The Bournemouth AC team with Sharon after completing the Overton 5

Stu Glenister (left) and his wife Sharon (right) were in action at the Overton 5 along with Jud Kirk (second from left) Barry Dolman (middle) and Rich Brawn (second from right)

Their first season in the Hampshire Road Race League had gone extremely well, resulting in promotion from the third division to the second division for Bournemouth AC. Now they would need potentially need to raise their levels against a theoretically tougher opposition in order to progress to the top division, where a club like Bournemouth AC truly belong.

The first step on that journey was the Overton 5, which was again the season opener. The Bournemouth AC men got off to a great start in that fixture last season, scoring the lowest number of points of any team in the whole league. In fact, both their A team and B team topped the standings in their respective divisions that day.

This time it proved much tougher to get a team together as some of those who would usually run were unavailable. Ollie James and Hugo Richardson had signed though. Rich Brawn was toying with the idea of the doing The Big Half on that day with Simon Hearn but in the end he went for the Overton 5, remembering how much he enjoyed it the previous year.

Now in training for the Valencia Marathon in December, Barry Dolman stepped up to make it a team of four so the BAC men at least knew they could get a scoring team on the board. At that stage it looked like a very competitive line up as well. They were dealt a blow though when it turned out Hugo was away in Cornwall and wasn’t going to be able to run. That left them with a vacancy to fill late on.

Also having signed up for the race, Adam Corbin later found at that he couldn’t do it either due to a prior engagement so that was another unfortunate blow that they could have done without. There were two places to fill and it was going right down to the wire before Jud Kirk stepped up to take one of the places. Then, out of nowhere, Stu Glenister agreed to sign up, meaning the team were now back to five.

Three of the Bournemouth AC men at the Overton 5

Jud, Stu and Rich ready themselves for the undulating fiver miler

Stu is a real team player and had often stepped in in the past to save the day when the team had desperately needed someone to fill in. Stu and his wife Sharon had been going through some tough times of late so hadn’t been doing too much running but they both decided to sign up in the end. Sharon runs for Westbourne RC.

Stu also kindly offered to drive up so Rich and Jud jumped in with him and they ensured they left a bit earlier this time round, remembering the horrendous journey they had the previous year, where hold ups almost prevented all the Bournemouth AC members from getting there on time.

One aspect that is different about the Overton 5 is that it starts at 2pm. Ordinarily that would be fine but on this particular day, it was incredibly hot and that was probably the the part of the day when the temperature was at its highest. Even after just doing the warm up the runners were sweating and feeling the sizzling sun beating down. But the show must go and there were league points up for grabs so everyone had to go out there and give it their all.

Ollie James’s running had taken him to some impressive heights over the past few years, winning the 2000m steeplechase in the Welsh Junior Championships for two years running and a posting 5th place finish in the Welsh National Cross Country Championship. He’s also been Dorset County Champion at the 2000m steeplechase and won the Dorset Schools Championship at that same event for two consecutive years.

He also won the 1500m at the Dorset Schools Championships as well and took home a bronze medal when representing Wales in the 3000m steeple at a Manchester International event in 2021.

On top of those accolades, he has been producing some tremendous times on the track, including a sensational sub 15 minute 5k at the Hercules Wimbledon Night of Graded 5000m Races. He was up against his BAC teammate Rob McTaggart in that race and Tag finished just ahead of him in an incredible race.

Ollie also somehow produced a 15:23 time at Moors Valley parkrun in April which was within a second of the course record. Usually Ollie’s teammate Hugo Richardson finishes first in about 17:20 to 17:30 at Moors Valley. With that sort of pedigree, Ollie was surely going to be contending at the sharp end of the field at Overton.

To begin with, Ollie was in a lead group with two Winchester & District runners and Chris Newnham of Ryde Harriers, with Southampton star Richard Waldron stalking them from behind. There is quite a lot of downhill in the first mile and Ollie whipped through it under five minutes.

The climbing starts towards the end of the first mile and there is a fair bit of incline in the second mile. Ollie still got through it in 5:15 though. There were further undulations in the next mile and that put Ollie down to a 5:51. The last hill of the race ends at 3.4 miles though and from there it’s a fast downhill section all the way to about 4.2 miles and it then flattens out for the remainder of the race.

Going through the fourth mile in 5:49, Ollie was now in a battle for third place with Richard Waldron. The two Winchester runners had gone on ahead and had proved too strong on this occasion. Andrew Greenleaf was one of them and he went on to take the race in in a time of 25:30, putting his average pace for the run at a very impressive 5:07.

Frederick Slemeck was the other Winchester man and he followed in soon after in a time of 25:54, putting his average pace at 5:11. Ollie was chasing down Richard Waldron in the closing stages of the race and he was determined and focused on getting that third place. Perhaps a little too determined though as he started to feel his legs begin to tingle as he approached the finishing straight. Then as he flew round the corner his legs just seemed to give way, sending him crashing to the floor.

It was a nasty fall but he picked himself up and tried to carry on running before immediately falling again. Then the same thing happened again. It was as if his legs had decided enough was enough and they weren’t prepared to support him any more. In the end he had to be picked up and carried over the line and as a result, he lost a further three places, coming in in 7th place in the end in a time of 27:20.

After the race Ollie was in a bad way and the medics were quickly on the scene to tend to him. He may well have pushed his body too far in attempt to take that third place but the ultra competitive spirit he has just took hold and at that point, he wasn’t thinking of anything else.

The hot conditions probably played a part as well and had left him dehydrated and in a bit of a daze. The medics looked after him though and, although it took quite a while, but his readings eventually returned to normal levels and he was okay.

It almost seemed irrelevant at that point but Richard Waldron took the third place in 26:43, putting his average pace at 5:21, so that’s roughly the time that Ollie would have got, had he not gone down.

Ryde Harriers had been promoted to the top flight for this season so they would have been pleased to see Chris Newnham taking 4th position in 26:59, which was the exact same time as Matt Risden of Southampton was give in 5th. No doubt they had a sprint finish at the end as well. His teammate Ben Brewster was the other man to profit from Ollie’s misfortune, taking 6th in 27:05.

Rich Brawn had been training for the Cardiff Half Marathon which is on 1st October and he had managed some fairly decent training runs but hadn’t really had any races on his schedule where he could properly test his fitness. He had managed to get his parkrun time back down to around 17 minutes though so he knew he was in reasonable shape going into the Overton race.

Looking at his activity from the previous year, he had taken note of his split times so he knew whether or not he was on track to record a better time. Unfortunately, as he progressed round the course his mile splits were coming up slower than they were the previous year, so he knew he wasn’t on course to produce anything special.

He would have loved to register his first ever sub 28 minute five miler but had to concede that on this occasion, that wasn’t going to happen. Because it was so hot, he knew he couldn’t afford to risk pushing too hard and overheating either, so he played it safe and kept the pace steady until he reached the downhill section at 3.5 miles. Then he gradually started ramping it up.

In last year’s race he’d ended up contesting a sprint finish with his teammate Szymon Chojnacki but this time there wasn’t really anyone quite as close. Cruising over the line in 28:22, he’d come in 20 seconds slower than his time from the previous year, which wasn’t too bad given the hot conditions. That put him in 11th place and had there been any category prizes, he probably would have got the MV40 one, since the only vet to finish ahead of him was Andrew Greenleaf and he won it.

Just ahead of Rich, George Bellfield of Winchester & District had finished 8th in 27:25, giving them their third runner over the line. It was looking like it would be between them and Southampton for the league win for this fixture. Michael Stone of Andover was 9th in 27:41 and James Perrett of Alton was 10th in 27:48.

Julian Manning of Denmead Striders was first MV45, crossing the line in 28:34 which put him in 13th place. Steve Barnes of Newbury AC was first MV50, getting round in 29:02. It was Hampshire Road Race League champions Winchester though who picked up where they left off from last season, securing the win, with Nick Wood coming in in 20th place in 29:16 to complete their four for the A team. David Gaskell then followed in shortly after in 29:35 to get the ball rolling for their B team.

Finding the hills and the heat pretty tough to contend with, Barry Dolman battled well to come in 30:09, just missing out on a sub 30 that he would’ve been very pleased with. That put him in 27th place overall and he was third in the MV50 category. His average pace for the run was 6:02, which is still impressive on that course in those conditions.

There was also a win for Winchester & District in the ladies individual as well with Lucy Elliott getting to the line first in 30:08, which put her in 26th place overall. What’s even more impressive is that she is an FV55. Last season’s HRRL individual runner up Emma Jolley finished second in a time of 30:39 which put her 32nd overall. Rachel Walsh of Alton Runners was third female, clocking a time of 31:55 which put her 52nd overall.

Rounding it off from a Bournemouth AC scorers perspective, Stu Glenister came in in 104th place, recording a time of 34:36. That was actually only 34 seconds off what he did last year which, considering he’s done very little running of late, was quite incredible. That was enough to seal the victory for Bournemouth AC in the second division, with Farnham Runners looking like they could be the main challengers, finishing second.

Overton Harriers made use of home turf, finishing third in the division, with Eastleigh taking 4th and Portsmouth Joggers, who were promoted with Bournemouth AC last season finishing 5th. All the teams in the second division were able to field a team of four so that underlines how important it is that BAC are able to do that in each race going forwards.

The fact that Bournemouth AC were able to win the fixture in their division, despite having such a depleted line up, and in spite of what happened to Ollie at the end, bodes well. It means, if they can consistently put a team out for each race, they will be in a strong position to achieve back to back promotions.

There were five clubs in the men’s top division that achieved a better score than Bournemouth AC though. Andover were the surprise package, having been promoted from division two last season. They performed incredibly well to finish second behind Winchester, with Alton taking third, Denmead Striders getting 4th and City of Salisbury having to settle for 5th.

Jud, Sharon and Stu Glenister and Rich Brawn at the Overton 5

Stu’s wife Sharon (in the Westbourne vest) joined the Bournemouth AC men at the Overton 5

Finishing 161st overall, Jud Kirk was the final Bournemouth AC member over the line and he recorded a time of 37:55. That was only 11 seconds off what he did last year and given the hot conditions he faced this time, it was probably a better run in all fairness. That put him 4th out of 25 in the MV65 category.

Stu’s wife Sharon finished in a time of 51:35 which put her 19th in the FV55 category and made her 137th female and she was just outside the top 400 finishers overall.

Winchester & District topped the standings in the Women’s A team first division, with the Liss ladies having an exceptional day to take second place. Last season’s runners up Lordshill finished third and City of Salisbury were 4th.

Alton were winners of the fixture in the women’s second division, with Overton taking second and Eastleigh taking third. The women’s third division saw a win for New Forest Runners, with Victory AC the only other club to field a team of four.

Unsurprisingly, Winchester & District won the fixture in the men’s B team first division, which they won convincingly last season. Lordshill were second and Alton were third. Farnham Runners won the fixture in the men’s B team second division ahead of Overton Harriers and Portsmouth Joggers.

Alton Runners managed to edge Winchester out in the men’s C team table though, with Lordshill taking third in a very close contest. Winchester did win the fixture in the women’s B team first division though, very convincingly over Lordshill, City of Salisbury and Farnham Runners.

After the race the rest of the Bournemouth AC squad stayed behind as they were concerned about Ollie’s welfare and wanted to make sure he was okay. It’s never nice to see your teammate lying on the floor receiving treatment after a race. Luckily his grandparents there as well though so they could ensure he got back safely.

Jud, Stu Glen and Rich Brawn before the Overton 5

It was a job well done for the Bournemouth AC men as they topped the division two standings

One good thing about the Overton 5 is the offering of refreshments afterwards. The BAC men needed more endurance in the queue for the ice cream van afterwards than they’d needed in the race!! There was also cake on offer as well, along with beer and hot dogs, all of which Barry sampled. They were all for a very reasonable price as well.

The next Hampshire Road League fixture is the Solent Half Marathon which is coming up next weekend. Stu Nicholas won that race last year and will be looking to repeat that feat for a second consecutive season. He will be joined in the race by Szymon Chojnacki, Patrick Kingston and Sanja Sharma so that should be a fairly decent foursome and could well see the BAC men record their second second division win of the season.

For Ollie and Rich it was off to Aldershot next for the South of England Six Stage Road Relays were they were part of a Bournemouth AC squad big enough the field both an A and a B team. Barry was also meant to be featuring as well but picked up an injury and had to pull out late on. Alex Goulding stepped in to replace him though and they all jumped on the fun bus up there. The aim for that one was a top 25 finish which would mean qualification for the Nationals.

The club would have to pool their resources well that weekend with the Round the Lakes 10k taking place the following day and that was a Dorset Road Race League fixture.