It had all the ingredients for a proper Christchurch Christmas 10k. The cold weather… A bit of ice in places… The frosty ground tinged with a glistening white overcoat… A Christmas pudding for each participant in the goody bag… The only thing that was missing was indeed the fact that it wasn’t Christmas. Bizarrely, it was the 22nd January!!
The race had of course been rescheduled after the organisers were forced to cancel the event on the day it was originally supposed to go ahead. The ground was very icy at the time and on the morning of the race, some heavy sleet began to fall which made the surfaces extremely slippery.
Ironically, it was still a bit icy on the rescheduled day but it wasn’t too bad on the roads that were on the race route so a decision was made to go ahead with it. That meant several Bournemouth AC members would finally get their chance to shine on the fast, flat, countryside roads. And more importantly, they’d finally get their hands on that illusive Christmas pudding!
Rob McTaggart, Adam Corbin, Emma Caplan, Jola Dewerenda and Debbie Lennon were amongst the Bournemouth AC contingent in action. They were joined by Oliver Hill and Mariah Marshall who had come up through the junior development group.
Having competed in the Christmas 10k at least seven times before, it was a race that Rob McTaggart really enjoyed and had had a good degree of success in. He’d finished in the top three in each of his last three attempts, with his best time of 32:28 coming in 2015. In the years before that he’d had another three more top five finishes.
He’d never actually won it before though so it was going to be intriguing to see if this would finally be the year he does. Although effectively it was the 2022 race, even though it was being held in 2023. This was probably his best chance yet as he has been improving a lot over the past couple of years and is putting in top performances much more consistently.
The other major contenders were James Phillips, who won it back in 2016, Lee Dempster of Twemlow Track Club, Philip Mosley of New Forest Runners and Luke Terry of Poole AC.
It wasn’t a surprise to see that it was Tag who was leading the way from a Bournemouth AC perspective. But what was a surprise was that he wasn’t leading the race. Phil Wylie of Western Tempo was doing that. In fact he was on his way toward recording a new course record for the current course being used now. His astonishing time of 30:50 had blown everyone else out of the water, including Tag.
Phil had gone out pretty hard from the outset so Tag decided to let him go and ended up running the entirety of the race on his own, in a solitary 2nd place. His first couple of miles were very quick at 4:58 and 5:04. Then he registered a 5:12 for the third mile.
The forth mile contained one very icy section that Tag had to tip toe over and he lost some time in the process, completing that mile split in 5:21. Once he’d got through the precarious bits he immediately picked the pace back up, registering a 5:09 for his fifth mile and a 5:08 for his sixth.
He was actually very close to a sub 32 minute finish but he didn’t realise at the time as he hadn’t been checking his watch. As a result, he came in in 32:01. His average pace for the run was 5:08.
James Phillips was also on his own in 3rd place, crossing the line in 32:33. Kevin Wilsher arrived in 4th place, clocking a time of 34:01, with Philip Mosley taking 5th in 34:11. Chris Harris was the next man over the line, taking 6th place in 34:24 before Lee Dempster arrived 10 seconds later to claim 7th place in 34:34.
Completing the course in 35:20, Luke Terry came in in 8th place. Adam Jundi took 9th place in 35:27 before Daniel Pope arrived to seal the final top ten spot in 35:32.
Sandwiched in between two of her Poole Runners teammates Hayden Clarke and Joe Godden, Vicki Ingham had a blinding run to come in as 1st female. She clocked a phenomenal time of 35:57, putting her in 12th place overall.
Beginning to come back into form after a lengthy spell on the side-lines through injury, Adam Corbin had a good run to finish in 14th place, recording a time of 36:17. Most of his mile splits were around 5:45 with the exception of the fourth mile which had the icy sections. That was the only one he went over six minutes on.
Lauren Baker-Little made it a Poole Runners one-two when she arrived to complete the course in 38:43. That put her in 19th place overall. Bournemouth AC’s Emma Caplan followed in shortly after, clocking a time of 39:12. That meant she was 3rd female and 21st overall.
Coming in five seconds later, Oliver Hill had a superb run to get in in 39:17 in his first ever 10k race. That certainly bodes well for his prospects going forward and once he manages to nail down the right race strategy, he is going to be a real threat.
Former Bournemouth AC maestro László Tóth was also taking part and he completed the course in 42:34 which put him in 39th position.
Finishing as 9th fastest female, Jola Dewerenda had an excellent run to get to the line in 43:33, which put her in 44th place overall. It was also enough to earn her the age category win for the 35-39 division.
Coming in as 11th placed lady, Debbie Lennon was next to get the line recording a time of 45:40. That put her in 51st place overall and sealed the 55-59 age category win for her.
Debbie found it quite tough as she was on her own for pretty much the whole race which made it more like a time trial. That made it very different from her Stubbington 10k run where there was a much bigger field and always others there to run alongside.
Arriving late and starting way after everyone else, Wayne Walford Jelks did well to work his way up through the field. It was chip timed anyway so it didn’t really matter that he’d started late.
Getting round in a time of 46:12, Wayne finished in 53rd place overall and was 7th in the Male 40-44 category. Wayne has been progressing well with his running since his comeback and is determined to continue building up his fitness and strength.
Finishing 1st in the 65-69 category, Bill Lennon bettered his Stubbington 10k time by nine seconds to seal a superb new PB of 49:35. That put him in 73rd place overall. Bill is another one who has been steadily improving week by week with the help of the Bournemouth AC training sessions to give him more practice.
Having competed in Dorset School’s Championships in cross country a few days earlier, Mariah Marshall elected to take the first two thirds of the race relatively easy before pushing on in the last couple of miles. That led to a finishing time of 51:01 which put her in 76th place overall and made her 18th fastest female out of 89.
Also doing well to beat her Stubbington 10k time, Nikki Whittaker clocked a time of 51:39 which put her in 79th place overall and made her 20th quickest woman. It was only really the icy bits, mostly on that fourth mile where her pace wavered a bit. Aside from that, she churned out pretty consistent splits.
Although he was a little worried about the amount of ice on the pathway from the race HQ to the start line, Ian Graham found the course okay, with the only real hazards being the water section on the third mile which was surrounded by slush that he had to trample through, and the ford which required a bit of a leap to get over to avoid the raging torrent.
Starting near the back, Ian was initially working his way up the field before he caught up with a lady at around the 1 mile point. She was determined not to let him pass and Ian’s attempts seemed to encourage her to step up the pace.
Spending the rest of the race hanging in with the lady, Ian found himself working harder than he otherwise might have, which certainly helped him and in fact, probably helped both of them. As a consequence, Ian was really pleased with his time of 53:27 which put him in 97th place and he was 2nd in the 75-79 category.
Considering he’d taken over an hour to do the Broadstone Quarter Marathon on New Year’s Day, which isn’t that much further, it was actually a very decent result for Ian. Doing a bit of digging, it would seem that the lady who wouldn’t let him past was Sarah Hole. Ironically, they both ended up with the same chip time but Ian was put ahead of her in the results.
Of course, even if he had been able to, Ian would have been far too much of a gentleman to overtake her on the line, after all the inadvertent help she’d given him throughout the race. A total of 185 runners successfully completed the course that day and there didn’t seem to be any major slip ups which was good to see.
There would be another opportunity for a fast 10k to follow for Tag and Nikki as they took on the Chichester 10k a couple of weeks later. Adam was featuring in the Ryde 10 on the same day, which was the next Hampshire Road Race League fixture. Several of the others will be in action at the Lytchett 10 the following weekend where Bournemouth AC will look to arrest a below par start to the season at the Broadstone Quarter.