Wimborne Athletic Club

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Wessex League Race 1  – 31 October – Avon Heath 

Wimborne claim their first race win of the season.

Avon Heath kicked off our Wessex League season, and the conditions were pretty decent for running in. Although we were not officially the host club, as we are based nearer to the course than other teams, we took on responsibilities for marking up the course in the morning and marshalling the route. Very many thanks to all who stepped forward to help. It was encouraging to see an improved turnout for the races, with some new clubs represented and other clubs returning after a spell away.

The route is one of the more interesting ones to run over, and although there are no serious climbs, the different surfaces and the many tree roots can catch out the unwary – as a couple of our runners were to discover.

The Wessex League gives us a great opportunity to blood new runners. A big reward for WAC from this meeting was the number of cross-country debutants we fielded – 7 in all. One change from last season was to the race timetable – with the under-17s right through to the veterans running together in the first race of the day, prior to working our way through the junior programme.

Midday came and the under-17s, Seniors and Veterans (men and women) – 62 runners – all lined up. The under-17s and the ladies had one big double loop to run, while the men had two double-loops to cover. The first runners to cross the finish line were the under-17 men. Mendip AC’s Keiran Young, with WAC’s Callum Kennedy taking second place. Keiran is one of the best young endurance runners in the south-west and he will give Callum a challenging target to work at over the coming season.

Also doing the 4600m distance were our ladies. First WACer in was the flying Lynn Hutchings who claimed an excellent 3rd place (1st vet). Backing Lynn up was Trudi Carter, who it was great to welcome back into the XC team. Claiming our third scoring place was Paula Hine, who went on to perform a key role warming up our juniors for their races later in the day. Lisa Copeland made her XC debut, and despite taking a tumble out on the course she managed a big smile for the camera prior to reaching the finish line. We look forward to seeing what Lisa can do when she can stay upright!

The men of course had another lap to complete and Mark Copeland was first WACer home, proving that his debut race in the Hampshire League was no flash in the pan. Next in was WAC’s ‘Mr Cross-Country’ Graham Whiffen, with Gerry Hutchings claiming the final scoring place for the team. Then it was Paul Hine with a much improved run since Farley Mount, and he was followed in by debutant Tom Collis and, returning from serious injury, Daryl Davies.

With the seniors done and dusted the junior programme started with the under-11s race. We had three runners out there, debutants Becky Kent and Bethan Burley alongside ‘old hand’ Pippa Hine. The girls scored 6th in the team results (despite competing against boys teams and mixed teams). Well done.

Next up was the under-13s race (boys and girls), it was great to look along the start line and see so many red shirts there, seven in all.

‘Come on you reds!’; Jamie Brash, Piers Copeland, Abi Deeble, Maddy Diment, Scarlett Goldsack, Grace Copeland and Abbie

Much like Callum, Piers Copeland’s nemesis wears the colours of Mendip AC – Mark Bailey. These two fine young runners know each other well having been involved in some ding-dong battles on the track over the summer. This time Piers had to settle for second, but if he can maintain his commitment in training, the races are there to be won. Jamie Brash was our other under-13 boy, he was just back from a ski-ing holiday at what was the end of an exhausting week. He turned in a suitably gritty performance.

The under-13 girls ran concurrently with the boys. In Abbie Hine we had some experience, alongside debutants, Scarlett Goldsack, Abi Deeble and Maddy Diment. Grace Copeland has been running so well in the schools XC races recently that special dispensation was sought, and granted, to bump her up an age group, so she lined up in this race too. Abbie and Grace took the race by the throat and recorded a superb 1-2. They shared the same time, with Abbie being credited with the win. They were more than 20 seconds ahead of the third place finisher. With quality performances from our young debutants it meant that Wimborne took first place in the team scores in this age group.

Abbie and Grace heading for a superb 1-2

The final race of the day was the under-15s, which we were down on numbers for. Ryan Walbridge recorded a third place, and looks to be running back into form. Team mate Alex Diment, who performed so well at Farley Mount, was in the wars a little. Like Lisa he took a tumble over the tricky terrain, but doggedly picked himself up and got the job done.

Most unusually we were only able to field one under-15 girl, Sharon Hutchings. Sharon finished mid-field this time around, but watch out – there is more to come from her!

All in all a very pleasing day, sadly we had a few missing team members who were away (the event took place over the half term). This meant that we were unable to field complete teams in some age categories where we might otherwise have expected to. Hopefully we can have a full complement of runners for our next Wessex League race at Salisbury on Sunday 28 November.

WACers times and results were:

Under-17 Boys (3 finishers)

2 – Callum Kennedy – 17:46

Senior Women (21 finishers) – 4th team, 2nd Vets team

3 – Lynn Hutchings – 19:50
10 – Trudi Carter – 22:24
20 – Paula Hine – 26:47
21 – Lisa Copeland – 29:53

Senior Men (36 finishers) 6th team, 5th Vets team

17 – Mark Copeland – 39:15
19  – Graham Whiffen – 40:14
25 – Gerry Hutchings – 42:43
26 – Paul Hine – 43:15
30 – Tom Collis – 46:09
31 – Daryl Davies – 46:50

Under-11 (33 finishers) – 6th team

18 – Becky Kent – 5:54 (6th girl)
21 – Bethan Burley – 6:05 (9th girl)
22 – Pippa Hine – 6:06 (10th girl)

Under-13 Girls (15 finishers) – 1st team

1 – Abbie Hine –  11:14
2 – Grace Copeland – 11:14
8 – Scarlett Goldsack – 12:54
10 – Abi Deeble – 13:06
13 – Maddy Diment – 15:00

Under-13 Boys (15 finishers)

2 – Piers Copeland –  10:05
12 – Jamie Brash – 12:02

Under-15 Girls (14 finishers)

8 – Sharon Hutchings – 18:12

Under-15 Boys (9 finishers)

3 – Ryan Walbridge – 14:56
9 – Alex Diment – 18:22

Full results for the Wessex League will be found at


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