Usually by the time the Boscombe 10k comes along Bournemouth AC have wrapped up the men’s road race league title so it serves as a sort of celebration for another successful season.
With no road race league taking place this year the race took a slightly on a slightly lesser significance, but it still attracted a decent BAC following. After all, it is held at their home ground of Kings Park.
Rich Brawn was there, along with Chris O’Brien, Simon Hunt and Ian Graham. Heather Khoshnevis and Jayne Wade were also present from the ladies division.
Then there was the White family, consisting of Ian, Sam and Katrina. Katrina has been improving fast over recent months and had been gradually catching Ian up in terms of race speed.
They’d been running together in some of the Upton Summer Series races and it was becoming clear by the end that there wasn’t much to choose between them.
The question was, would the day of the Boscombe 10k be Katrina’s time to finally finish ahead of Ian in a race where they’re both going full throttle?
Katrina was also coming off the back of a decent run at the Wimborne 10 when she secured a PB of 1:20:23, beating her previous best 10 mile time by 3-and-a-half minutes.
Forget Hamilton and Verstappen. It was all about Ian verses Katrina in this one and it looked set to be an intriguing grudge match without any need for a controversial safety car deployment.
There were also a couple of new members in action in the shape of George Biggs and Caitlin Peers. George had been running for Birmingham University but since moving down to the south coast had signed on the dotted line to join the yellow and blue ranks.
Caitlin was part of the Zoom Tri squad and had also recently been recruited by BAC after impressing in some of the recent training sessions.
The last time the Boscombe 10k was on it was Bournemouth AC’s very own Rob McTaggart who picked up the victory, fending off some stiff opposition from BAC teammate Jacek Cieluszecki and Lee Dempster who was running for Lytchett Manor Striders.
The year before that Tag was also up there tussling for the top positions but had to settle for 2nd place when Iain Trickett sealed the win and the men’s individual league win for the season.
That year Rob Spencer, representing St Albans Striders finished in 3rd place. He would of course join Bournemouth AC later down the line.
The year before that it was Craig Palmer who picked up the win. That was 2017 and he was representing Littledown Harriers then. He would of course, also go on to join the ranks at Bournemouth AC.
Pete Thompson won the Boscombe 10k as well back in 2015, getting round in a super quick time of 33:40. That record hadn’t been beaten since.
When the day of the race came for the 2021 edition it was a bitterly cold morning and most of the runners were wrapped up well until the very last minute before they had to take to track and head over to the start area.
They knew though that they’d probably warm up once they got going so had to ensure they weren’t wearing too many layers once they’d set off.
The race begins with a lap around the track before heading through Kings Park and then out onto Christchurch Road. Then it’s along Harewood Avenue to Queens Park, where Queens Park West Drive awaits.
That’s a killer hill that is often used by Bournemouth AC in their lamp-post hill sessions so some of those racing in yellow and blue would have known it well. That doesn’t make it any easier though.
Once at the top of that hill though it’s fairly straight forward, heading back to Kings Park before finishing almost a full lap around the track.
On paper, Southampton AC man Will Brewin looked like one of the hot favourites. Josh Smith of Poole AC was running as well though and he was always going to be dangerous.
Gavin Pritchard of Lonely Goat was also in the mix and he’d had some pretty good runs in the Boscombe 10k in the past, finishing around the 35 minute mark.
Once the runners set off a lead group of four runners was quickly established, containing Will Brewin, Josh Smith, Nicholas Latty and Luke Terry.
Then behind them it was Martyn Bell of Egdon Heath Harriers and the first BAC runner Rich Brawn. Martyn soon managed to open a small gap between himself and Rich.
As they were going under the underpass to get over to Queens Park, Rich was caught by Gavin Pritchard and he stayed just behind Rich for quite some time.
In fact, he was there until they hit the hill on Queens Park South Drive. Once they got near the top of that hill, Rich managed to drop Gavin and he was on his own from that point on.
He was never really able to make up any ground on Martyn and in the end Martyn managed to overtake Luke Terry who had fallen away from the lead group.
Rich was thinking he might be able to beat his best 10k time of 36:42 but the course was so mixed and had so many tight turns it was quite difficult to get into a rhythm.
In the end, Rich arrived on the finishing straight just as the clock was ticking over 36:42 and he didn’t have time to put in a sprint finish to dip under it.
He wasn’t too disappointed though as he knew he’d have another chance to secure a PB at the Christmas 10 in a couple of week’s time.
With a finishing time of 36:48, Rich had taken 6th place in the overall standings. That was enough to earn him a £20 gift voucher for finishing first in the Male 40 to 49 category.
It was Will Brewin who reigned supreme in the end, eclipsing Pete Thompson’s 2015 time by two seconds to finish in 33:38. It was a remarkable performance from Will, particularly as he was out front on his own, almost a minute ahead of the second placed man.
That was Nicholas Latty, who ran brilliantly to cross the line in 34:34, meaning Josh Smith had to settle for 3rd place with his time of 35 minutes exactly.
After overtaking Luke Terry, Martyn Bell finished very strongly to take 4th place in an excellent new PB time of 36:28, forcing Luke to be content with 5th place in a time of 36:28.
George Biggs did well in his BAC debut as well, only just missing out on a sub 40 by 1 second to come in in 25th position in the overall standings.
Out of a total of 348 runners who successfully completed the course, that wasn’t a bad result at all for George and will give him confidence going into future races.
The stand out performer of the day though from a BAC perspective had to be Caitlin Peers. She ran superbly to register a very quick time of 40:30 and that was enough to see her crowned as first female.
It was a terrific achievement from Caitlin and she was awarded a big medal wrack to hang all her bling on. The hope is that she’ll receive a lot more medals running in BAC colours in future races and hopefully a lot more prizes as well.
She was actually 27th in the overall standings and was 1 minute 11 seconds quicker than Natalie Thomas of Littledown Harriers who was 2nd female and 38th overall.
Another Bournemouth based runner, Agnieszka Loeff ran well to get round in 43:08 which gave her the 3rd female spot and put her in 54th overall.
Reaching the line in a time of 41:39, Chris O’Brien was the next BAC man to take his place in the standings. He took 36th place which was a fairly decent result under the circumstances.
It was Chris’s first race since he’d come down with covid and he’d been struggling with his breathing ever since. In fact, he could still feel it in his chest during the run but he knows that in time that will improve.
Two weeks later he’d have another shot at the Christmas 10k as well so he was hoping that his breathing would have improved further by then.
Doing the Wimborne 10 the week before had sort of given Heather Khoshnevis a gentle introduction back into the realm of faster, shorter distance races after all her marathon exploits.
She found the Boscombe 10k a bit scarier though since it was an even shorter distance so she knew she would need to push even harder.
Although it had been freezing at the start, by the half way point, Heather had warmed up quite a bit and ended up having to throw her gloves away.
She’d forgotten how hilly the route was with all its long, gradual inclines and of course the Queens Park West Drive make or breaker.
She certainly gave it her best shot on the day though and was happy with her finishing time of 45:49, which put her in 86th place in the overall standings.
It was also enough to make her 12th quickest female out of 148 and see her take the F55 crown, even though she would have been up against some slightly younger competitors in that category.
In fact she was 31 seconds ahead of her nearest rival so it was another excellent age category win to add to the collection. There were 32 other runners in the category.
Once again, Heather resorted to a pint of tea afterwards to warm her up and replenish her energy.
In the battle of the Whites, it was actually Katrina who prevailed, finishing ahead of Ian in a competitive race for the first real time. She recorded a new PB of 46:41 to take 100th place in the standings.
She was also 14th fastest female so it was a terrific result and was over two minutes quicker than her previous best of 48:52 which was set at Poole Festival of Running in 2019.
It was pretty close between them though and Ian wasn’t far behind at all, crossing the line in 47:03 which put him in 103rd place. He always had Katrina in his sights but just couldn’t reel her in on this occasion.
Ian did still manage a good sprint finish though to fend off the challenge from Poole AC man Kevin McGrory. That did take quite a bit out of him but Ian still has that competitive edge and just couldn’t resist.
The Christmas 10k which took place two weeks after though would give him the chance for redemption and he’d be looking to re-establish his position as the fastest in the family in that one.
The next BAC member to arrive at the finish was Mr Simon Hunt. He got over the line in a time of 47:21 which put him in 106th place overall.
It was a strong run from Simon and he felt pretty good throughout the race. In the M60 category, he was 6th out of 21.
It wasn’t just Katrina who would come away from the Boscombe 10k feeling elated though. Sam White was destined to as well and she had a magnificent run to get to line in a time of 51:38, which put her in 163rd place overall.
That was a huge PB for her, beating her previous best 10k time, which was also set in the Boscombe 10k back in 2018, by over three minutes!! She was 30th fastest female and 4th out of 38 in the F45 category.
It represented great progression for Sam and meant that in the space of two weeks she’d secured two fabulous new PBs after recording one at the Wimborne 10 the previous weekend.
Usually just pleased to get round in races these days, Ian Graham did that with no qualms at the Boscombe 10, completing the course in a time of 52:53.
That put him in 185th place in the overall standings and 3rd in the M70+ category.
The last Bournemouth AC member to get to the end that morning, but by no means the least, was Jayne Wade. Crossing the line in 1:00:20, she took 277th place in the overall standings and was 93rd woman out of 148.
Jayne was another one of the many Bournemouth AC runners who were due to be back in action two weeks later in the Christmas 10k at Christchurch.
It was a truly fantastic morning of racing despite the bitterly cold weather and the Bournemouth Joggers did an excellent job of hosting the event and ensuring the route was well marshalled and that traffic risks were curtailed.