With the club exploring new avenues in joining the Hampshire Road Race League and getting teams together for regional and national road relay competitions, the landscape of racing has certainly changed for Bournemouth AC over the course of the year. The fresh new targets to aim for have helped invigorate the squad somewhat and provided new opportunities for its members to showcase their talents, even taking them across county lines. When all is said and done though, it would certainly still be true to say that there’s no place like home. And at the Boscombe 10k, it was a chance for the current crop of Bournemouth AC troops to race on home turf, enjoying all the comforts that that brought with it.

The yellow and blue brigade weren’t about to pass up that opportunity and they turned out in droves, keen to get involved in a race that started and finished on their very own athletics track at Kings Park. Since it’s all organised and presided over by Bournemouth Joggers as well, that gives the BAC members free reign to just enjoy themselves and then gather in the back office after for coffee and cake.

In fact a total of 20 Bournemouth AC members took part in the race and it was quite a strong looking line up as well with Rich Brawn, Adrian James and Harry Dolman in the mix for the men and Emma Caplan, Harriet Slade, Jola Dewerenda and Debbie Lennon forming a formidable outfit for the ladies.

After heading out of Kings Park and down the hill on Christchurch Road, the route then takes a left turn down Harewood and then goes all the way along the Queens Park from there. It’s then a loop around the golf course, including a testing climb up Queens Park West Drive before it then works its way back to Kings Park to finish with another lap around the track.

Aside from the hill on Queens Park West Drive, it’s a fairly, fast and flattish route although there are some sections where you go through the underpass on the Wessex Way which can interrupt the rhythm a bit.

A man very familiar to the Kings Park grounds, Andrew Ridley, was also in action and he’d taken part in quite a few of the recent races and was in good form. He’d finished 5th at the Wimborne 10, the weekend before and been 2nd in the New Forest 10 a few weeks before that. He was also World Masters Champion for 1500m and was runner up in the 800m at the same event.

After finishing 5th in the race last year, Luke Terry of Poole AC was back and was hoping to do better this time round. He’d had a cold when he did it the previous year and felt that he hadn’t really done himself justice, falling away from the lead group in the end. This was a chance for him to put that right.

Luke’s Poole AC teammate Benjy Williams was also competing along with Lonely Goat man Gavin Pritchard.

After going his marathon hopes ended in disaster, getting cramp on the 18th mile, Rich Brawn had been doing quite a few races since then to try to cash in on his marathon fitness. He’d managed to record a new 10 mile PB at the Great South Run a couple of weeks later but had been struggling with on ongoing knee issue that was affecting his motivation to train.

He’d had a bad run in the first Hampshire League Cross Country race in Aldershot a couple of weeks before the Boscombe 10k but had then performed reasonably well at the Gosport Half Marathon the weekend before that. That had given him hope that he might be able to put something together for the Boscombe 10k and he was the first person to take to the front of the pack as they headed round the track.

As they started going over the grass before getting onto Kings Park Drive, Luke Terry took the lead and began to extend away from the rest of the field. Andrew Ridley and Rich were deliberating whether to try and catch him or let him go but Rich soon decided that he wasn’t feeling strong and wouldn’t be able to give chase on this occasion.

The Boscombe 10k gets underway

Poole AC man Luke Terry and Rich Brawn lead the way as they go over the grass

Once they got onto Harewood Avenue, Rich’s pace began to drop and on the second mile, Adrian James and Gavin Pritchard overtook him. Ordinarily he would’ve tried to respond but this time he just didn’t have the strength in his legs. Then to make matters worse, Littledown Harriers man Mark Packer overtook him as well and again, he had no answer and just had to watch as he extended away. His only hope was to try and catch Mark on the hill.

Having been out for a few drinks the night before, Adrian James wasn’t sure whether to go for it at first or whether to just take it easy. In the end he decided to run hard and see what happened – and it turned out to be a very good decision.

Rich Brawn with Mark Packer in the Boscombe 10k

Rich Brawn heads down the alleyway leading to Queens Park with Mark Packer

He stayed pretty strong throughout the race and it was only really after they got to the top of the Queens Park West Drive hill that he started to struggle. He dug in as best he could though and managed to see the race out, crossing the line in a time of 36:52. That put him in 7th place in the overall standings.

Gavin Pritchard was just ahead of him, taking 6th place in 36:42. Instead of Rich catching up Mark Packer, Mark ended up closing in on Adrian in the end and got to within four seconds of him, crossing the line in 36:56.

Rich Brawn in the Boscombe 10k

Rich heads through the park desperately trying to make up some ground

Rich was really disappointed to see the clock had already gone way past 37 minutes by the time he got onto the finishing so he knew he’d produced a slower time than he did the previous year. Finishing in 9th place and registering a time of 37:15, he’d gone almost 30 seconds slower and he was devastated to see that.

At the front of the field, it was Naoto Kato who picked up the win, getting round in 34:42. He wasn’t really a man that anyone seemed to know anything about, but they at least knew now that he was a pretty fast runner.

Harry Dolman in the Boscombe 10k

With his new Vapourflies on, Harry Dolman had all the tools in his arsenal

Luke Terry had had a much better run than he did the previous year, clocking a time of 35:24 and that was enough to see him take the runner up spot. Andrew Ridley crossed the line in 3rd place, getting round in 35:49. Then it was Brady Harcom of Running for Time who took 4th in 36:31.

Harry Dolman heads along the underpass

Harry heads along the underpass

Benjy Williams of Poole AC claimed 5th place in a time of 36:35. Harry Dolman marked his first run in his new Vapourfly trainers with a fine display to finish in 38:32. That put him in 14th place overall and gave Bournemouth AC their third finisher of the day.

Harry heads through the park in the Boscombe 10k

Harry has been progressing really well of late

Simon Hearn’s son Seb was competing in the race as well and he clearly has his dad’s genes when it comes to running as he reached the finish in 39:01. That was enough to see him take 16th place. Simon is one of the Bournemouth AC’s Junior Development coaches and he had come very close to a half marathon PB the previous weekend at Gosport.

Emma Caplan in the Boscombe 10k

Emma Caplan was the leading lady in the race

In the race for the first female spot – well, there was no race actually. Emma Caplan won it resoundingly, taking 20th place in 39:29.

Emma had had a scare before the race began as she’d been dropped off at Kings Park only to realise that she hadn’t brought her number. She didn’t even have her phone with her either so couldn’t contact her husband to ask him to come back. Luckily she spoke to the race organisers and they were able to give her a spare number. And the rest as they say, is history.

Emma heads through the park in the Boscombe 10k

Emma was 1 minute 40 seconds ahead of the next woman

Hannah Martyn of Egdon Heath Harriers was 2nd lady, getting round in 41:11. That put her in 33rd place in the overall standings. Former Bournemouth AC man Damien Boyle reached the finish just after Hannah but he was actually ahead of her on chip time, registering a 41:09.

Theo Weaver in the Boscombe 10k

Theo Weaver was in good form

Recording a tremendous PB of almost five minutes, Theo Weaver was the next Bournemouth AC man to arrive back at the track. His time of 41:34 put him in 37th place and just ahead of his BAC teammate Patrick Kingston who got round in 41:48 to take 38th place.

Theo heads through the park in the Boscombe 10k

Theo was almost five minutes faster than in his previous 10k best

Adrian Townsend in the Boscombe 10k

Adrian Townsend heads down the alley

Adrian heads through the park in the Boscombe 10k

Adrian is on his way toward a 42 minute finish

Adrian Townsend crossed the line in exactly 42 minutes, putting him in 41st place. Then, arriving just a couple of seconds later, Chris O’Brien came in to take 43rd place in 42:04. It wasn’t quite the performance he’d been hoping for and he was really disappointed with his time. It was a shame as he’d run pretty well at the Wimborne 10 the previous weekend.

Chris O'Brien in the Boscombe 10k

Chris O’Brien was back in action after the Wimborne 10 the week before

Chris O'Brien heads through the park in the Boscombe 10k

Chris didn’t have one of his best days but persevered well

The battle for 3rd placed female was between Harriet Slade and Susanna Hill and it was Susanna who came out on top in the end. She was only four seconds ahead on gun time but 10 seconds on chip time as Harriet made it to the line as 4th female in 42:27. Places were allocated on gun time though so Harriet finished in 49th place and that was a pretty decent effort from her.

Harriet Slade in the Boscombe 10k

Harriet Slade was back to full fitness and over her injury woes

After experiencing some lengthy spells on the side-lines through injury, Harriet has decided to concentrate on road racing for now rather than track which should be easier on her muscles. So far she’s managed to stay injury free as well so that’s a good sign as this juncture.

Jola Dewerenda in the Boscombe 10k

Jola Dewerenda heads down the path towards Queens Park

It wasn’t long before Jola Dewerenda arrived to take 5th female spot and 52nd overall, clocking a fantastic new PB of 42:42. That was exactly a minute quicker than the time she produced at the Round the Lakes in the summer.

Jola brings the fight to the Boscombe 10k

Jola has been going from strength to strength of late

Jola went into it off the back of the Lament Świętokrzyski 37.3km which was a very hilly trail race in Poland. She’s progressing really well with her running at the moment and is reaping the benefits of the hard yards she’s been putting in in training.

Debbie Lennon in the Boscombe 10k

Debbie Lennon had been exhibiting fine form in recent months

Netting herself a nice new 10k PB of 44:44, Debbie Lennon was 9th placed female and 1st in the 55 to 64 bracket. It was another superb performance from Debbie, following up on her emphatic PB in the Wimborne 10 the previous weekend.

Debbie Lennon in the Boscombe 10k

Debbie was 9th fastest female and 1st in the 55-64 bracket

Finishing in 84th place and 4th in the Male 60 to 69 category, Jud Kirk was the next BAC vest to reach the finish. He recorded a time of 45:40.

Jud Kirk in the Boscombe 10k

Jud Kirk was there as always

Jud Kirk in the Boscombe 10k

Jud Kirk heads toward a 4th place finish in the 60-69 category

Former Bournemouth man Harry Sherwood was there as well and he clocked a time of 47:28 to take 110th position. He ran the race in under 39 minutes back in 2017.

Sean Weaver in the Boscombe 10k

Sean Weaver heads along the path

The next Bournemouth AC affiliated man to make it to the line was Sean Weaver who got round in a time of 47:40. That put him in 113th place overall.

Sean Weaver in the Boscombe 10k

Sean is quite new to the scene for Bournemouth AC

Securing herself a terrific new PB of 48:47, Ella Preston came in in 135th place and 20th female. It was a remarkable run from her and the first time she’d gone under 49 minutes so she was well pleased with that result.

Debbie Lennon’s husband Bill has now signed up with the club as well and he completed the course in 50:59 to take 158th place overall. He was 11th in the Male 60 to 69 category. If his work ethic is anything like Debbie’s he should be in line for some good improvements in the near future.

Elissa Clark in the Boscombe 10k

It was a very rare road race appearance from Elissa Clark

The next Bournemouth woman to complete her final lap around the track and get over the finish line was Elissa Clark. She recorded a time of 52:02 taking 180th place overall and was 34th female. Elissa usually only competes in the cross country races so it was rare to see her running on the road.

Elissa Clark in the Boscombe 10k

Elissa usually favours the cross country matches but still did well on tarmac

Getting round in a time of 52:18, Louise Broderick came in in 184th place. Then, completing the course in 53:21, Mariah Marshall crossed the line in 197th place and that made her 40th fastest female on the day.

Mariah Marshall in the Boscombe 10k

Mariah Marshall was in action after coming through from the junior ranks

Finishing 4th in the Male 70+ category, Ian Graham got round in 54:31, which put him in 215th place overall.

Ian Graham in the Boscombe 10k

Ian Graham still defies his age and consistently turns out for races

Coming in 7 seconds later but 21 seconds quicker on chip time, Lea Lohk was the next BAC member to pick up her medal. She was 4th in the Female 55-64 category, clocking a time of 54:10. She was 217th on gun time but would have been 209th on chip time. She wasn’t actually there when the race started though as she wasn’t ready. She was really pleased with her run though and felt it went as well as it could have.

Leah Lohk in the Boscombe 10k

Lea Lohk had a super run and enjoyed every minute of it

It was good to see Wayne Walford Jelks back out there and he completed the course in 57:25 which put him in 269th place overall. After breaking both it shoulders during lockdown in separate incidents, he’d been doing very little running of late so it was a step in the right direction for him just taking to the start line. He’s hoping he’ll now get the bit between his teeth and starting getting back into it and training on a more regular basis.

Recording a time of 1 hour and 24 seconds, Ken Parradine was next to arrive in a yellow and blue vest. He was 329th overall and 11th in the Male 70+ category.

The final Bournemouth AC member to reach the track for her final lap was Jayne Wade and got over the line in 1:03:18 to take 365th place in the overall standings. She was 128th placed lady and 24th in the 55 to 64 category.

Jayne Wade in the Boscombe 10k

Jayne Wade progressed round the course well

A total of 145 runners took part in the race with 144 of them successfully completing the course. The last runner came in in a time of 1:31:43.

The team prizes were decided by the best three runners from each club in terms of gun time and position. Bournemouth AC won both the men’s and women’s prizes with Adrian James, Rich Brawn and Harry Dolman making up the male side and Emma Caplan, Harriet Slade and Jola Dewerenda in the female team. They each got a big tub of Heroes or Celebrations.

Harry Dolman with his box of Celebrations after bring part of the winning team

The were celebrations as Bournemouth AC won both team prizes

There were a fair few Bournemouth AC juniors taking part in the Children’s Fun Run which took place over a 1.5km distance. Adam Abu-Ghaba picked up the win in 6 minutes 20. His brother Solly Abu-Ghaba was 3rd, clocking a time of 6:33, and Toby Sims was 1st Male Under 10 in 6:49.

Allanah Caplan clearly takes after her mother and was 1st Female, getting round in 7:01, despite being in the Under 10 category. She finished 6th overall, making it four Bournemouth AC runners in the top six.

Also representing BAC, Rory Dixon was 12th in 7:36 and Jude Austin came 15th in 7:57. A total of 33 juniors took part.

The Bournemouth AC team at the Boscombe 10k

The Bournemouth AC squad gather outside the office for the traditional annual team photo

It was great to see so many Bournemouth AC runners taking centre stage again and what was very clear to see was that there was still a healthy appetite to compete in races that take place right on their doorstep. If they can translate that league races that take place slightly further afield, there should be some potential gather a good squad together and get some momentum going when the 2023 season kicks off.