Debbie Lennon in action at the Weymouth 10

Debbie Lennon was looking to celebrate reaching her sixties in style at the Weymouth 10

What would you do on the weekend of a big milestone birthday? Get all your friends and family together and throw a big party? Hit the town for some celebratory drinks or a slap up dinner perhaps?… If you’re Debbie Lennon you go for a tough 10 mile race and on this occasion, that so happened to be the penultimate fixture of the Dorset Road Race League, the Weymouth 10.

If Debbie could complete these last two races, she could compete with Heather Khoshnevis for the individual 60-64 category win. It was in fact Debbie’s 60th birthday that weekend so so only just made it into the category and should in theory have been in the category below for the majority of the season.

The Weymouth 10 was Heather’s 7th race of the season, so she wouldn’t even need to do the Boscombe 10k to complete her score card.Who would come out on top between them though at the Weymouth 10 could certainly crucial. In the previous race, which was the Gold Hill 10k, it was Heather who finished ahead, finishing 10th league lady to Debbie’s 19th.

After taking some time following a few incidents where she’d blacked out during training runs and hurt herself, Debbie was now trying to claw her way back to fitness. Of course, the Gold Hill 10k is not a forgiving race if you’re not at the top of your game. The Weymouth Bay was the sort of course that should suit Debbie better as she still has the speed on the flat.

It’s not all flat though. The race starts with a couple of mile along the prom before heading up the hill at Bowleaze which is a testing climb. You actually do the Bowleaze loop twice as well, meaning that climb and a few others have to be tackled twice.

Patrick Kingston‘s only other Dorset Road League appearance had been at the Round the Lakes 10k where he was 30th out of the scoring men in a PB time of 38:48. He also went on to bag another PB at the Solent Half Marathon the following weekend.

The race was organised by Egdon Heath Harriers and they had home advantage. Their men had already won the league though, reaching that magic total of 7 wins at the Gold Hill 10k. That meant they could afford to relax, take their foot off the pedal and let someone else get a win for change, right? No, of course they weren’t going to do that! They brought their big guns out anyway.

That included the already declared men’s individual champion Christopher Peck who had won six races this season already. They also had Matt Papa, Daniel Hull, Corey Stone and Matt Underhill in their line up.

They also had a strong looking ladies side out, with Georgina Povall, Julie Wargent and Hannah Martyn featuring. They had all but secured the league title in the women’s first division with their victory at Gold Hill but could confirm that at the Weymouth 10.

Debbie Lennon in the Weymouth 10

Debbie Lennon took top spot in her age group in her very first race in the category

Completing the course in 1:15:26, Debbie managed to claim that all important 1st F60 spot. Out of the women in the race, she was ranked 17th and came 109th overall by virtue of her gun time of 1:15:41.

There’s was only 30 seconds between Debbie and Heather on chip time, so it was a close contest between them. Heather was next in in the F60 category and she was 117th overall and 20th lady.

Considering she’s still not firing on all cylinders, it was a great result for Debbie and the best birthday present she could give herself. Heather now runs for Littledown Harriers after switching allegiances and another former Bournemouth AC lady, Helen Ambrosen finished 3rd in the F60 category. She clocked a time of 1:31:20, showing how the rest of the athletes in the division were way behind Debbie and Heather.

No stranger to prominent peaks, Patrick Kingston didn’t find the hills of Bowleaze too tough to content with. He ran the 55km Nivolet-Revard in the Spring which was staged in the French Alps and featured 2,860 metres of ascent.

Patrick Kingston in the Weymouth 10

Patrick Kingston ran well to get round in 1:04:18

Registering a time of 1:04:18, he came in in 37th place and 13th in the M40 bracket. In the 45-49 category for the league, that put him 5th best. His average pace for the run was 6:26.

The tussle for the race win was between Christopher Peck and Lewis Clarke of Poole Runners, as it has been for most of the races this season. Once again it was Chris who came out on top, but there was only six seconds in it on gun time. On chip time, Chris went over the line in 54:18 and Lewis clocked a time of 54:26.

They were a fair way ahead of Shaun Dixon of Highgate Harriers who took 3rd in 56:08. He wasn’t a scorer in the league though so Chris Wood of Twemlow Track Club got the next positional points. He finished 4th in 57:04.

Julian Rendell of Tonbridge AC took 5th in 57:52, although again, he wasn’t a scorer in the league. Dave Hicks of Poole AC finished 6th in 58:46 and he was 1st M50. Daniel Hull of Egdon Heath Harriers arrived next, taking 7th place in 59:07. Then his teammate Matt Papa followed in to take 8th place in 59:14. That meant Egdon had had three men in in the top eight.

Poole AC man John Bassinder took 9th place in 59:24 and he was their second scorer. Barry Miller made it to the line in 1:00:15, putting him in 14th place and giving them their third scorer.

Egdon had the next three men in though which wrapped up the win for them. Corey Stone was 15th in 1:00:22, then it was Matt Underhill completing the scoring team in 1:00:45. Giles Heaman was there for back up as well, reaching the line in 16th place in a time of 1:00:55.

Littledown Harriers had a good day, securing 2nd place which was their highest position of the season. . Poole AC took 3rd in the end but they look to have sealed the runner up spot in the men’s first division which will be a really good result for them.

Molly Rasch hadn’t done any league races since winning the Broadstone Quarter on the first day of the season and she returning with a 1st female position. She crossed the line in 1:02:20 and that put her in 27th place overall. She was quite a way ahead of Georgina Povall who claimed second female spot in 1:04:55. She was 39th overall.

Becky Tovey of Chard Road Runners was 3rd lady in and 1st F40 in 1:06:34. She came 49th overall, then finishing as 4th female, Julie Wargent crossed the line in 1:09:06. She came 68th and arriving a couple of places later, Hannah Martyn wrapped up the race win for Egdon Heather Harriers.

That was their 7th league win of the season and it had turned out to be fine showing of dominance from the Egdon women. At one stage it looked like it was going to a battle that would go right down to the wire with Poole Runners, as it did the previous season but that wasn’t really the case this time. The Littledown Harriers ladies took 2nd place at the Weymouth 10, with Dorchester RIOT 3rd and Poole Runners 4th.

With their sixth league win of the season Westbourne were confirmed as winners of the men’s second division and they will take their place in the new look second division with Wimborne AC who came 2nd at the Weymouth 10. Although they haven’t done well in the last five races, Dorchester RIOT look like they could be ones to take that third spot and make it into the second division.

In the ladies second division, Dorset Doddlers got their fourth race win of the season. The were in command of top spot but Wimborne AC could still wrestle it away from them with a win in the Boscombe 10k. They finished 2nd at the Weymouth 10. Royal Manor of Portland were in pole position to take that 3rd  position and gain a place in the new-look second division. Purbeck Runners could still pip them to the post though if they were to win on the last day of the season.

In the women’s individual table, it was level on points at the top between Alex Door and Hannah Martyn so that will go down to the final day of the season. Vicki Ingham or Georgina Povall could yet take it though if they turned out for their seventh races.

Although they were already relegated from the top flight in both the men’s and ladies leagues, Bournemouth AC will look to end the season on a high by putting in a performance at the Boscombe 10k. It is, of course, on home turf, with the race starting and ending at Kings Park.

There has been the promise of cake and mince pies on offer afterwards as well so it should be a good opportunity for club members to get together. Hopefully they can give themselves a reason to celebrate in what has been a very challenging season for the club in the Dorset Road League.