A fairly testing multi-terrain route with some intricate woodland pathways awaited the runners lining up for the D’Urberville Dash 10k. In amongst the 224 runners taking part were Bournemouth AC members Stu Glenister and Ken Parradine.
Stu often pops up in the smaller, local races but doesn’t usually take them too seriously. He sees them as a bit of fun, or sometimes as a training exercise to help him along toward a bigger goal.
Despite being in the over 75 category, Ken also enjoys competing in local races and still very prepared to throw himself into some very challenging ones, as his recent appearance at the Charmouth Challenge showed. That race incorporated 1,700ft of climbing including an ascent up Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast.
If truth be told, Stu is more of a long distance specialist so he’s more familiar in races that are at least a half marathon, if not longer. He did of course, famously complete the Ultra Tour of Arran last Autumn, which consisted of a 60 mile route in the Scottish mountains, split over two days.
In comparison to that of course, the D’Uberville Dash should have been a doddle for him. In fact, having not done one for so long, he’d forgotten how much fun it is to race a 10k.
Going out fairly hard from the outset but still at a controlled pace, he found he had plenty left in the second half of the race. That was where the endurance kicked in and he was able to gain several places.
One of the unique aspects of the D’Urberville Dash is that there are some single track paths through the woods that are very tight where it is almost impossible to overtake. If you get stuck behind someone on one of those, it can cost you some time. Because Stu wasn’t taking it all that seriously though, he didn’t let it frustrate him and he was happy just to go with the flow.
As for Ken, it isn’t so much his fitness that lets him down in races these days, it’s more his eyesight. Visibility wasn’t great when entering the woods and there are lots of tree roots and uneven ground to watch out for. He had a fall when entering the woods and had to stop and let at least 20 runners past him on the narrow path, which cost him a lot of time.
Completing the course in a time of 43 minutes and 24 seconds, Stu finished up in 21st place on the leader-board and that was enough to see him place 4th in the M45 category. Of course, the result didn’t matter too much to Stu though and it was just a bit of fun at the end of the day.
Getting round in exactly 68 minutes, Ken came in 171st in the overall standings and was 2nd in the M75 category. The winner of that age group was Geoff Parrott of Westbourne who clocked a time of 55:51 to take 99th place.
The race win was sealed rather emphatically by Charlie Williams who ripped round the course in 36:37. His closest rival was Lee Thomas who took second place in 38:07. Super-vet Julian Critchlow had another good run, securing third place in a time of 40:05 and Mark Packer of Littledown Harriers was fourth over the line in 40:22.
Egdon Heath Harriers star Hannah Martyn was first female, crossing the line in 44:04 which put her in 27th place overall. Kelly Matthews was second female and 29th overall in 44:54, with Maria Everett of Littledown Harriers finishing as third lady in 45:05.
Despite the fall he had and his visionary difficulties, Ken still enjoyed the run as he always does, and he’ll no doubt be back on the racing circuit again in the near future. He was down to do the Sturminster Newton Half Marathon, which was the Dorset County Championship race for 2022. With it not being a Dorset Road Race League fixture this year though, there weren’t so many of his teammates competing and he was unable to secure a lift to the event.
Having made a pledge to attend training sessions more regularly going forward, Stu has been present on the last couple of Tuesday night sessions. He is hoping that he’ll be able to gain a little more speed which will help him go quicker in the shorter distance races.