The first four months of the Dorset Road Race League season couldn’t have gone much worse for Bournemouth AC. They were languishing at the foot of the table in both the men’s and women’s first divisions and their status in the top flight was looking in serious jeopardy. The May 5 was a fixture that the Bournemouth AC men won last year though so they were hoping that it might provide a lifeline for them in their big to avoid the dreaded drop.
On paper they had a decent looking team out with Bryn Smith, Ben Collins, Matt du Cros, Adrian James and Trev Elkins all featuring. Bryn had been absolutely bossing it in training since joining the club and attending the Tuesday night sessions on the track and round the field at Kings Park. Unfortunately his transfer hadn’t gone through in time for him to be counted in the scoring at the May 5 though which was a big blow as he was likely to be their highest finisher.
Stu Glenister was on hand though to ensure that all was not lost for the yellow and blues and he looked the prime candidate to fill the void as fifth scorer. The ladies had also suffered a bit of a blow when Harriet Slade offered up her place deciding she wouldn’t be able to run due to injury. Stepping up for her first league outing, Laura Rothwell donned the new SOAR vest for the first time and she looked an exciting prospect to have on board.
After suffering a couple of worrying incidents in training where she’d passed out and taken a nasty fall as a result, Debbie Lennon had been forced to curtail her Newport Marathon plans. She was back up and running for the May 5 though and was excited to be on the start line of a race again. Helen Ambrosen completed the line up for ladies meaning they at least had a scoring team of three.
Other clubs had brought strong looking sides to the equation as well. Dorset Road Race League men’s individual champion Christopher Peck was on the start line again. After winning the Marnhull 12k and the North Dorset Village Marathon, he was sitting pretty at the top of the standings again. He was joined by Charlie Williams who had finished runner up in the two aforementioned races spearheading a dangerous Egdon Heath Harriers army.
Hoping to upset the applecart, Poole Runners man Lewis Clarke was in the mix as well, along Poole AC star Thomas Corbin. They finished first and second at the Broadstone Quarter so would likely be contenders for the race win at the May 5.
Twemlow Track Club had brought a fearsome force to Canford Heath including Chris Wood who was going for 2:25 at the Manchester Marathon and had put in a tremendous block of training for it. As did his teammate Steve Cook who recorded a 2:39 and was 2nd over 50.
Egdon Heath Harriers and Poole Runners were neck and neck at the top of the ladies first division so the May 5 presented an opportunity for one of them to take top spot. Egdon had Georgina Povall and Hannah Martyn in their side and Helen O’Neile and Caroline Stanzel were featuring for Poole Runners.
The race starts and finishes with a lap around the Ashdown Athletics Track before the head out onto the round. The route heads around Canford Heath and features quite a few rhythm breaking twists and turns and some mild undulations as well, the toughest of which being on the third mile.
Whizzing round in 27:22, Bryn Smith finished 5th in the overall standings. That was merely a glimpse of the kind of performances he’s capable of. He wasn’t even pleased with that run and felt that by his standards it was below par. If that’s the case he’s going to prove a real asset to the club going forward as they look to get back to being a force to be reckoned with in future races.
With a half marathon time of under 1 hour 16 minutes behind him, Ben Collins had been exhibiting some excellent form so far this year. His training had been excellent as well, working hard on the interval sessions and putting in some quality long runs at the weekend. He had no real idea what sort of pace he’d be capable of running at in a five miler though so his plan was to start of quickly and see if he could hold on.
He certainly did that, going through the first mile in 5:20. That was a little bit too quick though and once he started hitting the mild inclines on the second mile, his pace began to drop.
He’d blown up by the end of the second mile and suffered somewhat for the remainder of the race, losing more and more places as it progressed. That culminated in a finishing time of 28:26 which put him in 12th place.
It was certainly not a run that saw Ben reach his full potential and he was disappointed with the outcome. It was mostly a tactical issue though and one that he can easily remedy in future races by not going out so hard. It was still an average pace of 5:48 for the run though which is very impressive.
Also starting off quite quickly, Matt du Cros registered a 5:36 for his first mile and then a 5:45 for his second mile. The rest of his miles he did at roughly 6 minutes per mile which saw him make it to the finish line in 29:19. That put him in 21st place and was a big improvement on the 31:07 time he produced last year. It was his second fasted five mile time after the Overton 5 when he ran 28:23.
The next BAC man in was Adrian James who clocked a time of 29:51, putting him in 30th place. It was only two seconds different to the time he managed in the same race last year when he did his very first race. He went on to produce some faster five mile times later in the year at Overton and Hoburne but it was still a decent run from Adrian and because Bryn wasn’t counting for the league, he was third scorer.
Although he wasn’t feeling 100% and was still suffering from some chest issues, Trev Elkins still managed to get round in a time of 30:20 which put him in 39th place. His fastest five mile time was a 29:36 at the Victory 5 in December so it didn’t challenge that but it was still a good effort from Trev under the circumstances.
Completing the course in a time of 33:08, Laura Rothwell was the 5th female to get to the line. It was a decent run from Laura in her first official race for Bournemouth AC and there will certainly be plenty more to come from her.
Completing the scoring team for Bournemouth AC in a time of 33:49, Stu Glenister finished in 84th place. That put the club in 6th place in the first division. It wasn’t perhaps quite the result they were craving but it was a step in the right direction at least. It underlined how tough it is going to be to climb the table from the position they are in though.
Picking his third consecutive Dorset Road Race League win, Christopher Peck got to the line first in 26:24. That was enough to fend off Lewis Clarke who had to settle for 2nd place in 26:39.
Thomas Corbin came in in 3rd place recording a time of 27:04, putting him just ahead of Charlie Williams who was 4th in 27:08. Chris Wood was the next man to cross the line after Bryn. He took 6th place in 27:55.
Alex Prisep of Romsey Road Runners was 7th in 28:08, just a second ahead of Dion Garner of Poole Runners who claimed 8th. Poole AC pair Dave Hicks and Benjamin Williams were 9th and 10th in 28:11 and 28:16 respectively. Dave took the 1st M50 prize, just ahead of Steve Cook who was 11th in 28:23.
Jack Galloway was Twemlow Track Club’s third man in, finishing 13th in a time of 28:27. That was a second ahead of Thomas Woods of Littledown Harriers who was 14th in 28:28.
John Bassinder was Poole AC’s fourth runner over the line. He registered a time of 28:36 to take 15th place. Twemlow Track Club weren’t going down without a fight though and Jez Bragg and Alex Jones arrived next to complete their scoring team. They were 16th and 17th in 28:46 and 28:51.
Egdon Heath Harriers pair Jamie Barrington and Adam Davies were 18th and 19th and 28:54 and 29:10 which meant they had had four runners in and needed just one more. That came soon after when Matthew Underhill arrived to take 22nd place in 29:27.
On this occasion it wasn’t enough to match Twemlow Track Club’s score. Poole AC did manage to match it though when Luke Terry made it to the line in 25th place recording a time of 29:33. That meant it was Twemlow Track Club and Poole AC who had sealed the top two places in the men’s fist division and Egdon had taken 3rd.
Purbeck Runners man Julian Critchlow was the top over 60 man, as he usually is, coming in in a time of 29:41. That put him in 26th place on the leader-board.
Emily Hilliar of Poole AC was 1st female, clocking a time of 30:02 which put her in 36th place overall. She was 55 seconds quicker than Georgina Povall who was the next woman in. Georgina arrived in 30:57 which put her in 49th place. Helen O’Neile crossed the line three seconds later to take 50th place.
Caroline Stanzel then sealed 4th female spot in a time of 32:07. The put her in 61st place overall and she was 1st in the over 35 category.
Finishing 1st in the Over 55 Female category, Debbie Lennon registered a time of 35:49 which made her 15th placed lady and 110th overall. That was 11 seconds faster than she did at the May 5 last year and just 20 seconds off her PB from the Hoburne 5.
Considering she hadn’t been able to do much competitive running recently and hadn’t been able to attend many of the training sessions either, that was a terrific result for Debbie and showed her fitness was still there or thereabouts. She topped the standings in the 60-64 age group in the Dorset Road Race League for the season so far, with her teammate Heather Khoshnevis in 2nd.
Coming in just five seconds after Debbie, Jud Kirk was the next person over the line, taking 111th place in a time of 35:54. That put him 7th in the Over 60 Male category. It was a much quicker time than he’d managed in all three of his 5 mile races last year and a 2-and-a-half minute improvement on his May 5 time.
That was a cracking result for Jud who currently sits 2nd in the 65-69 category for the Dorset Road Race League season so far behind Nigel Haywood of Purbeck Runners.
One of the newer members of the team, Paul Bolton, was the next man in, clocking a time of 38:47. That put him in 158th place and 25th in the Male 50 category.
Making his debut on the road for a five miler, Tim Hughes got round in 40:48, coming 176th overall and 28th in the Male 50 category. That was an average pace of 8:12 which was good but he had been hoping for slightly quicker.
As he found out though, it wasn’t the easiest course for a fast time time with all the twists and turns. Enjoying the race though, Tim has vowed to tackle some more road races and record faster times so watch this space!
Having not been feeling well in the lead up to the race, Bill Lennon gave all he could to get round in a time of 41:25, That put him in 183rd place overall and 20th in the Male Over 60 category. Bill is current 6th in the 65-69 category for the DRRL.
Completing the scoring team for the Bournemouth AC ladies, Helen Ambrosen reached the line in 43:51 which put her in 211th place overall and she was 58th placed female and 4th in the Over 65 category.
That put Bournemouth AC in 5th place for May 5 race, with Poole Runners pipping Egdon Heath Harriers to top spot, Poole AC coming 3rd and Littledown Harriers taking 4th.
Rounding it off from a Bournemouth AC perspective was Ian Graham who got round in 52:57, putting him in 257th place and 12th in the Over 70 bracket. It was great to see Ian back out there competing after a recent health scare. It was a decent result for Ian considering he’d been out of the game for a few weeks in April and had had to ease himself back into it.
Although there was some improvement on previous performances, the result hadn’t lifted either the Bournemouth AC men or ladies off the bottom of the table. There are still seven races remaining of the season though so plenty of opportunity to rescue the situation. It was going to be difficult though with numbers looking very thin on the ground for the next league which is the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon.
There has been some interest in the Portland 10 though which is the next one on the list after Puddletown and it has been announced there will be special September edition of the Round the Lakes 10k which will replace the cancelled Hoburne 5. That should get the juices flowing amongst the Bournemouth AC camp.
Egdon Heath Harriers remain top of the men’s first division despite only finishing 3rd at the May 5. Twemlow Track Club are 2nd with Poole AC in 3rd. Poole Runners edged ahead of Egdon Heath Harriers in the ladies’ first division with their win at the May 5. After finishing 3rd at the May 5, Poole AC currently sit 3rd in the table after five fixtures.
In the men’s second division, Westbourne won the May 5 fixture and that put them top of the table above Wimborne AC. The fight in that division was to finish in the top three in order to make it to the new look second division rather than being in the third division. Dorchester RIOT and Purbeck Runners are currently contesting for that all important 3rd spot.
In the ladies’ second division it was Wimborne AC who came out on top at the May 5 but Dorset Doddlers still top the table as it stands after the finished 2nd. Bournemouth Joggers currently occupy 2rd place but Purbeck Runners and Royal Manor of Portland look like they’ll be in the running for a promotion place. There’s still a long way to go though and anything can happen.
When the chips are down, the yellow and blue army tend to come out swinging and they are going to need to do that more than ever this year to retain their top flight status. Two teams will be facing relegation this season, leaving just five teams to be making up the first division for 2024 when the new three tier format comes into play.