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Joe Miles battles adversity – 9 November 2013

The Hampshire League cross-country at Goodwood.

Our under-13 girls team – Grace, Elise, Isabelle, Jessica and Bethanie

After an eventful first race of the season at Reading we were hoping we could race at Goodwood without any unwanted dramas – it didn’t turn out that way. 

Once again we got off to the best possible start. Grace Copeland was in dominant form, taking a race win from friend and rival Josie Czura of City of Portsmouth. These two had their own private duel some 40 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Jessica Bourne proved that her fine run at Reading was no fluke by going even better here. Bethanie Kingswell-Farr is still being troubled by a sore hip, but despite this she still managed an improved performance. Beth’s twin sister Isabelle was next red vest in two places ahead of Elise Gill. Bob Smith crunches the numbers for the team and he identified a significant improvement in performance from Elise, so we look forward to watching her making up places in future races.

Race  2 was the under-13 boys. Our team was once again led home by Liam Murphy-Parry. His top 10 finish was a fine achievement as he had been ill for most of the preceding week. For sure Liam has it in him to bag a podium finish in this age-group when fully fit. Michael Johnson and Max Meadwell both got in solid performances in what is their first season of Hampshire League racing, so much so that our three recorded a 5th place finish for the team. After two races the under-13 boys team are in 5th place overall, but on the same number of points as the third placed team – so it’s all to play for.

Next up were the under-15 girls, frustratingly we were one runner short of a complete team in this age-group. Lucy Ballam built on her impressive HXC ebut at Reading and Maddie Williams put in her typical gritty performance, as these two battled the worst weather conditions any of us faced on the day when they were caught in torrential run.

Joe … running on adrenalin?

So, what of the drama alluded to earlier. Well it came in the under-15 boys race. We have a strong team in this age group this season, and our boys proved it again at Goodwood. They claimed 2nd place, but it came at a cost. In Race 1 it was Tom Bourne who led the team home, on this day it was Piers Copeland who shone, first red home, two places ahead of Tom. However, the real heroics were going on behind them.  As they stood on the start line the starter got the runners’ attention prior to firing the gun. In front of Joe Miles, one of the boys pulled one foot back and, on the gun, pushed hard for a fast getaway. Unfortunately he was stood on Joe’s foot. That runner’s spikes shredded Joe’s shoe and left a deep wound in his foot. Injuries from spikes are not unknown but it is usually the legs that take cuts and scratches. Joe’s foot injury was of a different magnitude. It seems extraordinary that with the injury having occurred at the outset Joe had the ability and desire to complete the 4k race. He must have been running on neat adrenalin because, despite the serious foot injury, he had his best race of the season and secured the third scoring position for the team. Having, thankfully, less eventful races were Matt Yates and Sam Davies (his Hampshire League debut). Once Joe crossed the line he went over to the first-aiders to have his wounds cleaned. He was in high spirits, as always, for the rest of the day even though he was hobbling. Twenty-four hours later Joe was in hospital as he had picked up an infection. At the time of writing (Tuesday) he’s still receiving attention.

Joe’s shredded shoe

Another age-group where we look strong this year is the under-17 women. Our team was led home once again by Abbie Hine, Ella Hearne and Charlotte Bourne swapped their team positions from the previous race. Bob’s statistics show that the most improved WAC runner on the day compared to the HXC race at Reading was Becca Skeats. Her run was a massive improvement on what she did at Reading. Our under-17 women were 3rd team on the day.

Sandwiched between the two under-17 races is the women’s race. For years now Lynn Hutchings has been doing a great job for us, but quite often we haven’t managed to build a team around her. Rather disappointingly, for the second race in a row, Lynn was our sole representative. Lynn came 66th overall and 18th veteran out of 56.

We got another good team performance from our under-17 men. Ryan Walbridge led the team home for a second time this season. Jason Sotheran was next in with a solid looking performance, which no doubt he was glad to get under his belt after collapsing in the race at Reading. Making significant progress since Race 1 was Josh Downie, according to Bob’s stats he made up something like 30 seconds over and above his previous HXC outing.

Our men ran in the final race of the day. We really punched above our weight last season and won promotion to the top men’s division, but we’re faced with an almighty struggle if we hope to stay up. We are in a pool with some very big fish, and the problem is that our squad doesn’t have the strength in depth that others have. To ensure that we stay up we need our strongest possible team out there every time. So far this hasn’t been possible due to a combination, of illness, injury and work commitments. For the second race in a row we were 9th team. The teams that finish the season in 9th and 10th will be relegated. We’ve got a job on our hands to avert relegation. The root of our problem is that the team is largely made up of veterans. Only one of our team at Goodwood was not a vet. For sure our vets are going to be seriously disadvantaged running against 20/30-year-olds from some of the south of England’s top clubs. Our men were led home by our non-vet – Callum Kennedy. He put in an improved performance – at Reading Callum was 12th under-20 to cross the line, here he was 6th. Steve Wyatt was the first of our vets with a decent 58th place. Mark Copeland consistently picks up important team points for us and Goodwood was no exception. Stewart Little was the first of three of our vets who improved significantly on the performances at Reading. Stewart is making an increasingly valuable contribution to the team now that he is involved in helping at the Blandford training sessions. Pete Kingswell-Farr continues to be the most improved runner amongst our senior runners, and Paul Hine is also making good progress too. Our seniors team was completed by our ‘senior’ seniors – Gerry Hutchings and Ian Kennedy.

WACers times and results were:

Under-13 Girls (73 finishers) – 8th team

1 – Grace Copeland – 11:14
36 – Jessica Bourne – 13:46
54 – Bethanie Kingswell-Farr – 14:20
71 – Isabelle Kingswell-Farr – 17:21
73 – Elise Gill – 17:42

Under-13 Boys (77 finishers) – 5th team

7 – Liam Murphy-Parry – 11:37
28 – Michael Johnson – 12:28
38 – Max Meadwell – 12:50

Under-15 Girls (74 finishers)

31 – Lucy Ballam – 17:56
47 – Maddie Williams – 18:58

Under-15 Boys (72 finishers) –  2nd team

6 – Piers Copeland – 15:36
8 – Tom Bourne – 15:45
18 – Joe Miles – 16:20
52 – Matt Yates – 18:07
59 – Sam Davies – 18:59

Under-17 Women (32 finishers) – 3rd team

13 – Abbie Hine – 18:21
19 – Ella Hearne – 19:21
21 – Charlotte Bourne – 19:32
30 – Becca Skeats – 22:08

Senior Women (127 finishers)

66 – Lynn Hutchings – 27:12

Under-17 Men (56 finishers) – 7th team

17 – Ryan Walbridge – 17:23
20 – Jason Sotheran – 17:30
39 – Josh Downie – 18:56

Senior Men (219 finishers) 9th team in Div. 1

24 – Callum Kennedy – 31:51 (6th of 29 under-20)
58 – Steve Wyatt – 34:36
118 – Mark Copeland – 37:26
141 – Stewart Little – 38:56
144  – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 39:08
189 – Paul Hine – 43:37
199 – Gerry Hutchings – 45:32
215 – Ian Kennedy – 52:06

Full results for the Hampshire League will be found at



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