Wimborne Athletic Club

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Hampshire League Race 3  – 3 December – Popham 

The good form continues.

It’s two years since we last raced at Popham, last year’s event was snowed off … twice!  During the week the weather forecast wasn’t great – high winds and wet, but thankfully we were spared the rain and although it was blustery we never got the high winds that were originally forecast.

Once again our under-13 girls got us off to a fantastic start. Grace Copeland replicated her excellent second place at Goodwood. She was involved in a three-way scrap at the head of the field. That Hampshire win will come! We also saw a good performance from Maddie Williams. Unfortunately we only had two under-13s girls this time around … so, sadly, no team score.

Next up were the under-13 boys. We had three racers this time, having lost Tom Bourne as he was sitting an exam. After two wins in a row for Piers Copeland he was going for the hat-trick. Piers had to settle for second place behind Jack Boswell (of Aldershot, Farnham & District) but Piers is still riding high at the top of the averages with more than half of the season run. Ryan Long took on cross-country running for the winter in a bid to improve his stamina for his 800m when multi-eventing on the track in the summer. Well, it’s definitely working. Ryan had his best race yet and he even caught his team-mate Tom Boulton in the final 100m of the race. Our three lads scored as eighth team on the day.

One of our strongest categories is the under-15 girls. We were able to welcome back Sharon Hutchings, who was unwell, so unable to race in the previous Hampshire race – she returned on the back of an imperious victory in the Wessex League the previous Sunday at Salisbury. This time Sharon was pushed to the limit to claim the honour of being first Wimborne home. Just five seconds separated Sharon from Abbie at the finish. Abbie was having her best Hampshire race of the season so far, as were the next two red shirts home – Chloe Morris and Ella Hearne. Ella has made fantastic progress since the start of this season, and she was involved in a red duel with Charlotte Bourne – a mere two seconds separated them at the end.

For the second race in a row, we were only able to field one under-15 boy. Jordan Symington who raced superbly the previous weekend at Salisbury and had another great race on Thursday in a schools cross-country had to sit this one out. This left Ryan Walbridge as our sole representative. Ryan arrived here in top form – a win in last week’s Wessex League race, and on Thursday night he smashed the Wimborne 5k time trial course record. He had another fine run at Popham and equalled his highest ever finish in the Hampshire League.

The under-17s were next with Callum Kennedy flying the flag for us here. Callum’s excellent season continues, although having picked up a heavy cold during the week he wasn’t quite able to equal his performance at Goodwood or his fine win at Salisbury the previous Sunday. His run here showed plenty of character though.

We have really struggled to field a women’s team (3 runners) in either cross-country league this season. We’ve only managed it once this season in five attempts. Lynn Hutchings has, of course, been an ever-present and has headed the Wimborne ladies’ team home, a pattern that was repeated here. This time around it looked that we might field that elusive ladies team as both Rachel Gladdis and Becka Hughes also lined up on the start line. Unfortunately it was not to be. Becka had hurt her back that morning moving some furniture at home, she was lining up on the strict understanding that she was to pull up if the back gave her trouble. Unfortunately Becka was unable to finish the race. However, we’re delighted that Rachel, having invested in a pair of XC spikes, has turned out to be a Hampshire League ever-present so far. Rachel rewarded us with her best cross-country race yet.

The last event of the day was the senior men’s race. While we were able to welcome back Graeme Furley, we had lost Graham Whiffen. Graham has broken a bone in his foot in an accident at work and he will be in plaster until January … we wish him well with his recovery. It’s great to see that Baz and Pete Kingswell-Farr, who have made their WAC XC debuts this year, appear to have got the XC bug, and were back for more. First red home was Graeme Furley, with Baz and Mark Copeland our next two, having swapped places since Goodwood. The duel between Baz and Mark will hopefully keep the pair of them on their toes for the rest of the season. John Hutchings and Ian Kennedy were next Wimborne runners, both improving significantly on their results of a month ago at the last Hampshire League race. Next in was Gerry Hutchings, Gerry has been struggling with a hamstring injury which has meant that he has been unable to train recently, we were delighted to have him back. As mentioned, the team was completed by Pete who, although he has raced in the Wessex League, raced for the first time in the Hampshire League and he now has set down his marker.

WACers times and results were:

Under-13 Girls (69 finishers)

2 – Grace Copeland – 10:57
32 – Maddie Williams – 12:43

Under-13 Boys (69 finishers) – 8th team on the day

2 – Piers Copeland – 10:02
32 – Ryan Long – 11:32
36 – Tom Boulton – 11:37

Under-15 Girls (64 finishers) – 5th team on the day

13 – Sharon Hutchings – 15:10
14 – Abbie Hine – 15:15
31 – Chloe Morris – 16:03
40 – Ella Hearne – 16:37
41 – Charlotte Bourne – 16:39

Under-15 Boys (57 finishers)

5 – Ryan Walbridge – 12:58

Under-17 Boys (38 finishers)

17 – Callum Kennedy – 17:21

Senior Women (86 finishers)

43 – Lynn Hutchings – 25:23
66 – Rachel Gladdis – 27:53

Senior Men (202 finishers) (Wimborne 6th in Div. 2, Wimborne Vets 5th in Div 2)

58 – Graeme Furley – 31:08
121 – Baz Barry – 34:42
123 – Mark Copeland – 34:48
133 – John Hutchings – 36:00
155 – Ian Kennedy – 37:20
171 – Gerry Hutchings – 39:20
192 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 41:26

Full results for the Hampshire League will be found at



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