It’s one of the most brilliantly brutal races the Dorset region has to offer. One that most runners perhaps tend to endure more than enjoy. Unless of course we’re talking about Jacek Cieluszecki. He revels on gruelling courses like that of The Beast. Incorporating climbs totalling almost 1,900ft of elevation over the 12.5 mile route, The Beast is just about as testing as they come.

That’s how JC likes it though. The tougher the better as far as he’s concerned. And the more difficult it is, the more chance he has of coming out on top. On a hilly, off-road course, there few men out there who can contend with the Purbeck prowler.

The route for The Beast starts out at Corfe Castle Common, heading in the direction of Worth Matravers before merging onto the coastal path. It’s then back towards Corfe Castle, with plenty of sumptuous slopes to negotiate along the way.

One man who could potentially rival Jacek though was Egdon Heath Harriers man Christopher Peck. He proved he’s capable of giving the Polish powerhouse a run for his money at the Portland 10, when he finished 19 seconds ahead of him. Hilly though the race was, however, it was still on the road and JC tends to really come into his own on the trails. That’s where he’s really in his element.

Jacek Cieluszecki starts his race

Jacek Cieluszecki leads the pack out in The Beast

Geoff Newton starts his race

Geoff Newton (292) recently joined Bournemouth AC

Signalling his intentions with a couple of quick miles of 6:04 and 5:48 to begin with, it was clear that JC wasn’t taking any prisoners. The first of the really tough climbs came 2.4 miles in and that was enough to stop most people in the tracks, or slow them down quite significantly at least.

JC powered up it well though and once at the top, continued on at rapid pace, producing a 6:01 fourth mile, then a 6:15 and a 6:12 for his next couple of miles. Then on the seventh mile he came to the next big climb. That was followed by another really steep one on the eighth mile.

Jacek Cieluszecki in The Beast

JC made a very strong start, exerting his authority early on

Patrick Brown in The Beast

Patrick Brown (69) has been training with BAC recently

Geoff Newton in action at The Beast

Geoff wasn’t afraid of the daunting course

The biggest incline of the lot came on the 10th mile though and that even slowed JC down to walking pace at certain points, with 300ft of elevation in the space of a third of a mile.

It didn’t knock JC off his stride too much though and he was soon back on it with a 6:03 for his eleventh mile, the following it up with a 6:50 and a 5:51 pace for his last half a mile.

Jacek Cieluszecki leading the way

JC tackled the inclines really well

Jacek Cieluszecki nears the finish

JC approaches the finish with an enormous lead

That saw JC register a time of 1:24:46 and it turned out he’d blown everyone else out of the water. In fact the clock ticked down for quite a while before anyone else arrived at the finish.

Over eight minutes later, Christopher Peck arrived to claim the runner up spot in a time of 1:32:55. It wasn’t a surprise that he’d taken 2nd but it was a bit of surprise to see how far behind Jacek he was. It may not perhaps have been his favourite terrain but to beat an athlete of that standard by so much was an incredible result for JC. It was a great indictment of how unstoppable he is on this sort of terrain.

Jacek Cieluszecki winning The Beast

It was an impressive show of domination from JC

Christopher Peck taking 2nd place

Even Christopher Peck was left training some eight minutes behind JC

Chris’s Egdon Heath Harriers teammate Matthew Underhill was a further two-and-a-half minutes back and he came in to take 3rd place in 1:35:32 ahead of Mark Peddle of Lonely Goat who was 4th in 1:36:24.

4th position went to Daniel Thomas of Bridport Runners after he crossed the line in 1:37:11 and he was followed by Luke Terry of Poole AC who was 6th  in 1:37:39.

David Wilson of Littledown Harriers claimed the first M50 prize when he clocked in at 1:37:46. Patrick Brown, who has been training with Bournemouth AC quite a bit recently, had a good run to complete the course in 1:38:29 and take 8th place.

Patrick Brown finishing The Beast

Patrick dishes out the high fives as he comes into the finish

Patrick was really strong on the hills, gaining a lot of places on the inclines. He wasn’t quite so adept on the way back down though and ended up losing some time the descents. Going fast on a steep downhill curve is a very different type of skill and requires a fair bit of practice before an athlete can gain full confidence. That’s definitely something JC has worked on over the years.

The final climb really took it out of Patrick and he was completely devoid of energy after that. He still managed to see out the remaining two-and-a-half miles and get over the line though.

It was an impressive result for Patrick and he actually prefers a tough, hilly trail route to a fast flat road course and finds that it stimulates him more.

Geoff Newton comes into the finish

Geoff arrives at the finish

New member to the Bournemouth AC ranks, Geoff Newton was also bold enough to try his hand at The Beast and he tackled it with aplomb, finishing in 2 hours 17 minutes and 56 seconds. That put him in 128th position out of the 270 who successfully completed the course and in the M60 category, he was 7th quickest. It was a good result for Geoff in what was an extremely demanding encounter.

Geoff Newton gets it done

A solid run saw Geoff take 128th place

Jenny Lee Marshall of Purbeck Runners was first female and she had a splendid run to get round in 1:42:39. That put her in 16th place overall, just ahead of Littledown Harriers man Paolo De Luca who was 17th and 2nd M50 in 1:42:56.

Jenny’s Purbeck Runners teammate Anna Philps was 2nd female, crossing the line in 1:48:28 which put her in 30th place overall. Then it was Gemma Terry of Poole AC who clocked a time of 1:52:36, earning her in 41st place overall.

Jenny Lee Marshall was first lady

Jenny Lee Marshall was first female

It had been another big week of training for JC as he built up to the Chiltern Wonderland 50 miler which he was set to line up for couple of weeks later. He’d done an almost 20 mile on the Purbeck with 2,250ft of elevation the day before he won The Beast. The day before that he’d done 12 mile and the day before that 11 so he’d had very little time for recovery.

Then, after completing The Beast, he then ran back home as well was a further 8 miles. That gives a good indication of the kind of work ethic Jacek puts in to ensure he’d in prime physical condition when he has a big race on the horizon. If you can couple an outstanding running ability with the propensity to work hard and push your body to the limit, you have a winning combination. That’s why JC sets the benchmark for most trail runners to aspire to – or perhaps rather to dream of.

Jacek Cieluszecki was way ahead

Thanks to Ken Hewitt Photography for the splendid snaps