Heather Khoshnevis at the North Dorset Village Marathon

Heather Khoshnevis was flying the flag solo for Bournemouth AC at the North Dorset Village Marathon

There can’t be too many athletes out there who can say they’ve ran 150 marathons. Heather Khoshnevis can now though. And she has. Before the ABP Newport Wales Marathon on 16th April, she only had 147 marathons on her back catalogue, but with three of them in quick succession, at North Dorset Village Marathon, she hit big milestone.

With the London Marathon sandwiched in between Newport and North Dorset, it might seem a big ask to be doing three in a row but since it was Heather, no one was really surprised. She treats marathons just like any other race. No major fuelling strategy, no specified training schedule. Just turn up and get it done as best she can. And since she’s such a strong runner with so much experience behind her, that usually ends in a good result.

Running the ABP Newport Wales Marathon in 3:41 and London in 3:47, it was now a question of, how much would she have left for North Dorset Village Marathon and since this was the toughest of the three, what kind of time could she produce?

The route for the North Dorset Village Marathon features some testing climbs and is very rural, providing a picturesque backdrop for the runners as they make their way through the villages of Hinton St Mary, Manhull, Stalbridge, Todber, Stour Row, Margaret Marsh, West Orchard, Farrington, Child Okeford and Hammoon.

As always, it was one of the twelve Dorset Road Race League fixtures so there were points to play for. Plus, it was the Dorset County Championships as well, so there also medals and prestige at stake for the Dorset based runners competing.

With Stu Nicholas and Ryan Pegoraro pulling out of the race with injuries, there were no Bournemouth AC men taking to the start line, which of course meant no league points for them. Sam and Luke Jackson were both running but since they were no longer able to make it any of the training sessions, they had decided not to renew their membership.

That left Heather as the sole Bournemouth AC representative, which again meant that for the ladies, they wouldn’t be scoring highly as they needed a team of three. For Heather though, it was an opportunity to put some very useful points on the board in the individual age group competition.

The North Dorset Village Marathon was a regular fixture in Heather’s calendar and amazingly, she had completed the last seven iterations so this would be her eighth in a row. She ran pretty well in last year’s race, finishing in 3:34:26. She’d won her age category in the last four events as well.

As they seem to be able to do for every race, defending men’s Dorset Road Race League champions Egdon Heath Harriers had managed to assemble a strong squad. That included the winner of the men’s individual last season Christopher Peck, who was already top of the standings after the first three races of this campaign.

He was joined in the line up by Charlie Williams, Adam Davies and Martyn Bell, along with Simon Arthur who’d run under 2:43 at London the previous weekend.

Poole Runners were the only other club to get a team of five together so they would be Egdon’s only challengers on this occasion. They had Haydon Clarke in their line up along with Joe Godden and James Godden, Iain Ferguson and Matthew East.

For the women, it would be a straight shoot out between Poole Runners and Egdon Heath Harriers, since they were the only clubs in the top tier with three ladies out.

The North Dorset Village Marathon suits Heather quite well as the fuel stations are well stocked up and provide her with her favourite of all the energy drinks… coke. Heather hates carrying anything whilst she’s running so she relies on whatever is being handed out at the aid stations. She does usually stash a small of Haribo or Snakes down her top though.

The coke must have done the trick as Heather put together a fine performance to complete the course in 3:47:54. That was only 37 seconds off her time at London the previous weekend. Considering the route included close to 1,000ft of elevation, that was a terrific result for Heather.

Heather Khoshnevis in the hall after the North Dorset Village Marathon

Marathon number 150 was safely ticked off for Heather

Continuing the trend from previous years, she was first over 60 female over the line and was 9th placed lady in the standings. A few of the women who finished ahead of her weren’t from Dorset Road Race League clubs though so as far as league points went, she was 6th. That will massively help her quest for the 60-64 crown where this season, her main rival will probably be Bournemouth AC teammate Debbie Lennon.

After winning the Marnhull 12k, Christopher Peck was looking for a second consecutive league victory and sure enough, he got it. Registering a time of 2:39:31, he’d taken it ahead of his Egdon Heath Harriers teammate Charlie Williams who was 2nd in 2:42:40.

Christopher Peck and Charlie Williams at the North Dorset Village Marathon

It was an Egdon Heath Harriers one-two with Christopher Peck (left) taking 1st and Charlie Williams (right) coming 2nd

Kieron Summers of Weston AC was 3rd in 2:45:01 but since his club aren’t in the Dorset Road Race League, the next points went to John Bassinder of Poole AC who was 4th in 2:47:17.

Ryan Snell of Axe Valley Runners was 5th in 2:49:18 but again, since his club aren’t in the league, it was Simon Arthur who took the next points. Despite his exploits the previous weekend, he got round in 2:51:19 to take 6th place.

Kieron Summers took 3rd in the North Dorset Village Marathon

Kieron Summers of Weston AC finished 3rd in 2:45

Poole Runners man Haydan Clarke was 7th, clocking a time of 2:51:51. Sam Davis was the next over the line, recording a superb new PB of 2:55:59, before Sam Jackson arrived to take 9th place in 2:58:12.

That should be quick enough to get him into the London Marathon next year, especially since he’s over 40 so from his perspective it was mission accomplished.

Egdon Heath Harriers man Adam Davies completed the top ten and he was the last man to come in under three hours. Clocking a time of 2:59:20, he was Egdon’s fourth scorer, meaning they only needed one more man in. Poole Runners had only had one in so far so it was looking like a comfortable win for the red and blacks.

Lorenzo Bianchi of Wimborne AC was 12th in 3:02:52, with Barry Miller of Poole AC following up his sub 2:51 time at London with a 3:03:42.

Littledown Harriers pair Stephen Williams and John Haines were 14th and 15th in 3:04:13 and 3:05:06, with Mark Everett giving the oranges their third man home when he arrived in 18th place, recording a time of 3:10:59.

Poole Runners pair James and Joe Godden were 20th and 21st 3:13:13 and 3:13:14 before Martyn Bell arrived to complete the scoring team of five for Egdon. Registering a time of in 3:14:18, he took 22nd place securing an emphatic win for the Egdon men. It was their third win of the season out of the first four fixtures and they were looking very much favourites to retain their crown.

Iain Ferguson was 33rd in 3:25:08 for Poole Runners and Matthew East completed their scoring team, taking 40th place in 3:27:32. Being the only other team with five men, they had taken 2nd place in the league standings for this race.

The top three in the North Dorset Village Marathon

The Egdon Heath Harriers men had done the business again

Proving she had the recipe for success, 19 year old Daisy Baker finishing as first female, recording a time of 3:21:18. That put her in 28th place overall. Littledown lady Louise Austin was 2nd female in 3:29:04 which put her 42nd overall.

Jody Higham of Egdon Heath Harriers was next woman in, crossing the line in 3:31:49 which put her 46th and she was followed by Eleanor Rollett of Dorchester RIOT who was 47th in 3:33:24.

Maria Everett of Littledown Harriers was 5th female in 3:37:01, which put her 53rd overall and Donna Pearce of Lytchett Manor Striders was 6th lady in 3:38:52. That put her in 57th place in the overall standings. 167 runners successfully completed the course.

In the league standings for the ladies, it was Poole Runners who took top spot, with Egdon Heath Harriers having to settle for 2nd. Littledown Harriers and Dorchester RIOT both had two runners each.

In the men’s top division, Littledown Harriers were 3rd with their four men and Poole AC were fourth with only two runners.

For the men’s second division, only four scorers are required and three teams managed that. Wimborne AC scored highest out of the three to win the fixture, with Dorchester RIOT taking 2nd and Dorset Doddlers in 3rd.

Bournemouth Joggers were the only team to get three runners out in the ladies’ second division so they won the fixture, taking them to top spot in the standings. They were also the lowest scoring team at the Lytchett 10 as well. Dorset Doddlers are currently in 2nd place.

The win for Poole Runners evened the score at the top of the ladies first division as both them and Egdon Heath Harriers had two wins and two second places from the first four fixtures. It looks like it could be another close contest between them this season.

With Twemlow Track Club failing to get any men out for the North Dorset Village Marathon, Poole Runners climbed up to 2nd place in the table behind Egdon Heath Harriers.

The tables don’t make good readings from a Bournemouth perspective as they are currently bottom of both the men’s and the women’s standings. That situation might well change after the next fixture though which is the May 5. Both the men and women have strong teams out for that race and will be looking to start arresting the deficit they have left themselves with from the first four fixtures.

So what’s next for Heather? A nice rest hopefully after her marathon exploits. She was certainly looking forward to not waking up at 5 in the morning the following Sunday. No doubt she’ll be back to it soon though and knowing Heather, she probably already has another marathon lined up.