The annual Boxing Day blowout at Poole Park saw a rerun of the most successful race of the season for Bournemouth AC. That was the Round the Lakes 10k Summer Special where the club had the top three finishers, with Harry Smith picking up the win, Rob McTaggart taking 2nd and Rob Spencer landing 3rd place. There were 28 BAC members representing the club that day and with five men in the top ten, it was one of only two Dorset Road Race League wins that the men’s team managed all season.
Very familiar with running round Poole Park, Anthony Clark finished 7th in summer special, getting round in 34:38. He was back for more on Boxing Day and looking to post another fast time to give him a good solid base to work from. Ant will be returning to South Africa in June for another go at the Comrades Marathon after completing it in under six hours last time and taking 20th place and 1st European.
Ant was joined in the Boxing Day Round the Lakes 10k by Trev Elkins, Matt du Cros, Adrian James and Barry Dolman. New member Jeremy Shott was also in action, along with Massimo Lawson who has come up through the youth ranks and 16 year old sensations Seb Crowe and Harry Dolman.
As they have done on many previous occasions, the Costley brothers, Sam and Max, from Southampton, were in the line up and they were among the pre-race favourites. In fact, Sam Costley won the race on Boxing Day last year in a time of 30:50 so he was looking to repeat those heroics.
Serial race winner James Baker of Chichester Runners was 3rd that day and he was back in the equation again and likely to be in the shake up. Ryan Pegoraro, who has been training with Bournemouth AC recently, was also in the mix so it was going to be interesting to see how he fared.
As usual, Ant Clark delivered an absolute masterclass in pacing, starting off with a 5:39 before completing all his remaining miles in between 5:37 and 5:35 pace. That resulted in a finishing time of 35:03 which was enough to see him take 10th place.
The next Bournemouth AC man to arrive at the finish was Seb Crowe. He delivered a fine performance to get to the line in 36:29 which put him in 13th place overall. Seb impressed in the Wessex Cross Country League, winning the Under 17 men’s category and looks an athlete with real potential.
Amazingly, Bournemouth AC members occupied seven of the nine places from 13th to 21st, demonstrating some excellent strength in depth. Spending most of the race on his own, with fairly big gaps in front and behind him, it wasn’t an ideal position to be in for Matt du Cros. Barry Dolman was gradually reeling him in though and was getting close as they approached the cricket pitch for the final small loop.
Matt went the wrong way at that point for a brief moment, giving Barry the chance to gain a few seconds on him. That was enough to earn Barry 14th place in a time of 36:54, with Matt arriving six seconds later to take 15th place in 37 minutes exactly.
It was still a good time from Matt though and was only 8 seconds off the PB he set in the Round the Lakes Summer Special in June. Barry had also featured in the summer edition of Round the Lakes and that day he went through 5k in 18:15 but blew a gasket and slowed significantly in the second half.
This time was different though. He was running with Harry and they went through the first 5k in 18:33. He then managed to up the pace over the second 5k, completing that in 18:21. It was a really well paced run from Barry and 19 seconds quicker in the end than his summer effort, so a terrific new PB for him.
The second half of the race didn’t go quite as well for Harry and he started to really suffer over the last couple of miles. That said, it was still a PB of 37:24 for him which put him in 16th place and was 5 seconds than his Southampton 10k time two weeks prior.
Harry had been progressing really well though over the course of the year, running a 39:23 at the Eastleigh 10k in March. That meant he’d knocked two minutes off in the space of nine months. Barry is beginning to fear that his days of being able to finish ahead of Harry could well be numbered.
Perhaps not quite at the level he would usually expect to be, Trev Elkins also struggled over the second half of the race, reaching the line in 38:02. That put him in 19th place but was slower than his time on Boxing Day the previous year and his time in the summer edition which was 37:12.
He still felt like he was suffering some after effects from covid which did noticeably impact his running for a while afterwards. His chest felt tight and his lungs were screaming, making it very difficult to maintain his rhythm as he progressed round the course.
What was strange was that Trev had had a pretty good run in the Victory 5 three weeks earlier, leading him to believe he’d finally got the covid after effects out of his system. Apparently they do come and go though so he may just have been unlucky that on Boxing Day it was quite bad.
Getting to the line four seconds later, Jeremy Shott was next in for Bournemouth AC. He clocked a time of 38:06 which put him in 20th place.
After being ill over Christmas, Adrian James wasn’t fully recovered and that rendered him unable to perform to his best ability. He still did well though to get round in 38:15 which put him in 21st place.
It was some way off the 36:48 time he produced in the Round the Lakes Summer Special and the 36:54 and the 36:52 he managed at the Boscombe 10k at the end of November. Once he recovers fully though, Adrian will no about get back on track and continue his progression.
Bournemouth AC junior development coach Simon Hearn’s son Seb was running as well and he completed the course in 39:20 which put him in 25th place. It wasn’t quite as quick as his Boscombe 10k time of 39:01 but still a decent run from Seb after all the Christmas festivities in the Hearn household.
Sam Costley sealed back-to-back Boxing Day victories, racing round in 31:31 which put him just under a minute ahead of his brother Max who clocked a time of 32:28.
That meant that once again, James Baker had to settle for 3rd place as he got over the line in 33:09. James has finished 1st in well over 1,000 races and parkruns and has shown incredible longevity in running at such a high level.
Jon Pepin made it three Southampton AC men in the top four when he reached the finish in 33:56. Then it was Ryan Pegoraro, taking 5th place in 34:26. It was a really strong run from Ryan and he managed progressive splits throughout the race, starting with a 5:39 for his first one and ending on 5:21 for his last full mile split. Then he sped up even further for the final third of a mile.
Bournemouth AC are very hoping Ryan will join up as first claim in the new year and if he does, he will be a great asset to the squad. Battling on all fronts, with both the Hampshire Road Race League and Dorset Road Race League to find the resources for, it’s going to be a testing season for the club and they will need all hands on deck if they’re going to perform well.
Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat finished 6th in a time of 34:43 with Liam Openshaw of Poole AC taking 7th in 34:53.
Poole AC lady Fern Kimber finished as 1st female and she was the next person over the line after Adrian, taking 22nd place overall in a time of 38:42.
Lauren Baker-Little of Poole Runners was 2nd lady, clocking a time of 39:31 which put her in 28th place.
Dorchester RIOT’s Louise Fox took the 3rd female spot, completing the course in 40:46 which put her in 36th place overall.
Former Bournemouth AC man Lázsló Tóth has recently rediscovered his enthusiasm for running and he got round in 41:20 which put him in 38th place.
It was great to see so many Bournemouth AC members turning out for the Round the Lakes 10k and, although it didn’t quite hit the heights of the special summer edition, there were still several accomplished and promising performances amongst the yellow and blue contingent. And what’s more, it was a great way to burn off those excess pigs in blankets and mince pies.