The lure of a 16-mile trundle over the hills of the Purbeck proved a temptation too hard to resist for five brazen Bournemouth AC souls who wanted to test their metal on a challenging course.
The Purbeck 16 was one of five featured races in the Purbeck Running Festival. The others were The Purbeck 3 (5k), the Purbeck 6(10k), The Purbeck Marathon and The Purbeck Ultra, which is 54 miles.
The five Bournemouth AC members lining up to take on the tough off-road route were Kirsty Drewett, Adrian Townsend, Wayne Walford-Jelks, Damian Boyle and Billy McGreevy.
The race started and finished in Swanage, heading from the Downs overlooking the beach towards Durlston Country Park and along the Jurassic Coast Path, passing through the villages of Worth Matravers and Kingston.
It then runs through some heathland and onto Corfe Castle before returning to Swanage via the hill Ridgeway and finishing up on the seafront. The climbs on the route are difficult but they are rewarding, as the stunning views help make all the toil worthwhile.
Although it’s called The Purbeck 16, the course is actually billed as being closer to 16 miles. But as each of the BAC members racing found out, it was actually much closer to 17 miles!!
Each of the five BAC representatives had been sidelined from running over extensive periods at one time or another. Damian was out of action for a considerable time during the earlier part of the year due to injury.
Billy has been struggling for quite some time a knee complaint and Adrian is suffering from plantar fasciitis which condemns him to mostly off-road stuff.
Even Kirsty has had issues with injury which has made it difficult for her and played havoc with her training for her first ever marathon, which incidentally was the Purbeck Marathon.
One thing they all have in common though is that they haven’t let the injuries get the better of them and their performances in the Purbeck 16 were a testament to that.
Billy did well to finish in 5th place, recording a time of 2:07:55. That was a pretty good result considering he’s not quite at his peak at the moment and he managed well on an extremely hilly course. His knee tends to start playing up after about 10 miles on the road but luckily that doesn’t seem to happen on trails.
Coming in just behind Billy was his BAC teammate Damian who crossed the line in 2:08:07. He surprised himself with the performance he delivered as it was only really a training run.
It seems all the hill work he does is eventually paying off as he overtook people on every hill. His total elevation for the run was almost 2,000ft so there were plenty of inclines for him excel in.
Damian also finished as 1st Male Vet 40, which he had no idea about until his award arrived in the post a week later. He was gutted he didn’t hang around afterwards now for the presentation as it was the first thing he’s ever won.
Adrian reached the finish in a time of 2:27:44 which put him in 23rd place. He hadn’t really trained for it but he saw that the weather looked great for and it was a good excuse to try something different.
Kirsty often seems to find herself running in scorching hot conditions and this one was no different. She tends to struggle with the heat at times so for her to negotiate this race in the way that she did was pretty impressive.
Crossing the line in 78th place, Kirsty’s finishing time was 2:56:27. That put her one place ahead of Sarah Swift of Poole Runners who certainly isn’t afraid of a tough off-roader. She registered a time of 2:56:50.
The race was on the same day as the Littledown 5 league race and Wayne had somehow managed to double book himself with that and the Purbeck 16.
Instead of taking the easy way out though, he opted for the tougher, more challenging race and hit the Purbeck hills with gusto. Completing the course in a time of 3:07:05, Wayne took 110th place in the overall standings.
In total there were 187 participants, of which 185 successfully completed the course. All the BAC members only had good things to say about the race afterwards. In fact, Billy said it was one of the best local races he’s taken part in.
It was a very well organised event and, as you expect from the Purbeck, the route was extremely picturesque. Plus it was the perfect distance for anyone not wanted to do an Autumn marathon but looking to get a fairly long race in.