Some of the Bournemouth AC men at the Lytchett 10

Bournemouth AC brought a squad brimming with talent to the table at the Lytchett 10

Last season’s Lytchett 10 race was perhaps the highlight of what turned out to be a dismal Dorset Road Race League campaign for Bournemouth AC. The yellow and blues took the top three places that day with an impressive show of dominance, with Harry Smith just shading it over Jacek Cieluszecki and Rob McTaggart taking third.

The club had put together another very strong line up for this year’s race with Rob Spencer making a rare appearance. He was joined by Rob McTaggart who was doing the double after racing in the cross country match at Kings Park the day before. Josh Cole and Stu Nicholas were also featuring and with only four required to score in the men’s second division, it was a formidable looking outfit.

Some of the Bournemouth AC members in action at the Lytchett 10

The Bournemouth AC runners prepare for the big showdown

After missing out on a scoring three when Katie Gunn pulled out through illness the weekend before at Blackmore Vale, the BAC ladies were looking to get back on track after topping the standings at the Broadstone Quarter. Katie had recovered and was back in the side, along with Laura Daly and Debbie Lennon. That scoring team of three would make them major contenders for top spot in the second division.

Coming into it off the back of a very impressive 2:26:24 marathon at Valencia in December, Rob Spencer was clearly going to be a major contender for the race win. He is now in training for London and will certainly be expecting another quick time there. He’s already had three parkrun first places this year and is looking in fine fettle.

Rob McTaggart in the Lytchett 10

Rob McTaggart in his second race of the weekend

Starting the year off with a 4th place finish at the Broadstone Quarter and a 5th position at the Stubbington 10k, Rob McTaggart had then been slightly below par at the Chichester 10k. He bounced back with a 20th place finish in the cross country the day before but he now needed to be ready to produce again at Lytchett, or at least have enough to make it a decent marathon training run.

Josh Cole in the Lytchett 10

Josh Cole was back in a BAC vest

Returning to the area after some time up north, it was great to have Josh Cole back on board. He’d been back on the track at Kings Park for the Tuesday night interval sessions and it was clear from that that he was still in tremendous shape.

Stu Nicholas had also been attending the Tuesday night interval sessions quite a bit of late and he’d made a strong start to the year finishing 12th at the Broadstone Quarter before recording a fabulous PB of 33:35 at the Stubbington 10k.

Also demonstrating some impressive speed in training, Katie Gunn had finished as 6th female at the Stubbington 10k in 37:54 and had managed to knock her parkrun time down to 18:07.

Stu Nicholas alongside Chris Wood in the Lytchett 10

Stu Nicholas alongside Chris Wood of Twemlow Track Club

Laura Daly had been a touch disappointed with her run at the Chichester 10k where she finished just outside the 40 minute mark. That shows the kind of levels she demands of herself though and she was looking to bounce back with a strong run at Lytchett.

Katie Gunn in the Lytchett 10

Katie Gunn was back firing on all cylinders

Chris Wood, Jez Bragg and Jack Galloway were all featuring at the Lytchett 10 for Twemlow Track Club, as were Brian Underwood, Jamie Grose, Dave Hicks and Luke Terry from Poole AC.

Egdon Heath Harriers didn’t have quite as strong a side out as they did at Blackmore Vale but Chris Peck, who finished 2nd in that one to his teammate Charlie Williams, was present at the Lytchett 10. Adam Davies and Corey Stone were also in action for the defending road league champions.

After dominating the first two fixtures, the Poole Runners ladies fielded another strong side, with Vicki Ingham, Gemma Bragg and Caroline Wilkins all in the mix. Egdon Heath Harriers had Georgina Povall and Julie Wargent in their team and Purbeck Runners had Isabel Davis and Anna Philps.

The runners line up for the start of the Lytchett 10

Some of the runnrs had already been round the circuit once

Since it’s a 10 miler and is in February, some of the more hardy Dorset runners use the Lytchett 10 as a marathon training run. That can sometimes mean running round the whole course once before actually doing it in the race. It may sound like a crazy idea, given how hilly the route is, but if an athlete can do it, it constitutes a brilliant 20 mile training run.

Both Rob Spencer and Barry Dolman decided they’ll have a bit of that and met up with a group of others who had put themselves forward for the same punishment. That included Chris Wood, who did the same thing last year, Brian Underwood, Jack Galloway and Edward Crawley.

They did the warm up loop in 1 hour 9 minutes, so it wasn’t as if they were taking it easy on that. But they hoped that they still had enough left to run fast in the official race.

The race gets underway

Tag exchanges words with Jamie Grose as the race gets going

The weekend before the Lytchett 10, Barry ran the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon after doing seven miles before it on the same morning. He was pacing his mate Stacey Dickinson round in that one but it turned out they were both fourth scorers for their respective clubs, with Stacey representing Wimborne AC and it was that that would decide who came out on top in the second division. Ironically, although they were running together, they were actually arch rivals.

Rob Spencer in the Lytchett 10

Rob Spencer proved too quick for any of his adversaries

In the actual race, Rob Spencer was too strong for anyone else in the field, even though there was plenty of quality opposition. Tearing up the course in 55:08, Rob was first to the line by 29 seconds. Chris Peck sealed 2nd place in 55:37, with Jamie Grose putting in a mammoth effort to take 3rd in 55:43. Coming from more of a track background, Jamie wasn’t really used to tackling hills like that so he was well pleased with what he produced.

Rob Spencer finishing the Lytchett 10

Rob arrives at the finish to take the victory

Chris Wood had a better run than he did at Blackmore Vale to finish 4th in 56:57 and he’d blasted through the last mile to catch Brian Underwood who had to settle for 5th in exactly 57 minutes.

Rob Spencer’s average pace for the run was 5:29 per mile which is very impressive given the 750ft of elevation, not to mention the already having ran the course once beforehand!

Josh Cole finishing the Lytchett 10

Josh Cole comes in to finish in 6th place

Josh Cole and Stu Nicholas both ran well to get in inside 58 minutes, with Josh taking 6th in 57:48 and Stu taking 7th in 57:56. Stu’s average pace for the run was 5:47 per mile.

Jack Galloway was 8th in 58:21 and his teammate Jez Bragg was Twemlow Track Club’s third runner in when he arrived in 11th place recording a time of 58:50. Dave Hicks was 1st MV50, clocking a time of 58:54 which put him 12th.

Stu Nicholas finishing the Lytchett 10

Stu Nicholas took 7th in 57:56

After his cross country efforts the previous day, Rob McTaggart found it difficult to get into gear and ended up quite a way off the pace, finishing in 59:48. That put him 10th. He was fourth scorer for Bournemouth AC though which meant that they’d easily topped the standings in the second division, since no runner from any other second division club had even finished yet.


Rob McTaggart finishing the Lytchett 10

Tag finished 10th in 59:48

Luke Terry was fourth scorer for Poole AC and he arrived in 14th place with a time of 1:00:19. Adam Davies was Egdon Heath Harriers’ second running in and he took 15th position in 1:00:25. Then his teammate Corey Stone came in to take 18th place in 1:00:51.

Poole Runners had four men in the top 20, with Rob Arkell taking 10th in 58:42, Luke McKenzie 16th in 1:00:29, Dave Tindall 17th in 1:00:47 and Haydan Clarke finishing 19th in 1:01:11.

Katie Gunn gets her race underway

Katie Gunn gets her race underway

Vicki Ingham was first female, crossing the line in 1:01:24 which put her 21st overall. Reaching the finish four seconds later, Rob Doubleday wrapped up the race win for Poole AC in the first division as he was their fifth scorer.

Former Bournemouth AC man Sam Jackson got round in 1:01:42 which put him in 24th place, just ahead of Littledown Harriers man Sam Davis who came 25th in 1:01:51. Daniel Pope who often does Bournemouth parkrun came 27th in 1:02:04.

Laura Daly racing the Lytchett 10

Laura Daly was in her second of three February races

As always, Julian Critchlow took the top MV60 spot, getting the line in 1:02:41 which put him 30th overall. Sam’s brother and also former BAC man, Luke Jackson came 31st in 1:03:07.

Katie Gunn finishing the Lytchett 10

Katie Gunn finished as 4th female

Katie Gunn had a good run to complete the course in 1:04:38 which made her 4th female and put her 37th in the overall standings. Her average pace for the run was 6:26. Isabel Davis was 2nd lady in 1:03:29 which put her in 32nd place overall. Georgina Povall was 3rd female, getting round in 1:03:51. That saw her finish 35th overall.

She finished just behind Barry Dolman who clocked an excellent time of 1:03:29 for his second loop of the course. That put him 34th in gun order, just behind Edward Crawley although Barry had a faster chip time. His average pace for the run was 6:20.

That put Barry 1st in the 55-59 category for the league. He is currently 3rd in that category for the season so far behind Richard Swindlehurst of Twemlow Track Club who leads the way and Bruce Campbell of Egdon Heath Harriers who is 2nd.

Barry Dolman in the Lytchett 10

Barry Dolman ran the loop once before the race

Chester Clarke was the next Bournemouth AC man over the line. He ran well to register a time of 1:07:16 which put him 52nd overall. Chester has been going well in training on the Tuesday night track sessions so it was good to see him carry that speed into a race. His average pace for the run was 6:43.

Barry Dolman finishing the Lytchett 10

Barry brings his 20 mile run to an end

Anna Philps was 5th female in 1:07:01 which put her 51st overall. Gemma Bragg and Caroline Wilkins gave Poole Runners their second and third women in and they were 6th and 7th ladies in in 1:07:27 and 1:07:34 respectively. That put them 54th and 55th overall. They were also 1st and 2nd FV40.

Hayley Martin of Poole AC was 8th female in 1:08:18 which put her 60th overall. Julie Wargent finished as 1srt MV50 and 9th lady in 1:09:09.

Laura Daly was the second Bournemouth AC woman home and she got round in 1:10:14 which made her 10th female and put her 74th overall. It was a fairly strong run from Laura given the hills she had to face and her average pace for the activity was 7:01.

Chester Clarke in the Lytchett 10

Chester Clarke was in action

Clare Wood sealed the win in the women’s first division for Poole Runners. She was their fourth female finisher, crossing the line in 1:12:57 which put her 98th overall.

Laura Daly finishing the Lytchett 10

Laura Daly was 10th placed female

Next to arrive at the finish in a yellow and blue vest was Neil Smith. He paced the run pretty well despite the hills and had enough in the tank to up the pace over those last few downhill miles. His finishing time was 1:17:39 which put him 141st overall.

Just getting outkicked at the end by Sarah Swift of Poole Runners, Jud Kirk reached the finish line in 1:18:22 which put him 146th in terms of gun positions. He was slightly quicker than Sarah on chip time though if that was any consolation. That put Jud 4th in the 65-69 category for the league.

After struggling the week before in the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon, Debbie Lennon didn’t let it deter her from turning out for Lytchett. She wasn’t feeing at her best though and was well down on where she’d usually expect to be.

Neil Smith starting the Lytchett 10

Neil Smith sets off on his way

With a finishing time of 1:19:40, Debbie still came 2nd in the FV60 category behind Heather Khoshnevis who leads the way in that sector with three wins out of three. Heather’s time of 1:15:57 put her in 121st place and Debbie’s performance left her down in 155th place overall. She was still 28th lady though.

Jud Kirk reaches the finish

Jud Kirk comes into the finish

On the plus side though, it was enough to give the Bournemouth AC women the win in the second division of the Dorset Road Race League. They’d beaten Purbeck Runners into 2nd place, just as they did at the Broadstone Quarter in the first race of the season.

Steven Rigby and Steve Cook rounded off the scoring team for Twemlow Track Club and they finished 2nd to Poole AC in the men’s first division. It was tight between Poole Runners and Egdon Heath Harriers for 3rd place but Poole Runners got it in the end by one placing.

Laura Daly in the Lytchett 10

It was onto the Wokingham Half Marathon next for Laura

That put Poole AC top of the table for the season so far with two wins and one 5th place. Defending champions Egdon Heath Harriers are currently 2nd with Poole Runners in 3rd.

The other teams in the men’s second division were way behind Bournemouth AC but Wimborne AC took 2nd again, just as they did at the Broadstone Quarter. Bournemouth AC were back on top though with two wins and a 2nd place from the three fixtures so far this season.

Chester Clarke finishing the Lytchett 10

Chester Clarke finishes in 1:07:16

Topping the standings in the men’s third division, just as they did at Blackmore Vale, Dorset Doddlers were in a good position with two wins and one 2nd place. Dorchester RIOT weren’t far behind though and they were runners up at Lytchett to put them on one win and two 2nd places.

Egdon Heath Harriers did get second in the women’s first division in the end but they were now some way adrift of Poole Runners who had won three out of three. It isn’t currently looking like they will fight it out in a two-horse race like they have in previous seasons.

Neil Smith reaches the line

Neil Smith reaches the line

Lytchett Manor Striders could only manage 5th in the ladies second division for the Lytchett 10 but they were still second in the table currently behind BAC.

Bournemouth Joggers picked up the win in the ladies third division, bucking the trend of Gillingham Trotters coming out on top. They could only managed 2nd on this occasion but still topped the standings for the season so far.

Five of the BAC members at the Lytchett 10

The BAC ladies and men both topped the standings in their divisions

It was great to see both the Bournemouth AC men and ladies teams topping the standings in their respective divisions for the season so far and they will certainly be looking to stay right where they are. The next race of the season though will be the North Dorset Village Marathon and that’s one that they tend to have difficulty fielding a team in.

With Stu Nicholas already having signed up for NDVM, perhaps they can change that this time round but it’s likely to be a tall order. Whatever happens though, the yellow blues will press on gallantly and will hope that over the course of the 12 fixtures, they will have enough for both the men and the ladies to gain promotion back to the top tier, where they belong.

A group of the BAC men at the Lytchett 10

It was a second win of the season for the BAC men