wins Vets, Wendy wins bragging rights – 1 March 2015
Ian Kennedy reports from the
After something like a 15 year break, Bournemouth Athletic Club have
revived the Bournemouth 10 road race. It had the reputation of being
capable of producing fast times in the right weather conditions, so it
was great to welcome it back to the race calendar.
me, personally, this race has special significance, as it was the first
ever road race I competed in. Scarily, it was over 30 years ago! I’d
been a good cross-country runner at school. After winning a few XC runs
back then, I was gifted the nickname of ‘Kip’ by my school mates – for
those of tender years Kenyan Kip Keino won gold medals in distance
events at both the 1968 and 1972 Olympics. We had little in common!
Sadly, like many kids when they leave school, once I’d done my last PE
lesson it was then years before I seriously participated in sport again.
In the 1970s I discovered the Soul All-Nighter, and I guess it takes
some sort of athleticism to still be on your feet and dancing to Tobi
Legend, Jimmy Radcliffe and Dean Parrish in the final minutes before
chucking out time at 8am! That apart, I didn’t do anything remotely
athletic until one day in 1984 a memo went around the company I worked
for at the time (Link House in
Poole) to field a cross-country team for some corporate
went and got myself a pair of running shoes and had six weeks to do some
training. I had no idea of the standard that my team mates ran to, or of
those we would run against – although I knew a couple of the Link House
guys were rugby players so probably reasonably fit. I decided that I
wanted to count – the first four of a team of six scored. I was the
first Link House runner over the line come race day. At that event I was
handed an entry form for the ‘Bournemouth 10’. I’d never run 10 miles …
here was my next challenge.
was pretty clueless with my training. I would run increasing distances
and speeds between the two piers … I lived in Boscombe at the time. Any
training run that wasn’t a new personal best was deemed a failure. On
Sundays I went for longer runs, and these also got faster at the same
time as they got longer. In hindsight, I was pretty lucky I didn’t get
injured. A few weeks before race day the final instructions, map,
numbers, etc., were sent out. I decided that the weekend prior to race
day I would run the route of the race. I did this in around 75 minutes.
race day as the adrenalin kicks in it is amazing what can happen. I was
quite well up in the field in the first half of the race. However, by
the time we were approaching Boscombe Pier along the Overcliff I was
feeling terrible and was heading backwards through the field. Stupidly I
was not wearing a watch, so had no idea how fast I was running. My body
was telling me it wasn’t feeling good. Just before the descent down the
steep hill towards Boscombe Pier I walked for 100m or so before I got
going again. Once on the seafront you can sort of see the finish …
although it’s a long way away … and it seems to take forever to get
there. Once I got within sight of the gantry with the clock on it I
couldn’t believe it. I finished in a time of 64:05. When the results
were published I noticed I was the highest-placed unaffiliated runner,
from memory I think I finished around 50th. That time would
have put me just outside the top 10 in this year’s race.
After the Bournemouth 10 I needed another challenge so tried,
unsuccessfully, to get a place in the next London Marathon, at which
point my running once more varied between sporadic and non-existent. It
was only as I was about to turn 40 that I got really serious about it
again … and have remained so ever since. My training/running was at its
peak intensity in the early 2000s and although I recorded a couple of
races in the 65:00s I have never matched the time set back in 1984.
Fast forward to 2015 and these days my work as a coach is far more
important to me than my own running. I’m working with an inspirational
squad of fine young athletes and it’s a source of some regret that I
didn’t apply myself when I was their age with the same level of
commitment that they show. The fact I never ran as fast as a
40-something as I did as a poorly-prepared 26 year-old is further
evidence that we should all make the most of what we have while we are
younger. There just are not enough 20/30 year olds competing in road
races. Many take up roadrunning in the late 30s or even older – it’s a
real shame that it takes so many of us so long to take up running. It
leaves you wondering what might have been achieved!
priorities over the 2014/2015 winter have been the cross-country races
with the Wimborne team. Wendy entered the
Bournemouth 10 and I realised that the race fell on a rare spare
weekend. I decided to enter it too. In 2014 I only competed in four
races all year (three of those were in December), but I’ve made it a new
years’ resolution to ‘race’ (using the term loosely) more often in 2015.
I’ve got off to a decent start, seven race results achieved by 1 March.
Meanwhile in our house Wendy continues to pile up the mileage and races,
week in week out. In February we both did Lytchett 10. I knew that there
was a real chance I could get out-raced by her. Wendy’s 5k times are
around a minute slower than mine at the moment, but I hadn’t run a
distance of 10 miles for me than two years. As it turned out I was
reasonably happy with my time in the 88:00s at hilly Lytchett – around
three minutes ahead of Wendy.
Bournemouth 10 race day we headed down to the pier together. It was
pretty sunny, but also quite blustery. It was clear the second half
of the race was going to be a bit of challenge. The gun went off,
and off we headed along the Promenade. Even with the wind behind us
my sub-8 minute first mile was probably too fast. At around three
miles I was running alongside Adie Holloway of Littledown when Wendy
came up on my shoulder. After the water station sited as we left the
seafront I pulled away again, and at the turn near the brutalist
church at Hengistbury Head I could see Wendy had dropped back about
200m. I didn’t expect to see her again.
Around six miles, near where the old Shell House used to be she was on
my shoulder again. By the time we got onto the Overcliff near the
Spyglass & Kettle I knew I had my work cut out to stay with her. I
thought as long as I could stay in touch I would come steaming past her
on the descent to Boscombe Pier (I am a good descender). Well, on the
long straight into the wind the gap just got bigger and bigger and I had
no answer to it. True, I made up places on the descent, but Wendy was
long gone by that stage.
It’s a bit of mystery how, even allowing for the wind, I could have run
so much slower at Bournemouth than I did at Lytchett. In honesty though,
it’s clear that I got only what I deserved. Wendy’s had put the work in
… I hadn’t! While us Kennedys were having our own little battles other
WACers were running rather faster.
Rich Swindlehurst was first Vet home in 61:30 (8th overall).
Jerry Shield (66:18) and Mark Buffery (66:56) followed each other in 17th/18th
… this was despite Jerry missing the start. Andy Horsley was 28th
in 68:39. Sarah Orr had a fine race and was 8th woman in
74:41 (52nd overall) and Jeff Hinsley was 87th in
Richard Morris ran as an unaffiliated runner
but is the dad of one our cross-country athletes, Chloe. He did his
first 10-miler in a very respectable 82:23 for 98th. This is
only the start of it …
he is doing the 100mile London/Surrey bike ride on August 2nd, and
Berlin marathon at the end of September. Richard says, ‘Serious training
and total discipline from now on methinks’.
Wendy was next WACer in, 37th woman, 152nd overall,
surprisingly only a few seconds quicker than her race time at Lytchett.
I was last red vest home in
1:32:54, a PW. I felt fine while I was running … just incapable of going any
It’s been a long time since Bournemouth AC have staged a road race,
although they have staged cross-country races with great success in
recent years. Within BAC is a wealth of experience so it came as little
surprise that they did such a great job.