Stu Nicholas in the Stubbington 10k

Stu Nicholas (1279) was one of 14 Bournemouth AC members in action at the Stubbington 10k

After getting back to winning ways at the Victory 5, the Bournemouth AC squad made the trip over to Stubbington where they needed to continue that trend to put pressure on Totten RC. Totten were currently occupying the second promotion spot behind Farnham Runners who were having a great season and looking formidable.

The Bournemouth AC men had made a brilliant start to the season, winning at the Overton 5 and the Solent Half Marathon. The next race was supposed to be the New Forest 10 but that got cancelled due to flooding and they didn’t have anyone competing at the Hayling 10 in the one after that. They did have four men at the Gosport Half Marathon but James Phillips pulled out meaning they had failed to get a team score for that one as well.

Some of the Bournemouth AC ladies at the Stubbington 10k

Bournemouth AC fielded a ladies team in the HRRL for the first time ever at the Stubbington 10k

The results for the final league standings are determined by the club’s best nine of 12 scheduled races, so the yellow and blues can now only afford one more slip up, which will probably happen at the Ryde 10. They will then be forced to field a team of at least four men for all remaining fixtures.

That was most definitely not a problem at the Stubbington 10k. The club members had learned their lesson from last season’s hoo-hah when the race sold out in a matter of hours. This time they were on it, keeping their fingers on the pulse and as soon as the entries opened, they pounced and secured the places.

In the end they had many men down for it and even had five women signing up as well which meant that for the first time ever, the ladies would have a team in the Hampshire Road Race League.

Katie Gunn in the Stubbington 10k

Katie Gunn was making her Bournemouth AC debut

Making her Bournemouth AC debut, Katie Gunn was expected to spearhead the attack. She had been extremely fast in training and it was going to exciting to see how she could perform in an actual race.

After finishing 3rd female at the Broadstone Quarter and first vet, Emma Caplan was back and looking to put in another strong performance. Nikki Whittaker, Tamzin Petersen and Louise Price were also in the line up but sadly Laura Daly wasn’t feeling well and opted out. They still had a team of four though and that was a line in the sand for the ladies.

The Bournemouth AC flag at the Stubbington 10k

The Bournemouth AC flag was positioned conveniently close to the Costa near the start area

A very strong men’s outfit saw Rob McTaggart back in action after a solid 4th place in the Broadstone Quarter. He finished 2nd in the men’s individual table for the entire Hampshire Road Race League season last year so had the pedigree to be battling up near the front. As did Stu Nicholas who finished 4th in the men’s individual table last season.

Adam Corbin and Szymon Chojnaki were also in the line up, as was Rich Brawn who had taken 11th place in the men’s individual table last season. For the first time this season, they had enough men for the B-Team as well and that was great to see.

Rob McTaggart starting the Stubbington 10k

Tag makes a blistering start down the right flank

Going exceptionally well for the first 5k, Tag was running at just over five minutes per mile. That took him through the first 5k in 16:07. It seemed to get much toucher in the second half of the race though and his pace dropped off a bit to around 5:20.

With 3km left to go he decided he wasn’t going to finish ahead of Christopher Newnham of Ryde Harriers so settled for 4th place. Then, with about 50m remaining he got caught by Hamish MacLean of Aldershot, Farnham & District. He swooped in to steal that 4th place spot putting Tag down to 5th.

Rob McTaggart in the Stubbington 10k

Rob McTaggart was leading the charge from a Bournemouth AC perspective

With a second 5k of 16:23, Tag’s finishing time was 32:30 and his average pace for the run came out as 5:14. When a race ends like that it can feel a bit disappointing but in reality, 5th place in a race like that with such a high standard field is still a pretty good result. There’s definitely work to do for Tag though to get himself firing on all cylinders again.

The race was won by Southampton man Aiden Lennan who clocked a time of 30:54. Daniel Eckersley of Ryde Harriers took 2nd place in a time of 31:25 and his teammate Christopher Newnham got over the line in 32:13 for 3rd place. Hamish MacLean came in just a second ahead of Tag in the end with a 32:29 finish.

Ben Findlay of Winchester & District came 6th in 32:34 which put him one second ahead of Matthew Port of Hart Road Runners who took 7th in 32:35. Following up on his Portsmouth Coastal Marathon win, James Baker of Chichester took 8th place in a time of 32:40.

Stu Nicholas in action at the Stubbington 10k

Stu Nicholas threw down the gauntlet in the early stages

Starting off at 5:16 pace, it was a fast and furious start for Stu Nicholas and he again recorded a fantastic first 5k. The fourth mile is on a slight incline so it was tougher from that point on. Stu was then down to about 5:30 pace but it was enough to see him cross the line in 16th place with a chip time of 33:35.

Stu Nicholas racing along the road

It was a magnificent PB of 33:35 for Stu

That was a remarkable run from Stu and was in fact a new PB being over a minute quicker than his Lordshill 10k time last year. His average pace for the run was 5:23 and it was enough to put him four seconds ahead of Will Pannell of City of Salisbury. They were having a battle for 3rd place in the men’s individual table last season and Will just pipped Stu to it in the end. Could Stu turn the tables this time round?

Adam Corbin‘s quickest 10k time was the 33:49 that he recorded at Eastleigh in 2021. He was actually on course to beat that this time round but lost a bit of pace on the last mile. There was a section on that final mile that had a bit of a headwind so it may have been that that did the damage.

Adam Corbin in the Stubbington 10k

Adam Corbin was also on the hunt for a 10k PB

Crossing the line in a chip time of 33:51, Adam finished in 23rd place out of 1,784 runners and he’d been just two seconds off of his PB time. It was still a great run from Adam though and he was well pleased with that. His average pace for the run was 5:26.

Adam Corbin giving his all in the Stubbington 10k

Adam’s pace dropped off slightly in the last mile costing him his PB

Boscombe 10k winner Dion Garner was there as well and produced a very similar time, going over the line in 34:13 which put him 26th overall. He came in just ahead of City of Salisbury man Harry Pannell who was 27th in 34:20.

Feeling like a 10k PB for him had been long overdue, Rich Brawn was optimistic about doing it at Stubbington. His previous best was when he sprinted half a lap of the cricket pavilion to scrape under 36 minutes at Round the Lakes back in 2022. He’d ran faster than that for the first 10k of the Great South Run in October though so he knew he could do it.

Rich Brawn racing hard in the Stubbington 10k

Rich Brawn felt like he should be able to nail a new PB

His first 5k went very smoothly, with a 5:38 followed by a 5:34 and then another 5:38. It did get tougher in the second half of the race and the slight inline on the fourth mile put him down to 5:46. A 5:41 for his fifth mile though ensured he stayed on track for a PB. The last mile was a bit more of a grind with that section of headwind but he battled well do register a 5:49 for his sixth mile.

Rich Brawn in action at the Stubbington 10k

Rich completed the scoring team for the Bournemouth AC A- String

Getting over the line in 35:26, he’d managed to shave half a minute off his previous best so that was a pleasing result for Rich. He finished in 55th place and was fourth scorer for the Bournemouth AC A-Team. That was easily the best score of any team in the Second Division for the Stubbington 10k.

In fact, there was only one team in the whole league who could better that and that was Ryde Harriers. They had 2nd, 3rd, 12th and 47th so another very good team performance from them after they bossed the Victory 5 the previous month.

City of Salisbury had the next best score in the top division, just ahead of Lordshill who were 3rd. Alton Runners finished 4th with Stubbington Green in 5th. Itchen Spitfires were the 2nd and division leaders Farnham Runners had to settle for 3rd on this occasion. Totten who are also above Bournemouth AC in the table finished 5th, making it a very good day for the yellow and blues.

Szymon Chojnacki careering down the road in the Stubbington 10k

Szymon Chojnacki had been out of action for seven weeks

After seven weeks on the sidelines, Szymon Chojnacki was eager to get back to racing again. He’d started running again too soon after the Poznan Marathon in October and had picked up an injury as a result. Considering he’d been out for so long though, Szymon ran pretty well to finish in 35:46 which put him 65th overall. His average pace for the run was 5:44.

Szymon Chojnacki in the Stubbington 10k

Szymon was chomping at the bit to get back out on the start line

Former BAC man Trev Elkins was looking for a sub 36 and he came closer than he ever had before, clocking a time of 36:13. That put him in 76th place overall with an average pace of 5:49.

Putting in a very well paced effort, Mike Akers was the next BAC member over the line, registering a time of 36:52. That put him in 96th place overall and his average pace for the run was 5:56.

Mike had run the Stubbington 10k seven times before so certainly had the experience and the knowhow on that route. It was the race he produced his existing PB of 36:17 on as well, back in 2017.

Mike Akers racing hard in the Stubbington 10k

Mike Akers had done the Stubbington 10k race several times before

It was a strong run from Mike and he was pleased with how he performed on the day. He’s currently training for the Wokingham Half Marathon which takes place on 25th February so it will be interesting to see how he gets on there.

Mike Akers heads up the road in the Stubbington 10k

Mike ran well to finish in 36:52

Paddy McCalister tackling the Stubbington 10k

Paddy McCalister was back on top form

Weighing in with a parkrun PB of 18:35 just before Christmas, Paddy McCalister was starting to show signs that he’s back to his very best form. He’d certainly been going well in training as well so this was a golden opportunity for him to nail down a new 10k PB.

Paddy McCalister going all out in the Stubbington 10k

Paddy recorded an excellent new PB of 37:45

Sure enough, he delivered on that promise, registering a terrific new PB of 37:45. That put Paddy in 126th place and his mile splits were perhaps the most even out off any of the Bournemouth AC runners. All of them were between 6:03 and 6:07 until the last one which he found the toughest but still managed to come out of it with a 6:09. His average pace for the run came out 6:03.

One of the finds of the season from a Bournemouth AC perspective was a new sharp shooter by the name of Katie Gunn. She’d bust onto the training scene looking super fast and impressing everyone with her talent.

Katie Gunn making her Bournemouth AC debut

Katie Gunn was firing on all cylinders

Having her on board will be massive plus for BAC ladies and she gave a good taste of what she has to offer recording a time of 37:54. That put her in 129th place overall and she 6th fastest female on the day.

She actually managed to speed up towards the end of the race as well, producing her fastest split in the last mile. That was a great show of strength from Katie and definitely a sign that there’s plenty more to come from her.

Emma Caplan runs past in the Stubbington 10k

Emma Caplan always made the ladies team stronger when she was competing

New additions are always useful but of course, the club still possesses many existing talents who can get the job done. Emma Caplan is certainly one of them and she came into it off the back of a 3rd female finish at the Broadstone Quarter on New Years Day.

She set off quite quickly and was going well for the first 5k. She struggled a bit over the second half of the race though but held it together for a 38:24 finish which put her in 140th place. That was enough to make her 9th fastest female out of 779 and 3rd out of 135 in the Female Vet 45 category.

Emma Caplan in the Stubbington 10k

Emma finished 9th female and 3rd in her age category

Cassie Thorp of City of Portsmouth was 1st female, blitzing it round in 34:41 which put her well ahead of any of the other women in the race. She came 33rd overall which was a mightily impressive result.

Lesley Locks of Aldershot Farnham & District came in two minutes later to take the 2nd female spot in 36:40. Her club aren’t in the league though so the next scorer was Vicky Gill off Winchester & District who crossed the line in 36:59. She came 98th overall, ahead of Rebecca Lord of Stubbington Green who was 107th in 37:15 and Katy Mardle of Winchester & District who was 108th in 37:19.

Ricky Brennan in the Stubbington 10k

Ricky Brennan completed the scoring team for the B-String side

The fourth scorer for the Bournemouth AC B-Team was Ricky Brennan and he finished 150th in 38:26. Ricky also started of quite quick but then faded a touch as the race progressed. It was still a good time though and saw the BAC B-Team record the second best score of any team in the Second Division.

Only Winchester Running Club’s B-Team could better that. Farnham Runners currently top the Second Division table but they could only manage 4th place at Stubbington, with Portsmouth Joggers who currently occupy 2nd spot in the table finishing 6th.

No team in the B-Team First Division got a better score than Bournemouth AC’s B-Team but Denmead Striders finished 1st out of the teams in the top division, followed by Lordshill and Fareham. Lordshill and Fareham currently occupy the top two positions in the division but Lordshill are quite a way ahead on points.

Tamzin Petersen in the Stubbington 10k

Tamzin Petersen raced well despite limited training

Finishing as 3rd scorer for the BAC ladies, Tamzin Petersen crossed the line in a chip time of 46:30. Her gun time put her 556th overall and 88th female. She found it a struggle towards the end but considering she’d done very little training over the Christmas break, it wasn’t a bad result for her.

Stu Nicholas’s wife Anna Trehane was also competing and she finished 712th overall with a chip time of 49:14. That made her 137th female.

Nikki Whittaker in the Stubbington 10k

Nikki Whittaker was going for her first ever sub 50 10k

The quest for a sub 50 10k time had been going on for quite some time for Nikki McTaggart. She knew she was capable of it but she needed the right race in the right conditions to deliver. This was it. The temperature was quite cold on the day and one thing that had scuppered her chances a fair bit on previous occasions had been the heat.

She actually produced the perfect race, executing a fine looking negative split where she started off just over 8 minutes per mile and ended up five or six seconds under for her last three splits. Clocking a chip time of 49:25, it was great new entry for her Power of 10 and she finished 751st overall and was 152nd female.

Nikki Whittaker going for a sub 50 minute time

Nikki had her husband Tag willing her on towards the end

That completed the scoring for the Bournemouth AC ladies team and meant they finally had their first score on the board in the Hampshire Road League. They’d done pretty well as well, finishing 2nd out of all the teams in the Third Division. Only Winchester RC could better that score in the division.

New Forest Runners still led the way in that division by quite some margin and they finished 3rd at Stubbington, with Victory AC coming in 4th. They are currently 2nd in the table as it stands.

Liss finished 1st in out of the teams in the top division with Denmead Striders in 2nd. Denmead Striders surprisingly led the way for the season so far though, with Hedge End in 2nd and Fareham Running Club in 3rd.

Alton Runners won their third consecutive fixture in the Second Division and they were well out in front and in pole position from promotion to the top flight. Ryde Harriers were 2nd and they currently sit 2nd in the table for the season so far, with Portsmouth Joggers in 3rd.

Rich Nelson in the Stubbington 10k

BAC Team Captain Rich Nelson was getting his annual race in early

There was even an appearance from Bournemouth AC team captain and road runners head honcho Rich Nelson. He completed the course in a chip time of 49:51 and his gun time put in 750th place overall and 70th in the Male Vet 50 category.

Rich Brawn after the Stubbington 10k

Rich Brawn was happy with his new 10k PB of 35:26

Rounding the proceedings off from a Bournemouth AC perspective was Louise Price and got round in a chip time of 53:40, coming 950th by virtue of gun time. That made her 234th female and put her 16th out of 84 in the Female Vet 55 category. Lou’s average pace for the run came out at 8:33.

The next race of the season is the Ryde 10 but that is unfortunately looking like another dead rubber, with no Bournemouth AC entries expected. That won’t help their promotion chances as they currently sit 3rd in the table but not too far behind Totten who are 2nd. If they do miss out on the Ryde 10, that will mean no further slip ups can be afforded for the remaining five races of the season.

At the moment, they have three men in the line up for the Salisbury 10 but will require one more to slip in through the back door in order to fulfil the quota. It is going to be touch and go but the feeling is, if they can get four out for all those remaining fixtures, they should have enough to sneak into the promotion places. Getting the players in position and ensuring everyone makes it round unscathed will be absolutely crucial though if they are to start next season as a top flight club.