Providing a great opportunity for Bournemouth AC athletes of all age groups to showcase their talents in a very local setting, the Bournemouth Bay Run was back again on its familiar coastal route.

The event took place on Sunday 3rd April and featured three different distances for runners to choose from, as well as a 1k Fun Run for the kids. There was a Half Marathon, a 10k and a 5k all scheduled in in an action-packed morning of racing.

The line up for the Half Marathon race included superstar names such as BAC men Rob McTaggart, Adam Corbin and Szymon Chojnacki. They faced competition from Lonely Goat man Andy Leggott and Matt Brown of Littledown Harriers.

Szymon and Tag at the front in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon

Szymon Chojnacki, Rob McTaggart and Adam Corbin were in action in the Half Marathon

Also representing the yellow and blues in the Half Marathon were Stu Glenister and Ken Parradine.

The 10k race also featured a healthy contingent of Bournemouth AC members including Alex Goulding, Barry Dolman and Paddy McCallister as well as new boy Elliott Robertson.

They were up against some stiff competition in Thomas Corbin and Luke Terry who had both been in excellent form of late.

The start of the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k

Alex Goulding, Barry Dolman and Paddy McCalister were among those in action in the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k

BAC woman Nikki Whittaker was also in action over the 10k distance.

There was also BAC involvement in the 5k race with super quick youngster Esmee Hurst Atkins going for gold. Her brother, Finley, was also in action, taking part in the 1k fun run.

Finley Hurst Atkins before the Bournemouth Bay Run 1k

Finley Hurst Atkins lined up for the Bournemouth Bay Run 1k Fun Run

The 10k race was first up and it was going to be introducing to see what new signing Elliott Robertson could produce. He’d moved down to Bournemouth from Wakefield to study at the university and had been an absolute revelation since turning up at training and joining the club.

He was immediately right at the front in the interval sessions, setting the pace for everyone else to follow. It was clear to see that he was a special talent. But he hadn’t had much racing experience though so he wasn’t really sure what sort of time he’d be able to record or even what pace to try and run at.

The weekend before though he had competed for the club in the South of England Road Relays and had ended up running an 8.66km leg, after Rich Brawn accidentally took the shorter route that Elliott was scheduled to do.

He wasn’t fazed though and blasted round the course in a time of 28:42, which was an average pace of 5:20. That was an early glimpse of the amazing things he could be capable of.

Elliott takes to the front in the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k

Just as he often does in training sessions, Elliott Robertson led from the front

As soon as the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k got going, Elliott did what he does in training and was up at the front driving the pace. Going through his first mile at 5:14, he’d made an electric start.

For his second and third miles he registered a 5:24 and a 5:26 as he headed from the start at Bournemouth Pier, along the prom towards Southbourne.

Alex Goulding checks his watch in the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k

Alex looks to be already fretting about his early pace

Even Gordon’s zig-zag couldn’t slow him down that much as tore his way up onto the overcliff. Then it was back along the overcliff and down The Mariner before executing the final stretch from Bocombe Pier to the finish just before Bournemouth Pier.

With a 5:20 and a 5:25 for the fifth and sixth mile, it was then just the last quarter of a mile to go for Elliott. Completing the course in a phenomenal time of 33:54, it was a spectacular win for Elliott and one to be extremely proud of.

Elliott Robertson with his trophy after Bournemouth Bay 10k win

It was an outstanding victory for Elliott and he collected a fitting trophy

That meant Thomas Corbin had to settle for 2nd place despite recording a superb time of 34:08 and Luke Terry arrived a minute or so later to take 3rd in 35:15.

It certainly wasn’t a vintage performance from Alex Goulding but he did enough to take 4th place, getting to the finish in 37:15.

Alex Goulding in the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k

Alex arrives at Boscombe Pier

Alex isn’t in top form at the moment and he wasn’t overly pleased with his time but a 4th place finish in a field of 934 people wasn’t a bad result, all things considered.

Alex approaches Boscombe Pier

Alex had to settle for 4th place with his time of 37:15

30 seconds later another BAC vest emerged and crossed the line to take 5th place in a time of 37:45 and that was Barry Dolman. It was a tremendous run from Barry and bettered his time at the Eastleigh 10k by 37 seconds.

Barry Dolman in the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k

Barry Dolman was hot on Alex’s heels in 5th place

Barry had also competed for the club in the road relays the previous weekend, recording an excellent time of 17:51 for the 5k distance, underlining the superb form he’s in at the moment.

Barry Dolman approaches Boscombe Pier

Barry has been running extremely well of late

The next Bournemouth AC runner to make it to the finish canopy was Paddy McCalister and he was agonisingly close to a sub 40 but it came up as 40:06 on the clock, so he’d just missed out by a whisker.

Paddy McCalister in the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k

Paddy McCalister was gunning for a sub 40

His pacing for the run was actually really good but it was the mile that had the Gordon’s zig-zag in it that threw a spanner in the works. The rest of Paddy’s miles had been around about 6:20 but that 4th mile came up as 7 minutes per mile. That was really what lost him the sub 40. Or technically it was the extra distance that did it, as that came up at 6.23 miles.

Strava had him going through 10k in 39:56 though and he jokingly remarked that he’s going to take that as his best 10k time. He finished in 15th place in the overall standings.

Paddy McCalister approaches Boscombe Pier

I was a close call but Paddy just missed out on his target by a matter of seconds

One person who is usually very good at recording even splits in races is Nikki Whittaker. In fact, she normally manages to keep her pacing even, even when some miles are very different in profile.

She managed that for every mile except the one which had the zig-zag where she was around a minute slower. For the rest of it she was hitting around 8:20 pace. That gave her a finishing time of 53:23, which put her in 269th place overall and 75th female.

In the Half Marathon race it was Rob McTaggart and Szymon Chojnacki who were leading the way from the outset. They’d both been in marathon training and were in great shape going into it.

The previous weekend they had both been part of the Bournemouth AC road relays squad as well and had both run extremely well, with Tag running a 27:32 for his 8.66km leg at an average of 5:09 minutes per mile. He then returned later in disguise to register a 16:12 for the final 5k leg.

Szymon had been very precise about his aims for the road relays and he actually superseded the pace he was hoping to run at in his leg, getting round in 29:56. That was an average pace of 5:40 for the 8.66km.

His best half marathon time to date was 1:15:25 which he did at the Ranelagh Richmond Half Marathon in May 2019. He was hoping to go under 1:15 in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon though.

Having already done a couple of quick half marathons recently, recording sub 70 minute times at both Wokingham and Battersea Park, Tag didn’t really need another fast one. Instead, he was using it as a marathon training run where he would look to run the race at his projected marathon pace and run some other miles either side of it.

Szymon Chojnacki and Rob McTaggart in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon

Szymon and Tag were at the front of the field from the outset

To start off with he was pacing Szymon and that continued for the first five miles. Seeing a 5:48 mile split pop up on his watch though, he realised he was actually going slower than his intended marathon pace so had to push on and get back up to speed.

That was when Szymon started to lose touch with him. He was still going pretty well though, at around 5:50 pace. The hills on miles 10 and 11 slowed him down a touch but he was about to finish very strongly in the last couple of miles.

Tag was going at around 5:30 pace for the rest of the run, even going up the hills on miles 10 and 11. He then cranked the pace up a notch further for the final couple of miles heading down The Mariner and then onto the prom.

It was an easy win for Tag and he made to the tape in 1:13:02. What was most pleasing to him though was that he’d never felt so comfortable running at that pace, which definitely bodes well for his impending Wrexham Marathon. He ended up running 23.3 miles that morning with an average pace of 6:03 so it was a very good training run.

Two and a half minutes later, Szymon arrived at the finish to seal a superb 2nd place finish in a time of 1:15:32. It wasn’t quite a PB for him so he wasn’t over the moon about the time but on a course that wasn’t the quickest, it was still a very strong display.

Szymon Chojnacki with trophy after Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon

Szymon was presented with a wheely big trophy for his 2nd place

Andy Leggott took 3rd place, getting over the line in 1:16:04 before Matt Brown followed him in in 4th, recording a terrific time of 1:16:22.

Adam Corbin had also been at the road relays the previous weekend and had recorded an excellent time of 29:53 for his 8.66km leg which put his average pace at 5:31. It wasn’t quite as quick as he was hoping for but the course was a bit undulating so that was probably why.

In the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon he was going at between 5:45 and 6 minutes per mile for the vast majority of the race. That took him through the 10 mile point in 58:45 which would have been a huge PB for him over that distance. His previous best 10 mile time of 1:01:34, which he did at Wimborne in 2019.

Continuing on from there, he ran strongly over the last few miles to reach the finish in a fantastic time of 1:17:26 which put him in 6th place, just behind Philip Jones.

His previous best half marathon time of 1:22:29 had been set at the Bournemouth Bay Run in 2018 so he had eclipsed that by a massive five minutes. It really was an impressive display from Adam.

Stu Glenister in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon

Stu Glenister was hoping to get around without any disruption from nagging injuries

Struggling with injuries of late, Stu Glenister had been finding it difficult to get out and train, let alone to race. He had managed to complete the very hilly Larmer Tree Half Marathon the previous month though and sealed a top ten place in the process so that had given him a bit of a boost.

The Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon was another successful outing for him and he ran very well to record a time of 1:35:08 which put him in 88th place overall and 30th in the M40 category.

Stu was over the moon with that run and it would certainly serve as a confidence booster for him after having been dragged down by injuries for so long.

Ken Parradine in the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon

Ken Parradine returned to the scene of his fateful half marathon at Run Bournemouth in October

Another man who had been struggling with injuries of late was Ken Parradine. He’d picked up a glute injury in the Run Bournemouth Half Marathon back in October and had been struggling to recover ever since.

He did manage a run out at the New Forest Off-Road event the previous weekend though where he was taking part in the 10k race, which actually turned out to be a 12k.

Perhaps laying those injury ghosts to rest at the Bournemouth Bay Run, Ken returned to the seafront and successfully negotiated the route in 2 hours 29 minutes and 37 seconds. That put him in 644th place overall and saw him come in as 4th fastest in the M70 category.

Ken Parradine in action at the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon

Ken ran well to claim 4th place in the M70 category

Also going in the Half Marathon was Jola Dewerenda and she completed the course in 1:43:18 which put her in 177th place overall. She’d been attending quite a few of the Bournemouth AC training sessions recently on the Tuesday nights.

In the 5k race, it was Esmee Hurst Atkins‘ time to shine – and she did not disappoint. Finishing in a lightening quick time of 19:36, she finishing first female and was 5th overall in a field of 294. That was including both adults and juniors.

Esmee Hurst Atkins in the Bournemouth Bay Run 5k

Esmee Hurst Atkins smashed it in the 5k race finishing first female

It wasn’t the first time Esmee had achieved success on the big stage either. She’d finished first female in the Run Bournemouth 2k in October in a race that she also finished 5th overall in.

She’s also competed in a number of the big cross country races this season including representing Dorset in the CAU Inter County Championships at Loughborough and the South West Inter County Championships.

She also competed in the South of England Championships, the English Schools Championship and the South West Schools Championships and is undoubtedly one who has a bright future ahead of her.

Finley Hurst Atkins in the Bournemouth Bay Run 1k

The 1k Fun Run gets underway with Finley (228) at the front of the pack

That wasn’t it for the Hurst Atkins clan though. Esmee’s brother Finley was also in action in the 1k Fun Run and he crossed the line in 2nd place in that race. Recording a time of 3:49, Finley also showed his sister isn’t the only talented offspring in the family.

Finley Hurst Atkins in action at the Bournemouth Bay Run 1k

Finley ran well to take an impressive 2nd place in 3:49

It was certainly a day where Bournemouth AC runners proved that when it comes to running in the local area, they still set the benchmark for others to aspire to and that can be a great boost to the club going into future events.

It also showed that the training sessions that the club puts on our working, right through from the junior ranks to the senior and road road running group. That’s testament to the hard work of the coaches and team managers at BAC who put in so much to help the athletes reach their full potential.

Finley with his medal after Bournemouth Bay Run 1k

Finley with his medal after making his family proud