With competition in the Dorset Road Race League heating up faster than the summer season temperatures, it was over to Canford Heath for the next fixture, the May 5, with the main contenders knowing the points could be vital in the push for the 2019 title.
With Edgon Heath Harriers fast emerging as realistic challengers for the men’s crown and Poole AC, as usual mounting a very strong challenge, it was crucial that the Bournemouth AC men pulled a good performance out of the bag.
The women’s first division was also delicately poised with Egdon Heath Harriers occupying top spot, with last year’s champions Poole Runners sitting in second place. Bournemouth AC were hot on their heals and hoping a good performance at the May 5 could take them up the table.
The May 5 event was organised by Poole AC but was actually over a lot of the training ground that is used by Poole Runners for their Tuesday and Thursday sessions so for them it felt a bit like a home fixture.
The race started and finished on the magnificent Ashdown Athletics Track, with the rest of the course winding through roads and pathways in the Canford Heath area.
With a fairly strong team out in both the men’s and women’s divisions, team captain Rich Nelson was hoping BAC would be able to contend for top honours but with Poole AC looking particularly strong in the men’s and Poole Runners on familiar ground in the women’s it was always going to be tight.
The men’s team included Craig Palmer, Rob McTaggart and Josh Cole, as well as a healthy undercard of Tom Paskins, Alex Goulding and Rich Brawn, amongst others. The women’s team featured Emma Dews, Julia Austin and Tamzin Petersen.
As the race got underway and the runners and riders completed their lap around the track and headed out into the badlands of Canford Heath, a lead group had already began to form.
That included Craig Palmer, Rob McTaggart and Josh Cole, as well as Chris Alborough and David Broadley of Poole AC, Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders and Chris Wood of Wimborne.
It was Chris Alborough who took the race on first though and he for the first few miles of the race, he was in front on his own. Craig Palmer was a short distance behind him at that stage but you always got the sense that he was toying with him. In fact, there was plenty of in-race banter going on from Craig which essentially eluded to just that.
Craig’s plan was to run it at a tempo pace of around 5:30 minutes per mile and if he managed to do that he knew there was a good chance that would see him take the win.
That turned out to be the case in the end and Craig managed to reel Chris in and maintained a strong, consistent pace for the last two miles that saw him seal the win.
As he came round the track for his lap to finish off the race, Craig even had time to get his son Robbie out to run with him as he approached the finish.
The only thing that wasn’t so pleasing for Craig was that it turned out his son had better form than him!! And Robbie managed to dip in front of him on the line as well!
Craig’s official finishing time was 27 minutes and 11 seconds. He was followed in by David Broadley who arrived at the line ten seconds later giving Poole AC the second place. David’s time was 27:21.
Chris Alborough took third place in the end, crossing the line in 27:29 and giving Poole AC two men in the top three. Fourth place went to Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders, completing the course in a time of 27:32.
The next Bournemouth AC man was in shortly after him and that was Rob McTaggart, who took 5th in a time of 27:48. It was Tag’s first week back in full training since the London Marathon and he’d done quite a lot of miles so wasn’t feeling too fresh at the start of the day.
Nonetheless, he got through the session okay, although it wasn’t as quick a run as he’d hoped. He then continued on for a few more miles before the prizes were handed out.
Chris Wood was 6th, finishing just in front of the third BAC man, who was Josh Cole. Josh has been restricted to only running on Tuesdays and Sundays recently so he’s been struggling to maintain his levels on minimal training.
That also means that when he does train, he seriously flogs himself to ensure he gets the most he can out of it. The Tuesday before the race he’d pushed so hard in the interval training session, it might well have ended up being detrimental to his performance at the May 5. Josh’s finishing time was 28:15.
It was another brilliant day for Lytchett Manor Striders, as Scott Parfitt and Thomas Andrews took 9th and 10th places in 28:19 and 28:45 respectively. They picked up another victory in the men’s second division to add to the four out of four they’d already won. They look like they’ll winning promotion to the first division at a canter.
The first Egdon Heath Harrier to cross the line was Graham Sherwin who took 10th in a time of 28:52. Then crucially it was Gareth Alan-Williams who was the third man in for Poole AC, taking 11th place in a time of 28:56.
Two more Egdon Heath Harriers were next to arrive at the finish, with Paul Bullimore finishing in 29:13 and Simon Arthur in 29:16 before Joseph Sherwood of Littledown took 15th in 29:17.
With three members in so far for all three leading first division clubs, it came down to the last two placings of the top five to decide who would get maximum league points.
Robert Doubleday was next to cross the line, taking 17th place in a time of 39:32. That was huge for Poole AC and swung things in their favour.
There was an interesting battle going on behind though. Running strongly in the aftermath of his fantastic performance at the London Marathon, Rich Brawn started to feel pretty good at mile three.
He overtook Alex Goulding first, which he was a little surprised about. Then, as they came through the wooded path that lead out onto the approach road to the athletics track, he then went past Tom Paskins and a row of about three other runners who were in front of him.
One of them was Poole AC’s Dave Hicks. Once they got out onto the road and continued up toward the entrance to the track area, Dave recovered his position from Rich and that proved to be a decisive move.
As he got onto the track, Rich could see Dave just ahead of him and Robert Doubleday as well who was just ahead of him but he didn’t have enough left in the tank to make any inroads into catching them.
Rich Nelson was standing at the entrance to the athletics track area and had told Rich he needed to catch Dave up for the team win but it wasn’t to be. Poole AC sealed their first win since the Junction Broadstone Quarter Marathon on New Year’s Day which was the first fixture.
With a finishing time of 29:37, Dave took 18th place before Rich crossed the line 7 seconds later to take 19th in a time of 29:44. It was a solid PB for Rich and he was pleased to finish under 30 minutes as that was his main target for the race.
Determined not to be beaten by Rich, Alex had set about trying to claw his way back. In the end he got to within a second of Rich but had to settle for 20th place and 5th Bournemouth AC scorer, crossing the line in 29:45.
In parkruns, Alex has got back to something close to his best but in longer races he’s still lacking the endurance to be able to carry the pace through. He’s hoping that upping his mileage in training will help him improve on that aspect as there’s no doubt he still has the speed there.
Bruce Campbell of Egdon Heath Harriers was 21st in a time of 29:48 before Tom Paskins came in in 22nd place, finishing in 29:51. It was a decent performance from Tom in terms of where he’s at at the moment and he was pleased to finish in under 30 minutes.
In the women’s race, it was Emma Dews who picked up the victory. Crossing the line in a time of 30:37. That put her in 37th overall, comfortably ahead of Caroline Stanzel of Poole Runners who was 2nd lady and 51st overall in a time of 32:05.
April Hogg of Poole AC was 3rd female to arrive at the finish, taking 55th overall in a time of 32.29. She was closely followed by Vicky Ingham of Poole Runners who crossed the line in 32:39.
Emma had been struggling a bit in the aftermath of her superb sub-three marathon in Peterborough so it was good to get a decent run under her belt and an added bonus to get the ladies’ victory.
Given that he was still a bit rusty from his North Dorset Vale Marathon three weeks earlier, Matt du Cros was reasonably pleased with his run, crossing the line in 31:18 which put him in 44th place.
Matt is planning on doing all 12 of the Dorset Road Race League fixtures this season and after successfully completing the NDVM, he’s already got the toughest one out of the way.
Next in for BAC, it was Chris O’Brien, who finished in a time of 33:21, putting him in 67th place. He was reasonably happy with that run, given the fact that a lack of training over the course of the year has put his fitness back somewhat.
He’s feeling more positive now though about finding my regularity in his training and hopefully getting back to the kinds of levels he’d used to over the coming months.
Then it was Jud Kirk who crossed the line in a time of exactly 34 minutes. He was the 2nd man over 60 to arrive at the finish, behind Hamish Murray of Purbeck Runners who finished in 50th place in 32:04.
It was a good sign for Jud that he’s getting back to normal after an injury had kept him out of serious competition for quite some time.
Last year he won his category of the Dorset Road Race League but this season he’s lagging behind Stephen Hogarth or Poole AC and Nigel Haywood of Purbeck.
Neither of them ran on this occasion through and a better result for Jud than in his other three races helped him stay in touch with the category leaders.
Running pretty well to come in in a time of 35:35, Ian White was the next Bournemouth AC member home. He finished in 97th place in the overall standings.
The next BAC member to emerge on the track for her final lap was Tamzin Petersen which was something of a surprise. Usually Julia Austin would be ahead of her but Tamzin has been improving at an alarming rate over recent times and this race underlined the excellent progress she’s made.
Her time of 36:03 was a big new PB for the distance, beating the time she did at the Hoburne 5 last year by 1 minute 44 seconds. She finished 13th lady on the day.
The week before the May 5, Tamzin had actually competed in another 5-mile race which was the Ramsbury 5. That was located near Swindon where her parents live. In that race, she claimed her first ever prize, finishing as 3rd lady in a time of 38:15.
She got a pint glass for that which she then proceeded to have a celebratory drink from afterwards. Lets hope it wasn’t champagne or Prosecco though, as that could have ended badly!
Completing the scoring team for the women, Julia Austin reached the line in 36:25 to take 116th place overall and 17th lady. She also took the prize for 1st V55 so not a bad result for Julia, all things considered.
Plagued by knee and IT band pain throughout the race, Phil Cherrett had a frustrating morning and was never really able to get anything close to what he’s would usually be capable of when fully fit. His time of 37:14 put him in 136th place overall which was not the result or the performance he was looking for.
Another BAC member suffering from injury problems was Steve Parsons, who crossed the line in 174th place overall in a time of 39:32. That was again a time significantly below what he’s capable of, but his hip gave out during the race and he ended up completing most of it on one leg!
Reaching the line in a time of 40:39, Helen Ambrosen had a decent run to finish as 55th placed woman and 192nd overall. On this occasion she just missed out on the category win though. That went to Barbara Murray of Purbeck Runners who was 175th in a time of 39:35. Helen’s average pace for the run was 8:13 minutes per mile.
After that there were two Bournemouth AC runners arriving at the track within very close proximity of each other, with Sam Laws just in front of Ian Graham.
They then proceeded to complete their lap of the track before reaching the finish line to conclude their races. Sam put in a really strong sprint finish to claim a few places down the home straight.
She’d had a cracking run, registering a time of 40:51. That was 4 minutes and 15 seconds quicker than her previous best of 45:06, which she did at the Hoburne 5 last September.
Since she started her London Marathon training in January, Sam has come on leaps and bounds and the transformation in her running is clear for all to see. Finishing in 197th place overall, Sam was 60th female and 12th in the V45 category.
Getting to the line just four seconds later, Ian claimed the V70 crown, with his time of 40:55 putting him in 199th place overall. Ian found it quite tough going, particularly the last couple of miles but was chuffed to pick up a bottle of wine for his age category win.
In the team competition, it was a victory for Bournemouth AC in the men’s, with the trio of Craig Palmer, Rob McTaggart and Josh Cole coming out on top.
In the ladies’ team competition, Poole Runners took the prize, with their top three of Caroline Stanzel (2nd female), Vicky Ingham (4th female) and Gemma Oliver (10th female) being best placed.
In terms of the Dorset Road Race League, Bournemouth AC had to make do with second place in the Men’s First Division, with their scoring team consisting of Craig Palmer (1st), Rob McTaggart (5th), Josh Cole (7th), Rich Brawn (19th) and Alex Goulding (20th).
The Poole AC five of David Broadley (2nd), Chris Alborough (3rd), Gareth Alan Williams (11th), Robert Doubleday (17th) and Dave Hicks (18th) just did enough to nick it.
In the Ladies’ First Division the BAC trio of Emma Caplan (1st female), Tamzin Petersen (13th female and Julia Austin (17th female) also took second place behind Poole Runners.
As far as league positions go for the season so far, that win took Poole AC into joint second place, level with Egdon Heath Harriers. That left Bournemouth AC with a very narrow advantage at the top of the table, but it is certainly looking like it’s going to be an interesting three-way battle for the title.
In the Women’s First Division, BAC moved up into joint 2nd place with Egdon Heath Harriers with Poole Runners maintaining their lead at the top of the table, although there is only a couple of points in it.
That means for next league fixture, which is the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon , it is very much all to play for and the season is shaping up to be an exciting and enthralling roller-coaster ride for the teams battling it out for top honours.