Wimborne Athletic Club

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Salisbury  – Wessex XC – 27 October 2013

Battling the elements at Old Sarum.

Race 2 of this year’s Wessex League season found us at Old Sarum with St Jude’s Day storm, the biggest in the UK for five years, promised for afters. St Jude may be the patron saint of lost causes, but it was no lost cause we were chasing, even though we had a significant number of our regulars unavailable – more than 20! Our missing runners were lost to fixture clashes with the McCains XC Challenge in Bristol, the Stickler, and the Great South Run, plus a few injuries and the big one – half term holidays. One thing all this did illustrate was the depth these days of our XC squad, as we still managed to field and impressive 34 athletes.

It was already pretty gusty when we arrived at the course, and a decision had to be made on whether it was worth risking erecting the team tent. We were one of only two teams who opted to do this.  With the tent up in the lee of the hedge, our big red home-from-home survived the ordeal. The wind was a westerly, which meant it was a tailwind up the hill and a headwind down it. This had the curious effect of making running downhill almost as hard as running up it!

The first race start was the combined seniors/under-20s/under-17s, with the senior and under-20 men doing one lap more than every one else. Jason was our sole representative under-17 men – WAC won this category in the season’s opener. Jason had a pretty dramatic race the previous weekend at Reading, which resulted in a DNF and a hospital check up. Thankfully we saw him have a rather less eventful meeting this time. He recorded a confident looking second place, only headed by Andy Smith of Poole Runners.

Although we’ve got a strong pool of runners in the under-17 women’s category we didn’t see any of them in action in Race 1. This time we had three – Abbie Hine, Ella Hearne and Charlotte Bourne – our young women were rewarded with 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the u17 age-group. Ella got off to a dramatic start taking a spectacular tumble while in the pack, only a few metres beyond the start line. She must have had a rush of adrenalin, as her immediate response was to rapidly tear through the field to recover those lost places.

In Race 1, WAC won the senior women’s category as a team. Disappointingly, this time we had only one runner – and our first debutant of the day – Lisa Keay. Lisa opened her account in some style (claiming a top 10 position). We look forward to seeing her in action in more races over the coming months.

The senior men’s team was one of those badly affected by fixture clashes. We had lost our top two from the previous meeting, but we were able to add Graeme Furley for his first race this season – he promptly did the business (7th) leading the WACers home. Next in was Iain Donnelly who, aside from competing, has been providing valuable help with training our young squad. He’s due to move to Devon shortly so we will not see him for too much longer in a red vest – although fingers crossed this race won’t be his last outing for us. Pete Kingswell-Farr proved that his big improvement in form at the last race was no fluke, while Daryl Davies is also starting to recover his form after a long lay-off. The men’s team was completed by Paul Hine, Richard Davies and Ian Kennedy.

With all the oldest athletes having competed, we then turned our attention to the youngest – the under-11s. It was great to welcome some more debutants here – Lydia Hughes and Aimee Figg. This  is a tough introductory course for cross-country as the climb is quite lengthy and something of an energy-sapper! In the boys’ race, Max  renewed his duel at the head of the field with Poole Runners’ Ryan Symington. Max claimed second place once again – keep pushing Max! Ben Butcher has made steady progress since the last race (and don’t forget he’s one of the younger runners in this age-group), but the big improver in this category was Charlie Davies – not uncoincidentally he’s the runner in this age-group who has worked the hardest in training – it’s great to see his efforts being rewarded, long may it continue. Derry Sowinski-Brown and Jordan McGregor completed our under-11s team. The boys finished 2nd team on the day. The u11 girls were led home by Abbie Lovering for the second race in succession, with Ava Keay giving good support along with our two rookies – Lydia and Aimee. The girls team claimed 5th place.

In the previous Wessex League race we’d provided the winner in the under-13 boys age-group – Liam Murphy Parry. Liam wasn’t available for this fixture, but Elliott Symes stepped up to the plate to lead the red vests home with a strong race which landed him second place. Seb Miles was next in, this was his first Wessex League race – he’s another one who shows great commitment to training and is already seeing some reward for that. Our team was completed by Tom Morrison and Robert Hughes. Well done boys – your combined efforts saw us win 1st team on the day.

There were good things from the under-13 girls team too. A rapidly improving Jessica Bourne led the team home. Despite having an ongoing problem with a sore hip Bethanie Kingswell-Farr still provided great support. The revelation in this race, however, was Fern Morrison who’s had an enormous improvement in form since the first race of the season. With Fern’s big performance that gave us three of the first ten finishers. Completing the team were Hannah Fairchild and Isabelle Kingswell-Farr – collectively our girls were 2nd team at Salisbury – good work. With the fast improving Jess and Fern and hopefully we’ll see a fully-fit Bethanie soon, things look bright for our under-13 girls’ team.

The team that took the biggest hit with unavailable runners was undoubtedly the under-15 boys. In the opening fixture we were 1st team. None of those who ran that day were available for Salisbury – one of them due to a fixture clash and two to injury. This meant that Sam Davies opened his Wessex League account alone. Sam had a good solid run and claimed 7th place – hopefully when his team mates return, they can score some more team wins in future races.

Grace Copeland has stepped up an age-category in the Wessex League this year and she led the team home in Race 1, but with Grace not available we needed a new face to step up to the plate. Enter Lucy Ballam, another great run after her very impressive Hampshire League debut last weekend. Lucy had support from Pippa Hine, as a sprinter she was well outside her comfort zone, and Lisa Henderson. Lisa isn’t yet making up places, but she’s getting quicker and the places will come.

WACers results

Under-17 men (8 runners)

2 – Jason Sotheran – 18:19

Under-17 women (4 runners)

1 – Abbie Hine – 22:39
2 – Ella Hearne – 22:54
3 – Charlotte Bourne – 23:46

Senior women (17 runners)

8 –  Lisa Keay – 26:01

Senior men (45 runners) – 5th team

7 – Graeme Furley – 26:52
21 – Iain Donnelly – 30:28
27 – Peter Kingswell-Farr – 31:34
34 – Daryl Davies – 33:58
37 – Paul Hine – 34:25
39 – Richard Davies – 35:44
43 – Ian Kennedy – 39:19

Under-11 boys (34 runners) – 2nd team

2 – Max Meadwell – 6:20
9 – Ben Butcher – 6:50
14 – Charlie Davies – 7:03
22 – Derry Sowinski-Brown – 7:13
25 – Jordan McGregor – 7:17

Under-11 girls (30 runners) – 5th team

5 – Abbie Lovering – 6:44
22 – Ava Keay – 7:41
24 – Lydia Hughes – 8:11
25 – Aimee Figg – 8:19

Under-13 boys (26 runners) – 1st team

2 – Elliott Symes – 11:23
12 – Seb Miles – 12:31
13 – Tom Morrison – 12:41
20 – Robert Hughes – 13:23

Under-13 girls (19 runners) – 3rd team

4 – Jessica Bourne – 13:32
8 – Bethanie Kingswell-Farr – 13:49
10 – Fern Morrison – 13:55
15 – Hannah Fairchild – 14:21
18 – Isabelle Kingswell-Farr – 17:00

Under-15 boys (12 runners)

7 – Sam Davies – 15:19

Under-15 girls (18 runners) – 2nd team

5 – Lucy Ballam – 16:05
11 – Pippa Hine – 18:10
12 – Lisa Henderson – 19:15

Full results for the Wessex League are published on the Team Dorset website


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