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Great day at the South of England Road Relays – 19 September 2015

Ian Kennedy reports from Rushmore Arena

Izzie, Caitlin, Gee, Anna, Beth, Abbie and Hannah at the Rushmore Arena

The South of England Road Relays falls between the end of the track season and the start of the new cross-country season.  Although it is run on tarmac and in road shoes (rather than spikes), it very much has the feel of a cross-country race.  The setting is Rushmore Arena, near Aldershot, on private roads on Ministry of Defence land.  The weather was fantastic, much better than some of those days we’d spent at track-side in supposedly high summer!

Adding to the cross-country feel, alongside the course were the many team tents flying their club banners (ours amongst them).  Those WAC athletes attending included many who will make a significant contribution over the coming XC season.  In all we had 21 athletes and quite a number of supporters there too.  Many of us went up on the team bus, and even on the journey up there you could sense the anticipation and optimism within the team.  We were set for a good day.  The races were set to run in chronological order, girls first, then boys, working our way through the age-groups.

The under-13 girls team was led by its most experienced athlete.  Abbie Lovering did a great job of getting our team in the mix at the first change-over.  Ella Jeffery took on leg 2; she’s relatively new to this having done only a handful of track meetings, but in those we’ve seen some promise over 800 and 1200m.  Despite the big occasion Ella was not the least overawed, she put in a great performance for the team.  She’s going to be an asset to the cross-country team over the winter.  Charlotte Piper ran the home leg.  Charlotte’s rookie season was last winter, and she’s really developed over the last 12 months.  Collectively our girls claimed 36th place (of 56 teams).

We had a very strong and consistent team of under-13 boys.  In fact we were spoiled for choice as we also had some high quality reserves on stand-by.  Leading the team was new boy (to us) Josh Jack.  This was Josh’s his first competitive performance for Wimborne, and he gave a strong team a good solid start.  Leg 2 was in the custody of Max Meadwell.  Max was an injury worry in the week leading up to the race (he’d injured an ankle whilst cycling).  The ankle was no problem on the day; in fact Max was the fastest of our under-13s.  Jack Moss-Willcox took over on leg 3.  Jack is Mr Dependable; he did a great job … total commitment.  The final leg went to Charlie Davies, he flew around the course to bring the team in 14th (of 34), a great result.

The next race was for the under-15 girls, and we were fielding two teams in this one.  Beth Kingswell-Farr set us up nicely for our A team.  Fastest leg for this team was leg 2 – Hannah Slater (she’ll be heading into her first XC season with us).  A great final leg from Anna Kelliher brought us in 14th (of 63).  Our B team was led out by Izzie Kingswell-Farr.  So the twins were out there together.  Izzie is a really good sprinter, and she’s a rare creature in that she can do a good job for the endurance runners too (as witnessed here).  Our rawest recruit took on leg 2 … and what a great job she did too!  Gee Smith has been training at Blandford over the summer, but this was her first competition.  She didn’t even have a red vest until the morning of the race!  It was great to see her relaxed after racing, with a big smile on her face knowing she’d performed well.  The final leg runner (and fastest) for this team was Caitlin Rogers, and she ensured the team finished with a flourish, making up places as she went to claim 56th.

The under-15 boys team was another solid looking team.  It was led out by Liam Murphy-Parry (he ran our fastest u15 leg).  The momentum was maintained in leg 2, as Michael Johnson was only a single second slower.  Dan Baynham was next. Despite being stung by a bee shortly before the start he still put in terrific performance.  Bringing the team home was perhaps the team’s most experienced athlete – Elliott Symes.  He got the team home in 24th position (of 45), another cracking result.

The final race of the day with Wimborne interest in it was the under-17 men.  They so nearly didn’t travel.  The worry here was the fitness of our lead-out man – Joey Kelliher. Joey had stepped out of the training session on Thursday at Blandford with a sore knee.  He went for a jog on Friday and declared himself fit.  Fit he most certainly was, he got the team off to a dynamic start, got a time faster than that recorded by Piers Copeland over the same distance the previous year.  
Leg 2 was in the hands of Tom Bourne.  Tom had run magnificently here the previous year attracting the attention of Athletics Weekly.  It was great to see him back on-song.  He bagged the fastest leg of this very strong team.  Piers took over leg 3, and in what has been a magnificent summer for him, once again he delivered.  Finally the home leg was in the capable hands of Sam Davies.  Sam’s been one of the most improved runners over the past 12 months, and he ran more than 40 seconds quicker than last year.  It was a great team performance, which earned 11th place (of 38).

We’d had a great day, and this sets us up nicely for the forthcoming cross-country season.  Every one of these athletes had delivered on the day.  We were competing against the biggest clubs in Southern England and our teams had got amongst them.

A brilliant day, well done the red army.  Now bring on the mud, hills, rain, wind, sleet and anything else they can throw at us.  Bring on cross-country!



Under-13 Girls      3 x 2997m

Leg 1 – Abbie Lovering – 11:55
Leg 2 – Ella Jeffery – 14:09
Leg 3 – Charlotte Piper – 13:16

Total:  39:20

Under-13 Boys      4 x 2997m

Leg 1 – Josh Jack – 11:40
Leg 2 – Max Meadwell – 11:07
Leg 3 – Jack Moss-Willcox – 12:10
Leg 4 – Charlie Davies – 11:24

Total:  46:21

Under-15 Girls ‘A’      3 x 2997m

Leg 1 – Beth Kingswell-Farr – 12:03
Leg 2 – Hannah Slater – 11.36
Leg 3 – Anna Kelliher – 11:46

Total:  35:25

Under-15 Girls ‘B’        3 x 2997m

Leg 1 – Izzie Kingswell-Farr – 13:54
Leg 2 – Gee Smith – 13:47
Leg 3 – Caitlin Rogers – 12:45

Total:  40:26

Under-15 Boys           4 x 2997m

Team 24th of 45

Leg 1 – Liam Murphy-Parry – 10:23
Leg 2 – Michael Johnson – 10:24
Leg 3 – Dan Baynham – 10:47
Leg 4 – Elliott Symes – 11:23

Total:  42:57

Under-17 Men          4 x 3851m

Team 11th of 38

Leg 1 – Joey Kelliher – 13:24
Leg 2 – Tom Bourne – 12:19
Leg 3 – Piers Copeland – 12:26
Leg 4 – Sam Davies – 13:47

Total:  51:56










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