JC wins by a very social distance in CTS Exmoor Ultra

Jacek Cieluszecki in the CTS Exmoor Ultra Marathon
In his first race since the Coronavirus pandemic stopped play, Jacek Cieluszecki went in hard, taking on the 32.4 mile CTS Exmoor Ultra Marathon

Since the Covid-19 pandemic first began to gather pace in the UK the running scene has become something of an enigma, shrouded in uncertainty and disillusionment at every juncture.

With races being cancelled left, right and centre, athletes have been put in an untenable position, not knowing whether or not the races they are training for are actually going to be on.

Over recent weeks though we have seen the return of some competitive action, albeit sparingly and cautiously as event organizers look for new ways to preserve the safety of participants when bringing them together for a race.

Amidst all the uncertainty and trepidation though, one thing we can be sure of is – if it’s a long, hilly race on tough, off-road terrain, and if he’s in starting line up – Jacek Cieluszecki is going to be the man to beat.

Notching numerous race wins prior to the Covid-19 pandemic at a varied range of distances and terrain, Jacek has put together a magnificent back catalogue of successes over past seven or so years.

That includes a win at the Maverick inov-8 X Series Exmoor as well as a marvelous victory in the CTS Dorset Ultra, where he shattered the course record by over 30 minutes.

With his repertories in events of this type, there was every reason for JC to be optimistic going into his first race since the pandemic took hold which was the Endurancelife CTS Exmoor Ultra Marathon.

The distance was billed at 32.4 miles, incorporating 11,463ft of ascent. It was certainly going to be a stern test for all of those brave enough to take it on, but for JC, he was in his element.

With so much of his training being carried out on the unscrupulous slopes of the Purbeck, which is like a second home to him, Jacek knew his prospects of performing well were extremely high.

He couldn’t of course account for who would turn up on the day to challenge him, but it would take a very special runner to put JC to the sword in this type of domain.

Jacek contemplates how his race will go
Jacek contemplates how his race will go as he prepares for the grueling task ahead

It was the first time Jacek had laced up his racing trainers since the Bath Half Marathon towards the end of March so it was exciting to see him back out there doing what he does best.

The CTS Exmoor is staged in the western area of Exmoor National Park where a trail runner’s mecca lay in wait. The course took the participants to dizzying heights with hugely steep climbs and long descents dominating the proceedings throughout.

The route also features open moorland, thick wooded valleys, historical ruins, sharp cliffs and rivers and the race organizers are confident there is no course in Britain that offers so much variation in terrain in such a compact area.

In the interests of maintaining social distancing for the competitors, they were set off individually, with one heading out onto the course every 15 seconds.

The route started on a sharp downhill curve which went on for majority of the first mile, giving Jacek the opportunity to get off to a fast start.

The real climbing started at the 2.3 mile point and that was where the sheer brutality of the cliffs around Exmoor started to become evident.

The picturesque cliffs of Exmoor
The Exmoor landscape was as majestic as it was unforgiving

To begin with it was a guy who was doing the Marathon distance, Dan Murdoch, who was leading the way, with Jacek just behind him in second place. Then it was Eddie Rolls who was also doing the Marathon distance.

JC’s closest rival in the Ultra distance stakes was David Atkinson and he wasn’t far behind, managing to run at a very similar pace in the early going.

That remained the situation until around about the 11th mile when David caught Jacek. Now the race was really hotting up.

The pair ran together up until the top of the climb on the 13th mile. Then David began to pull ahead on the descent. This was the point in the race where Jacek began to struggle.

Feeling a drop in energy levels and suffering a slight lapse in motivation, he needed to dig deep and find the grit to keep battling on.

Fortunately he had the strength of character to do so and after reaching the 20th mile he was feeling back to his old self again and was ready to give it his all for the remainder of the race.

Over the next few miles, both David and Jacek caught and overtook Dan Murdoch before he reached the end of his marathon.

David was still going well and managed to maintain his advantage over JC until they reached the bottom of the climb when they were just coming up to the 24 mile point.

It wasn’t one of the steepest climbs but it was long, and it was at a point in the race where the fatigue was really starting to set in. It was on this climb that Jacek made the decisive move.

About two thirds of the way up the ascent, he assumed pole position – and from that point on, it was all academic. Jacek began to pull away and the distance between the two of them began to grow substantially as they hit the descent on the 26th mile.

JC makes his mark in the CTS Exmoor Ultra
Once JC got into the lead up the hill on the 25th mile, there was no stopping him from that point on

The last steep climb of the race came at the 28 mile point and Jacek was well clear and home and dry by that point. Even though he knew he had the win in the bag though, there was still the course record to go for and that was enough of a carrot to keep him driving on.

The time he had to beat was 4 hours 52 minutes and 46 seconds. It did look like he was going to comfortably do that until he missed the last turning toward the finish line.

Luckily he soon realized he’d gone wrong and was able to get back on track. Although the incident did cost him a few minutes, it didn’t matter too much in the end as he made it to finish line in an incredible time of 4 hours 44 minutes and 7 seconds.

Despite that little mishap at the end he’d managed to better the previous course record by well over 8 minutes which was a remarkable achievement.

Clocking a total of 33.3 miles in the end, Jacek managed an average pace of 8:31 minutes per mile on a route that featured over 6,600ft of elevation.

It was a fantastic return to racing for JC and showed that, pandemic or no pandemic, he is still top dog when it comes to testing endurance courses with big and brutal ascents.

There was yet more drama at the end as well when David, who had been contesting the race win with Jacek up until the last 8 miles or so, took a wrong turn adding an extra 4 kilometers onto his activity.

That resulted in him losing second place as well and the person who took advantage of his woes was actually his wife Freya. She came across line in exactly 5 hours 26 minutes, with David arriving seven seconds later.

That meant Jacek’s winning margin stood at almost 42 minutes in the end, so it was a pretty comprehensive victory, even though he’d had to work very hard for it.

In the Marathon race, Eddie Rolls caught Dan Murdoch in the end on the same climb  that Jacek overtook David on, so with only about a mile left to go. The winning time for Eddie was 3:50:52, with Dan having to settle for the runner up spot with his time of 3:54:23.

Jacek’s wife Ela was also taking on the Marathon distance but she wound up following the Half Marathon route and after covering 33km, she realized she was lost and was forced to abandon.

The Exmoor course is regarded as the toughest in CTS series, which is quite a statement in itself. It’s definitely a true test of endurance  for even the hardiest of trail and fell runners, as Jacek can now vouch for. It was a test that he passed with flying colours though.

Next up for JC, he’ll be returning to the region for the Exmoor Coast 55km Ultra on 3rd October, which will be another grueling one to get his teeth into.








Jazmin Cooke Wins High Jump at Yeovil Open with an Outstanding PB Performance.

Yeovil Olympiads Athletics Club played host to their first athletics meeting of 2020 at the Bill Whistlecroft Arena on Saturday 29 August.

As the Yeovil Games 2020 cannot take place under the current restrictions, the club have scheduled two mini-opens with this Field Open Meeting being the first. The second is scheduled for Saturday 5 September which includes track events up to 800m.

BAC’s Jazmin Cooke entered the High Jump, her top event and she meant business.

The day started with an apprehensive drive with Jazmin’s support crew in tow (AKA Claire Cooke and Peter Lock). Although the journey was shrouded with nerves, this provided a good base for Jazmin’s adrenaline and passion for success. When they arrived at Yeovil track, it was a very calm atmosphere and the nerves soon settled.

This was the first HJ competition of the season and Jazmin was able to watch the men’s HJ first, a brilliant event before heading over to the waiting area for her own event.
The athletes were taken over in accordance with Covid guidance. The athletes were able to position their run ups and practise jumping prior to the start of the competition. Jazmin put the bar to 1.50m and felt good so she decided to start at 1.56m. She waited in anticipation for the other athletes to commence their jumps.

Jazmin Cooke Focused

It was vital for Jazmin to keep her muscles warm as the wind and clouds had dulled the skies by that point. As she limbered up to take on her first jump, the sunshine made a welcome appearance and Jaz flew over the first jump at 1.56m!

Jaz Clears the Bar Convincingly

Jaz waited patiently as the last few competitors made their final attempts at clearing the bar. The other athletes were unable to stay in the competition and Jaz was then the last girl standing. It was clear she was the winner at that stage.

The next height Jaz attempted was 1.61m and yet again she flew over, clearing it by a good margin. The bar was raised to 1.65m and Jaz convincingly cleared it on her first attempt. As mentioned earlier, Jaz meant business that day and she had a strong belief in herself. She was hungry for success and knew she was could beat last season’s PB of 1.67m. She went for 1.68m and absolutely nailed it in one jump!

Not satisfied with that Jaz asked to raise the bar to 1.70m which was her ultimate goal! She attacked that 1.70m with such determination and drive – she cleared it!!!!

The crowd nearby were cheering passionately and it was no surprise to hear that mum, Claire Cooke was close to tears, what an achievement! To end the day on no less than a high, Jaz attempted 1.72m. However; the exhaustion and realisation had kicked in and she couldn’t quite get the energy she needed to clear it. Regardless, she is over the moon with her results and what an outstanding performance.

Well done Jaz! We’re looking forward to seeing you in action again.

BAC Hosts The First Open Graded Sprints Meeting, 2020

Bournemouth Athletic Club hosted an Open Graded Sprints meeting on Sunday 23rd August at King’s Park Athletics Stadium. The meeting was an initiative to provide local athletes with an opportunity to compete without need to travel much. As such and to limit the number of competitors on site, the meeting was restricted to athlete members of Bournemouth AC, Poole AC, Poole Runners, Wimborne AC, Dorchester AC, Weymouth St Paul’s Harriers and AC, New Forest Juniors and Isle of Wight AC.

The events were seeded races and included the 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m and held under UKA Rules and EA Covid-19 Guidelines. As a result it was classed as an ‘official’ meeting with results compiled for Power of 10, the first in Bournemouth in 2020. There was also a wind gauge in operation.
As the first official outdoor sprints meeting in Bournemouth in 2020, it was clearly evident that athletes were delighted to be back on track! The athletes embraced the opportunity to put their hard training into practice and there was an undeniable buzz about the place.

The weather was kind as it stayed warm and dry but the wind was hitting the back straight in big surges. However, the longer sprint athletes did not appear to let this deter them and this is evident in some excellent performances being recorded.

The meeting kicked off with the most popular event of the day, the 100m sprints. The races were spread across 12 heats with over 60 athletes competing. The wind was in their favour with readings ranging from +1.3 to highs of +4.2.

The fastest time of the day was recorded by BAC’s International Long Jumper, James Lelliott who raced to victory in 11.0 (+1.6). He was followed by BAC’s Joseph Haywood and Muiris Egan in a time of 11.5 and 11.6 respectively.
They all looked on great form having put in the hard work and dedication during lock down. We are looking forward to seeing James in action again at the Müller British Athletics Championships on 4-5 September at the Manchester Regional Arena. The Championships will be broadcast live on Friday night on BBC2, 1800-2100 and Saturday afternoon on BBC1, 1315-1630.

The woman’s fastest time of the day was clocked by Amelia Verney (U17) in Heat 2 with an excellent time of 11.8 (+3.6) followed by Brooke Ironside’s (U20) impressive 12.0 (+2.4) in Heat 3.

Other notable performances by BAC athletes included a great show from our Junior athletes are as follows: Keon Dzuda (U17M), picture below in 11.8; Jolomi Nengite (U20M) 12.3; Adam Nicholass (SM) 12.4; Jazmin Cooke (U20W) in 12.8 (pictured above) Abi Phillips (U17W); Mia Wilkinson (U17W) 13.0; Amy Tonkyn (U15G) 13.6; (U15G) 13.9; William Launder (U13B) 14.0; Connor Bailey-Pearce (U13B) 14.6; Ewan Brown (U13B) 14.7; Bailey Guy (U15B) 15.0; and Ben Hutton (U13B) 15.0.

Over 40 athletes lined up on the top bend to compete in the 200m which extended to 10 Heats. The fastest time of the meeting was recorded by BAC’s Kevin Hodgson with an outstanding 22.4. Kevin is a sub-50 second 400m meter runner and has shown to be an excellent talent. We are looking forward to seeing more great performances from him in the future.

BAC dominated the field with a convincing lead in this event, taking the top four places. Muiris Egan stormed through the line in 23.1, followed closely by Joseph Haywood (U20M) in 23.2, and Toby Bailey-Pearce (U17M) in 23.3. Excellent performances considering this is the first competitive sprints meeting at Bournemouth in 2020.

Ashley Williams of NFJAC clocked the fastest time amongst the women competitors with a time of 24.0 in Heat 1. Having the men to chase down must have helped as she was close behind the man in front.

The next fastest was Amelia Verney doubling up in both the 100m and 200m metres with an impressive 24.5 in Heat 3. Brooke Ironside also doubled up and recorded a great time of 24.8 in Heat 2.
BAC had a good presence in the 200m and showed great form with some excellent performances throughout. Again this included a good number of our younger talented athletes which shows great prospects for the future of the club. Performances in order of times include: Keon Dzuda (U17M) 24.3; Abi Phillips BAC (U17W) 25.9; Joy Wright BAC (W45) 26.8; Trevor Elkins (M40) 28.2; William Launder (U13B) 28.2; Amy Tonkyn (U15G) 29.0; Amy Doble (U15G) 29.1; Connor Bailey-Pearce (U13B) 30.6; and Ben Hutton (U13B) 31.8.

The 300m was reserved for the U17s and took place across 4 Heats. There were some excellent performances from our three BAC athletes in Heat 1 as follows: Arief Mckenna (U15B) 40.9; 4 Abi Phillips (U17W) 42.7; Oscar Ewen-Matthews (U15B) 44.2. The fastest 300m time of the event was run by Charlie Brookes (U15B) of DAC in 38.1.
A great show of commitment and determination to continue training up to now.

The 400m took place across three Heats with Ciaran Dunnion (SM) of PAC clocking the top time of 50.2, followed closely by fellow team mate Josh Smith (U17M) of PAC in 50.5.

The women saw the fastest time of 58.3 run by local athlete Sarah Kearsey followed by Joy Wright’s (BAC) performance of 60.1. This places Joy in the top rankings in GB (V45) for both 200m and 400m.
Next through the line was Trevor Elkins (M40) in 64.0. Trevor is currently a BAC road runner but hopefully he’s developed a taste for the track so we can see more from him in the future.

In summary, it would be fair to say this was a superb day of Sprints at King’s Park! Organiser, Tim Hughes did a great job in coordinating the events in adherence to Covid guidance which required additional work and planning.

Tim and BAC would like to extend a huge thank you to every official and helper that made this event possible. This includes a proficient BAC Officials team alongside our friends from nearby clubs who worked efficiently in accordance with the standards and guidance.

A huge congratulations to all who took part in what was a fantastic and enthusiastic day.

Peter lock and Gary Wilkinson made a great team safely moving the blocks

Here are the official results: Bournemouth Sprints 23-Aug-20

Today, 30 August 2020, BAC are hosting a Throws Invitational Trial which has attracted an excellent field of talent.  We look forward to receiving the full results. 

On Tuesday 8 September BAC are hosting a Shot Invitational Meeting This will take place on Tuesday 8th September at 6pm (during the club training session) for BAC members with a focus on juniors.  For more information click here.

Session 26-08-2020


Please do follow the Government guidelines when doing the sessions which is currently you may now train in groups of 6 outside but you must maintain the 2 metre distance at all times (unless they’re from the same household).

This week’s session is devised by Dave Pain who holds the Coaching Licence with England athletics, and is Group eight leader for our Junior Development Group and a sprints coach for the wider club.

This week- Wednesday 26th August 2020- Half the repetitions for groups 1-4

Warm up and stretching:
Jog on grass for about 400m.
Mixture of static and dynamic stretching.

High knees, kick backs, walking lunges, bounding, speed drills (rat-a-tats), run throughs at 80% over 30m.

Session 1 – speed endurance session –
Controlled running at 80%, focus on technique:
150m run, walk back recovery
Do the 3 runs above, have a 5 minute rest, then repeat (6 runs in total)

Session 2 – Speed session:
Fast sprints over 60m, with either standing or crouch start.
Do 8 runs in total.

Cool down:
Jog on grass for 400m, followed by gentle stretching.

Circuits (at home):
Press ups –  20 reps
Sit ups –  20 reps
Squats – 20 reps
Skipping or running on the spot for 30 seconds
Press ups – 10 reps
Sit ups – 10 reps
Squats – 10 reps



Keep safe and well everyone

Best Wishes from Junior Development coaches    

Pete Thompson oozes class in Ooser Marathon win

Pete Thompson goes through a field in the Dorset Ooser Marathon
Taking to the trails for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck, Pete Thompson jumped in at the deep end when he entered the Dorset Ooser Marathon

What better way to announce the return of the running race scene than with a testing, turbulent trail marathon in the throws of deepest darkest Dorset, complete with hills aplenty, masses of mud and wonderous woodland tracks that never seem to end.

The was the offering from Badger Trail Events when they bravely stepped up to host the Dorset Ooser Marathon and Half Marathon and in the current climate of Covid-19 related restrictions, that was no mean feat.

The event had originally been scheduled for March but was postponed after the pandemic forced all forms of mass gatherings off the agenda.

Of course, the pandemic has since brought about a fundamental change the way we live our lives which has in turn led to the vast majority of event organisers being compelled to cancel their rescheduled race dates as well.

Where there’s a will there’s a way though and Kevin and Denise Day who run the Badger Trail Events company were determined the Dorset Ooser races should go ahead and worked tirelessly to make it happen.

That meant introducing staggered start times and ensuring social distancing rules were observed wherever possible. Runners were sent off in groups of six and had to wear face masks right up the moment they went on their way.

It was certainly a little different to the crowded, claustrophobic, scrambling starts we’re used to seeing in races but ensuring sporting events operate in as safe an environment as they possibly can is paramount at the present time.

Last year’s Dorset Ooser Marathon was won by Bournemouth AC‘s very own Jacek Cieluszecki. He stormed to an emphatic victory, being the only man to complete the course in under three hours. In fact, no one else got anywhere near three hours.

In this year’s edition it was Pete Thompson who threw his hat into the ring. Well, actually he kept his hat on, but that’s another story! Pete had originally expected to do the race back in March but of course, that didn’t happen. He was destined to get his chance in the end though.

Back in March Pete was already hitting some very good form which saw him finish 5th in the Wimborne 20 and take the trophy for 1st MV35. Little did he know then that that would turn out to be his last race for such a long time.

Over the lockdown period he’d faced the same challenges as everyone else, trying to stay motivated and maintain that high level of fitness without any clear and obvious goal to aim for.

He’d managed it well though and had been registering some very impressive long runs over the past few months and was looking in good shape. The Dorset Ooser Marathon would certainly put that to the test though.

Famed for his amazing fund raising challenges, which, in some cases, captured the attention of the national media, Pete has collected vast sums of money for the mental health charity Mind.

There was of course, the 44 marathons in 44 days, where he travelled around Europe completing a marathon in each different country. Then following on from that there was the one where he ran the ran the entire route of the Tour de France in 68 days, averaging 30 miles a day.

On the day that he would have been running the London Marathon had it not been called off, Pete again demonstrated his fund raising idea creativity by attempting to run 2.6 miles backwards in under 26 minutes. Like with his other challenges, he was indeed successful, but it was a very close call and he really had to dig deep.

At the Dorset Ooser Marathon, he now had the chance to see what he had in his locker in a very tough, off-road environment. It was certainly going to different to the fast, flat roads he’d been used to from his previous racing days.

Also being a high acclaimed running coach, Pete is usually a master when it comes to race plan and strategy. He tends to start off at a steady, comfortable pace and then gradually pick it up as the race progresses. That’s exactly what he did at the Wimborne 20, gradually working his way towards the front of the field.

Having not raced for so many months though, even Pete found himself getting a touch over exuberant at the start of the race, but that was almost unavoidable under the circumstances.

The hills start immediately on the Dorset Ooser course and they do not relent until the end so it’s definitely one where a supplement of energy needs to be conserved.

Pete was going for it though and taking no prisoners. By the time the third mile had elapsed he was in lead and continued to press on from there.

Despite the hills, Pete had completed most of the miles up to mile seven at around 6:20 to 6:30 pace. Had he burnt himself out too early though, that was the question?

Some tough hills over the next forced him to slow the pace a bit but a couple of nice downhill stretches on the 11th and 12th miles saw him get back up to speed.

Pete works his way along the trails
Pete swept into the lead three miles in and there was no looking back from that point on

At the half way stage it was so far so good for Pete and his lead at the front of the field was growing progressively. He didn’t relent though and continued to attack the hills with vigour and gusto.

Not prepared to just settle for the race win, Pete wanted to continue giving it all he’s got and see how quickly he could go. Managing to stay remarkably strong over the second half of the race, it was only at mile 24 where he really started to find it tough.

The hill on that mile took a lot out of him but he was hoping he’d be able to cruise home after that. That was not so though and he was cursing his luck as he turned the corner to be greeted with one more big hill before the finish.

Being forced to swap running for walking over the last bit of the climb, he made it up nonetheless, crossing the finish line in a remarkable time of 2:59:40.

Pete leads the way in the Dorset Ooser Marathon
No one else could get close to Pete as he tore through the trails and powered up the slopes

It was a quite magnificent victory for Pete, and a fairly comprehensive one at that. Almost eight minutes went by before the runner up emerged on the horizon.

That was Robert Eaton of South Derbyshire Road Runners. He got over the line in a time of 3:07:37. Then it was Philip Macgregor who took third place in a time of 3:11:37.

Kieron Mumford of Lonely Goat was the only other man to come in in under three-and-a-half hours. He posted a time of 3:27:08, giving him the Male 45-49 crown.

Over the course of the race, Pete wracked up 2,454ft of elevation which gives some indication of just how tough the Dorset Ooser Marathon is. With its 13 testing climbs to overcome, seven stiles to clamber over and two fords to cross, it isn’t one for the faint hearted.

Pete shows off his medal after completing the race
It was a very testing but hugely rewarding day for Pete as he picked up a momentous victory

Meanwhile, in the Half Marathon race it was Robert Doubleday of Poole AC who showed he hasn’t lost any form over the lockdown period, picking up the win in 1:24:16. Sam Davis took second place in a still very good time of 1:26:29.

For Pete though, it was not all about the winning. He classes the enjoyment of running as the most important thing, along with the massive mental health benefits that it brings.

After the race he was full of gratitude towards Kevin and Denise and all the team at Badger Trail Events for overcoming so many hurdles and putting on such a hugely successful race under very difficult circumstances.

Sign from Dorset Ooser Marathon
Special shout out to Dorsetbays photography who gave up their services for free, asking for donations to a local foodbank in return






Racing returns with the Maverick Dorset

Rich Brawn takes on the Maverick Dorset 16km
Rich Brawn works his way up the steep slope in the Maverick Dorset 16km race

It had been around four-and-a-half months since lockdown restrictions came into play, forcing all forms of competitive racing off the agenda.

Over the course of that time event organisers and race planners had been searching for ways and means to get races back up and running in a safe and socially distanced environment.

It had proved a very difficult proposition and the inevitable cancellation of many high profile events ensued, including all big city marathons, some of which had initially been rescheduled for October.

It came as a welcome relief to many athletes when the go-ahead was finally given for racing to return in some shape or form. In the Dorset area it turned out to be Maverick who were the first to get an event scheduled in with an appropriate strategy in place and a Covid-19 considered plan approved.

Maverick events tend to consist of three different distances for runners to choose from, namely a Short, Middle and Long race. The challenge was of course to come up with an innovative way in which they could reduce interaction between participants wherever possible and ensure gatherings were kept to a minimum.

They did this by introducing a starting system where runners could set off in waves, dictated by their chosen timeslot. They could then start their races any time during the allocated duration for that particular wave.

The lockdown period had certainly brought about its own set of challenges to runners, with the initial restrictions forcing most to train on their own.

With the absence of group club sessions and hands-on coaching guidance, runners had to find their own motivations to keep training and maintain fitness levels.

Even when coached club sessions returned, there was then still the lack of any target races to aim for to provide the incentive to train hard and commit to the cause.

Despite all those challenges, Rob McTaggart and Rich Brawn had both managed to remain focused and stay motivated in training. As a consequence, they were quite pleased with where their fitness levels were at. The only frustration for them had been that they had no races in which to showcase that form.

Hence when they discovered that the Maverick Adidas Terrex Dorset Original event was actually taking place, they jumped at the chance to compete again.

With the race being staged along the rugged Jurassic coastline from Swanage, Tag knew it wouldn’t be a course the played to his strengths. He usually excels more in a fast, flat, road race environment. But beggars can’t be choosers and it was a competitive race, nonetheless, so it was worth a go.

Having already signed up to a 10k race the following weekend, Rich felt it would be a good way to get back into race mode and given the tough terrain, it would provide some good strength benefits for following race he had penciled in.

Rich Brawn arrives at Wilkwood Farm
Rich arrives at Wilkwood Farm for his first proper race since the Covid-19 pandemic struck

The location of the race village was Wilkswood Farm in Swanage. The three different distances participants could choose from were 8km, 16km and 24km. Both Tag and Rich had opted for the Middle distance, which was 16km.

Arriving with some of his mates from Twemlow Track Club, Tag started off in the second wave. Rich was scheduled to go in the third wave of the four.

Rob McTaggart warming up before the race
Rob McTaggart (green top) warms up before setting off on the Middle distance route

The starting procedure was very straight forward indeed. The runners simply just had to go to the start area at some point during the time span of their wave, pick up their number, pin it on and then head to the start line where they could set off individually or in pairs.

It wasn’t long before the climbing began, with the presence of a testing hill in the first mile that gave the athletes an early taste of what was to come.

The next couple of miles were fairly smooth sailing, or at least they should have been. There were a few undulations but nothing too excessive. The third mile contained a downhill stretch and that was where a harrowing moment for Rich occurred.

He was enjoying picking his way through the field and going past others who had started ahead of him and back-markers from previous waves.

Getting a bit over exuberant, he was tearing down the field on full throttle. The decline in the field seemed to gradually get more steep though and Rich soon found himself picking up velocity as his momentum carried him forward.

Suddenly realising he was travelling too fast he thought he’d better try and slow down. But he had no breaks!! Rather worryingly, he was completely out of control at this point and was hurtling towards the end of the field and knew if he kept going he’d have no way of stopping.

As the ground began to get blurry with the speed he was going at, the only way Rich could think of to stop was to throw himself to the ground, so that’s what he did.

Crashing to the deck on his left leg, it was a painful landing but he was grateful to have stopped without serious injury. He immediately bounced back and carried on, relieved to find that the only damage he had done was surface wounds.

Rich scraped his leg after a nasty fall on the descent
A nasty fall on one of the earlier descents resulted in a very painful landing for Rich

On the fifth mile there were some very steep steps leading down to a valley. Remembering his fall from earlier, Rich decided to take these very cautiously, just gently walking down. Any attempt to go faster could have easily resulted in calamity and he wasn’t prepared to risk that.

Then there was a very steep climb up the other side which most people were walking up. After losing so much time going down the stairs, Rich wasn’t prepared to be delayed any further and worked hard to get up as quickly as he could.

It was the first off-road race he’d ever done on the Purbeck though and after beginning to struggle a bit, he wondered if perhaps he hadn’t quite given it the respect it deserves and would pay for setting off so quick.

Then, on the sixth mile he came to another extremely steep downhill section with steps. Again, the only viable option was to walk down gingerly which took a fair while as it was a very long hill. Once he eventually reached the bottom, there was another massive hill with steps back up the other side.

Clambering up the steps as fast as he could, he could tell that the mile split for that one would be very slow. After that though, he managed to find some rhythm and thankfully, once he was on route back to the start/finish area, the remainder of the race wasn’t too taxing.

Rich makes his way up the steep incline
The Maverick Dorset course incorporated its fair share of testing climbs which were steep on the way up and death defying on the way down

Some nice downhill stretches over the last couple of miles allowed him to claw some time back and after one final short climb through a wooded area, he saw the inflatable finish arch.

Going over the line in a time of 1:14:40, even though it was perhaps Rich‘s slowest time ever over a 10-mile distance, he was pleased with the performance given the toughness of the terrain.

Over the course of the race he’d wracked up almost 1,200ft of elevation and if you add all the lengthy descents with steps as well, it’s easy to see why it wasn’t one for a fast time.

As for Tag, given he had started in a previous wave, he had completed his ordeal quite some time ago. Suffice to say, it wasn’t a race he will look back on overly fondly.

He didn’t even have any trail shoes so that meant he was also restricted to walking down each set of steep steps and it turned out to be more a steady run than an all-out blast from him.

Crossing the line in a time of 1:11:23, Tag still ran it over three minutes faster than Rich and it would be enough to see him finish fairly high up the leaderboard. He didn’t enjoy his foray into trail running though and probably won’t overly keen to enter another race like that any time soon.

It was the Twemlow Track Club guys who dominated the race over the Middle distance though, with Brian Underwood posting the fastest time of anyone on the day, somehow getting round in 1:06:18. That was a mightily impressive feat, producing a time like that over such a difficult course.

Jack Galloway took the runners up spot, completing the route in a time of 1:07:23. Harry Lauste took third place, finishing in 1:08:15, with Steven Rigby getting fourth in 1:10:25. Tag was fifth in the overall standings and Rich was sixth.

The quickest lady over the Middle distance was Jenny Marshall, who finished 7th overall with a magnificent time of 1:14:53. A total of 146 people successfully completed the 16km race.

Rich shows off his medal after completing the 16km
Rich secured a nice new bit of bling after successfully completing the 16km distance

In the other distances, Daniel Eyre won the Short race in a time of 32:50, followed by Georgie Lambert who was second in 34:49 and Louise Fox was came third in a time of 35:21.

Over the Long distance, it was Toby Lambert who came out on top, putting in a brilliant performance to complete the 24km route in 1:42:51.

James Phillips took second place in a still very impressive time of 1:45:57, with Dasos Gonnella registering a time of just two seconds slower to take third place in 1:45:59.

Although it won’t be one that Rich and Tag will remember for their spectacular performances, the race will be remembered by all those who took part as one of huge significance.

That significance is of course, that real racing is finally back. And, after such a lengthy hiatus without it, that will be a godsend for most competitive club runners.

Rich Brawn in the Maverick Dorset 16km
Despite the wounds he suffered Rich was very glad to be back in race action again






Session 11-08-2020


Please do follow the Government guidelines when doing the sessions which is currently you may now train in groups of 6 outside but you must maintain the 2 metre distance at all times (unless they’re from the same household).

This week’s session is devised by Joy Wright who holds the Assistant Coaching Licence with England athletics, and has coached athletics at BAC since 2015 in middle distance and Junior Development. She also has qualifications in Sports Science and Clinical Nutrition. Joy is a competing athlete for BAC and has competed at county and national levels including the AAA World Trials. Joy now competes at masters level and  has been ranked in GB top 10 in 400m, 200m, 100m hurdles, HJ and LJ. Joy also has experience in endurance and ultra marathons including coming 3rd in IrishTriathlon Championships.

The aim of this session is to incorporate some of the activities you need to progress your skills as a runner and jumper. 

These skills compliment each other for example, a runner will benefit from jump training known as plyometric training as well as upper body strength such as press ups to support good running technique. 


The warm up

Ensure your body is well prepared for the strain of exercise by increasing blood flow to the muscles & getting the right muscles fired up and ready to go. This includes dynamic stretching such as walking lunges. 


Warm up

8-10 mins easy jogging


Dynamic stretches

Walking lunges 

Squats, stepping sideways. Swap lead leg on repeat

Walking toe taps 

High-knee Skips

10 x each leg, walk back & repeat


Drills (improve speed, form & efficiency) 

High Knees


Straight-leg bounds

Single leg hops aiming for height 10 x each leg.

Walking Leg Swings

Side Leg Swings

*see below


Drills should be completed for 20-30m. 

Walk back to where you started before beginning the next drill. 

Perform 2 sets of each one before beginning the next exercise. 

2 x10 press ups, pushing up fast with the aim of lifting the hands off the ground. 

2 x 20 bent knee situps



4 x 40m sprints. 

Walk back to the start. Aim to speed up slightly for each one (tip: start easy). Be very controlled & Aim for good, strong technique! 



4 x 20-30m fast starts. Choose between a full crouched start or half bend, keeping low. Note: look down, stay low and have a gradual phased acceleration.

Remember not to apply the brakes too quickly and overload the quads.


Run Repeats

Run 4 x 100m at 90% effort so almost flat out with enough left to complete all 4 well. 

Walk back slowly to recover, approx 3 minutes. Older athletes can complete 6 reps if not slowing and the technique is not tiring. 


Cool down

Jog at least 5 minutes 1-2 laps. 

Practice stretching after every session, in particular the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexor and calves. 



Squat: Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. It’s also ok if your toes are pointing slightly outward. Sit back with your butt like you’re sitting down in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Drive your heels down and return to the standing position, ensuring your lower back stays in a neutral position.


Walking Lunge: Step forward with your right leg, flexing the knees and dropping your hips. Descend until your left knee almost touches the ground. Drive your right heel into the ground and push yourself back to a standing position while taking a step forward. Repeat with the opposite leg. Maintain a tall, erect posture and ensure your knee does not go significantly beyond the toes while lunging.


Walking Leg Swings: With your hands straight out in front of you, swing your right leg up toward your right hand. Keep both knees straight and repeat on the opposite side.


High-knee Skips: Skip forward and drive your right knee up so it’s about parallel to the ground and drive your foot back down to the ground. Alternate each leg. Keep your back tall with an exaggerated arm swing and make sure you don’t slam your feet on the ground.


Side Leg Swings: Standing in front of a wall or pole for support, swing your leg parallel to the support so your foot comes up to about hip level. Make sure to keep your swing leg straight but don’t lock your knee.



Keep safe and well everyone

Best Wishes from Junior Development coaches    

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