Nikki McTaggart at the Chichester 10k

Nikki McTaggart was one of the four Bournemouth AC members on the grid, revving their engines for the Chichester 10k

Being staged at Goodwood Motor Circuit, the Chichester 10k is one of those races that is just built for speed. That’s probably why it was the third consecutive year Rob and Nikki McTaggart had done it. On the right day, with the right weather conditions, it has real PB potential.

Last year Tag produced his best ever 10k run at Chichester, finishing in 31:28. He’d only once gone faster than that before and that was on a slightly dodgy downhill course at Telford. Nikki also managed a PB at Chichester last year, completing the course in 50:07.

She had since beaten that at the Stubbington 10k in January, getting round 49:25. That was a huge performance seeing as she’d never gone under 50 minutes before. Could she follow it up with something special at Chichester though?

Also in action for Bournemouth AC that day was Laura Daly. Laura is one of the club’s top ladies and is well known for her triathlon exploits. Last year she finished 4th in the Irish National Championships for the Standard Distance Triathlon and went on to compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Finland. She was also first female at Bournemouth Triathlon and came 3rd overall in the Standard Distance race.

Her running has been coming on leaps and bounds since she’d been training with the club as well and last year she clocked three sub 40 minute 10ks, with the fastest of them being an impressive 39:06 at Round the Lakes. She also managed to get her parkrun time down to under 19 minutes.

Kathryn and Laura Daly at the Fields of Athenry 10k

Laura Daly (371) with her sister Kathryn at the Fields of Athenry 10k

On Boxing Day, Laura had competed in the Fields of Athenry 10k back in Ireland and in that race she went out hard but wasn’t able to keep it going. She did still get round in 40:05 though which wasn’t bad, although she joked that she’d left her legs at the dinner table.

She came 147th overall and was 17th female in a race that featured around 1,500. It was quite a high standard one as well, with the winner finishing in exactly 30 minutes and the first female clocking a terrific time of 34:12.

The Chichester 10k also the designated British Masters 10k Championships as well and Geoff Newton was competing in that. He was hoping to get a high placing in the M75 bracket.

Although he prefers an off-road setting, Geoff usually contends for honours in the British Masters Championship races, even when they’re on the road. Geoff usually finds a race to take part in most weekends as he finds it much easier when he’s competing than he would if it were just a training run.

The start of the Chichester 10k

The runners assemble on the start line waiting for the green light to go go go

To quality for the British Masters Championship only have to be over 35 so that meant Tag could also compete in it, as an M35. Simon Hearn was also meant to be running but he’d been suffering from an illness that had affected his chest and breathing and as a result, he decided it wasn’t worth risking it.

Rob McTaggart finishing the Chichester 10k

Rob McTaggart wasn’t in his best form but still got round in 32:23

Going quite quickly to begin with, Tag ran a 5:03, a 5:02 and a 5:07 for his first three splits. He tailed off over the second half of the race though, down to 5:23 pace and ultimately finishing in a time of 32:23.

That put him in 27th place and whilst it was a time that most runners will never even get near, for Tag, it felt like a disappointment as he was expecting better. In the Masters race, Tag came 14th and was 8th in the M35 category, not that that was any consolation to him.

Laura Daly in the Chichester 10k

Laura went well for the first 5k but dropped off a bit in the second half

Laura didn’t have one of her better runs either and for her it was a similar story. She was going well for the first 5k but when the hills and the wind came into play over the second half of the race she began to struggle. That resulted in a finishing time of 40:04 which put her in 295th overall and out of the women in the race, she came 52nd. A total of 1,272 runners successfully completed the course that day.

Starting off with a 7:53 for her first mile split, Nikki then got down to around 7:45 for the rest of the first 5k. The fourth mile was where most runners find it tough as it’s on an incline for the whole mile. Nikki handled it well though, putting in a 7:57. Now it was a quest of what did she have in the tank for the remainder of the race. And the answer was, quite a lot actually.

Nikki McTaggart ringing the PB bell at the Chichester 10k

Nikki got to ring the famous PB bell after her fabulous run

Back up to 7:49 for her fifth split, she then posted her quickest mile of the race at 7:39 for her sixth. That meant she was on for a really quick time. Sure enough, she’d smashed her own PB again, finishing in an amazing time of 48:21. That was over a minute quicker than what she managed at the Stubbington 10k and after all that time trying to get a sub 50, she’d now gone and dipped under 49 minutes after just a month.

Finishing 631st overall, Nikki was 151st lady over the line. It was a hugely impressive performance from Nikki and underlined the strides she’s been making of late. Perhaps the McTaggart name has helped give her some added zip.

Geoff Newton in the Chichester 10k

Geoff Newton finished 4th M75 in the British Masters 10k Championships

As for Geoff, he got round in 50:56 which put him 731st overall. That was only enough for 4th place in the M75 category for the British Masters though so he was a bit disappointed with that. Nevertheless, it was still a solid display from Geoff and he finished 214th out of the Masters athletes.

The race win went to Jack Woods of Worthing & District Harriers and he whipped round in 30:17. Simon Heath of Brighton Phoenix won the British Masters 10k Championship, in a time of 30:42, which put him 2nd overall.

Stephen Derrett of Western Tempo was 3rd in 30:43, with his teammate Phil Wylie taking 4th place and top spot in the M45 category with his time of 30:56. Neil Kevern of Bracknell AC who Stu Nicholas once had a dingdong with in the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon finished 9th in 31:21.

Sebastian Hoenig of Southampton was 2nd M45 in 32:14 which put him just ahead of Tag in 25th place. Matt Risden, also of Southampton finished 42nd in 32:55.

John Hutchins of Woking was the 1st M40 in the British Masters and he came 11th in 31:31. Adrian Mussett of Colchester Harriers was 1st M50 in a time of 31:40 which put him 15th overall.

Mark Symes of Aldershot, Farnham & District was first M55 in 33:18 which put him 55th overall and his teammate Lauren Hall was 1st female in 33:19. Gemma Steel was the next woman to arrive at the line and she became the female British Masters 10k Champion with her time of 33:40. She came 63rd overall with that.

Emily Moyes of Aldershot, Farnham & District was 3rd female and 66th overall in 33:45 and Cassie Thorp of City of Portsmouth was 2nd in the British Masters competition, registering a time of 34:02 which put her 76th overall.

Ellie Monks of Southampton was 1st F40 in a time of 34:59 which put her in 100th place overall. Kate Rennie of Dacorum was 1st F50 in 36:12 with Lesley Locks of Aldershot, Farnham & District netting the 1st F45 prize in 36:36.

The following weekend Tag was looking to attempt the dirty double, running both the Hampshire League cross country race at Kings Park on the Saturday followed by the Lytchett 10 on the Sunday, along with some excess miles. It was set to be a gruelling weekend for him. Laura was also in action at the Lytchett 10, with both the men’s and women’s teams looking very strong for it.