It’s not often that the Bournemouth AC squad have to travel overseas for a league fixture. In fact, it may not have ever happened before. But things are different now. The yellow and blues are now doing battle with the big clubs from their neighbouring county of Hampshire. That means a trip to the Isle of Wight is now on the agenda. And not only was it on the fixture list for the 2022 to 23 season, it was an absolutely crucial race for the men’s promotion charge.
The A Team had recaptured top spot in the third division at the Stubbington Green 10k after briefly losing it when they failed to field a team for the Victory 5. They needed to keep the momentum going at the Ryde 10 and couldn’t afford another no show. That meant it was all hands on deck, or to be more precise, on the ferry over to the island.
The question was, could they get a team out that could give them another valuable win. They were without Rob McTaggart who had been their star performer in the Hampshire Road League thus far and was sitting in 3rd place in the men’s individual table behind Harry Smith and Matt Sharp of Ryde Harriers.
Tag was hunting for a 10k PB at Chichester on this occasion though so they would have to make do without him. Luckily they did have Stu Nicholas and he’d already won one Hamphire Road League race, scoring victory in the Solent Half Marathon.
Competing in his first HRRL fixture since the first race of the season, the Overton 5, Szymon Chojnacki was also in action and he had the pedigree to mix it with the top contenders.
Like they were at the Stubbington 10k, Michael Akers and Patrick Kingston were on duty again which meant Bournemouth AC would at least have a team of four – and a pretty solid one at that.
Unable to resist the temptation to race on a far flung island, Stu Glenister also added his name to the equation which was another big boost for the team. Stu’s enthusiasm and just his general love for running always helps motivate and encourage others so he is a great team player to have on board.
Although the squad was shaping up nicely, team manager Rich Nelson wasn’t satisfied with that. He wanted more artillery. That resulted in the recruitment of Adam Corbin to add the finishing touches to an already feisty looking line up.
Adam had run a 36:17 at the Christmas 10k and a 16:44 parkrun recently so there were signs that he was beginning to return to his best form after a lengthy spell out due to injury.
The cars were readied and an early start ensued as the Bournemouth AC men made the journey over to the ferry and set of with excitement and anticipation to their exotic island destination.
When they reached the Isle of Wight though they found that the conditions weren’t quite as tropical as they might have hoped. In fact, it was a very chilly morning but the BAC men knew once they got going it would be okay.
The course was quite hilly though, with 750ft of elevation incorporated into the 10 mile route. That would significantly reduce the chances of getting a top time for the distance for most athletes. Since it was a league race though, it was mainly the positions that mattered and the BAC men were hoping they could once again be the top scoring team in the division.
Getting through the first mile in around 5:30 pace, Stu Nicholas was leading the charge from a Bournemouth AC perspective. Despite the numerous hills on route, Stu managed to get through the majority of the miles at around 5:30 to 5:45 sort of pace which was very impressive.
The sixth mile contained probably the longest climb but there was also a very tough one near the end as well. Completing the course in a superb time of 58:12, Stu finished in 6th place, which was excellent given it was a very high standard field. His average pace was 5:47 and that was tremendous with all those climbs to tackle as well as the sub optimal nutrition and preparation.
It certainly wasn’t the ideal 10 mile race to attempt to get in under the hour but Adam Corbin managed it as well, flying down the last hill into the finish at the rate of knots. Getting round in a time of 59:40, Adam finished in a magnificent 12th place which was a huge bonus to the team. His average pace for the run was 5:56.
Next in for the Bournemouth AC brave-hearts was Szymon Chojnacki. He got round in 1:02:38 which put him in 25th place overall. In such a competitive field of 370 runners, that was still a decent return for Szymon and he was 5th in the M40 bracket. His average pace for the mile was 6:15.
That left the team needing just one man in to complete their scoring team of four. Clocking a time of 1:05:16, Michael Akers delivered on that front. He finished in 46th place, rounding off a marvellous scoring display from the Bournemouth AC contingent.
Finding all the climbs very tough to contend with, Mike much prefers the flatter ground. But he judged it by effort level and had to just trust that his pace was okay. He did manage to overtake a fair few competitors over the last four miles so that would suggest he ran it reasonably well.
It was another very solid display from Patrick Kingston as well which saw him come in in 1:08:53. That put him in 73rd place overall and 12th in the M45 bracket. Patrick was pleased with that and his average pace for the run was 6:51 which again, was decent given the amount of hills he had to face.
That left just one man to come in from a Bournemouth AC perspective and that was of course the effervescent Stu Glenister. He thoroughly enjoyed the race and tackled the lumps and bumps with aplomb, completing the course in a time of 1:13:16. That put him in 118th position overall and he was 12th in the M50 category.
Stu did joke with the rest of the guys that at the time he was at the eight mile point they were probably all contemplating how many lumps of sugar to have in their tea!! It was a great day out though and Stu really enjoyed being part of the team.
At the sharp end of the field there was an astonishing performance from hometown hero Matt Sharp of Ryde Harriers. He somehow ripped round the course in 52:09, which seemed almost impossible on a course with that much elevation.
That put him 3 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of City of Salisbury man Harry Smith who was 2nd in 55:59. It was another excellent performance from Harry although he did get a stitch at one point. He puts that down to too much French cheese and beer the previous week when he was on his holidays though. Harry’s average pace for the run was a phenomenal 5:29 per mile.
It was another Ryde Harriers man, Gary Marshall who claimed 3rd place, getting to the line in a still very impressive 56:40. William Pannell gave City of Salisbury their second runner home when he arrived in 4th place, registering a time of 57:09.
Kevin Willsher of Lordshill Road Runners was the only other man to come in inside 58 minutes and the only other person to finish ahead of Stu Nicholas. He clocked a time of 57:35.
With Keaan Amin taking 16th place in 1:00:11 and Dave Hunt coming 19th in 1:00:59, Ryde Harriers was the first team get all four runners over the line. That meant they were the top scoring team in the Hampshire Road Race League and gave them an emphatic win in the Second Division.
After stuttering a bit at the start of the season, they had now won the last four fixtures and if they can continue that form, will surely be favourites for promotion into the top flight. That will be good for Bournemouth AC as well as it means that if they get promoted to the Second Division, they won’t be battling it out with Ryde.
Winchester & District had their first three runners in before Harry Pannell arrived to give City of Salisbury their third scorer. He clocked a time of 1:01:01 which was good enough for 18th place. Winchester had Joe Driscoll taking 10th place in 58:50, David Gaskell finishing 11th in 58:56 and James Moore taking 15th in 1:00:03.
That meant it was close between City of Salisbury and Winchester for the First Division win. It went to Winchester in the end though, with Simon Stevens arriving as their fourth scorer in a time of 1:01:38. That was good enough to seal the win for them, with Richard Davidson sealing 2nd place for City of Salisbury by reaching the line in 1:03:40 which put him in 35th place.
It was an easy win for Bournemouth AC in the Third Division and they strengthened their position at the top of the table in an emphatic manner. Isle of Wight Road Runners took 2nd place in the fixture with BAC’s main rivals Pompey Joggers only managed 3rd. The only other team in the league to better Bournemouth AC’s score was Lordshill Road Runners who took 3rd place in Division One.
An unbelievable run from Tessa McCormick of Vale Royal AC saw her finish in 8th place overall and first female in a time of 58:20. That gave her a winning margin of close to four minutes on Tamsin Anderson of Winchester & District who was 2nd lady in 1:02:12. That put her in 23rd place overall.
Emma Jolley of City of Portsmouth sealed 3rd place in a time of 1:03:12 which put her in 31st place overall.
It was Winchester & District who again picked up the race win in the Ladies First Division though, as they had in all seven races thus far. They had Karla Borland finishing as 4th female in 1:06:15, Sarah Sheddon taking 6th woman spot in 1:09:08 and Samantha Parkinson claiming 7th female place in 1:09:43.
Lordshill finishing 2nd in the Ladies’ First Division, which was where they are positioned for the season thus far. Ryde Harriers picked up the win the Second Division giving them their third victory of the season. In Division Three, Portsmouth Joggers were the only club to get a scoring team out, strengthening their position at the top of the table.
In the Men’s BCD Team league it was Winchester & District who picked up the win in the top division. Ryde Harriers claimed top position in the Second Division, which is the one that Bournemouth AC are in, with Winchester & District winning the C Team division and Stubbington Green coming out in top out of the three D Teams.
The next race of the Hampshire Road Race League season is the Salisbury 10 which takes place on 26th March. That will hopefully mean a much flatter and faster outing for the Bournemouth AC men. Mike Akers will be back in action for that one, along with Rob McTaggart and Tom Ralph as well and hopefully some other men have signed up as the entries for that one filled up quite some time ago.
Stu Glenister’s next goal will be the Reading Half Marathon which is on 2nd April and he’ll be running that for his father who is 80, with the race finishing in the stadium of the football club he supports.