It had been a while since Bournemouth AC had had their own internal event so the Mile of Miles Relays brought a refreshing change to the Tuesday night schedule. And since it only required each individual taking part to run a mile round the track, it opened out the possibility for a broad spectrum of athletes to get involved. That brought together track runners, road runners, kids from the youth development groups, juniors, seniors and even those who are perhaps in the twilight years of their running journey.
The event was the brainchild of road runners group women’s team captain Caitlin Peers. She was responsible for organising the entire evening, sorting out helpers to give out the numbers, timekeepers, prizes and a DJ to whip up the atmosphere. She even arranged for an ice cream van to be on hand to ensure everyone got a post race treat.
There were also some awards to be handed out to members of the road runners group for male and female runner’s runner, the chief positive energy provider and one for outstanding services to the club.
Then there was the sorting out of the teams as well. All those who had signed up for it needed to be divvied into teams of five, preferably of a reasonably even standard. That must have been quite a tricky task in itself. Caitlin took it all in her stride and when the day came round, the stage was set for the big occasion. And it didn’t disappoint.
When the participants first arrived they were given a number corresponding to which team they were on. As well as doing the organising, Caitlin was on compere duty so she outlined how it was going to work and the runners were filed into the grass area in the middle of the track to meet their teammates. They then discussed what order they would like to to run in.
A lot of the teams put big hitters on the first leg which made for a very exciting opener, with the likes of Ben Collins, Adam Corbin and Adrian James all battling out for supremacy. They all knew each other well from the regular road runners training group anyway so they could certainly help drive each other on.
There was also a rare running appearance from Josh King, who has been doing some physio work for the club. When he used to be running regularly, Josh was a real force to be reckoned with so it would be interesting to see if he still had it in the locker. He was previously capable of a 32 minute 10k, a 15 minute 5k, a sub 4 minute 1500m and a 1:58 800m. During the covid times he even registered a 24:40 in the EA Virtual 5 Mile Road Relay.
It was one of Bournemouth AC‘s brightest youngsters who impressed most in the early going though and that was Oliver Canavan. He took the race on at a furious pace and was ahead as they got round to the back straight on their first lap. Not to be outdone though, Josh worked his way to the front and the in true vintage style, he kept up the pace for the duration.
His lap time was an incredible 4:44 which put his team in pole position. Oliver crossed the line shortly after in a lightening quick time of 4:52. Ben Collins managed his first ever sub five mile, clocking a 4:57, as did Adam Corbin with a 4:59. Adrian James got round in exactly 5 minutes which was a decent effort from him.
After that it became a little more difficult to be able to tell what was going on as the range of speeds and abilities were so varied and it wasn’t immediately obvious who was in the lead.
As it turned out, Josh King’s team went on to win the race. They had Jack Barwick who finished in 5:45, Jake Selwood who got round in 5:23, Marni Purnell who clocked a time of 5:41 and Tim Butler who registered a 5:52. That gave them an overall time of 27:25.
Oliver Canavan’s team also ended up finishing in the 2nd place position that they were in after the first leg. They had Alex Goulding posting a 5:20, Rebecca Knapton making it round in in 5:46, Steven Kiff with a 5:33 and Jess Long registering a 6:28 mile. That put their team time at 28:17 so they were 52 seconds off the winning time.
Amazingly, Ben Collin’s team also went on to finish in 3rd place, meaning the team results ended up mirroring what happened in that first leg. They also had Hugo Richardson on their team who, having won a tough, hilly, trail half marathon the previous Sunday, went on to clock the fastest time of the entire evening. That was a blistering 4:35.
Aiden Martin managed his mile in 5:34 and Finley Hurst Atkins, although still very short, has an extremely quick leg turnover and he got round in 5:46. Mandy Adams completed their line up.
Isabel Cherrett was the fastest female in the race and she looked super strong and focused as she romped through her mile in 5:15. Her team also included father and daughter duo Jason and Emily Coltman who are actually fairly evenly matched. Jason got round in 5:59 and Emily clocked a 6:04. In fact they had three talented girls in their line up, with Imogen Pope getting round in 6:07. Westbourne RC man Pete Doughty registered a time of 5:29, putting that team in 4th place.
Producing the second fastest time of the evening, Seb Crowe clocked a 4:38. He’s running so well at the moment though that he was actually a little disappointed with that. It was still a cracking time though. He’s produced some incredible performances recently including a 52.5 400m in the Southern Athletics League match at Kings Park and a 1:57.79 800m at an open graded track meeting in Watford.
It was Oliver Canavan who became overall age grade % champion though with his 4:52 mile putting his age grading at 88.95, since he’s still under 15. That certainly bodes well for his future prospects and if guided along the right path, he could become a real superstar.
Josh King‘s time of 4:44 did make him senior male champion in the end, with Ben Collins taking 2nd with his 4:57 and Adam Corbin placing 3rd with his 4:59.
It was in fact Caitlin herself who clocked the 2nd fastest female time, registering a 5:22. That meant she had to declare herself as senior female champion, since Isabel is under 15 so became junior female champ. Isabel’s 5:15 time put her age grading at 88.92 which was highest of anyone other than Oliver.
Seni Purnell was next fastest female with her time of 5:36 giving her an age graded % of 84.74. She was 2nd placed junior female. Seni has been producing some outstanding results recently, winning the Under 15 Women’s Pentathlon the South West Region Championships. She then went on to win the Under 15 Women’s Pentathlon South of England Championships the weekend after the relays took place.
She’s also been Dorset County Champions and Dorset Schools Champion in the Under 15 Women’s 75m Hurdles and won the National Preparatory Schools Championship at the same event. She is also Dorset Schools Champion and South West Schools Champion over 300m.
Seni’s younger brother Marni also did pretty well in the Mile of Miles Relays with his time of 5:41 putting his age grading at 84.04. He’s in the Under 13 bracket.
The next fastest female in the rankings was Becky Knapton who clocked a time of 5:46. That put her 2nd out of the senior females, with Laura Daly taking 3rd after clocking a time of 5:54.
The youngest members taking part also got a shout out. They were Alannah Caplan who clocked a 6:53. She’s in the Under 11 bracket and clearly takes after her mother Emma who has been one of Bournemouth AC‘s top ladies for many years. Ted Fewings is also in the Under 11 bracket and he blasted through his mile in 6:14.
Mabel Jundi is another promising Under 11 and she managed her mile in 6:18, putting her age grading at 80.48. Her dad Adam is a serial chart topper at Brockenhurst parkrun and he took part as well, clocking a solid time of 5:08.
Leo Bolah was another youngster who ran well as well, completing his mile in 6:20. Paul’s Consani’s son Luca was certainly one of the youngest out there and he stepped up to take the second leg for his team, recording a time of 8 minutes on the nose.
Deciding to take the anchor leg for that team, Rich Brawn had visions of himself gaining a few places for his team and making it an enthralling finish. The reality of it though couldn’t have been further from that as he ended up running on his own pretty much the entire time and virtually everyone else had finished by the time he got over the line. He realised he’d made a tactical error and should have gone on the first leg if he wanted to record his fastest possible time.
As perhaps the most senior member out of any of the teams, Dave Parsons said he would have been happy with anything under 10 minutes but in fact, he did significantly better than that, finishing in 8:42.
There was also a return to the fold for former member Pawel Surowiec, with the Mile of Miles Relay fortunately coinciding with his visit down from Sheffield where he now resides. Pawel was a popular member of the road runners group and always makes the effort to come along to training and parkrun whenever he’s back in Bournemouth and his former clubmates love to see him.
In terms of the road runners awards, the Male Runner’s Runner went to Jack Barwick, who has been a very popular member on training nights since he started coming and is always ready with joke or a jibe. After having a few scary incidents recently where she’d passed out suddenly whilst running, Debbie Lennon is now gingerly getting back into it and she claimed the Female Runner’s Runner award.
Debbie had been in tremendous form before that started happening and was regularly finding she was the club’s lowest scorer in the league matches, with the aim being to finish as high up the field as you can, thus accruing a low position. It’s been a big loss to the club to have her out of action for a while but she was there with her husband Bill who also runs for the club and they were giving out the numbers.
The award for bring the most positive energy to the camp went to Adrian James and that was another well deserved accolade. He always looks to boost the egos of his teammates and gee them up for their next big race, or even just their next interval.
The award for outstanding service to the club went to Rich Brawn and that was for all the race reports he churns out, chronicling the progress of all road runners as they compete in league events or other personal challenges. Rich always likes to ensure that his fellow athletes get the credit they deserve when they produce a good performance and that everyone gets to hear about it. The award winners were voted for by the road runners group themselves.
From a timekeeper’s perspective, it was Ian Graham who was tasked with ensuring he’d recorded the finishing time for each of the teams and Emma Caplan was trying to gather the times of each or the individuals once they’d completed their mile. Rich Nelson also helped out with various tasks including collecting the entry fees from the runners, booking the ice cream van and eating some of the ice creams. Someone had to test them out, right?
Nick Marshall was also on hand with his wheels of steel as well, helping to generate an upbeat sort of vibe to the proceedings. He also took several photos and videos as well so big thanks to Nick for that.
It really was a fantastic evening and Caitlin deserves huge plaudits for organising it, publicising it so well and getting members from all sectors of the club involved. One of the main pluses was that it encouraged integration between different factors of the club who don’t regularly engage with one another. That can only serve to boost team spirit and help create more unity within the ranks.