Since it’s right on their doorstep, the Bournemouth AC troops have no excuse for not coming out in force at the Bournemouth Bay Run. It’s also on at a great time of year, three weeks out from the London Marathon, meaning BAC members can use it as an opportunity to do a faster long run than they otherwise might. Or a sharpener for another impending spring marathon.
Quite some time ago, Bournemouth AC’s top marathon runner, Rob McTaggart, entered a competition for free entry into the 10k race. He’d forgotten all about that though and as the event drew near and it became clear Bournemouth AC wouldn’t have a team for the road relays, he entered the Half Marathon.
Then after that he found out that he’d actually won the free entry into the 10k. So he now had one for both races. He did offer it to his fiancé Nikki who also runs for BAC but she didn’t want it. Then he started thinking… could he perhaps do both races and turn it into some sort of a session? The 10k started at 9:15am and the Half Marathon race was due to set off at 10.
For most runners, that probably wouldn’t be enough time to finish the 10k and then be ready to start the Half Marathon 45 minutes later. For Tag, that wasn’t likely to pose a problem though. For him, the only issue was going to be how much running he could do in between the two races!!
Joining Tag in the 10k were quite a few other quick Bournemouth AC runners including Adam Corbin, Matt du Cros, Adrian James, Barry Dolman and Trev Elkins.
There were also a few other Bournemouth AC runners featuring in the Half Marathon, with Rich Brawn, Paddy McCalister and Grzegorz Kazaniecki all in the line up.
Making her half marathon distance debut as well, Harriet Slade was stepping up after deciding to dedicate herself to road running for the foreseeable future instead of returning to the track. It would be interesting to see how she fared in a longer distance race.
The Bournemouth Bay Run event had provided some memorable moments in the past from a Bournemouth AC perspective. Last year Tag won the Half Marathon with Szymon Chojnacki taking 2nd place and Elliott Robertson, who had just burst onto the scene, was beginning to flex his muscles with a win the 10k.
Tag also won the Half Marathon in 2019 and Gemma Bragg, then running for Bournemouth AC, finished as first female. The year before that Steve Way was victorious in the Half Marathon, posting a very fast time of 1:10:31.
No Bournemouth AC member had ever won both the Half Marathon and the 10k on the same day though. That was a realistic target for Tag in the 2023 edition and the way he’s been running, you wouldn’t have bet against him doing it.
Starting the 10k off with a 5:31 opening mile Tag was going with the front runners for the first four miles. Putting in a 5:41 for both his second and third miles, it was then onto the mile that contained the zigzag where you go back up onto the overcliff. Completing that mile in 6:06, he then cranked the pace up significantly for the last two miles, leaving the other lead contenders trailing.
A 5:06 and a 5:13 for the last two miles led him to a winning time of 34:34 which was enough for a 25 second gap over his nearest rival. That was Billy Mead who got round in 34:59, putting him just ahead of Sid Mead, who is presumably his brother. Sid registered a time of 35:08.
It wasn’t really a particularly fast route because there was a headwind for the first three miles and then you had to go up the zigzag which was a pretty tough climb when you’re trying to race it.
Adam Corbin started off with a 5:41 for his first mile, followed by a 5:45 and a 5:46. Then it was the mile with the zigzag climb which out him back to 6;11. He then finished strongly with a 5:24 and a 5:27, putting his time at 35:26. That was enough to seal 4th place.
It wasn’t quite up to the standards of his 10k PB of 33:49 which he did at Eastleigh in 2021 but it was still a strong run from Adam on the course that was nowhere near as quick. He’s now training for the Great Bristol 10k in May, which his girlfriend got him an entry for as a present.
He’ll certainly try and get to the sort of level he was at when he did the Eastleigh run but it won’t be easy. Parris Simpkins finished 5th in the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k with a time of 35:35.
One man who has been working very hard in training recently is Matt du Cros. He’s recently increased his weekly mileage from around 40 per week to 70 and it’s beginning to pay dividends. He went through the opening mile in 5:48 and then followed it up with a 5:52 and a 5:53. The zigzag hill knocked him back to 6:28 for the fourth mile before he got back on track to close it out with a 5:51 and a 5:54.
That put his time at 37:02 which was enough to seal 6th place ahead of his Bournemouth AC teammate and close friend Adrian James who clocked a time of 37:30. That put him in 7th place on gun time and 8th on chip time, with Josh Halderthay finishing very close to him. That made Adrian the top M40 in the race.
Like he did at the Eastleigh 10k, Barry Dolman did 10 miles before he’d even started the race, turning it into another immensely tough marathon training run. Incredibly, he still managed to get round in 37:41 which was a second faster than he did at Eastleigh.
That out Barry in 9th position and he was He was pleased with how well he finished, considering he was coming to the end of 16.5 mile run and once again, it had to go down as a brilliant session from Barry as he continued his prep work for the Boston Marathon.
Coming in just after Barry to seal a place in the top ten, Trev Elkins stopped the clock in 37:49. It wasn’t far off the time he’d produced at Eastleigh a couple of weeks earlier, although he was suffering from a cold that day. He really felt it though, running 3 miles into a headwind before heading up the zigzag.
Attempting the slow down before the zigzag to get his breathing regulated, it was not an easy task. For the last couple of miles though he had the wind behind him and was able to push on. With the conditions as they were and the course as it was, Trev was happy with his effort.
That meant Bournemouth AC men had occupied the six of the top ten places which demonstrated the strength they have in their ranks. Lorenzo Bianchi came in to take 11th place in 37:57.
Emily Hilliar was first female, getting round in 38:48 which put her in 13th place overall. She was over a minute ahead of her nearest rival, Laura Daly of Peak Academy Racing, who was 2nd female and 21st overall in 39:57.
Leon Louis who has trained with the club on occasions finished 43rd in a time of 42:02. Completing the course in a time of 50:44, Elissa Clark was the 28th woman over the line and was 171st overall. Considering she usually prefers trail running and cross country races, that was a decent result for Elissa.
Finishing 2nd in the F65 category, Helen Ambrosen reached the line in 55:54 which made her 71st lady and 295th overall. There were a total of 934 runners taking part in the 10k race.
Tag only had seven minutes to spare before heading over to the start line of the Half Marathon. Then he had to click straight back into race mode for the second part of his unique session plan.
The Half Marathon route started on the west side of Bournemouth Pier and headed up the steep incline of Durley Chine making for a testing start to the race. Not really all that testing for Tag though and he led the way as he powered to the top of the hill with only one other runner able to stay with him.
Getting through the first mile in 5:55, he then went round West Overcliff Drive for a 5:49 second mile before heading back down Alum Chine and onto the prom. It was then about five miles along the prom, into a headwind, which Tag tackled at what was a steady pace for him of about 5:40.
Once at the end of the prom, it was up the ramp leading toward Hengistbury Head. It was then around the houses a bit before heading back via Southbourne Overcliff Drive. There was another fairly steep incline there before it continued onto the Boscombe Overcliff road.
Tag was still going to around 5:40 pace before heading down the Mariner and onto Sea Road and down to Boscombe Pier. The last couple of miles were quite quick, with Tag registering a 5:21 before heading back from Boscombe Pier to the finish just before Bournemouth Pier which he did at 5:25 pace.
Once again, he’d left everyone else way behind and the gap had only been increasing. With a winning time of 1:14:19. That put him 4 minutes and 21 seconds ahead of Will Cook who took 2nd place in 1:18:40. Callum Bower was 3rd in 1:19:14 before Barry Miller of Poole AC arrived in 4th posting a time of 1:19:54.
Paul Ballingall was 5th in 1:20:17 followed by Tom Andrews in 6th recording a time of 1:20:32. Sam Davis finished 7th in 1:21:20 with Vincent Fowler of Littledown Harriers coming in as 1st M50 and 8th overall 1:22:51.
It was an unprecedented double race win for Tag and he’d completed his run which came to almost 20 miles at an average pace of 5:51. It was a really good session and nice to get another couple of trophies to add to his ever growing collection as he continued grafting for the London Marathon.
The Daily Echo interviewed Tag after his 10k win and he told them he needed to head off to do the Half Marathon. They must have been even more surprised when they saw him emerge as the winner of that race as well.
Having just got back from a ten day running camp in Poland, Grzegorz Kazaniecki ran strongly to secure a new half marathon PB of 1:24:11 which put him in 12th place overall. He had his fellow Bournemouth AC teammate and Polish compatriot Szymon Chojnacki going round with him on his bike and Szymon took some good action videos of Grzegorz motoring around the course.
Before joining the club, Grzegorz had had a lengthy spell off running so it had taken him a little while to find his feet again. He’s now getting back to his best and starting to progress again thanks to the training sessions and the efforts he’s been putting in.
Running the Half Marathon on his 42nd birthday as part of a longer training run, Rich Brawn did 4 miles at 7 minutes per mile first, then three miles at his intended marathon pace before starting the race.
When he did start the race found that he was unable to get anywhere near the pace he was hoping to go at. He didn’t think the 7 miles he’d done beforehand had taken much out of him but perhaps it had.
At first he was going at around 6:40 sort of pace before heading back down onto the prom. When heading along the prom into a headwind, he was struggling to get a decent pace going and ended up at between 6:30 and 6:40 pace.
As he began to head back in the Bournemouth direction, he managed to pick up the pace slightly to 6:30 or just under. Then he cranked it up to 6:09 on the mile where he went down the Mariner and out onto Sea Road.
On the last mile he found himself approaching 20 miles in his run but having to battle it out with other runners who were only doing the half marathon distance so that was difficult. It was a good test though.
Recording a time of 1:24:42 for the actual race, Rich had come in in 15th place, just getting outkicked by Jack Stanistreet but managing to hold off Beth Ingham who was first female in 1:24:43.
Continuing on to do three more miles, Rich ended up with a total of 23 miles at an average pace of 6:48 which he was quite pleased with. He was disappointed with his Half Marathon time but overall, it was a decent training run.
Former Bournemouth AC member Helen O’Neile finished as 4th female in 1:27:53 which put her in 29th place. The next lady over the line was Harriet Slade who finished in 40th place recording a time of 1:30:35.
Considering it was her half marathon debut, it was a magnificent performance from Harriet and she even surprised herself with how well she coped with it. Perhaps there has been a very adept endurance runner in there all along, just waiting to get out. She was well pleased with the result and off the back of that, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her entering other longer distance races in the near future.
Also running it as part of a longer marathon training exercise, Paddy McCalister did eight miles at an easy pace before starting the race. He went through the first mile of the race that contained the Durley Chine hill in 7:21 before getting through the next mile in 7:11.
After that he dropped down onto the prom and was going at just over 7 minutes per mile for the next couple of splits before managing just under 7:10 for the next three miles. He then turned and began to head back to Bournemouth.
His pace then dropped a touch to around 7:20 or 7:30 minutes per mile before finishing with his quickest mile of the entire run at 6:45. He then ran a couple of miles to cool down afterwards giving him a total of just under 23 miles. It was an excellent training run for Paddy and his half marathon time was 1:34:05 which put him in 64th place overall.
Finishing 1st in the F55 category, Louise Price completed the course in 1:59:22 which put her 78th out of all the women in the race and 422nd in the overall standings. Feeling like she hasn’t been running well of late, Lou was just pleased to get round in under two hours. A total of 766 runners competed in the Half Marathon race.
The Bournemouth Bay Run showed exactly why Bournemouth AC are the top club in the town and how the structured sessions that the coaches put on benefit the runners. With the club monopolising the top placings in the 10k and with some strong performances in the Half Marathon as well, it felt very much like they were stamping their authority down on the local running scene.
In Tag, they have someone who has the potential to be right up there amongst the top club runners in the country at the London Marathon it will be very exciting to see how he gets on there. He certainly couldn’t have put much more into his training than he has and he’s really grafted hard to make every gain he possibly can.
Winning the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k and Half Marathon was in reality just another stepping stone toward his quest for top ten all-time Bournemouth AC marathon best effort. But it was nice that it had a bit of glory attached to it. Two bits of glory in fact.