It had been a season with very little to cheer about for Bournemouth AC on the Dorset Road Race League front. In fact, it was only really the Lytchett 10 that saw the Bournemouth AC team really excel. In that race they had the first three finishers and a strong supporting cast to back them up. Since then the season has faded into the abyss and the yellow and blues have struggled to field both men’s and ladies teams for many of the pictures.
Although they’ve been growing the membership base steadily throughout the year, it’s still been hard to find willing runners to turn out for the team on race day. As a consequence, the south coasters had found themselves languishing at the foot of the First Division table and their relegation to the Second Division was confirmed long before the final fixture of the Boscombe 10k was due to take place.
With the race being staged from Kings Park though, there was still an opportunity for the BAC teams to go out on a high so that was the main intention. They did manage to get both men’s and ladies teams out which made a change from many of the races over the course of the season.
The had Seb Crowe, Adrian James and Ricky Brennan in their line up, along with several other men to back them up. They also had Emma Caplan, Debbie Lennon and Sam White making up the ladies’ side.
Even though most the league positions had already been decided, there were still several top stars making an appearance. The race also doubled up as the Dorset 10k Country Championships so there was an added incentive for the athletes to finish as high up as they could.
Poole Runners man Dion Garner was in action and he’d been in some serious form of late. Luke Terry of Poole AC would also be in contention and Twemlow Track Club had Chris Wood, Jez Bragg and Steve Cook out.
There were plenty of high quality ladies in the mix for County Championship honours including Vicki Ingham of Poole Runners and Georgina Povall, Nat Lawrence, Alex Door and Hannah Martyn, all of Egdon Heath Harriers.
Conditions weren’t the best on the day and the rain showed little signs of letting up when the race was due to start. The show had to go on though and thus it began with the usual three quarters of a lap round the track before heading out through to field and over to Kings Park Drive.
Bournemouth AC pair Adrian James and Seb Crowe were in the lead as the runners made their way round the track but it wasn’t long before Dion Garner assumed pole position and began to drive forward at a ferocious pace that not many were able to hang with.
Opening with a super quick 5:24 mile split, Seb then followed it up with a 5:46 for his second mile. The third mile is quite tricky as you have to go through the underpass and then head up the alley and round to Queens Park. Seb was down to 5:54 for his third mile. Then, it was the mile with the Queens Park West Drive hill on it.
It’s an incline that the Bournemouth AC squad quite often use in training sessions so most of them know it well and are aware that it can be a real grind. Getting through that mile in 6:02, Seb then continued on route round the golf course before going back through the underpass. After that there is another tricky climb up the road next to the Wessex Way which can really take it out an already weary runner.
Hanging in there well, Seb got through the fifth mile in 6:02 as well before embarking on the journey back to Kings Park, heading through the park before being diverted across the grass toward the track. Clocking a 5:54 for his sixth mile, Seb then made his way onto the track for fast lap before reaching the finish.
Clocking a time of 35:50, Seb had taken 9th place, which wasn’t bad at all given that he considers himself as more of an 800m runner. It was a 39 second improvement on the time he produced at Round the Lakes on Boxing Day last year.
Seb is of course more well know for his exhilaratingly fast times on the track. He’s produced best times of 4:14 for 1500m, just under 1:58 for 800m and 52.5 for 400m. Those recordings give a good impression of the kind of calibre athlete that he is.
After his fast start, Adrian James ended up slipping back through the field throughout the rest of the race but he held it together well enough to finish in 37:11. That put him in 29th place.
Next in for the yellow and blue army was Chester, who put together an outstanding performance to reach the line in a time of 39:05. That was a PB for him and gave him a good reward for the recent hard work he’d been putting in in training. He came 53rd in the overall standings.
Not long after Chester, Ricky Brennan arrived at the line to register a time of 39:16. That put him 62nd in the overall standings and was a tremendous run from him. It was a minute and a half quicker than he’d managed at the Exbury Gardens 10k in June.
Since she hadn’t been doing a lot of training of late, Emma Caplan had been fearing the worst ahead of the Boscombe 10k. She was worried that she might not even get under 40 minutes which would be a slow time for her.
Earlier in the season Emma had had a high speed accident on her bike and broken a bone in her shoulder. That kept her off running for quite some time, or even doing any form of physical activity.
As soon as she could though, she got back to it and was up and running again. The question was, where was her fitness at now and the Boscombe 10k would be a great barometer of that.
Luckily it turned out she was in better shape than she though and did really well to complete the course in 39:32. That was actually only three seconds off the time she posted last year and only a minute off her fastest ever Boscombe 10k time.
That was enough to put her 64th in the overall standings and make her 4th female. She was also 1st in the Female 45-54 category and was over the moon with that result. It had certainly exceeded her expectations.
Completing the men’s scoring team for Bournemouth AC was David Crowther who crossed the line in 45:46 which put him in 166th place overall. That bettered his Bournemouth Bay 10k time from earlier in the season by close to a minute. That put the Bournemouth AC men in 6th place in the First Division for the Boscombe 10k but they were of course still rooted to the bottom of the table.
The battle for supremacy in the ladies 60-64 category between Debbie Lennon and Heather Khoshnevis had gone down to the wire. How they performed in that last race of the season could be all important in deciding the winner.
It turned out to be Heather’s day in the end and she ran really well to register a time of 44:18 which put her in 141st place overall. She was 25th placed lady and 1st in the 55-64 category.
Debbie had to be content with 2nd place in that category for the race and 2nd in the standings for the season as well, crossing the line in 46:08. That was well down on the 44:44 time she produced last year. She was at the height of her fitness then though really she had to be thankful that she was able to get back out there racing after all the problems she’d had with losing consciousness whilst running earlier in the season.
The fact she came close to a category win for the season was an amazing salvation from Debbie. Now she’s back running more consistently she should be able to kick on again next season. She finished 177th in the race overall and 30th female.
A great battle between two true Bournemouth AC stalwarts took place for the next placed Bournemouth AC runner and that was between Ian White and Jud Kirk. In the end, it was Ian White who prevailed, getting to the line in 46:24 which put him in 183rd position overall.
Jud arrived 12 seconds later to record a time of 46:36 and that put him 185th overall and 15th in the Male 60-69 category. Since he hadn’t been to training much at all recently, it was a pleasing result for Ian and he had certainly earned a nice lunch afterwards.
The next man in the Bournemouth AC was Sean Weaver who got round in a time of 47:31 and that put him 201st overall. That was actually 9 seconds quicker than his time from the same race last year.
Cycling to and from work has been Sam White’s fitness regime for quite some time now but she has recently been back running a little more. She recorded a time of 53:49 which was some way off her best but give that she’s done virtually no other competitive running all year, she was happy with that.
Out of all the females in the race, she came 82nd and was 20th in the 45-54 category. That put the Bournemouth AC ladies 6th in the standings for the Boscombe 10k race.
It was Dion Garner who picked up the race win, getting round in 34:12. That made him Dorset County Champion and put him 13 seconds ahead of Luke Terry who was runner up in 34:25. Egdon Heath Harriers man Daniel Hull reached the line in 3rd place in 34:57.
Twemlow Track Club pair Jez Bragg and Chris Wood finished 4th and 5th in 35:10 and 35:23. Adam Jundi, who usually finishes first in Brockenhurst parkrun and has a child who trains with BAC finished 6th in 35:36. He was given the exact same time as Joseph Usher of Egdon Heath Harriers who came 7th.
Also representing men’s league champions Egdon Heath Harriers, Corey Stone came in 8th in 35:42. Poole AC man Dave Hicks completed the top ten and was 1st in the 50-59 category with his time of 35:51.
Usually finishing in the top two positions in Bournemouth parkrun, Tom Cawley continued his good form at the Boscombe 10k registering a time of 36:08. Gavin Pritchard of Lonely Goat came in 12th in a time of 36:14.
John Bassinder was 3rd scorer for Poole AC, taking 13th place in 36:17. They went on to win the fixture, with Alan Metcalfe taking 17th in 36:29 and Barry Miller completing their scoring team in 26th with a time of 37:05.
With Matthew Underhill taking 21st place in 36:44 and Matt Faramus in 35th with 37:37, Egdon Heath Harriers were 2nd in the men’s First Division. Of course, they already been crowned champions a long time ago so it didn’t really matter. They’d had a magnificent season and reigned supreme again but quite some margin.
Poole Runners were 3rd placed men’s team for the race, with Twemlow Track Club taking 4th and Littledown Harriers in 5th. That was exactly how they finished In the men’s First Division table for the season as well, with Poole AC taking 2nd.
Lytchett Manor Striders and Bournemouth AC will drop into the new look Second Division next season. They’ll be joined by Westbourne who won six and got one 2nd place, Wimborne AC who won four races and got two 2nd places and Purbeck Runners who were the best of the rest. The other Second Division clubs will be in the Third Division next season.
The week before she went out and ran an incredible sub 2:45 marathon in Valencia, Vicki Ingham became County Champion, completing the course in 37:50 which put her in 36th place overall.
Georgina Povall was the next lady over the line, clocking a time of 38:45 which put her 49th overall. Reaching the finish in 39:04, Nat Lawrence was 3rd female and 54th overall.
Poole Runners pair Caroline Wilkins and Gemma Bragg were 5th and 6th female in 40:01 and 40:04 which put them 73rd and 74th overall. That was enough to give Poole Runners the race win ahead of Egdon Heath Harriers, although they finished on the same points.
Hannah Martyn was 7th female in 41:41 which put her 93rd overall. Coming off the back of some very high mileage weeks due to her Arc 50 training, Alex Door was 11th female and 111th overall in 42:54.
Winning her 7th race of the season also meant Vicki Ingham was crowned champion of the ladies individual competition. Georgina Povall was runner up in that with six 2nd places and one 3rd.
Hannah Martyn finished 3rd in the table in the end and Alex Door was 4th. Their Egdon Heath Harriers teammate Julie Wargent was also made it into the top five in the ladies individual standings for the season. Debbie Lennon finished 17th in the women’s individual standings.
With seven wins, the Egdon Heath Harriers women had already been crowned champions, with Poole Runners having to settle for 2nd with five wins and two 2nd places. Dorchester RIOT finished 3rd, with Littledown Harriers 4th and Poole AC 5th.
Like in the men’s First Division, Lytchett Manor Striders and Bournemouth AC will both drop down into the new look Second Division. They’ll be joined by Dorset Doddlers who won the Ladies Second Division with four wins, two 2nd places and a 3rd. Wimborne AC will also join them after they finished 2nd in Division Two and Purbeck Runners who came third after topping the standings at the Boscombe 10k. The rest of the clubs will form Third Division.
Christopher Peck, also of Egdon Heath Harriers was male champion in the individual competition, with seven wins. Lewis Clarke of Poole Runners came 2nd with two wins and five 2nd places.
Charlie Williams of Egdon Heath Harriers came 3rd and Dave Hicks took 4th after a brilliant end to the season. John Bassinder of Poole AC wad 5th and Matt Underhill was 6th, just ahead of his two Egdon Heath Harriers teammates Adam Davies and Corey Stone.
With a very good team assembled for the Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon which will be the first race of the new season, on New Years Day, there is reason for optimism for the new season for Bournemouth AC. They will now only need to have four male scorers, so that will be more achievable and there is no reason, with the membership base and the quality in the ranks that they can’t gain promotion back to the top flight.
The same applies for the Bournemouth AC ladies. With the number of high quality runners they now possess, they should certainly be making an assault on the Second Division and looking to gain promotion to the top flight as well.
It will certainly be an intriguing season if the club can pool their resources well and can look to battle hard on all fronts in 2024.