Wimborne Athletic Club

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Hampshire XC League Race 5  – 12 February – Salisbury 

Cross-country report from Old Sarum.

The final Hampshire League race of the season had a very odd feel about it. It was actually warm, we also had many of our juniors missing due to a clash of dates with the South-West Schools Cross-Country Championships. It’s a measure of how much progress the WAC youngsters have made that so many of them were involved in the South-West Schools event. This didn’t just impact on us, there was a significant drop in the numbers from other east Dorset clubs. It’s frustrating that there isn’t more dialogue between the various bodies to try and avoid these fixture clashes.

As it was, we only had five juniors, three of them might well have travelled to the South-West Schools. Sharon Hutchings was invited but opted to concentrate on the Hampshire League instead and both Chloe Morris and Tom Boulton were on stand-by as reserves for the South-Wests. To complement these three racers we were able to welcome Charlotte and Tom Bourne who made their race debuts. We tend to encourage our newcomers to take their first steps into competitive cross-country league racing via the Wessex League, which is more local and a gentler introduction to XC racing. Concerns that our two debutants might be overawed by the experience proved completely unfounded. Tom managed to finish in the top half of the field (despite being one of the younger runners out there) and Charlotte’s first race ensured that we recorded our first team score of the season in the under-15 girls category.

The first race in which we had runners was the under-13 boys race. Tom Boulton, who only started racing with us at the start of this season ran a well-judged race to claim his highest finish yet. As mentioned earlier, Tom Bourne made a very encouraging debut.

The only other junior race we had runners in was the under-15s girls’ race. Once again Sharon Hutchings led the way, she actually hit the front of the field for a while on lap one. Chloe Morris put in another solid performance and Charlotte clinched the final team points.

With Claire Scammell unavailable through illness, Lynn Hutchings was our sole representative in the women’s race. Just like Sharon, Lynn also led for a brief period in the early stages of the race. Lynn has had a superb season and this was her best Hampshire League performance yet.

The programme was completed with the senior men’s race. For the first time since we joined the Hampshire League (three seasons) we failed to field a complete men’s team. We lost ‘Mr Cross-Country’ Graham Whiffen to illness the previous day, while others were unavailable through work commitments. The senior men’s race was a story of two duels between team-mates. The first of which was between Jeff Hinsley and Gerry Hutchings. Jeff eventually caught Gerry and was able to edge away from him. Further back Paul Hine and Ian Kennedy had their battle. Paul had by far the better start, but Ian closed him down as the race progressed. The men’s race was scheduled to consist of one small lap, one medium lap and then three long laps. The race leaders went the wrong way the second time around and we were condemned to run some extra distance as what the entire field actually did was one small lap and four long ones.

While we were racing the league administrators where busy calculating the season aggregates so that the awards for the season could be made at the end of the meeting. After a short delay the presentations commenced.  The awards were presented by British running legend Mike Gratton (a Commonweath Games medallist, and winner of the London Marathon in 1983). Piers Copeland (U13) became Wimborne’s first ever Hampshire League trophy winner as he finished 5th in the averages. The trophy was collected on his behalf as Piers was otherwise engaged – claiming a fine 4th place in the South West Schools Cross-Country Championships. But for the fixture clash, he may even have been able to improve on his aggregate finish in the Hampshire League. Very well done Piers on a fine season.

Others who recorded averages for the season were:

Under-13 – Tom Boulton – 21st

Under-15 – Ryan Walbridge – 18th

Under-17 – David Long – 14th
Under-17 – Callum Kennedy – 18th

Seniors – Mark Copeland – 74th, 30th as a veteran
Seniors – Jeff Hinsley – 81st, 39th as a vet.
Seniors ­ Gerry Hutchings – 83rd, 40th as a vet.
Seniors – Ian Kennedy – 85th, 44th as a vet.
Seniors – Graham Whiffen – 91st, 42nd as a vet.
Seniors – Paul Hine – 101st, 54th as a vet.

A complete set of averages for the girls for the season has yet to be published.

The senior men’s team finished the season in 4th place (of 7) in Division 2. In the veteran’s category we came 4th of 24 in Divison 2.

WACers times and results at Salisbury were:

Under-13 Boys (53 finishers)

22 – Tom Boulton – 12:41
26 – Tom Bourne – 12:59

Under-15 Girls (34 finishers) – 5th team

19 – Sharon Hutchings – 13:53
23 – Chloe Morris – 14:11
28 – Charlotte Bourne – 14:52

Senior Women (72 finishers)

21 – Lynn Hutchings – 23:08

Senior Men (145 finishers) (Vets 4th in Div 2)

115 – Jeff Hinsley – 44:02
123 – Gerry Hutchings – 45:00
129  – Ian Kennedy – 45:28
131 – Paul Hine – 45:54

Full results for the Hampshire League will be found at




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