Coming off the back of a hard fought victory at the Lytchett 10 two weeks earlier, the Bournemouth AC squad arrived at the Pier looking to cement their place at the top of the Dorset Road Race League table in a race that essentially qualifies as they’re home fixture.
The Bournemouth 10 is organised by Honorary Treasurer Ian White, with the help of many other budding club members who turn out in their droves to help out.
It was an early start for all those involved in setting up the event, with race kicking off at 8:30 in the morning. The scheduling was designed in an effort to reduce traffic issues on the road and minimise the disruption from other promenade users as 700 eager Dorset club runners pour along the seafront in a stampede of biblical proportions.
With the race providing a good outlet for spring marathon runners to find out where their fitness levels are at, it’s usually not a problem for Bournemouth AC to get a quality, competitive line-up out.
Last year’s race saw a one, two, three for the yellow and blue army, with Steve Way taking the win in a new course record time and Rob McTaggart and Josh Cole following shortly after.
Steve and Tag were both in action again, with Steve once again undergoing a rigorous training programme for the Comrades Marathon in June and Tag looking to sharpen up his speed for another tilt at the London Marathon.
After their impressive performances at the Chichester 10k earlier in the month, Dave Long and Craig Palmer were also in the mix, bolstering a BAC squad brimming with talent and expertise.
It was certainly needed though with the likes of Iain Trickett, Chris Alborough, Lee Dempster and Chris Wood all looking to contend for the top placings. It looked set to be an absolute corker of a race.
There was also a very strong looking ladies team out for BAC as well, with Emma Caplan and Gemma Bragg both included in the ranks. They were joined by Alison Humphrey who was making a comeback for the club after a hiatus of several years.
All the foundations were in place for a day to remember for BAC and as it turned out, the event did not disappoint. In a stark contrast to last year’s race, it was actually a fairly warm day, and with the wind speed not especially high, the runners couldn’t really have hoped for better conditions on a February morning.
As the race got underway, all the usual suspects were at the front of the field, engaging in a game of cat and mouse as they made their way along the promenade from Bournemouth Pier towards Southbourne.
The runners got their first taste of the watching crowds as they approached Boscombe Pier and then sped down the ramp on the other side in the direction of Hengistbury Head.
As the front runners edged closer to Southbourne, it was Dave Long who plucked up the courage to take the race on. After his stunning sub-50 display at the Great South Run in October, if anyone out there had the pedigree to push the pace a little it was him.
With Steve, Tag and Craig all following in the group behind though, it was always going to difficult for Disco to gain any sort of advantage that would be likely to prove decisive.
He was soon reeled in by the chasing pack and it was then Steve, Tag and Craig who took to the front as they began to make their way around the houses in area between Hengistbury Head and Southbourne.
The route then veered up the Southbourne Coastal Road and onto the Overcliff, where it then headed back towards Boscombe. It was on that section of the course that Steve began to ramp up the pace and pull away from Tag and Josh.
He wasn’t feeling quite as strong this year though and it turned out to be Craig who began edge in the lead. After sealing a marvellous victory at the Lytchett 10 two weeks earlier, despite having run an additional lap of the course beforehand, it was clear that he was in terrific shape.
Doing his best to hang onto Craig’s coat-tails, Tag was the only person who seemed to be able to live with the ferocious pace Craig was setting.
Unfortunately for Tag though, his chances giving Craig a run for his money ended when he got a stitch and had to stop and wait for a bit to try and get rid of it.
Craig then began to accelerate away and it looked like he may well be home and dry for the victory. Steve then came past Tag when he whilst he was pulled up, as did Matt Papa of Egdon Heath Harriers who was doing a very good job of staying with the BAC boys.
Once Tag got going again, he set about trying to catch Steve and Matt in a bid to regain his second spot.
As for Craig, it was now a race against the clock. There was a £50 bounty on it for anyone who managed to beat the course record, for both men and women. That was now in Craig’s sights as he progressed along the final section of the race which was along the promenade from Boscombe to Bournemouth Pier.
Could he do it though? Did he have enough in the tank to topple Steve Way’s course record of 55:13? And the answer was of course, yes. Reaching the line in a phenomenal time of 55:01, Craig had secured himself a new fastest ever Bournemouth 10 time.
It was a truly great run from Craig and managing a super strong negative split as he began to up the pace throughout the second half of the race giving him an average pace of 5:28.
The race also doubled up as the Dorset County Championships for 10 miles which meant that Craig had also earned the accolade of becoming the county champion.
Meanwhile, Tag had succeeded in chasing down Steve and Matt and he arrived at the finish in 2nd place, clocking an excellent time of 55:24, in spite of the stoppage.
Just managing to beat Steve to the line for third place and disrupt what would have otherwise been a BAC one-two-three for the second year running, Matt Papa crossed the line in 55:34. Steve was forced to settle for 4th place on this occasion with his time of 55:37.
Next over the line, it was Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders who finished in a time of 55:50, with Chris Alborough of Poole AC taking 6th in 56:17.
Iain Trickett was 7th in 56:23, with Chris Wood of Wimborne AC and Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat taking 8th and 9th, both registering a time of 56:33.
Making it a fourth BAC member in the top ten, Stu Nicholas secured a brilliant new 10 mile PB, beating his time Bournemouth 10 time of 2016 by three seconds.
That was a fantastic result for Stu, particularly as it was only two weeks since he successfully completed four marathons in four days at the Enigma Quadzilla, finishing up as joint winner of the event.
Not quite managing to hit the heights of his GSR glory, Dave Long had to be content with 13th place on this occasion, reaching the line in a time of 58:02.
The men’s course record wasn’t the only one to go on the day though. Emma Caplan’s time of 1:01:13 from 2016 was also under threat, with Jen Elkins having an incredible run.
Completing the course in a staggering time of 58:26, Jen took 14th place overall and of course, the prize for first lady. That meant Ian White’s pockets were now £100 lighter after the readies he’d already had to cough up for Craig.
Another superb run from Mitch Griffiths saw him secure a sub-60 for the first time ever, taking 20th place in a time of 59:40. Given it’s not the quickest course ever and the fact that he’s deep in the midst of his marathon training, that was a terrific result for Mitch and a really positive sign of progression.
A small group of Bournemouth AC runners finished quite close to each other in between the 1:01:20 and 1:01:50 times, with Ollie Stoten taking 30th place in 1:01:24.
He was followed by Tom Paskins who was 32nd in 1:01:31, with Rich Brawn crossing the line in 1:01:47 to take 36th place. That was actually the reverse order that they had been in at the half way stage in the race.
Tom overtook Rich whilst they were heading up the Southbourne Coast Road to the Overcliff. Then as they came off Boscombe Spa Road and turned down Sea Road towards Boscombe Pier, Ollie went past Rich as well.
It was a very strong finish to the race for Ollie, who is more of an ultra marathon runner than a short distance specialist. He was going so well along the final stretch on the promenade that he also went past Tom right near the end as well.
Rich wasn’t over the moon with his time as he had hoping to be a little closer to the 60 minute mark but it was only a week since he’d run the Bramley 20 and he was feeling a little fatigued from the intense marathon training and high mileage he’d been undergoing.
One man who could be fairly certain that a 10-mile PB was on the cards was Matt du Cros. That was because he’d set his benchmark of 1:05:19 at the Lytchett 10 in his first ever 10-mile race. And the Bournemouth 10 is a much faster course.
Matt did not disappoint though and sealed a brilliant new 10-mile best of 1:03:01 to take 42nd place. That was an improvement of over two minutes, so a pleasing result for Matt, albeit with less hills to contend with.
Going into the race with some doubts over his fitness and concerns over a recent knee injury he’s been suffering from, Paul Consani wasn’t expecting to pull up any trees at the Bournemouth 10.
As it turned out though, he had a pretty good run, all things considered, finishing up just 13 seconds off the time he registered in last year’s race.
That was a pretty decent result, especially as Paul is training for an ironman event at the moment so has been doing a lot of cycling as well and has been focusing on that more than on his running.
Running the first few miles with Ollie Stoten, Paul found the second half of the race quite though as Ollie had pushed on and he was left on his own to battle the inclines over towards Boscombe.
His time of 1:03:31 put Paul in 48th place overall and 11th in the M40 category.
It’s been years since Duncan Wells last competed in a BAC vest but after Phil Cherrett was forced to give up his number for the race after suffering from an ongoing injury, Duncan was tempted into doing the race.
At about four miles in though, Duncan was thinking perhaps he should have stuck to the original plan of marshalling instead of racing. He’d got a little bit over excited and had gone out too quick.
Once the hills were out the way with though, Duncan seemed to get a second wind and he managed to rally well and make it through to the end.
Finishing in a time of 1:04:58, Duncan came in 65th place. He enjoyed being back out there competing and it has definitely wetted his appetite to step up his training and enter a few more races in the future.
Continuing her impressive comeback after a long lay off, Gemma Bragg followed up her victory in the women’s race at Lytchett with another pleasing performance.
Reaching the line in a time of 1:06:43, Gemma was the 3rd placed lady in the race, after Helen Southcott of Maiden Newton Runners finished 2nd in a time of 1:05:41.
Feeling really strong during the race, Gemma managed to keep a pretty consistent pace and felt like she couldn’t really have done much more on the day. She finished up 81st in the overall standings.
That run was also good enough to give Gemma the victory in the Dorset County Championships for 10 miles, so that came as a nice little bonus for her.
Filtering in shortly after Gemma to take her position as 4th placed lady, Emma Caplan crossed the line in a time of 1:07:13, putting her in 86th place overall.
Instead of racing as hard as she could though, Emma ran a controlled race, going at 7-minute-mile pace for the first five miles, then marathon pace for the next three and as fast as she liked for the final two miles.
With her main target race being the Boston Marathon – the UK one that is – all of Emma’s training is currently geared towards that and she felt that with the marathon in mind, her run at the Bournemouth 10 went well and she was very comfortable running at that pace.
Finishing as 3rd scorer for the ladies team, Alison Humphrey had a great run to take 8th place in the women’s race in a time of exactly 1 hour 10 minutes.
It was great to see Alison back in race action for BAC again and she will no doubt prove an important player over the course of the season.
She was placed 115th in the overall standings, so a very pleasing result for Alison. That performance was good enough to seal a magnificent team victory for Bournemouth AC in the women’s race and secure maximum points for the fixture.
Aliso was, in fact, having a bit of a ding-dong with her Bournemouth AC teammate Pawel Surowiec throughout the race and pair interchanged positions numerous times during the run.
Arriving at the finish just nine seconds later, Pawel took 118th on the day with his time of 1:10:09. It wasn’t quite as quick as he’d hoped but Pawel enjoyed the run and the tussle he was having with Alison.
The last BAC member to squeeze into he top 100 was Richard Cannings, who crossed the line in a time of 1:08:04 to take 95th place. That was just over a minute down on the time he clocked in the race last year so not a bad run on the whole.
The battle for supremacy in the M60-64 category in the Dorset Road Race League has been hotting up of late, with defending champion Jud Kirk involved in a real grudge match with his main rival Nigel Haywood of Purbeck Runners.
This season there’s a new guy on the scene though and that’s Steven Hogarth of Poole AC. He finished the highest in that category for the first two DRRL fixtures at Broadstone and Lytchett and he looks to the main threat the Jud’s title.
The Bournemouth 10 saw an other first place in that category for Stephen, with him finishing in a time of 1:07:44. That gave him 92nd place overall.
This time Jud took 2nd in the category, and 101st overall, crossing the line in a time of 1:08:52. That put him almost exactly a minute ahead of Nigel Haywood who was 4th M60 on the day in a time of 1:09:51, putting him 113th overall.
The emergence of Stephen as the front runner in that category has made Jud all the more determined to put some extra work in and do whatever he can to raise his levels for the races to come.
Making a change from his usual home on the track, Lewis Bartlett took the opportunity to get out on open road and he ran well to take 143rd place finishing in a time of 1:12:20.
Also in the line up for Bournemouth AC, Rob Spall completed the course in a time of 1:17:22 which put him in 216th place overall. Rob enjoyed the race a lot, just as he did when he ran it before in 2016.
After securing a terrific PB at the Lytchett 10 two weeks earlier Steve Parsons had every reason to feel optimistic of another good run at the Bournemouth 10. Unfortunately though he came down with a cold the day before the race and didn’t get a good night’s sleep at all.
Deciding to give it a go anyway though, he set off down the promenade and was on target for another PB after the first four miles. He found himself beginning to struggle a little on the fifth mile though and went through the half way stage in 36:40, which was just a touch over his target pace.
From that point on though, things started to go a bit downhill for Steve. He began to feel like he was running on empty and the second half of race took him over six minutes longer than the first half.
He’d never quite experienced his body giving up on him like that during a race though and in truth, he can take some semblance of pride in the fact that he managed to keep going despite how tough he was finding it.
Crossing the line in a time of 1:19:08, Steve finished up in 239th place and he was visibly in a bad way afterwards. Fortunately, his BAC teammate Kirsty Drewett was helping out at the event and she saw him looking a little unsteady at the end and made sure he stayed upright and got some colour back in his cheeks.
Taking 1st place in the women’s F60 category, Helen Ambrosen was the final BAC member over the line, finishing in a time of 1:23:24. That put her in 297th place overall and 63rd female.
From her training runs, Helen had worked out that she could run nicely at that pace and although it got quite tough towards the end, she executed her race plan well.
Although she doesn’t like owning up to being an over 60, Helen was well pleased to get the category win and she’s done very well on that front over recent races.
It was a splendid day for BAC, all things considered, with both the men’s and women’s teams taking the 1st prizes at the presentation afterwards.
Craig, Tag and Steve Way made up the winning BAC men’s team, with Gemma, Emma and Alison comprising the top three for the women.
It was also a comprehensive victory the men’s team in the Dorset Road Race League, with Craig, Tag, Steve Way, Stu Nicholas and Dave Long completing the scoring team.
Just as they did at Lytchett, Egdon Heath Harriers had another good day to take 2nd place in the men’s league, with a disappointing result for Poole AC seeing them finishing down in 5th.
The BAC ladies team took first place in the women’s first division, with Poole Runners taking 2nd and Egdon Heath Harriers securing 3rd.
That meant the BAC men’s team extended their lead at the top of the table after the first three fixtures of the season, with two wins and one 2nd place.
The women’s team remain in 3rd place for the season so far, behind Egdon Heath Harriers and Poole Runners. There are still plenty of points up for grabs though and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the BAC women’s team back on top before long.
Once again, massive plaudits have to go out to Ian White who organised another magnificent event, with all operations running extremely smoothly. With so many BAC club members coming out to marshal the race and support the runners, it was a superb day for the club all round and one they can all take immense pride in.