Only a week had passed since Bournemouth AC claimed a terrific victory in their previous Dorset Road Race League fixture, the Sturminster Newton Half Marathon. They were now looking to carry that momentum through to their next encounter which was the Round the Rock 10k in Portland.
After emerging triumphant from their previous trip over to Portland for the Portland 10 race in June, they were hoping for a repeat result to further stretch their advantage at the top of Division One over an ailing Poole AC.
Just as he did at the Stur Half, Rich Brawn stood in as captain whilst Rich Nelson soaked up the summer sun in France. Since he’d been put in charge of organising the team and ensuring they were in the best position possible to take the points in the fixture, or to at least finish ahead of Poole AC, Rich was determined to fulfil that objective.
Scraping a team of five top men together for the fixture proved difficult though with various team members away on holiday, training for other events or just simply out of action through injury.
When Graeme Miller limped out of the Stur Half race with a hamstring issue, it was a double blow for BAC, since he had also been due to race at Round the Rock as well. Rich tried his best to draft in an adequate replacement but it proved quite tricky.
He was hoping that László Tóth would be able to run but László had injury concerns of his own, having been unable to train as he would’ve liked due to an ankle injury. László’s primary focus was the last remaining South Athletics League fixture the following weekend where he was hoping to do the 800 and 1500m races.
Fortunately, László decided to give it a go in the end, meaning Rich had a team of five decent scorers who could be relied upon to be there or thereabouts in the battle for supremacy. Plus there was a good supporting cast to back up the fab five should something go awry.
There were no such issues with the ladies’ team this time round, with four BAC members having already signed up to the race, meaning they were liable to be highly competitive. The club had failed to field a team of three ladies for the previous three Dorset Road Race League fixtures and as a result, they’d slipped down to fifth in the table out of seven. Hence a good result was desperately needed.
After winning both Portland fixtures last season, Jacek Cieluszecki was back again, hoping to complete a double double following his convincing win at the Portland 10. There was one man who could potentially stand in his way though – and that was Iain ‘Tricky’ Trickett of Dorset Doddlers.
The pair had had a good ding-dong in the past, at Wings for Life in Cambridge, when Jacek caught Iain and overtook him right near the end after several hours of running. Iain was looking to avenge that result though and was hoping he’d be able to supplement his win at the Stur Half the previous weekend with another victory. It was set to be an intriguing battle between the two of them.
In stark contrast to the sweltering conditions of the previous weekend at the Stur Half, it had actually been raining all morning and the temperature was considerably cooler. Just as the athletes were assembling on the start-line ready to get proceedings underway, a sudden burst of rain fell from the sky and gave them a good soaking as they stood in wait.
From that point on, it didn’t really matter too much. They were drenched anyway, so they just had to get on with it. Those who ran the Stur Half were probably still secretly quite grateful that they didn’t have to contend with another blisteringly hot day.
As soon as the race got underway, Jacek and Iain moved to the front and very quickly built up a gap over the rest of the field. From that point on, it was effectively a two-horse race, with the pair of them slugging it out all the way round until they reached the top of the final climb.
It was the downhill path that leads toward the cricket club where Iain opened up a small advantage. Just before they got onto the finishing straight, Jacek managed to close the gap and the two gladiators prepared to sprint it out for win.
In the end it was Iain who emerged victorious, just having enough to fend off a valiant challenge from JC to cross the line in a time of 32:47. Jacek had to settle for 2nd place, finishing just 4 seconds later in a time of 32:51.
Although it meant he missed out on his Portland double double, Jacek had still had a very good run and had in fact clocked a time that was 6 seconds faster than what he did the previous year when he won it at a canter.
In a few weeks’ time, JC will be returning to his native Poland for an extremely tough 100k mountain ultra so his focus will now be on getting in his last set of long runs at the Purbeck before tapering down to ensure he’s in prime physical condition for the extraordinary challenge that awaits.
It was Brian Underwood of Poole AC who took 3rd place, coming in in a time of 35.10, just three seconds ahead of the next Bournemouth AC member Sean Edwards, who had a very good run. Sean’s time of 35:13 was just 10 seconds off his 10k PB, which is a fantastic result on a course like that.
Clearly progressing nicely at the moment, Sean feels he’s getting fitter every week and certainly has it in him for a faster time on a flatter course.
Not far behind Sean was the next BAC member, Stu Nicholas, who crossed the line in exactly 36 minutes. A top five finish was another great result for Stu and gave the team another huge boost in the scoring stakes for the Dorset Road Race League.
Continuing his recent spate of PB performances, Rich Brawn had another strong run, completing the course in a time of 38:50, which was a 7 second improvement on his PB set at the Boscombe 10k last October.
It wasn’t an ideal situation for Rich as the race got underway though, as he soon realised he’d accidentally left his watch set on kilometres after doing some strides the previous day. That rendered him unable to tell how fast he was going or have the opportunity to pace his race accordingly.
Knowing he was in good form though, he just decided to go out quite hard and hope that he could maintain it and have the strength to get up the hills okay in the second half of the race.
As it panned out, the course didn’t seem as hard to Rich as he’d remembered it from last year and there were plenty of downhill stretches to help keep a quick pace ticking over.
As he came into the last couple of kilometres he was able to ramp the pace up a bit and found he had quite a lot more energy to play with at that point in the proceedings. That enabled him to take a couple more places as he drove toward the finish to take 16th place.
The first lady in the race was Bournemouth AC’s very own Georgia Wood and she was literally right behind Rich for the majority of the race. Demonstrating her tremendous speed and tenacity, Georgia crossed the line in a time of 39:04, which put her in 20th place overall.
Finishing just over a minute ahead of her nearest rival, Serena O’Conner, of Poole Runners, it was a stunning performance from Georgia in her first Dorset Road Race League fixture in the yellow and blue of BAC.
After suffering a recent ankle injury, László Tóth had been unsure whether or not to compete in the Round the Rock race, with his main focus being on the Southern Athletics League fixture the following weekend.
In the end he decided to give it a go but he knew he’d have to refrain from pushing it too hard to avoid aggravating the injury further. As a result, he took it pretty easy but still managed to complete the course in a solid time of 39:48, which put him 27th overall.
With his primary focus being on the Chicago Marathon in October, Tom Paskins was also not expecting to be at his absolute best in the Round the Rock race. He’d done a couple of high mileage training runs on the Friday and the Saturday before the race so his energy levels were somewhat depleted from that.
Once again, Tom was keen to do his bit for the team though and he finished up 5th scorer for the Dorset Road Race League, crossing the line in 33rd place with a time of 40:31. It was also only a couple of weeks since Tom had turned in a stunning new half marathon PB at Run Killarney in Ireland, sealing his first ever sub-1:20 time.
Swooping in for the win in the male over 60 category, Jud Kirk was the next BAC member over the line, completing the course in a time of 42:31.
After his mishap at the Stur Half the previous week where Nigel Haywood, a rival of Jud’s in the Dorset Road Race League 60-64 category finished ahead of him, Jud was determined not to make that same mistake again and finished comfortably ahead of Nigel to stretch his lead at the top of the category table for the season so far.
Jud took 51st place in the race standings whilst Nigel, who represents Purbeck Runners, crossed the line in 56th place in a time of 43:18.
Having secured a new parkrun PB of 19:50 the day before the Round the Rock race, Andrew Brookes knew he was in good form. What he couldn’t have expected though was that he’d follow that up with a 10k PB the next day, which is exactly what he did.
A fantastic performance from Andrew saw him chalk 8 seconds off his previous best to cross the line in a time of 43:10. That was good enough to net him 55th place overall and needless to say, Andrew was over the moon with his double PB weekend.
Another man who secured a superb new parkrun PB the previous day was Phil Cherrett, who managed his first ever sub-20-minute effort, actually finishing just ahead of Andrew on the run. It was always going to be tough for Phil to match that intensity the following day.
His race plan was to complete the first 5k in 21 minutes and then work as hard as it could on the hills in the second half of the race in order to finish as close to 43 minutes as he could. His finishing time of 43:58 put him in 59th place overall and it was his 4th fastest 10k to date.
Although no one overtook him in the second half of the race, Phil found the hills hard work and he has learned that he could perhaps do with adding a little more hill training into his schedule that he’s currently doing.
The next BAC member over the line was Steve Parsons, who was slightly disappointed to cross the line in a time of 45:10. Steve had been hoping to get under 45 minutes but his race was quite severely disrupted when he got a stitch quite near the beginning.
It took him a while to shake off the stitch which undoubtedly cost him some time. Once it was gone though, he was able to power on through and finish quite strongly, taking a few places in the latter stages to cross the line in 71st place.
Finishing as 4th placed lady, Julia Austin was the next BAC member over the line, taking 77th place overall with her time of 45:34. Although she said it was the second slowest 10k she’d ever run, Julia still won the female over 50 category so it was still a positive outcome for her, although perhaps not the time she would’ve liked.
The third scorer for the BAC ladies was Tamzin Peterson, who finished in a time of 48:13, making her 11th placed lady on the day. It was the first time ever that Tamzin had scored for the team in the Dorset Road Race League so that was a huge step forward for her and showed she’s on the cusp of getting back to her best form.
Having also done a fast parkrun the previous day, Tamzin started off at a steadier pace than she did in last year’s race but she felt she was able to handle to hills better this time round which is a good sign. Tamzin came in 98th place overall.
Managing a good solid, sub-50-minute performance, Ian Graham crossed the line in 109th place in a time of 49:21. That gave Ian 2nd place in the male over 70 category which he was happy to settle for since, once he saw Ian Barnes of Poole Runners had turned up, he knew a category win was probably out of the question.
Completing the ladies’ team for the race, Louise Price crossed the line in a time of 53:49, which put her in 156th overall in a field of 265. She was 37th placed lady out of the 101 who took part. It was the first race Louise has done for quite a while so she was pleased to get round in one piece.
There were no team prizes given out but there was a team competition, with the first four club members being counting towards it. The Bournemouth AC team of Jacek, Sean, Stu and Rich finished as 1st place men’s team. Dorset Doddlers were 2nd, with Egdon Heath Harriers in 3rd.
It was the same outcome for BAC in the ladies’ team competition, with Georgia, Julia, Tamzin and Louise taking a magnificent 1st place and showing that the Bournemouth AC ladies are back and they mean business. Poole Runners took 2nd, with Lytchett Manor Striders in 3rd.
In the Dorset Road Race League, it was a victory for the Bournemouth AC men’s team, with JC, Stu, Rich, László and Tom as the scorers. Egdon Heath Harriers took 2nd, with Poole Runners in 3rd.
In the ladies’ division for the Dorset Road Race League, it was a comfortable win for BAC, with Georgia, Julia and Tamzin as the three scorers. Poole Runners took 2nd, with Egdon Heath Harriers in 3rd.
The next league fixture is the Hoburne 5 on the 29th September, where the Bournemouth AC men will be hoping they can continue their recent domination and further extend their advantage over Poole AC in the league standings. Off the back of this recent success, the ladies will also be going into the fixture with renewed optimism.