Raluca Basarman with Rich Brawn in the BMF Half Marathon

Raluca Basarman was one of six Bournemouth AC members to face the Half Marathon race at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival and she was joined by Rich Brawn for the first part of it

The second day of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival saw the Half Marathon and Full Marathon races taking place, with the Half Marathon scheduled for an 8am start.

That of course gave more Bournemouth AC members the chance to take centre stage and see what they could do in a longer and more challenging event.

On the morning of race, the event organizers had a tricky situation to deal with when a dead body was found in Boscombe Gardens shortly before the Half Marathon race was due to get underway.

Boscombe Gardens was on the route for both the Half Marathon and the Full Marathon as well so that could have had disastrous consequences but they somehow managed to get it sorted with only a 15 minute delay before the race began.

The main challenge from a Bournemouth AC perspective was presented by Rob Spencer who has been in scintillating form since taking up residence on the south coast and signing for the club.

Already decorating his profile with wins in the Pubeck 10k, the Littledown 5 and the Hoburne 5, Rob was always going to be in contention for the top placings. Runners come from far and wide to compete at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival though so it was difficult to tell who he would be up against at the sharp end of the field.

Also in action for Bournemouth AC there was a trip back down to the area for Pawel Surowiec, who recently moved away to embark upon a new career opportunity in Sheffield.

Stuart Glenister was another name featuring in the starting line up along with Raluca Basarman, Joy Wright and Katrina White.

The previous weekend Pawel had taken part in the Robin Hood Nottingham Half Marathon so it was his second consecutive weekend of racing the 13.1 mile distance. He was hoping to improve on the time of 1:41:37 that he set in Nottingham.

Going into the race off the back of limited training, Raluca wasn’t expecting to get close to the 1 hour 41 minute time she managed at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival last year. She was thinking that perhaps around 1:45 would be a good target to aim for.

Also competing in the race for the second year running, Katrina White performed superbly last year to secure a time of 1:45:03. She would have been pleased to produce something along those lines again in this year’s race but knew it would be a tough ask.

Start line of the BMF Half Marathon

The runners gather on the start line for the Bournemouth Marathon Festival Half Marathon

As the race began, Rob set off at a ferocious pace. He was accompanied by James Hoad and Sean Hogan in a lead group of three. 7 miles into the race the three of them were still together, barely giving each other an inch.

Once they hit the promenade though, it began to get a lot tougher, with a nasty headwind disrupting their pace somewhat. Rob did his best to hang in there and minimize his losses but it was difficult.

In the end it was James Hoad who was the stronger of the three over the latter stages of the race and he completed the course in a stunning time of 1:09:45. It was a very impressive time on that course and in those conditions.

Sean Hogan took 2nd place in 1:10:43, with Rob coming in in a magnificent time of 1:11:06 to secure 3rd place and obtaining a huge new PB in the process.

Rob Spencer in the BMF Half Marathon

Rob Spencer had a magnificent run to take 3rd place and set a new PB in the process

After the 5k race the previous evening, Bayley Massey was back out there in the half marathon, doubling up as he does each year. He finished well to take 4th place in a time of 1:13:38. Peter Baksh completed the top five, posting a time of 1:14:09.

The next Bournemouth AC member to arrive at the finish was Stu Glenister, who completed the race in an excellent time of 1:30:09. That put him in 136th place overall and 15th in the Male Over 45 category.

It didn’t quite match up to Stu’s two previous BMF Half Marathon appearances where he finished in 1:26:46  in 2017 and 1:25:21 in 2016. It was still a decent run out for him though.

Pawel Surowiec at BMF Half Marathon

Pawel Surowiec was back in Bournemouth for the first time since moving up to Sheffield

Although he’s not at his best at the moment and he didn’t get close to the 1:32:04 time that he set last year, Pawel still ran much quicker than he did at Nottingham the previous weekend.

Finishing in a time of 1:36:38, Pawel came in 285th position overall and was 41st in the Over 35 Male category. He enjoyed being back in Bournemouth for the race and was accompanied on the run by his friend and BAC teammate Alex Goulding.

Pawel Surowiec goes through Southbourne

Although he wasn’t close to his best, Pawel enjoyed his cameo down on the south coast

Focusing mostly on 400 meter running over recent times, Joy Wright wasn’t sure how she would fare over a longer distance. She did okay though, competing the course in a time of 1:38:18 which put her in 324th place overall. She was also 28th female over the line and 6th in the Over 40 Female category.

Joy Wright in the BMF Half Marathon

It was a far cry from a 400 metre round the track but Joy Wright tackled the BMF Half Marathon head on

Raluca had company from her BAC teammate Rich Brawn for the first 4-and-a-half miles of the race. As they reached the end of Boscombe Overcliff Road though, Rich peeled off to go and grab a some breakfast and a cup of coffee before he headed off to run round most of the marathon route with a friend from his former club.

For the first half of the race Raluca was going very well, comfortably averaging out at under 8 minutes per mile. She began to find it a little tougher after that though and her pace began to drop.

Raluca Basarman along with Rich Brawn in the BMF Half Marathon

Raluca was very relaxed and controlled in the early stages of the race, especially with Rich beside her for moral support

The last couple of miles were into a headwind and with all the wet sand that was strewn across the promenade it proved difficult for Raluca to keep the pace up.

Despite that though, she continued to push as hard as she could and reached the finish in a time of 1:48:04. Given that she knew she wasn’t the shape she was in the year before when she finished in 1:41, it was still a good effort from Raluca and she was relatively pleased with the outcome. She finished in 836th place overall.

Katrina White goes through Southbourne

It wasn’t the ideal preparation for the race for Katrina but she tempered her pace accordingly

As for Katrina, she was left frustrated after falling ill with a cold just one week before the race. As a result she made the decision to take it a bit easier than she otherwise would have done.

That put pay to her chances of finishing anywhere in the region of 1:45. She crossed the line in 1:53:56, which put her in 1,066th position overall. She was also 190th in the Female category. Given the circumstances, Katrina was reasonably happy with her time.

Katrina White on the promenade in the BMF Half Marathon

It wasn’t as quick as she was originally targeting but it was still a decent run from Katrina all things considered

Christy Murphy who regularly trains with the club on Tuesday and Thursday evenings also took part in the BMF Half Marathon. He went off like a rocket, starting with sub-6-minute first mile.

Although it was a tad faster than he perhaps should have gone, he was still going pretty well for the first 10 miles. Unfortunately though, the wheels camed off a touch over the last few miles and the headwind proved tough to contend with.

In the end he finished in a time of 1:34:20 which put him in 231st place overall. Although it wasn’t perhaps quite the time he’d envisaged when he first set off, on the balance of play it was still a decent effort from Christy.

In total there were 3,768 participants who successfully completed the BMF Half Marathon, proving that the race is still a hugely popular event, attracting athletes from all over the UK.

Raluca Basarman after the BMF Half Marathon

Raluca holds aloft her finisher’s t-shirt after a tough and hard fought half marathon