Jacek Cieluszecki in the Weymouth Half Marathon

Jacek Cieluszecki (white t-shirt) was doing the Weymouth Half Marathon as part of a longer training run

Feeling like he hasn’t done enough quality training sessions leading up to a target race was a rare position for Jacek Cieluszecki to be in. Usually, if anything, he’s over-trained for any race he competes in, with a whole host of huge, long training runs behind him incorporating copious amounts of elevation. This year has been different though for JC. His weekly mileage has been lower, at around 55 miles per week and he hasn’t been hitting the hills of the Purbeck as much as he previously would have.

With the aim of securing a Championship entry for the London Marathon in 2024 though, Jacek has set his sights on the Annecy Marathon, in France, where he will be going for a sub 2:40 time. That will be his incentive to work hard over the next couple of weeks to ensure he’s where he needs to be for the big showdown.

The Weymouth Half Marathon wasn’t in his original plans but just a week beforehand, Jacek and his wife Ela decided to enter. For JC, it would be an opportunity to get a harder training run in in preparation for Annecy, completing the half marathon as part of a longer session. His goal was to run the first 10 mile at 6 minutes per mile and then pick it up for the last three miles.

It was a sunny but chilly morning and there were strong winds on some sections of the course but nothing too taxing. The first half of the route was flat but the second half was a lot more demanding, with some tricky hills thrown in.

The route took the runners through the heart of Weymouth, providing stunning views of the Jurassic coastline and incorporating a jaunt through the town centre where the crowds were out in droves to cheer the runners on.

It was a race that Jacek had won before, back in 2019 when he recorded a time of 1:12:49. Since his approach to it was different this time though, it wasn’t a case of trying to emulate that. He had his race strategy and long run session plan and he was going to try to to stick to it.

After a three mile warm up, JC launched into the race with a 5:47 for his first mile. He then settled into his intended pace of 6 minutes per mile for the next eight miles, with a couple of them slightly faster.

Jacek Cieluszecki heads don the prom in the Weymouth Half Marathon

Jacek heads along the sunny seafront

That left him with four miles of the actual race remaining. His next mile was mostly downhill so he went through that in 5:46 before cranking the pace up to 5:35 for the last three miles, despite the first of them being all uphill.

It was a very well executed run that put him in 9th place in the overall standings with a finishing time for the Half Marathon of 1:15:56. The course for the race actually came up slightly short this time round, probably by about 0.15 miles. That meant that for PB chasers, it wouldn’t go down as an official half marathon best on Power of 10. That didn’t matter to JC though as for him, it had served its purpose.

JC in action at the Weymouth Half Marathon

The race went exactly according to plan for JC

It proved to be the right environment for Christian Green of Wells City Harriers to succeed in and he picked up the win in a sensational time of 1:10:33. That was enough for almost a minute and a half of breathing space between himself and Ben Renshaw who put in a terrific performance to seal 2nd place in exactly 1 hour 12 minutes.

Christian Green in the lead at the Weymouth Half Marathon

Christian Green of Wells City Harriers bossed proceedings from the outset

Egdon Heath Harriers’ star man Christopher Peck consistently delivers the goods in every race he does and he claimed 3rd place in 1:12:19. Then it was a Highgate Harriers athlete, Shaun Dixon, who took 4th in 1:13:02.

Ben Renshaw and Christopher Peck in the Weymouth Half Marathon

Ben Renshaw (left) and Christopher Peck (red vest) were in the chasing pack

Charlie Williams made it two Egdon Heath Harriers in the top five when he arrived at the finish line in 1:13:58 in what was a fairly local race for them. Jon James then made it two Wells City Harriers in the top six when he came in to take 6th place in 1:14:42.

Christian Green comes in for the win in the Weymouth Half Marathon

It was an emphatic win from Christian Green in the end

Jonny Cooper was the third Egdon Heath Harriers man in the top seven when he crossed the line in 1:14:47 making it a very good day for the men in red. Nat Lawrence then ensured it was a good day for the women as well when she arrived to take 26th place overall and first female in 1:21:45.

Her closest challenger was Gill Pearson of Running for time who completed the course in 1:24:25. Valieria Sesto of Lymington was 3rd female in 1:25:49.

Nat Lawrence in the Weymouth Half Marathon

Nat Lawrence was the top woman in the race

The only other Bournemouth AC representation in the race was from Simon Bartlett and he got round in 1:35:05 which put him in 116th place overall and put him 2nd in the Male 60 to 64 category. Graham Goldsmid of Wells City Harriers finished 1st in that category in a time of 1:31:03.

Jacek’s wife Ela completed the course in 1:53:52 which put her in 386th place overall and 88th placed female. She was also 17th in the Women’s 35 to 39 category. A total of 896 runners took part in the Half Marathon race that morning.

A shark, a clown and a milkman were all taking part

A shark, a clown and a milkman were all taking part

For JC though, the run didn’t end when the race finished. He continued for another four miles to make it up to 20 miles in total and his average pace for the run was 6:25 in minutes per mile. That made it very decent training run from his perspective.

The week after that he managed a 14 mile run, followed by two 15 miles runs, all on consecutive days and his average pace for the two 15 mile runs was between 6:30 and 6:40. He was now starting to click into gear and look more like the JC we’ve come to know and expect.

This week he was back over the Purbeck for a 17 miler with 1,500ft of elevation at just over 7 minutes per mile. In his most recent run he completed 20 miles at an average pace of 6:11, including a couple of Poole parkruns at 16:01 and 17:30. That average pace wasn’t too far off what he’ll looking to do in the Annecy Marathon which takes place in 13 days time.

Jacek and Ela with Artur Majewski and Martin Clayton

Jacek and Ela with Artur Majewski and Martin Clayton after the race