England Cross-Country Championships – 25 January 2014
Reporting from Parliament Hill.
Abbie Ella, Maddie and Scooter –
ready to battle the challenging Parliament Hill course
Wimborne AC’s red army marched off to Parliament Hill (the home of
English cross-country running) in the greatest numbers yet. Over all the
age groups, 24 of us competed … what’s more Grace Copeland’s 4th
place in the under-13 girls’ race was the best individual finish from a
Wimborne athlete to date … but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
went up by car, while others travelled in the team buses, which were
employed to ferry our athletes and their supporters to London. We
arrived to find the course it’s usual muddy self … although, bearing in
mind just how wet this winter has been it could have been worse. It was
dry and there was little wind as we erected the tent on the top of the
hill. From our camp we had a great view of the start line and the city
of London beyond.
got underway with the under-15 boys at 11am. The first Wimborne vest
over the line on the day was that of Piers Copeland, Sam Davies was next
and Tom Boulton completed the WAC contingent in. With the increasing
numbers of WAC runners in the junior age-groups, this was one of the
races where we came tantalizing close to fielding a team – something to
aim for next year!
the under-15 boys were out on the circuit, our under-13 girls were
warming up for race 2. It was great to see that we had six racers
entered … and all of them were present. Wimborne AC can boast the South
West England Cross Country Champion in this age-group and inevitably the
team was led home by Grace Copeland. Frustratingly Grace finished just
outside the medal positions, but her 4th place is the best
ever race from a Wimborne athlete in the club’s history at Parliament
Hill. Fern Morrison was next in, she’s seen a fantastic upturn of form
since the start of the year and her performance in London more than
continued that trend. Hannah Fairchild claimed the third team scoring
position with a determined performance. Completing the scoring for the
team was Bethanie Kingswell-Farr. Beth’s race got off to an unfortunate
start. Beth had to stop after around 400m as she was losing a shoe. Twin
sister Isabelle clocked what was happening and was in two minds of what
to do – she did the right thing and continued. By the time Beth had got
the shoe securely back on she was dead last with a significant gap to
the rest of the field. The determined manner in which she set off in
pursuit of the other girls brought her warm support from the watching
spectators, who respected her commitment and determination. Beth flew
from there on, she caught the back of the field and then made up more
than 40 places before reaching the finish line and claiming the final
team scoring position for Wimborne. However, her finishing position of
251st is not a true reflection of her ability. Isabelle was
next home, followed by Elise Gill with a typically gritty performance.
The U13 girls’ team came 32nd.
also able to field a team of under-13 boys, but with four to count we
needed everyone to finish. No problem – the boys were 19th
team on the day and led home by Liam Murphy-Parry. Elliott Symes and
Michael Johnson were 2nd and 3rd for us and were
only separated by 10 seconds. However, there were so many runners
approaching the finish line, the 10 seconds was worth 26 places!
Bringing it home for the team in the final point-scoring position was
Tom Morrison. Tom was making his Parliament Hill debut, he wasn’t the
least bit overawed by the occasion, he finished ahead of almost 90
runners – a fine performance.
Ballam and Maddie Williams represented WAC in the under-15 girls’ race.
It was another great day for Lucy, who was first WACer home, in what is
her rookie XC year. Seasoned campaigner Maddie Williams was unphased by
the deteriorating condition of the ground and delivered another rock
County Champion Ryan Walbridge (48th) led the WACers home for
the under-17s. Having run such a well-judged race at Cardiff the
previous week in the British Cross Challenge, Ryan did it again here.
Jason Sotheran (66th) was next in, but he was spiked in the
latter stages of the race, and his first concern once he crossed the
line was, ‘Where’s the first aid tent?’ Josh Downie completed the WAC
contingent in the under-17 men’s race.
Hine missed out last year, when the race at Parliament Hill was
postponed and she couldn’t compete on the substitute date. It was great
to have her back leading the team home (52nd). Ella Hearne
completed in London last year as an under-15, she distinguished herself
in the higher age-group, being less than a minute behind Abbie. Becca
‘Scooter’ Skeats completed the WAC entry in the under-17 women’s race
having, hopefully, conquered the breathing issues she’s been with
hampered with in recent races.
feisty wind started to develop as Callum Kennedy, another Dorset County
Champion, raced to 42nd of 105 runners. He was our sole
representative in the under-20s men’s race.
time Mark Copeland and Pete Kingswell-Farr made their way to the start
line the wind had strengthened. The course was now cutting up badly.
They had a massive 15km to do in the increasingly difficult conditions.
The gun fired and they were off. The red tent, which has served the team
so well over the XC season, took a major hit from the weather, and
during an attempt to get it down before too much damage was inflicted,
it ended up in a crumpled heap. No sooner was the tent down, then we
felt the first drops of rain! Mark crossed the line in just under 70
minutes, whilst Pete was around six minutes behind him. By the time they
finished it was lashing it down!
what must’ve been one of the fastest exits ever from Parliament Hill as
the rain developed into an awesome storm. Fortunately for us, we were
already on the minibuses by the time the thunder and lightning reached
its spectacular climax.
Parliament Hill had once again given us a day to remember, and there
were some very weary bodies by the time we got back to Wimborne.
Impressively a few of our youngest racers turned out again for WAC for a
Sportshall fixture at Canford the following day (and one of those – Tom
Morrison – is even a County Champion!), for sure they would have slept
well on Sunday night!
of the day’s races can be found here
Under-15 boys (258 runners)
37 – Piers Copeland – 17:20
213 – Sam Davies – 20:16
250 – Tom Boulton – 22:36
Under-13 girls (292 runners) – 32nd team
4 – Grace Copeland – 12:36
157 – Fern Morrison – 15:27
238 – Hannah Fairchild – 16:42
251 – Bethanie Kingswell-Farr – 17:05
277 – Isabelle Kingswell-Farr – 18:06
281 – Elise Gill (WAC) – 18:42
Under-13 boys (285 runners) – 19th team
34 – Liam Murphy-Parry – 12:39
94 – Elliott Symes – 13:25
120 – Michael Johnson – 13:35
196 – Tom Morrison – 14:26
Under-15 girls (285 runners)
89 – Lucy Ballam – 17:38
196 – Maddie Williams – 19:31
Under-17 men (209 runners)
48 – Ryan Walbridge – 22:53
66 – Jason Sotheran – 23:24
191 – Josh Downie – 27:27
Under-17 women (151 runners)
52 – Abbie Hine – 23:19
76 – Ella Hearne – 24:11
135 – Rebecca Skeats – 28:13
Under-20 men (105 runners)
42 – Callum Kennedy – 22:53
Senior men (986 runners)
520 – Mark Copeland – 1:09:51
731 – Peter Kingswell-Farr – 1:16:11
Full results can be found here: