentous day in Manchester for the Bournemouth AC members who travelled up north for a race that is fast emerging as the biggest marathon race in the UK aside from London.

The Bournemouth AC contingent in the race was just about as strong as it could be, with Steve Way, Ant Clark and Craig Palmer all taking to the start line. The club also had female representation in the race as well in the form of Alison Humphrey, who has recently resurrected her allegiance after several years of not competing.

For Steve and Ant though, the Manchester Marathon was a means to an end as, although it is a big race, for them it was merely just one more step along the way as they work toward getting into peak condition for the Comrades Marathon.

The circumstances were slightly different for Craig, as he was going all out for a good time and perhaps looking at the possibility of beating the 2:29:16 that he posted at the Valencia Marathon in December.

It wouldn’t be an easy task though of course as a sub-2:30 marathon is always a big ask. Craig is a man very much in form though as he showed with his superb sub-70-minute display in the Vitality Big Half Marathon recently.

He also ran well at the Chichester Priory 10k in February, recording a time of 31:18, as well as running out comfortable victories in both the Lytchett 10 and Bournemouth 10 league races.

Despite the high mileage he’s been putting in, Ant has also been demonstrating some fantastic form of late, not least when he secured a new half marathon PB of 72:31 at Fleet a few weeks ago.

The fact that he hadn’t tapered at all for the race and will still able to post such a superb time was a brilliant sign for Ant. On that very same day, Steve had also been in half marathon action at Bath, where he recorded a terrific time of 72:09.

Being his own fiercest critic though, Steve wasn’t entirely happy with his run and had been hoping for slightly better. Again though, in the midst of such a high mileage routine, he may just not have been fresh enough to go as quickly as he would’ve liked.

Steve and Ant also both competed in the Wimborne 20 at the beginning of March as well, with Steve finishing 3rd in a time of 2:02:08 and Ant taking 5th in 2:05:41.

Again, there was no tapering for either of them for the Manchester Marathon and no carb depletion either. It was just the continuation of a relentless block of tough training runs, albeit a slightly faster one.

Craig Palmer and Ant Clark at the Manchester Marathon
Craig and Ant had good reason to feel optimistic going into the race given their recent form

There wasn’t any TV coverage of the Manchester Marathon though which meant Craig was unable to build on the exposure he got at the Big Half where he appeared on the BBC red button footage on numerous occasions.

There was finish line camera footage though which was broadcast on YouTube where you could watch the athletes as they arrived on the home straight to complete the race.

It was very exciting watching that and waiting to see when the Bournemouth AC brigade would appear. The first one to emerge on the screen was Craig, who had had a phenomenal run.

Incredibly, he was the 11th man to reach the line, registering a tremendous new PB of 2:27:18, which was two minutes quicker than his time at Valencia.

To finish so high up in such a huge race was a real accolade for Craig and considering the standard of the competition he was up against, it was an amazing achievement.

Craig Palmer celebrates after Manchester Marathon
Craig celebrates with a well-earned pint after a top notch performance

And before the clock could tick over 2 hours 30 minutes, the next BAC member arrived, and it was Ant. Milking the applause from the watching crowds as he made his way down the finishing straight, it was a truly special moment for Ant.

He’d done it. He’d added his name to that esteemed list of Bournemouth AC greats to get under that illusive 2:30 barrier. It was a great feeling for Ant and he was ecstatic as he crossed the line.

Registering an official time of 2:29:33, Ant had come in in 17th place. It was another remarkable achievement from a BAC man and one that will no doubt live long in the memory.

The fact he hadn’t tapered for it only served to make it an even bigger achievement. Ant was also 1st MV40 over the line, which was quite a statement in such a star-studded field.

Ant Clark with beer and medal after Manchester Marathon
Ant recorded a superb new marathon PB, joining an elite band of sub-2:30 runners

That wasn’t the end of the excitement from a BAC perspective either. Following immediately behind, it was his teammate and training partner Steve who rocked up to the line just as the seconds ticked over the 2:30 mark.

It was another great run from a BAC man and, although it wasn’t one of Steve’s quickest marathon efforts, under the circumstances, it was still a step in the right direction for Steve and he could at least be relatively pleased with the final result.

Ending up with an official time of 2:30:08, Steve took 18th place in the overall standings, rounding off a very impressive show of strength from BAC elites and portraying the club in a very positive light.

In fact, no other club had three men that finished higher up than Craig, Ant and Steve and it was very nearly a smash and grab raid for the team prize. Sale Harriers may have just shaded that though, since they had Gareth Raven who was 2nd and Callum Rowlinson who was 5th, along with Nathan Harrison who was 24th.

Steve Way and Ant Clark in the Manchester Marathon
Steve and Ant ran together for the majority of the race, maintaining a very solid pace throughout

Alison ran well as well, giving it everything she had to finish in a time of 3:26:51. That was a very good achievement for Alison considering it’s been a long time since she’s run a marathon of any sort.

That made Alison 174th lady to cross the line and 21st in the FV45 category. In the overall standings, she was 2,577th. In total, there were 13,372 people who made it to the finish line on the day, underlining what a huge event the Manchester Marathon is.

The winner of the 2019 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon was Aaron Richmond of Bideford AAC and he finished in a time of 2:21:34. That put him over 4-and-a-half minutes ahead of his nearest rival, Gareth Raven of Sale Harriers who crossed the line in 2:26:07.

Filtering in shortly after was Jo Corbett, who registered a time of 2:26:12. Mark Long of City of Derry Spartans was 4th in 2:26:25, with Callum Rowlinson of Sale in 5th with a time of 2:26:30.

The top female in the race was Jenny Spink of Bristol and West AC who completed the course in 2:35:19 putting her 36th overall. The next lady in was Fanni Gyurko of Central AC who finished in a time of 2:39:50, putting her in 67th overall.

The third woman to cross the line was Johanna O’Regan of St Neots Riverside Runners who registered a time of 2:42:15.

After the performances of Craig and Tag were captured so prominently on the BBC at the Big Half, it was great to once again see Bournemouth AC members flourishing on the big stage at the Manchester Marathon and showing the wider audience what a talented bunch they are.

Ant Clark finishes the Manchester Marathon
Ant crossed the line arms aloft, knowing he had accomplished something very special








JC boosted by Dorset Ooser Marathon win as Kirsty hits the Half

Jacek Cieluszecki in the Dorset Ooser Marathon
Jacek Cieluszecki takes an early lead in the Dorset Ooser Marathon, a race which runs through the heart of the picturesque Dorset countryside

With hills aplenty, muddy sections galore, several stiles to clamber over and many intricate trails and tracks to negotiate, the Dorset Ooser Marathon sounds like something that would have most runners quaking in their Hokas. Not Jacek Cieluszecki though. That’s his idea of bliss and he was well and truly in his element in those surroundings.

JC wasn’t the only Bournemouth AC member brave enough to try their luck in the Dorset Ooser though. Kirsty Drewett was also in action as well, taking on the Half Marathon. Jacek’s wife Ela, who also ran the Barcelona Marathon with him recently, entered the Half Marathon race as well.

The Dorset Ooser is a put on by Badger Trail Events and takes its runners into deepest darkest Dorset via old tracks, hidden hollows, ancient woodlands and forgotten trails.

The races start from an ancient thatched barn in the tiny hamlet of Turners Puddle, right in the heart of Dorset. It’s straight uphill from the outset, where the route then follows farm tracks through fields and then winding through ancient woodland trails, heathlands and other picturesque hamlets amongst the glorious Dorset countryside.

It’s not all fun and games though and admiring the scenery. The marathon features 13 hills, over 1,000 metres of elevation, some muddy sections, 7 stiles to hurdle and two fords. In fact, such is the difficulty level of the marathon that it carries two UTMB points for anyone accomplished enough to complete it.

Ancient thatched barn in Turners Puddle
The athletes prepare to get the race underway at the ancient thatched barn in Turners Puddle where the journey began

In keeping with the theme of appreciation of the wonderful Dorset countryside and in the spirit of environmental friendliness, the Ooser is a cupless race, meaning no disposable plastic cups will be handed out.

Instead, runners are encouraged to bring their own hydration packs or invest in a super light re-usable folding cup. It’s a theme most European trail races now adopt and more UK ones are now beginning to take on as well.

Forest trail from the Dorset Ooser route
The route followed some enchanting forest trails

It had only been three weeks since he ran a 2:34 marathon in Barcelona and since then he’d also won the Weymouth Half Marathon as well, but once he gets on a roll, there’s no stopping Jacek. He conquers all in his path with a devastating velocity.

Getting off to a good start and thrusting himself into an early lead, it was all academic from that point on. JC outclassed all his opponents and accelerated further and further away from the rest of the field throughout the run.

Jacek Cieluszecki leads the Dorset Ooser Marathon
Jacek stole a march on his nearest rivals early on in the race and the gap extended rapidly as the race progressed

He didn’t even have any water with him, or a cup, but it didn’t matter. Jacek tore round the course at a pace that onlookers could barely believe.

The only slight hiccup was when he got lost for a while on the 25th mile. The route was mostly marked out with small flags, tape or arrows. Unfortunately, Jacek was hurtling down the descent at such a speed that he managed to miss an arrow that was on the gate and ran straight by.

Jacek Cieluszecki focuses in the Dorset Ooser Marathon
After a momentary lapse in concentration, Jacek went off-track at mile 25 but soon found his way back on route

That cost him around about two minutes before he realised he’d gone wrong and found his way back to the designated route. In some circumstances, that could have been catastrophic. In this instance though, Jacek was almost half an hour ahead of his nearest rival, so there was no danger of him losing the lead.

Crossing the line in a time of 2:53:46, Jacek had ran a brilliant race and the slight detour had brought his total distance covered up to 27 miles.

Jacek Cieluszecki powers to victory in the Dorset Ooser Marathon
It was a masterclass in off-road marathon running from Jacek as he made mincemeat out of all the hills that stood in his way

Despite an elevation gain of 2,654ft, Jacek somehow managed to run at an average pace of 6:25 per mile, which is quite staggering really over such a taxing route.

The 2nd placed runner, John Melbourne of Tadworth AC arrived at the finish 27 minutes later, registering a time of 3:20:50, so it was as comprehensive a victory for Jacek as you’re ever likely to see. Paul Russhard took 3rd place in a time of 3:22:50.

Jacek Cieluszecki won the Dorset Ooser Marathon
It was another excellent victory for JC with his time of 2:53:46 giving him a huge winning margin of 27 minutes!!

Tracy Cook of Dorset Doddlers was first female over the line and did very well to come in 6th overall in a time of 3:34:51. Jessica Anand was 2nd female in a time of 3:55:04, which put her in 24th place overall, with Charlotte Baker of Gillingham Trotters taking the prize for 3rd lady in a time of 3:59:48.

A total of 247 people completed the race, all finishing comfortably within the eight hour cut off time.

Meanwhile in the Half Marathon race, Kirsty Drewett was having a whale of a time, out there enjoying the start of the British summertime.

Wide shot of Dorset Ooser
A fantastic wide shot of the Dorset Ooser as the runners embark on their journey

Luckily, Kirsty also enjoys the tougher, trickier trail routes and spends a lot of her time over the Purbeck enjoying the fresh countryside air. And running of course.

In fact, she chose the Purbeck Marathon as her first ever attempt at the distance, so that underlines the courageous and adventurous approach she takes with her running.

Since she wasn’t going for any particular time though, Kirsty just treated it as a fun run, admiring the lovely countryside and taking in the views as she went along.

Kirsty Drewett in the Ooser Half Marathon
Kirsty treated it as a fun run and ran a controlled and comfortable pace throughout

Despite walking up most of the hills and not really pushing herself to the limit at any point, Kirsty still finished in 49th place in the final standings, completing the course in a time of 2:04:07. Not a bad result for a casual morning in the Dorset wilderness.

Kirsty’s elevation gain for the run came to 1,188ft and she finished with an average pace of 9:13 per mile, which isn’t bad considering she walked up a lot of the hills. Jacek’s wife Ela ran well as well, taking 56th place and registering a time of 2:08:31.

Ela Cieluszecka in the Dorset Ooser Half Marathon
Jacek’s wife Ela also featured in the half marathon race

Former Bournemouth AC man Sean Edwards, now back in Lytchet Manor Striders colours after a brief stint in the yellow and blue, was the only man to complete the half marathon course in under 1 hour 30 minutes.

His time of 1:28:06 netted him the win, with a  margin of almost three minutes over Nicholas Twomey of Ranelagh Harriers who was 2nd in a time of 1:30:53.

Bruce Campbell of Egdon Heath Harriers took 3rd place in a time of 1:35:16. The first female over the line was Caroline Stanzel who was 10th overall, completing the course in a time of 1:38:55.

Scenery from Dorset Ooser
The Dorset Ooser route featured some breath-taking countryside backdrops

She was followed by Sarah Trim of Running for Time who registered a time of 1:42:31 to put her in 12th overall. Tamsin Neale of Burnham Joggers was 3rd lady, finishing in 1:45:32 which put her in 15th on the overall leader-board.

Next up for Jacek is the Rotary Easter Quarter Marathon in Boscombe which he will complete as part of a longer training run. He’ll then head over to Florida for the Wings for Life Run on 5th May, where he’ll attempt to be the last man standing for the third time in a row.

Jacek and Ela at the Dorset Ooser
It was a good day for the Cieluszecki’s with Jacek winning the marathon and Ela completing the half marathon







Ollie Stoten stars in Self Transcendence 100k

Ollie Stoten in the Self Transcendence 100k
Ollie Stoten was looking to make his mark up against the best of Britain in the Anglo Celtic Plate ‘Self Transcendence 100k’

This year it was the turn of Scotland to host the Anglo-Celtic Plate which brought the event to a sunny but chilly Perth for the fiercely contested annual British 100k Championships.

The race pits teams of five men and three women from each country in the British Isles against each other to compete for the trophy by achieving the fastest cumulative time over the lapped 100k distance.

It is an event that Bournemouth AC members have played an important role in over recent years, with both Ant Clark and Jez Bragg representing England in last year’s race, with Ant having taken a silver medal in the competition for two years running.

This year’s race again featured Bournemouth AC involvement as Ollie Stoten took to the road, although not competing in the international competition. The event is also open to anyone else brave enough to attempt the distance.

With a proven track record in extreme endurance events though, it’s no surprise that Ollie was prepared to give it a whirl and even though he was up against top quality opposition, you wouldn’t bet against him stacking up well.

In January Ollie ran the 45 mile Country to Capital race from Wendover to London, completing the course in 5 hours 10 minutes and 44 seconds to finish in 6th place.

Then last October he ran the Fenland Runner Monster Ultra which was 68km, finishing in 4 hours 57 minutes putting him in 3rd place. Before that he ran the Chiltern Wonderland 50 mile race, a route which incorporated 6,550ft of elevation. Again, he took 3rd place there, crossing the line in 7 hours 2 minutes.

He was also 3rd in the 89km 10Peaks Brecon Beacons Ultra, where he tackled 14,900ft of elevation, finishing in 11 hours 16 minutes. Perhaps his biggest challenge of all was the 4 Deserts Namib Race, which was a 7-day, 250km trek across the desert, where he also ended up taking 3rd place in a time of 25 hours and 24 minutes.

The Self Transcendence 100k was ran on a 2.38km course on the North Inch Park in Perth by the banks of the River Tay. That meant completing 42 laps in order to rack up the distance required. It was as much a mental task as it was a physical one.

The real challenge of course is to have the endurance to keep going at the same pace throughout the entirety of the run. It’s so difficult to do though as longer the time goes on the more the fatigue begins to set in and the more the pain takes it’s toll.

Putting in a fantastic shift though, Ollie kept to a pace of just over 7 minutes per mile for the first 35 miles. That was an achievement in itself really. But there was still another 28.5 miles to go, which underlines the enormity of the task he was faced with.

His pace gradually began to wain a bit after that but he was still going pretty well considering the amount of mileage he already had on the clock.

He never went down to much below 8 minutes per mile though and once he reached the 60th mile he found the strength to pick the pace up again for the final 4.5 miles to finish in an incredible time of 7 hours 49 minutes and 38 seconds.

That put him in 11th place on the overall leader-board and made him the first non-national runner to cross the line. Of course, Ollie always has high expectations and would have loved to have gone sub 7:40 but he can most certainly feel proud of the effort he put in and the fantastic result he came away with.

Conditions on the day weren’t overly favourable either, with a tough crosswind on some sections of the course undoubtedly having an impact.

Ollie Stoten in the Anglo Celtic Plate 'Self Transcendence 100k'
Ollie ran remarkably well to cross the line in 11th place completing the Self Transcendence 100k in 7:49:38

The winner of the race was Charlie Harpur of Mid Essex Casuals, who was representing England. He completed the course in a staggering time of 6 hours 44 minutes and 18 seconds, giving him a margin of 7 and a half minutes over the defending champion Rob Turner of Scotland.

Charlie Harpur winning the Self Transcendence 100k
Charlie Harpur won the race for England

Rob was the man who narrowly pipped Ant Clark to the post last year in that dramatic finale, eventually taking victory by a mere 7 seconds. Rob’s time in this year’s edition was 6:51:49, with his Scottish national teammate Kyle Greig taking 3rd in 6:54:42.

Robert Turner taking 2nd in the Self Transcendence 100k
Defending champion Rob Turner had to settle for 2nd pace this time round

Taking 4th place in a time of 7:02:58, Kevin Rojas of Brighton & Hove AC was the next man over the line, with Ollie Garrod of South London Harriers wrapping up the team win for England in the Anglo Celtic Plate, completing the race in 7:09:37.

That put England’s total combined time for their top three at 20:56:54. The team of Rob Turner, Kyle Greig ang James Stewart who finished in 7:25:31 gave Scotland 2nd place with a total time of 21:12:03.

England Men's Team Winners in the Anglo Celtic Plate
The England team of Charlie Harpur, Kevin Rojas and Ollie Garrod won the men’s competition in the Anglo Celtic Plate

The women’s race was won by Sophie Mullins of Fife AC who was representing Scotland in a time of 8:03:39 which put her in 13th place overall. She was followed immediately by her club compatriot Morgan Windram, who finished in 8:21:36 putting her in 14th overall.

Sophie Mullins won the women's race in the Self Transendence 100k
Sophie Mullins was the winner of the women’s race in the Self Transcendence 100k

That of course gave Scotland the win in the Anglo Celtic Plate which is decided by the combined time of the top two women, which came out as 16:25:16.

Joanna Murphy, also of Scotland, was 3rd female and 15th overall, crossing the line in 8:28:01, with Lynne Allen, again of Scotland taking 4th and 17th overall with her time of 8:33:26.

Scotland won the women's team competition at the Anglo Celtic Plate
The Scotland team of Sophie Mullins and Morgan Windram won the women’s race in the Anglo Celtic Plate

Betty Bohane of Royston Runners came in as 5th lady and 18th overall in a time of 8:46:11 and Melissa Venables of Spa Striders reached the finish in a time of 8:5817 to come in as 7th female and 23rd overall. That gave England a combined time of 17:44:29.

Although he had to endure a lot of suffering along the way, it was definitely worth it for Ollie and he can feel safe in the knowledge that he gave it everything he’s got and that’s the most important thing.

He also matched up well in the face up such stiff competition, finishing ahead of many athletes who were representing their countries on the day so that will be a source of great encouragement for Ollie.

Who knows? Perhaps the England selectors may even have noticed him and marked him down as one to keep tabs on when considering their options for next years event.

Ollie Stoten makes his way round the 42 lap course in Perth
It was a performance to be proud of from Ollie Stoten as he completed the 42 laps of the North Inch Park course in Perth




Andy Gillespie toughs it out in Jurassic Coast Challenge

Andy Gillespie on day 3 of the Jurassic Coast Challenge
It was another three marathons to tick off the list for Andy Gillespie as he took on the Jurassic Coast Challenge

Certainly no stranger to the three-day eventing formula, Andy Gillespie was up to his old tricks again, this time taking on the Jurassic Coast Challenge, which meant taking on three marathons in three days.

Although he’s well aware of how demanding these events are and has the experience and knowhow to get the job done, that doesn’t make it easy for Andy and he still knows he’s going to have to dig deep to get the job done.

His record of completing marathons is impeccable though and he’d managed to successfully complete every single one of the 92 marathons he’d attempted before this year’s JCC.

Last year Andy conquered both the Devon Coast  Challenge and the Atlantic Coast Challenge as well as the Jurassic Coast Challenge so he knew only too well the enormity of the task that lay ahead.

Despite all of his experience though, he still has to go through his fair share of trials and tribulations, just like any other marathon runner. The first day of the JCC turned out to be a struggle for Andy. It was one of those days when he wasn’t really feeling on form but just had to do his best to tough it out and get through it.

The routes for Day 1 and Day 2 had been swapped around this year, due to another event taking place at Lulworth on the Saturday. That meant Friday was the Weymouth to Lulworth leg, via Portland.

It started in the beach carpark on the road that crosses to Portland. The first checkpoint was at the lighthouse around 6 miles in and Andy felt okay at that point and was comfortable. Arriving in a time of 54 minutes and 8 seconds, Andy was sitting in 88th place at that time, out of 188 who started the event.

The route followed the coast path around the back of the prison and down pass the Olympic rings and back to the second checkpoint at the event HQ, which was at the Portland sailing academy. That was about 12 miles in and Andy arrived in a time of 2:11:37, which had moved him up to 80th position.

From there you make your way into Weymouth and to one of the parts of the course that really irritate Andy as some people like to cut corners. That of course is not in the spirit of the event and is something that will be addressed in the future as the organisers were in fact trialing a GPS system which records each persons route.

Andy tends to find he has a bit of trouble not telling people when I sees the cheating going on. The route actually went around the fort and back over the estuary bridge before heading round the theatre where the Weymouth 10 mile race starts off from.

Andy Gillespie on day 1 of the Jurassic Coast Challenge
Andy works his way along the coastal path on day 1 of his three day escapade

You then have the couple of miles along the seafront before you head out to Osmington. It was around this point that it started to go wrong for Andy. His energy levels seemed to deplete rapidly and he felt a little sick at times, which is rare for him.

Arriving at the third checkpoint in a time of 4:08:55, Andy was now in 84th place. He couldn’t really get any food down at this point though so struggled through the six miles over to Lulworth.

He ended up walking a fair bit over the roller coaster at Durdle and  really didn’t think he could carry on at this point. Reaching the end of the first marathon in 5:55:28, he was languishing in 87th place and was feeling really down in the dumps. He was, however, told to “man up. You’re only doing marathons” by someone on Strava and that comment seemed to resonate with Andy.

Andy Gillespie going past the lighthouse on day of the Jurassic Coast Challenge
Andy struggled a little on day 1 but after a good night’s sleep he realized there was light at the end of the tunnel

That evening he did manage to eat and drink a fair bit after a nice hot shower and got a good night’s sleep in. As they had a longer transfer to the original day 1 start at Charmouth the next day, Andy was put into group 2, the faster run group. Yes, you did read that right!! That meant he didn’t  start running until nearly 11:00 so had a longer recovery time.

The first five miles on day 2 included over 1800 feet of climb and included Golden Cap, so Andy’s strategy was to get past this bit in one piece and then try to pick it up later. This seemed to work well and he even went across the gravel beaches with no bother.

Arriving at the first checkpoint in 1:47:41, Andy was in 91st place. He had then moved up to 87th by the time he reached the second checkpoint, clocking in at 3:31:25.

By the third checkpoint, he was up to 83rd place, coming in in a time of 4:42:34, before finishing strongly to register a time of 6:36:23, which put him in 79th place on the day. Other than one blister under his big toe nail, he was now in pretty good nick and was confident he could finish the event after all.

Andy Gillespie makes his way across the beach on day 2 of the Jurassic Coast Challenge
Andy works his way across the gavel beaches on day 2 of the JCC

Although he was scheduled to go with the second group again for day 3, Andy managed to sneak onto the group 1 bus. He then started at the back of the group heading out from Lulworth Cove. The final destination was the ferry at Studland. The weather was fantastic which did wonders to help Andy’s spirits.

Again it was particularly hilly from the start with all the lumps and bumps that the coastal path has to offer. The first checkpoint was at Kimmeridge where Andy arrived in 1:39:21, putting him in 89th place. The route then we headed inland to Kingston before picking the coastal path up again just before the steps at St Aldhelms Head.

The second check point on day 3 was at the coast guard station and to to Andy that signaled the start of the run home. He arrived in 3:15:47, putting him in 80th place on the day.

Although very tired, he enjoyed the run into Swanage and it was along this section that he was caught by Jon Sharkey, who had entered for Day 3 only. He was a clear leader and running really well and he did make me feel a little slow, but of course, Jon is a tad younger.

Sharkey rolled back the years and romped home to seal a brilliant victory, crossing the line in 4:17:44, which was a very pleasing result for him. That gave him an advantage of over 6 minutes on his nearest rival, who was Kevin Price.

Once in Swanage and through checkpoint 3, where he clocked in at 4:56:11, putting him in 79th place, it was over Old Harry to Studland.

Andy Gillespie nears the end of day 3 of the Jurassic Coast Challenge
The end is now in sight for Andy as he progresses through day 3 of his journey

VOtwo have a reputation to keep up and you have to run the full length of the beach just to make sure that you use up any left over energy. Andy reached the finish in 6:40:58, which put him 78th on the day.

Over all, the entire JCC run amounted to  83.9 miles, with Andy chalking up a total combined time of 19 hours 12 minutes and 49 seconds, which put him in 68th place overall.

That was 43 minutes quicker than last year, which was a bonus for Andy considering how he felt at the end of day one. That’s now 95 marathons down for Andy as he edges ever closer to the magic 100.

The overall winner of the three days combined was Robert Laing of Kent AC who finished in a time of 12:56:08, giving him a winning margin of almost 5 minutes over Ammon Peipgrass of Harpenden Arrows who was 2nd in a time of 13:01:28.

The first lady in the overall standings was Abigail Jones of Poole AC who finished with a total combined time of 15:34:36, putting her in 10th place on the leader-board.

That gave her a winning margin of just over 9 minutes over Maria Parnham who was 2nd lady, finishing with a total combined time of 15:43:55 to take 11th on the overall standings.

Andy Gillespie on day 3 of the Jurassic Coast Challenge
Andy finished up with a total combined time of 19 hours 55 minutes and 53 seconds which was 43 minutes quicker than his time from last year

Georgia Wood has spring in her step at Forest of Dean Trail Half Marathon

Georgia Wood in Forest of Dean Spring Trails Half Marathon
Georgia Wood was hoping to contend for top spot in the UK Trail ‘Short Course’ Championship at the Forest of Dean Spring Trails Half Marathon

In a race that was the designated UK Trail ‘Short Course’ Championship, Georgia Wood was going out all guns blazing at the Forest of Dean Spring Trails Half Marathon, hoping she might be in with a chance of bringing home the prize.

Of course, with such a prestigious title up for grabs she knew she was likely to face some tough competition but she approached the event with focus and determination, planning run hard from the outset and hopefully maintain the pace as the race progressed.

Georgia is in fine form at the moment and had every reason to feel confident going into the race after an excellent performance at the Nation Cross Country Championships in Harewood House Estate, near Leeds, where she finished 83rd out of 1,034 runners.

The course started off at Speech House and followed the tails through the Forest of Dean in a clockwise direction, looping back to Speech House for the finish.

Whilst she was on the start-line, Georgia was lucky enough to be given a heads up that the second mile had a decent downhill section and there was a tricky climb 6 or 7 miles in. She’d also been informed that miles 11 and 12 were all uphill.

Knowing that information helped her formulate her race strategy and gave her a good inclination of what was coming and when she could afford to push hard and when to conserve energy.

Georgia Wood at the Forest of Dean Spring Trails Half Marathon
Georgia’s plan was to set off hard and then try to maintain her levels throughout the race

Georgia really enjoyed the route and found the Forest of Dean to be a delightful place to run. On the 10th mile there was some banging music which gave Georgia a real lift as she went past. It turned out to be a rave in the woods that had been going on for two days and, by the sound of it, was still in full swing.

Crossing the line in a stunning time of 1:21:51, Georgia was the first female to arrive at the finish, taking a mightily impressive 20th place overall in a field of 1,887 runners.

It was a truly magnificent display from Georgia and she’d won the UK Trail ‘Short Course’ Championship very emphatically, with the next lady, Emma Dalton of Westbury Harriers, reaching the finish 6-and-a-half minutes later in a time of 1:28:25.

That was a huge margin of victory for Georgia and she was certainly fully deserving of the gleaming trophy she was awarded at the presentation after the race.

Not only had she become UK Trail Champion, she’d also broken the course record, beating the previous best time set by Vicky Plume of Westbury Harriers back in 2010 by 49 seconds.

Needless to say, Georgia was over the moon with her performance and she’d certainly done herself proud in the event, making it a very memorable day.

Georgia Wood collects her trophy for winning the UK Trail Championship
Multi-tasking as ever, Georgia holds baby Chloe in one hand and her brand new UK Trail Championship trophy in the other


BAC boys take team prize at Eastleigh 10k

Dave Long, Josh King and Rob McTaggart at Eastleigh 10k
Dave Long (left), Josh King (Centre) and Rob McTaggart (right) were all expecting to be up there at the sharp end the field in the Eastleigh 10k

With its notoriety for being a fast, flat course and thus potential PB fodder, the Eastleigh 10k is one of the top attractions in the south of England as far as road races of that distance go. Throw three of Bournemouth AC’s finest speed merchants into the mix and you’ve got a very interesting spectacle on your hands.

‘Disco’ Dave Long, Rob McTaggart and Josh King were amongst over 2,500 people lining up on the 35th anniversary of the race. Several other top runners from clubs such as Aldershot, Farnham & District AC and Southampton AC were also looking to vi for top positions so it was set to be an intriguing encounter.

After recently coming back into some good form, Trevor Elkins was also in the race and was hoping he might be able to post a new fastest 10k time on the board.

And after completing the Larmer Tree 10 miler two weeks prior, Rob Spall was hoping for a much smoother and hopefully faster ride at Eastleigh.

Following an ill-fated attempt at the Reading Half Marathon where he went out really hard and blew up after four miles, Disco was hoping for a decent run out at Eastleigh to round off his road race season before he goes back to concentrating on the track.

Also hoping for a good last blast out on the road before he turns his attentions to the track, Josh had worked hard in training over the winter months and was aiming for a sub-32 time.

Unfortunately, he’d been struck down by a bug and had spent the entire week building up to the race in bed feeling ill. It wasn’t the best of preparations but he decided to give it a go anyway.

Coming into the race off the back of some seriously high mileage weeks, Tag wasn’t really expecting too much at Eastleigh. His primary focus at the moment is the London Marathon at the end of April and he’s doing everything within his power to get into prime shape for that.

As the race got underway, wearing his trademark white cap, Dave quickly took to the front, alongside Richard Allen of Aldershot, Farnham & District.

Front of the field in Eastleigh 10k
The Eastleigh 10k for 2019 gets underway, with Disco heading up the field in his trademark white cap
Josh King in Eastleigh 10k
Josh had been ill in the week leading up to the race so wasn’t sure how much that would effect him in his quest

The first mile was extremely quick from Dave, keeping pace with the Aldershot man. That was followed up by a fairly fast second mile. Dave didn’t quite have enough in the tank to maintain that sort of pace for the rest of the race and Richard Allen took control.

Disco Dave Long in Eastleigh 10k
Dave was hoping he’d get a good performance in to redeem himself after disappointment at the Reading Half Marathon

For the next four miles, Disco dug in, managing to hold off the challenge from Richard’s Aldershot teammate Jack Boswell who was looking to make a club one-two.

Dave Long in Eastleigh 10k
Disco found himself in 2nd place and had to work hard to fend off the attentions of Jack Boswell from Aldershot Farnham & District

Finding the resolve to see it through though, Dave made it to the line in 2nd place, recording a time of 31:24, with Jack Boswell crossing the line four seconds later to take 3rd.

Dave Long in Eastleigh 10k
Managing to keep a relatively high tempo over the last four miles, Disco ran a pretty decent race, all-in-all

Although he was just over a minute behind the winner Richard Allen, who clocked a time of 30:15, it was still a fairly good result for Dave and will give him a good base to work from going into the track season.

Dave Long finishes Eastleigh 10k
Reaching the finish in a time of 31:24, Dave took a superb 2nd place

Slightly further back, Tag and Josh were also going well. They’d been in the chasing pack for the first 5k before it started to get a little more spread out.

Josh King gives his all in Eastleigh 10k
Josh battled hard to find the levels he was looking for to achieve his goal

For the last four kilometres, Tag found himself on his own and in a mental battle to keep pushing. He suffered a bit over the last couple of kilometres and that may have just cost him the chance to finally get that illusive sub-32 time he’s been craving for so long.

Rob McTaggart in Eastleigh 10k
Tag was in throws of some intense London Marathon training but was still fresh enough to make a bid for that illusive sub-32

Not having tapered down at all though he wasn’t really expecting it for this race so it came as a pleasant surprise really for him to cross the line in 32:08 and finish up in 6th place.

Josh King finishing Eastleigh 10k
Josh storms down the finishing straight giving everything he’s got

Josh filtered in soon afterwards to take 7th in a time of 32:16. Although it wasn’t quite what he was targeting, it was still a magnificent PB from Josh and a mightily impressive effort to boot.

Josh King working hard in Eastleigh 10k
The pain etched on Josh’s face tells it’s own story of how hard he was prepared to work

It was frustrating though in some ways as he knows, if he hadn’t had that illness in the week leading up to the race, he could well have achieved his goal. On the plus side though, his form his looking good and that will give him a lot of confidence for the coming track season.

Josh King comes into the finish at Eastleigh 10k
Reaching the line in a time of 32:16, Josh set himself a brilliant new PB, taking 7th place

Also securing a terrific new PB of his own, Trevor Elkins had a great run to reach the finish in a time of 37:27, which put him in 86th place overall. That was an improvement of over a minute on his previous best which was set at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival last October.

After going through some difficult times for much of last year, Trev had to go completely back to basics with his training and is now in a much better place and will be looking to keep on that upward curve going forward.

Trev Elkins in Eastleigh 10k
Trev Elkins hit new heights, recoding a fantastic new PB of 37:27

Rob Spall also came in with a decent run to complete the course in a time of 45:31, which put him in 486th place overall. It was also good enough to position him in 68th place in the VM45-49 category. In total there were 2,524 finishers.

The trio of Disco, Tag and Josh also won the team prize, finishing 2nd, 6th an 7th to defeat the team of William Byron, Richard Waldron and Rikki James of Southampton AC, who were 5th, 8th and 10th.

Winning men's team of Disco, Josh and Tag
It was a nice way to round off the road season for Disco and Josh and a good stepping stone towards London for Tag

The first female to arrive at the finish was Isabel Brinsden of Epsom and Ewell Harriers who crossed the line in 35:37, taking 45th place overall.

She was followed by Lesley Locks of Hart Road Runners who finished in 36:04 to take 51st place overall. Then it was Cassie Thorp who clocked a time of 36:53 to take 76th place.



JC winds down with win at Weymouth Half Marathon

Jacek Cieluszecki surges on in the Weymouth Half Marathon
Just one week after a great run in the Barcelona Marathon, Jacek Cieluszecki was in action again, this time at the Weymouth Half Marathon

He probably should have been resting just one week after blitzing the Barcelona Marathon in just under 2 hours and 34 minutes but Jacek Cieluszecki doesn’t really do lazy Sundays. He just couldn’t wait to get back out there and get involved in another race, so that’s exactly what he did.

Weymouth was the scene for his next conquest and, after running so hard in Barcelona, he wasn’t sure how his legs would hold up but he decided to give it a go and see what happened.

It wasn’t the first time Jacek has competed again so soon after completing a big target race. In September last year he ran the Purbeck Marathon, which is one of the toughest around, just one week after completing the 7 Valleys 100k race back in his native Poland.

The 7 Valleys race wasn’t a flat, road 100k either. The route crossed several of Poland’s highest mountains, featuring an elevation gain of 4,500 metres. Not only did he compete in the Purbeck Marathon 7 days later though, he actually went and won it!!

Could he repeat those heroics at the Weymouth Half Marathon though? The route for the Weymouth Half Marathon takes the runners on a historical and scenic tour of Weymouth’s past and present landscape.

It’s a one lap course, set predominantly along the coast line, making for a fairly fast and flat surface throughout. Whether he was on the cultured, city streets of Barcelona or the understated, seaside suburbs of Weymouth, it didn’t matter to Jacek though. He just loves to run and that’s all there is to it.

Setting off at lightening speed, Jacek drove the pace forward from the get-go and was looking to see who was strong enough to go with it. Not many could to be fair.

Jacek Cieluszecki leads the way in the Weymouth Half Marathon
Back on Dorset ground and back in the familiar position of leading the race, Jacek drives the pace at the front of the field

He continued to push hard for the first five miles or so, building up a sizeable advantage over his nearest rivals. After that he began to feel the after effects of his exploits the previous weekends – and perhaps all the Spanish omelettes and cervazas he consumed afterwards.

Although he had to settle back into a slightly more comfortable pace, Jacek still looked in control of the race and cruised round, maintaining his advantage over the chasing pack.

Jacek Cieluszecki powers along in the Weymouth Half Marathon
Jacek was soon out in front on his own and he debated whether to stop off at the café for a cuppa but thought better of it

Finishing in a quite magnificent time of 1:12:49, Jacek sealed a superb victory, crossing the line 38 seconds ahead of Jo Corbett of Chichester who took 2nd place in 1:13:27. That gave JC an average pace of 5:31 for the run.

Arriving at the line together with Jo, Matt Papa of ButinSkin Runners took 3rd place, with a chip time of 1:13:28. Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders secured another big PB to finish in 4th position with his time of 1:13:43.

The first female to arrive at the finish line was Laura Trimble of Wimbledon Windmilers, who registered a time of 1:25:02, putting her in 22nd place overall.

Jacek Cieluszecki in the Weymouth Half Marathon
You didn’t need a telescope to be able to see that Jacek was best man out there on the day and he controlled the race throughout

She was followed by Kate Towerton of Winchester who crossed the line in 1:26:52 to take 33rd place overall. Rachel Astington of Running for Time was 3rd lady, completing the course in 1:27:55, putting her 39th overall.

In total there were 973 finishers out of the 987 who started the race, with one being disqualified and 13 abandoning.

It was another terrific win for Jacek to add to his ever-growing collection and it showed that even on a day when he isn’t at his best, he’s still often better than all the rest.

Considering he’d run a marathon the previous weekend as well, to be able to turn in such a strong performance is a remarkable achievement from JC and again serves to underline what an accomplished runner he truly is.

Jacek Cieluszecki comes in the the win at the Weymouth Half Marathon
Sealing the victory in a time of 1:12:49, it marked the end of a very successful week’s work for JC after performing well in the Barcelona Marathon the previous weekend



Steve Way, Simon Hunt and Matt du Cros take the plunge at the Bath Half Marathon

Matt du Cros in the Bath Half Marathon
Taking on his first half marathon in two years, Matt du Cros was one of three Bournemouth AC members giving the Bath Half Marathon a whirl, along with Steve Way and Simon Hunt

Hoping for a good clean race, there were three Bournemouth AC members present at the 2019 edition of the Bath Half Marathon and they were Steve Way, Matt du Cros and Simon Hunt.

The prospect of a fast, flat course and nigh on perfect running conditions had them foaming at the mouth as they took to the start line for one of the longest established and most iconic city centre road races in the country.

There were almost 15,000 runners taking to the tarmac and an estimated 40,000 spectators lining the streets of Bath to witness the 38th edition of the popular and much-loved event. It truly was quite a sight to behold.

Man dressed as a rooster in the Bath Half Marathon
The Bournemouth AC trio were among over 14,900 people who did not chicken out of tackling the Bath Half Marathon

After some indifferent performances of late, Steve Way was hoping to make a splash and get the result he needed to give him a boost for the continuation of his training for the Comrades.

Two weeks prior to the Bath Half Marathon, Steve had been in action at the Wimborne 20, where he finished in 3rd place with a time of 2:02:08. Most people would have been over the moon with that of course but Steve sets such high standards for himself that he wasn’t really happy with the run.

At the Bournemouth 10 he finished 4th in an event that he won convincingly last year and at the Lytchett 10 two weeks earlier he ran the course two times before the race even began, completing his third lap in the actual race.

He did record a victory in the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon in early February, but again, wasn’t wholly happy with how he felt during the run.

Start of the Bath Half Marathon
The race gets underway, with Chris Thompson (number 3), the hot favourite, already out in front

Taking on his first ever 10 mile races at the Lytchett 10 and Bournemouth 10, Matt Du Cros did well in both events and was hoping he had all his ducks lined up for a successful half marathon.

The last time he’d run a half marathon though was back in 2017 and he wasn’t quite at the level he is now back then so he knew the chances are he’d be recording a new PB at least, whatever happened.

As for Simon Hunt, he hasn’t managed to make it to training much recently but he was hoping he would be able to tap into his experience to see him through to a decent time.

The masses at the start of the Bath Half Marathon
The masses go over line to get their half marathon race underway, providing quite a spectacle

Going through the first 5k in 17:31, Steve went on to reach the 10k point in 34:19. Maintaining a very consistent pace, he then went through 15k in 51:09 before reaching 20k in 1:08:17.

Although he hadn’t quite make the waves he wanted, it was still a good solid performance from Steve finishing the race in a time of 1:12:09. That was enough to give him 31st position and 4th in the M40-44 category.

With an average pace of 5:29 for the run, although it wasn’t quite what he was looking for, it was still an impressive display and one that most runners would look at in awe.

Steve Way in the Bath Half Marathon
Steve went over the line in 31st place, clocking an excellent time of 1:12:09

Completing the first 5k in 20:21, Matt passed through the 10k stage at 40:23. That was a really good first half of the race. The challenge would be to keep it going throughout the second half.

At the 15 point, he checked in at 1:00:39, so still pretty consistent with his pacing. The next 5k took him a little longer and saw him arrive at the 20k point in 1:21:19. It was then just over a kilometre to the finish.

Crossing the line in a time of 1 hour 26 minutes exactly, Matt took 373rd position, which wasn’t bad at all out of nearly 15,000 participants. It was also a PB that he could most certainly be proud of and will surely be the springboard for greater things to come for Matt.

Matt du Cros racing in the Bath Half Marathon
Matt had a very good run, reaching the finish in a chip time of exactly 1 hour 26 minutes

Unfortunately, Simon Hunt’s race didn’t quite go so well. It started off quite smoothly for Simon though and he went through 5k in 22:33. He then reached the 10k point in 45:43, only really losing a bit of ground in the fourth mile.

Before he could get to the 15k point though, his calf muscle went and from that point on, it was a long painful limp home. In fact, he was forced to stop on the 10th mile, which took him over 24 minutes to complete.

Although he considered pulling the plug on it, to his credit, Simon didn’t throw the baby out of the bath water and give up. He pushed through the pain over the last three miles to make it to the end in a time of 2:02:01. That landed him in 4,842nd place overall and 72nd out of 209 in the M60-64 category.

Simon Hunt takes on the Bath Half Marathon
Simon was running well before his calf suddenly went on the 10th mile

It was gutting for the race to end that way for Simon, especially since it was going so well up till that point. As soon as he felt his calf go though, he had that sinking feeling, knowing that that was it. That’s running for you though. There is always that risk that an injury can strike at the wrong time and scupper your race.

No doubt he’ll come back from this though, as he has many times before and, knowing Simon, he’ll come back even stronger and even fitter.

It was Chris Thompson who claimed the race win at the Bath Half Marathon, finishing in a time of 1:03:09. He was followed by Nick Goolab of Belgrave who registered a time of 1:04:34. Peter Le Grice of Bristol & West took 3rd place in a time of 1:04:55.

Simon Hunt in the Bath Half Marathon
After stopping for a bit to nurse his injury, Simon refused to give up and battled on to complete the race

As for the ladies race, it was Kate Reed who swooped in for the win, finishing in a time of 1:12:44, which put her in 34th place overall, only three places behind Steve.

2nd place in the women’s race went to Rachel Felton of Shaftesbury Barnet who finished in a time of 1:15:53, putting her in 73rd place overall. Then it was Phillipa Williams of Bristol University who completed the course in a time of 1:18:10 to put her in 103rd overall.

Steve will be in racing action again pretty soon as he is set to take on the Manchester Marathon. That will really be just another training run for Steve though, as opposed to one he’s specifically targeted for a fast time. He’ll still be hoping for a good performance though to confirm that his training is on track to get him to where he wants to be.

As for Matt, he’s looking to run the North Dorset Village Marathon in early May and that will be his first marathon since 2016 so he will soon be stepping up his training in a bid to get into peak shape for that race.

Man in biscuit costume at Bath Half Marathon
This outfit really takes the biscuit







Louise, Tamzin and Ant Clark visit Fleet Half Marathon

Louise Price and Tamzin Petersen at the Fleet Half Marathon
Louise Price and Tamzin Petersen went to the Fleet Half Marathon in search of the fast time, knowing it was potentially a PB course

Pencilling the race in as an ideal opportunity for a fast time and a potential PB attempt, Louise Price and Tamzin Petersen set about putting in some hard training in a bid to get into tip-top shape for the Fleet Half Marathon.

After getting in on a late transfer, Anthony Clark decided to join them – and after an impressive run out in the Wokingham Half Marathon three weeks prior, he had every reason to be optimistic about his chances going into the race.

Currently in training for the Comrades Marathon in June though, Ant has already started putting in some high volume training and came in off the back of three consecutive 90 mile weeks. With no mini-taper in the week leading up to the race, it was really a question of whether or not the fatigue would catch up with him.

The training was going well for Tamzin and Louise up until Louise was struck down by a foot injury just five weeks from race day. From that point on she’d hardly been able to do any running.

She still decided to go along anyway though and support Tamzin in her PB attempt and from her perspective, just give it a go and see what happens.

Louise Price in full flow in the Fleet Half Marathon
Louise was suffering from a foot injury but decided to press on through regardless

Unfortunately for Louise, as soon as they set off, her foot was hurting and as she continued, it got progressively worse. She considered stopping several times but in the end she slowed the pace right down and just jogged round.

Finishing a time of 1:55:36, Louise was 1,655th out of a field of 2,701. She was 342nd women out of 898 and came in 33rd out of 93 in the F50 category.

Louise Price finishing the Fleet Half Marathon
Louise nears the finish of a disappointing race for her but she showed a lot of character to soldier on through the pain

It was a little bit gutting for Louise but she soon cheered up when she heard about Tamzin’s fantastic PB. Tamzin’s previous best before the Fleet Half was 1:46:28 which she did at Blackmore Vale last February.

With a good solid block of hard training behind her though, she went into the race in pretty good shape and had every reason to be confident about beating that.

She set off at 7:50 pace for the first mile and then got into a good rhythm after that, keeping the pace fairly consistent as the miles ticked by.

Man dressed as trainer in Flett Half Marathon
This guy took the idea of a personal trainer to a whole new level

Staying remarkably strong throughout the run, she kept her focus and made it to the line in a magnificent time of 1:41:32. Unbelievably, she’d knocked almost five minutes off her previous best so that was an extremely emphatic PB.

She came in 157th women and was 1,021st overall. She was 46th out of 224 in the Senior Female category and her average pace for the run was 7:45 minutes per mile.

Needless to say, Tamzin was very pleased with her run and was glad to see that the hard training she’d put in for it had paid off. Tamzin wasn’t on her own in the PB stakes that day though. A certain Mr Ant Clark had also managed to improve his Power of 10 stats for the distance.

Louise Price and Tamzin Petersen in the Fleet Half Marathon
Tamzin secured a new PB, beating her previous best by nearly five minutes

It took a few miles for Ant to settle into his stride but once that happened, it all clicked into place. He started to pick other runners off and work his way up a very high standard field.

That continued for the next 10 miles and with a very strong last three miles, Ant finished up with a slight negative split, going over the line in a tremendous time of 1:12:31.

That shattered his previous best by over one-and-a-half minutes and saw him take 11th place in the final standings. That was mightily impressive in a field of 2,700 people and considering the level of the opposition, that was a great achievement.

Ant Clark in the Fleet Half Marathon
Ant went into the race off the back of three consecutive 90-mile weeks so he wasn’t sure what to expect

The performance also netted Ant first place in the M40 category out of 280 people, so again, an excellent result. His average pace for the run was an incredible 5:32 per mile.

Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of it for Ant was that he was able to do it without tapering at all and in the midst of such a huge volume of training. That goes to show, he’s on the right track with his training and will serve as good encouragement to continue working hard.

James Bellward of the RAF one the race in an astonishing time of 1:07:34. Edward Knudsen of the Army was 2nd in 1:09:31, with Michael Taylor of the RAF taking 3rd in a time of 1:09:53.

Ant Clark working hard in the Fleet Half Marathon
Ant digs in and races to the finish to seal a brilliant new half marathon PB

The first female finisher was Lesley Locks of Hart Road Runners who crossed the line in 1:18:27, putting her 87th in the overall standings. Her teammate Alexa King took 2nd in 1:19:38, taking 109th overall and Jill Collett of Datchet Dashers was 3rd in 1:19:51.

Next up for Ant, it’s the Manchester Marathon which takes place on 7th April. Again, that is not a target race for Ant and he will not be doing any form of tapering for it. He’ll be keeping up the high mileage right the way through, as everything he does is primarily centred around building up to Comrades.

Meanwhile, Louise has taped her foot up and is now resting from running for a bit and after a nice long sleep after the race, Tamzin is now back out training and working toward her next challenge.

Ant Clark nears the end of the Fleet Half Marathon
Finishing in 11th place overall out of 2,700 people, Ant was also 1st in the M40 category