A Happy Christmas to everyone and best wishes for successful and injury-free athletics in 2016.
First of all, many thanks to Gemma Bragg for organising a highly successful roadrunners’ Christmas meal on Friday evening 18 December. Something like 30 of us went to Aruba, by Bournemouth Pier, where we experienced good food, drink and company in a very lively (and increasingly noisy!) atmosphere. It was a very enjoyable evening, and we are all very grateful to Gemma, who worked very hard beforehand, collecting menus, money, etc., etc.  A perfect start to Christmas!
Apparently, Steve Way is taking time out to recuperate and regenerate after some exceptional achievements, so how come Steve was running the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon on 20 December? Not only did Steve run in the marathon – he won it! Steve was first of 897 finishers in a time of 2.47.20. Although the marathon course is almost totally flat, it is hardly a PB course – it is described as a “unique multi-terrain marathon”, and the video of the course reveals gravel, stony beach and very narrow and at times virtually non-existent paths. Let’s hope Steve is on his way back to full fitness.
As the end of the year approaches, it’s worth reviewing some of the medals and awards which have been won by our athletes.
The awards for the Dorset Road Race League for 2015 will be presented following the Broadstone Quarter Marathon at the Junction Leisure Centre on New Year’s Day. Apart from the awards to BAC‘s Mens’ and Ladies’ teams, who both came top of their respective Divisions 1, individual awards go to Heidi Tregenza, first individual lady, and Nikki Sandell, second individual lady. In the age category awards, Heidi is the first lady 21-24, Gemma Bragg first lady 30-34 and Nikki first lady 35-39. The ladies’ club award goes to Heidi, and the mens’ club award to Steve Cox. In addition, Nikki wins the Fidelity Award for running in all 12 DRRL races. Why not come along, compete in the Broadstone Quarter, which is the first race of the DRRL for 2016, and cheer our winners as they receive their awards?
A number of BAC athletes have won County Championship medals throughout the year. Jacek Cieluszecki is the County Champion and gold medallist over 10 miles, achieved at the Lytchett 10 on 15 February, where Toby Chapman won the silver medal. Nikki Sandell won two gold medals at the North Dorset Village Marathon on 3 May, as both County Senior Lady and Veteran Lady Champion. Graeme Miller was a gold and bronze medallist at the Sturminster Half Marathon on 2 August – gold as County Veteran Man Champion, and bronze as third Senior Man. And finally, for the road, Peter Thompson is the County 10k Champion and gold medallist following his win at the Boscombe 10k on 22 November. The County Cross Country Championship was held at Canford School on 13 December, at which Nikki Sandell won another gold medal as the County Veteran Lady Champion, in which category Joy Wright won bronze. Nikki was the overall winner of the ladies’ race, and both Nikki and Joy finished before the first Senior (ie non-vet)Lady.  Another bronze medal went to Brandon Meredith as third U17 Man.
ParkRun activity was rather limited for BAC on 19 December. Amongst the 270 finishers at the Bournemouth ParkRun were Jud Kirk, Paul Consani, Steve Cox, Joe Price, who sprinted over the line to overtake Ian Graham (has he no respect for his elders?!) and Will Price. The only BAC competitor at the Poole ParkRun was Paul Dixon-Box, who was 8th of a total of 576, and at the Moors Valley ParkRun, Chris O’Brien was 17th of 186.

And now, as the shortest day has passed and the days are getting longer, and we can begin to anticipate the summer, a look back to last summer’s Sainsbury’s UK School Games….courtesy of Madeleine Smith………………………..

“Competing at the Sainsbury’s UK School Games was a fantastic opportunity and an amazing experience due to the variety of sports represented.

We were all given tracksuits according to the country we represented. England was split into five regions, including the South West, whose vests were bright yellow, and included athletes from Cornwall, Devon, the Channel Islands, Dorset, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire and Berkshire. The other teams competing were Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the ‘Rest of the World’, comprising of Brazil, the Anguilla Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands.

“We took the train up to Manchester and stayed at university halls of residence. After arriving we attended the opening ceremony, hosted in the Manchester Arena. The highlight of the evening was probably the opening of the games and interviews with Dina Asher Smith, Adam Peaty and Ellie Simmonds, although the fireworks and confetti were impressive.

“The next day was the day of the athletics competition, held at the warm up track for the Commonwealth Games, by Manchester City’s football ground. Several local primary schools came to watch the events and they really helped to boost the atmosphere (even though they were probably more excited by the prospect of a day off school!).

“The South West team won the athletics, and for the first time ever became UK champions. We were presented the trophy by Jason Gardner, a former SW athlete and an Olympic gold medallist.

“After finishing all the athletics competitions on the Friday, we were free to watch some of the other sports going on where we were staying, including the judo, rugby 7’s, hockey and, on the Sunday, cycling at the National Cycling Centre. We were given seminars on anti-doping and athlete mentoring. The latter was led by Daniel Caines, a former world indoor 400m champion, and Sam Ruddock, a Paralympian who competed in 2012, who gave insights to their experiences of competing at major championships.

“Mum and Dad also had a parent’s seminar to attend!! Jason Gardner and Miriam Battan-Luke (both Olympic medallists) presented the seminar and recognised the major role their parents played in their sporting success and strongly advised that the athletes need to ensure that they keep up with their education.”

Many thanks, Madeleine.