Unquestionably one of the best and fastest races in the southern region, the Eastleigh 10k provides a perfect platform for runners in good form to fulfil their potential. That’s certainly what a number of Bournemouth AC members were hoping to do when they took to the start line on a sultry Sunday morning.

The last edition of the Eastleigh 10k took place in August and that was when Trev Elkins recoded his 10k PB of 37:24. He was looking to improve on that this time round and had been putting in some good training including some quick parkruns in preparation.

Another man who has been running extremely well of late was Sam Jackson and he was also ready and raring to go, harbouring hopes of a sub 36 minute time. His 10k best was set at the Christchurch Christmas 10k in December and that was 36:35 so again, that was a good target to try to eclipse.

And of course, Sam’s brother Luke who also runs for BAC was in action that day as well. He’d been suffering from a bad back though so wasn’t expecting to be challenging his PB time of 39:03 which was set back in 2013. But he had been training well lately so there have been signs that he’s coming back into form and he did run well in the Christmas 10k to record a time of 40:06.

Barry Dolman was there as well, along with his son Harry who has been training with the BAC juniors. Both Barry and Harry have really been enjoying their running recently and after a first place finish at Lymington Woodside parkrun, Harry was really beginning to excel. The Eastleigh 10k would provide a great test for him against some top call opposition, most of whom would be significantly older than him.

Barry and Harry Dolman in action at the Eastleigh 10k

Father and son squared off with Barry Dolman (37) up against his son Harry (36)

Also in action was one of Bournemouth AC’s most consistent performers in recent cross country races, Josh Cole. Josh had been competing for the club in some of the Hampshire League fixtures as well as running in the South West Inter County Championships and then going on to run for Dorset in the CAU Inter County Championships.

Testing yourself against high quality opposition is one of the best ways to improve and that’s what Josh has been doing recently and it’s really been working. His PB of 33:30 was set at the Tatton 10k last Spring so that was the target for him to aim for.

Trev Elkins in the Eastleigh 10k

Trev Elkins (38) was in the hunt to better his previous Eastleigh 10k time

With an 18:30 for the first 5k and and 18:21 for the second 5k, Trev Elkins managed to smash his previous best time to finish in 36:44. That put him in 136th place out of a field of 2,284 and 21st out of 191 in the VM 40-44 category.

Trev Elkins giving his all in the Eastleigh 10k

A decent run from Trev saw him finish in 36:44

He had hoped to get a bit closer to a sub 36 but got a stitch at 6k so had to slow down a bit to get rid of it. It was still a superb run from Trev though and another step in the right direction.

Sam Jackson powers through in the Eastleigh 10k

Sam Jackson (2808) was looking to get close to 36 minutes

Registering an 18:21 for the first 5k and an 18:24 for the second 5k, Sam Jackson crossed the line in a time of 36:39, which left him just four seconds shy of a PB. That put Sam in 130th place overall and he was 16th out of 198 in the VM 45-49 category.

Sam Jackson grinds it out in the Eastleigh 10k

Sam was agonisingly close to a PB but just missed out

Although he felt like he struggled a bit but it was still a good solid run for Sam and there’s no doubt that if he keeps working hard and training well then faster times will come.

Sam Jackson in the Eastleigh 10k

It was still a good run from Sam though to finish in 36:39

Unfortunately Luke did struggle with his back a bit during the run and that ended up hampering his progress somewhat. With a 20:27 for his first 5k and a 20:43 for his second 5k though, it was still a fairly decent time of 41:05 for Luke. That put him in 304th place and 50th VM 40-44.

Luke Jackson in action at the Eastleigh 10k

Luke Jackson (black headband) was hampered by back issues but still got round in 41:05

Proving that talent definitely does run in the family for the Dolmans, Barry finished in an excellent time of 38:33 to come in in 194th place and Harry got round in 39:35 which put him in 241st place.

Barry Dolman taking on the Eastleigh 10k

Barry ran well to finish in 38:33

Harry Dolman going well in the Eastleigh 10k

Harry didn’t come in long after, getting to the line in 39:35

Barry’s first 5k went down at 19:54 and his second half was considerably quicker at 18:39 so it was a strong run from him. It was enough to give him 13th place in the VM 50-54 category.

Barry Dolman turns the corner in the Eastleigh 10k

Barry’s running has really turned a corner of late

Harry was also stronger over the second half of the run, posting a 20:14 for his first 5k and a 19:21 for his second 5k. That gave him a 4th place finish in the Boys 15-16 category.

Harry Dolman motoring along in the Eastleigh 10k

It was a brilliant run from Harry that gave him 4th place in his age category

Perhaps the most outstanding run of the day though from a BAC perspective came from Josh Cole. His preparation for the race wasn’t great as he’d been travelling about a fair bit resulting in a disruption to his taper.

Nevertheless though, he set out fast, with a 5:02 for the first mile. He worked hard over the first couple of kilometres to get onto the back of the second group as he felt like that would put him in a good position.

Josh Cole starting the Eastleigh 10k

Josh Cole (2869) was quickly out of the blocks

He possibly did pay for that a bit from 5 to 8k where he slowed a touch and then he suffered a lot over the final 2k, although that is to be expected really. He was trying to go with everyone who came past him for as long as he could hold on.

Josh puts absolutely everything into his races and he ended up full on sprinting the last quarter of a mile to overtake Will Cullen and seal 22nd place overall in an astonishing time of 32:29.

Josh Cole in the Eastleigh 10k

Josh certainly put his all into it and came away with a great result to show for it

That consisted of a 16:06 for the first 5k and a 16:23 for the second 5k and his average pace for the run was an electric 5:15 minutes per mile. It really was a terrific run from Josh and he’s already looking forward to doing it again next year.

He was very pleased to get his awesome new PB in before the birth of his son Sullivan who arrived just a week later. If he gets the fast genes passed down from his dad, there’s no doubt he’ll be a cracking runner when he’s older too.

Josh Cole blasts along in the Eastleigh 10k

Josh blasts through to a remarkable PB of 32:29

The race winner was Alex Lawrence of Victoria Park Harriers & Tower Hamlets and he whizzed round in an incredible time of 29:28. That was enough to fend off competition from Daniel Mulryan of Thames Valley Harriers who was runner up in 30:10. Then it was William Cork of Brighton & Hove who crossed the line in 30:26, just ahead of Southampton’s Aiden Lennan who took 4th in 30:29.

Twemlow man Lee Dempster managed a brilliant PB of 33:13 to take 42nd place, coming in just before Sarah Astin of Belgrave Harriers who was first female, registering a magnificent time of 33:17.

Lonely Goat man Andy Leggott was 48th, clocking a superb time of 33:47 and Poole AC’s Brian Underwood secured an excellent PB of 33:49 to take 50th place in the overall standings, just behind Matt Risden of Southampton.

Wimborne AC man Damien Huntingford also improved his Power of 10 profile with a stunning time of 34:59 which put him in 83rd place overall. Poole AC woman Vicky Ingham was 6th female, crossing the line in 35:11 along with Twemlow man Steven Rigby.

Tom Andrews of Lytchett Manor Striders also had a cracking run to get round in a time of 35:29.

It was great to see so many Dorset based runners at the top of their game and smashing out PBs to prove that the local running scene is currently teeming with talent. This healthy level of competition can only serve to spur Bournemouth AC runners on in their quest to be the best that they can be.