It may have slipped down the pecking order of priorities slightly for the Bournemouth AC road runners but at the Round the Lakes 10k, they showed that when they want to, they can still be competitive in the Dorset Road Race League.
It had been a bit of a damp squib of a season as far as BAC were concerned in the Dorset Road Race League, with both their men and ladies finding themselves rooted to the bottom of their respective First Division tables.
Of course, the introduction of the Hampshire Road Race League and the renewed focus on the regional and national relay competitions have contributed to that decline somewhat, for the men at least. The increased popularity of parkrun has also played a role as runners can now enjoy a competitive run on the weekends for free without giving up their Sunday mornings to pull on a yellow and blue vest.
The Round the Lakes 10k was a fixture that the BAC squad excelled in last summer, with huge numbers turning out for it. That day saw a magnificent Bournemouth AC one-two-three, with Harry Smith claiming victory, Rob McTaggart taking 2nd and Rob Spencer sealing 3rd.
This year the Round the Lakes 10k was taking place on the same weekend as the Southern Road Relays so that took 12 of the club’s top men out of action. Had that not been on, they probably would have pitched up at Poole Park with some heavy artillery.
They did still have Hugo Richardson in the side though and his form had been mightily impressive of late. He’d been finishing first at Moors Valley parkrun practically every week and had had some superb performances in the Upton Summer Series where he was up there battling with teammates Rob McTaggart and Seb Crowe along with some others were amongst Dorset’s finest.
Also in the line up for the yellow and blues, Matt du Cros had also been producing some good quality parkrun times and had been running consistently well for quite some time. His 10k PB 36:12 at the Lordshill 10k in July and he was aiming for a sub 36 this time at Round the Lakes.
Doing a lot of his running in the mountains or the hills recently, Patrick Kingston was getting noticeably stronger and that had been reflected in some of his shorter distance performances. He’d managed to get his parkrun PB down to 18:33 and he also ran the Nivolet-Rivard 55km mountain ultra in the French Alps.
Making his club debut, Ricky Brennan had run a sub 19 minute parkrun at that same Poole Park location so he had the potential to do well.
Laura Daly had been in fine form of late, finishing first female and third overall in the Standard distance race at Bournemouth Triathlon. She also competed for Ireland in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Finland. Her running had come on leaps and bounds since joining Bournemouth AC and taking part in the Tuesday night sessions.
Producing her fastest 10k ever earlier in the year at Chichester, Nikki Whittaker knew what she was capable of and there was no reason why couldn’t aim to hit those heights again at Round the Lakes.
Making a welcome return to race action after a considerable time out, Debbie Lennon was back in the fold. She’d been faced with a worrying situation, having passed out a few times whilst out running, resulting in some quite severe injuries. She was getting back into it now but it could take a while for her to get back into the scintillating form she was in beforehand.
The team were also bolstered by the inclusion of Matt Brown who was without a doubt one of the most talented athletes in the club. He’d claimed a top five finish at the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon in June and had recorded a very decent 16:30 time at Poole parkrun in the Spring, although his PB currently stood at 16:03. His 10k PB was a very impressive 32:34 which he did at the Eastleigh 10k in 2021.
It was the tall, rangy figure of Harry Lauste who emerged as the main contender for the race win though. The Twemlow Track club star was going at around 5:10 pace and that was simply too fast for anyone else in the field to hang with.
Poole Runners man Dion Garner had impressed everyone with his Upton Summer Series performances and he was leading the chase. Harry’s teammate Chris Wood was in third and BAC man Matt Brown was occupying fourth.
As the race went on, Chris began to and by contrast, Matt was getting quicker. Putting in an exception last couple of kilometres to overtake Chris and assume third position.
Crossing the line in 33:56, Matt had indeed sealed a top three placing in what was a fine performance from him. It was a very good sign ahead of the Cardiff Half Marathon which he was down for the following weekend.
He finished 12 seconds ahead of Chris who had to settle for 4th with a time of 34:08. That netted him the first vet prize. All of Harry Lauste’s splits were in the region of 5:10 except for his fifth mile that was 5:28. That gave him a finishing time of 34:28.
Dion Garner wasn’t far behind Harry for the first couple of miles but it wasn’t a pace he could sustain for the full duration of the race. He didn’t blow up though and held it together well at around 5:25 to 5:30 pace for the remainder of the race. That brought him a one-and-a-half minute PB of 33:27.
The next man in for Bournemouth AC was Hugo Richardson, who put in a brilliant shift to get to the line in 35:08. That was enough to see him take 10th position and he was second under 20 behind Benjy Williams of Poole AC who was 6th in 34:41. Hugo’s average pace for the run was 5:34.
Getting to the line five seconds ahead of Hugo, Poole AC man Jamie Grose had done the double, being part of the relay team that qualified for the Nationals the day before. He did very well to get round in 35:03 at Round the Lakes given the fatigue he must have been carrying from his 19:24 6k in Aldershot.
Former Bournemouth AC man Jez Bragg was Twemlow’s third man over the line, completing the course in 35:24 which put him in 11th place. The battle for first M50 was contested between two Poole AC men, with Dave Hicks finishing 10 seconds ahead of John Bassinder. Their times were 35:26 and 35:36 and they were 12th and 13th.
With the high mileage he’s putting in paying dividends, Matt du Cros recorded an excellent new PB of 36:02 which put him in 15th place. It wasn’t quite the sub 36 he wanted but given it was such a windy day, it was certainly worthy of it. His last mile was his fastest of the race and his average pace was 5:45.
As she always tends to be in local races, Poole Runners star Vicki Ingham was first female. She got round in 36:36 which put her 18th overall. Former BAC man Trev Elkins ran well to get round in 36:47 which was only three seconds off his 10k best. That put him in 19th place.
With six wins under their belt already, the Egdon Heath Harriers men only needed one more to confirm the league title. They weren’t going to get it at Round the Lakes though as Martyn Bell was their first runner in, clocking a time of 36:56 which out him in 20th place. Corey Stone was their next man over the line in 22nd place, recording a time of exactly 37 minutes.
The victory in the Men’s First Division at Round the Lakes went to the hosting club, Poole AC, with Barry Miller securing it for them. He also finished in exactly 37 minutes, putting him in 21st place.
Evergreen Purbeck Runners man Julian Critchlow finished as first M60, clocking a time of 37:28 which put him in 31st place.
Shaving three minutes off his previous best 10k time, Patrick Kingston had a superb run, with last mile being his quickest. His time was 38:48 which put him in 38th place and his average pace for the run was 6:13 minutes per mile. He was fourth scorer for the BAC men.
Bettering her sub 40 time from the Bournemouth Bay Run back in April, Laura Daly secured a magnificent PB of 39:06 which was enough to see her come in as 2nd female. It was further confirmation that her running is going from strength to strength and was a good confidence booster ahead of the Galway Half Marathon a couple of weeks later.
Caroline Stanzel of Poole Runners was 3rd female in 39:51 which put her in 52nd place overall. Alex Door of Egdon Heath Harriers was fourth lady in 41:03, putting her in 65th place overall.
They only needed one more man in to fulfill the required quota of five scorers and Ricky Brennan gave the BAC team that, reaching the line in 41:07 which out him in 67th place.
It was probably a fair reflection on the training Ricky has done as he’s been doing a lot of parkruns but not too many runs over 5k. That meant he didn’t quite have the speed endurance to maintain his pace over the second half of the race. That’s something he knows he needs to work on but overall it was a good club debut for Ricky and he’d made a valuable contribution to the team.
That was enough to secure third place in the fixture for the Bournemouth AC men, which was a huge improvement on what they’d done in most of the previous races. It was almost certainly too late to help save them from relegation but it was good to get a decent result on the board at least.
With Steven Rigby finishing 37th in 38:36 and David Jones coming in 46th in 39:20, Twemlow Track Club took second place for the fixture in the Men’s First Division.
Gemma Terry of Poole AC was 5th female in 41:32 and that was three seconds ahead of Lauren Baker-Little who completed the scoring team for Poole Runners. She was 6th female and 74th overall in 41:35. That meant Poole Runners had won the fixture in the Ladies First Division.
Julia Wargent and Hannah Martyn completed the scoring team for Egdon Heath Harriers but it meant that on this occasion, they had to settle for 2nd place. It was a fourth win of the season for Poole Runners, with Egdon having managed five thus far. Similarly to the season before, it was brewing up to be a great battle for supremacy between the two clubs.
The next Bournemouth AC member to arrive at the finish was Jud Kirk. He got round in 46:21 which put him 129th overall and 14th in the Male 60 category. That was 15 seconds off the time he produced in the same event the previous year.
Although she found it a struggle in her first race back, Debbie Lennon dug deep and gave it her best. Of course, it’s frustrating when you lose the speed you had before after some time on the side-lines but if she gets back to normal training and working as hard as she was before, the speed and fitness will return.
Considering she had been out for a while, it was still a decent result for Debbie though as she finished first in the F55 category, registering a time of 47:08. That put her 138th overall and she was 19th placed lady. Before she was clocking under 45 minutes for a 10k so the aim for her now will be get back to that sort of level.
The final Bournemouth AC man to reach the line for morning was Paul Bolton. He produced his best 10k time of the year so far, completing the course in 48:51 which put him in 156th place overall. He was 19th in the Male 50 category.
Completing the scoring team for the Bournemouth AC women, Nikki Whittaker managed to get to within 15 seconds of her 10k PB, coming away with a time of 50:22. The put her in 166th place overall and she was 36th female.
She went out hard and then tried to hold on for as long as she could. It was only really in the last couple of miles that her pace dropped a touch. She’s very much still in the hunt for a sub 50 but on such a windy day, it was always going to be tricky to reach her full potential.
That put the Bournemouth AC women in 5th place for fixture in the Dorset Road Race League. Again, there is very little chance of them surviving the drop this season but it was still worth trying to finish as high up as they could in the remaining races, even if it was just to save face.
The the Men’s Second Division it was a win for Wimborne AC, with second place going to Westbourne and it was beginning to look increasingly likely that they will be two of the three teams that will join Bournemouth AC and Lytchett Manor Striders in the new look Second Division.
Purbeck Runners finished third in the Men’s Second Division at Round the Lakes and they are very much vying for that all all important third place slot which is current occupied by Dorchester RIOT.
Wimborne AC also claimed victory in the Ladies Second Division. They had former Bournemouth AC member Helen Ambrosen running for them, although she wasn’t one of the scoring three. She finished 194th in 54:39 and was 48th placed female and 2nd in the 65+ category.
It was Wimborne’s win of the season and they were in the hunt for one of the three places that will them form the new look Second Division where they will most likely be joined by Bournemouth AC and Lytchett Manor Striders who look like dropping down from the top flight.
Dorset Doddlers were also in contention for it and after finishing 2nd and 3rd at Round the Lakes, Royal Manor of Portland and Westbourne were also looking to sneak in there. It promises to be an exciting end to the season with so much to play for all the clubs in their respective divisions.
The next fixture on the list would be coming around quickly, with the Gold Hill 10k providing the thrills, the spills and most definitely the hills!