With three long, tough hills along the 6.5-mile route, the Black Hill Run 10k isn’t really one for a fast time. At least not for a mere mortal anyway. If you’re Jacek Cieluszecki though, that’s a different story. If there was ever anyone capable of ripping round that course at a fast pace, it was him.
If JC is in the line up, you know he’s a threat for the race win. In fact, you could even argue, he’s a certainty for it. Not only that though, if it’s a testing, hilly route and he hasn’t done the race before, he’s also often a threat to the course record as well. And the good thing about that is, even if he’s way ahead of the rest of the field, it still gives him something to aim for and something to keep pushing hard for throughout the race.
A convincing win at The Beast three weeks earlier showed that JC is in good shape and that day he finished over eight minutes ahead of his nearest rival Christopher Peck of Egdon Heath Harriers. And to say he’s no slouch would be an understatement.
It hasn’t all been champagne and roses for JC though. He has been suffering from a knee injury that has had a considerable impact on his training. It even forced him to abandon his hopes of winning the Chiltern Wonderland 50 mile race, instead opting to take it easy and run alongside his wife Ela.
Just as he was at The Beast, Jacek was joined in the race by a relative new member to Bournemouth AC, Geoff Newton. Geoff seems to love getting stuck into the tougher races that he knows will test him to the limit – and that’s an admirable attitude for a man who is in the over 70’s bracket.
The race is staged at Bere Regis and the first mile of the course featured 184ft of climbing. Planning to go out hard and see how he gets on, Jacek powered up that as if it was nothing, recording a 6:02 for his first mile.
It then flattened out a bit for the next half a mile before a nice downhill stretch ensued. The enabled Jacek to get some serious speed going and he got through the second mile in 5:23. It then continued on a downhill curve for the next half a mile before gently easing into the next incline.
Completing the mile in 5:32 it was then on to another 180ft of elevation within the next mile. JC didn’t mind that at all though and got up it in 6:23 before reaching the brow of the hill and going onto the next downhill stretch.
As you would expect, Jacek motored down that at breakneck speed, registering a 5:24 fifth mile before embarking on the final climb. The climb was slightly steeper than the other two, but it was shorter as well, only going on for the first half of the mile before heading back down again.
Despite the steep climb, Jacek got through it in 6:37 before racing through the final half a mile at a blistering 4:57 pace. That resulted in a fabulous finishing time of 37:57 it was enough to give him another emphatic victory.
His nearest challenger was Lee Thomas, who arrived at the finish around two-and-a-half minutes later in a time of 40:23. It was indeed a new course record for JC as well, so once again, another performance to be proud of.
His average pace for the run was an incredible 5:49 minutes per mile. For a 10k course with 650ft of elevation in it, that was very impressive indeed.
One man who is very familiar to facing off against Jacek is Julian Critchlow of Purbeck Runners. He ran well to come in in 3rd place, getting round in 41:47. That of course also earnt him first place in the Male 60-64 category.
Julian often appears at Durlston Country Park parkrun, which is a fairly new and extremely tough course and he’s been up against JC a number of times before in that. In fact they’ve even come in first and second there before.
With JC dominating proceedings at the front of the race it wasn’t such an exciting contest for the race win. But the battle for 1st place in the 70+ category was an intriguing one, with the other Bournemouth AC man Geoff Newton up against Terry Haughey of Poole Runners.
The pair were very evenly matched but in the end it was Geoff who came out on top, getting to the line in a time of 58:48 which put him in 69th place overall. Terry arrived just 6 seconds later to take 70th place.
They were just behind Jacek’s wife Ela who crossed the line in 57:45, putting her in 67th place. A total of 174 runners successfully completed the course in the 10km race that day.
Just as she was at The Beast, Jenny Lee Marshall of Purbeck Runners was 1st female, registering a time of 45:08 which put her in 10th place overall. She came in just ahead of former Bournemouth AC man Lázsló Tóth who negotiated the course in 45:20.
That meant Alice Curtin had to settle for 2nd female spot with her time of 45:39 which saw her come in 13th overall. Virginia Morris of Dorchester RIOT got round in 49:32 which made her 3rd female and put her in 30th place overall.
A famous face from the Egdon Heath Harriers camp, Bruce Campbell was there as well and he set a new course record of 41:33 with his dog Peggy in the Canicross 10km race.
The next challenge in store for Jacek will be the Studland Stampede this Sunday and he’ll be hoping to add to his ever-growing list of race wins and who knows? Perhaps another course record could be on the cards.