Wimborne Athletic Club

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English Schools XC – Catton Park – 16 March 2013

Ella Hearne says ‘This is what cross country is all about!!’ and her report captures beautifully the sense of achievement and satisfaction that our fine young athletes got from competing against the very best in the UK.

I started getting nervous the moment Gavin [Rusling, Dorset team manager] told me I was next reserve and had been selected to run in the English Schools. It was two weeks until the big day and I was planning in my head what I was going to do over the next two weeks right up until the morning of the race. I had only just scraped South-West and couldn’t believe I was going to get the chance to run in the Nationals! Despite being seriously nervous I couldn’t help but buzz with excitement every time I thought of the weekend that lay ahead. When Mum told me she had booked a room in the same Travel Lodge as the Hines and Williams that just iced the cake, and over the next two weeks of school the only thing Abbie, Maddie and me talked about was Derby. Everyone in our school must have thought we were mad as every time we saw each other in the corridor we all screamed and jumped up and down randomly screaming ‘Oh my gosh, two weeks!’, ‘Guys, guys, one week!’, ‘THREE DAYS!!’ and finally ‘AAAHH see you tonight girls!!!’.

Me being me, I had started packing Wednesday, packed spares of pretty much everything on Thursday, and only had to double check, again, on Friday. I couldn’t believe how calm Abbie was though! It was Friday evening, she was just casually grabbing a few bits and bobs, and there was me asking Paula to list everything I might possibly need and replying nervously with ‘Yep’, ‘Check’, ‘Are you sure that’s all I need?’. When Yana and Maddie arrived, (only a couple of minutes late!) we loaded all our bags into the car. I grabbed the window seat and we set off.

When we finally arrived we all climbed out with a sudden burst of energy, laughing merrily about our numb bums and what we were going to have for tea. Starving, we pretty much dumped our bags and headed straight for the Toby Carvery. We all thanked Paula, as somehow she had managed to book a table for exactly 10 minutes after we had arrived! The food was brilliant, we piled our plates high with delicious roast dinner and by the end we were so full! We headed back to the Travel Lodge after dinner and settled down to enjoy some Comic Relief, tea and chocolate. After narrowly missing a trip to A&E after discovering Paula was allergic to hazel nuts (Don’t panic, she didn’t swallow any!) me and Mum headed back to our room (I was secretly glad to have our own room after hearing rumours of certain very loud snorers!).

I had a great night’s sleep and was in a brilliant mood to go and have breakfast. I took ages to decide but eventually settled on two breakfasts, porridge (of course) and yoghurt and berries. Abbie and Maddie helped themselves to eat all you like full English! We were all very happy with our breakfasts and set off prepared and full of energy talking all the way about how reality was beginning to settle in! We finally arrived and as the satnav exclaimed ‘You have reached your destination!’ I said, feeling rather confused ‘I can’t see any hills!’ but unfortunately I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Abbie’s and my race was first and having walked the course and warmed up the best we could we went to the hut and for the first time in ages I felt really prepared physically and mentally. Despite the continuous rain I was really excited for the race. I had been nervous going into the race knowing I was the worst [really!!!] Dorset runner but everyone made me feel so relaxed and I was thankful for such lovely team mates. As we all waited nervously I began to get cold and decided to jump up and down, unfortunately I hadn’t really thought it through and I showered the team with mud! They all shrieked, especially Tara, but we all laughed about it knowing a couple of speckles of mud would be nothing compared to the state we would be when we finished!

When the race marshals let us into the pens I began to listen to the people talking around me and I caught someone at the back of their team saying ‘I just don’t want to come last!’ Up until then I hadn’t really thought about the possibility of coming last, but I suddenly got very nervous. I realized it was quite likely having only just scraped in as a reserve. I began to get really nervous looking around at all the very professional looking athletes. Luckily before I had the chance to completely freak out Alex and Abbie turned round to me and said reassuringly with big smiles ‘good luck! You’ll do great!’ and with that the gun went.

WACers Abbie Hine (left) and Ella Hearne (right) flank Alex Phillips
of Poole Runners, as they proudly sport their County vests

The start is always the part of the race I dread the most, but as 340 of us charged across the muddy field and mud sprayed everywhere I was surprised at how much I was enjoying myself! Mud splattered us from head to toe and I thought to myself ‘This is what cross country is about!!’ as we crashed through the mud and rain! I was so happy, I’m pretty sure I screamed in excitement! But when we turned the corner I began to focus of staying on my feet. Abbie came crashing past me screaming ‘sorry!’ And I landed on someone else. There was a bit of a domino effect but luckily I think we were so tightly packed we all managed to bounce off each other and stay on our feet. I was surprised at the amount of screaming and chatting there was at the start of such an important race and it made me realize I just needed to enjoy myself so with a big grin I turned the corner. I hadn’t seen the hill up until this point as we had cut it off when walking and I was glad we had! It was so steep! I think I could have climbed up it more successfully and the only way I managed to keep the momentum going was my running with my toes pointed out rather like a penguin! When finally we reached the top I began to look up and around and relax. I think I ran faster than I ever have down a hill simply because I needed to stretch my legs as they were aching after the steep uphill.

The first lap literally flew by, and before I knew it we were at the top of the hill, once again quads burning ready for the final 1500. As we turned the corner my legs were still killing me but I kept telling myself I would regret it if I slowed down. I had put so much pressure on myself as I so wanted to end the season on a high so I put my head down and just ran. Before I knew it we were at the top of the hill looking down at a gentle 200m decent to the finish. At this point I remembered what Ian had told us, about how a few seconds could make a difference, and without really thinking about it I began to sprint. Glad of the chance to stretch my legs just kept rolling and I was so happy to have possibly only gained a few seconds but managed to grab a good bunch of places! I was so happy it was over! I wanted to collapse but it was so muddy I decided to just hobble through the hundreds of people. We found Mum and Paula waiting outside the tent and it made me so happy to see how proud they were.

Glad of the chance to relax, we settled down to watch the rest of the races. The day absolutely flew by and I’m so proud of the whole team (especially the Wimborne lot). I think everyone did amazing and should be so proud of themselves! It was such a tough race and just getting in I think is an amazing achievement! I screamed so loud for the team. At one point, when watching Maddie finish I just managed to squeeze through so I could see all the girls running past. As I yelled at the top of my voice I noticed once Maddie had passed that the railing had cleared just around me. Me and Mum joked that it was because I screamed so loud!

It was an absolutely brilliant weekend. Thank you so much to Yana, Paula, and Mum for spoiling us rotten all weekend. Thank you to Gavin for organising the day and for the amazing opportunity, and of course, well done to all the athletes!


The outstanding team result of the day was in the Senior Boys category, they are of course the Schools South-West Champs, full Dorset results from Catton Park, were (Wimborne AC runners shown in red):

Junior Girls (333 finishers – 32nd team of 45)

34           Bridget Dence                  Dorset           11:52
87           P Bramwell-Reeks             Dorset           12:18
176         Rachael Jefferies               Dorset           12:45
232         Flora Johnson                   Dorset           13:07
268         Hannah Sherborne             Dorset           13:23
273         Maddie Williams               Dorset           13:25
310         Amelia Davies                  Dorset           13:51

Junior Boys (323 finishers – 35th team of 45)

70           Sam Brown                      Dorset           15:59
93           Tom Bourne                     Dorset           16:10
200         Glenn Balfour                   Dorset           16:57
222         James Miles                     Dorset           17:07
287         Dominic Willmore             Dorset           17:45
291         Michael Biss                    Dorset           17:50
306         Ralph Miller                     Dorset           18:03


Intermediate Girls (331 finishers – 30th team of 45)

13           Isobel Glaisher                 Dorset             13:52
113         Charlotte Baker                 Dorset             15:06
203         Abbie Hine                       Dorset             16:01
219         Amie Buttle                      Dorset             16:07
228         Mollie Hansford                 Dorset             16:12
230         Alex Phillips                      Dorset            16:13
237         Ella Hearne                       Dorset            16:18

Intermediate Boys (299 finishers – 22nd team of 45)

21           Andrew Smith                   Dorset              20:19
103         Fergus Johnson                 Dorset              21:23
105         Jason Sotheran                 Dorset              21:24
184         Liam Ackerman                 Dorset              22:18
193         Ryan Walbridge                 Dorset             22:24
197         Corrie Norton                    Dorset              22:26
239         Kingsley Wellman              Dorset              23:04
262         Joshua Coates                  Dorset              23:48

Senior Girls (288 finishers – 29th team of 45)

157         Ellie Stone                        Dorset              20:21
174         Alex Morgan                      Dorset              20:42
178         Lauren Willows                  Dorset              20:46
187         Siobham Stewart                Dorset              20:58
190         Zoe Plant                         
Dorset              21:00
198         Charlotte Skule                  Dorset              21:08
251         Camilla Bell-Davies            Dorset              22:34
272         Fiona Kirkpatrick                 Dorset             24:00

Senior Boys (311 finishers – 8th team of 45)

18           Christopher Perham            Dorset              22:22
54           David Long                        Dorset              23:06
57           Benedict Westhenry           Dorset               23:10
113         Harry Lane                         Dorset              23:56
118         Joe Arundel                       Dorset               23:59
131         Daniel Mulryan                   Dorset               24:09
177         Callum Kennedy                 Dorset               24:52
211         James Sewry                      Dorset               25:28

For full results visit http://www.esaa.net/v2/2013/xc/xc13intro.php


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