All posts by Richard Brawn

Mission accomplished for BAC trio at Dorset Conquest Half Marathon

Alex, Steve and Stu in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
Alex Goulding, Steve Ross and Stu Glenister were the Bournemouth AC contingent in action at the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon

A scenic Roman themed trail race awaited those runners who had signed up for the Dorset Conquest 10k or Half Marathon races and, as they were about to find out, it was going to be far from straight forward.

Running in the footsteps of the Romans, the route for the Half Marathon followed paths and fields through the Dorset countryside previously inhabited by Romans.

Three Bournemouth AC members were among those heading over to East Farm to tackle the Half Marathon. They were Alex Goulding, Steve Ross and Stu Glenister.

Alex in action in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
It was a rare stab at the Half Marathon distance for Alex
Steve Ross in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
Steve Ross is quite partial to a challenging off-road route
Stu Glenister in action in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
Stu showed his patriotic side in a Union Jack vest

Alex and Steve last raced at the Maverick Dorset back in May where Steve ran the 25km distance and Alex went for the 16km route. They were on a tough, off-road course over the Purbeck so both Alex and Steve had had recent experience of racing over challenging terrain.

Stu Glenister is currently training for the Ultra Tour of Arran in October where he’ll be facing a grueling 60-mile route over two days featuring over 9,000 ft of elevation.

Knight on horse at the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
The Dorset Conquest had a unique Roman theme to it

Having recently completed the 32-mile Dartmoor Discovery Ultra Marathon as part of his training, Stu’s preparations were going pretty well thus far and he’d already proved he has the minerals to tackle a tough long ultra.

The Dartmoor Discovery incorporated almost 4,000 ft of ascent and tends to take runners 50 per cent longer than it would take them to complete a flat marathon, even though t it’s only 10k further.

Stu completed it in 5 hours 28 minutes so it was a long day but great preparation for for the challenge ahead. Then the following weekend he was back in action at the Ferndown 10k, showing his body had handled the workload well.

Alex Goulding in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
Alex arrived at East Farm in good shape from his consistent hard training
Steve Ross appears over the hill in the Dorset Conquest
What’s that coming over the hill? Is it Steve Ross? Yes, it’s Steve Ross
Stu Glenister makes his way along the gravel track
Stu had done the Dorset Conquest before in 2019

The course for the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon went through undulating footpaths and bridleways across Dorset farmland, with part of it heading along an ancient Roman road.

One aspect of the race that stood out to all three BAC members was the thigh-high shrubbery they had to contend with along many stretches of the route.

At times the grass was so long that it was almost as if there was no path. That made it extremely difficult to gather momentum and get a good pace going.

As is the case with all good half marathons, the race was started by a Roman Centurion on horseback!

Knight on horse starting the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
The Roman Centurion leads out the runners as the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon gets under
Start of the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
And they’re off with Alex immediately hitting the front
The Dorset Conquest Half Marathon gets underway
The star studded field heads out of the gate and onto the course to do battle

It was Lewis Clarke of Lonely Goat who took the initiative in the early going and he was soon well out in front. Alex was hot on his heals though and had made a strong start of his own.

The first was pretty much all uphill but Alex still went through it in 6 minutes 53 seconds. The second mile contained a bit of downhill which enabled Alex to pick up the pace before a short incline. He got through that one at 6:23 pace.

Alex Goulding on his way to second place in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
Alex found the long grass tough to get to grips with
Steve Ross gives the thumbs up in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
Steve gives the thumbs up, with Mark Packer on the left and Jon Huggins in the middle
Stu Glenister in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
Stu makes his way down the track

Then it was another tough climb on the third mile before a couple of nice descents over the next two miles where Alex produced a 6:23 and 6:43 mile. He then hit the hills again on the sixth mile.

Following that it was a downhill for the 7th and 8th miles before embarking upon a massive climb for the 9th and 10th miles. That left just over a parkrun distance left and Alex was able to pick up the pace well over the last couple of miles as they contained some descending.

Alex negotiates the stile
Alex hadn’t thought to practice his hurdling technique beforehand
Steve Ross in a three man train at the Dorset Conquest
Steve heads through the field in a three-man train
Stu Glenister going well in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
His heavy training workload didn’t stop Stu enjoying the run

Slightly out of his comfort zone over the half marathon distance, Alex was relieved to get to the finish line when he arrived, completing the 13.28 miles in a time of 1:31:59.

That was enough to see him finish as runner up, with Lewis Clarke picking up the victory in a time of 1:28:59. It was a strong run from Lewis to come in two minutes ahead of Alex as he has been an excellent form of late.

John Huggins grabbed 3rd place and he was a further three minutes behind Alex, clocking a time of 1:35:04. Then Mark Packer of Littledown Harriers reached the line 6 seconds later to take 4th position.

Alex makes his way through the hay
Alex had to settle for 2nd place in the end as Lewis Clarke was just too strong
Steve Ross on the right in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
Steve on he right with his newfound running buddies
Stu Glenister makes his way through the field
It must have seemed like a short race to Stu after his Dartmoor Discovery exploits

Making it two BAC men in the top five, Steve Ross completed the course in 1:38:08. He’s also been showing magnificent form in training recently but again, he struggled in the long grass. The course incorporated over 1,000ft of elevation and Steve’s time reflects just how grueling it was.

Having run the course before in 2019, Stu had some idea of what to expect but of course, it was always going to be a testing one. He came into it off the back of a decent week’s training which included a duathlon on the Thursday prior to the race.

Getting round in a time of 1:49:59, Stu finished in 11th position in the overall standings. A total of 73 runners successfully made it to the finish that day and they’d certainly all earned their medal.

Alex Goulding makes his way through the undergrowth
Finishing 2nd wasn’t enough to convince Alex that Half Marathons are the distance for him

Anne-Marie Bayliss was 1st female, finishing in 7th place overall in a time of 1:41:50. Then it was Claire Sparrey of Square and Compass Trail Runners who was 10th overall in 1:49:55.

Sarah Hyde of Egdon Heath Harriers was 3rd female over the line, completing the course in 1:53:36.

Steve Ross in action in the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
Steve did well to finish in 5th place with his time of 1:38:08

The Dorset Conquest 10k race that was on the previous day was won by Barry Miller of Poole AC in a time of 45:49. Joe Godden of Poole Runners took 2nd place in 47:01 with Donald Barnes taking 3rd in 52:53.

Kirstin Hay of Poole AC wasn’t going to bale out and she rolled in in 5th place overall in 56:54. That won her the prize for 1st female. Sian Barnes of Poole Runners was 9th overall and 2nd female in 1:00:23 and she was followed by Annabelle Peacock who took 10th place and 3rd female in 1 hour 1 minute.

The top three at the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon
The Dorset Conquest Half Marathon top three, with Alex on the right

Even though he did well to finish 2nd, the Half Marathon race certainly reaffirmed Alex’s desire not to run longer distances. He much prefers a 5k or a 10k race and usually even a 10-mile event is a bit of a stretch for him.

He’ll certainly be glad to have parkrun back so he can resume doing what he’s much more accustomed to, turning up at Kings Park at 9am and thrashing out the two-and-a-half lap course whilst being surrounded by many others doing the same.




Katrina and Nikki make further progress at Upton Summer Series Race 3

Katrina White and Nikki Whittaker in race 3 of the Upton Summer Series
Katrina White and Nikki Whittaker were competing in their third race of the Upton Summer Series and looking to make further progress

With both Katrina White and Nikki Whittaker seeing some improvement in their second race of the Upton Summer Series, the question was, could they do it again in Race 3?

Katrina completed the 5.5km course in 27:30 in the first race and then went 16 seconds quicker to clock a 27:14 in her second race.

Starting off with a 29:44 in the first race, Nikki followed that up with a 29:38 in Race 2 so that was the time to beat for her.

Katrina White in Race 3 of the Upton Summer Series
Katrina makes her way along the gravel track
Nikki Whittaker in Race 3 of the Upton Summer Series
Nikki follows along shortly after

The conditions were slightly cooler again this time round which was likely to work in their favour.

Now targeting a sub 27 by the end of the series, Katrina had a new focus and served as a good motivation for her to push hard in the third race.

Feeling strong most of the way round, Katrina had an excellent run and as a result, managed to achieve her goal there and then. Getting round in a time of 26:50, she came in 55th overall and was 6th woman over the line.

It was a very impressive performance from Katrina and she was extremely pleased with the outcome.

Katrina White in the Upton Summer Series - Race 3
Katrina was going for a target of under 27 minutes
Nikki Whittaker in the Upton Summer Series - Race 3
Nikki progressed well round the course this time round

Nikki went over on her ankle in second mile but it didn’t see to effect her much and she continued on at a good pace. Completing the course in 29:26, Nikki reached the line in 84th place overall.

That made her 22nd fastest female and gave her a 12 second improvement on her time from Race 2. Her splits were much more consistent this time round as well which is always a good sign.

A total of 148 runners featured in Race 3 of the Upton Summer Series, so once again, it was a pretty good turnout for a Wednesday night and the runners seemed to enjoy rediscovering that competitive racing spirit.

Katrina jostles for position in Race 3 of the Upton Summer Series
Katrina was the 6th fastest woman on the day
Nikki going well in Race 3 of the Upton Summer Series
Nikki was 12 seconds quicker than she was in Race 2

As he did in the previous race, Matthew Brown of Littledown Harriers sealed the win in a time of 18:58. He was followed by John Ingleson who took 2nd in 19:41 and Dion Garner of Poole Runners who was 3rd in 19:46.

Places 4, 5 and 6 were taken by the same athletes as in the previous week, with Tom Andrews of Lytchett Manor Striders taking 4th in 19:54, Duncan Cooper of Poole AC in 5th with 20:07 and Aidan Dure-Smith of New Forest Juniors finishing 6th in 20:08.

Charlotte Bunch of Poole Runners was 1st female in 22:23 putting her 21st overall. Then it was Sophie Watton of Wimborne AC who was 38th overall in 24:46 and just pipped Lesley Moore of Poole AC to the post. She registered a time of 24:46.

Katrina White in her third race in the series
Katrina moved up to 6th place on the female leaderboard for the series so far
Nikki makes her way round in the third race of the series
Nikki is currently sitting 14th placed female for the series so far

In the cumulative leaderboard after the first three fixtures, Katrina moved up to 6th placed female and Nikki moved up to 14th.

Charlotte Bunch still leads the way, now with two wins and a 2nd place from here three races. Lesley Moore is 2nd female with two 5th places and a 3rd.

In the overall stakes, Matthew Brown is still out in front with two wins and a 3rd place. Then it’s John Ingleson with a 6th, a 3rd and a 2nd. Then Tom Andrews with two 4th places and a 9th.

In terms of the teams, Poole AC still lead the way ahead of Poole Runners in 2nd for the Male teams. And for the Female teams, Poole Runners are just ahead of Poole AC.




Tamzin and Lou tackle The General 10k Trail Run

Tamzin Petersen and Louise Price at The General 10k
Tamzin Petersen and Louise Price were over in Winchester for The General 10k where they would be put to test on a very tough, hilly trail course

The best way to describe The General Winchester 10k Trail Run would be… ‘hilly!’ With over 800ft of elevation to negotiate, the course certainly delivered it’s fair share of ups and downs as well as a few surprises on the way.

The course was set in the Matterley Estate and was a multi-terrain route amongst ancient woodland and areas of scientific interest. Two Bournemouth AC ladies were brave enough to take it on and they were Tamzin Petersen and Louise Price.

It was the first race Lou had taken part in post COVID so she was keen to get back out there. Initially they’d entered the race two years ago but Lou had had to pull out that day due to injury. This was a chance for her to redress that unfinished business.

Looking at the times from previous years, they knew it was going to be a hilly one so were prepared for that to a certain extent. That still doesn’t make it any easier though of course.

Tamzin had been doing quite a few of the Thursday night sessions round the figure of eight loop at Queens Park Golf Course and was hoping that might help prepare her for the undulations and the off-road intricacies.

The first kilometre was on a motocross course with steep muddy banks in loops. Then it headed off into the countryside, featuring many different types of terrain and hills aplenty.

It was a fantastic course and even included a section where the runners pass by some old tanks and army vehicles.

The worst bit for Lou was at around the 6k point when she was faced with the longest hill she’d ever run up. Then, when you got to the top, the course narrowed and you had to climb through a bale of hay to get through.

The race was won by Pete Doughty of Westbourne RC in a time of 45:17. He was followed by Pete Newman who was runner up in 45:29 and Daniel Eyre who was 3rd in 46:10.

Finishing in 23rd position, Tamzin completed the course in 52 minutes 52 seconds. That was enough to see her finish as 4th fastest female.

Poppy Tanner put in a heroic display to finish as 1st female and 10th overall in a time of 48:26. Sian Lewis was 2nd lady getting round in 50:53 which put her 16th overall. Then it was Rachael David who came in 18th overall in a time of 51:42.

Hoping to come in under the hour, Louise actually ended up finishing in 1:00:06 which put her in 52nd place overall. Out of the women in the race, she was 10th quickest.

Even though it was super hilly, Tamzin and Louise both enjoyed the race and Lou said that she would like to go back and give it another go.

There was also a 20k Trail Run as well as a 10k Obstacle Race on the following day which looked great fun – and very muddy!

Tamzin Petersen and Louise Price after The General 10k
It was a race where Tamzin and Lou definitely had to work hard for their medals but they still had fun in the process



BAC golden girl Amelia Verney victorious in English Schools 200m

Amelia Verney at the English Schools Championships in Manchester
The English Schools Championships provided another opportunity to shine for Amelia Verney and it was one she was determined to make the most of

After a terrific performance at the British Championships which saw her square off against Dina Asher-Smith in the semi-final of the 100 metres, Bournemouth AC sprint superstar Amelia Verney returned to Manchester for the ESAA New Balance English Schools Championships.

This time she was in action in the Under 20 Women’s 200 metres. Looking in fantastic form, she won her heat in a lightening quick time of 24:47 which was a new PB for her without wind assistance.

It was enough to give her a 0.06 second margin of victory over Mary John of Woodford Green Essex Ladies who was 2nd in 24:53. The other heat was won by Madeleine Whapples of Solihull & Small Heath and she recorded a time of 24:68, so not quite as quick as Amelia.

The question was, could Amelia deliver again though in the final? And the answer to that question was an emphatic yes!! Sure enough, she produced another incredible display to land the gold medal and even managed to eclipse her previous time by finishing in 24:45.

Madeleine Whapples took the silver medal in what, for her, was a PB time of 24:66, with Mary John taking home bronze in 24:67.

It was a truly stunning performance from Amelia and the way she’s going, an international vest surely beckons. It can only now be a matter of time.

Next up for Amelia it is the South West Championships at Exeter Arena and in the form that she’s in, you certainly wouldn’t bet against another successful outing for her in that one.

Amelia Verney with her gold medal at the English Schools Championships
Amelia with her well deserved gold medal after a spectacular showing


BAC stars blossom in British Championships

Amelia Verney in the British Championships 100m semi-final
Bournemouth AC’s 17-year-old sprint sensation Amelia Verney lined up against Dina Asher-Smith in the British Championships 100m semi-final

As far as the domestic club athletics scene goes, there aren’t too many bigger stages than the British Championships, and at that event, only the real cream of the crop get to compete.

To have any involvement, athletes need to be among the best in the country in their field, so it’s quite an accolade just to be competing there.

Considering that, it was impressive to see several Bournemouth AC representatives in action over the course of the three day weekend in Manchester. They were vying for national titles and places in the team for the Tokyo Olympics.

Two BAC girls qualified for the Women’s 100 metres with Amelia Verney and Brooke Ironside both taking centre stage. It was also the first time in the club’s history that two junior athletes had made it through to the British Champs, with Amelia at just 17 years of age and Brooke being 18.

Amelia Verney at the British Championships
Amelia was one of two Bournemouth AC juniors racing in the senior 100m heats

For them to be mixing it with the top British senior women was a tremendous achievement in itself. Brooke finished 7th in her heat in a time of 12:82 but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to see her progress to the semi-final.

Crossing the line in 6th place in her heat, Amelia‘s time of 12:28 was quick enough to see her through to the semi-final. That meant a showdown with the nation’s top sprinter Dina Asher-Smith.

It was a great moment for Amelia to be lining up against an athlete of such high acclaim and she managed to up her game for the occasion.

Clocking a superb time of 12:01, Amelia finished 8th in her semi-final but didn’t quite make the final unfortunately. It was still a mightily impressive performance from her though.

Amelia Verney at the British Championships in Manchester
Amelia finished 8th in her semi-final recording a time of 12:01

There was also Bournemouth AC involvement in the Long Jump where James Lelliott was right in the tick of the action. With a huge leap of 7.69 metres, he was leading until the final round of jumps.

Then Alex Farquharson of Coventry snatched the gold medal with his last attempt, jumping the same distance. That meant James had to be content with a silver medal but it still a fantastic achievement from him, proving that he’s up there with the very best on the national scene.

James Lelliott in the Long Jump at the British Championships
James Lelliott takes a leap of faith that would see him secure a silver medal

In the Women’s Discus, Phoebe Dowson was flying the yellow and blue flag and she recorded a huge throw of 52.42 to finish in 5th place.

The Men’s Discus also featured a BAC star in the shape of Adam Phillips and he threw 49 metres to take 9th place in the standings.

Phoebe Dowson in the Discus at the British Championships
Phobe Dowson threw well to seal 5th place in the Women’s Discus

Second claim BAC member Adam Booth finished 2nd in his 400 metre Hurdles heat in a time of 51:84 which saw him progress to the final. He then ran a time of 52:17 to take 5th place in the final.

Another second claim Bournemouth AC member Piers Copeland was in action in the 1500 metres and he qualified for the final by finishing 2nd in his heat in a time of 3:45.66. He then produced a time of 3:45.51 in the final which saw him get over the line in 10th place.

Adam Phillips in the Discus at the British Championships
Adam Phillips threw 49 metres to finish 9th in the Men’s Discus

It was great to see so many athletes with Bournemouth AC connections flourishing on the national stage and putting the club on the map in such an impressive way.

And with Amelia and Brooke already reaching that level at such a tender age, their future prospects look very bright going forward. It’s a testament, not just to the athletes themselves but also to the coaches who have helped develop and nurture these special talents.

James Lelliott leaps long for the silver medal
James proved he’s one of Bournemouth AC’s highest standard competitors on a national level








Jacek checks in and gets the win at Maverick Frontier Chilterns

Jacek Cieluszecki comes down the stairs
Looking for a third consecutive Maverick race win, Jacek Cieluszecki was in action in the Frontier Chilterns 21km distance

It was a spontaneous decision from Jacek Cieluszecki and his wife Ela to enter the Maverick Frontier Chilterns, with the pair both entering the Middle distance race a day before the closing date. It would turn out to be a decision Jacek was not going to regret through.

In truth, they were keen to make the trip up to Chilterns Woods anyway and spend a summer day outdoors as they often do. Having the Maverick event there was an added bonus.

The feature race for the Maverick Adidas Terrex Frontier Chilterns event, to give it its full title, is a 54km Ultra. The route takes the runners through ancient woodlands steeped in history, incorporating some stunning views of the Chiltern Hills.

There is also a stretch along the Ickneild Way which is one of the oldest roads in Britain, featuring prehistoric paths that date back to before Roman times.

The course also includes a section along the Grand Union Canal which weaves its way back to Wendover before the final climb up Pulpit Hill and White Leaf Cross.

As with all Maverick events though, there was a choice of races of differing distances. The ‘Short’ route was 10km, the ‘Middle‘ route  was 21km, the ‘Long’ route was 42km and the ‘Ultra’ was 54km.

The ‘Middle’ distance one that Jacek and Ela had entered still incorporated an elevation gain of 352 metres, so it had it’s fair share of ups and downs, but that’s just the way Jacek likes it.

By the time they arrived at Wendover, virtually everyone was already out on the course. In fact, Jacek was the last person to cross the start line.

Although he wasn’t feeling super fresh, he decided to make a solid go of it. The course was muddy in the woods but nice and dry when out in the open.

Even though the hills were quite steep, JC made light work of them and tackled them with vigor and velocity. Being so used to scaling the slopes of the Purbeck, it was all meat and drink to him.

Jacek Cieluszecki at the Maverick Frontier Chilterns
It was another opportunity for Jacek to demonstrate his unique hill running power

Jacek raced through the first mile at 6:13 pace despite the fact that quite a lot of it was uphill. The second and third miles were also all uphill and he got through them at 6:49 and 6:27 pace.

There were plenty more ups and downs to follow but Jacek managed to maintain a sub-7-minute mile pace all the way through with most of the miles being around 6:30 sort of pace.

Jacek Cieluszecki in action at the Maverick Frontier Chilterns
Jacek takes some steps in the right direction toward recording the quickest time

He did get stuck a few times on the narrow paths when trying to overtake people who had started earlier but he still managed to get round the 13.4 mile course in a time of 1 hour 27 minutes and 54 seconds.

That was enough to see him claim a marvelous victory, making him almost two minutes quicker than his nearest rival Jonathan Peters of Race Rapid, who finished in 1:29:49.

Jacek Cieluszecki heading down the steps
Finishing in 1:27:50, Jacek bettered his nearest rival by almost two minutes

Although he’d wracked up 1,200ft of elevation over the distance he covered, Jacek still came away with a very impressive average pace of 6:32 minutes per mile.

Completing the course in 2 hours 16 minutes and 50 seconds, Ela was 25th fastest female out of 81 and 110th overall out of the 213 who entered the ‘Middle’ distance race.

JC featuring in the 'Middle' distance race at the Maverick Frontier Chilterns
On this sort of terrain there was only every really going to be one winner

That made it three wins out of three Maverick races for JC since events came back after lockdown restrictions were eased. He won the Maverick Dorset ‘Long’ race first, which was a 25km course on the Purbeck. Then he emerged victorious in the Maverick ‘Exmoor’ Ultra, which consisted of a brutal 57km route along the South West Coast Path.

For his next target race, Jacek has penciled in the Scaffell Pike Trail Marathon, which features 1,800m of ascent up England’s highest mountain.

Who knows though? He might well find another Maverick race to enter and add to the win column before then.

Jacek Cieluszecki in the Maverick Frontier Chilterns 'Middle' distance race
The Chiltern Hills provided a spectacular setting for JC and the other runners to enjoy

Harry Smith blasts into orbit at MK Rocket 5K

Harry Smith in the MK Rocket 5K
With triathlon and duathlon wins already in the bag, Harry Smith had high hopes of a big performance in the MK Rocket 5K

Coming off the back of recent wins in the Huntsman Standard Distance Triathlon and the TrailX Spring Off Road Duathlon, Harry Smith went into the MK Rocket 5K high on confidence and keen to see what sort of time he could produce in a regular running event.

The MK Rocket 5K is part of the Milton Keynes Marathon Weekend, along with the Turing 10k, a Half Marathon and a Marathon. It was the ideal race for Harry since he has family in Milton Keynes and took him back to where he previously lived before moving down to Salisbury.

Also the course is on a downhill trajectory and includes very little elevation so it lends itself to the possibility of a fast time. And it wasn’t an opportunity that Harry was going to miss.

The race started near the XScape centre and finished inside StadiumMK. In line with COVID secure protocol, the start was done in waves which meant that by the time he started, Harry already had some people in front of him to pick off.

Harry Smith racing round in MK Rocket 5K
Harry was wearing the vest of his former club Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers

Making an explosive start, the first mile of the course was really quick and Harry blasted through that in 4 minutes and 46 seconds. It really was a mightily impressive show of speed.

He knew the second half of the course would be a lot tougher as there were lot of sharp corners, underpasses and road crossings to contend with.

Despite that, Harry managed to maintain a very high pace, getting through the second mile in 4:52. He then followed that up with a 4:55 for the third mile which left him with only the final 0.1 mile left.

Harry Smith getting into his stride
Harry ripped round the Redways at a pace most of the runners could only dream of

With an astonishing average pace of 4:51, Harry crossed the line in an official time of 15 minutes and 2 seconds, which was a huge personal best for him.

Not only that, it was also a new course record and was enough to earn Harry the race win, by a very comfortable margin. The only other man to get inside 16 minutes was Matt Kitching of Queens Park Harriers who clocked a time of 15:35.

It really was a monumental performance from Harry and had he known he was so close to a sub-15, he would have perhaps dipped for the line.

Harry Smith outside Stadium MK
Harry certainly earned his medal with a very polished performance

It certainly showcased how well Harry is running at the moment though and gave an indication of the great things he’s going to be capable of going forward.

If he was to do an event surrounded by others of a similar ability to drive him on, Harry would surely have a sub-15 in his locker, so no doubt there are exciting things to come from him when he gets the chance.

There were a total of 629 runners taking part in the Rocket 5K and Harry’s Dad was also among them. He finished in a time of 23:38 which was his fastest run for quite a few years and put him 5th in the over 60 category.

Harry Smith with his dad at the MK Marathon Weekend
Harry’s Dad also did the Rocket 5K and was 5th fastest over 60 in race with his time of 23:38

All-in-all, it was a fantastic day for the Smiths and one that Harry will look back on very fondly. It was certainly a performance that was worthy of the name Rocket 5K!!

He’s still scheduled to be action at the Eastleigh 10k in August if it finally goes ahead this time and given what he’s now produced in a 5k, it’s going to be very interesting to see what he can conjure up over the 10k distance.

Harry Smith in action in the MK Rocket 5K
There are very few men out there who can match Harry for speed at the present time

Heather, Helen, Debbie and Ken hit up Hampshire Hoppit

Caroline and Heather in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Heather Khoshnevis was running the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon with her friend Caroline Horder who was doing her 100th marathon

Four of Bournemouth AC‘s more seasoned campaigners were in action at the Hampshire Hoppit with Heather Khoshnevis ticking off another Marathon and Helen Ambrosen, Ken Parradine and Debbie Lennon in action in the Half Marathon.

The Hampshire Hoppit Marathon and Half Marathon races are on a tough, hilly, off-road route and included sections of the Wayfarers Walk footpath and the marathon race also went along the Harrow Way.

Both the Marathon and the Half Marathon were single lap courses, starting and ending in Kingsclere, on the Hampshire/Berkshire border. The route passed through Watership Down, the setting for the famous novel.

Encompassing some of the highest points in Hampshire, the Marathon incorporated an elevation gain of 650m whilst the Half Marathon included 330m of ascent.

Heather Khoshnevis in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Heather was competing in her 138th marathon
Helen Ambrosen in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Helen Ambrosen was doing the Half Marathon
Ken Parradine in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Ken Parradine was also in action in the Half Marathon
Debbie Lennon in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Debbie Lennon made it a BAC trio in the Hampshire Hoppit Half Marathon

Although she’s much more akin to running on the road, Heather had done the race back in 2016 and strangely enough, had enjoyed it, so she thought it would be a good one to test her strength on after so long without racing.

She did win the age-category prize in her return to racing action at the Kempton Park Marathon where she finished in 3 hours 43 minutes, so the lengthy lockdown period clearly hadn’t left her too rusty.

Heather Khoshnevis in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Heather is more used to running on the road than on the trails
Helen Ambrosen in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
It was a return to action for Helen who had been out injured for quite some time
Ken Parradine in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Ken in full flow
Debbie Lennon in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
It was Debbie’s first half marathon race in over 30 years

It was the first race Helen Ambrosen had done for quite a while after spraining her foot back in March. That injury then turned into tendonitis which ended up taking a long time to settle down.

The Hampshire Hoppit Half Marathon seemed like a good way to get the ball rolling again, although she was certainly, by no means, easing herself into it.

Debbie Lennon was facing her first half marathon race in over 30 years!! She used to run for Bournemouth AC back in the late 70’s and 80’s.

Caroline and Heather in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Heather and Caroline attack the marathon together
Helen Ambrosen in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Helen gets the white gloves on
Ken Parradine in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Ken makes his way along the trail
Debbie Lennon in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Debbie reaches the top of the hill

As one would expect, given the course profile, Heather found the Marathon very tough going with all the hills and rugged trails. She found herself jostling for position with Anne Connell who was also in the Vet Women 60+ category and there was very little to choose between them.

It was chip timing though and they’d all been set off in groups to keep it COVID secure so there was no easy way of telling who was ahead.

Heather Khoshnevis in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Heather always contends for the age category prize

Finishing in a time of 4:31:33, Heather was 161st in the overall standings out of 445 runners and she was 30th placed female out of the 162 who finished the race.

It turned out she’d just been pipped to the post by Anne Connell for the age category prize, with Anne finishing in 155th place in 4:30:12. There was only a minute and 21 seconds between the pair so after all that running it had been an extremely close call.

Heather Khoshnevis in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Heather completed the course in 4:31:33 which made her 30th placed female

Although it was a great course, Helen found the Half Marathon pretty hard having not done the distance for quite some time. She actually felt better in the second half of the race though as she wasn’t so worried about the distance by then.

She’d managed to run up all the hills until reaching the last one at 12.5 miles. At that point, she looked up and saw the line of vans parked at the top of ‘a Coombe’!

Surely they weren’t going up that far in the last half mile, she thought. It looked super steep. And it was!! The trajectory was such that her nose was only a couple of feet from the ground.

She couldn’t run up this final rise but pushed as quickly as possible. Finishing in a time of 2:19:43, Helen was 271st overall out of 529 participants and 81st placed female out of 261. In the Vet Women 60+ category she finished 6th out of 28.

Helen Ambrosen in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Helen completed the half marathon course in 2:19:43 which put her 6th in her age category

Considering there was so much uphill over the second half of the race, Debbie Lennon ran extremely well to finish in a time of 2 hours and 31 seconds.

That put her in 100th place overall and made her 22nd fastest female. It also put her 3rd out of 66 in the Vet Women 50-59 category which was a very pleasing result for Debbie.

Debbie Lennon in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Debbie did well to get round in 2:00:31 which put her 3rd in her age category

Ken Parradine also ran well to complete the Half Marathon in exactly 2 hours 13 minutes, which put him in 199th place overall. In the Vet Men 60+ category, he was 15th out of 33.

Having experienced the course, Helen said she would love to do the event again when she’s fitter and has earmarked it as one to go back to.

Ken Parradine in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Ken finished in 2 hours 13 minutes which got him into the top 200

Heather said it felt good to back on the start line with a race number pinned to her vest again. It was also a special occasion as her friend Caroline Horder was running her 100th marathon that day.

In fact she finished 3rd in the Vet Women 60+ category in a time of 4:41:14, so it was a very successful day for the pair of them and certainly one to remember.

Caroline and Heather in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Caroline successfully completed her 100th marathon and was 3rd in the over 60 category

Each finisher at the Hampshire Hoppit was given a unique engraved glass which they got to keep along with a thirst quenching fill of ‘Hoppit’, a class ale from Loddon Brewery. For the marathon runners it was a full pint and for the half marathoners it was a half pint.

Heather, Helen and Ken will all be back in action this coming Sunday at the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon so it will be interesting to see how they go in a slightly easier road race setting.

Helen Ambrosen in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Helen would love to do the half marathon race again
Ken Parradine in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Ken had a decent run and will be back in action at the Puddletown Half Marathon
Debbie Lennon in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
Debbie had every reason to be proud of her efforts
Caroline and Heather in the Hampshire Hoppit Marathon
It was a day to remember for Caroline and Heather



Summer Series going all White for BAC quartet

Ian White in the Upton Summer Series, Race 2
Three Whites and a Whittaker turned out for Bournemouth AC in Race 2 of the Upton Summer Series with Ian White gunning for a sub-26

The Upton Summer Series rolled on with four out of the five Bournemouth AC members who featured in the first race back in the action for the second showdown.

That them a chance to see if they could better their times from the previous round over the exact same 5.5km route round Upton Country Park.

After setting himself a target of sub-26-minutes for the series, Ian White record a time of 26:15 for the first race. But a watch malfunction left him unable to monitor his pace at the beginning of the race which resulted in him struggling towards the end that day.

This time he was looking for a more even paced effort. That saw him start with a 7:02 for the first mile. He then followed that up with a 7:17 for mile two and 7:29 for mile three.

Finishing at 7:15 pace for the last half a mile, he got over the line in 25:41, meaning he’d smashed his sub-26 target. It was a very pleasing result for Ian and he was delighted with the fruits of his labour. That put him in 56th place overall and 7th in the Male 50-54 category.

Ian White in Race 2 of the Upton Summer Series
Ian was chuffed to bits after hitting his race target for the series in the second race!!

As for Katrina White, she clocked a time of 27:30 in the first race so she was looking to improve on that. She started off a bit quick this time which resulted in her slowing down slightly in the third mile but it was a great run from Katrina and she finished with a time of 27:14. That put her in 83rd place overall and 17th placed female.

Katrina White in the Upton Summer Series, Race 2
Katrina White went 16 seconds quicker in Race 2 than she did in the first race

Nikki Whittaker suffered a bit in the heat in the first race so she was glad that it wasn’t quite so humid this time round. Finishing in a time of 29:38, she improved on her time from the first race by six minutes. That put her in 120th place in the overall standings and 38th woman.

Nikki Whittaker in the Upton Summer Series, Race 2
Nikki Whittaker found the conditions slightly more favourable in Race 2 in comprison to the humidity of the first one

Expecting to go faster than she did in the first race, Sam still found it pretty hot which made it tough going. She actually ended up finishing in exactly the same time as she did in the first race, which was 29:51.

That put her in 125th position overall and 43rd female. In the the Female 50-54 category she was 7th. Whilst she was disappointed not beat her previous time, she was glad that it wasn’t slower at least!! In the team competition, Katrina, Nikki and Sam were the fifth fastest female trio.

Sam White in the Upton Summer Series, Race 2
Sam White somehow managed to record exactly the same time in Race 2 as she did in the first race

Matthew Brown of Littledown Harriers picked up the win this time round, finishing in a time of 19:10. He was followed by Brian Underwood of Poole AC who got round in 19:26. John Ingleson took 3rd place in a time of 19:38, with Tom Andrews and Lytchett Manor Striders sealing 4th in a time of 20:11.

Fern Kimber of Poole AC was 1st female, completing the course in 22:03, putting her in 21st place overall. Then it was Charlotte Bunch of Poole Runners clocking a time of 22:32 which put her in 25th place overall.

Susie Hill was 3rd female in 23:01 which put her in 30th overall. A total of 199 runners successfully complete Race 2 of the Upton Summer Series.

In the series standings after the first two races, Matthew Brown is leading with a 1st and a 3rd place. Brian Underwood is 2nd with a 2nd and a 7th place. Then it’s John Ingleson with a 3rd and a 6th place followed by Tom Andrews with a 4th and a 9th place.

Ian White is currently 47th in the series standings and Katrina is 67th. Nikki is 94th and Sam is 99th. That’s out of 167 who have done both races.

Katrina White in Race 2 of the Upton Summer Series
Katrina is currently 67th in the series overall and 13th placed female

In the female rankings, Charlotte Bunch is leading the way with a 1st and 2nd. Then it’s Joanna Westhead with a 3rd and a 4th and Lesley Moore with a 5th place in both races.

Katrina is currently 13th quickest female of the series so far, with Nikki in 25th and Sam in 29th out of the 79 who have done both races.

Nikki Whittaker in Race 2 of the Upton Summer Series
Nikki is 94th overall and 25th female after first two races

In the female teams division, Bournemouth AC are currently in 5th place, after a 4th place finish in the first fixture and a 5th place finish in the second one. Poole Runners and Poole AC are leading the way, each with a 1st and a 2nd place.

Out of the male teams, Poole AC lead the way with two wins out of two, followed by Littledown Harriers who have recorded a 2nd and a 3rd place.

The next target for Ian will be to consolidate his sub-26-minute run by doing it again. Then after that he could potentially look to run each mile at under 7 minute mile pace. It would be a tough ask but knowing Ian, he’s sure to give it a good go.

Katrina is hoping for a sub-27 time by the end of the series and considering she’s already down to 27:14 and made such a good improvement in the second race, if she can get her pacing right, she’ll certainly be on for it.





Simon, Kirsty and Jayne get involved at Coombe Keynes 10k

Simon Hunt, Kirst Drewett and Jayne Wade at the Coombe Keynes 10k
This Bournemouth AC trio of Simon Hunt, Kirsty Drewett and Jayne Wade all tried their luck in the Coombe Keynes 10k based on the Lulworth Estate

Like many races, the Coombe Keynes 10k had a year off in 2020 due to the pandemic but it was back with a vengeance in 2021, as were Simon Hunt and Kirsty Drewett.

Simon and Kirsty were present in the last two races of the Lulworth Castle 10k, as it was known then, back in 2018 and 2019. They were joined this time round by Jayne Wade, who was entering her first ever trail race.

She hadn’t picked an easy one to start off on either. The Coombe Keynes 10k features a very hilly route on the private land of the Lulworth Estate.

The race forms part of the Purbeck Trail Series but is a friendly village event with a light-hearted feel to it. The scenery on the Lulworth Estate is stunning and from stony tracks on chalk downland to woodland paths, the terrain is varied and challenging.

With 175m of ascent to tackle as well, along with the potential for some muddy paths to negotiate given the recent rainfall, it looked a tough but enjoyable proposition for the three Bournemouth AC members.

Simon Hunt in action in the Coombe Keynes 10k
Simon is something of a veteran when it comes to the Coombe Keynes 10k, competing for the third consecutive time

It was quite a tough start to the race, with the first 1.5 miles being predominantly uphill. Then the next mile contained a nice downhill stretch before another hill came into play at 2.7 miles.

One that hill’s been negotiated there is another downhill stretch before the final big climb at 4.5 miles. One up that it’s a fairly smoot run into the finish from about 5.4 miles.

Completing the course in exactly 52 minutes, Simon Hunt came in in 54th place in the overall standings. That was out of a field of 263 participants.

That time was good enough to see Simon finish 4th in the M60 category, which he was pleased about since he’s now getting toward the top end of the 60-70 age bracket.

Simon Hunt in the Coombe Keynes 10k
Simon did well to come in as 4th M60 with his time of 52 minutes

Covering a total distance of 6.39 miles, Simon wracked up 479ft of elevation during the run and came out of it with an average pace of 8:08 minutes per mile.

In the 2019 race he got round in 48:45 which put him in 44th place overall and 3rd in the M60 category. It’s always difficult to compare times on multi terrain courses though as the conditions are always different. He felt okay throughout the race though and was happy with the outcome.

Kirsty Drewett in action in the Coombe Keynes 10k
Like Simon, Kirsty was also taking part in the race for the third consecutive time

Kirsty and Jayne ran together, finishing in 1 hour 9 minutes and 51 seconds which put them in 176th and 177th place in the overall standings. They were 76th and 77th placed women and Kirsty was 18th in the F40 category whilst Jayne was 30th in the F50 category.

Jayne really enjoyed the race and also made the most of the tea and homemade cake in the churchyard after finishing. Kirsty had a nice time but she felt a bit uncomfortable being in the pack so will probably have second thoughts before doing an event like that again.

Jayne Wade in the Coombe Keynes 10k
It was Jayne’s first ever trail race so she wasn’t quite sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised

Jacek Cieluszecki, was also on the list to start the race, as was his wife Ela but they opted not to go for it in the end which left it open for someone else to steal to the limelight.

JC won the Lulworth Castle 10k race in both 2018 and 2017, setting a course record on both occasions in the process.

Kirsty Drewett in the Coombe Keynes 10k
Kirsty had a nice time but felt a bit uneasy in such a large crowd

Julian Critchlow of Purbeck Runners stepped up to pick up the race win in a time of 39:52, which is a pretty good time given the hilly nature of the course. Impressively, he’s in the M60 category as well, so to still be winning races at this level is quite an achievement.

Ian Luke of Poole Runners was 2nd in a time of 40:09 with Mark Peddle taking 3rd in 40:31. Steve Claxton, also of Poole Runners finished in 4th place with his time of 41:20.

Jayne Wade takes on the Coombe Keynes 10k
Jayne appreciated the fantastic scenery and also enjoyed the cake afterwards

In fact, it was double delight for Purbeck Runners as Jenny Lee Marshall was 1st female, getting round in 43:45. That made her 10th quickest overall as well.

Caroline Stanzel of Poole Runners was 2nd female in a time of 44:15 which put her in 13th place overall. Then it was Helen Antram of Sandhurst Joggers taking the 3rd placed female spot in a time of 47:24, putting her 30th overall.

The overwhelming feedback was that the event was very well organised and it was good to see another small local race go ahead with no hitches.

It was also great to see a few Bournemouth AC members getting involved as well as racing gets gradually integrated back into the calendar.