The Dorset Road Race League was back in full on Sunday 17th September with the shortest race of the season, the Littledown 5, on the agenda.
After a tricky last few fixtures where team captain Rich Nelson had struggled to scrape a team together, it was good to see a large contingent of members signing up for the race. Of course, the fact that it was being held at Littledown Park, right on our doorstep, may have had something to do with it. Nevertheless, a good team spirit and a healthy representation was certainly a step forward.
The day did start with a negative though, after news emerged that Steve Way would be unable to take part. Steve had been suffering from a glute injury and had been unable to run all week following a treadmill marathon he’d undertaken the previous weekend. After giving it a test run in the morning he decided he’d have to pull out.
Although they were one down, there were still enough BAC men ready to step up to the plate and hopefully get five fairly decent scorers on the board.
At the front of the field, Toby Chapman was locked into a four way battle for supremacy. In fact all four athletes finished within 17 seconds of each other. In the end it was Craig Palmer who prevailed, giving Littledown Harriers a great home win. David Broadley of Poole AC came in 2nd place, with Toby taking 3rd in a super quick time of 27:04. Dominic Wilmore of Poole Runners was the other member of that lead group, taking 4th.
Another strong performance on the day came from Graeme Miller, who crossed the line in 22nd place with a time of 29:04. After struggling with injury throughout the earlier part of the year and most of the previous year, Graeme is now getting back to something close to his best form which is great to see. Graeme was 3rd in the M45 category.
Just four seconds behind Graeme was Alex Goulding, taking 23rd place in the standings. Alex wasn’t quite so pleased with his performance as it was 9 seconds slower than the time he did in this race last year when he came 4th. It’s not really a huge difference in time though and Alex did well to finish where he did in a much higher standard field than the previous year, when it was not a DRRL fixture.
Another who was slightly down on his time of last year was Tom Paskins. Tom finished in 30th place with a time of 30:10. By most peoples’ standards this would have been a great run but for Tom it wasn’t quite what he was hoping for.
This was understandable though, given the amount of racing that Tom has done recently. The previous weekend he ran his second fastest ever half marathon at the New Forest. Three weeks prior to that he’d run four half marathons in four days at the Extreme North Quadrathon. It may be the case that the Littledown 5 was simply one race too far for Tom. He’s still had a great run of form of late though and has been progressing very well.
Finishing as fifth scorer for the mens’ team, Richard Brawn ran his fastest 5 mile race to date, to finish in a time of 31:21. This put him in 43rd place. Richard had been targeting a sub 32 minute finish so was pleased to be able to exceed that target. He was also using the race to gage the progress he’s been making in his half marathon training and was pleased to see that he his 3 week vacation hadn’t adversely effected his fitness or speed.
After the first few miles, Richard was slightly off the pace he needed to be at for a sub 32 minute finish but he had been going at a comfortable pace, conserving energy for the latter stages. He managed to pull a significant amount of time back on the last mile and was glad to finish the race strongly.
Taking 3rd place in the women’s race, Nikki Sandell raced to a 31:31 finish which put her 45th overall. Nikki was doing the last long run of her marathon schedule that day which meant that after completing the 5 mile race, she then had to continue on for another 17 miles. She certainly earned the Wispa and pork scratchings that she had for her post-run refuel.
Also in the midst of a marathon training routine, Chris O’Brien was planning to run the 5 miles at roughly his intended marathon pace of 6:45 m/m. As it panned out though, he ended up running with Simon Hearn, offering Simon some helpful encouragement in the latter stages of the race.
The pair crossed the together in a time of 32:25, putting them in 56th and 57th place. This was Simon’s second fastest time over the distance and he was looking to use it as a barometer to see where he’s at with the view to the Bournemouth 10k in a three weeks time. Chris and Simon were 8th and 9th in the M45 category.
Usually specialising as a track runner, Harriet Slade took a rare foray into road running and she was very glad she did, setting herself a magnificent new PB time of 32:55. This made her 5th lady over the line and 1st in the SW category. She then went onto to finish off the tree house she’d been building for her sons, proving she’s got DIY skills as well as running talent. Harriet was 62nd overall.
The next BAC member to finish was Jud Kirk, who came in 74th in a time of 33:42. Again it was slightly down on his time last year when he did 32:24. Unfortunately he found that he just didn’t have enough in the legs on the day. Jud has been focusing a bit more on triathlons recently so that may have been a factor. He did still place 5th in the M55 category though.
In another race of a much shorter distance than she is usually used to Linn Erixon Sahlström put in a very solid display taking 86th position and 9th placed lady. Linn was 4th in the F35 category.
Finishing as the 11th woman over the line, Joy Wright clocked a stellar time of 35:09, putting her 91st overall. Joy is now reaching the end of her track season and will soon begin to refocus her efforts on road running. She was 2nd in the F45 category.
Next to cross the line for BAC was Steve Parsons, who finished in a time of 35:57, giving him a fantastic new PB. It put him in 105th place and 32nd in the M35 category. After a little bit of time out Steve is now getting back to running more regularly and appears to be progressing well.
Despite having completed a 22 mile training run the day before in preparation for the forthcoming Bournemouth Marathon, Tamzin Petersen still managed to do her bit for team, clocking as time of 37:01. This put her in 121st place overall and 25th woman. This also meant she was 6th in the SW category.
One man who was certainly out of his comfort zone doing a shorter, faster race was Andy Gillespie. Andy is currently in training for the Atlantic Coast Challenge, which involves completing three marathons in three days, with undulating routes and some sandy sections adding to the difficulty of the task.
This gives a good indication of the kind of races Andy is more akin to but he gave the Littledown 5 a good shot anyway, finishing in 37:31 which put him in 129th place and 14th in the M55 category. This was around the sort of time he was expecting.
Next to arrive at the finish was Kirsty Drewett, who took 143rd place on the list and 32nd lady in a time of 38:10. This put her 11th in the F35 category.
Rounding things off from the BAC perspective was Estelle Slatford, who crossed the line in a time of 39:13. This gave her 160th place overall and 39th placed woman. She was 15th in the F35 category. There were 280 finishers in total.
In truth it wasn’t the best day ever for Bournemouth AC in terms of having many members high up in the standings. It would appear the Poole AC would have won the day boasting four men in the top ten positions. Putting that aside though, it was good to see a good number of BAC members getting involved in a DRRL fixture and hopefully that will set a good premise for the forthcoming events.