Wimborne Athletic Club

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The inaugural Wimborne 20 – 6 March 2016

Jessica Eve Kennedy reports from Gaunts Common

Aaron Wilson, Steve Way and Peter Thompson - the first three home

Given the long-standing success of Wimborne Athletic Club’s popular Wimborne 10 and the recent demise of the March Hare 20, one brave and bold member identified the need for a 20-miler in Dorset and elected that we were the club to organise it.  Thus, the Wimborne 20 was born.

Under Steve Wyatt’s capable leadership, the club banded together to ensure a successful event, with all of their 10-mile expertise stretching to double the distance.  The route picked was a scenic three-lap tour of the area surrounding Gaunts Common, giving runners three chances to take in the views.  The race started at St James C of E First School before heading up to Holt Heath, then back around to Chalbury Hell Corner (which did not live up to its scary name, much to my relief) and past the school again – rinse and repeat two more times.

In the run up to a season of marathons, it seemed to be a common motivation of the runners that they were looking at this race as a crucial part of their training.  After conquering 20 miles of Wimborne’s rural roads, they’ll be well prepared to handle the extra 6.2.

A particular challenge with this race – you know, besides the 20 miles – was the undulating course.  ‘Undulating’ being the word of choice.  I imagine that by lap three, the runners might have other words for it.  But despite testing inclines, feedback from the competitors was overwhelmingly positive and there was an upbeat atmosphere at the start/finish.  Over at my marshalling point, the ominously named Hell Corner, runners were a little less happy to see us but I’m going to put that down to the daunting hill just past our spot and not my sparkling personality.

As for the weather, we were treated to near perfect conditions for running – and marshalling, for that matter.  It stayed dry and cool, with relatively little wind resistance to worry about.

There were 234 runners on the start line – with a few running to the line off the back of a pre-race 20 miles that I assume only makes sense if you’re an ultra runner – and 225 of those triumphantly made it all the way to the finish, led rather speedily by Bournemouth AC’s Steve Way.  Of the race, he commented, ‘we were in desperate need of a new 20-mile race in Dorset, so hopefully this one will go from strength to strength.’

The Commonwealth Games athlete and British 100km record holder finished in 1:53:55, with Bournemouth AC teammate Peter Thompson (1:54:37) and City of Salisbury ARC’s Aaron Wilson (1:59:27) following him in second and third place respectively.

The women’s results showed similar domination from Bournemouth AC, with Emma Dews coming in first in a cool 2:14:00 and Nikki Sandell close behind in 2:18:03.  Rounding out the top three, Poole Runners’ Vicki Ingham followed in third place with a time of 2:19:21.

Full results are available here



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