After the Bournemouth AC‘s signature race, the Bournemouth 10, was cancelled for the third time this year, Ian White had been left with a huge surplus of t-shirts and medals but no one to give them to.
It was a real shame, not just for the infringement on Ian’s wardrobe space, but because the Bournemouth 10 has traditionally been one of the highlights of the local road race calendar. It has certainly hosted some terrific battles over the years, not least between some of the big names in the yellow and blue of BAC.
Despite all the ground work Ian and his team of organisers had done to try and find a workable solution to get it to go ahead, they had been forced to concede defeat in the end. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and issues that had arisen off the back of that, it just wasn’t going to be possible to hold the race in its usual form.
Fortunately though, the main sponsor for the race, Runderwear, agreed to put on a virtual event, where runners could record their own 10-mile run and submit the activity. A list of results would subsequently be compiled and produced from the evidence received.
Even though it was a virtual event the race attracted some top talent from far and wide, including well known elites such as Adam Holland. There were also several of Bournemouth AC’s big hitters turning out as well including Rob McTaggart and Harry Smith and they were well equipped to give the elite athletes a run for their money.
Emma Caplan was also in action and she would no doubt be vying for the top woman’s crown but with a field of 750 taking part there were bound to be other good female adversaries for her to contend with.
Alex Goulding and Adam Corbin were also getting in on the action and both had the potential to finish well up in the standings if they had a run.
There was also a race debut of sorts for Szymon Chojnaki who recently joined the clubs after moving over from Poland. He was another athlete who had shown tremendous pedigree so it was going to be interesting to see what kind of performance he could produce in his new surroundings.
Having trained extremely hard for the original Bournemouth 10 race, or the third edition at least anyway, Paddy McCallister was probably amongst those most disappointed when the event was canned.
He’d been targeting a sub-70 minute time which would have represented a huge step up on anything he’d produced previously. Even though the race was off though, Paddy was determined to get out and test his resolve anyway and on the date that he would have been running the Bournemouth 10, he managed to complete the 10 mile distance in a time of 1:09:59.
He hadn’t left himself much to spare that day and had to seriously motor over the last couple of miles but he did it and that was a testament to the progression he’s been making over recent months. Now, three weeks later, he had another opportunity to see if he could improve on that even further.
The Runderwear Virtual 10 Mile race also presented Ian White with a rare chance to tackle the Bournemouth 10 himself, instead of being there to organise and oversee the proceedings. And the same went for his wife Sam, who also runs for BAC. She was also relishing the opportunity to race it herself this time round.
On the day of the race the runners were greeting with nigh on perfect conditions. With relatively no wind to hold them back, it was a great chance for them to excel if they could get into full on race mode despite being on their own.
Coming off the back of a superb victory in the Run to the Sea 50k ultra marathon, Harry Smith had clearly been in good recent form. He was treating it as both a fitness test for himself and a chance to test out his new Alphafly trainers before running in them in a proper race.
Harry lives near Salisbury so his run was conducted from there. For the bulk of it, he was targeting around his projected half marathon sort of pace, which was between 5:35 and 5:34 pace. He managed that with no troubles for the first 7 miles or so began to crank it up a notch for the last few miles.
Ending with a 5:24 and a 5:20 mile, Harry completed his 10 mile run in an incredible time of 55:33. At an average pace of 5:33 minutes per mile, it was a very impressive performance and was abundantly clear that both he and the trainers had passed the test.
That was time that very few competitors were able to better. In fact, only one Bournemouth AC man posted a quicker time than that and that was of course Rob McTaggart.
After his outstanding run in the Dorney Lake Marathon back in October when he got round in 2 hours 29 minutes despite atrocious conditions, Tag knew he was in good form.
He ran a looped route starting from just north of Christchurch and heading over to Bransgore. He then turned left onto Thatchers Lane before heading back along Harpway Road.
For the first nine miles he didn’t even look at his watch. He just ran it at, what was for him, a solid tempo pace. He then turned the screw in the last mile to finish very strongly with a 5:12 mile split.
For the rest of the miles he’d been mostly going at between 5:25 and 5:35 pace. He actually completed the 10 miles in a time of 55:01 but didn’t manage to stop his watch straight away which cost him 16 seconds, putting his official time at 55:17.
It was a remarkable run from Tag and again, there were very few out there who could even dream of matching that sort of pace.
When all the results had been counted and verified though it emerged the Nick Bester of Herne Hill Harriers had taken the top prize. Running his Virtual 10 at Battersea Park, he clocked in at an astonishing time of 54:10, which was enough to give him a fairly comfortable victory.
Electing to run his race along Taunton Canal, Adam Holland sealed 2nd place, finishing in a time of 55:01. That was exactly the same time as Tag, only he did remember to stop his watch straight away. That put his average pace at a tremendous 5:30 minutes per mile.
Ben Goddard of Woking took the official 3rd place posting a time of 55:12. That also meant he netted the prize for first vet over 35. Then it was Tag in 4th and Harry in 5th.
Ben Neale of Tavistock Run Project took 6th place in a time of 56:58, with Luke De-Benedictis of Poole Runners finishing in 7th place, completing his 10 mile run in 57:50.
Toby Rowlands of Runnymede Runners finished in 8th place in a time of 58:08, with Adam Tuck of Ryde Harriers taking 9th and 1st prize in the vet 40 category with his time of 58:40.
Clocking a time of 59:45, Szymon Chojnacki was the next highest Bournemouth AC man in the standings. He finished in 12th position, which sounds like a terrific result. Szymon has high expectations though and he was actually hoping for a quicker time.
His chosen route did feature a couple of tough climbs though which he did lose a bit of time on. Because he’s relatively new to the area though, he wasn’t able to find a full flat route on this occasion.
German runner Wolgang Buhr finished in 13th place, also securing a time of 59:45. That saw him take 1st prize in the vet 45 category just pipping Alex Goulding to the post.
Aiming for a sub-60-minute time, Alex had been going very well in training over recent times so he knew he was in great shape. A large part of his route was along the promenade though which was packed with pedestrians and other runners so that didn’t help his cause.
He’d actually slipped behind schedule a bit over the first 7 miles though and had left himself a lot to do over the last three miles. He found to strength and the will to dig deep though and put in a 5:45, 5:49 and a 5:35 for his last three miles, just managing to sneak in with a sub-60.
His time of 59:59 put him in 15th place which was a marvelous result and a well earned reward for all the hard work he’s been putting in on such a consistent basis.
As for the race to be declared fastest female, that accolade did indeed go to Bournemouth AC’s Emma Caplan. She conducted her run right along the length of the promenade from Hengistbury Head to Sandbanks.
She was consistently between 6:20 and 6:25 minutes per mile pace for the vast majority of her miles, with a couple of them being even quicker.
It was a very strong, solid run from Emma which saw her complete the 10 miles in a time of 1:03:52. That put her in 28th place overall and saw her secure a winning margin of almost two minutes over her nearest female rival.
That was Rebekah Edgar of Thames Hare and Hounds who finished in 32nd place overall in a time of 1:05:40. She was immediately followed by Laura Dalton who was 3rd lady in 1:05:57.
One BAC member who wasn’t quite at the races that day was Adam Corbin. He got out of the blocks quickly and went through the first two miles in a decent time but at around the 2-and-a-half mile point he went into a slight headwind which knocked him off track.
He stopped for a moment, pondering over whether or not to continue. He decided to soldier on, get the 10 miles done and get his t-shirt.
For the next four miles though he was significantly slower than an athlete of his caliber should be over the 10 mile distance. He managed to pick the pace up a bit for last four miles though but his prospects of getting the sort of time he would ordinarily have hoped for had gone out the window.
Completing the 10 miles with a moving time of 1:03:24, it would actually still have been a reasonable time for Adam. As is standard with virtual races though, they tend to go on elapsed time, and his elapsed time, including the stoppage he had, was 1:04:58. That put him in 30th place in the standings.
Adam had recently been ill for three weeks which had killed his momentum somewhat so the fact that he struggled to hit the heights he’d usually demand of himself may have been a bi-product of that.
Putting in another stellar performance, Paddy McCallister just managed to squeeze into the top 50 with his time of 1:08:15. That was a 1 minute 44 second improvement on his previous effort on the original Bournemouth 10 date so he was pleased with that outcome.
Paddy did his run on a two lap route which had a couple of inclines to keep it interesting. He went through the five mile point in 33 minutes 30 seconds so he knew at the stage he was on for a decent time and he managed to avoid crumbling in the second half to bring it home well.
Setting off on his run just after midday, Chris O’Brien elected to go for the seafront route. That was a decision he would live to regret as it turned out the promenade was quite busy at that time so he ended up having to weave in and out of people the whole way. In fact, he even had to stop at one point.
It ended up as more of a hard training run than a race for Chris and he was disappointed with his finishing time of 1:11:19. It still put him in 60th place though and was an outcome that most runners would have been overjoyed with. Chris knows he is capable of much better though.
When he headed out for his Virtual 10 run, Phil Cherrett was undertaking his second run of the day. He’d already been out on the trails that morning at Moor Park with his daughter Isabel, who is one of BAC’s brightest young prospects.
For the Virtual 10, Phil set off at just over 8:30 pace and gradually upped the pace throughout the duration of his run to make it a good progressive effort in the end. Finishing in exactly 1 hour 22 minutes, Phil claimed 181st place in the standings.
Having really missed running with others, it was nice for Phil even to do a virtual run. He felt pretty strong throughout and was pleased with how he ran. He has been struggling for motivation recently so was thankful to the organisers for getting him out to run 10 miles.
The highlight of the event for Phil was that he managed to convince four family members to run it as well. Without parkrun they are missing out on everything that running brings so it was great that they were able to take part.
And to put the icing on cake, Phil’s mum Jan won the female V70 category as well in her first ever 10 mile run, finishing in 1:41:27. He was proud of her for that.
Although he hadn’t done too much running over recent times, Ian White made the most of his chance to actually compete in the Bournemouth 10 and thoroughly enjoyed his first event as a V50.
Starting off from Southbourne, he headed off in the direction of Hengistbury Head first before heading back along the Overcliff and down onto the promenade. Turning round just before Bournemouth Pier, he then headed all the way back to where he started at Southbourne.
It was a decent run from Ian and his pace was pretty consistent throughout. Finishing in a time of 1:22:49, he came in in 189th place overall and out of the V50 category, he was 16th of 51.
Completing her Virtual 10 in a time of 1:23:09, Debbie Lennon took 1st place in the female V55 category which was a terrific result for her. In the overall standings, she was 193rd, and she was 34th out of 347 females.
Each choosing a seafront based route, Estelle Slatford, Tamzin Petersen and Louise Price all bumped into each other on route and ran together whilst heading towards Bournemouth Pier.
For them it was more of a social, chatty run that an all out blaster. Estelle started off in Boscombe and headed in the direction of Southbourne first before turning and heading towards Boscombe Pier, the on towards Bournemouth and subsequently on towards Branksome Dene Chine before heading back to Boscombe.
Picking up the pace a touch over the last few miles, Estelle completed her 10 mile route in exactly 1 hour 27 minutes. That put in 249th place overall and saw her finish as 50th female. In the V45 category, she came 10th out of 69.
Starting off from the top of Middle Chine, Tamzin headed down towards the seafront and then headed off towards Bournemouth Pier. She then carried on to Boscombe Pier and on towards Southbourne before turning round and heading all the way back to Alum Chine.
Completing the run in 1:27:55, Tamzin finished 264th overall and was 55th female. In the Senior female category, she was 14th out of 53.
Running her Virtual 10 with her husband ‘Pricey’, Louise went for a point-to-point run, starting off from Christchurch and then heading towards Hengistbury Head before hitting the seafront and heading all the way to Sandbanks.
Finishing in 1:29:11, Lou was 292nd overall and 70th female. In the V50 category she was 8th out of 50. It was a PB for the distance for her husband, so he was very pleased with that.
Running the same route as Ian, Sam White set off five minutes before him, meaning he would be initially be chasing her. She had to stop and go to the loo though and and Ian went past so after that she was behind him.
They then passed each other on Bournemouth Pier and she followed him back to the finish at Southbourne Beach. The format seemed to work well for Sam and she actually managed to record a PB for the distance.
Finishing in 1:31:54, Sam came 335th overall and was 91st female and 12th in the vet 50 category. All things considered, it was a very pleasing result for Sam.
Currently recovering from a torn calf muscle, Wayne Walford Jelks took it fairly easy but still put in a decent shift to finish in 1:32:07. That put him in 348th place overall.
Starting off with a sub two hour target, Julian Oxborough used Stryd to help him achieve his desired outcome. Stryd measures power to instruct on the level of exertion you should be putting in as opposed to using pace alone.
It seemed to work well for Julian and he ran his fastest 10 mile time since the Great South Run back in 2015, getting round in 1:56:10. That put him in 634th place overall.
Having not dipped under the two hour target for quite some time, he was absolutely delighted with the result and said that he had never felt so good in a race.
Crucially, in the last two miles he felt like he had a lot of energy left which meant he was able to sustain the pace he needed to hit his target. That confirmed to him that the advice he was getting from the Stryd app was working and was helping him perform to the best of his ability.
Although obviously it wasn’t quite the same as the Bournemouth 10 races of previous years, it was great to see so many runners out there taking part and it went some way to proving that, even in troubled times, the spirit of the running community cannot be quelled.