Wimborne Athletic Club

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Hampshire League Race 5  – 11 February – Salisbury 

The curtain comes down on our most successful Hampshire campaign yet.

The weather forecast for the final Hampshire League cross-country race of the season, was not promising. It was predicted that the temperature might not go above 0ºC. Fortunately the Met Office was being overly pessimistic. The sun shone brightly all day, and, although it was cold, we have raced a number of times at Salisbury in more inhospitable weather.

The cold weather overnight did mean that the ground had frozen, and it was only thawing out slowly. This made it difficult to decide what footwear to race in. Most of us ran in spikes, and certainly as the meeting progressed the surface became more and more treacherous. Although the top surface was greasy, if you did go down it was going to hurt, as the ground remained very hard. By the final race of the day it was really slippery.

Just a few of our 2011/2012 cross-country stars at Salisbury.
Left to right
: Callum, Chloe, Jason, Piers, Abbie, Scooter,
Jess (one for the future), Charlotte, Maddie, Ella and Grace.

The first race was the under-13 girls. Grace Copeland was well aware that a good run today would give her the silver medal position for the season, she was lying in third place in the averages at the start of the fixture. Grace got away from the start line smartly, and occupied second place for almost the entire race. This fine run was enough to secure her a 2011/2012 silver medal. This is a fabulous achievement, as Grace only turned 11-years old in October, and she still has two more years in this age group. Maddie Williams, had run superbly the previous weekend at the South-West Schools Cross-Country Championships at Exeter. This rich vein of form continued at Salisbury as she recorded her highest finish yet in a Hampshire League race by a significant margin.

Next up were the under-13 boys. There was plenty to play for here, as, if we put in the big team performance, and other teams’ results went our way, this age-group could become the first ever Wimborne team medallists in the Hampshire League. Of course we could only concentrate on our own performance, and then hope for the best. It was fabulous to see seven red shirts on the start line for us. Making their Hampshire League debuts were Allenbourn school mates Liam Murphy-Parry and Elliott Symes and they supplemented the four regulars who have performed so well throughout the season so far. We were also delighted to welcome back Jamie Brash after some time out. Piers Copeland has led the line for the under-13 boys, all season and, in fact, he was in an unassailable position in the aggregates and knew that the individual gold medal was his. However, despite a sore ankle he was determined to do his bit to attempt to secure a team medal too. The position the team found itself in was due to Piers’ superb season, and the meteoric rise in form of Tom Bourne, this pairing have received excellent support from both Tom Boulton and Ryan Long. Piers claimed second place on the day, and once again Tom Bourne was near the head of the field too. The real revelation in this race were the performances of our two rookies, Liam and Elliott. They were the third and fourth Wimborne vests over the line, splitting the team which has served us so well all season. Just like Grace, Liam and Elliott only turned 11 over the winter, so they have two more years in this age group. With Tom Bourne going into next season still as an under-13, the future looks bright. Despite his long lay-off, and only recent return to training, Jamie wasn’t too far away from Ryan by the end of the race. With our top three scoring the team points, Liam had fought his way into a scoring position. With only the invincible Aldershot, Farnham & District under-13 boys team (in 2011/2012 at least) ahead of us, we had equalled our best ever team score in the Hampshire League. Unfortunately the other results we needed to go for us didn’t work out, so our boys were denied team medals on what you might call ‘goal difference’! 

Piers has just collected his gold medal from Mike Gratton.

We had six runners on the start line in the under-15 girls’ race. The team was led home by strong runs from both Sharon Hutchings and Abbie Hine, 8th and 11th respectively. Sharon (7th for the whole season) just missed out on an individual medal. Our next three runners have had so little between them in recent races, and the team has benefitted hugely from the competitiveness between them. This time around the finishing order was Charlotte Bourne, Chloe Morris and Ella Hearne (which is indeed the order they finished in the averages). Becca Skeats completed the team and ‘Scooter’ recorded her highest ever league placing in the Hampshire League. The third place we scored on the day was the under-15 girls’ best team performance of the season. The team finished in 4th place at the end of the season, so they also just missed out on team medals.

We haven’t managed to get a full under-15 boys team out all season. So we were delighted to welcome another debutant, Jason Sotheran, to the ranks. Unfortunately, Ryan Walbridge, who had been an ever-present up to this point was away on a school trip, so he was unavailable. Although up until this meeting we have had only two under-15 boys, they have been doing a great job. A medal was collected on Ryan’s behalf at the end of the meeting (5th in the league). Jordan had a fantastic run at this venue in November in the Wessex League and was no doubt looking forward to a return visit. Jason and Jordan ran in close company during the first half of the race, before Jason eventually edged away to be first Wimborne home – another excellent debut. Jordan recorded his highest placed finish of the Hampshire League season … and then he cycled back to Ferndown!

Callum Kennedy was our only under-17. He was the only Wimborne athlete to come crashing to the ground in the tricky conditions. This happened while he was working hard to stay with the lead group. Despite gashing his knee on the hard ground, he was able to pick himself up and continue, without being caught by the pursuing group.

Lynn Hutchings has had a superb season, and although she has had occasional support, we haven’t managed to field a complete ladies’ team often enough. We were delighted to welcome back Trudi Carter, who was competing in her first cross-country race for some time. Lynn recorded her highest finishing position of the season.

Shouts of ‘Uncle Pete, Uncle Pete’ brings a smile from Pete Kingswell-Farr.

The final race of the day was the senior men – who had 9.6k to do. The thawing conditions made running progressively more treacherous. As he has done all season, Graeme Furley led the men’s team home. Best supporting performance, once again went to Mark Copeland – Graeme and Mark have both been selected to represent Dorset in the upcoming Inter-Counties Championships. Next in was Ian Kennedy, and behind him was a closely fought duel between team-mates Simon Bourne and Gerry Hutchings. Pete Kingswell-Farr completed the Wimborne team.

WACers times and results were:

Under-13 Girls (56 finishers)

2 – Grace Copeland – 8:53
13 – Maddie Williams – 9:35

Under-13 Boys (60 finishers) – 2nd team on the day

2 – Piers Copeland – 11:10
7 – Tom Bourne – 11:22
27 – Liam Murphy-Parry – 12:40
30 – Elliott Symes – 12:44
31 – Tom Boulton – 12:47
41 – Ryan Long – 13:17
48 – Jamie Brash – 13:44

Under-15 Girls (44 finishers) – 3rd team on the day

8 – Sharon Hutchings – 12:15
11 – Abbie Hine – 12:42
18 – Charlotte Bourne – 13:03
23 – Chloe Morris – 13:20
26 – Ella Hearne – 13:32
37 – Rebecca ‘Scooter’ Skeats – 14:36

Under-15 Boys (40 finishers)

16 – Jason Sotheran – 14:29
27 – Jordan Symington – 15:43

Under-17 Boys (28 finishers)

11 – Callum Kennedy – 18:46

Senior Women (70 finishers)

29 – Lynn Hutchings – 23:22
56 – Trudi Carter – 27:13

Senior Men (151 finishers) (Wimborne 6th in Div. 2, Wimborne Vets 4th in Div 2)

42 – Graeme Furley – 35:11
81 – Mark Copeland – 38:33
113 – Ian Kennedy – 42:47
127 – Simon Bourne – 44:10
128 – Gerry Hutchings – 44:16
145 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 47:07

As the meeting unfolded, the season’s final aggregates were being calculated, so that the presentations could be made. The awards were presented by Mike Gratton (Commonweath Games medallist, and winner of the 1983 London Marathon). Last year Piers (U13) became Wimborne’s first ever Hampshire League trophy winner as he finished 5th in the averages.  As a second-year under-13 he has been in sparkling form all season, and this time around he claimed the top prize – first in age group. However, Piers was just one of a number of WAC medallists this time around – and we had a few near misses too. The other medallists in the 2011/2012 season were Piers’ sister Grace (U13) in 2nd, Tom Bourne (U13) in 6th, Ryan Walbridge in 5th (U15).

Others who recorded averages for the season were:

Under-13 Girls – Maddie Williams (19th)

Under-13 Boys  – Tom Boulton (24th), Ryan Long (25th)

The under-13 boy’s team finished the season in 4th place.

Under-15 Girls – Sharon Hutchings (7th), Abbie Hine (12th), Charlotte Bourne (23rd), Chloe Morris (24th), Ella Hearne (25th), Scooter (31st)

The under-15 girl’s team finished the season in 4th place.

Under-17 Men – Callum Kennedy (9th)

Senior women – Lynn Hutchings (24th – 10th as a vet)

Senior men – Graeme Furley (25th), Mark Copeland (47th – 16th as a vet), Ian Kennedy (68th – 31st)

The senior men’s team finished the season in 6th place (of 10) in Division 2. In the veteran’s category we came 4th of 22 in Divison 2.

Full results for the Hampshire League will be found at




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