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WACer wins the Wimborne 10 – 17 November 2013

Family tradition … I wish! Ian Kennedy reports.

 Callum on the start line, with eyes only for the road.

Please forgive the personal nature of this account; the 16th staging of the Wimborne 10 will live long in the memory in the Kennedy household.

The first time I ran for WAC was in the 1999 Wimborne 10. This was after going through the ‘Big Gap’, where you run as a kid, and then wait too late to start running again as an adult. It wasn’t until late 1997 that I started to take road running seriously. When it finally happened, it was sparked by a moment of impulsiveness; I entered the 1998 London Marathon via the ballot, having convinced myself that I’d never get in anyway. The significance of the marathon that year was that it was a few weeks after my 40th birthday. It was just one of those bucket-list things, something to tick off the list … it wasn’t supposed to turn into an obsession!

At that time, I was the only runner in our house – neither Wendy or our kids, Jessica and Callum, ran (although the kids had the excuse of being only five- and two-years old!). I then ran in the next three Wimborne 10s, with my best time coming in 2000 – 65:28. Anyone looking for bloodstock for a potential race winner wouldn’t have given me a second glance! Subsequently I got involved in helping out each year, although I did run again in 2004 and 2012. By this time, both Wendy and Callum were also running (their first W10s in 2004 and 2011 respectively).

Quite soon after I joined the club, I ran for the cross-country team and within a year or two I was the team manager. I then began working with the junior XC runners. It all started on a small scale, just one Saturday session a month. Once Callum was old enough to come along too, I was able to make it weekly - these days it’s three times a week.

Initially, Callum didn’t set the world on fire – in his first XC under-11 race in 2005 he came 42nd. I don’t remember if he ever came last, but there were some close calls! He’d finished the 2008/2009 Wessex XC season coming ninth out of 11 in the final race. However, at the 2009/2010 season-opener at King’s Park, he bagged second place. He’s been making progress ever since. His strength has been endurance rather than outright pace. The athletics track can be rather more intimidating than a cross-country race, and it was around this time that Callum started to embrace the track fully. It certainly helped him to go faster.

I’ve tried to steer him away from doing too many road races at too young an age, but the pull of his home club’s race was too big to resist, and in 2011 he entered the Wimborne 10. I was nervous – he wasn’t even doing 10 mile training runs. He went to the Weymouth 10 in order to gauge what a 10 mile race felt like and use that experience a month later. His time at Weymouth (60:36) suggested that this distance might suit him.

In the 2011 Wimborne 10, Callum finished ninth overall with a time of 59:36. He was also first under-17 and under-20 on the day. In February 2012, Callum entered the Lytchett 10 County Championship race. He had a fine run, crossing the line in third place with a new PB of 58:51. This race saw him ranked at year-end No. 4 in the UK in the under-17 age group. Callum was the 2012 Dorset Men’s County Champion for 10 miles as the two guys ahead of him were both resident outside of Dorset. Callum He had taken to 10 mile races like a duck to water, despite the fact that his training remained geared up to racing 10k or less. In November 2012, it was time for the Wimborne 10 again. His time – 59:01 – earned him eighth place.

In 2013, Callum was running well. He’d become the club record holder for 5000m, and the South-West England under-20 5000m Champion. Having moved to Winchester for university, Callum ran in four of the Parkruns there and won them all. By now, Callum was using a Garmin and taking advice from coach Bob Smith. The planned overall target pace for the W10 would be 5:40 per min./mile.

Come race day the Kennedy family were all there. While Callum stood on the start line, Wendy, Jess and me (marshalling duties completed) went off to the sharp turn 400m into the race. First to the corner was Callum. The three of us then had a nervous wait at Pamphill, while the race unfolded.

Callum had close company in the early stages, but edged away on the climb between Miles 3 and 4. A little later, Nicki Roe of Poole Runners came over to me with her mobile phone. She asked me, ‘Do you want to know?’ I did. The report was that Callum had a 50 second lead at Mile 7. We had fingers crossed that he would still be leading a further three miles down the road.

I stood near the finish gantry. Eventually, the halogen light of Jerry on the lead bike appeared.  We strained our eyes to see what colour the lead shirt was – RED! Callum had continued to build a lead and was now over a minute ahead of Peter Rowant, the second-placed man. The target time had been 5:40 min./miles, Callum actually ran just over 5:41. His official time of 56:52 sees him ranked No. 5 under-20 in the UK for 10 miles.

Jess, right foreground, captures the moment Callum crosses the line.

At 18, Callum has become the youngest ever winner of the Wimborne 10. He’s also the first Wimborne AC winner in the race’s 16-year history. Hopefully we won’t have to wait quite so long for the next one. It’s possible that the next WAC W10 winner, male or female, could come from the WAC Endurance training group that Callum trained with right up until leaving for university, although I will be encouraging our young stars to concentrate on speed before distance.

Running has become a way of life in our household. The following weekend Wendy was due to run in the Boscombe 10k, the last DRRL league race of the year and secure another fidelity award (her eighth) for competing in all of the 2013 Dorset Road League races. She’d picked up an injury and her physio’s advice was don’t run. At the end of the 10K, somewhat awkwardly, the same physio was on hand to give her a post-race massage. Even Jess hasn’t remained immune… she now runs twice a week, once with Wendy, and once with me. Ultimately she’s got a Parkrun on her radar – maybe a W10 too?




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