With the 2019 Dorset Road Race League title already wrapped up regardless of what happened in the final fixture, the Bournemouth AC men’s team were in buoyant mood at Kings Park for the Boscombe 10k.
And they had a every right to be celebrating after a hard fought season where team captain Rich Nelson had had to pull out all the stops to keep the team on top despite a strong challenge by Egdon Heath Harriers.
Poole AC’s win in the penultimate fixture at the Wimborne 10 had handed Bournemouth AC the championship after Egdon Heath needed to win both their final two fixtures to have any hope of wrestling the title away from BAC’s grasp.
Whilst it was a great feeling to get the league title done and dusted before the final fixture, the BAC men were still hoping to go out with a bang and end the season merrily on a high.
In the ladies’ first division, the title race had gone down to the final day and whoever won the fixture out of Poole Runners and Egdon Heath Harriers would also seal the league championship. It was set to be an exciting finale in what has been a gripping season in the ladies’ first division.
As far as Bournemouth AC were concerned, they had already consolidated their position in the league, finishing in 4th place for the season just behind Littledown Harriers.
After what looked at one stage like it would be a really disappointing year for the BAC ladies, they picked up a bit over the last three fixtures and made their position a touch more respectable.
Although the race HQ for the Boscombe 10k is at Bournemouth AC’s home stadium at Kings Park, it’s actually organised by the Bournemouth Joggers, which means BAC get to enjoy the occasion without the rigours of having to manage the event.
Thus they get to hang out in the back of the office and have a nice cosy chat whilst they wait till it’s time to start warming up. And then they have tea and cake afterwards.
Before they could tuck into the cake though there was the small matter of a 10k race to run so they headed off to the track for a few token warm up laps before the action got underway.
A strong looking Bournemouth AC men’s line up included Jacek Cieluszecki, Rob McTaggart, Mitch Griffiths, Alex Goulding and Rich Brawn.
As for the women’s team, they had Harriet Slade who had been in very good form of late, finishing 2nd lady at both the New Forest Stinger and the Littledown 5. She was accompanied by Tamzin Petersen, Raluca Basarman and Lucy du Cros amongst others.
The route started with a lap around the athletics track before heading out of the grounds via Kings Park Drive and onto Harewood Avenue. It was then onto Littledown Avenue before heading along the underpass on the Wessex Way and over to Queens Park.
Queens Park South Drive is a hill that’s very familiar to Bournemouth AC members as they quite often head over there for lamppost hill sprint sessions. That comes into play on the fourth mile on a section that really puts the cat amongst the pidgeons.
After completing a loop around the golf course it’s then back through the underpass and over towards Kings Park again for the grandstand finish.
When the race got underway it was Pete Doughty of Westbourne RC who was setting the pace at the front of the field. Tag is no stranger to running quick laps round the track at Kings Park though and out of the lead contenders it was him who was the most aggressive in the early going.
Soon it was a lead group of three that was established, consiting of Tag, Lee Dempster of Lytchett Manor Striders and JC. They probably would have been the three favourites on paper so there was every chance that the winner would come from that trio.
On the day it was Tag who looked to be the strongest of the three. At one stage he opened a gap up between himself and Lee and JC. To his surprise though, Lee hadn’t given up on the win and somehow managed to chase him down.
In the end Tag had to have to have a stark word with himself before finding another gear to take command of the race and he wasn’t go relinquish his advantage again.
He was first to arrive back at Kings Park and made his way round the track to seal a good, solid victory, crossing the line in 33:47. Due to the hill on Queens Park South Drive and other slight inclines and bits of off-road, along with some tight turns, the Boscombe 10k isn’t actually a super-fast course. That factor made Tag‘s time all the more impressive and he was pleased with his morning’s work.
Lee wasn’t far behind Tag though, reaching the line just 12 seconds to clock a superb sub-34 minute effort. His time of 33:59 was a brilliant new PB so, although he didn’t get the win, it was still a satisfying display from Lee.
It wasn’t long before JC arrived either to take 3rd place, crossing the line in a time of 34:19. That also saw him pick up the prize for 1st M40.
Had he been in his absolute top form, it might well have been a different story but Jacek has been taking some time out from the really hard, high mileage training that he usually does. Instead, he’s just been doing short, easy runs to maintain fitness before the hard work begins again in January.
A great performance from Gavin Pritchard of Lonely Goat RC saw him take 4th place in a time of 35:01. He was followed in by Scott Parfitt of Lytchett Manor Striders who was 5th in 35:10. Jonathan Cooper and Adam Davies, both of Egdon Heath Harriers took 6th and 7th places with times of 35:16 and 35:53 respectively.
Perhaps the performance of the day though, from a Bournemouth AC perspective, went to Jonathan Matthews who put in astonishing display to take 12th place and 1st M50 in a time of 36:51.
That meant he’d just about managed to dip under his previous best which was set at the Lordshill 10k in June. Jon had run well in the previous Wessex Cross Country League fixture but in this race he certainly took it up a notch.
Following in immediately after Jon, it was Bournemouth AC’s fourth scorer on the board which was Alex Goulding. Alex clocked a time of 36:52 to take 13th place overall and 4th in the M40 category.
Although it wasn’t quite as fast as he perhaps would have liked, it was still a decent time from Alex on a course where it is difficult to establish a sustained pace.
Finishing in 18th place, Mitch Griffiths completed the scoring team of five for BAC, crossing the line in 37:06. Mitch has recorded some stunning performances of late, including a 10-mile PB at the Great South Run which he then promptly eclipsed a month later at the Wimborne 10.
Sadly this wasn’t one of his better days and he never really got going or felt strong from the outset. After the way he’s been running lately though, one bad day shouldn’t really give him too much cause for concern.
It was good enough to see Bournemouth AC victorious in the Dorset Road Race League though on the day and, much like in the season as a whole, they edged out Egdon Heath Harriers who were valiant runners up.
Taking 31st place in a time of 38:17, Richard Brawn was the next BAC member to arrive at the finish. Although he felt quite strong during the run, Rich has lost a fair bit of speed lately, which he thinks might be down to not having done any parkruns for several weeks.
He’d been racing almost every weekend over the last couple of months as he’d been taking part in both the Wessex League and Hampshire League Cross Countries, as well as all the Dorset Road Race League fixtures and a some races of his own. As a result he’s lost a yard or two over shorter distance races which he needs in order to be able to perform at his best.
After losing out on his fidelity award when he was unable to compete at the Wimborne 10, Matt du Cros was back in action for his 11th race out of 12 for the season.
Missing out on the fidelity award was a real blow for that but to his credit, he didn’t let it get him down and came out fighting at the Boscombe 10k. Not only that but he also recorded a nice new PB of 40:16.
That beat his time from the Purbeck 10k earlier in the year by 26 seconds so it was a good day to round off what has been a topsy-turvy season for Matt but on the whole, a very good one. He finished in 63rd place overall.
It’s been a difficult year for Adrian Townsend as he’s been suffering with injuries, in particular with a persistent plantar fasciitis complaint.
It turned out to be Adrian’s slowest 10k ever as he crossed the line in a time of 40:42 but it wasn’t a complete disaster for him and could have been a lot worse. He came in in 71st place overall but was 2nd in M55 category so it was not a bad result for Adrian, all things considered.
After her strong recent performances on the road, Harriet Slade was looking at a potential tilt at a sub-40 time. That would have put her in contention to win the women’s race.
It probably wasn’t quite the right course for that though and Harriet ended up falling a touch short of her expectations. She did still end up as 4th lady overall though so it wasn’t such a bad result when she hit the finish in 41:25. That put her in 80th place overall.
It was in this race back in 2017 that Harriet recorded her PB of 40:37 so she knew she had the capability to go faster. That left her feeling a bit frustrated but no doubt she’ll come back stronger and even more determined next time.
In the battle for the ladies first division title, Poole Runners came out on top with a very classy team display. Caroline Stanzel was 1st lady in 40:02, followed by Charlotte Bunch who was 2nd in 40:10. They finished 60th and 62nd respectively.
Alexandra Door created an opening for Egdon Heath Harriers when she came in as 3rd lady in a time of 41:02 but that was firmly slammed shut when Vicki Ingham went over the line in 5th place to complete the scoring trio for Poole Runners. That meant that once again, they had been crowned as women’s champions for the 2019 season.
It’s been a very good year for Phil Cherrett despite quite a lengthy injury lay off and he’d still managed to improve his Power of 10 profile with a new 5k PB, a new parkrun PB, a new 5-mile PB and a new 10k PB.
At the Boscombe 10k, he rounded it off well with a new course PB 42:10, which was over a minute quicker than his previous best. That put him in 92nd place overall.
Coming in shortly after Phil, Jud Kirk arrived just in the nick of time to seal a spot in the top 100 as he crossed the line in 99th place in a time of 42:38.
That put him 2nd in the M60 category behind Stephen Hogarth of Poole AC who finished in 40:32. Jud was pleased that he managed to see off competition from John Cook of Egdon Heath Harriers who was 3rd M60 in a time of 42:55.
A regular attendance at the Bournemouth AC training sessions has clearly helped Julian Shelton improve his running and he’s been making some good progress. That was reflected in his time of 44:52 which put him in 135th place and 23rd in the M45 category.
The second Bournemouth AC lady home was Tamzin Petersen who finished in 148th place overall in a time of 45:51. That made her 17th placed woman.
Remarkably, her time was almost identical to what she produced in the very same race last year. In fact, it was two seconds faster, which meant she could still say it was a course PB.
The BAC ladies scoring team was completed by Raluca Basarman who had a barnstorming run to complete the course in a time of 46:32. That was a three minutes quicker than her previous best for a 10k so underlined the huge improvement she’s been making over recent times.
That put Raluca in 161st place overall and 21st woman out of 252. It was a very impressive run from Raluca and she was of course, overjoyed with her performance.
The Bournemouth AC women took 4th place for the fixture, which was the same position they finished in for the 2019 season, although that was already decided before the Boscombe 10k.
It would probably be fair to say that short distance races aren’t Andy Gillespie‘s forte but every once-in-a-while he likes to see if he can still tap into fifth gear.
The Boscombe 10k gave him the opportunity to do that and he was actually quite pleased with the end result as he came in in 189th place overall and 8th in the M60 category with his time of 47:50.
Next in for the yellow and blues, it was Mike White, who crossed the line in 201st place in a time of 48:36. That saw him register 32nd place in the M45 category.
It was two minutes slower than his time in the same race last year but he isn’t in the same shape he was then so it was to be expected really.
Crossing the line in 48:53, Ian Graham was 211th in the overall standings and took 2nd place in the M70 category behind David Cartwright of Poole Runners. David completed the course in an age-defying time of 43:31.
It was still a good performance from Ian though and he was a minute in front of Geoff Parrott of Westbourne AC who was 3rd M70.
Katrina White usually looks to complete her 10k races in under 50 minutes at least. She managed to achieve that in the Boscombe 10k, reaching the finish in a time of 49:53 which put her in 236th place overall.
That meant she came in as 51st woman, which wasn’t a bad result and she was fairly happy with her run when reflecting on it afterwards.
Next in for BAC, it was Helen Ambrosen who ended her race in 275th position overall and 69th female, clocking a time of 51:55. That put her in 5th place in the F60 category.
Having his season blighted by injuries and just generally not having the time or the motivation to get out and train, Steve Parsons went into the race with only one goal in mind and that was to get round.
In fact, the only runs he’d really done lately were the Littledown 5 race and the Gold Hill 10k. He knew that lack of regularity would have had a massively adverse impact on his fitness but wanted to complete the Boscombe 10k anyway so he would at least have run 7 out of the 12 Dorset Road Race League fixtures.
Over the past few years he’s always got a PB when running the Boscombe 10k but he knew that wouldn’t be the case this time. Finishing in a time of 53:11, Steve was 300th in the final standings.
Steve’s Dad Dave Parsons was also in action at the Boscombe 10k and he was looking to at least get in comfortably under the hour. He did that, crossing the line in a time of 58:02, which put him in 394th place overall.
In the M70 category Dave, who is also the membership secretary at the club, finished in 8th place.
Bournemouth AC’s resident brownie baker, Jayne Wade was also in action and brought a tray of her fabled treats for the team to enjoy after the race. That gave everyone a good incentive to try and get round the course quickly.
Completing the course in a time of 59:24, Jayne came in in 430th place overall. That made her 156th woman over the line and she was 16th in the F55 category.
Jayne often competes for the club in cross country fixtures in both the Wessex League and Hampshire League, along with her husband Rich who is currently side-lined through injury.
The final BAC member to arrive at the finish was Stephen Ross, who ran with a friend of his and got round in 1:04:36. Stephen would of course have been much closer to the front of the field than the back if he’d been running it at full speed but he stayed loyal to his friend.
When the awards were dished out at the end of the race, the Bournemouth AC trio of Tag, JC and Jonathan won the men’s team prize and were handed a big box of chocolates each for their troubles.
Thus it was a nice way to round the season off for the BAC men who had once again had a hugely successful campaign over the course of the 12 races in the calendar year on their way to becoming 2019 champions.
A lot of the credit for that has be given to team captain Rich Nelson who works tirelessly behind the scenes to put together training sessions to keep the team fit and focused. Then there’s the ongoing battle of trying to pull together a competitive team of at least five men and five ladies for each fixture.
With the club being so splintered and so many different training groups and many of the elite members focused on their own personal goals, it’s an unenviable task. But he somehow manages to achieve it year-in year-out, always producing great results for the club.
In terms of the individual results for the 2019 season, for the men, it was Lee Dempster who was the top man. He completed all 12 of the fixtures and consistently finished in high positions. In fact, he had a top three finish in over seven of the races which was enough to see him seal the win.
Chris Alborough of Poole AC finished 2nd overall with a 1st, two 2nd places and two 3rd places among his results. Chris Wood of Wimborne AC had the 3rd best record overall. Then it was Scott Parfitt of Lytchett Manor Striders in 4th and Paul Bullimore of Egdon Heath Harriers in 5th.
The top Bournemouth AC man was Rich Brawn who ended the season in 13th place in the overall standings. Rich completed 10 out of the 12 Dorset Road Race League fixtures and had a 13th, a 14th and a 15th place on his record.
Rich also finished 5th in the 35-39 category. Tom Paskins was 20th man in the final standings for the season and 5th in the 30-34 category.
After very nearly claiming the fidelity award, completing 11 out of the 12 fixtures, including the North Dorset Village Marathon, Matt du Cros finished 31st overall and 2nd in the 25-29 category. Only Lorenzo Bianchi of Wimborne AC had a better record in that category.
Jud Kirk finished the season in 49th place overall but he usually focuses on the category prize for his age group. This year he failed to retain his crown in the 60-64 category, only managing 3rd place behind. Stephen Hogarth of Poole AC was the runaway winner, with John Cook of Egdon Harriers narrowly edging Jud out for 2nd place.
Despite having a year where he’s been way off his best due to injuries and lack of training, Steve Parsons finished in 65th place overall and 14th in the 35-39 category.
In the 70 to 74 category, Ian Graham finished 5th and Dave Parsons 7th with Ian completing six of the Road Race League fixtures and Dave managing five. David Cartwright of Poole Runners was the victor in that category and is still clearly in great shape for his age.
In the ladies individual standings for the season, Alexandra Door of Egdon Heath Harriers etched her name into the record books as 2019 Dorset Road Race League champion with a clear cut victory.
Her resume for the season included three 1st places, two 2nd places and two 3rd places. Helen Gilbert of Littledown Harriers was 2nd in the women’s individual, with Gemma Oliver of Poole Runners just edging out Sophie Elford of Egdon Heath for 3rd place.
For the second year running, Tamzin Petersen was the highest positioned of the Bournemouth AC ladies, finishing in 12th place. She had a 10th, an 11th and 13th placed finish among her races for the season.
Having moved up to the 30-34 category for 2019, Tamzin took 2nd place in the category and was somewhat unfortunate that the overall winner Alexandra Door was also in that category.
New signing Heather Khoshnevis, who has signed for BAC and will represent the club in the league next season, finished joint 10th overall. It was no surprise that Heather won the 55-59 category, since she quite often wins age category prizes when the awards are dished out afterwards.
Another top age category performer was Helen Ambrosen, who was in the 60-64 category and consistently produced runs that put her in contention for prizes.
Competing in all but one of the 12 Dorset Road Race League fixtures this term, Helen has very much enjoyed her running. The only one she missed was the Puddletown Plod Half Marathon in June.
Finishing 21st in the overall standings, Helen was 2nd in the 60-64 category, only beaten to the top prize by Kathy Fooks of Littledown Harriers who was 15th overall.
The new season will begin, as it does every year, with the Broadstone Quarter on New Year’s Day. The wheels are already in motion for assembling a competitive squad to kick the season off with a bang in that fixture.
The Bournemouth AC men will of course be hoping to defend their title but with the recent resurgence of Poole AC and the noticeable improvements Littledown Harriers and Poole Runners have been making it should be a very competitive battle for top honors.
After narrowly missing out on the First Division crown but doing well to take it right down to the wire, Egdon Heath Harriers will be hoping they can go one better this time round.
Following a clean sweep of victories in all 12 of fixtures in the Second Division, newly promoted Lytchett Manor Striders could be serious contenders for top spot as well. It promises to be a very exciting season for 2020 and the BAC men will surely need to be at their best to retain the league title.