Category Archives: Road_Reports

Josh Cole and Emma Caplan ace Maverick Hampshire races

Josh Cole and Emma Caplan at the Maverick Hampshire
Josh Cole and Emma Caplan were major contenders in their races at the Maverick Adidas Terrex Original Hampshire

Taking place in the South Downs National Park, the Maverick Adidas Terrex Original Hampshire gave its participants the chance to explore the trails surrounding Winchester, whilst running as fast as they possibly can at the same time of course!!

That idea appealed to two of Bournemouth AC‘s finest athletes in Josh Cole and Emma Caplan. Josh came into it with great pedigree, having recently secured a new 10k PB of 33:30.

Since then though he had been suffering with a foot injury which had kept him out of action for almost the next two months and that certainly wasn’t ideal for his fitness levels.

Come the day of the Maverick Hampshire though he felt raring to go and lined up in the ‘Short‘ race, which consisted of a 9km route.

Emma also arrived at the event in good form after putting in some hard training for her forthcoming Ironman 70.3 event, which will take place in Weymouth in September.

Getting in some impressive long bike rides and some decent runs as well, plus swimming sessions, she has seen a considerable upturn in her fitness.

At the Huntsman Tri event in May she took part in the Duathlon where she finished as first female and fifth overall, so that was a good indication that her training is working.

It’s been a difficult juggling act though with work and children commitments meaning some weeks she doesn’t get as much done as she would like but she certainly trains hard when she gets the chance.

The Weymouth 70.3 consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon run, so it requires a high level of endurance.

For the Maverick Hampshire event Emma opted for the ‘Middle‘ distance race, which was 16km, so a good training exercise for her Ironman.

Emma Caplan in the Maverick Hampshire 'Middle' distance race
Emma went for the ‘Middle’ distance race which was 16km

The trail to follow at the Maverick Hampshire went through the quaint villages of Tichbourne and Cheriton, taking in various hills and undulations providing panoramic views across the South Downs National Park.

It is then on past the River Itchen and through some woodland before heading back to Cheesefoot head. The ground is fairly hard-packed so it is possible to get a decent pace going. Or in the case of Josh Cole, it’s inevitable!

Josh wasn’t taking any prisoners and got away quickly. At first he was going at around 6 minutes per mile, even though it was uphill. Then even quicker on the downhill and the flat sections.

That got him though the first mile in a lightening quick 6:05. The second mile contained some nice downhill stretches and Josh made the post of those, registering a 5:49 for his second mile.

Josh Cole in the Maverick Hampshire 'Short' race
He may of lost out to this guy in the fashion stakes but Josh wasn’t letting anyone get the better of him for speed!!

The third and fourth miles incorporated a fair bit of elevation including one long incline that went on for a about a mile. Impressively, Josh still managed to blast through them quite quickly though at 6:11 and 6:19 minutes per mile.

Breezing through the fifth mile in 6:01, Josh was left with only 0.6 of a mile to go. After the final hill he had enough left in the tank to finish strongly and come in in exactly 34 minutes.

That put his average pace for the a run at 6:04 minutes per mile, which was incredible considering he’d tackled 588ft of elevation along the way.

In fact, it was so fast, even the race organisers seemingly couldn’t believe it as they added an extra hour to his time!! Eventually it got corrected though and it turned out Josh had a winning margin of almost two minutes on his nearest rival Ellie Monks of Canicross New Forest.

Josh Cole zooms round in Maverick Hampshire 'Short' race
Josh made light work of the hills and got round in an incredibly quick time of 34 minutes exactly

Ellie finished as runner up with a time of 35:56. Perry Jolley had to be happy with third place, clocking a time of 37:45.

The ‘Middle’ distance race was 16km long and featured 166 metres of ascent, so again, a fair few hills to get to grips with on route. Emma took it all in her stride though to finish in 1 hour 11 minutes and 2 seconds.

Emma Caplan in the Maverick Hampshire 16k race
Even though the route was undulating, Emma still managed a very strong pace

That was good enough to see her finish 4th place overall in a field of 206 participants. It also made her first female and rather emphatically as well, with the next woman, Becky Neal, coming in at 1:15:36, putting her 16th overall.

Then it was Libby Brewin who finished 3rd female and 17th in the overall standings with a time of 1:17:33.

Philip Mosley picked up the race win in a very fast time of 1:01:45 which was way faster than anyone else. Dave Rawlins took almost 7 minutes longer to get round in 1:08:41 which gave him the runner up spot. Then it was Peter Smith taking 3rd in 1:10;44.

Emma heads along the trail in the Maverick Hampshire 16k race
Emma flies past another runner as she heads along the trails of the South Downs

For Emma, it was another good result and a pleasing performance which should serve as a good confidence booster for her going forward as she looks to get into the best shape possible for her Ironman race.

Emma works for Runderwear and they sponsor Maverick so it was great for her to go and do one of the Maverick races. Although it wasn’t a mass start, the atmosphere at the event was fantastic and Emma enjoyed having the opportunity to mingle with some of her fellow running friends.

Josh was absolutely spent after his race. He’s one of those runners who has the ability to dig really deep in races, and even in training to a certain extent, to get that little bit extra out of himself. It was a painful one for him but if you pick up the victory at the end of it, the suffering is always worthwhile.

Emma Caplan going well in the Maverick Hampshire 'Middle' race
It’s virtually par the course for Emma to be first female and she did it again at the Maverick Hampshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tag tears up Upton Summer Series Race 1

Rob McTaggart in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Rob McTaggart (white vest) was one of five Bournemouth AC members featuring in the first race of the Upton Summer Series

The Upton Summer Series brought about a refreshing change to the running calendar, providing club runners with a set of regular competitive fixtures.

The Summer Series consists of six races and there are individual and team prizes up for grabs for anyone who does four out of the six fixtures. The event is hosted by Poole Runners and the course is a 5.5km route around Upton Country Park.

The first race featured five Bournemouth AC runners and they were Rob McTaggart, Nikki Whittaker, Ian White, Sam White and Katrina White.

To begin with it was Chris Weeks who led the way though but he had Rob McTaggart hot on his heels. It wasn’t long before Tag hit the front though and he made sure he did enough to secure the win.

With a very quick first mile of 5:13, he then followed that up with a 5:31 and a 5:36 minute mile before ending with a final half a mile at 5:30 pace. That saw him complete the course in 18 minutes 57 seconds and his average pace for the run was 5:24.

Tag in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Tag didn’t need to over exert himself to pick up the victory in a time of 18:57

It was a very controlled run from Tag and he felt like he was cruising, although it was a very hot day so by the end he was dripping. It was a pleasing run for him though and he had an 11 second winning margin over Chris Weeks who was 2nd in 19:07.

Matthew Brown of Littledown Harriers was 3rd in 19:30 with Luke De-Benedictis taking 4th in 19:38.

There was also an appearance from a famous name from the BAC ranks of yesteryear, as Simon Way entered the fray. It was great to see Simon back out there racing after being plagued by injuries for so long. He got round in 23:54 which put him in 48th place overall.

Simon Way in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Former BAC man Simon Way (middle) was back in race action

Setting himself a target for the series of sub 26 minutes, Ian White was going into it nowhere near as fit as he would have wanted but determined to give his all.

It had been so long since he’d actually raced though that he seemed to have forgotten how to start his watch which meant that for the first mile he had no idea how quick he was going.

Ian White in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Without being able to check his watch Ian White didn’t realise he was going quite so quickly at first

Asking another runner who was near him what time they’d gone through the first mile in, Ian was shocked to hear that it was 6:55. He already knew he was in trouble for later in the race.

He lacked the strength and stamina to maintain that sort of pace and slowed somewhat over the second half of the race. He kept going though and in the end came in with a very respectable time of 26:15.

Ian White in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Without being able to check his watch Ian White didn’t realise he was going quite so quickly at first

That put Ian in 75th place overall. Delighted with his effort overall, Ian is looking forward to the next one and is hoping to keep his daughter Katrina behind him.

Katrina White in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Katrina White’s goal was to finish in under 28 minutes

Aiming for under 28 minutes, Katrina completed the course in 27:30 so she was pretty happy with that. That put her in 90th place overall and she was 15th quickest woman on the circuit. Although she wasn’t a massive fan of the gravel surfaces, she coped quite well with it.

Katrina White featuring in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Katrina ran well to eclipse her target and finish in 27:30

It was a first race in over 18 months for Nikki Whittaker and she was very relishing the opportunity to be back out there. Crossing the line in a time of 29:44, Nikki finished 126th overall and was 30th best female.

Nikki Whittaker in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Nikki Whittaker braved the heat for her first race in 18 months

The hot weather certainly didn’t make it easy so that was a decent run from Nikki, all things considered. Finishing just two places below Nikki, in 128th place, was Sam White. With a time of 29:51, Sam was 32nd quickest woman and 4th fastest in the 50-54 category.

Nikki Whittaker giving her all in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Nikki ran well to complete the course in 29:44

Charlotte Bunch of Poole Runners was 1st female, recording a time of 23:37 which put her in 48th place overall. Then it was Alisha Cartlidge, also of Poole Runners who was 2nd female in 24:10 and 52nd overall.

Nikki Whittaker going for it in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Out of the women, Nikki was 30th quickest in the race

Making it a clean sweep for the home club, Joanna Westhead was 3rd quickest female to get over line, coming in in 24:30. That put her in 56th place overall.

Sam White in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Sam White got round in 29:51 which made her 4th fastest in the 50-54 category

In total there were 230 runners competing in the race and it won’t be long before they all get the chance to go again in Race 2 and try to better their times from the previous race.

Katrina White working hard in Race 1 of the Upton Summer Series
Aiming to do five of the six races, Katrina is raring to go for the next one

 

 

Adam Corbin thrown off the scent at Crafty Fox Half Marathon

Adam Corbin makes his way across the grass
Adam Corbin faced an extremely hilly off-road course when he took to the start line in the Crafty Fox Half Marathon

As is the case with most White Star Running events, the Crafty Fox Half Marathon is on a very tough off-road route with numerous steep climbs and sharp descents to negotiate. It’s certainly not the type of race you want to make any harder for yourself than it already is.

The course is takes in the Wessex Ridgeway and Dorsetshire Gap along a wonderfully scenic, countryside escape. Featuring over 1,500ft of elevation, it would be a challenge to any runner of any ability.

If you have a love for really testing trail races with hills-a-plenty then this is definitely the event for you. For Adam Corbin though, he was slightly out of his comfort zone on this sort of terrain.

To his credit though, Adam agreed to give it a go and went along with his former Westbourne Running Club teammate Kevin Drayson. After all, it’s just a half marathon out in the countryside. What could possibly go wrong?

Adam was going into it in peak form, off the back of a lightening quick new PB time of 34:48 in the Egdon Easy 10k. This was a different prospect altogether though and he was in for a much rougher ride.

After a short downhill section it was straight onto the first very long, steep climb. That led up to about the 2 mile point, then there was a lengthy descent after that where Adam was really able to pick up the pace.

On the sixth mile there was another tough hill to content with which took him over the seven mile point and it was so far so good for Adam.

Adam Corbin in action in the Crafty Fox Half Marathon
The first half of the race went quite smoothly for Adam but it was about to take a turn

At that point he was in third place and going well. That was about to change though. On the eighth mile, he latched onto two other runners who were going in the same direction, assuming they were in front of him.

It turned out though that they weren’t actually in the race at all. They were just two guys out for a run. To make matters worse, they were following a different route as well and as a result, Adam went off course.

As soon as he realised he turned back but he then had to back up a really steep hill that he’d just gone down, unnecessarily.  It was a real blow to Adam as he lost a significant amount of time, during which he’d been overtaken by the third and fourth placed runners, knocking him down to fifth place.

Adam Corbin taking on the Crafty Fox Half Marathon
Without actually getting overtaken Adam had gone from third to fifth position

After that he lost motivation a bit and the remaining climbs were so long as steep that on some occasions he was reduced to walking pace. Nevertheless, he soldiered on though and was still able to maintain a good fast pace on the downhill sections.

Completing the course in a time of 1 hour 50 minutes and 51 seconds, Adam had taken 5th place in the standings, which was not a bad result in a field of 197 participants. It was tinged with frustration though as the little detour he’d made ended up costing him two places.

In the end he ran 13.93 miles when it should have been 13.76 miles. And he also did an additional 75ft of ascent which did prove costly. His average pace for the run was 7:57 minutes per mile which is pretty good considering he’d got through 1,656ft of climbing.

Adam Corbin in the Crafty Fox Half Marathon
Finishing in a time of 1:50:51, Adam had to settle for fifth place in the end

Philip Mosley of New Forest Runners picked up the victory in a time of 1:37:48, with Lewis Clarke of Lonely Goat taking second in 1:38:11.

The runners who profited from Adam’s misfortune when he went off course were Jon Huggins who was third in 1:47:48 and Matthew Bosanquet of Lytchett Manor Striders who took fourth place in 1:50:18. Adam’s friend Kevin was 6th in 1:54:33.

Flora Johnson of Egdon Heath Harriers was first female, finishing in 1:58:56 which put her in 13th place overall. That gave her a huge margin of victory over Virginie Morris of Dorchester RIOT who was second lady in 2:17:37 and Paula Wright of Lytchett Manor Striders who was third woman in 2:17:45.

For a runner like Adam, who is at the top of his game at the moment, to struggle, illustrates how brutal the course was. It will be a lesson learnt for him as well in how one lapse of concentration can be costly. You have to always be vigilant in races like this and it’s not always as simple as just following the person in front.

Adam Corbin in full flow in the Crafty Fox Half Marathon
Suffice to say Adam won’t be rushing out to do another White Star event any time soon!!

 

Stu Glenister finds a way in Dartmoor Discovery

Stu Glenister in Dartmoor Discovery
The task ahead for Stu Glenister was to complete the longest single lap road race in the UK when he set off in the 32 mile Dartmoor Discovery

It can’t be too often you would say that completing a 32 mile ultra marathon would be a step in the right direction. In fact, for most people, it’s far more likely that that would be the end of a journey. A culmination of months and months of hard training to build up the endurance to peak levels.

In this particular instance, it was part of a much greater journey for Stu Glenister. Stu is currently training for the Ultra Tour of Arran in October where he’ll be tasked with running almost 60 miles in two days with over 9,000ft of elevation.

It’s going to be a daunting prospect but one that Stu is very much looking forward to and as part of his training for that event, Stu lined up for the Dartmoor Discovery Ultra Marathon.

Stu Glenister with Paolo De Luca at Dartmoor Discovery
Stu on the start line for the race with Paolo De Luca of Littledown Harriers fame

The Dartmoor Discovery is the longest single lap road ultra marathon in the UK, with its grueling 32 mile route. That made it the ideal training ground for Stu as he looks to build up his endurance in preparation for his mammoth target race.

Attending the event with his friend Paolo De Luca, who runs for Littledown Harriers, Stu hadn’t tapered for it, so went into the race on tired legs. That was all part of the plan though. The tougher it would be for him, the more value there would be in it as a training exercise.

Stu Glenister with Paolo and Sharon at Dartmoor Discovery
Stu and Paolo prepare to get the race underway with Stu’s wife Sharon accompanying them on the bike

The course is entirely on road and features almost 4000ft of ascent and typically takes runners 50% longer than it would to run a flat marathon, even though it’s only 10km further. That is due to the relentless hills. The route starts and finishes in Princetown, which is known for being the home of the famous Dartmoor Prison.

Stu Glenister in action at Dartmoor Discovery
Stu works his way round the hellaciously hilly route

It was a brutal course but the stunning scenery made it much more bearable. Stu coped well with the persistent inclines and successfully managed to complete the entire 32 mile course in 5 hours 28 minutes and 28 seconds.

Stu Glenister enters Princetown
Stu enters Princetown – the home of the Dartmoor Discovery 32 mile ultra marathon

That was good enough to see him place 96th overall out of a total of 211 finishers. His average pace for a run was 10:15 minutes per mile which is very commendable given the profile he was up against.

Stu makes his way down the road
Stu was moving so well that he was even ahead of the cars!!

It wasn’t the first time Paolo had done the Dartmoor Discovery and he also managed to complete the course successfully, coming in in 5 hours 50 minutes and 55 seconds.

It was a terrific effort from the pair of them and they had every reason to feel proud of their accomplishments.

Paolo De Luca in the Dartmoor Discovery
Paolo had done the race before so knew what to expect but that didn’t make it any easier

The race was won by Kieron Summers of Weston AC who somehow got round in 3 hours 51 minutes and 31 seconds. He was followed by David Tomlin who clocked in at 3:57:03 and Robert Kelly of Okehampton Running Club who finished in 3:58:07.

Claiming to have thoroughly enjoyed the run, Stu said it was one of the best races he’d done in years in terms of organisation and marshalling and the atmosphere was very friendly.

Stu heads into the splendor of the Dartmoor countryside
The countryside around Dartmoor provided a fantastic backdrop for the entire route

This will have served as very good prep work for the Ultra Tour of Arran since it’s roughly the same distance he’ll be doing on one of the days there. In fact, it’s slightly further in distance.

The difference of course is that with the Ultra Tour of Arran he’ll have to go and do it all over again the next day. It’s going to be very physically demanding but if he can make it do the end, which knowing the character he possesses, Stu will be an extremely rewarding race.

Stu and Paolo proudly display their medals
Stu and Paolo certainly earned their medals after completing the full 32 mile course with 4000ft of elevation

 

 

 

 

 

JC excels in Maverick Exmoor Ultra win

Jacek Cieluszecki in the Maverick Exmoor Ultra
Heading over to Exmoor, Jacek Cieluszecki faced the toughest of all the Maverick races, the 57km X Series Exmoor Ultra

Having already won his first race of the year, which was the Maverick Dorset ‘Long’ race, a 25km blast over the Purbeck, Jacek Cieluszecki moved swiftly onto his next challenge. And for this one, he’d be taking it up a notch as he lined up for the Maverick Adidas Terrex X Series Exmoor Ultra.

That meant a 57km trek along the Exmoor section of the South West Coast Path. Thought to be the toughest of all the events in the Maverick calendar, the Exmoor X Series has been dubbed ‘The Beast’ due to the astronomical ascent profile on the Ultra route.

The savage climbs just keep on coming, amounting to over 2000m of vertical over the course of the 57km route. Even JC himself said after one of his previous visits that the Exmoor coast brings an extreme level of brutality.

Last Autumn JC took part in a couple of races based in Exmoor and, yes you’ve guessed it, he won both of them!! One was the Endurancelife CTS Exmoor Ultra Marathon which was 32.4 miles with 6,600ft of ascent. Then he did the Exmoor Coast 55k which featured an elevation gain of almost 7,000ft.

Even more impressively, he also managed to set a new course record in both races, and quite emphatically too. In fact, in the Exmoor Coast 55k he went 30 minutes quicker than the previous course record. Could he repeat those heroics though in the Maverick Exmoor X Series?

Jacek on the start line at the Maverick Exmoor
JC gets in the zone as he prepares to embark on his epic mission

The route started at Caffyns Farm, heading along the coast path at Lyton where the towering cliffs exhibit sea views across to South Wales. Passing the furthest northerly point along the Devon and Exmoor coastline, Foreland Point, it is then all the way out to Porlock Weir before the route heads inland, working it’s way back to Caffyns Farm.

Going out pretty hard from the start, JC was taking no prisoners. In fact, he got through the first mile in 6 minutes 41 seconds and was in the lead from the point he set off. That was a downhill section though and it was followed by the first climb which led up to the 1.6 mile point.

Jacek gets his race underway at the Maverick Exmoor
JC started as he meant to go on – in the lead!!

Even on the tough climbs though, Jacek’s pace is very strong and there are few men out there who can rival him on that sort of terrain. There were two guys who were brave enough to try to chase him though. They were David Phillips and Nicholas Barnett.

At the Porlock Weir aid station, which was around half way into the race, David almost caught Jacek. And Nick wasn’t far behind either.

Jacek heads up the hill in the woods
As usual Jacek was very strong on the hills and there are few who can match him on that

Although he managed to maintain his lead, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for JC. He did have a couple of falls along the way. In the first incident he managed to fall into the stream whilst he was trying to fill his bottle. That one wasn’t so bad though as it was actually nice and refreshing.

The second one wasn’t pleasant though. On one of the downhill sections he hooked his shoe on a protruding stone sending him crashing to the deck. It wasn’t really serious but he did hit the ground hard, hurting his hand, elbow and rib.

JC heads along the coastal route
The coastal paths provided a stunning backdrop as Jacek raced round

Like a true warrior, he got up and soldiered on though, still focused on the task ahead. David was unsuccessful in his bid to catch Jacek and he eventually blew up, getting overtaken by Nick who went on to take second place.

JC progresses round the 57km course
Jacek was in the lead for the entirety of the race

Completing the full 57km in a time of 5 hours 35 minutes and 30 seconds, it was another magnificent win for JC. He was just simply too good for anyone else to contend with.

Registering a time of 5:41:01, Nick came in 5-and-a-half minutes down on JC to take second place. David held out for third place in a time of 5:54:40.

JC heads up the woodland path
It was another impressive victory from JC, proving once again to be unstoppable

It was a great battle for the prize of first female and that honour was ultimately bestowed on Maria Russell of Bearbrook who finished 8th overall in a time of 6:41:17. She was just ahead of Alice McGushin of Clapham Chasers who completed the course in 6:42:24.

Jacek’s wife Ela also successfully negotiated the route, finishing in 7 hours 48 minutes exactly. That made her 7th fastest female and saw her place 30th overall. A total of 100 runners made it to the finish line out of 104 that started.

Jacek and Ela at the Maverick Exmoor
Jacek was at the race with his wife Ela who also ran the Ultra

Although he feels like he isn’t in his best shape at the moment, it was still an excellent performance from JC. He wracked up an elevation gain of 8000ft over the 36 miles he ran but still came out of it with an average pace of 9:04 minutes per mile.

Overall he found it to be a great race and the sunny weather on the day certainly helped. The views were superb as well once he’d scaled the heights.

Jacek makes his way along the gravel track
With 8000ft of elevation, the X Series Exmoor Ultra was not to be taken lightly

In August Jacek is planning to head over to the Lake District for the Scaffell Pike Trail Marathon which features 1800m of ascent on England’s highest mountain.

If he arrives there in the kind of form he’s showing now, or better even, then he is certainly going to take some beating!!

Jacek races along at a high tempo in the Maverick Exmoor Ultra
It was another race that Jacek can look back on with immense pride and satisfaction

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pete Thompson on song in 100k debut at South Downs

Pete Thompson during South Downs 100k
Pete Thompson didn’t know what to expect going into his first ever 100k race but he was excited to see what the journey would bring

There isn’t much that Pete Thompson hasn’t done in running terms to be fair. He’s ran the entire route of the Tour de France… He’s run a marathon in all 44 European countries on consecutive days… He’s run a 2:25 marathon. He’s even ran 2.6 miles backwards in under 26 minutes!!

One thing he hadn’t ever done though, was a 100k!! Despite all of his superhuman feats of long distance running, he’d never actually gone anything like that far in one sitting.

On his Tour de France challenge he ended up covering roughly 30 miles every day for 67 consecutive days which was a phenomenal accomplishment. But still, completing a 100k distance in a single race was a very different prospect.

After signing up to the UK Ultra South Downs Way 100k though, he was about to find out whether he has what it takes. The course was about as tough as they come as well, starting at Arundel Castle and finishing in Eastbourne, incorporating 8000ft of ascent.

Pete Thompson prepares for the South Downs 100k
After picking up his number, Pete’s journey into the unknown was soon to begin

The furthest Pete had run before was when he did the Endurance Life Dorset Ultra Marathon which was 33.6 miles. That took him 6 hours and 48 minutes.

For the South Downs 100k though he would be doing almost double that distance at 62.5 miles. It wasn’t going to be easy. It was going to be a difficult challenge and one that in truth, Pete didn’t know for sure he’d be able to rise to. But that’s all part of the fun!!

To train for it, Pete had done some very solid long runs including the Dorset Ooser Marathon in  April which he did in 3 hours 20 minutes. Then the week after he did a 28.8 mile run over to the Purbeck and back which took him just over 4 hours. He then completed a 25.3 mile run in May, so he’d certainly built a good solid base to work from.

In fact, Pete had quite enjoyed training in a different kind of way. He’d had to teach himself to take it very slow and steady and build up his endurance and stamina as much as possible, sacrificing the speed and intensity that he’s been much more used to over the years.

For the race, Pete’s tactic was to take the downhill sections really easily as they tend to kill his legs. There were virtually no flat sections on the route. It was all constant ups and downs.

Pete makes his way along the undulating course
There plenty of ups and downs for Pete to get to grips with as he progressed along the course

In spite of that, Pete handled it remarkably well and ran very strongly throughout. It was a very scenic route, passing through the South Downs National Park and heading over the wondrous white chalk cliffs of Beachy Head before reaching its final destination of Eastbourne.

Although he did get a bit lost towards the end, Pete managed to find his way back onto the course and successfully make it to the finish line.

Pete Thompson in the South Downs 100k
Despite veering off course at one point, Pete was determined to get to that finish line

Completing the entire 100k distance in 10 hours 1 minute and 24 seconds, Pete was one tired but relieved man. It was a truly magnificent achievement and one he can look back on with immense pride.

Taking into account the additional ground covered when he went off course, Pete’s total distance for the run was 64.11 miles, so it was a hugely long journey he’d been on.

Otis watches as Pete comes into the finish
Otis watches on as his dad approaches the finish line to complete his epic adventure

For his moving time for the run, Pete’s average pace was 9:08 minutes per mile, which for that sort of distance over that sort of terrain is quite incredible.

That performance saw Pete finish 15th on the leader-board out of 143 participants. It was a very good result considering it was his first attempt at the distance.

Pete Thompson after completing South Downs 100k
Pete was thrilled to have completed such a long tough race

Also managing to pace the run extremely well over the duration, Pete didn’t massively slow down towards the end. He was still getting in the miles at a reasonably good pace despite the unprecedented distance he’d covered. That was a great show of strength and endurance.

The race was won by James Turner of Brighton & Hove AC and he completed the course in 8 hours 8 minutes and 4 seconds. That gave him a four minute margin of victory over Joseph Turner of Cambridge & Coleridge who was runner up in 8:12:07.

Pete Thompson after completing the South Downs 100k
When Pete reflects back on this race he should do it with immense pride

Ed Knudsen of Avon Valley Runners was third in a time of 8:51:07. Bethan Male contradicted her surname finishing as first female in a time of 9:26:36. That put her in 7th place overall.

The next fastest female was Laura Swanton-Rouvelin who came in with the 10th best time overall which is 9 hours 46 minutes exactly. Charlotte Cutler was third lady, coming in one place behind Pete, so 16th overall, with her time of 10:09:58.

Otis gives Pete a massage after his 100k
Otis gives Pete a much needed post-race massage

A total of 126 competitors out of the 143 who started the race made it to the finish, so a pretty good ratio given that it was an extremely hilly 100k.

Otis biting medal at South Downs 100k
The good news was that the medal seemingly doubles up as a biscuit if you get peckish

So where does this rank amongst Pete’s long list of extraordinary achievements? The answer is, it’s very difficult to compare his challenges as they have all been very different. But the one thing they all have in common is, they’ve been overcome. Overcome by a man who has a level of dedication that is admired by so many of his peers. A man who, once he sets his sights on something, he invariably achieves it, no matter what it takes.

Pete with his family after South Downs Way 100k
Pete celebrates after the race with his family who also happened to be his number one supporters for the day

 

 

 

Heather Khoshnevis claims category crown at Kempton Park Marathon

Heather Khoshnevis finishing Kempton Park Marathon
A return to racing action for Heather Khoshnevis saw her in action at Kempton Park Marathon where she tackled an eight-lap course

Towards the beginning of the year a day at the races would have seemed a very distant and unrealistic prospect. Fast forward six months and with the vaccine rollout going swimmingly it seems like life is slowly getting back to normal.

That includes running races of course, where events are beginning to pick up and the opportunity to get back on the start line and feel that adrenaline buzz of competitive racing is becoming more accessible.

Approaching it with a degree of trepidation, Heather Khoshnevis was set to be back in action at the Kempton Park Marathon. The thought of standing back on the start line of a race frightened her somewhat though as she wasn’t sure how it was going to go.

It had been eight months since she last took part in an actual race, dating back to early October last year when she ran the Isle of Wight Marathon on a very stormy weekend.

Of course, it wasn’t the atrocious conditions that put her off getting back out there though. It was just the restrictions that, for a very long time, prevented any real races from taking place.

Heather Khoshnevis at the Kempton Park Marathon
Heather nervously prepared for marathon number 137 at Kempton Park Race Course

Heather is a seasoned veteran when it comes to marathons and this was to be number 137. She knew she had the mileage under her belt but most of her training runs had been at a quite leisurely pace so to be thrust back into the pressure of a race situation was something quite different.

The race was located at Kempton Park Race Course and it had a real horse-racing kind of feel to it. Consisting of an eight-lap course, the route was pancake flat and predominantly on tarmac.

Kempton Park Racecourse
Kempton Park Race Coarse provided a lovely setting for the 300 or so thoroughbreds to battle it out

Each lap was 5k and Heather made a solid start, getting through the first one in 24:25. The left only seven more to go! The next one was similar, with Heather getting round in 24:33.

She then followed that up with a 25:20 third lap and a 25:38 for the fourth lap. It was a good consistent effort from Heather for the first half of the race. Now it was a question of seeing what she had left in the tank for the remainder of the proceedings.

She continued strongly, posting a 26:41 for the fifth lap and a 27:04 for the sixth lap. That left just two laps left to complete the marathon.

With a 27:40 for the penultimate lap, she was now into the final furlong. Completing the last lap in 29:04, Heather had made it to the finish line. And she’d done so in an official time of 3:43:04.

That put her in 124th place out of 300 finishers. She was 24th fastest out of the 81 women who took part and picked up the win in the 60-64 category.

Heather looks happy after completing the race
Heather was pleased to cross the line after completing all eight laps

Thoroughly enjoying the race, Heather was thrilled to be allowed to talk and stand next to people again. The relaxed, fun atmosphere really helped her as she was going round, grinding out the laps.

Heather Khoshnevis after the Kempton Park Marathon
Heather found it great fun to be out there racing again

Kempton Race Course was a beautiful setting as well which made it even better and the organisation of the event was smooth and slick.

Heather’s time was eight-and-a-half minutes quicker than she ran in the Isle of Wight Marathon, although of course the conditions were horrific that day and it was a hillier course.

Heather with friends at the Kempton Park Marathon
Heather celebrates with a couple of friends who also completed the marathon

It was also 6-and-a-half minutes quicker than she ran in the Richmond RunFest Marathon in 2019, which was the same event but in a different location.

Heather arrives with friends at the Kempton Park Marathon
These ladies have racked up an incredible 315 marathons between them!!

It felt it was great to Heather to break the ice and get back on that start line and she’s now looking forward to her next marathon conquest which is the Hampshire Hoppit on this coming Sunday.

Heather with some friends at Kempton Park Racecourse
It was great to be back at an event and mingling with others again

 

 

Adam Corbin hits it hard at Egdon Easy 10k

Adam Corbin gets his race underway
It had been a year-and-a-half since Adam Corbin last stood on the start in an actual race but he certainly hadn’t forgotten how it’s done

The seemingly endless months of lockdown restrictions and minimal social interaction have been frustrating to say the least, for a variety of reasons. For the running community, it’s been difficult with the absence of parkrun, the lack of opportunity to train with teammates and attend club sessions and, of course, no real competitive races to target.

Without any definitive race goals, it can be difficult to find the motivation to keep training hard and preserve fitness levels. One man who does seem to have managed that situation well though is Adam Corbin.

Having not raced since November 2019, Adam had had plenty of time to fine tune his running style and build up his pace and endurance.

Since making the switch from Westbourne RC to Bournemouth AC though, Adam has really flourished and there has been a notable upturn in his performance.

At Westbourne he wasn’t getting the same level of organised group training sessions and coaching that he’s been able to benefit from at Bournemouth AC and, regularly attending the Tuesday club nights, he has come on leaps and bounds.

All he was missing really was a good opportunity to showcase the progress he’s been making in a proper race environment. He had managed to post a cool 28:30 in the EA Virtual Road Relay, over a five mile distance, so that was a glimpse of what he’s capable of.

He was more than ready for an official race though where he could benefit from the adrenaline buzz of competing alongside others. Eventually though, he would get that chance at the Egdon Easy 10k.

Organised by Egdon Heath Harriers, the Egdon Easy 10k is a run on a flat course, mostly consisting of paths and cycle ways around Weymouth’s Lodmoor Nature Reserve and Country Park.

Held on the Saturday evening of the end of May bank holiday, Adam had finally got his chance to shine and he was determined to make the most of it.

In line with the COVID secure protocol, it was a staggered start which meant there were already quite a few runners in front of Adam before he’d even got going. He got away quickly though and soon set about chasing them down.

Adam Corbin in the Egdon Easy 10k
Adam started off behind a lot of the lead contenders so he had some ground to make up from the get-go

Posting a 5:24 first mile, it was clear that Adam was in form and he meant business. Following that up with a 5:37 for the second mile and a 5:32 for the third mile, it was looking very promising for Adam at the half way stage.

Recording a 17:09 for the first 5k, he knew if he could keep around that sort of pace he’d be in line for something special. Coming round onto his second big loop, Adam got through the fourth mile in 5:40 and then managed a 5:37 for the fifth mile.

It was such an impressive show of speed from Adam and all that remained now was for him to close it out with the final 1.2 miles. Managing to maintain the pace well over the latter stages, he hit a 5:41 on mile six before bringing it home with a very strong finish.

Securing a terrific new PB time of 34:48, Adam was fifth fastest in the overall standings, out of a field of 331 runners. That was almost a minute quicker than his previous best 10k time of 35:42 which he recorded at the Eastleigh 10k in 2019.

Adam Corbin on his way to a new PB
Adam was able to keep the pace high throughout the race to record a fantastic new PB

Wayne Loveridge of Chard Road Runners and James Sewry finished in a joint fastest time of 33:43 with hometown hero Jonny Cooper taking third place in 34:28.

Giles Heaman had the power to seal fourth position and first M40 with his time of 34:39. He was the only other athlete quick enough to contend with Adam on the night.

Charlotte Road was fastest female, getting round in a time of 38:17 which put her in 26th place overall. Lucy Sharpe wrote her name onto the leaderboard as second placed woman in a time of 41:31.

The next quickest female was Alisha Cartlidge of Poole Runners who was in the Under 19 category. She finished in a time of 43:24 which put her in 63rd place overall.

Next up for Adam will be the Eastleigh 10k on 4th July where he will look to go even quicker. He does now have some Next Percenters to add into the mix as well so that should give him an even better chance of reaching his full potential.

One thing is for sure and that is that if he continues on the path he’s on, there are some very exciting things to come for Adam as the race calendar slowly begins to fill up again.

 

 

Harry and Emma spin in for the win at Huntsman Tri

Harry Smith and Emma Caplan at The Huntsman Tri
On a notoriously fast course, Harry Smith and Emma Caplan were vying for the top positions at The Huntsman Tri with Harry taking on the Standard Distance Triathlon and Emma doing battle in the Duathlon

Coming in off the back of a few very strong duathlon performances, Harry Smith had good reason to be confident heading into The Huntsman Tri event where he was competing in the Standard distance triathlon. That meant he’d be undertaking a 1100m swim, a 33km cycle and a 10km run.

The previous weekend, Harry had recorded his first race of the season at the TrailX Spring Off Road Duathlon at Matterley Basin in Winchester. In that event, as well as both 5k runs being on trail, there was also 14km mountain bike section which was also off-road.

In that event, the runs were downhill for the first half and uphill for the second half, so not easy at all. The race featured socially distanced mass start so Harry knew whereabouts he was at all times.

Completing the first run in 20 minutes and 18 seconds, he was comfortably in the lead with an almost two minute advantage over his nearest rival.

Harry Smith in the TrailX Spring Off Road Duathlon
Harry capitalised on his superior speed in on the running sections of the TrailX Spring Off Road Duathlon

On the bike section though, David Bone of Racing Club Ravenna who had finished 2nd on the run managed to catch Harry up and overtake him, going five minutes quicker.

Luckily Harry had been super quick on the transitions which saved him almost a couple of minutes on David but he was still behind going into the final run so the race was on.

Harry really excelled on the runs though and he was able to arrest the deficit between himself and David and get back into the lead. Getting round in 22:01 for the second run, he’d actually gone 2 minutes and 42 seconds quicker than David.

Harry Smith finishes the TrailX Spring Off Road Duathlon
It was a very muddy one for Harry but he didn’t mind as he’d come away with a win

With a final overall time of 1:27:44, Harry picked up a hard fought but well run victory, with David have to settle for second place in the end with a time of 1:28:57.

Harry celebrates his win at the TrailX Spring Off Road Duathlon
Harry celebrates a magnificent victory after taking the lead on the final run

As for Emma, she’s currently training for the Ironman 70.3 in Weymouth in September and has been putting in some very good training for that of late in all three disciplines.

That has included some mammoth bike rides as well as some good long runs off the back of them. She’s also been running well in the Tuesday night interval sessions at Bournemouth AC as well.

In early April she ran a virtual 10k time of 37:33 at the Runderwear Festival of Running which demonstrated her supreme level at the fitness.

At the Huntsman Tri event, she was featuring in the Duathlon which consisted of a 5k run and a 33k bike ride, followed by another 5k run.

The location for The Huntsman Tri event was Ellingham Drove in Ringwood in an area that was formerly a famous hunting playground of William the Conqueror.

The swim was in Ellingham Lake, with bike part heading through the New Forest National Park and the run was over fairly flat, quiet country roads.

In the Standard distance triathlon,  considering he’d only done two weeks of training in the water, Harry did extremely well in the swim, completing the 1100m in 20 minutes and 12 seconds. That put him second fastest out of anyone, only bettered by Ashley Scott who did it in exactly 20 minutes.

After a 1 minute 47 second transition, Harry was onto the bike sector, where he blasted round the 33km route in 55 minutes and 35 seconds, despite the wet conditions.

Harry Smith in The Huntsman Tri Standard distance
Even the wet conditions couldn’t stop Harry from whizzing round at a speed most his rivals couldn’t live with

That meant he was second fastest on the bike as well, with only George Comins able to better that time. George was just under a minute quicker which put the two of them very close overall, after Harry had been just over a minute quicker on the swim. George did have slightly quicker transitions than Harry though.

After a 1 minute 44 second transition, Harry was onto the run. This was where he was most likely to gain the most ground on his rivals – and so it proved.

Harry Smith on the bike at The Huntsman Tri
Harry recorded the second fastest time of anyone on the bike section

Completing the 10k in 32:57, Harry was the fastest in the field and crucially, he had done enough to secure the win. In fact, he was almost two minutes quicker than George on the run.

With a total time of 1:52:15, Harry had claimed a remarkable victory, with George’s finishing time coming up as 1:53:22. That give Harry a 1 minute 7 second winning margin. There was 132 athletes successfully completing the Standard distance tri on the day.

Harry Smith runs for glory in The Huntsman Tri
Once he got on the run it was all academic for Harry from there as no one could match his velocity

In the Duathlon, Emma completed the first run in 16 minutes and 4 seconds. That was the fourth quickest in the field, but comfortably faster than any of the other women, giving her over two minutes advantage on her nearest rival.

After a transition time of 45 seconds that was way quicker than anyone else’s, Emma jumped on the bike. The cycle was the same distance as it was in Harry’s race, so 33km.

Emma Caplan on the run in The Huntsman Tri Duathlon
Emma was easily the quickest woman on her first run and was 4th fastest overall

Completing that in a time of 1:06:17, Emma was 5th quickest overall and again, two minutes quicker than her nearest female adversary. After a 58 second transition, Emma was then out on her second run.

With a time of 16:51, Emma was third quickest overall on the run and around 1-and-a-half minutes faster than Davina McLelland who was her closest female rival.

That culminated in a final time of 1:40:57 for Emma which put her 4th fastest in the overall standings and gave her a very comfortably victory in the women’s race. She had an winning margin of almost 7 minutes on Davina in the end, who finished 6th overall with her time of 1:47:52.

Emma Caplan in The Huntsman Tri Duathlon
It was a convincing win for Emma in the Duathlon with a lead of almost 7 minutes over her nearest female rival

The overall win went to Simon Pilcher who clocked a time of 1:30:36. Michael Akers was runner up, posting a total time of 1:35:12. Rolando Hutchinson took third place in 1:38:09.

Although it wasn’t a huge field for the Duathlon, with only 14 competitors taking part, it still served as a very good training exercise for Emma and should hopefully serve to give her a bit more confidence going into races.

It had certainly proved a successful day for both Harry and Emma and showed that Bournemouth AC possess some very good multi-sporters as well as high quality runners.

Harry on the podium at the TrailX Spring Off Road Duathlon
Harry took top spot on the podium for two consecutive weeks which was a very pleasing outcome for him

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Gillespie defies downpour to complete Devon Coast Challenge

Andy Gillespie in the Devon Coast Challenge
Even the abhorrent weather couldn’t dampen Andy Gillespie’s spirits as he went on a tough, yet character building journey at the Devon Coast Challenge

One day he was at the clinic receiving his second Pfizer vaccine injection and the next he was embarking upon a three marathons in three days adventure at the Devon Coast Challenge!

It was a real sign of the times for Andy Gillespie. But having seen some of the coastal races he would normally do cancelled, Andy wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity for anything.

It was almost as if the jab had given him an air of invincibility and he was determined not to give up, no matter what the event threw at him. In fact, Andy was yet to quit one in all of his 106 previous marathon attempts so he wasn’t about to start now.

Tackling some very inclement weather on the way, it turned out to be one that would really test Andy’s resolve but his never say die attitude enabled him to get through it.

Not only did he survive the tough conditions though, he actually excelled in them, which says a lot about the character and grit that Andy possesses.

The trails were truly treacherous after a period of unseasonal rainfall and several of the runners dropped out after the second day, unable to face another soaking for the third day on the trot.

The Devon Coast Challenge event is put on by Votwo and is the most recently devised of the coastal challenge series, now in its fourth year. It’s thought to be every bit as scenic as its Atlantic and Jurassic Coast counterparts, as Andy will be able to verify having done them all several times.

The route takes it’s participants on its 78.6 mile journey from Hartland Point to Porlock Bay, passing through picturesque coastal towns and villages such as Croyde Bay, Lynton, Lynmouth, Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and The Valley of the Rocks.

The terrain is wild and rugged with many steep climbs to scale and plenty of tricky descents to negotiate as the runners follow the acorn signs as they work their way along the South West Coast Path.

Day One is from Hartland Quay to Appledore. The course incorporated over 5,000ft of elevation and, although it was wet and slippery in places, Andy recorded a huge PB for the day, finishing in 6 hours and 28 minutes and 52 seconds. That put him in 15th place in the overall standings out of 57 runners who successfully negotiated the route.

The second day was Crow Point to Combe Martin and included another 4,900ft of elevation. Again it was very wet and slippery but Andy wasn’t perturbed by that and managed his fasted every Day Two time for the DCC. And that was despite the fact that the course was half a mile longer due to a change to the finish area.

Clocking a time of 6:17:53, Andy claimed 19th position in the rankings for the day. That was out of 62 runners who successfully completed the marathon for that day. Of course, you do get entrants who just do one of the marathons. Not everyone involved is mad enough to attempt all three!!

Andy Gillespie on Day 2 of the Devon Coast Challenge
It was a long, lonely road for Andy on Day Two of the Devon Coast Challenge but he pushed through it well

The worst of the weather was still yet to come though and that arrived on Day Three, which was the final stretch from Combe Martin to Porlock Bay.

On that particular day, it really did chuck it down. So much so that only 50 odd out of the 76 who were on the start list actually turned up.

Quite a few of the runners managed to miss the first checkpoint at Hunters Inn. Andy feels there’s no excuse for it these days really as you have the route, either on an app or on your Garmin.

Andy’s one usually told him within seconds if he veered off course. You do get the occasional issue with satellites but they soon reconnect and put you right. Andy accidentally went down someone’s drive on Day Two!

It was raining so hard that for around 15 miles of the route most of the trails had transformed into streams or rivers. Then after that they were just mud.

There were a couple of short road sections that provided a temporary relief but it was a real battle all the way. In terms of elevation gain, this was the toughest day as well, with 6,770ft of climbing to get to grips with.

At checkpoint three, Andy was 6th out of those who started in group 1. When he got to the finish though, he was 8th without anyone overtaking him and without him seeing anyone ahead of him or in the rear.

After the race Andy was quite vocal in asking the other competitors who cut the last two hills off. He did know of course though and they looked sheepish.

The correct route heads up a very steep climb at mile 21 but you can actually keep going straight and cut probably a minimum of a mile off. Andy has never taken that route though of course.

The guy who arrived at the finish just after Andy must have cut that bit off as he was nowhere in the distance behind whilst Andy was still running.

Although the organisers say that cutting that bit off isn’t in the spirit of the event, they never clamp down on it or penalise people for it. It’s frustrating for Andy as he is always honest and takes the designated route and could potentially lose out in the final classification because of it.

At least he knows he’s done the full route though which is really what counts. Closing out the challenge with a time of 6:59:07, Andy was 15th quickest overall on the day out of the 45 runners who made it round.

With a total combined time of the three days of 19 hours 45 minutes and 52 seconds, Andy finished in 13th position in the final standings. That was actually much higher up than he usually finishes and bettered his previous best time of 21:12:42, which he did in 2019, by 1 hour and 26 minutes.

It was a long lonely road for Andy on Day 2
Andy is a man of integrity and always ensures he completes the full route when taking on one of these challenges

After getting round in the fastest time of Day One and Day Two and the second fastest time on Day Three, Nerys Jones was the overall winner with a total combined time of 15 hours 44 minutes and 51 seconds.

That was 29 minutes and 30 seconds quicker than Sarah Thompson who finished runner up. She was 4th on Day One, 2nd on Day 2 and 5th on Day 3.

With a total combined time of 16:31:37, John Lewis was 3rd on the leaderboard after finishing 6th, 3rd and 6th. Daniel Constable took no prisoners, finishing 4th with his cumulative time of 16:33:20 after he finished 5th, 10th and 3rd.

After he was quickest out of anyone on Day Three, Sean Rice finished 5th on cumulative time with a total of 16:45:21. That was after coming 7th on Day One and 9th on Day Two.

It was a huge improvement for Andy and represented clear progression. It had been a real test of strength, stamina and character but, as usual, he had passed that test with flying colours, coming out of it with another three marathons added to his tally and some great memories to look back on.

The nurse that had given him his COVID jab the day before the event had said to Andy that he may feel a bit fatigued and, after this excessive, three day exertion, she had been proved right!

Next up for Andy it’s the Jurassic Coast Challenge which is now scheduled for July. That race has been cancelled three times so it will be good to finally get it done.

The JCC is usually held in the latter stages of winter so it could be a very different event in the heat, especially since there’s not a lot of shade on the Jurassic Coast. Whatever the challenges though, you can guarantee that Andy will conquer them and get through it, as he always does.