Wimborne Athletic Club

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Wessex League XC  – Kings Park – 1 November 2009

After a week of glorious weather, on Saturday night the wind got up and the rain came down. Weather forecasters had predicted that the rain would stop late morning on Sunday, but when the course was inspected at around 9.30am the forecast was looking a little on the optimistic side. Those of us on the early shift got a bit of a soaking, and in the wind our tent erecting turned into farce. Hats off to the Met Office, their forecast was spot on. The rain stopped at 11am and the wind dropped a little too.

With WAC as the host club our first priority was to run the event efficiently and make the course as safe as possible. This can only be done with a good number of volunteers. Organising a safe race meeting is a very labour intensive business so a huge vote of thanks must go out to all our volunteers. The marshals were made up of WACers, plus family and friends who were all roped in and did a superb job.

The, largely, unsung heroes at this race and many others are those who give up their time to officiate at both cross-country and road races and have huge experience. They, unselfishly, do not confine their activities to their own club’s races but help all of us out. We were very fortunate to have so many of these ‘old hands’ at Kings Park, special thanks go to Ken Ballam, John Gregory, Nigel Harding, Chris Potter (his second event of the day, having been at a 10k road race earlier) and John Rhoden.

Now to the racing

One of the big attractions of the Wessex League to WAC is that it enables us to introduce our young runners, who show such promise in the club training sessions, to competitive cross-country races at an early age. Of the six runners in the under-11s race, four were making their WAC XC debuts. The first red shirt in was 9 year-old Liam Murphy-Parry, in his first race he ran an excellent third place. After 1.7km Liam was just 11 seconds behind the race winner. Team results are made up from our best three scorers and James Hughes (also making his debut) was our next man in and our top 3 was rounded off when Grace Copeland  (9 years-old) was the first girl to cross the line. Harry Hughes (James’ younger brother) was next home, then came Phoebe O’Mahony, who ran this year’s longer course with greater confidence, and in close contact with her for most of the way was Pippa Hine who was another of our XC debutants.

Wimborne’s great prospects wait for the gun in the under-11s race. Left to right: Pippa, Phoebe, James, Harry, Liam and Grace.

The next race up was the under-13 girls race. Having got off to a flying start to the season in the Hampshire League, it’s a measure of how far Sharon Hutchings has come that 4th place was disappointing. Sharon was definitely a little under-par on the day. She is capable of claiming race wins in this league, watch her fly when she fires on all cylinders. Kelly O’Mahony stepped straight into the under-13s race to make her XC debut and stuck to the task over the 2.7km course. Zoe Taylor was also making her XC debut, Zoe’s ambition to compete was admirable as she had only trained once with Wimborne’s endurance athletes (and this was the previous day). Unfortunately the race came too soon for her and she was caught out judging pace and distance. Zoe will have learnt quite a bit from the experience and is to be commended for her spirit.

When the gun went off the under-13 boys flew away from the line. Right in the thick of it was Ryan Walbridge who found himself in a three man scrap at the front of the field. We have to remember this is only Ryan’s second XC race, on the day Ryan had to settle for second place but with the experience gained from competing and coupled with some hard work in the training sessions Ryan will be challenging for race wins. Piers Copeland was in 4th, a tremendous first race in this age group. Piers was almost certainly the youngest runner in this race, having got special dispensation to run in this category (his 11th birthday is not until the end of November).

Alex Vaughan-Johncey was our sole representative in the under-15 girls race. Alex ran solidly to finish exactly at mid-point in the field.

At the first Hampshire League race the under-15 boys team (made up of Callum Kennedy, Lewis Murphy-Parry and Jack Snook) made a very encouraging start to the season. Unfortunately, of that team only Callum was available to run at Kings Park. It was great to see Tate Young back in a red shirt once again. Tate ran with us a few years ago – It will take him a little while to re-acclimatize but he was back running in his typical gritty and determined fashion. Callum is one of the few WACers we have a direct comparison for from last year at Kings Park. Over exactly the same course 12 months on Callum’s time improved by more than 3 minutes and got him his highest placing thus far in a cross-country race for Wimborne.

In the under-17 women’s race it was great to see Laura Harvey back competing. We haven’t seen much off her over the summer. Laura should improve steadily over the season once she steps up her training and would benefit hugely from getting involved in the senior roadrunners sessions. We look forward to seeing a lot more of her.

In the senior women’s race Lynn Hutchings once again led the charge for Wimborne. Like Callum we are able to compare her time from the same course a year ago and just like Callum she also improved her time by over three minutes. It was wonderful to see Barbara Frampton running cross-country once again, with Barb getting stronger as the race progressed. We welcomed an XC debutant to complete the ladies team – Paula Hine. With Paula pulling on the red vest that gave us a complete set of Hines this year in cross-country. Husband Paul has already run for the men, Pippa ran in the first race of the day, and older sister Abbie made a very encouraging debut in the Hampshire League a few weeks back. Apart from Paula recording the all-important third points scorer for the team, she had played a key role in getting our juniors warmed up for their races earlier in the day.

The final race was the senior men. Of our seven runners, five of them had been putting in sterling service as marshals since the start of the day. An unselfish act as this is hardly the best race preparation. As the weather wasn’t too cold they weren’t compromised too heavily and put in some decent performances, enabling us to claim 4th team on the day.

Once again I must say a huge thank you for those who came along and helped too numerous to mention individually. However, I would like to specifically mention those who came down early on (and got a good soaking for their trouble!), Phil Burgess, Bob Caines, Craig Dixon, Stewart Little, Claire Newby and Nicki Roe.

WACers times and results were:

Under-11s (23 finishers) – Wimborne 2nd team

3 – Liam Murphy-Parry – 6:40

8 – James Hughes – 6:58

10 – Grace Copeland – 7:09 (first girl overall)

18 – Harry Hughes – 8:03

19 – Phoebe O’Mahony – 8:09

20 – Pippa Hine – 8:18

Under-13 Girls (15 finishers)

4 – Sharon Hutchings – 9:42

14 – Kelly O’Mahony – 11:17

Under-13 Boys (9 finishers)

2 – Ryan Walbridge – 8:37

4 – Piers Copeland – 9:05

Under-15 Girls (11 finishers)

6 – Alex Vaughan-Johncey – 14:42

Under-15 Boys (9 finishers)

2 – Callum Kennedy – 14:54

9 – Tate Young – 19:20

Under-17 Women (5 finishers)

5 – Laura Harvey – 23:25

Senior Women (19 finishers) – 3rd team

9 – Lynn Hutchings – 19:13

17 – Barbara Frampton – 23:54

19 – Paula Hine – 24:31

Senior Men (35 finishers) (Wimborne 4th team, and 3rd Vets team))

10 – Stewart Little – 33:18

20 – Rich House – 37:40

21 – Andrew Olden – 38:48

22 – Paul Teck – 39:03

23 – Phil Burgess – 39:22

29 – Paul Hine – 40:35

30 – John Hutchings – 40:36


Full results for the Wessex League will be found at



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