Great day at the
South of England Road Relays – 19 September 2015
Kennedy reports from Rushmore Arena
Izzie, Caitlin, Gee, Anna, Beth, Abbie and Hannah at the Rushmore Arena
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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