James Phillips in the Lordshill 10k

Making his Bournemouth AC debut, James Phillips was one of 14 Bournemouth AC runners to feature in the Lordshill 10k

With the third division title already safely wrapped up, the final fixture in the Hampshire Road Race League, the Lordshill 10k, could have been a procession for the Bournemouth AC men. They decided not to treat it in that way though and to go all out for it, bringing a very talented side to the table.

Having done the race before, Rob McTaggart knew it was a good one and had been encouraging other team members to get involved. It was a fairly quick course, potentially even PB material. Plus it was very quick and easy to get to from Bournemouth. And it was great value at just £10 a pop. What could possibly go wrong?

It also gave Bournemouth AC runners an excuse to get out of running the hideously hilly Portland 10 which was on the same day. The club had 17 runners signing up, which was easily the most they’d had out for any of the Hampshire Road Race League fixtures throughout the season. Hence it was looking like they might well have saved the best till last.

Tag on the home straight in the Lordshill 10k

Rob McTaggart was looking for a first Hampshire Road Race League win of the season

Since he’d been such a key player in promoting the race amongst the squad, Rob McTaggart was of course in the side. He’d won two of the Upton Summer Series races so far and was looking in fine form. He was still yet to register his first win of the season in the Hampshire Race League though. Could this be his chance?

Stu Nicholas heads to the finish in the Lordshill 10k

Stu Nicholas was part of a very strong Bournemouth AC line up

After missing the Alresford 10k due to competing in the Giants Head Marathon the day before, Stu Nicholas was back for what was to be his 7th race of the season. That meant he’d done enough to chart on the men’s individual list, where he was currently occupying 4th place. Tag was 2nd on that list.

Managing 2nd place at the hugely demanding Giants Head Marathon, Stu hadn’t been able to train as he would have liked to in the build up due to a hamstring injury. He did very well to put in the performance he did without his usual supreme level of fitness and endurance.

As he had been in the previous four fixtures, Rich Brawn was back in action again. There were also appearances from David Pinney, Matt du Cros and Ben Collins. Having been training extremely well of late, Ben was yet to fully realise his potential in league races.

Rich Brawn makes a break for the finish line

Rich Brawn was running his fourth consecutive Hamphire Road League race

He did do the May 5, which was a Dorset League fixture but as he often does, he got a bit over-zealous at the start and set off far too quickly. For the remainder of the race, it was a struggle. Would the Lordshill 10k be his time to shine?

The squad was also boosted by the inclusion of new member James Phillips who has been up there with the quickest of them since he started attending the Tuesday night training sessions. He’d registered a 15:31 at the parkrun smash up where Bournemouth AC brought a full squad over to Poole Park to go for broke. The numbers had been allocated in favourite order and James had bib 1 and Tag had bib 2, so their prospects of being the front runners looked good.

Ryan Pegoraro in the Lordshill 10k

Ryan Pegoraro was making his highly anticipated Bournemouth AC debut

Making his long awaited debut for the club, Ryan Pegoraro was also in action. A sciatica issue had kept him out of several races he’d signed up for going back to the North Dorset Village Marathon in April. Ryan is every quick and it was very exciting to have him in the line up but he hadn’t been back running properly for that long though it would be interesting to see how he got on.

Paddy McCalister completing the race

It was a rare run out for Paddy McCalister these days

Back in the team after having done virtually no running of late, Paddy McCalister was hoping he’d still have enough to record a reasonable time in a flat 10k but his fitness was bound to have taken a hit after not running for 23 days.

Finally looking like he’s putting his long covid woes behind him, Chris O’Brien was competing in his first race since the Manchester Marathon back in April. He’d been having trouble hitting his top speed in races ever since catching covid a couple of years back. He’d been working on his breathing a lot in training though and it was beginning to pay off and he was starting to find it easier to run at a quick pace.

Having also competed in the previous fixture, the Alresford 10k, Jud Kirk was back again and hoping to set a faster time on what would seemingly be a much easier course.

There was only one Bournemouth AC female involved in the race and that was Laura Rothwell. She’d been gunning for a sub 20 parkrun for quite some time and had come close on numerous occasions. She was a little disappointed with her 20:14 time at the Poole parkrun smash up where she’d gone a bit too quickly at the start and paid the price later on. If she could pace her run better at Lordshill though then there was scope for her to do very well.

The were also racing appearances from a couple of Bournemouth AC’s most well revered team managers, Rich Nelson and Tim Hughes. Rich had made a comeback at the Alresford 10k but had struggled in the heat that day and with numerous hills to contend with it was a tough day out. With the course being slightly more favourable at Lordshill though, he was hoping for a better run. Constant injuries had kept him from getting any kind of consistent training going though.

Tim Hughes giving his all in the Lordshill 10k

Tim Hughes was tackling his first 10k in 11 years

Competing in his first 10k since 2012, Tim was looking to go at 8 minute mile pace and a lot of his recent training had been based around going at that sort of speed. He’d done the May 5 race in 40:48 which was an average pace of 8:12 so that showed he was certainly on the right track toward achieving what he wanted.

Although it was a fairly fast course, there was actually a bit of a kick up over the last third of the race, with a bit of a climb in the last kilometre. Most the runners had had to walk that way from the car park though so they knew what they were in for and had to factor that into the equation. Ensuring they still had a fair bit of energy in reserve for the last couple of miles would be important.

Surprisingly, in the early stages of the race, it wasn’t Tag or James who took it on. It was in fact Richard Waldron of Southampton AC who bolted out of the blocks. It always looked a pace that he would likely be unable to sustain though and Tag and James were waiting in the wings for him to start slowing.

Rob McTaggart in the Lordshill 10k

Tag eased into the lead at around 4k

It wasn’t too long before he dropped off a bit and at around 4k, Tag was able to manoeuvre past him into the lead. He was then followed by James and hometown hope Sebastian Hoenig of Lordshill Road Runners.

Tag finishing off the Lordshill 10k

It was textbook run from Tag and he was too strong for any of other contenders

Tag’s splits had been 5:11, 5:08, 5:16 and 5:13 for those first four miles, so he was running very strongly but it was a controlled effort. With the slight inclines coming into the play, the last couple of miles were a bit tougher but Tag still breezed through them in 5:22 and 5:19.

That just left him with a quarter of a mile to go till he made it to the tape. Clocking a superb time of 32:46, it was Tag‘s first taste of victory in the Hampshire Road Race League. No one deserved it more than him though. He’d been such a consistent performer over the course of the season and had never been out of the top six in any of his races. He’d also finished 3rd in four of his eight races.

Tag heads toward the finish or the Lordshill 10k

Tag races to the finish to round off a brilliant Hampshire League season for him

There was only man in the league who could better that record and that was former Bournemouth AC man Harry Smith. He’d either won, or finished as the highest league point scorer in five of his seven races and had had a tremendous season. That culminated in an amazing time of 32:32 at the Alresford 10k, which was majorly impressive in such humid conditions and on such a hilly route.

James Phillips taking 2nd in the Lordshill 10k

James Phillips made it a Bournemouth AC one-two

It was a Bournemouth double at the top of the standings, as James swooped in to claim a magnificent 2nd place in a time of 33:01. It was a very call between him and Sebastien Hoenig, with James just shading it by two seconds. That meant Richard Waldron had to settle for 4th place in the end with his time of 33:28.

Opening with a 5:13 for his first mile, Stu Nicholas went out very hard. He then settled into a more sustainable pace for the next few miles, with a 5:30, a 5:36 and a 5:34 for his next three miles.

Stu Nicholas in the Lordshill 10k

Stu Nicholas did well to hold it together after a very fast start

He then began to suffer a bit over the last third of the race, although of course, those miles were slightly uphill. Clocking a 5:57, followed by a 5:42, Stu made it to the line in a new PB of 34:37. That was six seconds quicker than his time at the Netley 10k which was his previous league race.

Stu Nicholas finishing the Lordshill 10k

Stu heads toward the finish to seal a six second PB

It was an excellent run from Stu and put him 14th in the overall standings. He’d also placed 4th in the men’s individual table for the season, just behind Will Pannell of City of Salisbury. He’d come in three places ahead of Stu at Lordshill recording a time of 34:25. It had been a very successful first HRRL season for Stu.

Will was City of Salisbury’s third runners in, Stuart Holloway finishing 8th in 34:10 and Aaron Wilson taking 9th in 34:12. That meant they just needed one more to score, as did BAC. Max Costley was Southampton AC’s second scorer, taking 10th place in 34:18. David Coak then arrived in 16th place to give them third finisher in a time of 34:48.

Ben Collins digging deep in the Lordshill 10k

Ben Collins digs deep as he approaches the finish

Pacing his race much better this time, Ben Collins arrived to give Bournemouth AC their fourth finisher in a fantastic new PB of 34:56. He’d been gunning for a sub 35 and just managed to achieve it in the end, although he had to gun it a bit down the finishing straight.

Big Ben rushing toward the finish line

Big Ben was determined to get that sub 35

It was a fine performance from Ben and one that he’d definitely earned from all the hard training he’s been putting in. Taking 19th place on the leader-board, he’d sealed the league win for the BAC men and had confirmed them as the lowest scoring team in the league for the Lordshill 10k. It was the third time the yellow and blues had achieved that feat this season.

Targeting a 35:30 finish, Ryan Pegoraro produced what must surely have been one of the most evenly paced runs of anyone out there. All of his miles were between 5:29 and 5:40 and he didn’t really slow down at all over the last couple of miles. The demonstrates how strongly he was running and how controlled it was.

Ryan Pegoraro heading toward the finish of the Lordshill 10k

Ryan ran a very strong, evenly paced race

Clocking a time of 35:28, Ryan took 21st place and started the scoring off the next batch of four who would be installed as the Bournemouth AC B-team. It also meant BAC had had five men in before anyone else had had four. Harry Pannell completed the scoring team of four for City of Salisbury and put down as second lowest scorers behind BAC.

Rich Brawn battling it out with Sam Jackson

Rich Brawn battling it out on the home straight with former BAC man Sam Jackson

After some decent performances in the last three Hampshire League races, Rich Brawn was fairly confident he’d have a good run, especially as the Alresford 10k had been so tough and he’d still produced a decent time.

His pace for the first mile was 5:40, after which he followed with three miles at around 5:50. For most the race he’d been just behind his former Bournemouth AC teammate Sam Jackson but managed to catch and overtake him on the fourth or fifth mile.

He assumed Sam would be gone once he got past him and didn’t expect to see him again. Just as they got to the hill on the last climb, Matt du Cros popped up and it turned out he’d caught Rich up. He was having an excellent run and was significantly quicker over those last two miles.

As soon as Rich saw Matt though, he put the hammer down and sped off toward the finish, knowing there wasn’t much further to go. As he got to the finishing straight he saw a white vest out of the corner of his eye. He assumed it must be a Lordshill runner but in fact it was Sam.

Rich Brawn heads toward the finish

Rich Brawn heads to the line for a 29th place finish

Sam hadn’t fallen away when Rich had gone past, he had in fact stayed with him and was now contesting the sprint finish with him. Still not realising it was Sam, Rich dug deep and managed to get to the finish line first.

Matt du Cros in the Lordshill 10k

Matt du Cros emphatically beat his previous best 10k time

Registering a time of 36:08, Rich took 29th place, one second ahead of Sam who was next over the line. Matt followed in just three seconds later to clock a time of 36:12, putting him 31st. That was a big PB for Matt as his previous best was a 36:52 he did at Round the Lakes last summer.

Rich finished up in 11th place in the men’s individual table for the season, just being denied a top ten place by David Gaskell of Winchester & District. That was despite the fact that Rich had finished ahead of David in every race they’d both done together. There were 133 runners in total who did 7 or more of the Hampshire Road League fixtures.

Another former Bournemouth AC man who opted not to renew his membership this year was Trev Elkins. He’d decided to temporarily go it alone and came into the race off the back of a 4:52 at the Gosport Golden Mile which put him 6th on the V40 list in the UK. Getting round in 37:03, Trev finished 52nd overall.

David Pinney completing the Lordshill 10k

David Pinney was pleased to record a good sub-40 time

Managing a very good sub-40 time, David Pinney claimed 108th place in a time of 39:52. That completed the B-team for the Bournemouth  AC men and meant they were the lowest scoring B-team out of any club.

David Pinney in the Lordshill 10k

David races down the finishing straight

Arriving just 11 seconds later, Chris O’Brien had had a brilliant run to finish in 40:02. That put him 118th overall. It was really pleasing to Chris getting that speed back again and he will no doubt keep battling till he gets back to his absolute best.

Chris O'Brien in the Lordshill 10k

Chris O’Brien battling it out as he heads for the line

Paddy McCalister drives toward the finish in the Lordshill 10k

Paddy wasn’t quite at the peak of his powers but gave it a good go

With his lack of running having a significant impact on his performance, Paddy McCalister was the next man over the line for BAC. He clocked a time of 41:10 which was over two minutes off his 10k best which he did at Round the Lakes last summer. That put him in 155th place overall.

Finishing as 28th female in a time of 43:13, Laura Rothwell wasn’t too pleased with her performance. After what had happened previously at parkrun, she decided to start off a little more conservatively this time. It didn’t really work though as she found that she wasn’t able to pick up the pace as she would have wanted to later on in the race.

With plenty of other opportunities ahead of her to put that right though, there’s no doubt that Laura will come back stronger and go on to record much faster times in the future. She came 211th overall.

Jud Kirk finishing the Lordshill 10k

Jud Kirk heads toward the finish for a top 300 placing

Just sneaking into the top 300, Jud Kirk was the next Bournemouth AC man over the line. He got round in 45:52 which put him 16th in the M65 category and 299th overall. It wasn’t as fast as he ran in the Guernsey Easter Running Festival but it was two minutes quicker than he managed at the Alresford 10k.

Tim Hughes heads down the finishing straight

It was only one mile really where Tim was off the pace

Completing the course in a time of 50:16, Tim Hughes came in in 410th position. For his first four mile splits he was on for his 8 minute mile target. It was in the fifth mile though that his pace dropped a bit and that was enough to cost him a sub 50 in the end. His average pace still came out at 8:04 though which was a pretty good result for Tim.

Even though he coaches others to run, Tim would be the first to admit that even for him, it’s still very much a learning process and he will look to apply to he discovers with each race he does to help him improve in the next one.

Road runners group supremo Rich Nelson was the final Bournemouth AC member over the line, clocking a time of 55:28 which put him in 532nd place overall. Going through the first 5k in 25:24, he then found it much tougher over the second half of the race, registering a 30:17.

Unfortunately he’d picked up an injury on route though and that scuppered his chances of improving on the 52:32 he did at Alresford. A total of 763 runners took part in the race, with all but three of them making it round successfully.

Getting her fifth race win of the season, Tamsin Anderson of Winchester & District cemented her position as the dominant lady in the league. She got round in 36:47 which put her in 45th place overall.

Tamsin’s main rival for the women’s individual crown was Emma Jolley of City of Portsmouth and she finished 2nd female in a time of 36:57. That was her 7th race of the season so confirmed her runner up spot in the individual table, with Tamsin topping the chart.

Cari Brown of Liss Runners got 3rd female and 79th overall in 38:21, with Kirsty Teahan or Lordshill taking 4th female spot and 91st overall in 38:58. Winchester woman Karla Borland was 5th female and 95th overall in 39:20. She finished 3rd in the women’s individual table.

Charlotte Ingram of City of Salisbury crossed the line in 100th place overall and 6th female in a time of 39:38. She finished 4th in the women’s individual table for the season.

In terms of teams, it was an 11th win out of 12 for the season for Winchester & District who had been truly dominant. Lordshill finished 2nd in the race and 2nd in the top division for the season. Hedge End were 3rd and Totten took 4th.

Alton and Hardley will be relegated from the top flight and will compete in the second division next season. In the ladies second division, Itchen Spitfires actually won at the Lordshill 10k but they’d left it too late and were relegated from the division, finishing bottom.

Liss were second at the Lordshill 10k and they were promoted to the top tier as champions, along with Fareham who also went up. Victory AC relegated into the third division with Itchen Spitfires.

In the third division, Romsey picked up the win at the Lordshill 10k, with Hatch Warren taking 2nd. Portsmouth Joggers were 3rd and since they were the only club to get a full team out for 9 races, their promotion as champions was never in doubt. City of Portsmouth probably were the best team but since they only managed to get a team out for five races, they had to settle for 2nd place overall. They still gain promotion to the second division though.

In the men’s league tables, Bournemouth AC finished the season with eight race wins in the third division and they also had two second places, making it a very dominant display from the yellow and blues. They will be promoted to the second tier for next season where they will be joined by Portsmouth Joggers who had been 2nd all season. Isle of Wight Road Runners were 3rd and New Forest Runners 4th.

In the top division, it was City of Salisbury who picked up the win at the Lordshill 10k, with Southampton AC taking 2nd and Lordshill Road Runners in 3rd. Winchester & District only managed 5th but they’d already been confirmed as league champions, with City of Salisbury taking 2nd in the final standings and Lordshill in 3rd.

Farnham Runners were relegated from the top flight in the end along with Hedge End. They will go into the second division and will be replaced by Andover, who won at the Lordshill 10k and topped the second division, and Ryde Harriers who took 2nd in the table.

Gosport Runners were well adrift at the bottom so they drop into the third tier. It was very tight for the other relegation place but in the end it was Victory AC who go down.

In terms of the men’s B-teams, after being the lowest scoring team in the league at the Lordshill 10k, Bournemouth AC ended the season in fifth place, getting a team of some description out for five of the races.

Totten were 2nd in the second division at Lordshill and they topped the standings comfortably and have gained promotion to the top tier where they will be joined by Eastleigh who finished 2nd.

In the top division, it was City of Salisbury’s B-team who got the win at Lordshill but it was Winchester & District B-team who were crowned league champions, with City of Salisbury having to settle for 2nd. Like in the A-team league, Hedge End B-team and Farnham Runners B-team will be relegated to the second tier.

Denmead won at Lordshill for the C-teams but it was Winchester & District C-team who took the title ahead of Lordshill, then City of Salisbury. City of Salisbury D-team were victorious at the Lordshill 10k but it was Lordshill D-team who claimed the league title ahead of Salisbury and Stubbington.

In the ladies B-team league, it was Winchester & District who picked up their 7th win of the season at the Lordshill 10k although they had already been crowned champions. Lordshill B-team took 2nd place in the Lordshill 10k and 2nd place for the season overall.

Alton and Fareham will be relegated from the ladies B-team top flight and they will be replaced by Gosport Runners and Ryde Harriers. It was actually Itchen Spitfires who won B-team second division fixture at the Lordshill 10k though, with Overton in 2nd.

As for the ladies C-teams, Lordshill won both the race and the division for the season, with Winchester & District C-team finishing 2nd for the season and Stubbington 3rd. Stubbington D-team won at the Lordshill 10k and they topped the standings in that division with Lordshill 2nd and City of Salisbury 3rd.

It had been a very good start to life in the Hampshire Road Race League for the Bournemouth AC men and they will be hoping that will continue into next season where they will be battling it out for the place in the top division.