Wimborne Athletic Club

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Southern League – Braunton –  20 April 2013

Team Dorset win, as WAC’s men’s 5k record is smashed.

Wimborne AC athletes compete in the Southern League as one component of Team Dorset – for competition purposes the other components are Dorchester AC, Poole AC and Weymouth St Pauls. Being part of Team Dorset enables our best athletes to gain more competition at a higher level.

The Southern League caters only for the higher age-groups (under-17s through to seniors) so only a handful of Wimborne athletes – Charlotte Bourne, Trudi Carter, Abbie Hine, Callum Kennedy, Dave Pearson, Fraser Read, Ryan Walbridge and Hannah Winton – made the trip. Each of them has their own speciality but at these meets our athletes often cover other events too.

Our opponents were host club North Devon, plus Team Kennet (who were in fine form when their younger age groups competed against us in the Wessex meeting at Salisbury a few weeks ago) and Winchester AC.

When our athletes were competing in their own events we were getting a good proportion of 1st places. Despite this, it was still a surprise when the first set of running totals were read out and this gave Team Dorset as leading by a few points from North Devon.

Apart from competing. each team is also asked to provide officials – three of us Lorraine Winton, Mark Pauley and myself worked as a team on the long/triple jump. As it turned out we were well-placed to witness a special moment. For one of Team Dorset’s long jumpers – Jack Roach (Poole AC) – every one of his jumps exceeded his previous PB, and one of them by more than half a metre. Lorraine checked the mark in the sand, I pulled the tape taut and Mark took the reading. It was just over 7metres, but we’d all watched the run up and seen how well executed the jump was so this didn’t come as a surprise. It was great to watch Jack’s obvious delight. That jump may well be enough to keep him in the top 10 in the UK in his age-group at the end of the season – but he’s got almost the whole season to improve upon it further.

Ironically, the outstanding performance from a Wimborne athlete for Team Dorset did not produce a win. This was in the 5000m.  Callum Kennedy knocked 19 seconds off his PB for the distance, and in the process he beat the club record which had stood since 2005. The new record is now set at 16:20.4. This is the 6th best time in this age group for this event so far this season in the UK. Callum was denied a win by Michael Gaunt of North Devon who recorded the 4th fastest time so far this term. The previous WAC record holder was Callum’s great mentor, Graeme Furley. Graeme has encouraged and worked enthusiastically with Callum over many years, including arranging transport to take him to compete in the 5k Poole parkruns. Graeme’s unselfish support is a big factor in Callum’s successes.

As the penultimate set of results were read out over the PA, Team Dorset were still ahead – now by 10 points. With four points available for each win – for both A- and B-string athletes, the job was not yet done. However, as the remaining events were steeplechase, which Team Dorset is quite strong in, and the relays where we were able to field a complete set of teams we felt that a win was within our grasp.

Winning the A- and B- string men’s steeplechase and the women’s 4x100m relay, plus a second place in the 4x400m women’s relay behind Team Kennet allowed Team Dorset to open up the points lead over North Devon to 16 points in the final standings. It’s a great start to our season in the Southern League … let’s push on from here.

The team scores were:

Team Dorset – 195 points

North Devon – 179 points

Team Kennet – 141 points

Winchester – 125 points

Results for the event can be found at




Ian Kennedy

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