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Cross-country from Popham – 2 December 2017

 Ian Kennedy reports from the Hampshire League

The under-15 girls get away smartly off the start line

 Race 3 of the Hampshire League season took place at Popham Airfield.  After the massive climbs of Butser Hill in Race 2, the gentler slopes here provided less of a test.  It was great to welcome a few into the team for their first Hampshire League race of the season, these included Isabella Cox, Sam Hughes, Michael Johnson and Mike Jurd.  Despite there being no under-11s race there were more WACers here than at Race 2, even though the overall number of competitors from all clubs for the races was down a little.

First up were our under-13 girls.  The first WACer over the line was Sarah Graham, she wasn’t able to maintain the fine standard she’d set in this league’s first two races as she was struggling with a cold … however, she still finished comfortably in the top half of the field.  Isabella Cox is showing a new-found resilience that wasn’t there last year.  She’s much better able to cope with a setback than previously.  Here she had to deal with someone treading on the heel of her shoe, with it hanging half on and half off.  After originally trying to continue in that manner she realized that she would need to stop and put the shoe on properly and so lost a lot of time and found herself towards the back of the field.  With the shoe back in place she set off in a determined fashion to pick off as many as she could ahead of her.

Under-13 girls (64 finishers)

28 – Sarah Graham – 12:04
55 – Isabella Cox – 13:09


Tristan Green was our first under-13 boy over the line; he’s making steady progress in his first cross-country season with us.  He’s competed in all the Hampshire League races so far, and this one gave him his highest finish yet in this league.  It was great to welcome Jay Dunn back into the team, having missed Race 2 at Petersfield.

Under-13 boys (81 finishers)

17 – Tristan Green – 10:47
63 – Jay Dunn – 11:58

We were frustratingly one runner short of a scoring team in the under-15 girls.  What we lacked in quantity we more than made up for in quality.  Emily Shaw’s quest for a race win continues … she has the formidable obstacle of Salisbury ARC’s Bea Wood to overcome in order to achieve this.  Emily had a cracking race to claim 2nd, reducing the deficit to Bea from 45 seconds at Petersfield to just 8 seconds here.  Holly’s declared intention prior to the race was to claim a top 10 position.  From looking around to see who was there, it was clear this would be a big challenge as many of the big guns were in evidence for this age-group’s race.  It was mission accomplished for Holly as a fine run brought her 10th place on the day.  Three races into the season Emily is 2nd in the season’s averages with Holly 13th.

Under-15 girls (55 finishers)

2 – Emily Shaw – 13:31
10 – Holly Nixon – 14:29


There was a great turn-out from our under-15 boys’ team once again.  All five who competed at Petersfield were in action.  Ben Martin was once again first red home, but boy did he have to work hard for that honour.  The rapidly improving Tom Fuller gave him a fright, and Ben only caught him in the final stages.  With Seth Lake only six seconds back from Tom this gave us another very respectable team score.  For the third race in a row the under-15 boys’ team was 4th … they’re nothing if not consistent.  Outside the team points this time was Charlie Davies he went off like a rocket, but with such competitive team-mates he paid for his over-eagerness as the race wore on.  Ollie Rawles had a good race, closing the time gap on all his team-mates.

Under-15 boys (53 finishers) – 4th team

17 – Ben Martin – 13:18
18 – Tom Fuller – 13:20
21 – Seth Lake – 13:26
38 – Charlie Davies – 13:49
42 – Ollie Rawles – 14:15


We haven’t seen Caitlin Rogers in action since the first race of the Hampshire League season and it was great to see her in action once again and shout ‘Go Caitlin!’ at the top of our voices. Unfortunately she was our lone representative in this race.

Under-17 women (32 finishers)

24 – Caitlin Rogers – 22:32

There was a single WAC vest in the senior women’s race too.  Jess Kennedy maintained her ever-present status in the Hampshire League this season.  To top it off she also claimed her highest finishing position in the Hampshire League ever.

Senior women (123 finishers)

93 – Jess Kennedy – 29:08

After two races without any under-17 men for WACers to support it was great to have two to cheer on at Popham.  In a high quality field Michael Johnson described his 16th place as ‘Solid’ … he’s being overly modest.  It was great to see him back on Hampshire League duty.  The last time we saw Sam Hughes in cross-country action he was representing Dorset at the Inter-Counties Championships in March; let’s hope this turns out to be the first of many appearances in the 2017/18 season.

Under-17 men (40 finishers)

16 – Michael Johnson – 17:13
34 – Sam Hughes – 18:55

The final race was the one with the biggest field – the senior men.  Over the two leagues we compete in, Pete Kingswell-Farr has been an ever-present.  This time he was joined by Mike Jurd who was competing in his first cross-country race for just over a year.  Despite the huge field Pete and Mike found themselves in close proximity throughout the race, with first one, then the other ahead.  It was Mike who claimed bragging rights at the finish line though.  It was quite a busy day for Mike as he later attended the annual WAC roadrunners awards night, where he was presented the trophy for most improved male road runner.

Senior men (230 finishers)

159 – Mike Jurd – 40:23
163 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 40:34




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