Category Archives: Road_Reports

Ant Clark and Sanjai head for half marathon made in Dorney Lake

Ant Clark and Sanjai Sharma in the Maidenhead
The 2021 version of the Maidenhead Half Marathon was held at Dorney Lake and Ant Clark and Sanjai Sharma were amongst those battling it over a four lap route

The 10th anniversary of the Maidenhead Half Marathon was commemorated by giving the race a unique twist. And that twist was that it wasn’t actually in Maidenhead!!

For one the venue was switched to Dorney Lake, which meant that, in keeping with tradition, it was still going to be a scenic, fast and flat course which could lend itself to some very quick times.

The reason for the change of venue was that the number of runners who signed up for it were quite low, meaning it was below the required threshold to justify closing roads.

On this occasion though Dorney Lake saved the day, enabling the race to go ahead in a safe and straight forward way.

There were a couple of Bournemouth AC members in the line up for the relocated Maidenhead Half Marathon, namely Anthony Clark and Sanjai Sharma.

It would probably be fair to say that both Ant and Sanjai had already become accustomed to running at Dorney Lake, since they’d both completed a marathon there.

Ant did his in Easter and it was pretty much the first big race that went ahead after the long winter lockdown. Despite having so much time without any racing on the agenda, Ant still managed to pull an excellent performance out of the bag to run it in 2 hours 33 minutes.

That was enough to see him take the crown for 1st M40 and come in in 9th position overall. It was a very impressive run. Could he follow that up with a top quality half marathon though?

As for Sanjai, he ran the Virtual London Marathon at Dorney Lake in October last year and despite some absolutely horrific conditions, he did much better than he thought he was going to, crossing the in 3:19:32.

That was quick enough to earn him Good for Age time for the next London Marathon as well but unfortunately there was a mix up with his entry which prevented him from doing his 20th consecutive London Marathon.

Sanjai Sharma in action at the Maidenhead Half Marathon
Sanjai had had previous experience of running at Dorney Lake when he did the marathon last October

The day before the Maidenhead Half Marathon at Dorney Lake, Ant had recorded his fastest ever parkrun, coming in as first finisher at Poole with a time of 16:07.

That showed he’s in terrific form at the present time and his top end speed is very much there, despite the high mileage and big sessions he’s been putting in during the week.

Setting off very quickly, Ant opened his account with a 5:24 first mile and a 5:28 second mile. He was cooking on gas at that point but before turning into a headwind.

Even that couldn’t slow him down much though and his next six miles were all between 5:30 and 5:35 pace. Ant is usually pretty consistent with his splits and he was still operating at an impressive speed over the back five miles.

Ant Clark in the Maidenhead Half Marathon
Ant had a very solid run and kept his splits fairly even throughout

In fact, the 13th mile was the only one he went over 5:40 pace on so it was a very strong effort throughout, culminating in a finishing time of 1:13:19. That gave him an average pace of 5:34.

The only time he’s ever gone quicker than that was at Fleet in 2019 when he ran 1:12:31 so it showed that Ant is in terrific form. It was good enough to see him take 6th position overall in a field of 346 and he was also 2nd in the MV40 category, just behind Richard Price of Reading who got round in 1:12:59.

Ant does some of his training runs with Chris Wood of Wimborne AC and he paid the price a bit for his exuberant start but toughed it out well to record a time of 1:14:48. That put him in 10th place and 3rd MV40.

Sanjai Sharma in the Maidenhead Half Marathon at Dorney Lake
Sanjai’s training in the build up to the half marathon had been fairly minimal

At the peak of his powers Sanjai would usually run his half marathons in around 21 minutes. At the moment he’s some way off that though, having suffered with injury problems and a busy summer limiting his training time.

In truth, he wasn’t even sure he’d be able to complete the distance without stopping so he was actually quite pleased when he managed to get round in a time of 1:40:13.

It may have been his slowest ever half marathon time but he actually ran each of the four laps quicker than the previous so it turned out to be a good progressive activity.

Finishing in 113th place in the standings, Sanjai was 4th quickest in the MV60 category so still not a bad result, all things considered.

Sanjai Sharma at the Maidenhead Half Marathon in Dorney Lake
Completing the course in just over 1 hour 40 minutes, it gave Sanjai a foundation to build from at least

The race win went to Neil Kevern of Bracknell AC who completed the course in a lightening quick 1:09:23. That was enough to give him a winning margin of a minute over Pete Robinson who was 2nd in 1:10:25.

Aran Davidson of Chiltern Harriers continued his fantastic form of late to come in in 3rd place with a time of 1:11:26. The hard training paid off for Max Costley of Southampton and he took 4th in 1:12:15.

Naomi Mitchell of Reading was the fastest female, registering a phenomenal time of 1:16:44. That put her in 16th place overall and gave a huge margin of victory.

The next lady in was Tamsin Anderson of Winchester & District and she took 38th place in a time of 1:23:28. Nicole Swaffeld was 3rd female, crossing the line in 1:26:28, which put her in 51st place overall.

Ant Clark in the Maidenhead Half Marathon at Dorney Lake
It was Ant’s second fastest half marathon to date when he crossed the line in 1:13:19

The only bad thing about running it at Dorney Lake is the repetitive nature of the course when you have to do four laps. Ant would have much preferred it to have been on the usual Maidenhead route, which renowned for being fast, flat and fun.

Saying that though, Ant usually tends to do quite well in repetitive type races. Who can forget his staggering performance in the 2018 World 100k Championships in Croatia? He finished 8th in that and 1st M40 and that was on a course of 7.5 km laps.

As the Autumn draws in, Sanjai is hoping he’ll be able to find more regularity with his training and will be able to perform better in cooler conditions.

With entries lined up for both the London Marathon and the Manchester Marathon it’s going to be a busy October for him. The way he’s running though, he’s certainly on course to do well in both races.

 

 

 

 

BAC contingent limber up for Lytchett 10

Katrina White and Helen Ambrosen in the Lytchett 10
There were five Bournemouth AC members present at the 2021 Lytchett 10 which was finally able to go ahead in August, including Katrina White (left) and Helen Ambrosen (right)

When the Lytchett 10 mile road race came round most of runners who were on the entry list had forgotten all about it. The event had been cancelled and postponed so many times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and whatnot it seemed like it was never going to take place.

The race is usually staged in February and is part of the Imperial Series, along with the Bournemouth 10 and the Larmer 10. The first time it was postponed it was due to adverse weather conditions. A storm had hit the south that weekend and the course was deemed unsafe.

Of course the club who put the event on, Lytchett Manor Striders, had no idea then that it would take until August 2021 for the race to finally go ahead. But here it was, taking place in the summer months which brought a welcome change in outlook in comparison to the usual cold climate of a February date.

This time it was bright day and not too windy either. Practically perfect running conditions. Ideal for those in good form to take advantage and record a fast time.

It often ends up being treated as a marathon training run for some of the field, with runners often opting to go round the course an extra time before the race has even started, giving them a very good 20 mile training run.

With the London Marathon being just six weeks away, that was again the case here, with many of the more serious marathon runners getting up and out early to get the loop done once before the actual race kicked off.

None of the Bournemouth AC members who were in action that day took that option though. They all decided once was enough for them on this occasion.

That included Rich Brawn, who is competing at London. He’d done a lot of long training runs recently though so was looking for a slightly faster paced run. Therefore he figured racing the 10 miles hard might be a better option.

Unfortunately he’d pulled a muscle in his back though in the week leading up to the race and it had been causing him a lot of pain. Even the day before the race he was considering pulling out but he thought it would be better to go along and at least try to run and see what happened.

He was joined in the race by Jacek Cieluszecki, who had won the Lytchett 10 a couple of times before. That was in 2017 and 2011. He’d also had a number of other top three finishes in the race dating back to 2009.

After running the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon the weekend before though, JC wasn’t expecting to be in full swing at Lytchett but he was keen to give it a go anyway.

In comparison to the 1800 metres of vertical he faced at Scafell Pike though, including climbing England’s highest peak, the slopes of Lytchett weren’t likely to prove too taxing for him. But with very little speed-work in his current training regimes, tapping back into that faster gear could still prove tricky.

Even though he claims to have retired from the running scene, Steve Way still always comes out to support his local race and he managed to dust off his old BAC vest for a rare outing.

Although he hadn’t been doing much outdoor running, Steve had been training hard on the bike using Zwift so that would have helped keep his fitness at a reasonable level.

He’d been suffering from a hamstring injury though so was going to have to hope that held up alright on the unforgiving tarmac.

Helen Ambrosen battling hard in the Lytchett 10
Helen Ambrosen was looking to contend for age group honours in the BMAF 10 Mile Championships

Also in action for BAC at the Lytchett 10 was Helen Ambrosen. She’d been participating in the British Masters Athletics Federation Championships and the Lytchett 10 was a designated race for that competition which meant extra age group medals were up for grabs for her.

Fresh off the back of an excellent Summer Series campaign, Katrina White was also competing at Lytchett for the yellow and blues. She finished 5th in her age group at the Summer Series and for the most part, manged to get quicker as the competition progressed.

A good 10 mile display at Lytchett would cap off a superb summer for her. Ian White was also there and was marshaling for the event and cheering on the runners as they went by.

Katrina White going well in the Lytchett 10
Katrina White was looking to carry her good form from the Upton Summer Series into the Lytchett 10

When the race started it kind of took Jacek by surprise. He was with his wife Ela who was also taking part and they were right at the back of the pack. That meant JC had to then work his way up toward the front of the field.

Due to the back issue he’d been having, Rich Brawn made a tentative start. At first he thought it would be too painful to go the whole way but he stuck it out and tried to manage as best he could.

It wasn’t long before JC caught Rich up and at the time he was close to Steve Way as well. Steve had bumped into an old friend in Holly Rush, who runs for Avon Valley Harriers, and they were running together, with Holly emerging as the front runner in the women’s race.

Steve Way in the Lytchett 10
The Lytchett 10 is close to home for Steve Way which was reason enough for him to dig his road shoes out from the back of the cupboard

The Lytchett 10 course is mostly uphill for the first 4.5 miles. Then there is a downhill stretch to 5.7 miles before the final climb which leads to just over 7 miles. After that it’s predominantly downhill all the way to the finish.

About half way into the race which started to feel pretty good and the back pain he was suffering from had subsided. He then began to kick on, pulling away from Richard Swindlehurst who he had been running with and setting about in pursuit of Graham Sherwin of Egdon Heath Harriers.

Then after that he went past Matt Risden of Southampton and it was beginning to turn into a half decent run for Rich. He just needed to keep going and keep working hard.

Rich Brawn in the Lytchett 10
Rich Brawn was running with Richard Swindlehurst for some of the race

JC had managed to get up to 5th place in the end but he was unable to catch Steven Yates of Twemlow who had already run one lap of the course before the race had started.

The win was taken by Tom Merson of Exmouth Harriers and he managed to get round in a superb time of 53:15. That was enough to see him claim a very convincing win with an advantage of over 3-and-a-half minutes over his nearest rival.

That was Sam Hull of South West Vets and he took the runner up spot in 56:55. Adam Tuck of Ride Harriers sealed 3rd place in 57:44.

Crossing the line for the second time round, Steven Yates showed superb form to clock a time of 57:51. Then it was JC in 5th with a time of 58:18.

Jacek Cieluszecki in the Lytchett 10
Caught out at the start, Jacek Cieluszecki had to work his way up the field

The second Twemlow man in was Harry Lauste who arrived in 6th place, recording a time of 58:36. Even though he hadn’t been doing a lot of running of late, Jack Galloway made it three Twemlow men in the top ten when he crossed the line in 9th place with a time of 59:14.

Finishing strongly to stay ahead of Matt Risden, Rich Brawn ended the morning in 12th position, posting a time of 1:01:57. It wasn’t as quick as he would have liked but was still a fairly decent run given how his back was at the start and the hilly nature of the route.

Matt Risden followed in after Rich to take 13th place in 1:02:13. Then it was Richard Swindlehurst, completing the team win for Twemlow despite having run a lap of the course beforehand as well. He clocked a time of 1:02:34, with Graham Sherwin taking 15th place in 1:02:43.

Rich Brawn with medal after Lytchett 10
Rich was quite please with the way he ran over the second half of the race

Unfortunately for Steve his hamstring went in the end, leaving him with a rather painful last few miles. That saw him take 18th place in 1:03:27.

Holly Rush had been by his side throughout though and she crossed the line in 1:03:25 to seal the win in the women’s race by a very substantial margin.

The next female to arrive at the finish was Charlotte Bunch of Poole Runners and she completed the course in 1:09:57 to take 40th place overall. Susie Hill was 3rd female and she came in in 44th place overall recording a time of 1:11:11.

Katrina White in the Lytchett 10
Katrina makes her way down the road looking in fine form

Katrina White had a good run in the end to get over the line in 1:23:57 and that put her in 129th place overall and 23rd fastest female. In the 25-29 category she took 3rd place and it was great to see her produce another successful outing after the high of the Summer Series.

Helen works her way round the country roads
Not even the cars could keep up with Helen Ambrosen as she nipped down the country lanes

Securing a silver medal in the BMAF 10 Mile Championships for the over 65’s, Helen Ambrosen completed the course in a time of 1:30:07. That put her in 166th place overall in 35th fastest female.

Helen was pleased with how she ran and was over the moon with her silver medal. She’s really enjoying competing in the BMAF Championships and has found that it adds a new dimension to the race knowing that there is also the prize and prestige of that on offer.

Helen Ambrosen in the Lytchett 10
Helen ran well to secure a silver medal in the BMAF 10 Mile Championships

Given he still had heavy legs from his marathon at Scafell Pike, it was a fairly decent performance from Jacek to get round in 58:18. At the moment he’s finding it hard to get the inspiration to go flat out in road races though. He’s much preferring the tough, hilly, trail type races.

The next race he had lined up was the CapTEN which is a 10 mile fell race over in Bridport, incorporating the humongous climb of Golden Cap. Then after that he’ll be heading up to Scotland for the Saloman Mamores VK, which is the 5 kilometre fell race featuring 1000 metres of ascent.

 

Shere brilliance from Harry in Half Marathon win

Harry Smith in the Shere Half Marathon
Harry Smith was hoping to cap off a scintillating summer with a top performance in the Shere Half Marathon

After winning The Shere 10k back in 2019, Harry Smith returned to the sumptuous slopes of Surrey and this time it was to tackle 21 kilometre distance.

The Shere Half Marathon is run on a very testing trail route with some daunting climbs to negotiate. In fact, it’s fairly up and down most of the way, incorporating an elevation gain of 1,350 ft.

That was right up Harry’s street though as he tends to find that hills and trails suit him much better than road races. That said, he did produce a stunning sub-32-minute 10k at Eastleigh recently which saw him finish in a fantastic 5th place.

He also won the MK Rocket 5k in a lightening quick time of 15:02 and recently finished top of pile in both the Huntsman Triathlon and the TrailX Spring Off Road Duathlon.

The Shere Half Marathon route started and finished in the picturesque village of Shere, which is not far from Guildford where Harry was based when he went to university.

Start of the Shere Half Marathon
The runners and riders line up for the start of the Shere Half Marathon

It was very quickly into a massive climb which went on for the majority for the first mile. With 400 ft of elevation already covered in the space of that first mile, it was certainly a difficult start to the proceedings.

Harry still managed to get through it at 7:35 minute mile pace which was impressive on a slope that steep and put him into the lead. Once he got to the top, Harry picked up speed and went though the next mile at 5:35 pace.

Even though it was off-road he was still going at well under 6 minute mile pace for the next four miles which included a long downhill stretch on the fifth mile.

What comes down, must go back up though and that meant a big climb to negotiate on the other side. That wasn’t a problem for Harry though and he still powered up at 7:14 minute pace for the 7th mile even though it was pretty much all uphill.

Harry gets his race underway at the Shere Half Marathon
Harry was off to a flying start and soon settled into a pace that no one else could live with

Going through the next few miles at around 6:30 pace, Harry was then back to 6 minute mile speed for the 11th mile before embarking on a huge descent for the 12th mile.

That meant a very fast finish for Harry and he soared down at 5:41 pace leaving him with a short way to go to get to the line. It was a fine performance from Harry and he’d shown great strength given the varied nature of the terrain.

Registering a time of 1:15:41, it was a convincing victory from Harry and he was over a minute ahead of his nearest rival Ry Webb. He clocked a time of 1:16:44 to seal the runner up spot.

The next man in was Alex Gibb who finished in a time of 1:18:56. The top three were way ahead of anyone else though, with the next man, Oliver Hassall reaching the line over 15 minutes later, underlining just how well they performed.

Despite the 1,361 ft of elevation, Harry had still managed an average pace of 6:13 minutes per mile for the run which was an excellent result. Plus it was another terrific win to add to the resume.

The Shere event also features a 42 kilometre race as well as the 10k and 21k distances and Harry is thinking that he might go back next year to see if he can win that to complete the treble. If he’s in anything like the form he’s in now, he’ll take some stopping!!

Harry Smith in action in the Shere Half Marathon
Harry is intending on going for a Shere clean sweep by winning the Marathon next year

 

Summer Series ends on a White high for BAC three

Katrina and Ian White in the sixth race of the Upton Summer Series
It was a family affair for Katrina and Ian White as they ran together in the sixth race of the Upton Summer Series

The final race of the six in the Upton Summer Series presented the athletes with one final chance to either secure their place on the final scoreboard, or improve upon or consolidate their position.

After the first four fixtures, Katrina White was 4th female in the standings and was leading the 18-39 category. Following the culmination of the fifth fixture though, she’d slipped down to fourth in the category.

Charlotte Bunch of Poole Runners had assumed pole position after her 2nd place finish and Siabham Gorman was in 2nd. It was tight between Hailey Higgins and Katrina but Hailey was just edging it for 3rd.

The opportunity was there for Katrina in the sixth race though to improve her overall score. Anything above a 9th place finish for the age category would do that.

Having done three fixtures thus far, husband and wife Ian White and Sam White had the chance to get their fourth attempt in and register their names on the overall leader-board for the series.

Katrina and Sam prepare to start the race
Katrina and Sam White wait at the start line ready to begin their final blast of the Upton Summer Series

Ian’s main aim for the series was to finish in under 26 minutes and he managed that in Race 2 when he clocked a time of 25:41. Instead of having another crack at a sub-26 though, he opted to run with his daughter Katrina to see if he could help her improve on her position.

As for Sam, she’d finished in 29:51 on both of the first two races and that was her quickest time thus far so she was looking for an improvement on that.

Katrina and Ian get their race underway
Katrina is off to a flyer as Ian tries to get into gear and follow

Katrina’s best time thus far was the 26:50 that she posted in Race 3. She’d been making some good incremental improvements over the first three races though so it would be interesting to see if she could go even faster on her final attempt.

It was much cooler on the day than it has been for the previous races so it was a great opportunity for the athletes to record a new best time if they could find their form. Katrina did just that.

Katrina and Ian share a joke as they go
Katrina and Ian share a joke as they head down the gravel path

Running alongside Ian, she got through the first mile in a very quick 7:10, so she’d really got out of the traps well. In fact Katrina was running so well that it was forcing Ian to work quite hard himself just to keep up!

Finishing in an incredibly impressive time of 26:16, Ian and Katrina took 51st and 52nd in the overall standings. Katrina was 9th fastest female 5th in the 18-39 category, so she had improved her final score by four points. Ian was 6th in the Male 50-54 category.

Ian and Katrina White in race 6 of the Upton Summer Series
Katrina was going so well she was making Ian work hard to keep up

Taking 34 seconds off her previous best time was quite some achievement for Katrina though and even she wasn’t expecting to pull such a great performance out of the bag.

She wasn’t the only one either. Sam also ran significantly quicker than she had in any of her previous attempts to finish in a magnificent time of 29:05.

Sam White in her blue cap
If the cap fits… Sam dons her infamous blue hat once more

Going through the first mile in 8:12, she then followed that up with an 8:23 second mile and an 8:23 third mile. Then picked the pace up again to 8:13 for the last half a mile.

That was actually a pretty consistent paced run considering the first mile contains more downhill. The last half a mile includes an incline so she did well the finish strongly on that.

Sam White in action in Race 6 of the Upton Summer Series
Sam found her rhythm on this one and performed a lot better that she had in her previous attempts

That put Sam in 86th place overall and she 26th placed female. In the 50-54 category, she was 5th. It was a very pleasing run for her and she treated herself to a McDonald’s afterwards to celebrate.

Having already wrapped up the series with four wins out of five, Matt Brown decided to let someone else have a chance to taste victory in the sixth and final race.

Sam White gives her all in the Upton Summer Series - Race 6
Sam looks focused and in control as she progresses round the course

That opportunity was snapped up by Dion Garner of Poole Runners who got round in 19 minutes 23 seconds. That was just enough to edge him in front of Brian Underwood of Poole AC who crossed the line in 19:44.

Lewis Clarke of Lonely Goat took 3rd place in a time of 19:47 which out him 2 seconds ahead of Duncan Cooper who was 4th in 19:49. Tom Andrews of Lytchett Manor Striders was a specialist in finishing 4th but on this occasion he had to settle for 5th place, crossing the line in a time of 20:03.

Out of the women, Fern Kimber was 1st finisher, crossing the line in 21.19. That put her in 12th place overall out of the 159 who successfully completed the race.

That also meant that Fern had won the series, after finishing 1st female in all four races she took part in. Kate Wilkinson of Poole Runners was the next woman in, taking 29th place overall with her time of 23:39.

That put her just ahead of Charlotte Bunch who was 30th and 3rd lady, posting a time of 23:49. In the series though, taking the best four results, it was Charlotte who finished 2nd to Fern, with Kate taking 3rd.

Joanna Westhead, also of Poole Runners was 4th in the series and 1st in the Female 45-49 category. Then it was Sophie Watton of Wimborne AC in 5th.

Lesley Moore was 6th female in the series and 1st in the 40-44 category. Carole Loader of Bouremouth Joggers was 7th and 1st in the Female 50-54 category.

Katrina finished 12th female and 5th in the 18-39 category, just behind Siobham Gorman and just ahead of Hayley Higgins. The way she ran throughout the series and the results she accrued had perhaps even surprised Katrina herself.  She’ll certainly come out of the series with a lot more confidence than she had when she went into it.

Katrina White -in Race 6 of the Upton Summer Series
Katrina was in fine form and looked on course for her fastest time yet

Sam finished 37th female for the series and 6th in the 50-54 category. That was a decent outcome for Sam and she was certainly boosted by the run she had in the final race.

Ian was 65th in the overall standings and 7th in the series for the Male 50-54 category. That represented a pretty good effort from him, all things considered.

Sam White makes headway in Race 6 of the Upton Summer Series
The conditions were cooler this time round and Sam certainly made the most of that

Having only done three of the races, Nikki Whittaker was knocked down the pecking order, finishing in 90th place in the end. Her partner Rob McTaggart was the only other BAC member to feature but he only did two of the races. He did finish 1st and 2nd in them though.

As previously mentioned, with four wins, Matt Brown swept to an impressive series victory. Lewis Clarker finished as runner up with three 3rd places and a 5th place.

Then it was Brian Underwood with a 7th a 4th and two 2nd places. Then Dion Garner with a 1st, a 2nd, a 3rd and a 10th. Tom Andrews was 5th with his three 4th places and a 5th.

Ian White in Race 6 of the Upton Summer Series
Ian was hoping to end on a high by helping Katrina record her best time of the series

In the teams competition, Poole AC won the men’s, being the highest scorers in four of the fixtures. Then it was Poole Runners, just edging out Lytchett Manor Striders and Littledown Harriers.

In the women’s team competition, Poole Runners were the victors, securing five wins and a 2nd place from the six fixtures. Poole AC were 2nd, securing five 2nd places and one win. Then it was Bournemouth Joggers in 3rd.

It was great to see the Summer Series go ahead and with a full program of fixtures completed. The competitive spirit generated by an ongoing league type of format is certainly one that has been missing from running for quite some time now.

Hopefully it won’t be long before the Dorset Road Race League is back on the horizon, along with the Hampshire League Cross Country which has already been penciled in. With those competitions taking place, there should be some exciting times ahead for the Dorset running community.

 

 

 

Heather Khoshnevis digs in to seal category win in Two Tunnels Marathon

Heather Khoshnevis finishing the Two Tunnels Marathon
The Two Tunnels Marathon in Bath provided Heather Khoshnevis with a slightly different experience than she was usually used to since on this occasion the route would take her underground

Having completed 138 different marathons, you would have thought Heather Khoshnevis had been there, seen it and done it all, right?…. Well, you’d be wrong there. She hadn’t done one quite like the the Two Tunnels Marathon before.

As the name suggests, the Bath based route incorporates two tunnels, the first of which is the Devonshire Tunnel, which is 408 metres long. The second is the Combe Down Tunnel  which is 1672 metres long which actually makes it the foot race with the longest underground section in Britain.

There is then a stretch of about 7 miles along the canal, heading from the Somerset Coal Canal onto the Kennet & Avon Canal at Dundas Aqaduct, which is over 200 years old.

There were several long boats moored along the bank which were interesting to look at. They were old but very well looked after and there was even one called the Floating Baker which was selling cakes.

The route also included a jaunt past the house of the world renowned geologist William Smith who produced the first geological map of the country. It also heads along lane that was a track bed of the Bristol and North Somerset Railway, which then meets the Somerset and Dorset Line.

The canal eventually merges into the River Avon and the runners are taken onto a bridge over Lock Gate, which is the second deepest lock in the country. It is then heads along the river bank into the heart of Bath.

One of the aid stations was just by the world famous Pulteney Bridge and Weir at a spot which is overlooked by Bath Abbey. The aid stations were very impressive, containing an abundance of chocolates and sweets.

It’s a two lap route as well so after doing all that once, the marathon runners then get to experience it all again a second time, including going back through the tunnels.

The northern side of the Combe Down Tunnel is 50ft higher than the southern portal which sends a cool breeze circulating through the tunnels.

That created a chilling environment that felt quite eerie as you couldn’t even see your own feet or anyone in front of you. Every now and then you could feel drips of water on your head as well and it felt a bit like being in a scary ghost train at the fair.

Heather was trying to imagine what a complete marathon just going back and forth through the tunnels would be like and her weird mind told her that it could be quite fun, especially on a rainy day.

Heather Khoshnevis in action in the Bath Two Tunnels Marathon
There was no chance of a seasoned vet like Heather hitting the wall in the Two Tunnels Marathon

It wasn’t a fast course as the canal paths were quite narrow and busy in places but that enabled Heather to take the time check out the boats.

She’d actually entered the race before COVID and it had been pushed back so she wasn’t even sure if she was going to do it. It was only late in the afternoon on the day before the race that she made up her mind to go for it.

The race started on a hill and finished on a hill as well and featured plenty of other undulations along the way which made it challenging and forced Heather to work for it.

Heather Khoshnevis crosses the line in the Two Tunnels Marathon
It wasn’t a fast course but Heather worked hard to still record a decent time

Completing the course in 4 hours 8 minutes and 15 seconds, Heather finished in 42nd place in the overall standings, out of 141 who successfully negotiated the distance.

Heather arrives at the finish to complete the Bath Two Tunnels Marathon
After only making the decision to do the race the day before, Heather was glad she did in end

That saw her pick up the category win in the Female 60-69 division which was a pleasing outcome for Heather and a nice little reward for her efforts.

Heather gets over the line in the Bath Two Tunnels Marathon
It was pleasing result for Heather as she collected another age category win

It was a very well organised race with a friendly atmosphere and Heather really enjoyed herself and had a lovely day out. Thus, she was very pleased she opted to go for it in the end. Plus it was another notch to add to her impressive marathon tally.

Heather Khoshnevis after completing the Two Tunnels
That was another marathon ticked off the list for Heather as she increased her total to a massive 139

 

 

 

Jacek Cieluszecki rocks up for the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon

JC makes his way up the rocky trails of Scafell Pike
There aren’t many races that can put Jacek Cieluszecki on the backfoot but in the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon he might just have met his match

Usually in a super tough, long distance trail race you would make Jacek Cieluszecki favourite for the win. In fact, he’s won his last five races now including the Maverick Chilterns ‘Middle’ distance, the Maverick Exmoor Ultra and the Maverick Dorset ‘Long’ race.

Then before that he won the CTS Exmoor Ultra and the Exmoor Coast 55k, setting a course record in both races. They both incorporated a huge elevation gain of around 7,000ft.

The Scafell Pike Trail Marathon was a slightly different prospect though in that it was one where fully focused fell runners would have the upper hand.

Carrying out the bulk of his training over the Purbeck, JC is well accustomed to powering his way up a hefty slope or two and speeding back down a muddy or stony track. But the terrain at Scafell Pike is much more extreme.

The surfaces are very rocky and uneven and can become very slippery when wet. Plus the gradients are on a different scale than anything you are likely to encounter over the Purbeck.

That said, looking at the results from the previous years going, Jacek felt he should be well capable of claiming victory if he performs to his best.

This year though the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon was included as part of the Golden Trail National Series, along with three other races across England, Scotland and Wales.

That meant it could attract a higher standard of competition, with potentially some of the top national and international trail runners vying for the chance to compete in the GTNS Grand Finale in the Azores Islands.

And not only that. It was also announced as a selection race for the World Mountain and Trail Championships 40km trail race, so the stakes were extremely high in that respect. As Jacek was about to find out, he was really going to have his work cut out to compete for a high placing on this occasion.

The route incorporated England’s highest peak and featured 1,800 metres of ascent over the 27 mile distance. With the rocky terrain prominent throughout, it really was some next level stuff in terms of difficulty and intricacy.

View of the Lake District area surrounding Scafell Pike
The weather conditions weren’t great on the day and the reduced visibility made it difficult for Jacek when he got near the top of the mountain

The course heads from Keswick along lakeshore trails, wooded valleys and spectacular high mountain trails including some of the most dramatic rock scenery in the Lake District. In  fact, Borrowdale has been described as the most beautiful valley in England and a trail runner’s paradise.

The first section runs to Seathwaite, following some woodland trails alongside the shores of Derwentwater and onto the village of Grange. Then it’s onto the first climb of the day going past Castle Crag. Then it’s through Seatroller to the hamlet of Seathwaite.

The second section takes the runners up to the summit of Scafell Pike, crossing the old packhorse bridge over Stockley Beck. Then it’s a very steep climb to Styhead Tarn and Skyhead Pass. After that it’s an ascent up the infamous Corridor Route, with it’s rocky trails and rugged yet spectacularly scenic landscape.

The route then descends to Broad Crag col before continuing its high level traverse past Broad Crag and Ill Crag towards Esk House. Then it’s on past Sprinkling Tarn to Styhead Pass before retracing the route back to Seathwaite.

From there it’s then a case of heading back to Keswick, with a final testing ascent from Rosthwaite to the isolated hamlet of Watendlath. Following the trail alongside Watendlath Beck it then reaches the final checkpoint before descending past Suprise View and Ashness Bridge.

It’s then onto a single-track trail below Falcon Crag and into Great Wood, with the last stretch long the lakeshore trails to the finish in Crow Park.

JC makes his way along the trails in the Scafell Pike Marathon
JC makes his way up the rocky mountain trail accompanied by a fellow participant

It was raining on the day which made it that much tougher to negotiate the tricky trails and sharp descents. Visibility was poor as well, meaning the spectacular views were somewhat diminished and more importantly, when you got near to the top of the mountain it was difficult to see where you were going.

In fact, there was one point where Jacek reached the top of the summit but because the visibility was so poor had had no idea which route he should take to get back down and couldn’t see very far along any of the trails.

Luckily just at the moment he got caught by Eleanor Davis of Preston Harriers who was first female at that point. She seemed to know where she was going so was able to find the correct path, which in turn enabled JC to stay on track.

Jacek Cieluszecki on the trails of Scafell Pike
Jacek carefully negotiates his way down the rocky landscape

Since it was a selection race for the the World Mountain and Trail Championships some of the runners there were very experienced and skilled fell runners, including the likes of Ricky Lightfoot and Tom Adams.

As he wasn’t such an experienced fell runner, it was very difficult for Jacek on the descents, especially in the wet conditions. He was having to be cautious about where he was treading to ensure he stayed upright on the sharp downhill sections.

That was where the difference between him and the top fell runners was most evident. That were flying down the slopes at top speed, attacking them with courage and confidence.

Jacek Cieluszecki in action in the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon
Some of the descents were treacherous, particularly since it had been raining

Once they were on the steep descents, Eleanor began to extend away from Jacek and there was nothing he could do about it. She was clearly a very accustomed fell runner and was able to build a very quick momentum as she went down.

Once he got to the bottom of the mountain, JC was able to pick up the pace for the remaining 12 miles or so and managed to gain a couple of places between the last checkpoint and the finish.

Completing the course in a time of 4 hours 14 minutes and 2 seconds, Jacek took 12th position in the overall standings out of the 239 runners who started the race.

Considering his lack of fell running experience compared to many of the others he was up against, that was a decent result for JC. It was enough to see him finish 1st in the 40-49 category as well. During the course of the run he’d amassed over 5,000 feet of ascent.

Tom Adams picked up the win, getting round in a tremendous time of 3 hours 32 minutes and 29 seconds. That gave him a 2-and-a-half minute margin of victory over Andrew Douglas of Inverclyde AC who was 2nd in 3:35:01.

Ricky Lightfoot was 3rd in a time of 3:37:20. Then it was Daniel Haworth of Matlock in 3:58:35 in 4th with Josh Barrow of Macclesfield taking 5th in 3:58:44.

Jacek Cieluszecki finishing Scafell Pike Trail Marathon
JC reaches the finish line in 12th place, recording a time of 4:14:02

The woman who was with Jacek at the summit, Eleanor Davis, finished very strongly and ended up in 9th place overall in a time of 4:08:12 and that saw her claim the prize for 1st female.

Nichola Jackson of Keswick AC was 2nd female, finishing 14th overall in a time of 4:18:40. Then it was Georgia Tindley of Merrell finishing as 3rd female in a time of 4:24:19, putting her in 16th place overall.

Already having lined up his next fell race, JC will be competing in the CapTen in September in Bridport in a race that includes the daunting climb of Golden Cap, incorporating 2,400 feet of ascent over the 10 mile duration.

Then after that he heads up to Scotland for the Saloman Mamores VK, a race where the participants will gain 1000 metres of elevation over a distance of under 5 kilometres.  Hence why it’s called the Vertical Kilometre.

The terrain for that race is extremely rocky so the experience gained from the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon should stand JC in good stead for the challenge ahead.

 

Stu Nicholas picks his poison in RAT Plague 100k

Stu Nicholas in the RAT Plague 100k
Stu Nicholas was back for second helpings in the Roseland August Trail Plague 100k

You know that feeling when you complete a brutal 100 kilometre race right through the night and into the following day and you think… I must do that again sometime!! No?… Me neither. Stu Nicholas does though.

In the summer of 2019 he completed the Roseland August Trail Series race they call The Plague, setting off a 12 midnight and heading out into the pitch black for the next six hours or so armed with only a headtorch and whole lot of hope.

Then as daylight begins to emerge the running continues until eventually the full 100k distance has been covered. Stu took to it surprisingly well considering he’d never done 100k before and finished in 5th place with his time of 13 hours 33 minutes and 17 seconds.

And yes indeed. Even though that box had been ticked, Stu was mad enough to attempt it all over again. The route is basically a 64 mile out and back along the South West Coast Path between St Anthony Head on the Roseland Peninsula and Porthpean in St Austell Bay, which is where Stu grew up.

Stu Nicholas comes down the steps in the RAT Plague 100k
Would it prove it be one step too far for Stu though?

The elevation is big and constant, amounting to 3,390 metres and is multi terrain all the way, with uneven and slippery ground in places and stiles, gates, rocks and steps to negotiate. It’s every bit as grueling and energy sapping as it sounds.

Unfortunately the race was destined not to go quite so smoothly for Stu this time round though. He had a few tumbles during the night which really set him back and as daylight broke, he was greeted by torrential rain showers. It was the perfect recipe for some awesome blisters!!

It was a real mental battle for Stu as well as a physical one and for the last 40 miles or so, his heart wasn’t really in it. 40 miles is a hell of a long way to go when it’s raining cats and dogs after having ran through the night.

Stu Nicholas during the night in the RAT Plague 100k
Stu had a rough night, taking a couple of tumbles on the way with the darkness making it hard to see where he was going

Somehow Stu soldiered on though and managed to complete the race, getting to the line in 14 hours 5 minutes and 24 seconds. Given everything he’d been through and considering the conditions, that was actually still a very good time.

It also gained Stu a place in the top ten which was a good result in a pool of 82 runners who successfully managed to complete the route.

It might not be an event that Stu looks back on too fondly but he should still be able to recognize the achievement in overcoming the adversity and getting through such a difficult journey without giving up.

It was a real test of character and resolve and Stu stood up to that test which says a lot about the type of runner and the type of person he is.

Stu Nicholas featuring in the RAT Plague 100k
It wasn’t quite the race that Stu had hoped for but they can’t all go smoothly

Ellis Bland of Team Vaga picked up the race win in a time of 10:01:11, which gave him a very comfortable margin of victory over Andrew Berry of Durham Fell Runners who was 2nd in 11:33:52.

Daniel Rowe-Leete of Highland Hill Runners finished 3rd in a time of 11:50:04.

Emma Langstaff of Looe Pioneers led the way as far as the women’s race was concerned and she completed the course in 14:48:20 to finish in 14th place overall.

Holly Holmes was next quickest female, getting round in 15:30:56 which put her in 23rd place overall. Then it was Melissa Nicholas, doing the surname proud to finish 3rd female and 25th overall in a time of 15:34:27, putting her just ahead of Emma Nicholls who clocked a time of 15:35:11.

Anna Trehane in the RAT Black Route 50k
Anna comes soaring in to complete a terrific performance

As she did the previous time, Stu’s partner Anna Trehane competed in the Black Route race, which was 32 miles and she completed that in 7 hours 40 minutes, putting her in 71st place in the overall standings and making her 19th quickest female.

Anna Trehane after the RAT Black Route 50k
Anna Trehane looks pleased to have successfully negotiated the 32 mile route

That was 16-and-a-half minutes quicker than she ran in the previous edition so she was pleased with that. Her sister Katherine who runs for Norfolk Gazelles also competed in the same race and she did very well to finish in 6:31:50.

Katherine Trehane in the RAT Black Route 50k
Katherine Trehane had a fantastic run in the RAT Black Route 50k

That put her in 36th place overall and she was 7th female and 3rd F40. It was an improvement of 37 minutes over the previous time so a cracking result for her.

Katherine Trehane finishes the RAT Black Route 50k
Katherine’s face is a picture of relief as she reaches the end of her epic adventure

They were joined in the race by their other sister Helen as well this time and she completed the course in a time of 8:22:40, putting her in 103rd place overall and 35th fastest female.

Helen Trehane after the RAT Black Route 50k
Helen holds aloft her well earned medal after conquering the grueling 32 mile route

How many other sets of three sisters are there out there who could all complete a very tough 50km race? There can’t be many other there surely so that was quite an achievement from the Trehane sisters.

The Trehane sisters after the RAT Black Route 50k
The Trehanes celebrate their collective talents for endurance running

In fact, Stu and the Trehane sisters could all be very proud of the performances they put in in extremely challenging surroundings  and in a very trying conditions. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and that will certainly be the case after their accomplishments at the Roseland August Trail.

Stu and the Trehane sisters at the Roseland August Trail
Stu with the Trehane sisters who each successfully completed the 50k distance

 

 

Stu Glenister doubles up at the Summer Larmer

Stu Glenister taking on the Summer Larmer Marathon
The weekend of the Summer Larmer event saw Stu Glenister in action on both days, taking on the Marathon first and then the 8 Mile race after

What would you want to do the next day after a grueling trail marathon featuring 2,650 ft of elevation? Put your feet up and relax on the couch? Unwind with a couple of cold beers or a glass of your favourite wine perhaps? Maybe even stay in bed all morning and get stuck into a good book.

Well… Bournemouth AC distance runner and ultra supremo Stu Glenister did none of the above. After successfully completing the Summer Larmer Marathon on the Saturday, Stu was back at the Rushmore Estate the next day for a second dose of action Summer Larmer action in the 8 Mile race.

Why would anyone be mad enough to do that you might ask? Is a tough, hilly trail marathon not enough of an exertion for one weekend?

Actually there is an explanation for it and that is that in eight weeks time, Stu will be participating in the Ultra Tour of Arran. That event is a two day, off-road running adventure from Rat Race, where the competitors will rack up 60 miles and some serious elevation over the course of the weekend.

Therefore, it kind of made sense to get some practice in of racing over two days, making the Summer Larmer event the perfect foil for that very purpose.

Stu Glenister in action in the Summer Larmer 8 Mile
It was going to be a testing weekend for Stu but a fun one as well

Stu ran the marathon with his buddy Paolo De Luca, who runs for Littledown Harriers. They had remained friends despite all the recent rivalry between the Italians and the British, with Italy having denied England the European Championship victory and also pipping them for gold in the Olympic 4 x 100m relay.

Paolo De Luca in the Summer Larmer Marathon
Stu had company in the marathon from Paolo De Luca

The marathon course included a very long hill that started at 8.5 miles and went till the 11 mile point. Then there was another lengthy incline at mile 18 leading to the highest point of the race at 825 ft. The top of that hill was at mile 20.5.

Stu Glenister gives a wave as he goes past
It was a tough trail marathon course with plenty of peaks and troughs

That wasn’t the end of the climbing though and there was another very steep hill to negotiate, which started at mile 22 and finished on mile 23.3. Oh and the last mile was pretty much all uphill as well.

Stu Glenister in the Summer Larmer Marathon
Stu seemed to be enjoying the challenging route

The rest of the route was largely up and down all the way as well. Stu and Paolo ran well though and managed to complete the course in 4 hours 21 minutes and 20 seconds. That was enough to see them finish in 13th and 14th position.

In total there were 135 runners participating in the Summer Larmer Marathon, although five of them failed to finish.

Stu Glenister gives the thumbs up
A good steady run saw Stu complete the course in 4 hours 21 minutes

The winner of the race was Sam Jones and he got round in 3 hours 23 minutes and 16 seconds. Then it was Lee Doyle finishing in 3:42:24 and Harry Lewthwaite taking 3rd place in 3 hours 45 minutes exactly.

Stu Glenister gives the thumbs up in the 8 MIle race
Stu was back in action the following day in the 8 Mile race

Stu was treating it as a training run so had taken it fairly steady in order to leave him with some energy for the 8 Mile race the next day. And sure enough, when the time came, he was ready to put in other solid display.

Stu Glenister does the Mobot Summer Larmer 8 Mile
There it is…. The ‘Stubot’ in full swing

It meant another 1 hour and 12 minutes of running on that same tough terrain though so must have taken some character get to the end.

In the 8 Mile race Stu finished in 9th place out of 115 who took part. Considering what he’d done the day before it as a tremendous display of strength and stamina from Stu. His tactic was to steadily up the pace throughout the run and finish strongly.

Stu Glenister in the Summer Larmer 8 Mile
Despite his exploits the previous day, Stu ploughed on well in the 8 Mile race

Lytchett Manor Striders couple Tom Andrews and Dawn Andrews had a terrific day, picking up the men’s and women’s wins in the 8 Mile race.

Tom got to the line in 55 minutes 15 seconds which was way quicker than anyone else. Lee Collier of Dorset Doddlers was 2nd in 1:01:37 and Lewis Mutton, also of Lytchett Manor Striders was 3rd in 1:01:37.

Dawn finished in 8th place overall, getting round in a time of 1:08:31. The next best female was Helen Wright who came 10th in a time of 1:12:25.

Stu Glenister doing the Stubot in the Summer Larmer 8 Mile
The double race weekender was a little taste of what’s to come for Stu in the Ultra Tour of Arran

The Summer Larmer 10 Mile race was on the same day as the Marathon and that was won by Peter Newman of Andover in a time of 1:23:57.

The fact that that was the winning time for a 10 Mile race tells you everything about the profile they were up against. Vicky Rutter of Westbourne was 1st female recording a time of 1:31:30 which put her in 6th place overall. There were a 163 taking part in that race.

Stu Glenister taking on the Summer Larmer Marathon
Stu was pleased with the way he handled competing on consecutive days

The Half Marathon race was on the same day as the 8 Mile one and Paul Russhard picked up the win in that, clocking a time of 1:33:21 which was enough for a comfortable margin of victory.

Davina McLelland of 9 Endurance Triathlon Club was 1st female in the Half Marathon, finishing in 5th place overall with her time of 1:48:50. There 160 athletes lining up for the Half Marathon race.

The Summer Larmer Marathon medal
The medal for the Summer Larmer Marathon proved it was something to show off about

Stu was feeling pretty tired after his weekend’s work but he was quietly contented with what he’d done. What is impressive is how he takes these tough training runs in his stride.

It’s got a lot to do with the way he approaches them as well. He has enough discipline to be able to compete in races but treat them as training runs, keeping in mind what his main goal is at all times. Not everyone can do that as you tend to get swept up in all the excitement of a proper race.

Stu seems to have a pretty good idea of what he needs to do to prepare for the Ultra Tour of Arran though and he certainly seems to possess the motivation to get it done as well which puts him in a pretty good place as far as training goes.

Paolo De Luca and Stu Glenister with friends at Larmer Marathon
Stu (blue t-shirt on the right) celebrates with his wife Sharon, Paolo and other friends at the Summer Larmer

 

 

 

BAC stars exude excellence at Eastleigh 10k

Start of Eastleigh 10k with Harry Smith and Adam Corbin
The Eastleigh 10k marked the return of the mass start which gave Harry Smith the chance to stake his claim at the front of the field

After a string of cancellations, delays and postponements, the Hendy Eastleigh 10k finally took place, bringing back that irrepressible sense of racing against the masses in its truest form.

That’s what runners have been missing out on for so long now. The opportunity to stand side by side with friends and foes on the start line and feel that amazing adrenaline buzz you can only get from racing against others in person.

In truth, the Eastleigh 10k just wouldn’t have worked in virtual form or with staggered starts. It needed the circumstances to allow for everyone to set off together in unison and that was a long time coming. But for some of the Bournemouth AC members taking part, it was well worth the wait.

One BAC man who was eager to test himself in a fast 10k road race was Harry Smith. After recent duathlon and triathlon wins and a fantastic victory in the MK Rocket 5K where he recorded a new course record of 15:02, Harry’s form was at an all time high.

That gave him much reason to be optimistic going into the Eastleigh 10k. He was joined in the race by a star studded line up of Bournemouth AC compatriots including Ant Clark and Adam Corbin.

Harry Smith going well in the Eastleigh 10k
After showing some tremendous pedigree of late, Harry was excited to see what he bring to the table

Ant had been running pretty well of late and had been getting back onto quite high mileage in the previous couple of weeks leading up to Eastleigh.

Showing some terrific form of late, Adam was hoping or a standout performance. Since training resumed at BAC, he’s been going extremely well and complimenting his obvious talent with hard work and dedication.

Ant Clark with Steven Yates at the Eastleigh 1
Ant Clark (right) with Twemlow man Steven Yates

Adam had already recently recorded a 10k PB of 34:48 at the Egdon Easy 10k but he had high hopes of improving on that time further at Eastleigh.

Another BAC man in action at Eastleigh was Trev Elkins. Trev had been training very well of late and came off the back of a good win in the Ferndown 5K at the end of June.

Having recently got married and with his wife Gemma having just given birth to a baby boy, Trev had gone through some big changes of late. Despite suffering some severe sleep deprivation, he was determined to give the race a go though.

Adam Corbin with Darryl Corbin-Jones at the Eastleigh 10k
Adam Corbin (left) with former Westbourne teammate Darryl Corbin-Jones

Completing the line up for BAC was one of the club’s top female runners in the shape of Emma Caplan. She had been training quite hard for the Ironman 70.3 in Weymouth in September so she was in reasonable shape but had been finding it difficult to get as much in as she would like due to family commitments

The previous weekend she’d taken part in the Conti Thunder Run 24 hour event as well where she’d covered a distance of over 50 kilometers over the 24 hour duration. That would have taken a lot out of her so Eastleigh would be a good test to see how quickly she could recover.

Harry, Adam and Tag starting the Eastleigh 10k
The race gets underway with Harry in his new BAC top on the front line

When the race started it was Harry Smith who was the closest to the front out of the BAC runners. He got swept up in all the excitement of the mass start and went out at a ferocious pace.

Looking to make sure he wasn’t left running on his own, he went along with the lead group which resulted in a very fast first mile of 4 minutes and 52 seconds.

Harry Smith in the Eastleigh 10k
Harry made a very quick start recording a 4:52 first mile

He then backed off a bit and settled in with another runner for the majority of the race. His second mile was still very quick at 5 minutes per mile.

At the half way stage of the race he began to struggle a bit having not been training a great deal recently and with no specific 10k training as such.

Harry Smith turns the corner in the Eastleigh 10k
Harry dropped back to run with a fellow competitor instead of being on his own

The third mile of the race does contain the only real incline of the course so it was to be expected that that mile was a touch slower. Getting through that at 5:16 pace, Harry was still well on course for a sub-32 minute time.

Over the second half of the race Harry did suffer a bit due to the fast start he’d made and that included getting a stitch at the 6k point. He still managed a 5:08 fourth mile though and then a 5:17 for the fifth.

Harry Smith battling it out in the Eastleigh 10k
After making such a fast start there was always a danger Harry could tie up in the latter stages

It was now just the final mile and a quarter remaining. Feeling very good in the latter stages of the race, Harry finished with a 5:07 for the sixth mile and a ran the last 0.24 miles at 5:06 pace.

That saw him reach the line in a time of 31:55, which was enough to see him take 5th place in the overall standings, out of 1,390 participants.

Harry Smith in the Eastleigh 10k
Harry sped to an astounding sub-32 finish to take 5th place

It was a terrific result for Harry and he was delighted to have achieved his target of a sub 32. He still feels there’s plenty of room for improvement though so there should be some exciting times to come from Harry.

Harry Smith after Eastleigh 10k
Harry certainly earned his medal after such a stunning performance

Adam Corbin was quite nervous at the start of the race but he got into it after the first mile. Opening with a 5:20 and a 5:23 for his first two miles, he was looking well on course for his fastest ever 10k time.

Adam Corbin racing past in the Eastleigh 10k
Adam was in excellent form and had high hopes for a fast time

He lost a bit of pace on the slight incline on the third mile but gained some back on the way down to complete the mile in 5:34. Maintaining a very good consistent pace over the second half of the race, he clocked a 5:23, a 5:25 and a 5:28 for his last three miles.

Adam Corbin going well in the Eastleigh 10k
Adam ran strongly, keeping to a good consistent pace

That left just the final 0.22 to go and Adam stayed strong and kept his pace well to cross the line in a magnificent time of 33:49. That put him in 23rd place overall, just ahead of Brian Underwood of Poole AC and a second behind Steven Yates of Twemlow.

Adam Corbin approaches the finish of the Eastleigh 10k
Adam cruises in for a brilliant PB

With an average pace of 5:26 for the run, it was a performance to be proud of for Adam and he was over a minute quicker than he was at the Egdon Easy 10k. It was great to see all the hard work he’d been putting in recently pay dividends.

Adam Corbin crosses the line in the Eastleigh 10k
It was an improvement of just over a minute on Adam’s previous best time

Adam will now turn his focus to marathon training after being the lucky recipient of the club spot for London in October and he’s certainly got a good base to work from.

Adam Corbin finishes the Eastleigh 10k
Adam looks in disbelief as the reality of his achievement sinks in

Another BAC man to record a terrific new 10k PB was Ant Clark and he recorded a time of 33:27 to finish in 17th place on the leader-board and 4th in the Vet Male 40-44 category.

It came as a nice surprise for Ant as he wasn’t really expecting it and it was actually at Eastleigh back in 2015 that he’d actually recorded his previous best 10k time.

Ant Clark taking on the Eastleigh 10k
Ant Clark in the thick of the action wearing number 102

As is usually the case with Ant, his splits were remarkably consistent with all of them being between 5:20 and 5:25 pace, demonstrating a very strong, controlled performance.

Ant Clark heads past in the Eastleigh 10k
Ant Clark had a storming run to bag himself a new PB

Also recording his best ever official 10k time, Trev Elkins who battled well despite the lack of sleep to reach the line in 37:24. That put him in 70th place overall.

Although it wasn’t quite as fast as he would have liked, it was still a decent effort from Trev under the circumstances. He just didn’t really feel like he had the energy to race it flat out.

Trev Elkins in action in the Eastleigh 10k
Trev Elkins (wearing number 872) gets his motor running and tricky build up

Next up for Trev it’s the Southampton Half Marathon and he’ll be hoping he can go there and record a time that will do justice the hard training he’s been putting in.

Trev Elkins battling hard in the Eastleigh 10k
Trev was tired but he dug deep to finish in a best official 10k time

After the five 10ks she’d got through the previous weekend, Emma Caplan found it a struggle the whole way round at Eastleigh. Nevertheless, she still managed to rally well and got the job done, completing the course in a time of 38:36.

Emma Caplan in the Eastleigh 10k
Emma Caplan was glad to only be running one 10k this time!!

That put her in 90th place overall but she was 9th quickest woman in the race and finished first in the Vet Female 45-49 category. Given her recent exertions, that wasn’t a bad result for Emma. She did say though that she found the Eastleigh 10k harder than all five of the ones she did the previous weekend.

Emma Caplan turns the corner in the Eastleigh 10k
Emma races to a 38:36 finish which made her 9th quickest female

Ben Brown of Southampton AC  picked up the race win, finishing in a blistering time of 30:44. Jacob O’Hara was 2nd in 31 minutes exactly, with Kurt Taylor taking 3rd in 31:10.

William Boutwood of Winchester was 4th, recording a time of 31:36. Then it was Harry, finishing 6 seconds in front of George King in 6th.

Ant Clark giving his all in the Eastleigh 10k
Ant’s pacing for the race was spot on, showing remarkable consistency

Matt Brown of Littledown Harriers had another brilliant run to finish in 8th place with a fantastic new PB time of 32:37. He’s been in scintillating form of late, winning four out of the five Upton Summer Series races so far and posting a time of 1:15:40 in the Puddletown Plod.

Naomi Mitchell of Reading AC was 1st female, crossing the line in 20th place overall with a time of 33:34. Then it was Lesley Locks of Aldershot, Farnham & District finishing in 35:20 which put her 36th overall.

Trev Elkins heads down the road in the Eastleigh 10k
The lack of sleep was an issue for Trev but he managed as best he could

Cassie Thorp of City of Portsmouth was 3rd female in a time of 36:04 which put her 44th overall, just ahead of Jen Granger of Southampton who was 46th overall, recording a time of 36:06.

It was great to see a race go ahead with a mass start and it felt like another huge step forward as society steadily returns to normal protocol. And with the standard of runners that Bournemouth AC have in their ranks at the moment, that can only mean more opportunity for them to showcase their talents.

Emma Caplan heading past in the Eastleigh 10k
Emma won the Vet Female 45-49 category

 

 

Emma Caplan and team ready to rumble at Thunder Run 24 Hour

Emma Caplan and Team Runderwear with trophies at Thunder Run 24 Hour
Emma Caplan and her Team Runderwear buddies were gunning for glory at the Conti Thunder Run 24 Hour event

The aim of the game is simple… Run as many laps as you possibly can over the course of the 24 hour duration. And that can be attacked in teams of 6 to 8 people, 3 to 5 people, pairs or solo.

That was the premise for the Conti Thunder Run which was staged at Catton Park on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border. The course was a 10km trail route with the event starting at 12 noon on the Saturday and ending at 12 noon the following day.

Emma Caplan arrived with some of her friends from Runderwear and they formed a team of five females, ready to tackle the formidable task ahead in relay fashion.

That meant taking it in turns to complete a lap of the course before passing on the baton to the next person and so on and so forth. Then at the end of the 24 hour period all of the laps would be totted up to work out which team had run the most.

Emma and her team with the Runderwear bus
Emma (left) arrived with her teammates in style, by virtue of the Runderwear minibus

To make it fair, the results are split down by category, so Team Runderwear were up against all the other female teams of 3 to 5 people.

Although there were five runners in the team, the chances were that that they were still going to have to cover a lot of distance over the course of the 24 hours, so it was going to be grueling.

Emma was joined at the event by Vicky Unsworth, Hayley Yellingham, Judy Willits and Betsy Bebbington making up the five members of Team Runderwear and they had Margie Kelly with them for support.

They rocked up to the event in style, travelling in a blue Runderwear minibus. That was a sure sign, if ever there was one, that they meant business.

Emma Caplan with running buddies at Thunder Run 24 Hour
Emma and her friends were excited to get the event underway

Vicky Unsworth got the ball rolling for Team Runderwear, getting round in 50:29 before passing the baton over to Betsy Bebbington who came in with a time of 46:04.

Judy Willits took up the third leg, getting round in 56:36 before handing over to Emma for the fourth lap. Emma knew she would have to take it steady and pace herself if she was going to last the duration of the 24 hours.

Recently she’s been doing a lot of training for the Ironman 70.3 in Weymouth in September though so her fitness has been pretty good of late. The Thunder Run was bound to put that to the test though as time went on.

As well as being all off-road, the course was quite undulating, with 450 ft of elevation and very few flat sections along it. It was certainly one that would put the athletes through their paces later on in the event when the legs are starting to tire.

Emma Caplan in Thunder Run 24 Hour
Emma set off for her first lap of a course she would come to know very well over the duration of the event

Completing her first lap in 45:54, at an average pace of 7:28 minutes per mile, it was a solid start from Emma and she handed over to Hayley Higham to complete the fifth lap for the team.

They’d all now run one lap each so it was back to Vicky for her second lap. When it came round to Emma for her second lap she kept it very consistent, finishing in 46:05, once again with an average pace of 7:28 for the run.

Emma Caplan in action at Thunder Run 24 Hour
Emma kept the pace very consistent for her first and second laps

By the time they did their third runs, all the runners were beginning to tire and as the night was drawing in, that put a different perspective on it.

It was gone 11pm  when Emma set off for her third run so she was dealing with the growing fatigue already having 20km in her legs, as well as the darkness which made it much more tricky to see where you were going.

Emma Caplan featuring in Thunder Run 24 Hour
The demands of the event were high but Emma was determined to rise to the challenge

Completing that run in 56:20, it was considerably slower than her other two previous attempts but she’d made it round and that was the important thing at this point, and the Runderwear bus went rolling on.

Emma Caplan taking on Thunder Run 24 Hour
After three runs, Emma had already wracked up over 30 kilometres in distance

One of the difficulties with these 24 hour events, as well as the accumulating fatigue from running so many miles, is sleeping. You get very little time to sleep as you know it’s only a matter of time before you have to get up and run again. It really is challenging.

Refueling and getting enough food on board can be quite tricky as well, as you often don’t have a big enough gap between when you’ve finished your run and embarking on your next one.

Emma refuels between runs at Thunder Run 24 Hour
Emma tucks into some food to help keep her energy levels up

For her next run, Emma started off the ungodly hour of 4 am!! It must have been difficult to get herself going at that time in the morning and find the energy for another lap, but she did it.

Emma Caplan hitting the trails at Thunder Run 24 Hour
Emma was up at 4 am ready for her fourth run as the event rolled on through the night

Getting round in 53:45, she successfully completed her fourth lap and passed the baton over to Hayley.

There was still time for Emma to complete one more lap before the event finished and that meant setting off at 9 am for one last blast.

Emma Caplan moving well at Thunder Run 24 Hour
With four laps successfully completed, Emma and her team were going incredibly well

Demonstrating tremendous resolve and digging deep into her reserves, Emma made it through her final 10k in a time of 48:37. That left enough time of Hayley to complete her fifth lap and her Betsy and Judy to run one more each.

It was a fantastic team effort from the Runderwear ladies and they had each managed to keep going amazingly well for the entirety of the event.

Emma Caplan gives her all at Thunder Run 24 Hour
Emma got round her fifth and final lap meaning she’d covered over 50 kilometres since the event started

The criteria is that if you start a lap before the 24 hours has elapsed you get to finish that lap, so Team Runderwear ended up with a grand total of 27 laps for the duration of the event.

That was enough to see them secure victory in the Female 3 to 5 category, ahead of “Been there Run Bat” who were the runner up with 25 laps. Then it was “SDRR Signed up whilst drunk” who chalked up 24 laps.

Emma with Team Runderwear at Thunder Run 24 Hour
Team Runderwear managed an impressive 27 laps in total over the course of the event

The average lap time of Team Runderwear was 54:58, compared to the 58:23 of “Been there Run Bat” and Emma’s first lap time of 45:54 was the fastest that anyone ran in the category.

Covering over 30 miles over the course of the weekend, it was an impressive show of endurance from Emma, as it was from her teammates as well. It was certainly one to look back on with pride.

Female 3-5 teams podium at Thunder Run 24 Hour
Team Runderwear take their position on top of the podium after winning the Female 3-5 category

As well as celebrating great running achievement, these 24 hour events are also about celebrating great camaraderie and team spirit between friends. They show what amazing feats you can accomplish if you have a good team and support network behind you to push you to go the extra mile. Or the extra 30 miles!!

Team Runderwear with their trophies after winning the Female 3-5 category
Emma and her teammates proudly show off their trophies after a fantastic group effort