It was a clash of the titans in the Black Hill Run 10k as the Purbeck Trail Series moved onto its penultimate event. After winning the Dorset Ooser Half Marathon and finishing 5th in The Beast, Stu Nicholas was featuring in his third race of the series. A high placing was paramount to his chances of winning the series.
He was up against two men who finished ahead of him at The Beast though in the shape of Stuart Holloway from City of Salisbury and unattached runner Lee Thomas. Lee Thomas had already finished second to Jacek Cieluszecki at the Coombe Keynes 10k so this would be his third race on the board. It was Stuart Holloway’s second race but he could still get to three if he raced at the Studland Stampede, which was the final race of the series.
The 10km course climbs Black Hill from near Bere Regis, running along the top of the hill before descending to Turners Puddle. It then turns right, climbing Kite Hill before heading along the ridge until the previous descent to Turners Puddle is reached. At Turners Puddle, the route goes left and climbs Black Hill again before finally descending via the same route taken to climb the hill at the start. Conditions this year were muddy in places but it had proved a hit and the 10km race was a sell-out.
After doing parkrun the previous day, followed by the South of England Road Relays in the afternoon, Stu Nicholas was feeling a bit leggy. He was still strong enough to finish second in 40.06 though, with an average pace of 6:08 despite the tough climbs amounting to 650ft of elevation. Stuart Holloway had come out on top though, recording a time of 38.32. Gareth Hale of Poole AC was third in 42.27 and Lee Thomas took fourth in 43.10.
Zak Preston was a creditable 25th in 49.22. The course actually comes up at 6.5 miles, so it’s more like a quarter marathon sort of distance.
Geoff Newton came in 84th in 59.16, a little disappointed to be 28 seconds slower than last year, perhaps due in part to having to wear heavier shoes because of the mud. He was first M70 though, with the next man in that age category, Martyn Kingsley (unattached) finishing in 1.04.53.
Neve East was also competing and she got round in a time of 1.15.25 which put her in 176th on chip time, although the results were sorted in order of gun time and she started 7 minutes late. A total of 210 finished the 10km race.
There was a canicross race held separately over the same course starting about 7 minutes behind the runners. The faster canicross competitors overtake the slower runners which is slightly unnerving given the potential to trip over leads.
A familiar face topped the standings for that one, as Graeme Miller and his dog Chester whipped round in 43.05, giving them a 49 second margin of victory over Ellie Monks and her dog Ronnie who were second.
Egdon Heath Harriers man Bruce Campbell finished in third place with his two dogs, Peggy and Dennis. They clocked a time of 44.02. One good thing for Bruce though was that the course record of 41.33 that he and Peggy had set the previous year was still in tact.
It wasn’t so long ago that Bruce had recovered from bladder cancer but he started running again pretty much straight away and has been working hard ever since to get his fitness back. To say he’s an inspiration of a man would be an understatement. He was also very open about his condition, hoping that it might raise awareness and perhaps help someone else who finds themselves in a similar situation or experiences the symptoms.
There was also a 5km race which started at the same time. The route for that began the same way as the 10k but at Turners Puddle, it went left, back up over Black Hill and back down to the start/finish. Thus missing out Kite Hill and the second descent to Turners Puddle.
Simon Hunt of Bournemouth AC does the 10k most years but took part in the 5km race this time round. Finishing 5th of the 22 finishers in 33.07, he was first M60. That was a decent result for Simon and he felt that the course wasn’t quite as muddy as they were making out. The distance for the 5k came up as 3.84 miles though so it was considerably longer than billed.
When the results had been tallied up and added to the Purbeck Trail Series listings, Stu Nicholas was top of the standings going into the final showdown at the Studland Stampede. That could change though if Stuart Holloway turned up to register his third run.