The second fixture of the season in the Dorset Road Race League saw the teams head over to Bishops Caundle to battle it out over a scenic yet undulating Blackmore Vale Half Marathon route.
After a dream start for Bournemouth AC saw both their men’s and women’s teams emerge victorious at the Broadstone Quarter, they were looking to consolidate those positions in fixture two.
With Jacek Cieluszecki, Steve Way, Toby Chapman, Ant Clark and Stu Nicholas in their line up, BAC were always going to be in a good chance of doubling their lead at the top of the men’s first division.
They couldn’t count their chickens just yet though as Egdon Heath Harriers had also managed to assemble a dangerously competitive team of five including Jonny Cooper, Paul Bullimore and Adam Davies. It had all the makings of an exciting showdown between the two first division heavyweights.
After a decent showing in the first fixture, Twemlow Track Club were out in force again and they were bolstered by the return of last year’s Dorset Road Race League men’s individual winner Lee Dempster.
Making his Twemlow Track Club debut after moving over the dark side from BAC, Jez Bragg was also in action and looking to help spearhead his new team to promotion from division two.
Bringing home a second win for the season in the women’s first division was going to prove difficult for Bournemouth AC though. They had their top two scorers from the Broadstone Quarter, Emma Caplan and Helen O’Neile sidelined through injury.
Egdon Heath Harriers looked like they would provide the main threat and with last season’s Dorset Road Race League women’s champion Alex Door in their ranks. Poole Runners and Lytchett Manor Striders were also likely to be in contention for team honours.
It wasn’t just Dorset Road Race League club runners who had been attracted to the race though. GB international Adam Holland had also thrown his hat into the ring, along with Jonny Suttle of Bristol and West AC.
As soon as the race got underway it soon became evident that Adam Holland had designs on coming away with the race win. He very quickly opened up a big gap at the front of the field and no one seemed prepared to even attempt to match his pace.
The chasing pack was lead by Jonny Suttle, with Lee Dempster and Mark Smith of Twemlow Track Club in just behind, along with Christopher Peck of the other new team for the 2020 season, Dorchester RIOT.
Toby Chapman of Bournemouth AC was joined by Harry Lauste of Twemlow Track Club and Jez Bragg in the third group out on the road.
As the race progressed though and they reached the half way point, it was Ben Renshaw of Bridport Runners who started to move through the field.
In fact, he was going so well, he almost caught up with Adam Holland who had been way out front on his own for virtually the whole race. It turned out Adam had too much of an advantage though and was able to hold on for the win, crossing the line in a magnificent time of 1:14:42.
Ben was only 11 seconds behind in the end, securing second place in a time of 1:14:53. Because Adam runs for Tavistock AC though, it was maximum points for Ben in the Dorset Road Race League, or rather minimum points.
After he’d taken third place at the Broadstone Quarter behind Chris Alborough and Jacek Cieluszecki, Ben was starting to look like a real contender for the Dorset Road Race League individual title in the 2020 season.
Johnny Suttle took third place in a time of 1:15:08, with Christopher Peck taking 4th in 1:15:36. They were followed by the Twemlow Track Club trio of Harry Lauste (1:15:40), Lee Dempster (1:15:58) and Mark Smith (1:16:43).
Ant Clark reached the line in a time of 1:17:25, putting him second in the M40 category behind Mark Smith who took was first vet.
Richard Swindlehurst was the fourth Twemlow Track Club member to arrive at the finish, netting the prize for 1st V50, finishing in a time of 1:17:42. Only four scorers are required in the second division so that was enough to see them pick up the team win for the fixture.
Egdon Heath Harriers then got their first two men on the board with Jonny Cooper taking 11th place in 1:17:47 and Paul Bullimore finishing 12th in 1:17:59. Duncan Ward of Dorset Doddlers was 2nd V50, crossing the line in 1:18:09 which put him in 13th place.
Stu Nicholas finished as Bournemouth AC’s second scorer, taking 14th place in a time of 1:18:38. He was followed shortly after by Jacek Cieluszecki who recorded a 15th place finish, crossing the line in 1:18:59.
Twemlow Track Club had their fifth man in when Jez Bragg arrived at the finish to take 16th place in a time of 1:19:06.
Adam Davies was Egdon Heath Harriers third scorer of the day, recording a time of 1:19:17. Toby Chapman wasn’t quite in the form he was in last year when he finished second to Steve Way and this time round he had to settle for 18th place, crossing the line in 1:20:03. He was the fourth Bournemouth AC man in.
Neil Sexton of Poole Runners put in a fine display to take 20th place in a time of 1:20:31, just behind Scott Parfitt of Lytchett Manor Striders who was 19th in 1:20:03.
Bruce Campbell was fourth scorer for Egdon Heath Harriers, finishing in a time of 1:21:10, just ahead of Steve Cook of Twemlow Track Club who was 22nd in 1:21:20.
That left Bournemouth AC and Egdon Heath Harriers just need one for man to complete their scoring teams of five. Originally it looked like it would be between Richard Brawn and Julian Thacker to see who came in first.
On the eighth mile, Julian actually caught Richard up and pulled alongside him but Richard managed to find the strength to pull away again. Then on the final hill, Steve Way came galloping up behind them. He had clearly decided to put some work in over the latter stages of the race and was finishing very strongly.
Steve continued to push on up the hill, also overtaking Luke Dowsett of Littledown Harriers before reaching the finish to claim 29th place. His finishing time was 1:24:34 and that was enough to give Bournemouth AC the victory in the Dorset Road Race League. Steve Claxton of Poole Runners won the battle between himself and Richard Brawn for 31st place, crossing the line in a time of 1:24:43.
Richard followed in five seconds later to take 32nd place in a time of 1:25:48. Julian Thacker rounded off the scoring team of five for Egdon Heath Harriers, crossing the line in 1:25:26. That was enough to see them take second place in the Dorset Road Race League first division for the fixture.
In the ladies race, Alex Door opened her race winning account for the season putting in a fine display to secure a superb sub-1:30 time. She took 55th place overall, in 1:29:33 which was enough to give her a winning margin of well over six minutes on her nearest rival.
Dawn Andrews of Lytchett Manor Striders was second placed female, getting to the line in 1:35:55 which put her in 84th place overall. Dawn’s teammate Judith Vlaarkamp finished as third lady, registering a time of 1:36:53. That sealed the F35 prize for her as well.
It was to be Egdon Heath Harriers’ day though and Victoria Barnett and Hannah Martyn arrived at the finish close to get to secure them the team victory. Victoria’s time was 1:38:06 which put her in 100th place overall and Hannah was next over the line in a time of 1:38:12.
Sarah Swift of Poole Runners finished as sixth placed lady, coming in 105th overall with a time of 1:38:24. She secured first prize in the F45 category.
Georgie Roberts sealed second place in the women’s first division for Lytchett Manor Striders when she crossed the line in 1:40:21 to come in 118th overall and 7th female.
Paula Barker from Poole Runners was second F45 when she arrived at the finish in a time of 1:41:54 to take 130th place overall and 10th female. Her teammate Gemma Oliver came in just behind to secure third place for Poole Runners in the league for the fixture.
The first Bournemouth AC lady to complete the course was Heather Khoshnevis who clocked a time of 1:42:21. Finishing as 12th placed female, Heather took first prize in the F55 category and was 133rd overall.
The next BAC lady to reach the line was Tamzin Petersen who posted a time of 1:48:09. That put her in 177th place overall and made her the 23rd placed woman.
Caroline Rowley returned to the road race league to finish as third scorer for Bournemouth AC. She registered a time of 1:51:21 which put her in 198th place overall and 31st lady. That gave them fourth place in the women’s first division for the fixture, just ahead of Littledown Harriers who were fifth.
In the male over 60 category, Nigel Hayood of Purbeck Runners came out on top, completing the course in 1:34:14. That was enough to fend off competition from Andrew Stratton of Egdon Heath Harriers who was second M60 in a time of 1:36:46.
There was no prize for the over 70’s but if there had been it would have gone to David Cartwright of Poole Runners who finished in 111th place overall in a stellar time of 1:39:16.
Jim Brumfield of Egdon Heath Harriers was the next over 70 in, finishing in a time of 1:50:10 which put him in 190th place. He was just ahead of Ian Graham of Bournemouth AC who crossed the line in 1:51:13 which put him in 197th place.
Kathy Fooks of Littledown Harriers was the first over 60 lady to complete the course. Posting a time of 1:48:44, she came in 180th overall and 25th woman.
Helen Ambrosen was second female over 60, coming in a time of 1:54:46. That put her in 219th overall and made her 39th lady. Helen actually finished just four seconds ahead of Frances Anderson of Egdon Heath Harriers who is also 63 years of age.
With two wins in the first two races, Bournemouth AC are sitting pretty at the top of the table. Egdon Heath Harriers now had a second and a third place to their name and it would appear they will once again be the main challengers for the league title. Poole AC didn’t have a team at Blackmore Vale but they could also be in contention.
Twemlow Track Club look as if they’re going to be the dominant force in the second division and judging by the first two fixtures, they should breeze to promotion.
Their win at Blackmore Vale elevated Egdon Heath Harriers to the top of the women’s first division with Bournemouth AC dropping down the second. With Poole Runners and Lytchett Manor Striders also in the mix it could be a very exciting race for the title this season.
The next Dorset Road Race League fixture on the list was the Lytchett 10 but due to the threat posed by storm Ciara, the race organisers were left with no option but to cancel the event. They will look to pencil it into the calendar again later down the line.
That means that next up, it’s the Marnhull 12k, which, despite being scheduled for weekend before the London Marathon, has sold out.