Wimborne Athletic Club

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XC King’s Park Double – 12 & 17 January 2013

WAC’s senior men in the box-seat while WACers have a field day at the Schools too.

Callum Kennedy and Graeme Furley spearheading the push for promotion


Well … rarely have we raced in such hostile weather conditions. As we set up camp, we’d just got the roof on the tent, but the legs not fully extended, when the clouds assumed their first ominous leak, this was as nothing compared to the soaking we were in for later in the day.

The normally quite firm ground of King’s Park was totally saturated even before race-day. With hundreds of pairs of spiked running shoes to tear up the surface, the conditions got ever more treacherous. Dave Parsons of Bournemouth AC (the host club) offered the opinion that in his, more than 30 years, experience of running in King’s Park he’d hadn’t seen conditions like it.

The racing commenced at 12 noon with the under-13 girls. As usual Grace Copeland got us off to a flying start. She claimed third place just seven seconds behind race winner Josie Czura of (City of Portsmouth). Gracie also lies in third place in the season aggregates for this age group. Also out there gaining valuable experience was Elise Gill.

In the under-13 boys race we had an impressive seven red vests on the start line – this included two Hampshire League debutants.  Leading the team home once again was Tom Bourne in 5th. Tom’s is having quite a season and currently lies in 2nd place in the averages. Making a spectacular debut was Nathan Hellier, he was 24th – one place ahead of team mate Liam Murphy-Parry. Bearing in mind that Liam is the current Dorset County Championship Silver Medallist this is indeed impressive. Meanwhile Liam and his good friend and team-mate Elliott Symes were doing there ‘Me and my shadow routine’ once more – they were separated by two places but just one second. Hot on their heels, another two places back, was Matt Yates. Tom Stokes was next in, his finishing position didn’t accurately reflect what he was capable of, as he had gone crashing to the ground on the increasingly slippery course before picking himself up and continuing to the finish line. He provided some comic relief with just one side of his body absolutely covered in mud. Completing the under-13 boys team was our second HXC debutant Jamie Anderson. Jamie has only just turned 11 years old so may well have been the youngest competitor of all on the day. He certainly was conceding two years to some of the other lads in his race. Indeed it was a baptism of, if not fire, then water and mud. He put in a good solid performance that will provide invaluable experience when he competes in this age-group up to, and including the 2014-2015 season.

In the under-15 girls race Abbie Hine had a real job on her hands to ensure that she would be first Wimborne runner home. Maddie Williams had a superb run and was just seven seconds down on Abbie, the closest she’s been all season. Ella Hearne completed our team – we were 6th team on the day. All three have been ever-presents in the Hampshire League this season and have been doing great work. All the points for the u15G’s team have been scored by these three and they currently lie in 7th place overall in the aggregates.

Two of our team’s biggest hitters compete in the under-15 boys’ category – Jason Sotheran and Piers Copeland. They are not just Wimborne’s 1-2, but the Dorset’s as well. They both recorded top 10 finishes – Jason (5th) and Piers (9th). Scoring the important third team place home was Ollie Davis with Tom Boulton also giving support.

The under-17 women’s race is one that we are normally well represented in, but at Kings Park the team was severely depleted. Sharon Hutchings who has led the team home in all the HXC fixtures this season chose the occasion for her best run of the season – 6th place. Unfortunately with Charlotte injured, Chloe recovering from illness and Scooter on holiday we had no team support for Sharon.

For the under-17 men we were represented, as usual by Ryan Walbridge (14th) and Josh Downie (29th) – they both recorded their highest placed finishes of the season.

In the senior women’s race we had just one racer – Lynn Hutchings. In the Wessex XC races there has been more support for Lynn in the women’s category, but we’ve got some work to do if we want to start recording team scores in the Hampshire League.

Finally it was the men’s race. With promotion from Division Two a realistic possibility we were fielding one of our strongest teams ever. The team featured two debutants HXC Richard Swindlehurst (resplendent in a brand new pair of shoes – they didn’t stay resplendent for long!) and Rob Anderson. The gun fired and we were off, with the big field and the deteriorating conditions it was mayhem in the early stages. We lost Tjiwolt Wierda in a tumble, he pulled up with a back strain. Around 10 minutes into the race the heavens opened and the temperature plummeted. We stuck to the task and once again Callum Kennedy led the team home, but breathing right down his neck was ‘bionic’ Graeme Furley. Without doubt this was Graeme’s finest run since his Lazurus-like comeback of six years ago after his car accident. Steve Wyatt was fired up and on fire, recording far and away his best XC performance yet. WAC’s road race champion for 2012, Richard Swindlehurst, was next in. The fifth scorer was Mark Copeland who also chose this occasion for one of his best races yet. There were also great runs from Mark Buffery, Dave Brylewski and Pete Kingswell-Farr. Our very own ‘Stato’ Bob Smith identified Pete as our most improved senior on the day. Next in was Rob Anderson on his HXC debut with Ian Kennedy the last red home. It was a fantastic team performance, we score the lowest points total for our top five this season, but despite this we still finished second in the division on the day. However, the team that beat us was not one of our promotion rivals (Eastleigh or Haslemere Border) but Poole Runners who needed a big score to ease their relegation worries. Once all the scores had been totalled Wimborne AC were back on top of the division and our fate lies in our hands going into to the final fixture at Salisbury on 9th February.

An indication of just how grim conditions had been can be illustrated by the fact that AFC Bournemouth had a full house for their home game against Swindon on the other side of King’s Park. This match had to survive a half time pitch inspection to establish whether the game could continue.


For many in the team the Hampshire League meeting was just the first part of a double-header as they were returning to King’s Park four days later. Thankfully the conditions second time around had improved significantly. One difference between schools race and athletics club’s XC races is that the age-group are different  (effectively u13, u15, u17 becomes u12 ‘minor’, u14 ‘junior’, u16 ‘inter’, u18 ‘senior’) – this throws together runners who usually don’t compete against each other.  The County Schools Championships is an important race as it is used to select the Schools’ County team for the South West Schools Championships and ultimately the National Schools Championships. There were some outstanding performances from Wimborne athletes – and WAC have two Schools XC County Champions as a result – Grace Copeland ‘Minor Girls’ and Piers Copeland ‘Junior Boys’ – both won their races by convincing margins. In Piers’ race there was a Wimborne 1-2 – with Tom Bourne, who is a year younger, placed second. These fine performances were the tip of an iceberg and we have an unprecedented number of WAC athletes going on to represent the County in Schools XC races. Results for WAC runners at the County Schools races are shown below after the HXC results.

WACers times and results in the Hampshire League were:

Under-13 Girls (68 finishers)

3 – Grace Copeland – 13:08
65 – Elise Gill – 18:24

Under-13 Boys (53 finishers) – 5th team

5 – Tom Bourne – 12:45
24 – Nathan Hellier – 13:57
25 – Liam Murphy-Parry – 14:02
27 – Elliott Symes – 14:03
29 – Matt Yates – 14:14
34 – Tom Stokes – 14:41
51 – Jamie Anderson – 17:01

Under-15 Girls (51 finishers) – 6th team

16 – Abbie Hine – 16:09
17 – Maddie Williams – 16:16
27 – Ella Hearne – 17:04

Under-15 Boys (48 finishers) – 4th team

5 – Jason Sotheran – 13:14
9 – Piers Copeland – 13:35
40 – Ollie Davies – 16:25
48 – Tom Boulton – 17:11

Under-17 Women (19 finishers)

6 – Sharon Hutchings – 15:38

Under-17 Men (33 finishers)

14 – Ryan Walbridge – 21:01
29 – Josh Downie – 23:28

Senior Women (93 finishers)

50 – Lynn Hutchings – 26:38

Senior Men (176 finishers) – 2nd team Div. 2

31 – Callum Kennedy – 35:05
33 – Graeme Furley – 35:15
42 – Steve Wyatt – 36:14
53 – Richard Swindlehurst – 37:08
92 – Mark Copeland – 39:47
111 – Mark Buffery – 40:51
116 – Dave Brylewski – 41:10
153 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 45:28
160 – Rob Anderson – 46:42
168 – Ian Kennedy – 49:42

Full results for the Hampshire League will be found at



WACers finishing positions (with apologies to those I’ve missed as you’re not identified by club) in the County Schools XC were:

Minor Girls (130 finishers)

1 – Grace Copeland
6 – Phoebe Jones
27 – Sinead Hassell

Minor Boys (127 finishers)

2 – Liam Murphy-Parry
8 – Elliott Symes
9 – Nathan Hellier

Junior Girls (131 finishers)

5 – Maddie Williams
14 – Abi Deeble
24 – Scarlett Goldsack
31 – Bethan Burley
59 – Pippa Hine

Junior Boys (101 finishers)

1 – Piers Copeland
2 – Tom Bourne
22 – Matt Yates
49 – Tom Boulton

Inter Girls (53 finishers)

4 – Sharon Hutchings
6 – Abbie Hine
11 – Ella Hearne
14 – Rebecca Skeats

Inter Boys  (91 finishers)

3 – Jason Sotheran
4 – Ryan Walbridge
19 – Fraser Read

Senior Boys (27 finishers)

6 – Callum Kennedy

Full results for the Schools XC County Championships are at



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