Full blooded, hotly contested, tarmac tearing action on a Friday night, under Dorset Road Race League provision… It could only be the Purbeck 10k.
The latest fixture in what is proving to be a nail biting season saw Bournemouth AC look to get one over on their main rivals Egdon Heath Harriers who were currently sitting joint top in the league standings of the men’s first division. Meanwhile, the BAC ladies were looking to revitalise their challenge in the women’s league.
It wasn’t going to be an easy ride though. Egdon Heath Harriers have proved tough to beat over recent times and they had pulled together a strong men’s team well capable of putting others to the sword.
Then there was Poole AC and Poole Runners to contend with as well. The BAC representatives knew only too well that every point could prove crucial.
One thing they did have in their arsenal though was new boy Rob Spencer, making his official BAC debut. Rob joined from St Albans Striders after recently moving down to the south coast and came with great pedigree.
He’d already run well in a few races in the area over the back end of 2018, picking up a win in the Christchurch Christmas 10k and securing a top three position in both the Boscombe 10k and the Oakhaven Half Marathon in the New Forest.
He’s also crossed the line first in several parkruns round this area recently. It was going to be very interesting to see how he fared in competitive league competition.
Rob McTaggart, Stu Nicholas, Alex Goulding, Tom Paskins and Rich Brawn were also in the line up along with a host of other BAC men to back them up.
After failing to get a team together for the Puddletown Plod, the Bournemouth AC ladies were looking forward to getting back on the leaderboard and they had Tamzin Petersen, Katrina White and Helen Ambrosen in their ranks. There were also league debuts for Lucy du Cros and Roz Parsons.
The course was all on road but as you might expect being on the Purbeck, it was undulating. Starting off from Norden, near Corfe Castle, it was effectively an out-and-back route, heading toward Hartland Moor.
The first 3k was predominantly downhill which meant that the last 3k was sure to be an uphill task.
Once the race got underway, a lead group of three was quickly formed, containing Rob Spencer, Tag and Matt Papa of Egdon Heath Harriers.
Just behind them, it was Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders and Chris Alborough of Poole AC. Then it was the Lytchett Manor Striders pair of Sean Edwards and Scott Parfitt.
The lead group of three stayed together for the first four miles before they began the incline back up to Norden. That was when Rob Spencer decided to put the hammer down and pull away.
There was no stopping him after that and he accelerated away to take a glorious debut victory, securing himself a fantastic new 10k PB of 33:19 in the process. No doubt it was a sign of big things to come from Rob as he looked every inch the real deal.
Tag and Matt Papa had been left trailing in his wake so it then became a tussle between the two of them for the runner up spot.
Then something strange happened. All of a sudden, Matt came to a screeching half. That seemed to confuse Tag somewhat and he wasn’t sure what was going on.
He thought perhaps Matt was going to pass out or something so he stopped to check he was okay. They then go going again.
As they arrived at the finish, Matt seemed to have made a full recovery and managed to find the strength to take out Tag in the sprint finish and snatch 2nd place. His finishing time was 33:44.
It was a bit annoying for Tag the way it happened and meant that he’d missed out on the chance to make it a BAC one-two because he showed concern for a fellow athlete. His time stood at 33:45.
15 seconds later Lee Dempster arrived at the line to take 4th place in 34 minutes exactly, with Chris Alborough taking 5th in 34:30.
In a highly impressive team performance from Lytchett Manor Striders, they stormed the race in the DRRL Second Division with Scott Parfitt finishing 6th in a time of 35:10 and Sean Edwards rediscovering his form to take 7th in 35:18.
Next in and third scorer for BAC, it was Stu Nicholas, who claimed 8th position in a time of 35:49.
Having done the race before, Stu had a better idea of how to pace the run and he made sure he didn’t set off too quickly and burn himself out towards the end.
It was a decent performance with Stu and he was pleased with the end result.
Egdon Heath Harriers got their second man in when Paul Bullimore crossed the line to take 9th place in 35:57, also winning the V45 category.
They soon had their third member in when Bruce Campbell completed the race in a time of 36:39, putting him in 11th place. He took home the prize for 1st V50.
Bournemouth AC’s fourth scorer, Alex Goulding, came in in 13th place, finishing in an excellent time of 36:46. That was good enough to net him 1st place in the V40 category as well.
For once, Alex was actually pleased with his performance as well, which underlines what a good run it was as he’s usually his own harshest critic.
Unfortunately, Rich Brawn wasn’t having quite such a good run and he was struggling to get his legs moving.
It had only been four days since Rich got back from a wild holiday in Ibiza which may have involved a few nights of excessive refreshments.
Since he arrived back in England he’d done some pretty hard sessions in the week in a desperate bid to try and restore his fitness. As a result, he was carrying a bit of fatigue going into the race.
To begin with he tried to keep Alex in sight and then after that tried his best to follow the pace of Neil Sexton of Poole Runners. It just wasn’t happening for him though and he wasn’t feeling strong at all.
It became a case of just seeing out the race for Rich and trying not to lose too many more places. To make matters worse, there was a sting in the tail when Mark Packer of Littledown Harriers came steaming past him on the final corner and sped down the home straight compiling a miserable race for Rich.
Crossing the line in 38:01 in the end and taking 26th place, Rich was extremely disappointed with his run. There was one silver lining though and that was that out of all the people who came in in between Alex and Rich, only one of them was an Egdon Heath Harrier. That was Matt Faramus who was 19th, finishing in 37:28.
He was only Egdon’s 4th scorer though which meant Bournemouth AC had won the fixture in the Dorset Road Race League men’s first division. That was a fantastic result and came as something of a surprise as they were expecting to concede the win to Egdon.
Tom Paskins followed in shortly after Rich, crossing the line in 38:22 which put him in 29th position. That was a much better run from Tom after he’d struggled with a hamstring injury and hay-fever at the previous fixture, the Puddletown Plod.
Next to finish for BAC, it was the effervescent and ever present Matt du Cros, who continued his theme of running every league race so far.
He also fared much better than he did at Puddletown, putting in a solid performance to register a time of 40:42. That put him in 58th place in the standings.
Finishing in 124th place in a time of 45:11, Phil Cherrett had an uneventful race, which was exactly what he wanted after he was forced to stop and vomit on several occasions in the Poole 10k.
This time had no such troubles though and, although he didn’t push too hard because of his IT band issue, he got round unscathed and that was a step in the right direction.
The first BAC lady to come in was Tamzin Petersen, who was the 12th placed female, completing the course in 46:09. That put her in 143rd place.
She had had her BAC teammate and work colleague Richard Cannings to pace her round and he finished alongside Tamzin, with a chip time of 46:08.
After that it was Mike White who completed the course in 48:03. That put him in 182nd place. Mike was a little disappointed with his time but he’s knows that the chip don’t lie.
He’d like to have been two minutes quicker but he flagged a bit on the return route back to Norden. He enjoyed being out there though and noted the tremendous sunset which helped make it such a lovely evening.
Mike did enjoy seeing his faster club colleagues coming down the other side on the crossover sections.
Assuming the role of 2nd scorer for the women’s team, Lucy du Cros made a solid league debut, finishing as 35th female and registering a time of 49:12. That put her in 193rd place overall.
There was a scare before the race when it was discovered that Lucy didn’t have a club vest. It’s a rule in the Dorset Road Race League that all scorers must be wearing their official club vest to count.
Luckily, Ian Graham came to rescue, digging an old one out of the archives that he wore when representing the club back in the 50’s. It was a bit tatty and had some holes in it but it just about fit and that was the main thing.
Although she felt she could have done a bit better, Lucy enjoyed the race and has already signed up for next league race which is the Sturminster Newton Half Marathon in August.
She was then followed by the third scorer for the team, Katrina White, who crossed the line in 49:44. That made her 44th female and 204th overall.
Katrina admits she’s not the best at hills so she found it pretty tough going. Her main aim was just to get under 50 minutes though as she knew it was an undulating course, so from that perspective it was mission accomplished. That was despite losing a bit of momentum in the second half of the race.
The next yellow and blue vest to arrive at the finish line was Steve Parsons who registered a time of 52:08 to come in in 251st place. It wasn’t a great time by Steve’s standards but he was glad to get round without his hip playing up at all. It was a hip issue that impacted him in his previous league race, the May 5.
Soon to follow in after Steve it was Ian Graham who was 5th in the V70+ category, completing the course in a time of 52:16. That put him in 259th place overall.
As soon as he saw David Cartwright and Ian Barnes there, both in the V70+ category and both from Poole Runners, Ian knew his chances of an age group victory were gone.
His only aim after that was to get round as best as he could and in the end it wasn’t a bad run from Ian, given the tricky course he was faced with.
It had been several years since Ian last did the Purbeck 10k and he’d forgotten just how tough it is. David Cartwright took out the age group win in the end, finishing in 43:13, with Ian Barnes taking 2nd in 44:44.
Arriving at the line soon after Ian but with a slightly faster chip time, it was Helen Ambrosen who took 3rd place in the female V60 category, finishing in 52:15. That put her 260th in the running order.
Helen always finds the Purbeck 10k a difficult race as it’s on a Friday evening after a busy day and it usually tends to be quite warm. She didn’t think she could do better than 8:15 minutes per mile so tried to stick with that although the hills slowed her down.
It was a good workout for Helen though and she enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Carol Jones of Ealing Southall & Middlesex took home the V60 category win in 49:56 with Pauline Worrall of Bournemouth Joggers 2nd in 52:28.
After only just having come back from injury, Dave Parsons found it really tough going. In fact, he said it was the hardest race he’d ever done and his lack of fitness and lack of training had a big impact.
He got through it though, nonetheless, and was glad he did manage to get out there once he’d completed the course. Reaching the line in 59:06, Dave was 11th in the V65 category and came in 369th overall. Above all, he enjoyed being back racing in the yellow and blue of BAC.
The final Bournemouth AC member to arrive at the finish was Roz Parsons, who crossed the line in 1:03:37. That put her in 12th place in the V40 category and she was 163rd female on the day with an overall position of 423rd.
As she always seems to after races, Roz somehow managed to conjure up a glass of Prosecco afterwards and it was the thinking of that which helped her get to end of the race as quickly as she did.
When the team prizes were divvied out by Ross Wayne of Purbeck Runners at the end of the race, Bournemouth AC were somehow given 3rd place in the men’s competition.
It’s not clear how they worked that out though as whether it was based on three, four or five people and whether it was decided on positions or cumulative time, either way, Bournemouth AC should have won it.
What mattered most though was that they picked up the points in the Dorset Road Race League and it was a huge boost for Rich Nelson and his BAC band of brothers as they look to retain their league title.
With a total of 51 points from their top five, BAC took top spot with the lowest score winning. Egdon Heath Harriers took 2nd with 72 points. Then it was Littledown Harriers who took 3rd with 151 points and Poole Runners 4th with 158. Lytchett Manor Striders ran out easy winners in the second division.
In the ladies first division Poole Runners reigned supreme yet again, picking up another victory to extend their lead at the top in the overall standings for the season so far.
Littledown Harriers got 2nd and Lytchett Manor Striders took 3rd. The Bournemouth AC team of Tamzin, Lucy and Katrina were 6th with 78 points.
That meant they stayed in fourth place in the ladies first division, just one behind Littledown Harriers. Egdon Heath Harriers are currently 2nd with Poole Runners top.
The win reinstated Bournemouth AC’s position as outright leaders, with the league positions currently being decided on the best four of seven races so far.
That gave BAC a one point advantage over Egdon Heath Harriers. With Poole AC languishing a further four points back, it is beginning to look like it’s going to be a two horse race between BAC and Egdon for the league title this season.
The next fixture is the Sturminster Newton Half Marathon on Sunday 4th August and that will be followed a week later by the Round the Rock 10k in Portland. Bournemouth AC will be hoping to extend, or at least maintain their lead at the top of the table over those two fixtures.