There is always a unique buzz around the place when the Run Bournemouth event comes to town. With so many runners of all ages and abilities making the journey down to be part of it, it’s quite a sight to see when the masses descend on the seafront to give it their all.
It usually attracts some Bournemouth AC presence as well in amongst all the fly by tourists and in the past they’ve often managed to show the rest how its done here on the south coast.
Rob McTaggart usually does at least one of the races at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival. In fact, in 2017 he came 2nd in the 5k and on the following day he finished 3rd in the Half Marathon.
The year before that he finished 5th in the Marathon. In 2015 he was 2nd in the 5k and in 2014 he won the 10k in a time of 34:07. In 2013 he topped the podium in the 5k so he has an illustrious history of successes going back through the years.
This year he was trying his luck in the Half Marathon race and in the form he’d been showing of late, he would certainly have to go down as a major contender.
He’d run a very quick time of 15:33 at the Friday Night Under the Lights 5k a few weeks earlier and just a few days later produced a 33:17 at the Lordshill 10k.
There had been other notable BAC successes in previous years as well. Disco Dave Long smashed the Supersonic 10k course record in 2018 when he clocked an astonishing time of 30:42.
And 2017 was the year that Jacek Cieluszecki blew everyone away in the Marathon, winning by a margin of over 10 minutes when he got round in just under 2 hours 32 minutes. The onlooking crowd could scarcely believe what they were witnessing when he motored round Hot Shots that day.
Sadly there was no marathon distance in this year’s schedule. Instead, there was additional 5k race that took place on the Saturday afternoon, before the Supernova 5k which happened at dusk.
That gave some of the younger Bournemouth AC members the chance to shine in daylight hours. Hugo Richardson had been showing some great potential of late and he was in the line up, along with Nathan Mearns, Oliver Thomson, Mariah Marshall and Jacob Green.
They were joined in the race by Leon Atkins who was hoping to record his first ever sub 20 minute 5k.
Having done the 10k race at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival in each of the last six years, Simon Hearn was keeping that tradition going. He usually looks for a sub 40 minute finish so that was his main goal.
He was joined in this year’s race by Neve East who is one of the younger Bournemouth AC members to make the step up to the 10k distance.
Neve has recently been joining in in the Road Runners group training sessions and has been demonstrating a courageous attitude and will to progress.
As a new Bournemouth AC member to the roster, Szymon Chojnacki to showcase his ability to his watching peers and new teammates. Szymon had been living in Bournemouth for quite some time but due to some technicalities, his registration to join the club had never quite been finalised.
Now it is though and he will no doubt be a stellar addition to the squad going forward.
In the Half Marathon race, Tag was joined by Chris O’Brien, Debbie Lennon and Ken Parradine.
Chris had only recently returned to race action in the Romsey 5 after a long time off the scene. He ran that at a sort of tempo type pace, hoping it would give him some solid foundations to build from. He was intending to run much hard in the Run Bournemouth Half Marathon though.
Debbie had competed in the Hampshire Hoppit Half Marathon four months ago and that was a much tougher course. With its tough off-road terrain and hilly profile, that was definitely a more difficult race than the Run Bournemouth Half Marathon would be.
Ken Parradine had also competed in the Hampshire Hoppit Half Marathon but more recently he’d tackled the Winchester Half Marathon. That one was a road course but it was a very hilly route and was certainly enough to put Ken through his paces that day.
The first races of the weekend were the Junior races. They included a Kids’ Kilometre, a 1.5k for 6 to 8 year olds and a 2k for 9 to 12 year olds.
The 2k race saw the first success of the weekend from a Bournemouth AC perspective, with Esmee Hurst Atkins turning in a terrific display to finish as 1st female.
In fact, she was so quick that she arrived at the line in 5th position overall out of 169 participants. That was a phenomenal result for Esmee and demonstrated the huge potential she has to be a future star. Her time for the 2k distance was 7 minutes 23 seconds.
It was a proud moment for her dad Leon, who was racing in the Supersonic 5k shortly after. His son Finley was also in the 2k race and he knocked 34 seconds off his previous best to finish in a time of 8:01. That out him in 20th place.
After those two encouraging performances, Leon was thinking this might well be his day to crash through that 20 minute barrier. He was extremely close but in the end it didn’t quite pan out and he had to settle for a 20:04 finish which put him in 17th place.
As far as the Hurst Atkins clan were concerned though, it has been a wonderful day at the races and they had some very good reasons to celebrate after the event.
When the Supersonic 5k race got underway, there was a Bournemouth AC presence right at the front of the field and that was Hugo Richardson.
Blasting through the first mile in 5:36, he demonstrated a tremendous turn of pace for such a young athlete. Going round the cone at just before Boscombe Pier before heading back to Bournemouth Pier, he went through the second mile in 5:54.
It was then a case of really digging deep over the last mile to maintain the pace as best he could. It got tough when heading round Bournemouth Pier before the end but he went through the third mile in 6:01.
Arriving at the finish in time of 18:05, Hugo had taken 6th place in the race. That was in a field of 315 people. It was a great result from Hugo and showcased the excellent progress he’s been making of late in Simon Hearn’s training group.
Also straight out of Simon Hearn’s school of hard knocks, Nathan Mearns is another talented youngster and he got round in a time of 20 minutes 12 seconds. That put him in 20th place in the overall standings.
Also flying the flag for BAC, Oliver Thomson reached the line in 21:05 which put him in 27th place.
Another member of Simon Hearn’s training group, Mariah Marshall also ran well, completing the course in a time of 22:54. That put her in 59th place.
Jacob Green was another Bournemouth AC representative in action in the Supersonic 5k and he crossed the line in a time of 23:31.
In the 10k race, it was Szymon Chojnacki who stole the show. Since moving to the area he’d completed the Frome Half Marathon in a time of 1:20:53 and last month clocked an excellent time of 2:55:06 in the Southampton Marathon.
Whilst on paper, these were decent times, Szymon wasn’t totally happy with how he performed in them and felt that he had a lot more to give. In the Supersonic 10k race though, that was all about it change.
Setting a ferocious pace from the outset, Szymon went through the first mile in 5:27. It was a different course this year, starting from Hengistbury Head and then dropping down onto the prom and heading towards Bournemouth Pier from there.
At the 3k point Szymon took the lead and from that point on it was all academic. His target was finish in under 35 minutes but he wasn’t expecting to win the race.
Hitting the 5k point at 17 minutes 17 seconds, he was on course to do it. Staying strong over the second half of the race, he managed to complete the next three miles at around 5:35 pace.
As he came off Bournemouth Pier and into the finishing straight, he knew the win was in the bag and gave a few waves to the onlooking crowds before reaching the line.
Recording a magnificent time of 34 minutes 38 seconds, it was an explosive run from Szymon and gave a good indication of the type of performances he might be capable of going forward.
Poole Runners man Dion Garner took 2nd place, getting round another super quick time of 35:10. Then it was Kate Drew sealing 3rd place and 1st female in a time of 36:09.
The following weekend Szymon continued his winning streak at the 303 Squadron Memorial Run 5k in Feltham.
Completing the Worcester City 10k in 40:36 the previous month, Simon Hearn had set himself a good benchmark to aim for in the Supersonic 10k.
He went through the 5k point in 20:07 and then continued on from there at a very consistent pace to reach the finish line in a time of 40:12. That put him in 21st place out of 827 participants.
Even though she specialises in the 1500 metres on the track, Neve East didn’t look out of place in a road race against more senior competition.
She went through 5k in 21:08 and then held it together well over the second half of the race to complete the course in 43:46. That put her in 41st place overall and she was 6th female over the line.
It was a pleasing performance from and she will no doubt see further improvements to come as she continues her training with the road runners group.
The Half Marathon featured a tremendous grudge match between Poole AC man Dom Willmore and Scott Cousins of Springfield Striders.
Both men were in terrific form and pushed each other to the brink, with Dom Willmore coming out on top in the end with an astonishing time of 1:07:30. That meant amazingly, Scott Cousins had to settle for 2nd place with his time of 1:07:40.
Whilst that was going on, Rob McTaggart was running a solo race in 3rd place. He’d realised after 800 metres that he was going to have to settle for 3rd no matter what he did.
Thus, he stuck at a solid tempo pace, taking it fairly easy up the hill and taking his foot of the gas a touch as he coasted in. That still led to very quick time of 1:11:49 and it meant that he had hopefully saved some juice for the Great South Run the following weekend.
Going through the 10 point in 41:14, Chris O’Brien was having a storming run over the first half of the race. He couldn’t quite manage to hold that pace though over the second half and there were a couple of hills that worked him pretty hard.
From then on it was damage limitation for Chris but he held on as best he could and still managing the churn out a reasonable pace of the last few miles.
Still managing a strong sprint finish over the last 200 metres though, Chris finished on a high and recorded an excellent time of 1:28:47. That put him in 78th place in a field of 2,675 and he was 8th in the 50-54 category.
Although he suffered a bit over the second half of the race, the signs were still encouraging from Chris’s perspective and gave him a good sold base to work from. There was still a long way to go to get back anything like PB territory though. His next stop would also be the Great South Run the following weekend.
Competing in her first half marathon on the road for around 33 years and 39 years after she last ran the Bournemouth Half Marathon, Debbie Lennon was back, and she was back with a vengeance!
Putting in a superb display to get to the line in 1:45:07, Debbie was 1st female in the Over 55 category and 38th woman out of 1,030. Taking 430th place overall it was an excellent result for Debbie and she’d certainly worked hard for it.
Unfortunately the race didn’t quite go according to plan for Ken Parradine. He was feeling pretty good at the start but after a couple of miles he was struck by a painful glute injury.
For the rest of the race it was a run/walk affair for Ken and he had to show tremendous character and grit to see it through. He was not going to give though and in the end made it to the finish in 2 hours 55 minutes and 40 seconds.
It certainly wasn’t the run he was hoping for but alas, it was just the way it was destined to pan out for Ken on the day. Ken has been know to spit some lyrics though and he wrote a little poem to summarise his race. It went like this…
My Bournemouth Half Marathon Distaster