What a weekend 6/7 August was for BAC!
Pride of place has to go, though, to BAC‘s British Athletics League (BAL) team who, having secured a win at the final fixture of the season at Yeovil on 6 August, finished with a final League placing of 2nd, thus securing promotion to Division 2. Make no mistake as to what an achievement this is! The BAL is the NATIONAL Track & Field league, and consists of a Premier Division, then Divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4. Each division consists of eight teams, so, in Division, BAC will be one of the TOP 24 TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY!! It was a close run affair though (as it should be with athletics at this level). At Yeovil, with two results still to come, BAC were neck and neck at the top of the fixture with Newquay & Par Athletic Club, with the possibility that one of the other clubs could come in between, thus pushing either into third place. When, after an agonising wait, the final results were announced, BAC were 1st, with 326 points, and N & P were 2nd, with 325 points! Then the final League positions were announced, of course from the bottom up, and when 3rd was reached with no mention of BAC the excitement mounted, and after BAC had been announced as 2nd, good enough for promotion, the cheering drowned out all the remaining details, and, from somewhere, a bottle of champagne appeared. This was an amazing team effort, throughout the season, but there were some outstanding performances at Yeovil. Congratulations to the 4x100m relay team (James Lelliott, Kevin Hodgson, Adam Carpenter and Patrick Sylla) on a new club record. James Lelliott is a points machine, competing, as he did, in no less than seven events, collecting, on the way, one Grade 1 result (Long Jump), two Grade 2 results (100m and Javelin) and one Grade 3 result (Discus). Patrick Sylla achieved his second longest Long Jump ever, naturally a Grade 1 performance, as well as competing in three other events, with a Grade 2 result in the Triple Jump. Other Graded results were achieved by Alex Cox, Grade 2 High Jump, Andrew Brown, Grade 2 Javelin, Adam Carpenter, Grade 3 Pole Vault, Matthew Ridge, Grade 3 Discus and Tawanda Murape, Grade 3 Triple Jump. Of course, it is the athletes who win the day in the end, but none of this would have been possible without the tireless management throughout this and previous seasons of the team by Tim Hughes, who, along with team captain Kevin Hodgson, must have been a source of inspiration with their rousing addresses prior to the commencement of the fixture. Well done and congratulations to everyone, and also thanks to the BAC officials who helped to ensure that this and earlier fixtures went ahead – no officials, no fixture! As they say on Strictly, in no particular order, these were the BAC athletes who competed at Yeovil: Joshua Nevin (400mH A String, 8th, 67.79, 3000m s/c A 6th 10.33.44); Ben Arnold (400mH B 7th 77.18); Piers Copeland (800mH A 1st 1.54.06, 4x400m BAC 2nd); Karl Welch (800m B 5th 1.58.92); James Lelliott (100m A 3rd 10.90 Grade 2, 110mH B 6th 18.52, 4x100m BAC 1st, LJ B 1st 7.22 Grade 1, HJ B 2nd 1.85, DT B 1st 38.51 Grade 3, JT A 1st 55.42 Grade 2); Kevin Hodgson (100m B 5th 11.22, 200m A 4th 22.45, 4x100m BAC 1st); David Long (3000m s/c B 4th 11.07.97, 3000m B 2nd 9.20.34); Adam Carpenter (110mH A 3rd 15.94, 4x100m BAC 1st, 4x400m BAC 2nd, PV A 1st 4.30 Grade 3, SP B 6th 10.90); Muiris Egan (400m A 5th 50.65, 4x400m BAC 2nd); Lewis Sainval (400m B 6th 52.55, 4x400m BAC 2nd); Jamie Grose (1500m A 1st 3.58.43); Rob McTaggart (1500m B 6th 4.10.78); Patrick Sylla (200m B 3rd 22.58, 4x100m BAC 1st, LJ A 1st 7.43 Grade 1, TJ A 3rd 14.37 Grade 2); Daniel Mulryan (3000m A 2nd 8.54.46); Matthew Ridge (HT A 7th 33.27, DT A 5th 38.77 Grade 3, SP A 8th 11.53); Andrew Sheerin (HT B 7th 28.19); Cameron Hale (PV B 6th 2.60); Alex Cox (HJ A 2nd 1.95 Grade 2); Tawanda Murape (Triple Jump B 2nd 13.20 Grade 3); Andrew Brown (JT B 1st 53.54 Grade 2).
The Sturminster Newton Half Marathon (Stur Half) on Sunday 7 August doubled as the County Half Marathon Championship. Josh Cole is in good form at the moment, and had in his sights a PB in this race. In reasonable conditions, but quite breezy, Josh unfortunately found himself running on his own for much of the distance as the eventual winner of the race, Robert Mann, from Wiltshire, was also in good form and did achieve a PB of 72.56. Josh finished second in 74.39, just outside his PB (achieved on this course) of 74.14. Even so, Josh was the first to cross the line to qualify for the County Championship, so congratulations to Josh on being the Dorset Half Marathon County Champion! Josh led home a BAC team which also consisted of Sanjai Sharma, 11th in 81.39 and Tom Paskins 19th in 84.37, the team winning the prize for 2nd mens’ team. The BAC squad was completed by Ian Graham, 140th of the 271 finishers, in 1.49.50. The Stur Half was the last of a series of road races comprising a South West Inter Counties Challenge, and Robert was the first of a strong Wiltshire team which won this race, and the complete challenge. The proposal for an Inter Counties Challenge arose very, very shortly before the first race, and it was, unfortunately, not possible to find a manager for a Dorset team, so Dorset didn’t take part. Hopefully things will be different next year!
Meanwhile, Steve Way was competing in the inaugural Gloucester City Marathon, which he won in a very respectable time of 2.29.45, and it follows that Steve was also the first veteran. A total of 901 athletes finished the marathon.
The day before, Saturday 6 August, Club Captain Richard Nelson took part in the Great West Fell Run, on Dartmoor, a 5 mile race which is the “only race which takes you to the highest point in the South of England. Its 1,362 ft of ascent is tough enough to challenge any off-road runner”. Rich was 15th in a time of 51.56.
In addition to everything else which was happening on 7 August, Anthony Clark was competing in the Courchevel X Trail – a distance of 33k (in France?). The profile of this race shows it rising up and up, with some undulations to make it more interesting, from 1258m to a summit of 2500m, before descending, again over various undulations. Anthony, who is really making his mark in Ultra Running, was 18th in 3.52.35.
The South West Inter Counties Track & Field Championships took place at Exeter on Sunday 7 August. As yet, the results haven’t been published, although it’s known that there were a number of BAC officials present. When the results are available, this report will be updated with details of any BAC athletes who competed.