A brief update about the National Athletics League (NAL) as things stand heading to 2021. The NAL is the national level track and field competition for Senior and U20 men and women and Bournemouth AC are in the 2nd Tier of this known as the “Championship” division.
The NAL committee is planning both for a Plan A (where things can go ahead as normal in 2021) and a Plan B, where things are more restrictive still and thus would involve a competition structure with less travelling. We all hope for Plan A and I can let you have some details of that now…
The NAL Committee has listened to the wishes of the clubs and athletes and most fixtures now are on Saturdays. The fixtures for Bournemouth AC are PROVISIONALLY as follows…
Sat 15-MaySportCity, Manchester
Sat 5-JunKing’s Park, Bournemouth
The overall structure along with the teams at each match is here…
I shall once again be taking the lead in managing the NAL in 2021 along with Amy Spencer who will help particularly on the ladies side. We have an opportunity to once again look to boost the team as we head into 2021 and work is progressing on that ☺. With a year’s gap from league competition and some club athletes now progressing well and moving up into the U20 age group, we hope to see some fresh faces in the team in 2021. I’m sure that Bournemouth AC will continue to show that it’s an extremely enthusiastic team.
Bournemouth Athletic Club Member and still our Senior Men’s 400m Record Holder.
Mike Wheeler won an Olympic Bronze Medal in the Olympic Games in Melbourne 1956. He was a member the 4 x 400m relay team representing Great Britain .Some of Mike’s preparation for “ the Games “ was done on our famous zig zags down the cliffs by the beach. Still used today by many club athletes looking for that extra physical challenge. At that time the zig zag was the only available winter surface and facility available in grass track days.
Mike’s performance was a stand out achievement by a member of Bournemouth Athletic Club. To this day his best Individual 400m time of 47.7 seconds, set in 1955/56, is still our club record. Our longest lasting club record enduring for 65 years, a significant portion of BAC’s 114 year existence.
He was an outstanding all round athlete who was also a fine Rugby player. Mike still competed some time later than 1956 but his domestic victory in the AAAs Championship in that year included the British Championship in 47.7sec. This was achieved on a cinder track at the White City and over the slightly longer distance of 440 yards.
He was a graceful sprinter whose athletic appearance was in the mould of the stars of “Chariots of Fire”. Fittingly Mike had also become the English Native Record Holder over his favourite distance at that time.
In 1970 he came back to competition at Kings Park as a master and raced the club’s current All English Schools Champion, Jimmy Lynch. This was an exceptional race with the then Junior National Champion racing the veteran Olympian. Mike just pipped Jim with his lean by a whisker as they crossed the finishing line in around 50 seconds. The battle down the straight has long stayed in my memory. Our Olympic Medallist was an outstanding sportsman in all respects. A true gentleman.
As Chief Coach, he organised the Thursday night training at the Athletic Centre in the sixties and into the beginning of the 70s. He led the Youth Service sponsored programme which engaged all the Bournemouth Athletic Club athletes and Youth Club members from across the town. He organised the Bournemouth Youth Service Town Championships each year.
Mike was a highly regarded P.E. teacher at Castle Court Private School before taking a more senior position. In this role he was very involved with the Wessex Schools Championships when it was held at Kings Park. This continues to this day as a high quality event in the private schools calendar.
His continued enthusiasm for all athletes and sportsman, especially those he had taught and coached, is a memorable feature in so many of our memories of this great athlete and fine man. Our very own Olympic Medallist Mike Wheeler. RIP.
Tribute written by – Paul Rees
Former BAC Athlete and an active coach from 1965 To the present day
President of Bournemouth Athletic Club in 1990/91.
The second of this season’s Sportshall events was held at Canford School on Saturday 25th November and our young athletes performed excellently finishing first in both the Under 11 girls and boys competitions.
Our Under 13s also shone finishing second in both the Girls and Boys competitions.
In recent years, BAC has found it difficult to field strong teams but now the hard work being put in at the Wednesday Junior Development sessions together with the enthusiasm of the coaches and the athletes has seen a terrific change in the Club’s fortunes.
Full results can be found on the Team Dorset Athletics Network site www.teamdorsetathletics.btck.co.uk/ These performances hopefully bode well for the 2018 Track & Field season as the team spirit will stand the athletes well for those competitions.
The racing year began on the morning of 1st January with the 32nd running of the Broadstone Quarter-Marathon. Always a popular event, particularly as it is the first event of the Dorset Road Race League, the race was full several days prior to the event. Many of those who had entered might have looked at the weather forecast the day before and wondered why they had done so and, those who over-indulged with the New Year celebrations could perhaps be forgiven if they decided to stay tucked up in bed!
As it turned out, the heavy early morning rain disappeared and although the clouds didn’t go away, the conditions were near perfect with virtually no wind. The course remains a testing one, however, with the long drag up Gravel Hill to be negotiated on both of the large laps.
BAC athletes performed well on the day with good solid performances by both the Men and Ladies teams with the Men’s team of Steve Way, Anthony Clark and Alexander Goulding winning the Open Team Race and the Ladies scoring team of Gemma Bragg, Linn Erickson Sahlstrom and Yvonne Tibble finishing in a highly respectable 2nd place behind a strong Poole Runners team.
Right from the start, the Men’s Race was dominated by Phil Gale (who appears from Power of 10 to be a member of the Club Alta Valtellina?!) who quickly established a large lead. At the end of the first of the two large laps, he was well clear with a small group of chasing athletes including BAC’s Steve Way. Whilst the group was unable to catch the eventual winner (35:50), they did make up some distance with Steve clinching a podium position in 3rd in 36:07. The battle for Dorset League honours 5 to score) was turning into a head to head between BAC and Poole Runners. Anthony Clark (8th in 37:35) and Alexander Goulding (11th in 38:19) ensured both teams were level after 3 runners each. Stuart Nicholas (in his debut for BAC following his change of Club) was close behind in 13th with 39:06 and Jez Bragg completed the scoring team in 19th (39:43). Although still unconfirmed, when the points were all added up, it seems we were pipped by Poole Runners by just two points. This was still a terrific performance as we are usually much stronger over the longer distance events to come in the League.
The ladies race was dominated by Serena O’Connor of Poole Runners who finished in 21st place overall, more than a minute ahead of the second lady. For BAC, Gemma Bragg ran an excellent race, and after a conservative start, she worked her way strongly through the field finishing as 6th lady in 44:44. Linn and Yvonne stayed close together throughout the race to complete the scoring team as 8th and 9th ladies in 46:40 and 46:46 respectively. As with the Open Race, this left BAC in 2nd place in the Dorset League race behind the very strong host club.
Overall, therefore, with a number of our top runners missing, a good solid start to the defence of the Men’s and Ladies Dorset League titles and plenty of time left. It does show that it is imperative to try to get out our strongest teams for all the events as the opposition is strong.
The scoring teams were well backed up by other BAC runners with the full BAC results as follows:-
Steve Way 3rd 36:07; Anthony Clark 8th 37:35; Alexander Goulding 11th 38:19; Stuart Nicholas 13th 39:06; Jez Bragg 19th 39:43; Jud Kirk 65th 44:02; Steve Cox 73rd 44:37; Gemma Bragg 75th 44:44;
Rich Nelson 80th 45:51; Linn Erickson Sahlstrom 92nd 46:40; Yvonne Tibble 94th (1st V50) 46:46;
Louise Price 154th 51:52; Ian Graham 175th 53:08; Helen Ambrosen 187th 53:48 and Steve Parsons 198th 54:16. There were 371 finishers.
Club President achieves ‘clean sweep’ at Guernsey Easter Races
Two of BAC’s senior runners, Club President Ian Graham and Dave Parsons made their annual journey to Guernsey this Easter to compete in the traditional Guernsey Easter Runs which consist of four races in four days totalling the Marathon distance of 26 miles. Both were hopeful of good performances as training had gone fairly well.
Good Friday 3rd April – 10k road race
The day dawned wet and windy and was far from promising. However, by the time the runners were beginning to assemble, the rain had cleared and it was just the prospect of running into a tough headwind on the second half of the course that was somewhat daunting.
There was time for the usual practice of finding out just who else was there and trying to establish what sort of form they might be in. The likely challengers to Ian and Dave for the V60 category appeared to be Martin Miller (Hercules Wimbledon/Chichester Runners) and local Guernsey ‘legend’ Brian Holden. However, there is nearly always someone who isn’t known or recognised who is about to spoil the party as they found out last year.
At the gun, Dave went out hard and it took Ian a little while to catch up but once he had done so, he gradually pulled away and by the time they reached the half way point just before turning back towards the finish, he was well clear. Although the wind on the way back wasn’t quite as bad as anticipated, everybody’s times were affected, even the leaders. Local star Lee Merrien was a comfortable winner of the race and the first lady, again by a clear margin, was international runner Helen Clitheroe in 31:37 and 35:19 respectively. Ian finished strongly in 44:28 (70th) and Dave over a minute behind in 45:48 (84th). When the results were first published, they were shown as 1st and 2nd V60, however, they were subsequently corrected when an error was found as a runner from St Edmund Pacers, Steve Rue appeared in 77th place with 44:47. Nevertheless a very satisfactory start with Martin and Brian well behind!
Sunday 4th April – Keith Falla Memorial Cross Country – ‘the full course’
This race is run in memory of Guernsey & BAC runner Keith Falla who was sadly killed when hit by a car when training in New Zealand. This year is the 40th anniversary of the accident and it was fitting that Keith’s widow, Caroline Marler (also ex BAC) was there not only as starter for the race but also to participate.
After his disappointing 10k the day before, Martin Miller made a more positive start. The first mile or so is on true cross country terrain of uneven ‘clumpy’ grass followed by some rolling hills with many rabbit holes to safely negotiate. On this part of the course, Ian was finding it hard to stay with Martin and Dave had already quickly fallen back from them both. When the course changed to gravel and grass paths, Ian was soon able to catch and pass Martin and he continued to pull away finishing almost a minute clear in 46th place in a time of 35:00. Martin and Dave were both overtaken by Steven Rue who was 2nd V60 to finish with Martin 3rd (35:58) and Dave 4th in 36:58 (53rd overall).
Monday 5th April – Stonecrusher 4 x 2 mile cross country relay
For those travelling without a full four person team, other runners are found/adopted to make up teams for this relay. Ian and Dave, running as relay team ‘Scott Free’ with reference to the absent Geoff Scott who was busy elsewhere starting his long distance Coast Path walk from Minehead to Shell Bay, teamed up with two Welsh ladies who were staying in the same hotel, Angela Jones and Dawn Lee. Angela is a top class Welsh triathlete and personal trainer and Dawn is a swimming instructor who in June of this year is due to attempt to swim the English Channel (we wish her every success).
Ian was quite rightly nominated as the first leg runner and with Martin and Steve both also running the first leg for their respective teams, we were in for a tight battle of the V60’s on that leg. There are several opportunities to see the runners on each leg and when they first came into sight, Martin was leading this V60 group with Ian right behind and Steve just a few yards further back. When they next came into view Martin was still just ahead of Ian and Steve had dropped back a bit. Ian later said that he was just beginning to think he would have to let Martin go when, on the second half of the course, Martin began to slow and Ian forged ahead and finished in 20th place in 14:54 (fastest V60 for the day) with Steven following in 15:04 and Martin 15:10.
Dave (who confesses to hating this race) took over on the second leg and managed to gain one place to hand over in 19th place with a time of 15:48 (40 seconds quicker than last year). Angela ran a terrific 3rd leg storming past a number of runners and was eventually credited with a time of 13:07 moving us up to 15th position. (She was eventually to complete the weekend as 3rd lady overall – a terrific performance for a 49 year old!!). Dawn was just looking to complete the course in under 30 minutes as she doesn’t profess to be a runner. The rest of the team positioned themselves strategically around the course to give her every encouragement. She came home smiling broadly in a time of 23:01 with the team finishing 24th – a very good team effort.
Easter Monday – 6th April Half Marathon
The weather for the final race was pleasant but with a brisk cool wind from the North East which would hopefully be a help on the way back to the finish at St Peter Port. Ian was well clear in the battle of the V60’s with Dave just in second, 8 places ahead of Martin. Steve was not competing in this final race so all that was needed to complete a BAC 1 – 2 was for Ian to finish without falling over and Dave to be no more than seven places behind Martin.
Then just before the start, we saw that Bill Adams from the Shetland Isles was there for this final event so Ian would have a fight on his hands to achieve the desired clean sweep.
Dave is usually very strong on this his favoured event, however, this time, Ian began to pull clear early on and Dave was finding it really tough to maintain any reasonable pace. Bill Adams also soon passed him and set off in pursuit of Ian. At the half way point, Ian began the long return journey and was startled to see that Bill was quite close to him and this forced him to push on as hard as possible. Not wanting to look back at any point, he just kept pushing all the way to the finish. Despite the hope that the wind would help on the way back, he was disappointed to find that for the most part, it still seemed to be a headwind! Ian was rewarded with the excellent time in the conditions of 1:37:47 in 48th place. It was almost 6 minutes before Bill came in 66th in 1:43:42.
Dave who, at one point, was overtaken by Martin, managed to keep going well over the last half of the race and finished just two places behind Bill in 1:44:22 for 3rd V60 on the day and to clinch 2nd V60 for the weekend.
And so to the Presentation which was held outside on the sun terrace at one of the Cliff-top Hotels in Guernsey and Ian was justly rewarded for his efforts with all four V60 prizes.
All in all, it was a very successful and enjoyable weekend. Here’s to 2016 when perhaps some other BAC runners might join us!!
I would just like to remind members that their membership became due for renewal on 1st January! I would like to thank all those who have completed a form and renewed their membership. Can I please remind all the others who have not yet renewed that it is important that they complete a membership renewal form and pay their membership and EA fee as soon as possible.
Early in April, I will be paying the EA fees to England Athletics for all our paid up members. I will not be able to make the payment for anyone who has not yet renewed and they will, therefore not be eligible to compete for the Club until such payment has been made.