The Upton Summer Series rolled on with the fourth of fixture of the six taking place on another super hot Wednesday evening but the sweltering heat did not deter four Bournemouth AC members from getting involved.
After picking up the win in the first race of the series Rob McTaggart was back and was hoping for the same result as he achieved in his previous outing.
In fact, the time he set that day of 18:56 was still the fastest anyone had gone although Matt Brown of Littledown Harriers had gone within two seconds of it in Race 3.
Having won the other two races, Matt was hoping to be able to challenge Tag for top spot this time round and it was set up to be a good tussle between the two of them.
Taking part in all three races thus far, Katrina White was back in action to register her fourth attempt. She was joined by Ian White and Sam White who were both running their third race of the series.
Because it was so hot, the Whites made a collective decision to take it a bit slower in the hope that they wouldn’t suffer quite so much. Katrina kept telling herself to try and stay comfortable the whole way round.
After the first mile though she knew that it was doable to stay under 8 minutes per mile so that was what she aimed for and that saw her cross the line in 27:42 which put her 64th overall and 14th female.
She was pleased with that outcome given the difficult conditions and came in 5th out of her age group which was the Female 18-39 category.
After a superb sub-26-minute effort in Race 2, Ian White deliberately eased back and was around 15 seconds a mile slower than he was on the previous attempt.
Finishing in a time of 26:32, Ian came in 55th in the overall standings and 5th in the Male 50-54 category. Again, given the conditions, he was pleased with that and will look to get back to sub-26 in the next one.
Also taking it a little bit easier in the intense heat, Sam White finished in 104th position overall with a time of 32:06 and that made her 35th fastest female and 8th in the 50-54 age category.
In the first two races Sam had somehow managed to finish in exactly the same time, clocking a 29:51 on both occasions.
At the front of the field, it was Matt Brown who came out on top, securing his third win of the series in a time of 19:05. The gave him a 43 second margin of victory over Tag who came in 2nd in 19:48.
Tag’s form has dipped slightly over recent times and Matt has been going very well so the result wasn’t a complete surprise in all honesty. The pair would then square off again the following weekend at the Eastleigh 10k.
Another man who has been in excellent form of late is Lewis Clarke of Lonely Goat and he finished in 3rd place registering a time of 20:13.
Just as he did in the previous two races, Tom Andrews of Lychett Manor Striders took 4th place, getting round in a time of 20:22. New Forest Junior Aidan Dure Smith was 5th in 20:30, with Duncan Cooper of Poole AC taking 6th in 20:37.
For the second time in the series, Fern Kimber of Poole AC was fastest female, finishing in 17th place overall with her time of 21:55. Susie Hill was next quickest woman recording a time of 23:29 which put her 28th overall.
Then it was Kate Wilkinson of Poole Runners who finishing in a time of 24:44 which put her 39th overall.
With four races of the six done and dusted the overall positions are starting to shape up with only the best four performances of the six counting for each individual.
Having won three of the four races and finishing 3rd in the other, Matt Brown is top of the table. Tom Andrews is his nearest rival with three 4th place finishes and a 9th. Then it’s Duncan Cooper in 3rd and Aidan Dure-Smith 4th.
In the female standings it’s Lesley Moore of Poole AC who is currently top by virtue of having done all four races but that could all change if Charlotte Bunch runs in either of the last two fixtures.
Becky Dean is Poole Runners is 2nd female in the standings at the moment with Kathryn Robson of Poole AC in 3rd. Then it’s BAC’s very own Katrina White in 4th.
Katrina is currently at the top of the table in the Female 18-39 category as well which is quite an achievement. She knows though that there a number of other athletes in that category who could potentially surpass her if they do one of the last two fixtures so she’s not expecting to stay there.
Nevertheless, she’s put herself in a great position thus far and deserves huge credit for that.
In the teams, it’s Poole AC who lead the way for the men with three wins and a 4th place out of the four races so far, with Littledown Harriers in 2nd and Lytchett Manor Striders in 3rd.
As for the women, it’s Poole Runners out in front with three wins and a 2nd place out of the four races thus far. Then it’s Poole AC with one win and three 2nd places. Bournemouth Joggers and Lytchett Manor Striders are battling a 3rd place.
When the long anticipated return of finally came around it was a chance for athletes to rejoice in that unique sense of community and social interaction that they’ve been missing out on for the past year and a quarter.
Saturdays just haven’t been the same for runners since the events were called off so the opportunity to take to the start line again and see so many friendly faces from the local running scene was one that was not be missed.
The only difference from the way things used to be was the course, which was changed to allow for a bigger finish area. That was positioned in a funnel close to the start line and in the same place that the Hampshire League cross country races usually finish in.
That meant going up the off-road hill you have to head up on the big lap twice, which certainly put the cat among the pigeons in the latter stages of the run.
What the return of parkrun also brought was the chance for Bournemouth AC members to showcase their progress after such a long time without any regular form of competition. And at Bournemouth parkrun, they certainly did that in style.
In fact, BAC men occupied the first four places with Rob Spencer taking number one spot, getting round in terrific time of 16:45.
Ollie James was intending to run it at tempo pace but he was feeling very good and decided to push it a bit which culminated in a 2nd place finish in 16:55.
As he did every Saturday before the pandemic, Stu Nicholas was back doing what he loves and he secured 3rd place in a time of 16:59.
Even though parkrun was officially off, Alex Goulding had still been turning up at 9am every Saturday to run the parkrun route anyway but he reveled in the opportunity to finally compete against other people.
There weren’t too many of them who were quicker than him though and he reached the line in 4th place with an excellent time of 17:13.
Sean Harnett of New Forest Runners was 5th in a time of 17:25 with Richard Ayling of City of Salisbury getting 6th in 17:32.
After his half marathon PB at the Puddletown Plod the previous weekend Rich Brawn was hoping to set a new course PB, albeit a slightly different course.
His best time was 17:53 so that was what he was looking to eclipse this time round. He was up against Matt Brown of Littledown Harriers as well, who had finished ahead of him in the Puddletown Plod.
Putting in a very strong finish, Rich managed to avenge his half marathon defeat and overtake Matt just at the top of the final hill before swinging round into the finishing straight.
Clocking a time of 17:50, Rich took 7th place, with Daniel Pope coming in in 8th in 17:54. Then it was Matt Brown in 9th with a time of 17:57.
Craig Palmer was first finisher in the final Bournemouth parkrun before COVID stopped play but he’d been pursuing other interests over the lockdown period and was far from the height of his fitness.
He took 11th place, with his BAC teammate Rob McTaggart coming in in 12th in 18:23. Tag had done a session just before parkrun on the track so he wasn’t feeling fresh going into his 99th one.
Promising BAC junior Thomas Farwell was 13th in 18:36 and he was followed in by two more talented juniors, Sam Brewer and Hugo Richardson, who were 15th and 16th in 19:00 and 19:01.
Matt Du Cros made it 11 Bournemouth AC runners in the top 20 when he got to the line in 19:19 to take 20th place.
With his focus on the Eastleigh 10k the following weekend, Trev Elkins went round at tempo pace to finish in 19:27 which put him 22nd. Christy Murphy who often trains with BAC came in in 23rd place in 19:32.
Another BAC junior, Massimo Lawson finished 31st in 19:54 and Emily Coltman came in as 1st female, recording a brilliant new PB of 21:08.
Isabel Cherrett is another exciting prospect in the BAC youth ranks and she was 2nd fastest female in a time of 21:33, which put her 55th overall.
Nathan Mearns was 79th in his first senior parkrun, getting round in 22:30 and Simon Hunt took 83rd in 22:42.
Ian White has been sharpening his speed recently in the Upton Summer Series races and he made it round in 23:08 to take 95th place.
The next BAC member to get to the line was Jud Kirk who finished in 102nd place with a time of 23:17.
Thomas Butler completed the course in 24:55 to take 154th place and Sam Coltman recorded his best time yet to come in in 178th place.
Nikki Whittaker had been challenged by Tag to record a sub-26-minute time and she just missed out, crossing the line in 26:15 which put her in 186th place. Having been on a night out the previous evening though, that was a pretty good effort from her and would have surely been worth a sub-26 had she been feeling fresh.
Seeing as it’s getting to stage where Isabel is becoming too fast for him, Phil Cherrett opted to run it with his other daughter Eliana and she recorded her best time yet of 33:29. Phil’s wife Gemma then completed the family foursome finishing in 33:50.
After parkrun there was an open day for the athletics track at Kings Park, top throwing coach Paul Rees was presented with an award for his outstanding long service with the club and a bbq was laid on for club members and family to enjoy.
There were also invitational jumps and throws competitions taking place where some real top level performances were on show including some of the top female long jump distances in the UK this year.
There were also some coaching demonstrations and a schools 3k run run on the newly surfaced track as well as some wheelchair athlete demonstrations and of course, the grand re-opening ceremony of the Kings Park Athletics Centre.
The following weekend normal service resumed at Bournemouth parkrun with Stu Nicholas coming in as first finisher in a time of 16:54.
In under a week’s time Stu will be participating in a 100k race but he couldn’t resist the temptation to knock out another parkrun regardless.
Alex Goulding improved on his time further, taking 2nd place in a terrific time of 17:01. That just edged him ahead of Lewis Clarke of Lonely Goat who took 3rd in 17:06.
Matt Du Cros also secured a place in the top 10, finishing in a time of 18:44 and Holly Collier rediscovered her good form to coming in as 1st female in a time of 19:12.
The fact that Bournemouth AC members have been performing so well in parkrun since it returned speaks volumes about their self-drive and determination to stay at the top of their game,
It certainly hasn’t been easy all this time with virtually next to nothing on offer from a racing perspective and, at times, many months without regular club training as well.
But throughout those dark times, the vast majority of BAC members have continued to train hard and have carved out their own ways to maintain fitness levels and sustain speed and that’s certainly something that’s been admirable.
With no Dorset Road Race League in the equation for this year at least, local races have taken on a slightly different feel, with intense club rivalry being replaced by a more lighthearted sense of camoradary and togetherness.
In truth, after the past year and a half, most of the runners at the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon were just pleased to be pulling on their club vests again and engaging in some form of racing action.
And although there were no league points up for grabs, once the hooter sounded and the race got underway, the competitive edge was immediately revived in all the runners who took to the start line that day. And the adrenaline rush that one can only get from being in a proper race was soon coursing through their veins.
Just under 200 runners made the trip over to Puddletown to tackle the undulating road route, and among them were two Bournemouth AC members in the shape of Rich Brawn and Estelle Slatford.
Last time the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon took place it drew out a PB performance from Rich and the time of 1 hour 23 minutes that he produced was still his fastest time ever going into the 2021 edition. The question was, could he eclipse that this time round?
Managing to keep fit and stay motivated over times where there were no races, Rich felt he was in good enough shape to have a chance of beating that time so he was excited to give it a go.
It was a little different for Estelle as she had been finding it tricky to get out and do as much running as she would like. With family commitments usually taking priority, she is always restricted in terms of what she can do and tends to just get out and train whenever she can.
It had been a while since she’d ran as far as a half marathon distance so she was anticipating find it quite tough going but nonetheless, she was looking forward to getting stuck in.
The race was started in waves, with the runners themselves asked to head for the pen they thought would most suit their ability out of the four. The faster runners went in wave one and the organisers took a note of which runners were in each wave as they started. Once one wave had set off the next one would line up and start a couple of minutes later.
Rich went in the first wave and it was a lap around the grass field at St Mary’s Middle School before they got out onto the course and let the games begin.
Four runners soon broke clear at the front of the race and they were Egdon Heath Harriers trio Matt Papa, Ben Foyle and Christopher Peck, and Ben Renshaw of Bridport Runners.
It was soon looking evident that they were much stronger than the rest of the field. That meant that Rich was fighting for 5th place at best. But he wasn’t too concerned about that. He main focus was on getting time by his standards.
Going through the first mile in just under 6 minutes, Rich found himself in the chase pack with Martyn Bell and Bruce Campbell of Egdon Heath Harriers and Matt Brown of Littledown.
The second mile was a quick one as it was mostly downhill and Rich clocked a 5:47 for that one. Rich was still with Bruce and Martyn until they hit a hill in the third mile. That was when Rich began to extend away.
Very soon he was on his own and tearing down the scenic country roads at a pace that even surprised him somewhat. But it felt good so he kept going.
For the next six miles there wasn’t really any notable hills and there were some nice downhill stretches which meant there was scope to keep the pace high.
The only disruption to his momentum for Rich was when he got to the section where the road split off into a left and right. Having not listened to the race briefing properly, Rich wasn’t sure whether to take the left route which was down an off-road track or to stay on the road.
In the end he opted to stay on the road but looked behind him to check whether the others would follow suit. It was only Matt Brown behind him and he looked round to hear Matt shouting that he was going left.
Not wanting to risk heading off in the wrong direction, Rich decided to turn round and run back and take the left-hand path instead. He was now behind Matt. It didn’t really worry him though as he knew he was still on for a good time so that was what mattered most.
As it turned out, he could have carried on on the road way as the path joined up with the road anyway in the end but it didn’t matter. Rich knew he had to just remain focused on the task ahead.
Quite soon, he caught Matt up and they ran together for a bit. Matt apologized to Rich as he hadn’t realized the paths would join up. Then they came to an uphill section and that was when Matt began to move away and it was clear he was the stronger of the two.
Remembering the route from his previous attempt, Rich knew the last three miles contained some tough hills so his plan was to go as quick as he could for the first 10 miles and then just grind it out over the hills in the latter stages.
There were a few undulations in the 10th mile but nothing too drastic. Then on the 11th mile the hills began to kick in. From there the pace dropped and it was just a case of battling your way up as best you can.
The 12th mile was pretty much all uphill so it was a real test of resolve but Rich stayed strong, knowing he’d be on for decent time if he could keep it together.
With one mile left, he began to feel pretty good, knowing that the end was near and it was now just final push. He soon ascending the final hill leading up to the school before making his way through the gate and into the field.
That left just a final lap around the field before reaching the finish. He did his best to muster up a fast finish but his energy levels were pretty low at that point.
Stopping his watch as he got to the line, he felt like he’d done enough to secure a new PB. He was shocked to look when he looked down at his watch to see the time of 1:18:49. He’d never dreamed he’d be able to run a half marathon anything like as quick as that.
He was elated with the result and very pleased to see that all the hard work he’d been putting in in training was beginning to pay off. He’d beaten his previous best by over four minutes and he almost couldn’t believe what he’d accomplished.
Meanwhile Estelle had set off in one of the later waves and was busy negotiating her way round the challenging course. For the first nine miles of it she was going pretty well. Then when she started hitting the hills on the 10th mile the wheels came off a bit.
On occasions she was even reduced to walking pace when making her way up the long hill on mile 12. But she showed tremendous grit to get to top before pulling it together well in the final mile.
Crossing the line in a time of 1:59:14, Estelle was 28th placed female and 121st overall. Considering the lack of endurance training she had done over recent times, to get in in under two hours was a fairly good achievement, given the tough ending she was faced with.
In the end it was a close call between Matt Papa, Ben Renshaw and Ben Foyle for the race win but Ben Foyle edged it, getting to the line in a fantastic time of 1:13:29.
That meant Matt Papa had to settle for a runner up spot as he clocked a time of 1:13:46. Ben Renshaw followed in 10 seconds later to seal 3rd place in 1:13:56.
4th place went to Christopher Peck in the end, as he went over the line in a time of 1:15:30. Incredibly, he was almost caught in the end by Matt Brown who had a storming last four miles despite the hills.
He was still managed a 5:45 sort of pace which was extraordinary given the trajectory he was on which certainly bodes well for his marathon prospects going forward.
Reaching the line in 1:15:40, Matt came in in 5th place, in the end opening up a gap of over 3 minutes on Rich who was 6th.
Bruce Campbell finished 7th and 1st M50 in 1:22:18, with Martyn Bell taking 8th in 1:23:23.
Georgina Povall was 1st female over the line in a time of 1:30:54, which put her 27th overall. That gave her a huge margin of victory over the 2nd placed woman who was Charlotte Halford of Purbeck Runners. She made it round in 1:37:25 which put her 48th overall.
Karen Perrett of Weymouth St Paul Harriers was 3rd female over the line, finishing in 1:38:49. That saw her take 54th position overall.
The race had certainly served as a huge confidence booster for Rich as he embarks on another heavy block of training ahead of the London Marathon in October.
He now knows he’s in a pretty good place at the moment with his fitness, as well as his speed and endurance. It’s now just going to be a case of continuing to work hard over the next few months to see if he can make any further gains and to steadily build up the mileage.
As for Estelle, she knows she has some work to do to get back to her best form but with club training back in full swing and races now well and truly back on the calendar, she’ll certainly have the scope to do that over the coming months.
A scenic Roman themed trail race awaited those runners who had signed up for the Dorset Conquest 10k or Half Marathon races and, as they were about to find out, it was going to be far from straight forward.
Running in the footsteps of the Romans, the route for the Half Marathon followed paths and fields through the Dorset countryside previously inhabited by Romans.
Three Bournemouth AC members were among those heading over to East Farm to tackle the Half Marathon. They were Alex Goulding, Steve Ross and Stu Glenister.
Alex and Steve last raced at the Maverick Dorset back in May where Steve ran the 25km distance and Alex went for the 16km route. They were on a tough, off-road course over the Purbeck so both Alex and Steve had had recent experience of racing over challenging terrain.
Stu Glenister is currently training for the Ultra Tour of Arran in October where he’ll be facing a grueling 60-mile route over two days featuring over 9,000 ft of elevation.
Having recently completed the 32-mile Dartmoor Discovery Ultra Marathon as part of his training, Stu’s preparations were going pretty well thus far and he’d already proved he has the minerals to tackle a tough long ultra.
The Dartmoor Discovery incorporated almost 4,000 ft of ascent and tends to take runners 50 per cent longer than it would take them to complete a flat marathon, even though t it’s only 10k further.
Stu completed it in 5 hours 28 minutes so it was a long day but great preparation for for the challenge ahead. Then the following weekend he was back in action at the Ferndown 10k, showing his body had handled the workload well.
The course for the Dorset Conquest Half Marathon went through undulating footpaths and bridleways across Dorset farmland, with part of it heading along an ancient Roman road.
One aspect of the race that stood out to all three BAC members was the thigh-high shrubbery they had to contend with along many stretches of the route.
At times the grass was so long that it was almost as if there was no path. That made it extremely difficult to gather momentum and get a good pace going.
As is the case with all good half marathons, the race was started by a Roman Centurion on horseback!
It was Lewis Clarke of Lonely Goat who took the initiative in the early going and he was soon well out in front. Alex was hot on his heals though and had made a strong start of his own.
The first was pretty much all uphill but Alex still went through it in 6 minutes 53 seconds. The second mile contained a bit of downhill which enabled Alex to pick up the pace before a short incline. He got through that one at 6:23 pace.
Then it was another tough climb on the third mile before a couple of nice descents over the next two miles where Alex produced a 6:23 and 6:43 mile. He then hit the hills again on the sixth mile.
Following that it was a downhill for the 7th and 8th miles before embarking upon a massive climb for the 9th and 10th miles. That left just over a parkrun distance left and Alex was able to pick up the pace well over the last couple of miles as they contained some descending.
Slightly out of his comfort zone over the half marathon distance, Alex was relieved to get to the finish line when he arrived, completing the 13.28 miles in a time of 1:31:59.
That was enough to see him finish as runner up, with Lewis Clarke picking up the victory in a time of 1:28:59. It was a strong run from Lewis to come in two minutes ahead of Alex as he has been an excellent form of late.
John Huggins grabbed 3rd place and he was a further three minutes behind Alex, clocking a time of 1:35:04. Then Mark Packer of Littledown Harriers reached the line 6 seconds later to take 4th position.
Making it two BAC men in the top five, Steve Ross completed the course in 1:38:08. He’s also been showing magnificent form in training recently but again, he struggled in the long grass. The course incorporated over 1,000ft of elevation and Steve’s time reflects just how grueling it was.
Having run the course before in 2019, Stu had some idea of what to expect but of course, it was always going to be a testing one. He came into it off the back of a decent week’s training which included a duathlon on the Thursday prior to the race.
Getting round in a time of 1:49:59, Stu finished in 11th position in the overall standings. A total of 73 runners successfully made it to the finish that day and they’d certainly all earned their medal.
Anne-Marie Bayliss was 1st female, finishing in 7th place overall in a time of 1:41:50. Then it was Claire Sparrey of Square and Compass Trail Runners who was 10th overall in 1:49:55.
Sarah Hyde of Egdon Heath Harriers was 3rd female over the line, completing the course in 1:53:36.
The Dorset Conquest 10k race that was on the previous day was won by Barry Miller of Poole AC in a time of 45:49. Joe Godden of Poole Runners took 2nd place in 47:01 with Donald Barnes taking 3rd in 52:53.
Kirstin Hay of Poole AC wasn’t going to bale out and she rolled in in 5th place overall in 56:54. That won her the prize for 1st female. Sian Barnes of Poole Runners was 9th overall and 2nd female in 1:00:23 and she was followed by Annabelle Peacock who took 10th place and 3rd female in 1 hour 1 minute.
Even though he did well to finish 2nd, the Half Marathon race certainly reaffirmed Alex’s desire not to run longer distances. He much prefers a 5k or a 10k race and usually even a 10-mile event is a bit of a stretch for him.
He’ll certainly be glad to have parkrun back so he can resume doing what he’s much more accustomed to, turning up at Kings Park at 9am and thrashing out the two-and-a-half lap course whilst being surrounded by many others doing the same.
With both Katrina White and Nikki Whittaker seeing some improvement in their second race of the Upton Summer Series, the question was, could they do it again in Race 3?
Katrina completed the 5.5km course in 27:30 in the first race and then went 16 seconds quicker to clock a 27:14 in her second race.
Starting off with a 29:44 in the first race, Nikki followed that up with a 29:38 in Race 2 so that was the time to beat for her.
The conditions were slightly cooler again this time round which was likely to work in their favour.
Now targeting a sub 27 by the end of the series, Katrina had a new focus and served as a good motivation for her to push hard in the third race.
Feeling strong most of the way round, Katrina had an excellent run and as a result, managed to achieve her goal there and then. Getting round in a time of 26:50, she came in 55th overall and was 6th woman over the line.
It was a very impressive performance from Katrina and she was extremely pleased with the outcome.
Nikki went over on her ankle in second mile but it didn’t see to effect her much and she continued on at a good pace. Completing the course in 29:26, Nikki reached the line in 84th place overall.
That made her 22nd fastest female and gave her a 12 second improvement on her time from Race 2. Her splits were much more consistent this time round as well which is always a good sign.
A total of 148 runners featured in Race 3 of the Upton Summer Series, so once again, it was a pretty good turnout for a Wednesday night and the runners seemed to enjoy rediscovering that competitive racing spirit.
As he did in the previous race, Matthew Brown of Littledown Harriers sealed the win in a time of 18:58. He was followed by John Ingleson who took 2nd in 19:41 and Dion Garner of Poole Runners who was 3rd in 19:46.
Places 4, 5 and 6 were taken by the same athletes as in the previous week, with Tom Andrews of Lytchett Manor Striders taking 4th in 19:54, Duncan Cooper of Poole AC in 5th with 20:07 and Aidan Dure-Smith of New Forest Juniors finishing 6th in 20:08.
Charlotte Bunch of Poole Runners was 1st female in 22:23 putting her 21st overall. Then it was Sophie Watton of Wimborne AC who was 38th overall in 24:46 and just pipped Lesley Moore of Poole AC to the post. She registered a time of 24:46.
In the cumulative leaderboard after the first three fixtures, Katrina moved up to 6th placed female and Nikki moved up to 14th.
Charlotte Bunch still leads the way, now with two wins and a 2nd place from here three races. Lesley Moore is 2nd female with two 5th places and a 3rd.
In the overall stakes, Matthew Brown is still out in front with two wins and a 3rd place. Then it’s John Ingleson with a 6th, a 3rd and a 2nd. Then Tom Andrews with two 4th places and a 9th.
In terms of the teams, Poole AC still lead the way ahead of Poole Runners in 2nd for the Male teams. And for the Female teams, Poole Runners are just ahead of Poole AC.
The best way to describe The General Winchester 10k Trail Run would be… ‘hilly!’ With over 800ft of elevation to negotiate, the course certainly delivered it’s fair share of ups and downs as well as a few surprises on the way.
The course was set in the Matterley Estate and was a multi-terrain route amongst ancient woodland and areas of scientific interest. Two Bournemouth AC ladies were brave enough to take it on and they were Tamzin Petersen and Louise Price.
It was the first race Lou had taken part in post COVID so she was keen to get back out there. Initially they’d entered the race two years ago but Lou had had to pull out that day due to injury. This was a chance for her to redress that unfinished business.
Looking at the times from previous years, they knew it was going to be a hilly one so were prepared for that to a certain extent. That still doesn’t make it any easier though of course.
Tamzin had been doing quite a few of the Thursday night sessions round the figure of eight loop at Queens Park Golf Course and was hoping that might help prepare her for the undulations and the off-road intricacies.
The first kilometre was on a motocross course with steep muddy banks in loops. Then it headed off into the countryside, featuring many different types of terrain and hills aplenty.
It was a fantastic course and even included a section where the runners pass by some old tanks and army vehicles.
The worst bit for Lou was at around the 6k point when she was faced with the longest hill she’d ever run up. Then, when you got to the top, the course narrowed and you had to climb through a bale of hay to get through.
The race was won by Pete Doughty of Westbourne RC in a time of 45:17. He was followed by Pete Newman who was runner up in 45:29 and Daniel Eyre who was 3rd in 46:10.
Finishing in 23rd position, Tamzin completed the course in 52 minutes 52 seconds. That was enough to see her finish as 4th fastest female.
Poppy Tanner put in a heroic display to finish as 1st female and 10th overall in a time of 48:26. Sian Lewis was 2nd lady getting round in 50:53 which put her 16th overall. Then it was Rachael David who came in 18th overall in a time of 51:42.
Hoping to come in under the hour, Louise actually ended up finishing in 1:00:06 which put her in 52nd place overall. Out of the women in the race, she was 10th quickest.
Even though it was super hilly, Tamzin and Louise both enjoyed the race and Lou said that she would like to go back and give it another go.
There was also a 20k Trail Run as well as a 10k Obstacle Race on the following day which looked great fun – and very muddy!
After a terrific performance at the British Championships which saw her square off against Dina Asher-Smith in the semi-final of the 100 metres, Bournemouth AC sprint superstar Amelia Verney returned to Manchester for the ESAA New Balance English Schools Championships.
This time she was in action in the Under 20 Women’s 200 metres. Looking in fantastic form, she won her heat in a lightening quick time of 24:47 which was a new PB for her without wind assistance.
It was enough to give her a 0.06 second margin of victory over Mary John of Woodford Green Essex Ladies who was 2nd in 24:53. The other heat was won by Madeleine Whapples of Solihull & Small Heath and she recorded a time of 24:68, so not quite as quick as Amelia.
The question was, could Amelia deliver again though in the final? And the answer to that question was an emphatic yes!! Sure enough, she produced another incredible display to land the gold medal and even managed to eclipse her previous time by finishing in 24:45.
Madeleine Whapples took the silver medal in what, for her, was a PB time of 24:66, with Mary John taking home bronze in 24:67.
It was a truly stunning performance from Amelia and the way she’s going, an international vest surely beckons. It can only now be a matter of time.
Next up for Amelia it is the South West Championships at Exeter Arena and in the form that she’s in, you certainly wouldn’t bet against another successful outing for her in that one.
As far as the domestic club athletics scene goes, there aren’t too many bigger stages than the British Championships, and at that event, only the real cream of the crop get to compete.
To have any involvement, athletes need to be among the best in the country in their field, so it’s quite an accolade just to be competing there.
Considering that, it was impressive to see several Bournemouth AC representatives in action over the course of the three day weekend in Manchester. They were vying for national titles and places in the team for the Tokyo Olympics.
Two BAC girls qualified for the Women’s 100 metres with Amelia Verney and Brooke Ironside both taking centre stage. It was also the first time in the club’s history that two junior athletes had made it through to the British Champs, with Amelia at just 17 years of age and Brooke being 18.
For them to be mixing it with the top British senior women was a tremendous achievement in itself. Brooke finished 7th in her heat in a time of 12:82 but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to see her progress to the semi-final.
Crossing the line in 6th place in her heat, Amelia‘s time of 12:28 was quick enough to see her through to the semi-final. That meant a showdown with the nation’s top sprinter Dina Asher-Smith.
It was a great moment for Amelia to be lining up against an athlete of such high acclaim and she managed to up her game for the occasion.
Clocking a superb time of 12:01, Amelia finished 8th in her semi-final but didn’t quite make the final unfortunately. It was still a mightily impressive performance from her though.
There was also Bournemouth AC involvement in the Long Jump where James Lelliott was right in the tick of the action. With a huge leap of 7.69 metres, he was leading until the final round of jumps.
Then Alex Farquharson of Coventry snatched the gold medal with his last attempt, jumping the same distance. That meant James had to be content with a silver medal but it still a fantastic achievement from him, proving that he’s up there with the very best on the national scene.
In the Women’s Discus, Phoebe Dowson was flying the yellow and blue flag and she recorded a huge throw of 52.42 to finish in 5th place.
The Men’s Discus also featured a BAC star in the shape of Adam Phillips and he threw 49 metres to take 9th place in the standings.
Second claim BAC member Adam Booth finished 2nd in his 400 metre Hurdles heat in a time of 51:84 which saw him progress to the final. He then ran a time of 52:17 to take 5th place in the final.
Another second claim Bournemouth AC member Piers Copeland was in action in the 1500 metres and he qualified for the final by finishing 2nd in his heat in a time of 3:45.66. He then produced a time of 3:45.51 in the final which saw him get over the line in 10th place.
It was great to see so many athletes with Bournemouth AC connections flourishing on the national stage and putting the club on the map in such an impressive way.
And with Amelia and Brooke already reaching that level at such a tender age, their future prospects look very bright going forward. It’s a testament, not just to the athletes themselves but also to the coaches who have helped develop and nurture these special talents.
It was a spontaneous decision from Jacek Cieluszecki and his wife Ela to enter the Maverick Frontier Chilterns, with the pair both entering the Middle distance race a day before the closing date. It would turn out to be a decision Jacek was not going to regret through.
In truth, they were keen to make the trip up to Chilterns Woods anyway and spend a summer day outdoors as they often do. Having the Maverick event there was an added bonus.
The feature race for the Maverick Adidas Terrex Frontier Chilterns event, to give it its full title, is a 54km Ultra. The route takes the runners through ancient woodlands steeped in history, incorporating some stunning views of the Chiltern Hills.
There is also a stretch along the Ickneild Way which is one of the oldest roads in Britain, featuring prehistoric paths that date back to before Roman times.
The course also includes a section along the Grand Union Canal which weaves its way back to Wendover before the final climb up Pulpit Hill and White Leaf Cross.
As with all Maverick events though, there was a choice of races of differing distances. The ‘Short’ route was 10km, the ‘Middle‘ route was 21km, the ‘Long’ route was 42km and the ‘Ultra’ was 54km.
The ‘Middle’ distance one that Jacek and Ela had entered still incorporated an elevation gain of 352 metres, so it had it’s fair share of ups and downs, but that’s just the way Jacek likes it.
By the time they arrived at Wendover, virtually everyone was already out on the course. In fact, Jacek was the last person to cross the start line.
Although he wasn’t feeling super fresh, he decided to make a solid go of it. The course was muddy in the woods but nice and dry when out in the open.
Even though the hills were quite steep, JC made light work of them and tackled them with vigor and velocity. Being so used to scaling the slopes of the Purbeck, it was all meat and drink to him.
Jacek raced through the first mile at 6:13 pace despite the fact that quite a lot of it was uphill. The second and third miles were also all uphill and he got through them at 6:49 and 6:27 pace.
There were plenty more ups and downs to follow but Jacek managed to maintain a sub-7-minute mile pace all the way through with most of the miles being around 6:30 sort of pace.
He did get stuck a few times on the narrow paths when trying to overtake people who had started earlier but he still managed to get round the 13.4 mile course in a time of 1 hour 27 minutes and 54 seconds.
That was enough to see him claim a marvelous victory, making him almost two minutes quicker than his nearest rival Jonathan Peters of Race Rapid, who finished in 1:29:49.
Although he’d wracked up 1,200ft of elevation over the distance he covered, Jacek still came away with a very impressive average pace of 6:32 minutes per mile.
Completing the course in 2 hours 16 minutes and 50 seconds, Ela was 25th fastest female out of 81 and 110th overall out of the 213 who entered the ‘Middle’ distance race.
That made it three wins out of three Maverick races for JC since events came back after lockdown restrictions were eased. He won the Maverick Dorset ‘Long’ race first, which was a 25km course on the Purbeck. Then he emerged victorious in the Maverick ‘Exmoor’ Ultra, which consisted of a brutal 57km route along the South West Coast Path.
For his next target race, Jacek has penciled in the Scaffell Pike Trail Marathon, which features 1,800m of ascent up England’s highest mountain.
Who knows though? He might well find another Maverick race to enter and add to the win column before then.
Coming off the back of recent wins in the Huntsman Standard Distance Triathlon and the TrailX Spring Off Road Duathlon, Harry Smith went into the MK Rocket 5K high on confidence and keen to see what sort of time he could produce in a regular running event.
The MK Rocket 5K is part of the Milton Keynes Marathon Weekend, along with the Turing 10k, a Half Marathon and a Marathon. It was the ideal race for Harry since he has family in Milton Keynes and took him back to where he previously lived before moving down to Salisbury.
Also the course is on a downhill trajectory and includes very little elevation so it lends itself to the possibility of a fast time. And it wasn’t an opportunity that Harry was going to miss.
The race started near the XScape centre and finished inside StadiumMK. In line with COVID secure protocol, the start was done in waves which meant that by the time he started, Harry already had some people in front of him to pick off.
Making an explosive start, the first mile of the course was really quick and Harry blasted through that in 4 minutes and 46 seconds. It really was a mightily impressive show of speed.
He knew the second half of the course would be a lot tougher as there were lot of sharp corners, underpasses and road crossings to contend with.
Despite that, Harry managed to maintain a very high pace, getting through the second mile in 4:52. He then followed that up with a 4:55 for the third mile which left him with only the final 0.1 mile left.
With an astonishing average pace of 4:51, Harry crossed the line in an official time of 15 minutes and 2 seconds, which was a huge personal best for him.
Not only that, it was also a new course record and was enough to earn Harry the race win, by a very comfortable margin. The only other man to get inside 16 minutes was Matt Kitching of Queens Park Harriers who clocked a time of 15:35.
It really was a monumental performance from Harry and had he known he was so close to a sub-15, he would have perhaps dipped for the line.
It certainly showcased how well Harry is running at the moment though and gave an indication of the great things he’s going to be capable of going forward.
If he was to do an event surrounded by others of a similar ability to drive him on, Harry would surely have a sub-15 in his locker, so no doubt there are exciting things to come from him when he gets the chance.
There were a total of 629 runners taking part in the Rocket 5K and Harry’s Dad was also among them. He finished in a time of 23:38 which was his fastest run for quite a few years and put him 5th in the over 60 category.
All-in-all, it was a fantastic day for the Smiths and one that Harry will look back on very fondly. It was certainly a performance that was worthy of the name Rocket 5K!!
He’s still scheduled to be action at the Eastleigh 10k in August if it finally goes ahead this time and given what he’s now produced in a 5k, it’s going to be very interesting to see what he can conjure up over the 10k distance.