Steve on his Way to a superb 30th place finish in the Virgin London Marathon

It is known by many to be the pinnacle of the sporting calendar, particularly in the runner’s realm, and it’s something people of all ages and ability are prepared to devote months of hard training, sacrifice and unwavering dedication to work toward. The London Marathon is indeed a special occasion every time it comes around, never failing to deliver by bringing people together and encompassing that inspirational, unbreakable spirit that us Brits are famous for.

A record number of participants competed in the race this year, with 40,000 lining up to sample the iconic course in all its glory. As ever, the participants ranged from the very top distance runners on the world stage, to amateur club runners, to relative beginners to who have taken on the challenge looking to raise money for a worthy cause. Whatever their motivations, anyone who completed the 26.2-mile circuit deserves plaudits.

Bournemouth AC had a healthy representation amongst those competitors with 19 club members taking part. Amongst them, a few hard fought PBs were secured as well as many other stellar performances to be proud of.

One of the standout displays of the day came from Rob McTaggart, who finished in an incredible 2 hours 28 minutes, putting him in 41st place overall. What made this performance even more impressive was that it was only his second ever marathon after Bournemouth last autumn. This is a sign that there are exciting things to come from Tag in future long distance events.

Rob McTaggart powers his way to a stunning 41st place in only his second ever marathon

Stuart Nicholas managed a 17 second improvement on his previous best, coming in with a time of 2 hours 43 minutes. This was Stuart’s fifth attempt at the London Marathon and at the half way stage he was on target to break 2 hours 40 minutes but tired a bit in the second half of the race. Nevertheless, it was a pleasing run for Stuart, despite arriving in a starter pen a little later than planned after going the wrong way on the tube.

Marathon first timer Steve Bunce was targeting a 4-hour finish and managed the race well considering it was his debut at the distance. He set off at a steady pace and managed to tough it out well for a creditable 4 hour 2-minutefinish.

Steve Way was battling to defend his crown of finishing as the first vet, which he did last year. Steve’s time of 2 hours 26 minutes was enough to put him in 30th place overall and 4th in the vet category. This was still a success given that the marathon is not currently Steve’s primary focus. His training is all geared toward the Comrades ultra on 4th June. Comrades is the world’s most competitive road ultra, with the a tough 87km course, predominantly uphill.

Steve shows the others the Way to the finish line

Stuart Fox ran his fastest marathon of recent times, finishing in 2 hours 33 minutes. Stu had been on target for a 2 hour 30 finish but it slipped away from him in the last five miles. It was still a great return though, securing 110th place in the overall standings and 13th in the Male 40-44 category.

Over the last sector of the race Stu was accompanied by Anthony Clark who came in just two seconds later in 113th place. It was the first of two marathons in consecutive days for Anthony as he jetted off to Lisbon the next day with the illustrious Peter Thompson to accompany him on the next step of his amazing marathon journey around Europe.

Anthony is currently in training for the Anglo Celtic Plate, a 100km ultra in Hull on 21st May so is getting in the marathons thick and fast. He is also set to take part in the North Dorset Vale Marathon next weekend.

Anthony Clark seems to be enjoying himself as he races to a 2.33 finish

Another who was aiming for a 2 hour 30 finish was Toby Chapman. However, he was also struck by the curse of the last six miles and began to feel like he was running on empty. Toby managed to persevere and ended up finishing in a very creditable time of 2 hours 36. This put him 187th in the overall standings.

Toby Chapman tears up the course in true style

Simon Way is coming back to form now after a troubled year of injury and he was 50th place in the male 50-54 category with a solid 2 hours 54 minutes. This was despite being 5 weeks behind on his training schedule. He’s currently working toward his main goal of the Dorchester Marathon in five weeks’ time.

Simon Way makes his way toward the finish on The Mall

One man who certainly surprised a few people by making an appearance was Graeme Miller. Graeme has been struggling with injury since the Berlin Marathon back in 2015 so it was good to see him donning the BAC vest once again.

Despite vomiting a few times at around the 15 mile mark and glute pains kicking in around mile 17, Graeme went on to show he’s still got it, finishing in a superb time of 2 hours 56 minutes.

Graeme Miller pops up to clock another sub 3 marathon despite recent injury woes

Another BAC member to break the 3-hour barrier was Billy McGreevy. Billy was targeting a 2 hours 50 time but again began to suffer a bit and cramp up in the last six miles. Despite that he still managed to salvage a very respectable finish of 2 hours 57 putting him in 1,560th place in the overall standings.

Billy McGreevy cruises towards a sub 3-hour time

Just on the other side of the 3-hour barrier was Paul Chapman, who came in in 2,086th place with a time of 3 hours 1 minute. Paul went through the half way point on course for a sub 3 but then started vomiting at around the 20-mile mark. He then slowed a bit for the next four miles again before picking it up for the final two. Whilst he was a bit gutted not to finish the wrong side of 3 hours, Paul was pleased he managed to finish ahead of the world record breaking hot dog.

Gary Woolnough finished just outside the PB he set at Brighton last year with a time of 3 hours 7 minutes. Gary was happy with the time, given that he has just returned from injury and even managed a negative split for the race, which is something not achieved by many in the VLM.

Next in was Sanjai Sharma, who had been on course for finish of around 2 hours 48 minutes until he was struck down by a severe cramp in both legs. After 5 minutes, he managed to get up and walk to the finish line but the damage to his time had already been done by then. His finishing time of 3 hours 8minutes left Sanjai feeling a little deflated after all the hard training he’d put in over the winter months but he lives to fight another day has vowed come back stronger next time.

Andrew Gillespie just dipped under 4-hour barrier, clocking a time of 3 hours 58 minutes which put him in 425th place Male 55-59 category. Andrew was coming off the back of the Jurassic Coast Challenge, which he did three weeks ago. This consisted of three marathons in three days so it’s highly possible he still had some of that in his legs on Sunday but overall, he was happy with his performance.

Completing his ninth London Marathon, Julian Oxborough managed to overcome heat stroke, sickness and a chronic back pain to make it to the finish line showing great tenacity.  Although he felt like dropping out on many occasions, the crowd really helped pull him through the tough moments.

Julian’s final finishing time was 7 hours 26, not quite managing the sub 6 hours he was hoping for. Back in his heyday though, in the early 90’s, Julian was a sub 3-hour marathon runner. Since then he has taken a 17 year absence from running. Julian was pleased to raise a decent amount of money for the mental health charity Mind.

Paul Dixon-Box was also on the start line for the race but unfortunately didn’t make it to the end due to injuries and being unable to attend training sessions on a regular basis after the birth of his second child. Paul claims to have lost a bit of form of late as well but he still managed to reach the half way point in 1 hour and 20 minutes before pulling out.

The most colourful element of the race from a BAC perspective was the presence of Peter Thompson and his support train, which included Caroline Rowley and team captain Rich Nelson amongst others.

This was to be Peter’s 23rd consecutive marathon as he continued his epic journey around Europe with the aim of completing 44 marathons in 44 days. The idea is to run a marathon in each different  European country whilst raising money for two mental health charities.

Peter Thompson and his support train including Rich Nelson and Caroline Rowley

A sobering thought is that by the time of writing this, Peter will have already completed another three more marathons, which gives some idea of the enormity of the task he has taken on. Peter is doing it all with a smile though which is great to see and he enjoyed having the opportunity to take it all in, engage with the crowd and thank people who had come out to support.

Although this was his slowest marathon to date, Peter describes it as his most rewarding and it was great that he could share that experience with Rich and Caroline as well as they accompanied him every step of the way. The intrepid threesome all finished within a minute of each other at around 4 hours and 28 minutes.

Team BAC soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the occasion and embodying the true spirit of the event


Bournemouth AC Results:

Overall    Cat Pos    Name                            Category         Time

30                4                  Steve Way                  40-44                 2:26:52
41               425             Rob McTaggart        18-39                2:28:53
110            13                Stuart Fox                   40-44                2:33:24
113            95                Anthony Clark          18-39               2:33:26
187            158             Toby Chapman         18-39               2:36:52
474            348             Stuart Nicholas        18-39               2:43:44
1,176        50                Simon Way                 50-54               2:54:11
1,416        131             Graeme Miller          45-49               2:56:48
1,560        929             Billy McGreevy        18-39               2:57:52
2,086        1,161         Paul Chapman          18-39               3:01:31
2,704        338             Gary Woolnough    45-49               3:07:28
2,885        47                Sanjai Sharma           55-59               3:08:51
12,765     425             Andrew Gillespie    55-59               3:58:11
13,955     5,079         Steve Bunce               18-39               4:02:37
20,025     739             Caroline Rowley      45-49              4:27:52
20,193     2,771         Rich Nelson                40-44              4:28:26
20,302     7,050         Peter Thompson     18-39               4:28:47
DNF          DNF            Paul Dixon-Box        18-39               –