In its usual February slot, the Lytchett 10 provides a great opportunity for those in the midst of a marathon training block to mix a fairly fast but undulating and challenging 10 mile route in as part of a Sunday long run.

That was what Jacek Cieluszecki, Rob McTaggart and Stu Nicholas were planning on doing anyway and they formed part of a team that looked quite strong on paper, with Rich Brawn and Sam Jackson also the start list.

After playing second fiddle to Egdon Heath Harriers in the first two Dorset Road Race League fixtures of the season, it was vitally important for the Bournemouth AC men to bounce back with a good result at the Lytchett 10. Their hopes had been hampered somewhat by the race organisers refusing to allow the club any additional places or even any transfers that they could have used to draft in some extra talent.

That left them once again thin on the ground in terms of numbers and relying on those who were there to really excel to give them a fighting chance of taking out table toppers Egdon Heath Harriers. Unfortunately though, it was destined not quite to pan out in the way they would have wanted.

Firstly Sam was suffering from an injury that he thought might be a hernia. It had come out in a noticeable lump and that rendered him unable to race. That was a blow but they did also have Paddy McCalister in the squad and he was more than capable of finishing fairly high up.

Unfortunately, during the training session on the Tuesday night on the week of the race, Paddy’s calf went. That left him struggling to run and in a fair bit of pain. He decided he would run but knew he wouldn’t be anything like at full strength.

Since JC, Tag and Stu were all looking to incorporate the race as part of a longer training run, so they weren’t expected to be running at full capacity either, meaning it was always going to be tricky for the club to make their supremacy tell.

Lead group in Lytchett 10

Rob McTaggart, Jacek Cieluszecki and Stu Nicholas were all incorporating the race as part of longer training run

After failing to get a scoring team of three out in the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon the previous weekend, the Bournemouth AC women were out in force, with six of them turning out in yellow and blue. That included Tamzin Petersen, Heather Khoshnevis and Debbie Lennon who were all capable of putting in competitive display.

On the last couple of occasions the Lytchett 10 had been a league race, Bournemouth AC had run out comfortable winners in the men’s first division, with Craig Palmer bossing proceedings in 2019 and Jacek Cieluszecki picking up the win in 2017. That year BAC occupied five of the top nine places.

Back leading the charge from a BAC perspective again in 2022, Jacek ran from his home in Poole to Lytchett Minster, where the race took place, which was five miles – and then ran back home again afterwards, giving him a total of 20 miles.

BAC ladies at Lytchett 10

The Bournemouth AC ladies faction prepare to lay it all on the line as they tackle the lumps and bumps of the Lytchett 10

Tag and Stu didn’t quite have time for a full lap of the course beforehand but they did manage a frisky 10k before the race started, giving them both the chance to rack up a decent mileage for the day. In fact, they both also managed 20 miles in total to certify as a very useful training run.

Lonely Goat man Lewis Clarke bravely took the race on, striding out into an early lead. It was clear what his intentions were from the get-go and he didn’t care who else was in the line-up and what pedigree they had.

BAC men in Lytchett 10

BAC had four men up near the front in the early going

The rest of the runners were a little more reluctant to expend too much energy early on the proceedings. Tag, Stu, JC and Rich were all bunched up in the pack behind though and in a good position as they headed down the country roads.

Stu Nicholas and Tag in the Lytchett 10

Lee Dempster was back on form and testing the resolve of the other lead contenders

The course consisted of one small loop which lead them back past the start area before heading out on an uphill trajectory on the way out. They then looped round and headed down that same hill on the way back, providing the chance for a fairly quick last few miles.

Stu Nicholas and Tag in front group

Stu and Tag with Lee and Jez

Twemlow Track Club pair Lee Dempster and Jez Bragg set about trying to chase down Lewis Clarke but he was proving a hard man to catch. In the end, Jez did manage it though, and he rolled back the years to put in a sublime display and come through for the victory. His finishing time was an impressive 56:50.

Jacek Cieluszecki in the Lytchett 10

JC was going well even after running 5 miles to get to the start line

Lewis Clarke managed to see out the runner up spot though, crossing the line in 57:15 after what was a very valiant effort. Lee Dempster took 3rd place in 57:36 with JC, the first Bournemouth AC man home, sealing 4th position. His time was 58:05, which considering he’d done the five miles beforehand, was a fairly decent effort.

JC in action in the Lytchett 10

Jacek took 4th place in just over 58 minutes

Luke Terry of Poole AC had a good run to take 5th place in 58:17 before Steven Rigby arrived in 6th place giving Twemlow three out of the top six placings. His time was 58:26 which was enough to put him just ahead of Tag.

Tag in action in the Lytchett 10

Tag did his best to drive up the hills but he was on tired legs

Adam Davies of Egdon Heath Harriers was battling it out with Tag for 7th place in the end and he managed to come out on top, getting to the line in 58:29. Tag‘s race was brought to a conclusion in 58:34.

Tag ploughing on in the Lytchett 10

Tag alongside Steven Rigby of Twemlow

It wasn’t a vintage display from Tag but he had recorded a 5k PB a couple of nights before in the Friday Night Under the Lights 5K at Battersea Park. His time of 15:24 showed that he is in top form but he didn’t quite have enough strength left to compete at his top level at Lytchett as well.

Ending the week on 83 miles though, it was no surprise really and he had to be happy with what he’d done over the past seven days. It was bound to serve him well from a marathon training perspective anyway.

Rob McTaggart in the Lytchett 10

It was 8th place in the end for Tag as he got round in 58:34

Egdon Heath Harriers pair Jamie Barrington and Martyn Bell finished 9th and 10th, recording times of 58:49 and 59:22 before Matt Brown of Littledown Harriers showed signs of a return to form, crossing the line in 59:39.

After his quick 10k beforehand, Stu began to struggle a bit as the race went on and found he was going backwards. He still managed to sneak in under the hour though, posting a time of 59:53 to put him in 12th place.

Stu Nicholas giving his all in the Lytchett 10

Stu just did enough to get in under an hour to finish in 12th place

There was an epic battle going on behind throughout the vast majority of the race, with Rich Brawn going head to head with Julian Critchlow of Purbeck Runners, amongst others. Bruce Campbell of Egdon Heath Harriers was there as well and there was also a few Poole Runners in the mix including Joe Godden and the first female, Vicki Ingham, who was having a superb run.

Rich Brawn in action in the Lytchett 10

Rich Brawn tries to push the pace

Rich kept trying to push the pace but Julian was able to respond each time and was proving a hard man to shake. They then caught up with Daniel Thomas and Graham Sherwin, another Egdon Heath Harriers man, who were just up the road. Rich continued to go on the attack though and was testing Graham to see what he had in his locker.

Rich Brawn in the Lytchett 10

It was a great battle in the group that Rich was in

As they began to edge closer to the finish Rich finally managed to break Julian and it was between himself, Graham and Daniel for 13th place. In the end it was Graham who proved the strongest of the three and he pulled away to get to the line in 1:00:42. Daniel just had enough to get in in front of Rich to seal 14th place in 1:00:50, leaving him to have to settle for 15th in 1:00:52.

Rich was really pleased with how he run and he’d felt a lot stronger than he had the previous weekend at Blackmore Vale. Joe Godden finished 16th in 1:00:54, with Julian taking 17th and 1st Male 60-64 in 1:01:02.

Rich Brawn strides out in the Lytchett 10

Rich eventually managed to extend away from Julian Critchlow

Vicki Ingham took first female position, getting to the line in 1:01:23, which put her in 19th overall. She was followed by Bruce Campbell who claimed 20th place and first Male 50-54 with a time of 1:01:33. He was Egdon’s fifth scorer as well and that was enough to see them one again defeat Bournemouth AC for the men’s first division points.

Had they had Sam Jackson it may well have been a different story as he might’ve just tipped the balance in BAC’s favour but that was no consolation in what turned out to be a damaging day the men in their league title bid.

In fact, the next BAC man to come in was Paddy McCalister but after having to nurse his calf all the way round he was nowhere near as high up the standings as he would have otherwise been.

Crossing the line in 1:17:02, Paddy was 106th overall and 67th in terms of league positions. That was still enough to see Bournemouth AC take 2nd place though, just about, ahead of Poole Runners who were 3rd.

Paddy McCalister in the Lytchett 10

Paddy McCalister had been unfortunate to pick up an injury in the week leading up to the race

Jud Kirk was running as well and he was approaching the finish just as a biblical downpour began to fall. Taking 117th place overall, he was 7th quickest in the Male 60-64 category with his time of 1:18:22.

The first BAC woman to reach the line was Debbie Lennon and she arrived in a time of 1:15:11 which put her in 94th place overall and 12th placed female. She also netted the category win in the Female 55-59 category.

Having not been on the road race league scene before, all the courses and new to Debbie, unlike most of the BAC members, so she is very much enjoying her journey of discovery. She certainly seems to be taking it all in her stride rather well as well which is very handy for the prospects of the ladies’ team.

Heather Khoshnevis was next in for the women and she sealed another age category win in the 60-64 division, crossing the line in 1:17:13. That put her in 107th place and she was 16th fastest female.

Heather Khoshnevis in the Lytchett 10

Heather Khoshnevis was first in in the women’s 60-64 category

Usually pretty good on hilly routes, Tamzin Petersen should have found the Lytchett 10 suited her well. On the day though, she found that she didn’t quite have enough in the tank to get round as quickly as she would’ve liked.

Completing the course in 1:18:51 though, she was still 19th placed female and 4th in the 30-34 category. In the overall standings she came in 120th.

That gave Bournemouth AC their three women on the board and saw them finish in 4th place in the ladies’ first division for that particular fixture. Poole Runners were the winners with Vicki Ingham finishing first, Lauren Baker-Little taking 3rd and Clare Wood coming 8th.

Egdon Heath Harriers were 2nd placed team in the ladies first division with Lytchett Manor Striders in 3rd. Molly Rasch of Dorset Doddlers was 2nd placed female, crossing the line in 1:05:40 which put her in 38th place overall.

The next BAC vest to grace the finish line was that of Louise Price and she clocked a time of 1 hour 28 minutes exactly to come in as 38th quickest female and 174th overall. In the Female 50-54 category she came 6th.

Louise Price in the Lytchett 10

Louise Price was 38th placed female in 1 hour 28 minutes

Integrating the Lytchett 10 race in as part of a 16 mile training run, Helen Ambrosen still managed to win the Female 65-69 age category and was 42nd lady to get over the line. Recording a time of 1:28:54, Helen was placed 183rd overall.

That left only one woman to arrive at the finish for BAC and that was Samantha White. She had another very good run by her standards and managed to record a new PB for the distance, getting round in a time of 1:30:17.

That put her 45th female and 189th in the overall standings. In the Female 50-54 category she finished 8th and she was pleased to get in just before the weather took a real turn for the worse.

Sam White in the Lytchett 10

Sam White continued her spate of PB’s with her fastest 10 mile time to date

With three wins out of three thus far, the Egdon Heath Harriers men are looking like the favourites for the first division title. There are still nine of fixtures remaining though it isn’t out of Bournemouth AC’s reach. Seven wins would guarantee top spot. It’s certainly not going to be easy though and they are going to have to start getting some wins on the board imminently if they’re to have any chance of displacing their main rivals.

After winning the first fixture, the BAC ladies team had dropped the ball a bit in the last two fixtures allowing Lytchett Manor Striders and Poole Runners to emerge as contenders. It looks like it could be a close contest for the first division crown this season though so every race from now until the end will be vital. With one win on the board already it’s certainly within the reach of the BAC women to come out on top if they get their top ladies out a bit more often for future races.

Next on the Dorset Road Race League fixture list is the Marnhull 12K on 3rd April. That race is already somehow full without hardly any BAC men actually having signed up. Hence it could be another tricky one for the yellow and blues and it’s looking likely they could once again be left with left with Egdon on their faces.