The new year kicked off with the first Dorset Road Race League fixture of 2018, The Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon. With the race scheduled for New Year’s Day, it was always going to be tricky for Bournemouth AC team captain Rich Nelson to get a competitive team together.
Many would have been out partying till the early hours and knew they would most likely not be in any condition to race the day after but it was still very important for BAC to get off to a good start in their bid to challenge for the league titles.
This difficulty was then compounded by a debilitating virus that has been going round since Christmas. The virus took its fair share of victims in the build up to the race including Steve Way, Joy Wright and Steve and Dave Parsons.
This meant Rich had to rope in some replacements and make some last ditch number transfers on the morning of the race to get the team sheet to reflect all those who were actually fit to run.
In the end, Rich had managed to succeed in his mission impossible and a team of 10 men and 4 ladies took to the start line. That included the reluctant Rich, who caved in following a bit of banter with Richard Wade and others. They pointed out that since he’d dragged them out, he should jolly well get out there in the rain with them!
The race started in a comical fashion when the race briefer announced that he was going to hand over to the starter who will begin the race in 2 minutes. Then, after a bit of jostling at the front, it appeared that the race had in fact started, catching some of the participants unaware.
It was a different course this year, which gave those who were familiar with the previous route the hope that perhaps this time it would be a little easier. However, they seemed to somehow manage to find even more hills!
The course was basically a triangle that they did twice. It was downhill to start off with, then up Gravel Hill and across the top back to where it started. The first lap included a detour into a housing estate to make up for the section that the route changes had cut out.
By the very nature of the Broadstone Quarter, it was easy to guess that the housing estate would not be entirely flat and it included a short sharp hill that most would have been glad they didn’t have to tackle twice.
Unfortunately, Bournemouth AC’s chances of finishing 1st in the men’s team competition were dealt an early blow when Ant Clark was forced to abandon the race on the first lap, due to a tight hamstring.
Once the race was underway, it was two BAC men that hit the front. Jacek Cieluszecki was looking to start the new year in the same vain that you finished the last one, by winning! Another BAC member, Joe Arundel, went with him for the first couple of miles.
Jacek didn’t fancy sharing the spoils though and began to build up a gap. After that, he never looked back. The course suited Jacek very well, with one of the hills being about a mile long. And as it was two laps, that meant going up that long climb a second time as well.
As we all know by now, JC is very adept at going up and down hills, spending a lot of his time out training on the humps of the Purbeck. He also competed in and excelled in the OCC Mont-Blanc and Eigar 51 mountain ultras over the summer, so heavy duty inclines are something of a speciality for him.
In the end, there was only going to be one winner, and Jacek cruised home for the victory in a stunning time of 35:01. Although this time seemed inconceivable for most competitors, Jacek was actually thinking beforehand that he could do it in about 35 minutes, so his hypothesis was bang on.
1 minute and 21 seconds later, Joe Arundel crossed the line to take 2nd place in a still mightily impressive time of 36:22. Joe is currently back in Bournemouth on a break from university and showed that uni life has not been a detrement to his running ability.
Joe has been predominantly training on the track at the moment, with the 3k and 5k distances his main focus. He is considering stepping up to 10k this year though and judging by his performance in this race, he’d certainly do well at that.
Dominic Wilmore of Poole Runners took 3rd place in a time of 36:44. Jamie Grose of Poole AC was 4th in 37:19, with Tom East of Poole Runners taking 5th in 37:24.
Sean Edwards and Lee Dempster of Lychett Manor Striders took 5th and 6th, with David Broadley and Brian Underwood of Poole AC finishing in 8th and 9th. Steve Claxton of Poole Runners completed the top 10.
The next Bournemouth AC member over the line was Graeme Miller who came in 18th place in a time of 40:05. Graeme actually preferred the new course over the old one as this time there wasn’t a climb that hits you in the very 1st minute. His time was over a minute slower than on the previous course but that is a reflection on where he is right now.
Finishing 5th in the male 40 to 49 category, Graeme was pleased with his performance in what was always going to be a tough race.
After experiencing a tough end to the year in 2017 where his form dipped a little, Tom Paskins showed that his speed is starting to come back. He took 30th place in a solid time of 41:43.
At this early stage in the season, Tom was quite happy with his effort and his legs felt much stronger than they did at the Boscombe 10k in the final fixture of the 2017 DRRL campaign.
Last season Tom was the top BAC man on the board, finishing in 11th place overall, so it was pleasing for him to get off to a good start in 2018.
Only 7 seconds had elapsed when the next BAC member arrived at the finish. It was Richard Wade, who took 32nd place in a time of 41:50. Richard was one of those who had been drafted in at late notice and he’d already done a long training run the day before before he realised he’s be racing New Year’s Day.
Considering that and the foot injury he’s been suffering from recently, it was a decent effort from Richard, who feels he is still a little short on top end speed at the present time. He was 3rd in the male 50 to 59 category.
Crossing the line in 67th position, Jud Kirk was the next BAC member to complete the race. Jud finished in a time of 44:37, putting him 11th in the male 50 to 59 category.
After spending the first part of the race trying to get around people who had moved to the front due to all the chaos at the start, Jud settled into a good pace and was still going well at the half way point.
A couple of people who he’d been targeting then managed to get away from him on the second downhill section and he left himself a bit too much to do on the Gravel Hill ascent to make up the ground.
That was despite a very strong finish in which he was going at 6 minute mile pace for the last half a mile. Overall, Jud was pleased with his run but feels he needs to find a bit more speed to get to where he wants to be.
The first BAC lady over the line was Nikki Sandell who came in 81st place in a time of 45:58. Nikki is still suffering from her achilles injury that she sustained back in September in the run up to the Bournemouth Marathon.
After Joy was ruled out through illness, it meant the ladies were quite thin on the ground, with only 3 of them available on the day. As is often the case, that prompted Nikki to take one for the team and do the race, even though deep down she knew she shouldn’t be running.
Nevertheless, she played through the pain and ended up as the 8th lady over the line on the day, so not a bad result considering her situation.
As the winner of the individual league last season, Nikki would very much like to be in a position to defend her crown this time round. Hopefully she’ll make a full recovery in the coming weeks or months and give herself a chance to get back to top form. Otherwise she’ll really be playing catchup.
There next BAC lady to finish was Yvonne Tibble, who took 1st place in the female 50 to 59 category, a prize that she won on so many occasions last season.
With a time of 48:31, Yvonne was 12th placed lady and finished 115th overall. Last season Yvonne finished as 3rd placed lady overall and she’d dearly love to emulate that achievement again in 2018.
Next in for the club was Rich Nelson who finished in 121st place, crossing the line dead on 49 minutes. For Rich, it was more of a leisurely jog round than an all-out race.
On a couple of occasions he even stopped to chat to a BAC members he spotted out on the route supporting, hoping to encourage them to participate in forthcoming fixtures. A captain’s work is never done it would appear.
Taking 152nd place on the day was Mike White, who completed the race in a time of 50:30. Mike has been running well recently, securing PB’s in both 10 mile and 5 mile distances.
On the flat and downhill sections, Mike was comfortable running at his usual pace but felt he was struggling a bit on the hills. This could easily be put down to the Christmas indulgence though. One thing it has done is give him the motivation to get back to training so he can enjoy the races a little more than he did on this occasion.
The third lady in for BAC was Louise Price, who was horrified at first to find she would be scoring for the team. She stepped up to the plate well though and delivered a strong performance, finishing in 191st place in a time of 53:15.
Louise was the 33rd female to cross the line and, although she was a minute slower than her time of last year, considering the wet conditions and the fact that she missed virtually the whole season in 2017 due to high hamstring tendonopathy, it was a pleasing result.
This gave the ladies a 4th place finish in the team competition, which was not a bad return considering it was a bit of a makeshift team. Poole Runners were the winners, with Poole AC in 2nd and Dorset Doddlers 3rd. Dorset Doddlers are in Division 2 off the Dorset Road Race League, so effectively it was 3rd place for the BAC ladies team.
In 213th place overall, Mark Westcott was the next BAC member to complete the race, finishing in a time of 55:18. Mark was one of several who also turned out in the Round the Lakes 10k race on Boxing Day.
Another man completing a Boxing Day and New Year’s Day double header was Ian Graham, who had still not fully recovered from the after effects of the flu he’d been suffering from over Christmas.
Ian had a bit of a torrid time on the soggy first lap but as conditions improved a bit he began to warm up. He reached the line in 56:38, putting him in 238th place overall.
Although this was a few minutes down on his time from last year, given his condition, he was really just content to get round. That said, Ian still finished 2nd in the male 70 plus category.
Rounding things off for the BAC brigade was Helen Ambrosen, who crossed the line in 263rd place with a time of 58:58. Helen has done the Broadstone Quarter several times before, registering her best time of 46:54 in 2005.
After having a lot of time out in 2017, she knows it will take a while to get back to that sort of form but she’s certainly willing to work for it. At the current moment in time though, she’s just happy to be back out there racing again and representing the club.
She was actually a couple of minutes faster in the Broadstone Quarter last year but Helen has been doing a lot recently, including parkrun 2 days before and some weight training the previous day so that may have had an impact. She felt she was going well until the ascent up Gravel Hill on the 2nd lap where her legs began to tighten a bit.
All things considered though, it was a good day for Helen and her comeback appears to be progressing nicely. She was 67th lady to finish.
In the men’s team competition, the trio of Jacek, Joe and Graeme finished 2nd to Poole Runners in terms of places, although they did have a faster cumulative time. The next three consisting of Tom Paskins, Richard Wade and Jud Kirk came in 10th.
For the Dorset Road Race League, it is the first 5 who score for the men. That means BAC would have finished 2nd behind Poole AC. Poole AC had Jamie Grose 4th, David Broadley 8th, Brian Underwood 9th, John Bassinder 12th and Harry Lauste 20th. Scoring for Bournemouth, it was Jacek 1st, Joe 2nd, Graeme 18th, Tom 30th and Richard Wade 32nd.
2nd place is not a bad result really to kick the season off considering the illnesses and the injuries suffered by some key members and also the general lack of availability on New Years Day. Hopefully, if a full strength team can be assembled for the next fixture at Blackmore Vale on 4th February, BAC will be back on top.