Jacek Cieluszecki in the Maverick Dorset 14k

In his first of a two-part task, Jacek Cieluszecki was taking on the Maverick Dorset ‘Middle’ distance race

As part of his training for the Salomon Serpent Trail 50k, Jacek Cieluszecki was going for a double race weekender, taking the Maverick Dorset on the Saturday and the Coombe Keynes 10k the following day.

Since they were both hilly trail runs, they would serve as good preparation for the Serpent Trail race, not that Jacek needs much practice when it comes to undulating off-road terrain. He’s pretty much in his element there. But the Serpent Trail race was likely to attract some high calibre opposition so he really wanted to be at his best for it. Hence the double whammy.

The location for the Maverick Adidas Terrex Original Dorset race is where the Maverick events actually originated from. Now there are several different ones all over the country. In fact, there’s even one in Morocco!!

JC has certainly done his fair share of Maverick races in the past and he’s also won his fair share of them. In fact, he’s probably won every single one he’s entered!! That included victory in the 2021 edition of the Maverick Dorset where he was competing in the ‘Long’ race which was 25km.

This time he was tackling the ‘Middle‘ distance one which was 14km. Of course, he had to save something back for Coombe Keynes the next morning!

Jacek Cieluszecki in action at the Maverick Dorset

Jacek had an unblemished record in Maverick races to uphold

The route heads out from near Langton Matravers, working its way toward to rough and rugged Jurassic coastline where the hills are high but the views are fly. It then loops back round through Worth Matravers before finishing where it started.

JC’s race strategy was simple. Go out hard and see what happens. Opening with a 5:39 mile split, he then followed that up with a 5:53 for his second mile and a 5:47 for his third mile. That included quite a sharp descent and for a runner of JC’s stature, it wasn’t too taxing.

JC doing battle in the Maverick Dorset

At the kind of speed Jacek can go on trail he’s a difficult man to hang with

The big climb started on the 5th mile and went on to the 6th mile, dropping down sharply at one point before going back up again. The bit was extremely steep, showing Jacek down to 8:48 for that mile split. Once that section was done though, he got back on pace and continued with a 6:12 for his 7th mile, followed by a 6:33 and a 5:58.

The distance came to 9.1 miles in the end and JC completed it in 59 minutes 20 seconds. That was an average pace of 6:32, despite the 1,000ft of elevation.

Unsurprisingly, no one else in the field could get anywhere near that and his nearest challenger arrived 7 minutes and 44 seconds later. That was Charles Ford who clocked a time of 1:07:04. Phillip Riddleston was 3rd in 1:09:49.

Rebecca Knapton in the Maverick Dorset 14k

Rebecca Knapton was also featuring in the 14km race

It was a battle between another Bournemouth AC star, Rebecca Knapton and Sophie Godfrey for the 1st female spot. It was Sophie who just shaded it in the end, crossing the line in 1:20:02 which put her in 9th place overall. Rebecca followed shortly after, in 10th place overall, getting to the finish in 1:20:53. That was out of a total of 232 participants in the race and she was 2nd out of 57 women.

Rebecca Knapton in action at the Maverick Dorset 14k

Rebecca was very close to being first female

Rebecca is usually one of the stronger ladies in training at Bournemouth AC but she’s not just a talented runner. She’s well into her cycling as well and also plays for a football team.

At the end of May she competed in the Fox Trail event in Guildford where she was part of a relay team that did the 62km ultramarathon route, dividing the distance between them.

Rebecca ran a half marathon distance in 1:42:27 and was part of a all-female team that got through the distance in 5 hours 25 minutes and 28 seconds, making them 3rd placed team and 1st in their category.

The week after that she did a cycling trip from Netherlands to Germany. It was a four day adventure in which she covered 66 miles on the first day, 83 miles on the second day, 42 miles on the third day and 65 miles on the fourth day.

Then the following weekend she competed in the National Athletics League fixture in Basingstoke, running the 3000 metres in 11 minutes 21 seconds.

Jacek Cieluszecki heads down the path in the Maverick Dorset 14k

It was a supreme performance from JC as he put all his foes to the sword

The ‘Long’ race was 23km this time and it was won by Ben Green in a time of 1:50:38 and he came in two seconds ahead of Brian Glynn who was runner up. In the 8km ‘Short’ race, it was James Bunce who came out in top, getting round in 40:35. Serena O’Connor finished 2nd and 1st female in 41:12.

There wasn’t much time for Jacek to revel in his victory as he was of course back in action in the Coombe Keynes 10k the following day. The Coombe Keynes 10k was part of the Purbeck Trail Series which consists of five separate events. Points are allocated for each race and the results for the series are decided on your best three of five.

In last year’s Purbeck Trail Series, Jacek was the winner, picking up maximum points in The Beast, the Black Hill 10k and the Studland Stampede. Could he repeat that feat again this year? And would he recover quickly enough from the Maverick Dorset to go again the next morning? Knowing JC, the answer to those questions is always likely to be yes and yes.