BAC squad deliver five star display in EA Virtual Road Relay

Bournemouth AC team from happier times
Even though it was a virtual race, the Bournemouth AC squad rallied well with 18 members competing in the EA 5-mile Road Relay

It came as a welcome distraction from all the doom and gloom surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic when news got around that England Athletics would be hosting a Virtual Road Relay Competition, pitting clubs up and down the country against each other over a five mile distance.

The premise was that any number of runners could compete for their respective clubs with the fast four men and and fastest four women counting towards the overall time for the club.

The first round was the qualifying round, where the top 50 clubs would then progress to round two where they would square off for the right to represent England in an international round against the top teams from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The event was always going to feature some Bournemouth AC involvement with coach Tom Craggs heading up the proceedings for England Athletics.

It was just a question of how much interest it would garner around the BAC camp, how many members would be prepared to step up to the plait and what kind of performances would they produce?

The rules stated that it had to be either and out and back, where you finish in a similar place to where you started, or a looped route with each loop over 1 kilometre in distance, which meant it couldn’t be done on the track.

That alleviated most of the ways an athlete could gain an unfair advantage, for instance by running with a following wind the whole way or on a downhill trajectory.

Having heard about his Dad’s club Chiltern Harriers looking to assemble quite a strong team for the event, Rich Brawn was keen to try to drum up some enthusiasm among his Bournemouth AC counterparts.

Hoping to get the ball rolling, he went out on the first weekend of January and put in his preliminary attempt, clocking a time of 29:17. Since he hadn’t done any speed-work over the Christmas period, he wasn’t really sure how it would go so he was delighted with that result.

Having said that though, he had been apprehensive about pushing the pace too much through fear of blowing up so he felt he still had a quicker time in him and was tempted to give it another go the weekend after.

One aspect that did help massively that weekend though was that there was very little wind. That presented athletes with a rare opportunity to reach their full potential in an out and back along the prom.

Rich Brawn on his first attempt at the 5-mile relay
Rich Brawn recorded a time of 29:17 on his first attempt at the 5-mile road relay but he felt he could potentially go quicker

There a few notable absentees who would otherwise have been candidates for a place in the final team. That included Craig Palmer and Dave Long who are both recovering from injury.

Jasper Todd has been out of action since November and Stu Fox had busted his foot whilst out running the day after New Year’s Day. Stu Nicholas was also out of the equation as he was self isolating after contracting Covid-19.

Luckily Bournemouth AC has tremendous strength in depth at the moment and despite having some of their top names sidelined there were still plenty of others waiting in the wings for their chance to shine.

Even though he wasn’t going to run it, Craig Palmer did his bit to gee up the troops. He reached out to all the squirrels, offering to give them Corona as a prize for the top performers. The beer that is – not the virus!

The first man to step up and answer the call was Josh King and he laid down the gauntlet with a stunning display, completing his run in a sensational time of 24:40.

Using the Cowell Drive loop made famous by Grant Sheldon’s amazing 13:38 in the 5k National Road Relay Championships, Josh had put in a performance that really dropped some jaws.

It also served to inspire some of his BAC teammates and generate a good buzz around the squad,  instilling some belief that perhaps they could challenge for the top placings.

It wasn’t just the BAC men who had been coaxed into getting involved either. Georgia Wood had done her bit to round up the women and assemble a competitive bunch. That would also prove crucial for the overall success of the team.

The first woman to get out and give it a go was Lisa Elmore. Lisa was keen to make her contribution to the team despite cold and foggy conditions.

Finding her rhythm quite quickly, she managed to maintain focus well throughout the run, keeping a very good consistent pace. Finishing in a time of 35:31, she had put down a very good benchmark for the rest of the ladies to aspire to.

Lisa Elmore in the EA Virtual Road Relay
When the call came Lisa Elmore didn’t hesitate to show she was a team player

That same afternoon, Holly Collier posted her offering as well. She hadn’t really been training at all towards the end of year due to lack of motivation and had only just started again from the turn of the year.

She could already feel her fitness starting to come back over the course of the week and most importantly, she’s rediscovered her motivation now.

With a time of 34:37, Holly was certainly a contender to be one of top four women on the team. Given the circumstances, it was a pleasing attempt from her, although some way down on what she’s capable of at her best.

Holly Collier in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Holly Collier returned to the racing realm after having taking some time out towards the end of the year

Taking to the promenade and heading from Boscombe Pier to Branksome Dene Chine Beach and back, Ollie James recording a magnificent time of 27:27.

His pacing throughout the run was remarkable, clocking the first two miles at 5:28 pace and the next three at 5:30 pace, proving just how strong he’s feeling at the moment.

Oliver James in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Ollie James had a very strong run in which he was well in control throughout

Also heading down to Boscombe Pier and taking a similar out and back route to Ollie, Georgia Wood and Emma Caplan had decided to run together, hoping to spur each other on.

They did just that and both recorded a terrific time, with Emma finishing in 30:53, giving her an average pace of 6:10 minutes per mile, and Georgia coming in just three seconds after at 30:56. They had given the team a massive boost with that result.

Georgia Wood in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Georgia Wood ran well to clock a time of 30:56

Since she usually finds virtual races much harder than normal ones, Emma was fairly satisfied with her attempt and felt it was a fair representation of her current level of fitness.

Emma Caplan in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Although she’s not massively keen on virtual races, Emma put in a strong display to register a time of 30:53

Living out in Wimborne, Helen Ambrosen was quite restricted on where she could go in order to get a flattish route. With the help of her partner Mark, she did manage to find one in the end at Gaunts Common, which is where the Wimborne 20 takes place.

Enjoying the opportunity to put in a real race effort, Helen had a good strong run, finishing in a time of 41:21.

Helen Amrbosen in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Although she had to hunt around a bit for some flat ground, Helen made the most of the opportunity to get into race mode

Managing a good progressive effort for his run, Ian White started off at 8:20 pace for the first mile and finished up at 7:34 pace for the last mile. That led him to a finishing time of 39:54.

It was a good sign for him that things might be now moving in the right direction, although the closing of the golf courses might perhaps have something to do with that!

Ian White in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Ian White swapped his golf shoes for trainers and successfully rediscovered his running legs

Next to go was a major contender for a place in the team as one of the fastest four men in the shape of Rob McTaggart. Like Josh King before him, Tag headed over to the Cowell Drive loop for his effort.

Completing his run a time of 26:10, it was certainly a result that would have pleased most athletes on the roster. Tag wasn’t overly happy with it though as he knew that he was capable of much quicker.

Some of the Northern clubs had contacted Tom to report that they were having difficulties doing their runs due snow. As a consequence, it was agreed that the deadline would be extended by a few days to give them more chance to get a run in.

That meant that Tag would have the opportunity, should he need to, to give it another go and try and post a faster time.

Rob McTaggart in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Recording a time of 26:10 for his attempt, Rob McTaggart felt that was a result he could improve on on another day

The first runner to record a sub-24-minute time was Phil Sesemann of Blackheath and Bromley Harriers. Unfortunately he had done his run on the track though, which left Tom with no option but to disqualify him.

It was stated very clearly in the rules though that track runs wouldn’t be permitted and also, a lap of the track does not comply with the minimum 1k distance for a loop either.

That meant Andy Coley-Maud was still in the lead with his time of 24:09, although he had run exactly 8k, which equates to slightly less than 5 miles.

It wasn’t long before news of another Bournemouth AC man to go sub-25-minutes emerged. That was none another than the mighty Rob Spencer who had posted a staggeringly quick time of 24:47.

All but one of the miles in his run were under 5 minute mile pace and it was certainly an impressive indictment of where he’s at right now. Of course, with no races around, it can be difficult for runners to know exactly what they’re capable of at the current moment in time so Rob was extremely pleased with this outcome.

Rob Spencer in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Rob Spencer bolted round at lightening speed to throw down a tremendous time of 24:47

That put him in 11th place, just behind Josh King at that point in the proceedings and in such a high standard field, that was quite some achievement. Of course, there was still plenty time for other runners to take to the stage though.

That boosted Bournemouth AC’s position in the standings, moving them up to 8th place and they still had some top class runners yet to submit their activities.

Starting her attempt close to Bournemouth Pier and heading along to Sandbanks and back, Tamzin Petersen had a good run to clock a time of 37:27.

Tamzin Petersen in the EA Virtual Road Relay
A decent performance from Tamzin Petersen saw her return home with a time of 37:27

Another brilliant sub-26-minute run was soon to go up on the board when Harry Smith delivered an outstanding performance to register a time of 25:29.

That catapulted him into a high position in the overall standings and was a superb outcome considering he’d been really busy at work in the week leading up to it and had plenty of Zwift intervals in his legs as well.

Harry works as a vet and he’d also somehow managed to get kicked in the knee cap by a cow that week whilst performing surgery so that didn’t exactly help his course either.

On the day though, his run went smoothly and with an average pace of 5:06 minutes per mile it demonstrated the tremendous pedigree he has and showed that a sub-32-minute 10k is undoubtedly on the cards.

Harry Smith in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Harry Smith nailed his run and with a time of 25:29 he was sure to finish high up in the standings

Lockdown life can be awfully dull at times but Estelle Slatford has found a new way to entertain herself and that is by making run routes in the shape of animals on Strava. In fact, she did a recent one in the shape of a dolphin.

For the 5 mile relay though, she went all out and gave it everything she could. Estelle actually prefers the longer distances though and often struggles with the speed over 5k to 10k.

Completing her run in 41:05, Estelle was pleased with her time given the fact that she hasn’t done any interval or speed training of any sort for quite some time.

Estelle Slatford in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Although she’s more adept over longer distances, Estelle Slatford still managed an astute display in her 5 miler

On his second attempt at the virtual relay, Rich Brawn was looking for some improvement on his time of 29:17 from the previous week. He did exactly the same run, in exactly the same location, with pretty much the same weather conditions as his run from the previous week.

This time he wore his new Next Percenters for the first time though. He was very excited to run in them and was confident he would see some uplift.

Managing to clock each mile slightly faster than on his previous attempt, Rich was over the moon when he stopped his watch to see that he’d registered a time of 28:47.

It was exactly 30 seconds quicker, giving him an average pace of 5:45 minutes per mile. He was very pleased to have knocked that amount of time off in the space of a week.

Rich Brawn in the EA Virtual Road Relay
A 30 second improvement over his time the previous week gave Rich Brawn a terrific time of 28:47

To really boost their position in the standings though, BAC needed another women to step up to the plait and submit a quick time. The prime candidate to do that was Helen O’Neile.

Although she possesses outstanding natural ability and always tends to train well in the Tuesday night sessions, Helen has been plagued by a long-running Achilles injury that has held her back since the beginning of last year.

It has severely limited the volume of training she’s been able to do. Despite that though, she still has plenty of speed and taking a similar out and back route along the promenade to others before her, she managed an excellent time of 30:45.

Helen O'Neile in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Helen O’Neile chipped in with a run that was hugely important to the team, shooting them up to third in the rankings

That actually took almost five minutes off the total accumulated time for the BAC team thus far and lifted them up to third place overall. It was a truly remarkable position to be in at that point.

Also putting in a decent effort, Alison Humphrey was next to add her name to the scoreboard. She ran her route over at Moors Valley and demonstrated superb consistency with her pacing, despite a slight incline towards the end.

With an average pace of 7:12 minutes per mile, Ali’s time of 36:11 represented a good, solid performance from her.

Alison Humphrey in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Alison Humphrey paced her run well to finish in a time of 36:11

Aiming for a time of 27 minutes, which would have been around 5:25 minutes per mile pace, Jacek Cieluszecki actually ended up going a fair bit faster than that.

Performing his run on the Baiter Park loop in Poole, JC finished in a superb time of 26:21, giving him an average pace of 5:15 minutes per mile. He had exceeded his own expectations and took his place as fourth male scorer for the team.

Jacek Cieluszecki in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Jacek Cieluszecki’s time of 26:21 was good enough to see him secure a scoring spot

For his first attempt, Adam Corbin clocked an excellent time of 28:45. However, he hadn’t read the rules though and didn’t realise he was meant to end up within 500 metres of where he started. Thus, he was forced to give it another go.

That served as a blessing though as this time he managed to improve on his previous attempt, completing the run in even more impressive 28:30.

Adam Corbin in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Adam Corbin was able to better his previous time on his second go, finishing in 28:30

Given that his best official time for a 5 mile distance was 29:19, that was quite an achievement from Adam and certainly showed that he’s progressing well, despite the lack of racing and club training that the current climate has presented.

Using the run he had posted for the British Masters Athletics Virtual 10k Challenge for South West Vets AC, Julian Oxborough also added his name to the score-sheet. In that run he went through 5 miles in a time of 56:39.

Julian Oxborough in the EA Virtual Road Relay
Julian Oxborough has run quite a few virtual races over recent times and added another to the list here

When all was said and done it was Matthew Dickinson of Clapham Chasers who came out on top. He was the only man to register a legitimate sub-24-minute effort. With an average pace of 4:47 minutes per mile, his finishing time was 23:57.

Among the noteworthy Bournemouth AC performances, Josh King finished up in a very impressive 16th place overall with his 24:40 time. Rob Spencer was 18th with his 24:47 effort.

Harry Smith took 35th place in the overall standings with his 25:29 performance. Tag didn’t end up submitting his 26:10 time in the end but if he had he would have been 65th.

Completing the scoring team for the men, JC finished up in 77th place with his time of 26:21. He was also 5th fastest M40, which was a good achievement given the level of competition.

Ollie James was 169th overall with his 27:27 time and that also put him 10th in the Male Under 17 category. Adam Corbin was 285th with his 28:30 time and Rich Brawn took 335th place with his 28:47.

Helen O’Neile was the 32nd fastest in the Senior Women’s category with her time of 30:45 and was 648th overall. Emma Caplan took 2nd place in the W45 category with her time of 30:51 so that was a fantastic result for her. She came in 668th overall.

Georgia Wood claimed 3rd place in the W40 category with her time of 30:56 and that put her 681st. Again, that was a terrific achievement by her.

Holly Collier was of course fourth scorer for the women and she was 132nd in the Senior Women’s category with her time of 34:37.

It had been a very good turnout from a Bournemouth AC perspective and the signs were certainly looking good for their prospects of challenging for the top placings in the next round.

With a total cumulative time of 3 hours 48 minutes and 26 seconds, Bournemouth AC finished up as 6th placed team in the end, which was a remarkable result given the quality of clubs they were up against.

The top team, with a total combined time of 3:41:47 was Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow AC. They had Daniel Brookling who was 4th overall in a time of 24:19, along with three other men who posted times under 26 minutes. All four of their women scorers were under 31 minutes as well.

Cambridge and Coleridge were 2nd with a total combined time of 3:42:03 and they actually possessed two men who finished in the top ten with Jack Gray taking joint 4th in 24:19 and Jonathan Escalante-Phillips coming 8th in 24:21.

With all four of their women impressively finishing in under 29:40, Wirral AC were the 3rd placed team in the overall standings, registering a cumulative time of 3:42:42.

Shaftesbury Barnet had four men inside 25 minutes, including Kristian Imroth who was 7th in 24:20 and Kieran Clements who was 10th in 24:23. They were the 4th quickest team overall in a combined time of 3:45:20.

Then it was Kent AC who took 5th in a time of 3:45:49, with their line up including Anthony Johnson who was 9th overall in a time of 24:22.

A total of 127 clubs managed to get a team of four men and four women to compete but of course, it was only the top 50 who would progress into the next round.

In a way, the team placings in this round didn’t actually mean that much. It was really just about qualifying. It is in the next round where that becomes all important. The competition will surely be even fiercer then as each team vies for top spot and the honour of representing England in the international round.

Could Bournemouth AC be in with a chance of glory? Who knows? But if every member of the club brings their A-game to the table, with the talent they possess in their ranks, anything is possible.

Team BAC at a road race league fixture
The heat will certainly be on in the next round with the chance to represent the country in an international round up for grabs

Here are the final Bournemouth AC results from the Virtual Road Relay Qualifying Round…

Bournemouth AC – 6th place – 3:48:26
16: Josh King (24:40),  18: Rob Spencer (24:47),  35: Harry Smith (25:29),  77: Jacek Cieluszecki (26:21),  648: Helen O’Neile (30:45),  668: Emma Caplan (30:51),  681: Georgia Wood (30:56),  1257: Holly Collier (34:37)

Place Name Category Category Position Time
16 Josh King SM 11 24:40
18 Rob Spencer SM 13 24:47
35 Harry Smith SM 27 25:29
77 Jacek Cieluszecki M40 5 26:21
169 Oliver James U17M 10 27:27
285 Adam Corbin SM 158 28:30
335 Richard Brawn M35 41 28:47
648 Helen O’Neile SW 32 30:45
668 Emma Caplan W45 2 30:51
681 Georgia Wood W40 3 30:56
1257 Holly Collier SW 132 34:37
1384 Lisa Elmore SW 17 35:31
1461 Alison Humphrey W50 19 36:11
1617 Tamzin Petersen SW 184 37:27
1853 Ian White M50 111 39:54
1937 Estelle Slatford W45 96 41:05
1957 Helen Ambrosen W60 20 41:21
2433 Julian Oxborough M55 83 56:39

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tag goes out hard at Ardingly 5k

Rob McTaggart in the PB5K at Ardingly
Looking to test himself against the best of the best, Rob McTaggart lined up for the PB5K at Ardingly Showground

A ferociously fast field had been assembled for the PB5K at Ardingly Showground, providing the competitors with a good prospect of a quick time, being surrounded by so many other high standard athletes.

That was certainly what Rob McTaggart was hoping for anyway when he threw his hat into the ring.

Although it was a tad twisty, the course was pancake flat, making it an ideal surface for a fast time. On the day though the conditions were a bit windy which made it tougher to hit top speed.

The previous weekend Tag had been in 10k action at the Running Grand Prix staged at Goodwood Motor Circuit. Although he finished in 10th place in a time of 33:21, he was actually very disappointed with his run that day.

Back in February he’d completed the Chichester 10k at the same venue in 31:45, so he knew he was capable of better. It just didn’t happen for him on the day though at the Running GP and, although had a decent first couple of miles at around 5:10 pace, he struggled to maintain it after that.

Tag reaches the line in the Running Grand Prix at Goodwood Motor Circuit
Tag reaches the line in the Running Grand Prix 10k at Goodwood Motor Circuit

It was onward and upwards for Tag though and the good thing was that he didn’t have to wait long for opportunity to bounce back and set the record straight. The PB5K at Ardingly Showground seemed like the perfect foil for that.

Blasting out of the blocks quickly, Tag posted a 4:53 split for his first mile which stood him in good stead for a fast time. Maintaining that sort of pace for the rest of the race was always going to be tricky though.

His second mile split was a 5:03 so, even though it had dropped slightly, he was still going well. Towards the end he began to suffer though, posting a 5:10 for his third mile split before managing to back up to the pace he started off at for the final section.

That amounted to a finishing time of 15:42, putting him in 51st place overall. Of course, with that sort of time he would usually expect to place much higher, but the standard of this event was extraordinary.

It was enough to see him confirmed as third fastest V35 on the day though and, in a field like that, that was quite an accolade.

Tag battling it out in the PB5K at Ardingly Showground
It was an improvement on his performance from the previous weekend which Tag was pleased about

The race win went to Ian Crowe-Wright of Brighton & Hove AC who got round in a staggeringly quick time of 14:23. That was enough to see of the challenge from Joe Wigfield of Liverpool Harriers who reached the line two seconds later.

Robbie Fitzgibbon of Brighton Phoenix took third place in 14:29, just one second ahead of Henry McLuckie of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers. Then it was the Aldershot Farnham & District pair Joshua Grace and Ricky Harvie who came in in 14:31 and 14:33 respectively.

There were a few other local runners taking part as well, with Benjamin Gibbons of Poole AC finishing in 69th place with a time of 16:02. Dom Willmore, also now of Poole AC got round 16:12, with Nathaniel Willmore of Poole Runners finishing 148th in 17:15.

Grace Copeland of Wimborne AC was the ninth fastest female, completing the course in a time of 16:58, which put her in 122nd position overall.

Tag feels that he just needs some more speed sessions going at sub 5 minute mile pace before he’ll be ready to go again and the holy grail would certainly be to make each mile a sub 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pete Thompson tackles first official ultra in Endurance Life Dorset

Pete Thompson and Billy McGreevy in the Endurance Life Dorset Ultra
Pete Thompson ventured along the Jurassic Coast with his partner him crime Billy McGreevy in the Endurance Life Dorset Ultra Marathon

The end of the November lockdown marked the return of racing for many and what better way to get back into it than with a wet, windy, muddy, hilly, 33 mile ultra. At least, that’s what Pete Thompson thought anyway when he headed over to Kimmeridge for the Endurance Life Dorset Ultra Marathon.

It might surprise some to know that prior to this event Pete had never actually ran an official ultra before. He had of course completed many marathons including the famous 44 marathons in 44 days in 44 different countries challenge.

He’d also ran the entire 2018 Tour de France route in the space of 67 days which entailed covering roughly 30 miles every day, so in that he essentially ran the equivalent of an ultra every day. But as amazing an achievement as that was, it wasn’t an actual race.

One interesting thing about that challenge which wasn’t as well publicised was the fact that Pete had never actually ran over a marathon distance before, even in training, and there he was, having to do it for 67 consecutive days!

The Endurance Life Dorset presented him with the possibility of getting an official ultra marathon under his belt though, but as he was about to find it, it wasn’t going to come easy.

The weather on the morning of the event was atrocious. The lashing rain and high winds turned the route to slop which added to the difficulty of what was already a very demanding route.

Not to be perturbed though, Pete scrambled up an down the hills doing his best to stay upright whilst heading along the mud laden trails.

Accompanied by his friend, and also well renowned Bournemouth AC man over the years, Billy McGreevy, the pair worked their way along the coastal path.

Billy and Pete make their way along the Jurassic Coast Path
Billy joined Pete on what would turn out to be one hell of an adventure!

Starting out at Kimmeridge, the route took them over to West Lulworth first before looping round and heading back through Tyneham. It was then over towards Worth Matravers before heading up to Kingston and back to Kimmeridge.

With the elevation billed at 5,567 ft, it was always going to be a serious battle, even for experienced runners like Pete and Billy. The relentless and unforgiving wind and rain turned it into less of a race and more of a slog with just a load of runners saying “why are we doing this” as they passed each other.

It was a spectacular backdrop for Billy and Pete
Although the weather made it tough, Pete and Billy were not going to be deterred

Not to be defeated though, Pete and Billy soldiered on and after nearly seven hours, they finally made it to the finish line. Wracking up an elevation gain of 7,372 ft and covering a total distance of 33.6 miles, it had been an epic journey for Pete and one that he’ll remember for a long time to come.

Completing the course in 6 hours 48 minutes, Pete finished in 10th place in a field of 109 runners, 99 of which made it the finish line. The winner was Lewis Ryan who got round in 5 hours and 11 minutes.

Pete Thompson and Billy McGreevy in action
The Jurassic Coast Path provided a stunning backdrop for Pete and Bill as they made their way round

Second place when to Maxime Lelong in 5 hours 30 minutes, with Kit Walker taking third in 5:35:20. Nina Davies finished as 1st female and was sixth overall with her time of 6:19:51.

The Endurance Life Dorset even consisted of five different races. As well as the Ultra that Pete competed in, there was also a Marathon, which was won by Dan Blake in 3:55:20, a half marathon which was won by Tom Campbell in 1:48:53 and a 10k, which was won by Matthew Dicks in 51:56.

Billy and Pete had to dig deep to see this one out
It was a case of having to dig deep but Billy and Pete showed great character to see it through

There was also an Ultra Plus, which consisted of 46.3 miles. The winner of that was Dave Phillips, who made it round in 7 hours 48 minutes. Second place went to Simon Dicks in 8:37:46 and third went to Bob Gilliland in 8:39:15.

Pete claimed afterwards that it was the most challenging day he’d ever had in a pair of running shoes – and that’s saying something after all the crazy charity activities he’s done!

In answer to the question of why they were doing it, Pete would love to have something wise and profound to say but in all honesty, he just loves the experience. Well, it’s either that there’s something wrong with him!

Billy and Pete after completing the Endurance Life Dorset Ultra Marathon
Billy and Pete celebrate a mammoth achievement after completing the full 33 mile route in extremely testing conditions

 

 

 

No need for a race brief in Runderwear Virtual 10 Mile event

Louise, Estelle and Pricey in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Just like they would have in the real Bournemouth 10, Louise Price took to the pier with her husband and was joined by Estelle Slatford and Tamzin Petersen who took the photo

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.

Harry Smith was in action in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Harry Smith posted a great time of 55:33 and it was clear he would be in shake up come the end

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.

Rob McTaggart in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Rob McTaggart was the top BAC man finishing in lightening quick 55:17

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.

Szymon Chojnacki in the Runderwear Virtual 10
On his first run for Bournemouth AC, Szymon Chojnacki gave us a glimpse of what he’s capable of

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.

Alex Goulding in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Alex Goulding was determined to secure a sub-60 but he had to go some in the latter stages to make it happen

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.

Emma Caplan in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Emma Caplan put in a fine display to finish as 1st female with a time of 1:03:52

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 Corbin in the Runderwear Virtual 10
It wasn’t one of Adam Corbin’s better days but he has hope that he’ll be back firing on all cylinders soon enough

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.

Paddy McCallister in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Paddy McCallister wracked up his second 10 mile PB in the space of a month

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.

Chris O'Brien in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Choosing perhaps the wrong time and the wrong location for his run, Chris O’Brien found it difficult to reach his full potential

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.

Phil Cherrett in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Phil Cherrett gradually built up the pace as he progressed through his run

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.

Ian White in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Ian White put in a good solid display in his first race as a vet 50

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.

Louise, Estelle and Pricey on Bournemouth Pier
Louise Price makes her way along the pier with her husband just ahead alongside Estelle Slatford

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.

Estelle Slatford in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Estelle had a nice run in the sun and finished 10th in the female V45 category

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.

Tamzin Petersen in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Tamzin Petersen was glad to have it clear in her mind what she needed to do for that particular run

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.

Louise Price in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Lou managed to pace her hubby round to a 10 mile PB

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.

Sam White in the Runderwear Virtual 10
Sam White secured a new PB for the distance, finishing in 1:31:54

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.

Wayne Walford Jelks in the Runderwear Virtual 10
It was a step in the right direction for Wayne Walford Jelks who was recovering from a recent injury

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.

Julian Oxborough prepares for the Runderwear Virtual 10
Julian Oxborough used Stryd for his run, which is a device that measures power rather than pace

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.

Bournemouth 10 team in 2019
It was a far cry from the scenes of last year’s Bournemouth 10 but we’ll get back to that in the not too distant future

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2021 NAL Fixtures Dates and Locations Update (29-Dec-2020)

I am able to now confirm the dates and locations of the National Athletics League (NAL) matches for 2021.  The NAL is for Senior and U20 Men and Women. 

The four fixtures are now:

Sun 16-May   SportCity, Manchester
Sun 6-Jun        Chelmsford
Sat 3-Jul           Chelmsford
Sun 8-Aug        Bedford

2021 NAL Structure and Venues V2.1

This is a “Plan A” approach to the NAL where the Covid-19 situation allows this “normal” shape of competition to go ahead. There is also a “Plan B” (smaller meetings, more local travel) and even a “Plan C” to attempt to cater for alternative situations.

Myself and Amy Spencer will be managing the Bournemouth AC NAL team and we look forward to seeing some new faces as well as many familiar ones in the team for 2021 as we aim to go out there and “smash it” in our usual BAC way.

Any queries about the league – please contact me.

Stay Safe and Train Hard,

Tim Hughes.

JC on fire at Hellstone Marathon

Jacek Cieluszecki in the Hellstone Marathon
After two wins and two course records in his last couple of races, Jacek Cieluszecki had every reason to be confident going into the Hellstone Marathon

If long, steep, relentless climbs and tough, turbulent, energy sapping terrain is your idea of heaven, then the Hellstone Marathon could be just the ticket for you.

Set in the heart of rural Dorset, the course reveals some of the sensational scenery that the countryside has to offer. It provides challenging yet rewarding proposition for anyone with the courage to take it on.

The wide range of differing terrain across the route certainly keeps things interesting with footpaths, bridleways, farm tracks and fields among the surfaces competitors would encounter along the way.

Tarmac is kept to a minimum with virtually the whole course on trail of some sort. The Hellstone Marathon incorporates 1,169 metres of elevation, so it’s a tough workout for any runner at any level. In fact, it’s challenging enough to earn those who complete it 1 UTMB point.

The event also includes a Half Marathon and, for the first time, it featured a 10k race as well. Staged by Badger Trail Events, the Hellstone Marathon is the sister race of the Dorset Ooser, which was won by Pete Thompson back in August.

That was the second consecutive year that a Bournemouth AC man had claimed victory in the Dorset Ooser Marathon, with Jacek Cieluszecki taking the 2019 win.

This time round Jacek was competing in the Hellstone Marathon and with his track record, or perhaps you could call it ‘trail record’, to be more precise, he was always going to be a leading contender.

Lytchett Manor Striders pair Scott Parfitt and Edward Crawley were also in the mix and there was certainly a possibility they could give JC a run for his money.

Jacek tearing round the course
The hilly nature of the course and off-road terrain suited Jacek well

Having completed the Hellstone Marathon in May last year, Kirsty Drewett was back again for more punishment – or perhaps more pleasure – depending on how you want to look at it.

That time she completed the race in just over five hours. This year it was an entirely different proposition though. She hadn’t really been running all that regularly since completing the Larmer Tree 20 back at the end of March. That was just before lockdown came into force and all racing ceased.

Since then she’d only done one run over 14 miles and her total weekly mileage had only twice matched the distance she was taking on in the Hellstone Marathon.

With that in mind she had doubts going into it but she didn’t want to miss out on such a cracking course. Hence, she decided to throw herself into it and see what happened.

Kirsty Drewett in action in the Hellstone Marathon
With no real endurance training behind her it was always going to be a big test for Kirsty Drewett but it was one she was relishing

In the Half Marathon race, Helen Ambrosen was flying the flag for BAC. She’d done a fair bit of trail running over the course of the spring and the summer and had really enjoyed it. Hence, she was looking for an event to give her the chance to end the summer on a high and the Hellstone Half Marathon was it.

Coming off the back of two ultra marathon victories, Jacek had been showing some good form going into the Hellstone Marathon. In September he won the EnduranceLife CTS Exmoor Ultra Marathon which was 32.4 miles.

Setting a new course record by over 8 minutes, it was a very successful outing for Jacek in his first race back since the Covid-19 pandemic came into prominence.

He followed that up with another win and another course record in the Exmoor Coast 55km race. That was despite treacherous weather conditions on the day, with high winds and persistent rain compounding what was already a testing challenge.

Luckily it was a much nicer day for the Hellstone Marathon and that would have made it more enjoyable for JC and more manageable for all the participants.

JC wasn’t going into the race with entirely fresh legs though. The previous day he’d been cycling around the Purbeck on a Beryl Bike, following his wife Ela who was competing in the Maverick Jurassic Coast Marathon.

Going through Corfe Castle and onto Kingston, then through Kimmeridge and back to Corfe, he realised that a Beryl Bike was perhaps not the ideal mode of transport for that sort of trip!

Those exertions didn’t stop him going out hard from the outset in the Hellstone Marathon though, despite the difficult climbs he had to face along the way. In fact, the race started with a fairly steep ascent and that was a taster of what was to come throughout.

Considering it was such a hilly route though, JC was still able to go at a remarkable pace. His regular training over the Purbeck is the perfect conditioning for races like this and there are very few men out there who could match him over this sort of trajectory.

Jacek goes through the field
Although it was a very tough course, JC made it look easy as he tore his way round

Those who know JC though will be aware that he often tends to go off track and get lost in these types of races. Usually it’s not his fault though. It’s just that he’d so far ahead of everyone else that he doesn’t have anyone to follow, so if there is a discrepancy with the route somewhere, he is liable to come a cropper.

Sure enough, at the Hellstone Marathon, this was destined to happen again. On this particular occasion, someone had pulled up one of the signs marking out the route and put it in the wrong place, 4 ft away. Then another one had been thrown 50 ft away from its designated post.

Not even a sabotaged course could stop JC though and he still managed to find his way back and make it to the finish line. Even though he’d probably done an additional 1.5 miles, he still ran out a comfortable winner, completing the race in 3 hours 33 minutes and 50 seconds.

That gave him a winning margin of over 7-and-a-half minutes on his nearest rival Scott Parfitt, who finished in 3:41:33. Edward Crawley took third place in 3:45:20.

It was another incredibly impressive display from JC and most certainly a performance to be proud of. Despite an elevation gain of 3,374 ft, he came away with an average pace of 7:18 minutes per mile for his moving time, over a total distance of 28.4 miles.

JC on his way to winning the Hellstone Marathon
Despite getting lost at one point after some route signs had been moved, JC remained unphased and found his way back

Due to the lack of training and preparation she’d had going into the race, Kirsty wasn’t expecting to produce anything special by her standards. She’d earmarked a sub-6-hour time as a target to aim for.

With it being a trail race, she of course had to concentrate on where she was putting her feet but besides that she found it a sheer joy to be out there. It felt like a wonderful escapism from the reality that is 2020.

The views were epic and far reaching and she encountered a wide variety of livestock and crops along the way, along with obstacles such as gates and stiles. There was certainly plenty to invigorate the mind.

Not only did she make it to the end, Kirsty actually ended up doing a lot better than she’d expected and crossed the finish line in a superb time of 5 hours 10 minutes and 19 seconds.

Kirsty heads down the path in the Hellstone Marathon
Kirsty thoroughly enjoyed the fabulous scenery as she worked her way round

That was enough to put her in 53rd place overall in a field of 108 runners who successfully negotiated the course. That was a fantastic result for Kirsty and it was only 10 minutes over the time she managed last year, despite having done a lot less running than she was back then.

She was 15th fastest female as well and had every reason to be thrilled with that performance. Most importantly though, she had an absolute blast and that’s what it’s all about.

Kirsty felt the organisation of the race and the signage was exceptional, as were the aid stations, and the marshals were hugely energetic and reassuring.

Given her doubts before the race, Kirsty was so pleased that she’d been bold enough to try and do the race. If she hadn’t taken the risk, she would have never known whether she could have done it, so it’s always worth giving it a go.

Kirsty makes her way along the trail
Kirsty ran well and was very pleased with the outcome in the end

In the mean time, Helen Ambrosen was in thick of the action in the Half Marathon race. She hadn’t run in that part of the countryside before but she was expecting it to be tough – and she wasn’t wrong. At the same time though, it was beautiful and scenic.

She also had to experience the tough uphill start, ascending for the first kilometre before the steep, rough downhill sector that followed. Because of the difficult start, it took Helen a while to get going.

She struggled a bit over the first half of the run but settled down in the second half and was feeling pretty strong by the end. She loved the 1k downhill stretch to finish on, although she wasn’t brave enough to run the steepest bits.

Helen Ambrosen competing in the Hellstone Half Marathon
After a good amount of summer training on the trails, Helen Ambrosen was ready for the Hellstone Half Marathon

Completing the course in 2 hours 27 minutes and 26 seconds, Helen came in in 73rd position overall and was 21st female over the line. There were 146 runners in total who completed the Half Marathon.

Sam Davis picked up the win in a time of 1:37:31. Mark Packer of Littledown Harriers took the runner up spot getting round in 1:38:17 with Eddie Cairns sealing third place in 1:42:51.

Andrea Banks of Tynedale Harriers finished in fourth place overall and she was first female as well, crossing the line in a time of 1:42:57.

Helen said she would definitely like to do the event again and it would be good to have experienced the course before and have a stronger run next time.

Helen gives her all in the Hellstone Half Marathon
It was a tough start to the race for Helen but she grew into it as time went on

In the 10k race it was Lee Dempster who came out on top, completing the course in a time of 42:54. That was enough to give him a comfortable victory, with Ian Luke of Poole Runners taking second in 46:13.

Lytchett Manor Striders pair Scott Mordew and Paul Hilton took third and fourth in times of 47:31 and 47:38 respectively.

Once again, huge plaudits have to go to Badger Trail Events for putting on another great race and also to Dorsetbays Photography for capturing the action in all its glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forty Years On

…..By Dave Parsons

John Hurt, Dave Parsons and his wife Sue before the Isle of Wight Marathon in 1980
Dave Parsons (middle) is pictured here with his wife Sue and John Hurt (left) before the Isle of Wight Marathon in 1980. As you can see, they haven’t changed a bit since then!

With most races cancelled this year due to the pandemic, there have been far fewer events on which to report the successes of BAC athletes. It is perhaps interesting to look back to a previous time when there were far fewer events locally for our athletes to contest – before the London Marathon was conceived and the start of the running boom which resulted in a huge upsurge of road races in the area!

Trawling through my running archives accumulated during over 40 years of being a BAC member, I have come across a number of race results featuring some of BAC’s ‘stars’ of the day some 40 years ago in 1980.

Back in those days, results were obtained by leaving a stamped addressed envelope with the race organisers with a small sum of money, say 50p, and a type written copy of the results would be sent to you in the post. A far cry from today where, with chip timing, results are often up on the internet before you get home!!

I’ve managed to dig out the results of three races from 1980 that I competed in (apologies for the poor quality of the photos but the originals were often not very clear in the first place).

Here’s a bit of background on those races…

Isle of Wight Marathon – 17th May 1980

This was on the original tough course starting and finishing in Ryde which was used for over 50 years. Back in those days, it incorporated the Marathon Championships for Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, there being no other marathons locally. This meant that quite a number of BAC athletes made the short trip across the Solent to compete over the magic distance of 26 miles 385 yards.

This year, one of the marshals wasn’t at his post half way up the long hill in the middle of Ryde shortly after the start and, as a result, the lead group of some 12-20 runners ended up some way off course and when we got back onto the correct course, found ourselves way back down the field.

Most of us did gradually make our way back up and finished in the top 20, however, it made quite a difference to our times, perhaps as much as a few minutes.

Star performer was BAC’s super vet John Hurt who, undaunted by going off course, moved right through the field and took first place in the very creditable time of 2:33.35 to finish the winner by one and a half minutes.

I also managed to recover well from the psychological blow of going the wrong way and worked myself up to 8th position in a time of 2:43:26 and 2nd place behind John in the Dorset Champs. Our 3rd man home was Chris Birch who finished 49th in 2:58:05.

The team results for the race were calculated by the combined times of the first three runners from each club and BAC finished with a combined time of 8:15:06, an agonising 53 seconds behind Epsom & Ewell whose total was 8:14:13.

Other BAC finishers that day were Dick Brown 65th in 3:04:37; Des White (competing for Barclays House, Poole) 108th in 3:19:52 and Brian Tolley 200th in 4:16:06.

There were 219 male finishers. Interestingly, back then, very few ladies ran marathons and their results are shown separately, with just 8 finishing!

The first lady was Lesley Watson from London Olympiads in the time of 3:11:09. Lesley was very well known in running circles and most people remember her for the fact that she always finished races looking absolutely immaculate with not a hair out of place!

Isle of Wight Marathon results from 1980
Isle of Wight Marathon results from 17th May 1980

Offa’s Dyke 15 – 15th June 1980

This was another race on a very hilly course (this time ‘off-road’) and was very popular with those who like such courses. If my memory serves me well, it has three massive hills including ‘Hergist Ridge’ (Mike Oldfield fans will know of this).

Five BAC runners travelled up on the day to do this one and we all piled into John Hurt’s car for the long journey setting off at some ridiculous time in the morning. I remember we stopped at a service station just before the Severn Bridge and had a light breakfast which in my case proved a bad decision!

Although advertised as 15 miles, this isn’t an accurately measured course and with it being so hilly, times aren’t particularly relevant. The race was one by Mike Gratton (Invicta) in the excellent time of 1:27:39.

The first four BAC runners finished close together with Richard Morgan 7th in 1:34:23, Harold Chadwick 8th in the same time, Barrie Smith 11th in 1:34:52 and John Hurt (first vet) 12th in 1:34:54.

With three to score in the team event, BAC were winners with 26 points, ahead of Westbury Harriers on 45 and Leicester Coritanians on 53. I had a disappointing run suffering with stomach problems and made several ’pit stops’ (I blame the breakfast) and ended up 69th in 1:47:18 out of 247 finishers. A very successful day for the team though!

Offa's Dyke 15 results from 1980
Offa’s Dyke 15 results from 15th June 1980

Salisbury Plain 15 – 2nd November 1980

This was one of the races to do back in these times! Always a good quality field and a lovely picturesque course starting at Amesbury Abbey, following one side of the river Avon, back along the other side after half way and then climbing up to Boscombe Down with a fast, downhill finish to the Leisure Centre.

It was also well known for having lots of prizes, some of them quite unusual – Des White’s tennis racquet and my socket set being two that spring to mind.

In 1980, BAC athletes featured prominently near the front of the race which was won by Salisbury star Ian Ray in 79:20 with Marathon legend, Ian Thompson (Luton) second in 80:49.

First BAC man home was John Hurt (first vet) finishing 5th in 83:48 and we clinched the team prize with Barrie Smith 10th in 86:25, closely followed by Pete Fryer 11th in 86:37 and me 12th in 87:22. Other BAC performances were Terry Smith 30th in 92:10, Chris Birch 39th in 93:37 and Richard Morgan 50th in 96:35. Another fine day for BAC.

Salisbury Plain 15 results from 1980
Salisbury Plain 15 results from 2nd November 1980

Dave Parsons

9th November 2020

Dave Parsons in the Purbeck 10k
40 years on and Dave still loves to turn out and race for the club. Lets hope he gets another opportunity to do that again soon

Josh and Emily seal runner up spots in Maverick Jurassic Coast ‘Short’ race

Josh King in the Maverick Jurassic Coast 'Short' race
Josh King opted for the 11km ‘Short’ distance race at the Maverick Adidas Terrex X & Ultra Jurassic Coast

There are few better places to run in the south west than on the Jurassic Coast and the picturesque Isle of Purbeck provides a challenging and invigorating setting for a race.

Maverick to full advantage of the spectacular scenery and tumultuous terrain there to stage the Maverick Adidas Terrex X & Ultra Jurassic Coast 2020.

The event featured four races of different distances, with all routes setting off from Burnbake Campsite, just outside Corfe Castle. Amongst the distances on offer was a 53km Ultra, alongside a 44km ‘Long’ race, a 20km ‘Middle’ distance and an 11km ‘Short’ race.

The line up for the 11km ‘Short’ race included two Bournemouth AC members in the shape of Josh King and promising junior Emily Coltman.

It had been quite some time since Josh had been in action on the road race circuit, or off-road as it was in this case. In fact you have to go back to the Eastleigh 10k back in March 2019 to find the last time he was last in a major competitive race off the track.

That day he was part of the winning team along with Dave Long and Rob McTaggart, picking up the prize in a highly competitive race ahead of the likes of Aldershot, Farnham & District and Southampton AC.

Finishing in 7th place that day with a time of 32:16, it was a terrific performance from Josh. He had been ill all week in the build up to the race though and felt that he would have been capable of a sub-32-minute time had that not been the case.

As for Emily, she’d featured in numerous cross country races for Bournemouth AC, both at the beginning of this year and in previous years so she was no stranger to the rigors of an off-road route.

Running on the Purbeck was probably taking it up a notch though to be fair so it would be an intriguing test for her.

Finishing the season 12th in the Under 13 Girls division, Emily competed in all four of the Wessex Cross Country League fixtures last season.

That included the South West Inter County Cross Country Championships where she represented Dorset coming in in 36th place in her race.

She also competed in the Dorset County Schools Championship which was staged at Kings Park in January, finishing 19th in her race that day.

Emily Coltman in action in the South West Inter Couties XC Championships
Emily Coltman ran for Dorset in the South West Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Yeovil

More recently she’d been at back-to-back track meetings on the same weekend, running in the 800m at Southampton on the Saturday and the 1500m in Portsmouth on the Sunday.

Performing well in both races, she was 2nd in the 800m with a time of 2:38.65 and 3rd in the 1500m in a time of 5:24.90.

Maverick were one of the first event organisers to embrace the new form of racing, with social distancing measures being observed and each runner being set off at a different time.

Of course, with chip timing, it is still possible to see how quickly each competitor has completed  the course and formulate a list of results from that.

The only drawback is, you don’t necessarily know how well you are doing in comparison to other runners, so you just have to give it your best shot and see where you end up at the end.

Although he was only treating it as a training run, Josh managed to get round the 11km Maverick Jurassic Coast course in 45 minutes 16 seconds.

That made him 2nd fastest out of any athlete in the ‘Short’ race. It was only Ed Bird who managed to get round in a quicker time. He completed the course in 44:58.

Josh King going well in the Maverick Jurassic Coast 'Short' race
A decent run from Josh saw him take 2nd place, clocking a time of 45:16

Ed and Josh were significantly quicker than anyone else in the field, with Jonathan Martin taking 3rd place in a time of 48:15, three minutes slower than the time that Josh produced.

As for the race for the fastest female, that was still on and Emily was very much in the running. She managed to get round in a superb time of 58 minutes 13 seconds.

That was a benchmark that very few females in the race could match. In fact, she was only denied a 1st female position by Elissa O’Brien, who completed the course in 55:07.

Despite being in the Under 15 bracket, Emily had taken on and beaten all but one of the senior women in the race and that was quite some achievement.

She was also 9th quickest out of anyone in the ‘Short’ race in a field of 91 runners so it was most certainly a display to be proud of from Emily.

The next fastest female after Emily was Laura Edmonds and she clocked a time of 59:19, which was over a minute slower than the talented BAC junior.

Emily Coltman with her dad Jason after Maverick Jurassic Coast 'Short' race
Emily with her dad Jason who accompanied her on the run

In the ‘Middle’ distance race Dale Seddon romped to an emphatic victory finishing in a time of 1:14:43. That was 7 minutes quicker than his closest rival Nik Darlington who finished in 1:21:44.

In the ‘Long’ race, it was Lewis Ryan who picked up the win, getting round the 44km course in 3 hours 57 minutes. That gave him a healthy margin of victory over Will Davey who was 2nd in 4 hours 18 minutes.

Louisa Robbins took 3rd place and 1st lady, completing the course in a time of 4 hours 28 minutes.

Jacek Cieluszecki’s wife Ela did the ‘Long’ race and she got round in 5 hours 55 minutes, putting her 7th fastest female. She had Jacek following her on a Beryl Bike throughout the run.

Unsurprisingly though, he discovered that a Beryl Bike is perhaps not the ideal mode of transport over that type of terrain!

The 53km ‘Ultra’ was won by Alex van Tuyl. He managed to make it round in an impressive time of 4 hours 32 minutes. That gave him a margin of victory that was over 20 minutes on Maxime Lelong who was 2nd in 4 hours 53 minutes.

Some other well known names from the Dorset running scene took part in the ‘Ultra’ race. Jason Bell completed the course in 5 hours 49 minutes to take 20th place overall.

Poole Runners man Neil Sexton also took on the challenge and he managed to get round in time of 5 hours 58 minutes which put him in 32nd place overall.

The route incorporated over 4,700ft of elevation so it was a real test of both mental and physical resolve.

 

 

Speed runs in the family for Isabel and Phil at Newbury Racecourse 5k

Isabel and Phil Cherrett in the Newbury Racecourse 5k
After three months of being imprisoned in their own home, Isabel and Phil Cherrett couldn’t wait to burst out the traps in the Newbury Racecourse 5k

It has become something of a tradition for Phil Cherrett and his daughter Isabel to run a 5k together on the Saturday before Phil’s birthday. Since they’re both such avid runners it makes perfect sense to celebrate it in that way.

Usually it would be at parkrun though where they would mark the occasion. Unfortunately though, they didn’t have that luxury this time round.

There’s also an interesting footnote to that tradition as well which is that on each of the last three years they’ve done it, Isabel has managed to set a new PB.

This year though, with no parkruns on the horizon and in the current climate, with Coronavirus restrictions still casting a shadow over the very essence of what we used to call normality, that tradition was in serious jeopardy.

Some events were still taking place though and with special attention given to social distancing precautions and strategies for safe starting, many races had gone ahead successfully.

That meant there was some hope for Phil and Isabel and sure enough, they managed to find an opportunity on the very day that they needed.

There was an event being put on by RunThrough featuring a 5k, a 10k and a Half Marathon which was being staged at Newbury Racecourse. This would provide the ideal foil for Isabel and Phil to keep their remarkable tradition going.

All that had to happen now was that Isabel would need to run her fastest ever 5k. No pressure there then!

Isabel Cherrett before competing in the Newbury Racecourse 5k
Isabel was looking to keep up her annual tradition of getting a PB on the Saturday before her dad’s birthday

Having been through one of the strictest possible forms of lockdown, Phil and Isabel didn’t leave the house for three months and the only buildings any of their family had been in since March were from the girls going back to school.

Now they were suddenly thrust into an environment where there would be many other people gathering it the same place. In some ways it was quite a daunting prospect.

The event was completely different to normal though and Phil and Isabel felt very safe throughout. From a social distance perspective, it was very well organised.

There were 105 runners taking part in the 5k race, including Phil and Isabel. Before the start they called all the runners together, but since it was such a large area, there was plenty of room for social distancing.

They then asked all the runners to line up in single file, with cones marking out a safe distance. Then then called for groups according to estimated time, so sub 16 runners first, then sub 17 runners and so forth.

The runners were then marched to the start in single file, with four at a time being brought forward onto the start line and sent off. Then five to ten seconds later the next four were called forward.

It seemed to work well and created a nice relaxed feel to the start process, as opposed to the tense, nerve wracking situation of pre-Covid race environments.

Runners come through the fence in Newbury Racecourse 5k
Runners make their way through the gate in one of the unique horse racing style twists to the event

The course was advertised as fast and flat but, although it was fairly flat, the middle two miles around the race course were on mixed terrain consisting mostly of old gravel path.

Containing large stones and numerous pot holes, it was tough to find a race line you could stay happy on for any length of time. Then there were sections of soft ground as you left the racecourse area.

It was harder than Phil was expecting but it kept him mentally focused on the job at hand.

Phil Cherrett in the Newbury Racecourse 5k
It was the first competitive run of any sort that Phil had taken part in for quite some time

When arriving at the finish it was a strange sort of atmosphere, with no crowd cheering you on, and in fact, no sound at all other than a polite voice other the tannoy asking you to collect your medal and vamousse, essentially.

Phil Cherrett works his way round in the Newbury Racecourse 5k
Phil found the race tougher that expected due to the terrain on some sections

It had been difficult for Isabel over the lockdown period. She’d had to face a long spell without any club training sessions and with no races or school sport on the calendar, she’d done remarkably well the stay fit and motivated.

Isabel Cherrett going well in the Newbury Racecourse 5k
Isabel was still looking in great shape despite limited the opportunity to train with others during lockdown

The previous three years Phil has been able to run with Isabel when she’d set her PB’s. This time round though, he just couldn’t keep up with her.

It was a ground breaking moment really for the pair of them as it confirmed that Isabel, at just 11 years of age, was now faster than her dad.

Isabel Cherrett in action at the Newbury Racecourse 5k
Proving too quick for her dad on this occasion, Isabel left Phil for dust as she blasted round

Crossing the line in a time of 20 minutes and 42 seconds, Isabel had finished up in 43rd place overall and she was 19th female on the board.

That meant she’d only gone and done it again. For the fourth year running she’d produced her fastest ever 5k on the Saturday before her dad’s birthday. And as that benchmark gets higher, her performances get more and more impressive.

Isabel Cherrett crossing the finish line in the Newbury Racecourse 5k
Isabel arrives at the finish line after a terrific run that lead to a fab new PB

Feeling extremely strong throughout the race, Isabel had really enjoyed herself and was glad to be back racing. It was a strange experience for Phil as he came across the finishing line having no idea how she’d actually done. That was new.

Phil Cherrett in action at the Newbury Racecourse 5k
Phil had to go it alone after Isabel had extended away from him

Clocking in with a time of 21:17, Phil had finished 2nd in the Male V40 category and 46th overall. It was actually the fastest he’d run all year so, even though he’d been soundly beaten by his daughter, he was still delighted with how he did.

Phil Cherrett finishing the Newbury Racecourse 5k
Phil crossed the line in a time of 21:17 which put him 2nd on the MV40 category

In reality as well, he couldn’t have been prouder that Isabel had finished ahead of him. The fact she was still improving despite the challenges she’s faced with lockdown and the lack of club sessions a a substantial time was pretty impressive.

Isabel Cherrett after finishing the Newbury Racecourse 5k
Phil was ever so proud of Isabel for how well she’d done, especially under the circumstances

Thankfully, at 11 years of age, Isabel has still got plenty of time on her hands but its pretty clear how tough it is for some age groups at the moment who are missing out on so much. Those who should be looking forward to their final year of school and of junior competition have had that taken away from them and that’s a real shame.

Isabel Cherrett after completing the Newbury Racecourse 5k
It was an excellent day for Isabel and the future is certainly looking bright for her

With the self motivation that Isabel has though, there’s no doubt she’ll continue to grow and improve. It might even spur Phil on as well as he now knows he’d going to have to put some serious work in if he’s going to stand any chance of catching her up.

Isabel and Phil Cherrett at the Newbury Racecourse 5k
Most importantly of all, Phil and Isabel were about to keep up their tradition of running together on the Saturday before his birthday

 

 

Andy G returns to the scene with a big PB in the ACC

Andy Gillespie in action in the Atlantic Coast Challenge
The Atlantic Coast Challenge provided a rare opportunity for Andy Gillespie (left) to run with other people and he did indeed make some friends along the way

There were probably very few people more relieved to see the return of competitive racing, at least in some shape or form, than Bournemouth AC‘s resident marathon guru Andy Gillespie.

He’d only been running by himself since lockdown restrictions began at the end of March so Andy was kind of looking forward to being joined by some other people for this one.

Living over near Salisbury, Andy doesn’t get the opportunity to mingle with his BAC counterparts very often, hence why he’s ended up restricted to solo training runs for the past six or seven months. At least no one could accuse him of not isolating or not social distancing though.

Despite the lack of opportunities to run with others and with no parkruns on the agenda, Andy was still feeling pretty good in himself going into the Atlantic Coast Challenge, both mentally and physically.

For those who aren’t familiar with the format of the Atlantic Coast Challenge, it’s basically three marathons on three consecutive days, with the route following the South West Coast Path starting from Padstow in Cornwall on Day 1 and finishing in Landsend at the end of Day 3.

The terrain is wild and rugged, with steep climbs and descents that will test a runner’s concentration, as well as their strength. Each of day is unique and brings forth its own challenges and famous landmarks to add to the experience.

Three hilly, off-road marathons in three days might seem a tall order to many runners. To Andy though, this was not so much “a new normal” but rather more, a return to the old normal.

Andy is something of a connoisseur when it comes to the three day eventing format. He’s a veteran of the Atlantic Coast Challenge, the Jurassic Coast Challenge and the Devon Coast Challenge. In fact, they are all pretty much annual events for Andy and this was his eighth time of participating in the ACC.

With the Covid situation still very much at the forefront of peoples’ minds, it brought a slightly different twist to the proceedings for this year’s ACC. Face masks and hand gels were mandatory on the transfer buses and became part of the already long list of kit you had to carry on the event.

There was also a tracker that runners had to carry with them in their rucksacks and they also had a carry two litres of water with them from the start.

The race organisers were clearly more generous than Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak as they provided each athlete with a ‘packed lunch’ in order to cut down on possible contact points.

On the first day the competitors were met with windy conditions. which seemed to be in their faces most of the time. There was the occasional bit of respite though, when they were running through Newquay, for example.

The route was supplied on an app, with no maps being issued, again, the cut down on risks. There were only two checkpoints but they did offer the opportunity for runners to refill their bottles of water.

Everyone seemed to get used to the changes quickly though and Andy didn’t hear anyone complaining. They were probably all just pleased to be out there to be fair.

Day 1 took the participants from just north of Constantine Bay, near Padstow, to the sumptuous sands of Perranporth.

With the positive mindset he had going into the race, Andy got away well and he managed to maintain that positivity the whole day. He met a couple of other runners 13 miles in and ran with them for the second half of the race.

That helped Andy enormously and worked a lot better than if he’d been on his own. They were able to work off each other and Andy found himself being dragged along without even realising it.

As he arrived at the Gannel Estuary, which leads across towards Perranporth, the water didn’t seem as deep as it was last year which told Andy that he must have been running faster than he did then as he’d beaten the tide.

Andy heads over the beach after crossing the Gannel Estuary
That’s Andy on the beach in the distance after crossing the Gannel Estuary

In fact, it turned out to be an ACC Day 1 PB for Andy, meaning he’d secured a faster time than in all of his seven previous attempts. Completing the course in 5 hours 26 minutes and 51 seconds, he was in 58th place in the standings at the end of stage 1 out of the 137 who successfully made it through the first third of their journey.

It can be difficult to judge on Day 1 how much effort you can afford to throw at it with the prospect of two more days to follow. The temptation was always there for Andy to go harder than planned and he did give in to that along Perranporth Sands, knowing that a PB was on.

With a total elevation gain of 3,520ft, it was always going to be a test but it had been a promising start for Andy and he jumped into the jacuzzi afterwards to recover and recuperate read for the next day.

Andy makes his way down the sand dunes on Day 1
Andy heads down the sand dunes at the 20 mile point

The starts were literally as soon as you got off the bus, so with the tracker in your rucksack being picked up by the satellites, the clock was ticking and it was game on.

After doing so well on the first day Andy was keen to get away quickly on Day 2 and set off as soon as he was out the door. There were some narrow tracks along the cliffs on the earlier part of the route and Andy was conscious that you can get held up if you hang about.

The route for Day 2 took the athletes from Perranporth to St Ives Holiday Park.

As it had been the previous day, the headwind was very strong which forced Andy to put the work in but he felt even better on the second day and didn’t even need to top up his water bottles when reaching the first checkpoint at 12 miles.

Again, Andy had company from another runner he’d met on route and they stayed together up until the 19 mile point when his newfound running buddy had to drop back.

It was going well again for Andy and he was looking on course for a Day 2 PB until he was thwarted by the tide at the end of Gwithian Sands at the 22 mile point.

The water was quite cold and came up above Andy’s waistline. It was a slightly different experience than he’d had in the jacuzzi the previous night.

The crossing was about 50 years long and Andy could feel the strong currents as he waded across. He got some strange looks from people passing by as he was on his own at this point and there hadn’t been too many runners coming through before him.

Arriving at the finish in a time of 5 hours 21 minutes and 23 seconds, Andy 41st quickest on Day 2. When he crossed the line though Andy was dismayed to find that the route had come up short.

In fact, according to his Garmin he’d only done 25.42 miles. Andy prides himself on how many marathons he’s done, having already made it into the esteemed 100 Marathon Club and he likes to be able to look back on that record and know he’s gone the full distance for each one.

Andy is a real stickler for the rules as well and never short cuts any corners in these events. In turn, he gets very annoyed when he sees others flouting the rules.

There wasn’t much he could do on this occasion though about the route coming up short. His OCD almost took hold and he nearly did a bit to make up the distance but he’d already stopped his watch by then so it would have been a pointless exercise.

He knew Day 3 always comes up well over marathon distance though so he managed to put his OCD back where it belongs, keep calm and carry on.

The mileage he clocked for the day did take him past the 2,020 mile mark for the year 2020, so that was something else to celebrate. His total elevation for the day was 3,789ft so again, it was a tough route but that just makes it all the more rewarding to get to the end.

At the end of stage 2 there were now 131 competitors left in the running.

Day 3 can almost not even be described as a running race. In fact, the term “technical” even stretches it to its limits. You do get a nice run through St Ives but that’s the calm before the storm.

With his renewed positive attitude, Andy went out hard. He was actually running with Steve Clark, the same guy he had been accompanied by for the majority of the previous day.

The incredible thing about these events is how you can recover so well after a tough day out and then get back out there and run again the next day.

Steve had certainly done that and this time they stayed together for the entire duration of the run, sharing the load and pulling each other along, although having done the event so many times before, Andy’s main contribution was the navigation.

The section of the coastal path to Lands End is rocky beyond belief and the concentration required can tire you out more than the running itself! It’s a precarious route and Andy did take one fall but he managed to pick himself up, dust himself off and carry on.

Completing the stage in a time of 7 hours 21 minutes and 24 seconds, Andy was 40th quickest on the day. It was a Day 3 PB for him as well, which he was over the moon about.

He felt he owed a lot to his companion as there were certainly moments when Andy may have slipped back if he hadn’t had Steve there to chase down.

Andy with Steve Clark on Day 3 of the ACC
Andy arrives at the finish with his newfound running buddy Steve Clark after three grueling days on the coastal path

Completing a total of 27.8 miles that day and wracking up a staggering 5,266ft of elevation, it had easily been the most brutal run out of the three for Andy. But he’d made it through, as he always does, showing great determination and character.

By the end the field had been whittled down to 114 runners who successfully negotiated the difficult third day and thus had completed the Atlantic  Coast Challenge.

With an overall combined time of 18 hours 9 minutes and 38 seconds, Andy finished as 37th male out of 73 which was a remarkable achievement.

More importantly though, he’d secured an overall PB for the event, out of all the eight times he’d done it. That was a massively pleasing outcome for Andy.

The following day Andy’s ankles were swollen and he had three blue toe nails. His quads were shot to pieces as well but he didn’t mind one bit. He was just thrilled to have run so well by his standards and to have exceeded his own expectations.

The event has given Andy a renewed confidence and in truth it had been quite a while since he’d actually felt like he’d done himself justice, especially over the three day ones.

For the past couple of years he’s kind of felt like he was falling to bits and with just about everything hurting, he was finding it a real struggle to stay positive.

Now he’s well and truly got his mojo back though and just in time for his next event, the Jurassic Coast Challenge, which starts on Friday 6th November.

The JCC had been rearranged from March and will possibly be dark at times with the shorter daylight which will add an intriguing element to the challenge.

It is looking like it could be a wet one as well and with the weather getting colder, it was going to be a testing task but one that Andy is very much looking forward to. There are also more changes at foot in that event as well, with the route for Day 3 being reversed.

It’ll be another epic battle for Andy but no doubt he’ll enjoy in and make the most of it as he always does. Perhaps even more so now he’s managed to stop the slide and turn the clock back a little, as he did at the ACC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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