BAC Team for the Alresford 10k

Bournemouth AC had enough men for an A and a B team at the Alresford 10k

The penultimate race of the Hampshire Road Race League campaign saw the Bournemouth AC men head up Winchester way for a rather hilly and humid Alresford 10k. It was the 11th fixture the club had been involved in but since they’d failed to get a scoring team together for the Hayling 10 and the Victory 5, it was to be their ninth scoring race. That meant that if they were able to get four men out, they would be crowned third division champions with one race to spare, by virtue of their impeccable record thus far.

With six race wins and two second place finishes, they’d blown everyone else in the division out of the water. With the likes of Rob McTaggart, Stu Nicholas, Adam Corbin and Rich Brawn all turning out for many of the races, the club had taken the competition very seriously and put it high up on the priority order and it had certainly paid dividends.

Although they didn’t really need to be the lowest scoring team to confirm their league title win, the yellow and blue army were determined to finish the season strongly and prove why they were the dominant force in the division. After missing the Netley 10k, Rob McTaggart was back in the fold again and he’d had a tremendous season, sitting in second place in the men’s individual standings behind the one and only Harry Smith.

Tag had also won two out of three races in the Upton Summer Series as well and currently tops the standings after the first three races. There are six races in the series and it’s scored on the best four results. In the last race, Tag had to did deep to record the fastest time of the series so far to fend off competition from Dion Garner of Poole Runners.

After a couple of sub 35 minute 10ks at Netley and the Great Bristol Run, Adam Corbin had been in very good form and was always likely to serve up the goods again at Alresford. Rich Brawn had been finding some decent form again as well and had managed to get round in 36:37 at Netley and then produce a 17:05 parkrun the following weekend at Poole.

Boston Marathon extraordinaire Barry Dolman was also in the line up and he had also produced a decent display at Netley to record a 37:27. After being in the squad for the Alton 10, which was the fixture before Netley, David Pinney was back again to add some steel to an already promising looking side.

Back in the game after an injury he incurred during the Kraków Marathon, Grzegorz Kazaniecki was ready to go again. He didn’t have too much training behind him though so it was always going to be a big ask for him to produce anything close to his best. Since his wife was running as well though, he decided to come along and give it a shot.

Fresh from his Guernsey Easter Running Festival exploits and then a run out at the May 5 more recently, Jud Kirk was also featuring in the Alresford 10k. The race had also prompted a very rare appearance from team captain and road runners manager Rich Nelson. It had been quite a while since Rich had laced up his racing trainers and got on the start line so it was a special occasion to see him back in a yellow and blue vest again.

When the day of the race came round, none of the Bournemouth AC men really knew anything much about it. There had been very little information on the course, except that it was a one loop route. They were suspecting that it might contain a hill or two though – and they weren’t wrong about that. In fact, it was very undulating.

The runners prepare for the start of the Alresford 10k

The runners line up on the start line ahead of the Alresford 10k

After missing out on the Netley 10k for the same reason as Tag, which was that he was at the Night of the 10,000 PBs in Parliament Hill that weekend, Harry Smith was back in action and was looking for a third league in a row, after victory in the Salisbury 10 and the Alton 10. He also won his 10000m race on the track in an incredible time of 30:52, up against some very high calibre opposition.

On the road though, the more hills a race has, the more Harry comes into his own as he’s very strong on the inclines. For Tag, it’s the opposite really. For him, the more flat and fast the route is, the better he performs in comparison to others.

Before the race started, there were some races round the field for the kids, with a few different ones for different age groups. Some of the adult runners who were waiting for the start of the race turned to watch that and cheer on the kids as they went round. They turned out to be quite exciting races themselves and gave the atmosphere around the area a bit of a lift.

The start line of the Alresford 10k

Hampshire’s finest prepare to do battle over the undulating roads of Alresford

The conditions on the day were extremely humid and it was easy to tell that that was going to have an impact on the runners. They would perhaps need to take it slightly steadier than they would normally in order to make it round without burning themselves out.

The lead group to begin with included Harry, Tag and three Winchester & District runners. Joe Walker of Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets was also in the mix. There had already been a couple of inclines within the first half a mile but the first big one they hit was at 1.3 miles. That was when Tag got dropped from the lead group.

Harry was still able to drive a good pace on the inclines and it was just a question of whether the Winchester guys could stay with him and for if so, for how long. One of the Winchester runners, George King, also dropped back a bit and Tag was reeling him in on the flat and downhill sections but then losing ground on the inclines.

The lead group in the Alresford 10k

The lead group including Harry Smith and Rob McTaggart

The third and fourth miles were part of an out and back section, so it was basically a case of turning at 5k and then heading back towards the finish. From about the 4.5 mile point though, the course looped back round a different way that they’d came.

By the time they turned and started heading back Harry had opened out a bit of a gap on the Winchester guys and there was only going to be one winner from that point on. Crossing the line in a mightily impressive time of 32:32, Harry won the race with an amazing average pace of 5:14 per mile or 3:15 per kilometre.

With about 450ft of climbing and in such humid conditions, it was unbelievable he could get round so fast. His splits were around 5:10 for the first 5k and slightly quicker than 5:20 for the second half.

Fred Slemeck wasn’t far behind though, taking 2nd place in 32:47 and his Winchester & District teammate Andy Greenleaf was 3rd in 32:55. George King managed to stay ahead of Tag in the end and get to the line 10 seconds before him in 33:37.

Tag reached the finish in 5th place, recording a time of 33:47. Considering it wasn’t really a course that suited him, that was a decent result for Tag. Joe Walker proved he was much more a runner than a walker, finishing 6th in 34:12.

Southampton man David Coak was the next competitor over the line, clocking a time of 35:36. Then Joe Driscoll wrapped up the race win for Winchester & District, coming in as their 4th scorer and taking 8th place in 35:47.

It was a very impressive show of dominance from Winchester and although they’d already been confirmed as league champions, they were hungry to keep the winning trend going.

Adam Corbin in the Alresford 10k

Adam Corbin was wearing his unforgettable white cap

Setting off with quite a quick first mile at 5:30, Adam Corbin went through his second and third miles at around 5:45 pace. Then he suffered a bit on the way back but was still managing to go at around 6 minute mile pace.

Adam Corbin after finishing the Alresford 10k

Adam was the 11th man to complete the course

His finishing time was 36:07 and that put him in 11th place, which was another very high placing for him. Everyone suffered on the way back though as the humidity and the hills began to take their toll. Adam’s average pace for the run was 5:50.

The next runner over the line was Adam Davy of Leeds City but he wasn’t a scorer in the Hampshire Road Race League so the next point scorer over the line was in fact Rich Brawn. He completed the course in 37:06.

He’d started off with a 5:51 for his first mile before following it up with a couple of miles at roughly 6 minutes per mile. Rich doesn’t normally suffer too much in hot conditions but on this day, he knew he had the dial the pace back a bit from what he’d normally expect in a 10k.

Rich Brawn in the Alresford 10k

Rich Brawn gets his Alresford 10k run underway

On the way back, he was going at roughly 6:05 pace, give or take a few seconds. Even though he felt like he was suffering, he was overtaking other runners who were really flagging towards the end, which was encouraging.

The last runner he overtook was on the long straight before the got to the school where he finish was. That was James Robinson of Farnham Runners. When he went past though, James tucked in behind him for a bit and Rich was worried that he might get embroiled in a sprint finish round the field at the end, which he didn’t want. Luckily he managed to shake James off though and had enough of a gap to not have to kill himself when heading to the line.

Rich Brawn finishing the Alresford 10k

Rich crosses the line just 30 seconds shy of his Netley time

When he finished, he was quite surprised that his time was less than 30 seconds slower than he managed at Netley. He felt like he was going a fair bit slower, so considering that, it was a good result for Rich.

Completing the scoring team for Bournemouth AC, Barry Dolman crossed the line in 39:36, which put him in 43rd place. It turned out to be one of those days for Barry as when he got there he realised he’d left his watch on charge at home. Hence he had no idea what pace he was running at.

Barry Dolman crossing the line in the Alresford 10k

Barry Dolman only found out what time he’d done when saw the clock as he was finishing

It wasn’t one of the best runs Barry had produced recently but it wasn’t far off netting him the 1st 50-54 prize. That went to Sean Holmes of Overton in the end who got round in 39:28 and came 39th.

That was enough to give Bournemouth AC yet another third division victory. Their score was in fact the same as City of Salisbury’s on this occasion and City of Salisbury were 2nd in the first division behind Winchester. They both finished on 64 points. Farnham Runners were the only other club in the league to get below 100 and took 3rd place in the first division on 73 points.

David Pinney in the Alresford 10k

David Pinney in action at the start of the Alresford 10k

The next BAC man over the line was David Pinney who completed the course in 42:25 which put him in 80th place overall. He went out a bit too hard and paid for it later in the race but that was again partly due to the punishing humidity. His average pace for the run was 6:54.

David Pinney after finishing the Alresford 10k

David Pinney left it all out there

The next yellow and blue vest to arrive at the finish was Grzegorz Kazaniecki. He made it to the line in 43:20 which put him 93rd overall and 13th in the 45-49 category. He was again, struggling with an injury and also found it difficult due to his lack of recent running.

Grzegorz Kazaniecki completing the Alresford 10k

Grzegorz Kazaniecki comes in to compete his Alresford 10k run

Jud Kirk in the Alresford 10k

Jud Kirk managed to secure his entry on the day

Getting round in a time of 47:47, Jud Kirk had placed 160th overall and was 3rd in the 65-69 category. That wasn’t a bad result for Jud given the profile of the course and the humid conditions.

Rich Nelson in the Alresford 10k

Even Rich Nelson was adorning the fabled yellow and blue vest

Having not raced in so long, Rich Nelson found it a real battle out there. It was certainly far from the gentle introduction back into racing that he might have envisaged when he signed up for the race. Nevertheless, he showed great character though to persevere and make it through and he was given a big ovation as he shuffled down the finishing straight.

Recording a time of 52:32, Rich had taken 220th place overall out of 431 and was 18th out of 32 in the 50-54 division. It had been a tough race but workouts like that will certainly go some way toward improving his fitness and getting him better prepared for the next one that comes along.

After finishing the race each runners was given a couple of bags of watercress and a cookie, which was slightly different to what you would usually expect to receive in the goody bag. This was because part of the course went past the watercress beds that Alresford is famous for.

As usual, Portsmouth Joggers finished a distant 2nd in the third division with New Forest Runners the only other club to get a team out. Isle of Wight Road Runners could still sneak into the promotion place ahead of Portsmouth Joggers if they can get a better result than them at Lordshill. That would be a real blow for Pompey having occupied the position for the whole season.

Andover were the lowest scorers in division two which put them level on points with Ryde Harriers at the top of the table in terms of league placings. Ryde did have a team at Alresford but they finished 8th in the division which means it’s all to play for in the final race at Lordshill to decide the second division title. They will both be promoted to the top tier though anyway, with Hardley looking like they will miss out.

A third consecutive race win for Tamsin Anderson saw her seal ladies individual crown for Hampshire Road Race League. She finished in 38:35 which put her in 30th place overall.

Carole Brown of Liss Runners was 2nd female and 47th with a chip time of exactly 40 minutes. Karla Borland of Winchester was 3rd female and 60th overall in 40:57, with Charlotte Ingram of City of Salisbury taking the 4th female sport in 41:06.

Sarah Gurney of Winchester was 5th female and 70th overall in 41:55 and Susy Perry completed the scoring team for Winchester, coming in as 9th woman and 112th overall in 44:52.

Szymon Chojnacki and Harry Smith at the Alresford 10k

Szymon Chojnacki with race winner Harry Smith

That was 10 league wins out of 11 races for Winchester & District, putting in a very impressive display of dominance. Liss Runners did well at Alresford as well though and had four women in the top 21 which put them as second lowest scorers. They are in the second division though but have sealed promotion to the top flight.

Ryde Harriers didn’t field a team at Alresford which has given Overton a glimmer of hope going into the final fixture at Lordshill that they could get promoted to the top tier instead but they are currently five points behind. That could easily be arrested with one good score if Ryde don’t get a team out again.

Portsmouth Joggers were the only team in the third division to get a team out again and they are cruising to the title and promotion. City of Portsmouth will probably join them despite failing to get a team out for nine races.

Winchester & District topped the standings in the men’s B team league for the 7th time this season and they have already sealed the league title. Farnham Runners B team were 2nd, with City of Salisbury in 3rd.

Because they had eight men competing, Bournemouth AC had a B team as well and since they were the only club that did, they topped the standings in the B team second division. That put them 7th in the table, with Totten and Eastleigh look like they will be promoted to the top division.

Winchester & District also won the C team division, although they’d already sealed the title in that division. Farnham Runners C team were 2nd and Lordshill 3rd.

Bournemouth AC team at the Alresford 10k

The Bournemouth AC men were crowned third division champions

A win for Winchester & District in the ladies B team league means it goes down to the last race at Lordshill to decide the league title, with Lordshill B team still in the driving seat. There’s only a couple of points in it though.

Gosport B team picked up the win in the second division and they look like they could be promoted to the top tier with Ryde Harriers. Winchester C team were the only complete line up in that division at Alresford and they can now seal the ladies C team title at Lordshill as they’re in pole position.

Rich Brawn after completing his hamper for finishing as 1st vet

Rich Brawn took home a lovely hamper for finishing as 1st placed vet

The Bournemouth AC guys were talking after the race when the prizes were being distributed and didn’t realist that Rich Brawn‘s name had been called out and he’d been awarded a massive hamper for finishing as first vet. He wasn’t actually the first person to finish in 40-44 category though. That was Andy Greenleaf but since he got one for finishing 3rd, he wasn’t eligible to win an age category prize as well.

After the race most of the Bournemouth AC members headed back home but Tag and his partner Nikki, who also runs for BAC, went to watch the duck race which was scheduled to take place that same afternoon.

With 20 Bournemouth AC members having signed up for the Lordshill 10k, it looks like they’re going to end the Hampshire Road Race League season with a bang. It will be interesting to see if they’ll have enough firepower to challenge Winchester & District for the lowest league score.