You wouldn’t ordinarily associate the Purbeck with being great potential PB territory. In fact, the rugged landscape and fiercely undulating nature of the area can make it an incredibly tough place to run.
That said, it’s a wonderful training ground and has provided a regular go-to sanctuary for Bournemouth AC runners down the generations. Last week it was the turn of the current crop of budding BAC bloomers to head over there for the Purbeck 10k.
It was a gorgeous Friday evening as the competitors set off on their way with the sun still streaming down on the night after summer solstice (the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours).
For Phil Cherrett, it turned out to be a night that he won’t forget in a hurry after he secured a terrific new PB of 42 minutes 24 seconds. That was good enough for 60th place in a highly competitive field of over 400 participants.
Having run the Purbeck 10k last year, finishing in a time of 48:43, Phil couldn’t wait to come back and give it a another shot. It meant that he knew some of the logistics of the course including the fact that it included quite a lot of downhill sections.
Fresh from a training programme focusing on going downhill quickly, Phil’s strategy was to really attack the descents. His previous 10k PB was 43:15 but after setting a parkrun PB of 20:07 the week before, he knew he was in a good shape for a 10k PB.
At first, the enthusiasm to do well got the better of him and he went off a bit too quickly. By the 2k point he felt like he was going backwards. At 3k his saviour arrived though in the shape of club and training partner Richard Cannings.
The pair decided to run together in that seemed the buoy Phil and he instantly felt better. He continued to attack on the downhills and was able to pull ahead of Rich on those, but Rich then promptly reigned him back in on the flat and the uphill sectors. That pattern continued throughout.
By the 9k point, Phil knew he was on for a PB so the question now was, by how much? At a stretch, he’d thought that 42:30 was a possibility so that was now what he was going to go for.
After the final climb it was just the downhill finish that remained. Phil had walked the 200m finishing straight before the start and had visualised his racing line which really helped. He can’t wait to go back and do the race again next year and hopes that Rich Cannings will join him again.
That performance was enough the net Phil 13th place in the V40 category. Rich crossed the line just a second later to take 62nd place, although he had a faster chip time which was 42:20.
Rich had also done the Purbeck 10k before, a couple of years ago, so he too knew the rigours of the course to some extent. He found it tough as the constant undulations allow little prospect of getting into a good pacing rhythm.
The downhill finishing stretch ensures that you finish on a high though. Rich was impressed with Phil’s strong finish and feels sure that his PB won’t last for long.
Another BAC member to secure a resounding PB was Andrew Brookes, who knocked over 2 minutes off his previous best of 45:31, which he’d only just recently posted at the Poole Festival of Running.
With a magnificent time of 43:18, Andrew claimed 73rd place in the standings and was 29th in the Senior Men’s category. This was a fantastic result for Andrew and a surprise one in more ways than one considering he only signed up for it just before 5pm on the day.
He had been sitting around at home feeling a little bored and wondering what he was going to do that evening beforehand. He then must have suddenly decided, “I know, I’ll go and do a 10k PB at the Pubeck”. And what a fantastic choice it turned out to be.
Although he wasn’t expecting to run very fast, after hitting the 5k mark in 22 minutes, Andrew new he was on for a PB if he could keep up the pace. It was around that point in the race that he saw BAC teammate Steve Parsons and running with Steve helped take his mind off the pain.
Steve was running well and pretty much dragged Andrew along up till the 5 mile point. Andrew felt okay by that point so decided to pick up the pace and see what happens.
Although he was hurting in the final part of the race, he dug in and just kept concentrating on catching and overtaking the people in front. It had been a tough race and he’d given everything but to get such a brilliant PB made it all worthwhile.
As for Steve Parsons, he really enjoyed the race as well and having done it the past 3 years, it’s one of his favourite races in the calendar. He had been really looking forward to it this year as it marked the half way stage in the Pete Thompson “Run the tour lite” challenge as it was his 35th day in a row.
Currently out in the Alps on his amazing attempt to run the entire route of the Tour de France in 70 days before getting swamped by the peloton as they arrive in Paris, Pete has also devised ways for others to get involved.
That includes the 10% challenge, where other runners can contribute by running 10% of what Pete has to each day to complete the challenge. That’s what Steve is currently in the midst of and it has meant he’s had to run each and every day.
That’s resulted in quite an upturn in mileage for Steve and he’s still been doing his regular training sessions on top of that so has in fact been averaging around 5 miles a day for the past 5 weeks.
Off the back of his second quickest ever parkrun the weekend before Steve was quietly confident about posting a good time at the Purbeck 10k. Due to the challenge though, he hadn’t had as much must as he normally would going into a race though so it was possible that might have an impact.
After setting off quite hard, he was going well at the half way point when he saw Andrew and just tried to keep going in the same vain and hold his pace.
Running with Andrew really helped but Steve had a feeling Andrew was going to be stronger in the end and when he pushed on with 2k to go, Steve was unable to stay with him. It helped keep him motivated though as he could still see Andrew up ahead.
With 1k left to go, Steve suddenly realised he was going better than he thought and decided to push really hard for the final stretch. Finishing in a time of 43:45, Steve had taken 82nd place and was 32nd in the Senior Men’s category.
In fact, he’d come in only 15 seconds off his PB so that was a pleasing result on an undulating course and in hot conditions to boot.
It turned out to be a good day all round as Steve’s wife Roz knocked just under 2 minutes off her previous best crossing the line in 1:02:54. A mate of Steve’s who he hadn’t seen in 6 months flew in from Canada that morning and also ran as well.
There was also a PB equalling performance for Ben Walliman, who finished in 29th place with a time of 39:18 and 5th in the V40 category. Incredibly, it was the 3rd time Ben has posted that exact time, with one of those being the Purbeck 10k in 2015, which was his last full year of running before having two children.
Ben is now making a mini comeback and was surprised at how well the race went for him. He felt pretty solid throughout but had to focus a bit in the last couple of miles to ensure he didn’t drop his pace too much in the uphill sectors.
Having done the race before, he knew the last part was downhill so he just had to make it to the railway bridge. He’s hoping now that with a few weeks of solid training behind him, he should be able to conquer that elusive 39:18 barrier. Either that or he’s going to put in a dip for the finish line next time!
Putting in a strong performance to take 12th place, Ross Smith crossed the line in a time of 37:24. Following a distinct lack of interval training, Ross didn’t have massively high expectations going into the race and he found it tough going in the heat. In fact, he said that it felt at times like a shire horse carrying a cart. It must have been a very fast and very strong shire horse though.
Having also ridden 22 miles on the bike in order to get to the race, it was a superb training day for Ross who is planning weekly running efforts in the lead up to the Cross European Dualthon Championship in Ibiza at the end of October.
The event is an off-road version of a duathlon, consisting of trail running and mountain bike racing, so it’s right up Ross’s street. Ross has also pencilled in the Portland 10 for this coming weekend, so it will be another good test for Ross, this time over the 10 mile distance.
Finishing in a time of 47:48, Mike White took 138th place and 38th in the V40 category. Despite being full of excuses before the hooter went, Mike was glad to be back on the racing circuit and he loved the course.
The hills tend to be over with quite quickly and there are plenty of descents which means you have ample opportunity to make up for any lost time.
Two weeks before the race Mike had caught a lurgy that had put him out of action for the duration of the fortnight. As a result, he went for a much more comfortable pace than he would normally aim for.
Appreciating the support from BAC colleagues out on the course supporting, Mike also enjoyed seeing other faster teammates in the race as they crossed paths. Mike is now motivated to get back to his best form and push on with his times.
Taking 5th place in the V55 category, Helen Ambrosen crossed the line in a time of 52:51, making her 53rd lady and 230th overall. It wasn’t a particularly quick time for Helen but she’d cycled 60 miles on the bike the day before so was feeling the after effects of that.
For the first half of the race Helen was going quite well but she ran out of steam a bit after that. Helen has been enjoying a bit of road cycling over the summer and tends to struggle a bit when running in the heat so the cycling is a good way of keeping fit.
Prior to the race, Helen had been really looking forward to it and she was pleased to have had the confidence to turn up and give it a go. She enjoyed the course and found it a really well organised event and with a bit more of a sensible approach next time, she’d love to give it another go.
A bit of family time is always nice and what better way to spend it than running a 10k on the Purbeck? Kirsty Drewett did the race alongside her dad, Robert, with the pair crossing the line together in a time of 1:00:16.
Having followed a beginners 10k training plan which he’d managed to fit in around his racket sports, Robert did really well to complete the course at 66 years of age. The only disappointing thing for him was that he’d just missed out on the hour mark.
Despite the extremely warm conditions and the swarms of flies that were evident in places, Kirsty thoroughly enjoyed the event and was really pleased to have got to run it with her dad.
In his first race since the London Marathon, Craig Palmer was glad to be back out there and, although he wasn’t quite at his usual level of fitness, still took 2nd place in the standings, crossing the line in a time of 34:05.
Having mostly represented Littledown Harriers since he moved down to the south coast, Craig had still kept allegiance to his hometown club of Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers.
Before changing his first claim club, Craig wanted to be sure that it would be the right move for him and one that could help take him forward in his running. Ultimately, he decided to sign for Bournemouth AC and his first official race for the club with be in the Portland 10 this coming weekend.
The race was won convincingly by Jake Smith of Axe Valley Harriers who smashed the course record, finishing in an astonishing time of 30:56. That gave him an advantage of over 3 minutes on Craig in 2nd. Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat RC took 3rd place in a time of 34:46.