Once again Portsmouth provided excellent weather for the County champs, with Robbie racing in the 3000m on Saturday and the 1500m on Sunday, now running bottom year U17’s and up against fellow AFD runners Jack Boswell and Jake Cvetkovic. Heading to Portsmouth on Saturday for the 3000m, with a list of runners we were hoping that Robbie would actually medal behind Jack and Jake, but via the magic of mobile technology Robbie’s chances of a medal improved when Jake notified him that he was injured and wouldn’t be attending. A great shame for Jake, but as mentioned a boost in possibilities for Robbie. That said, it wasn’t to be. The race was run as a combined U17/U20 race and two battles were thought from the start, with Jack Boswell battling Thomas MacSwayne for first place (despite them being in different races) and in the same manner Robbie battled Philip Maguire for 3rd, a frustrating time for Robbie as Philip seemed intent on being in front, but not intent at maintaining the pace. A hopscotch process began, with Robbie overtaking and leading for 100m, then Philip overtaking and slowing the pace down, forcing Robbie to drop off and go round to bring the pace back up. This happened at least 5 times, and was ultimately detrimental to both athletes, but mostly to Robbie as Edward Mason and Sam Metcalf took advantage of the tussle to storm past and take 2nd and 3rd place in the U17’s.
Saturday, was disappointing, but ultimately was not the most disappointing day of the weekend. The 1500m on Sunday was practically 2 races, although all U17’s. Sam Maher led from the off, running at a tremendous pace, with Jack Boswell giving chase, only to start suffering and slowing as his knee problems returned, the second race saw Robbie leading a peloton of runners around the track, once again, out front, doing all the work, and just not having the confidence to push the pace. Fellow AFD athlete Sean Pocknee slipstreamed the group for the whole 1500m, kicking in to a flying sprint on the finishing straight to take 5th place in a PB time of 4:19:92.
3000m U17’s (Down to Robbie, there were runners behind him)
1: Jack Boswell (AFD) – 8:56.11
2: Ed Mason (Guernsey) – 9:08.37
3: Sam Metcalf (Isle of Wight) – 9:16.91
4: Robbie Coupland (AFD) – 9:18.32
1500m U17’s (Down to Robbie, there were runners behind him)
1: Samuel Maher (Jersey) – 4:01.3
2: Luke Powell (Southampton) – 4:11.5
3: Toby Roe (City of Portsmouth) – 4:18.2
4: Michael Ilott (Isle of Wight) – 4:19.3
5: Sean Pocknee (AFD) – 4:19.9
6: Jack Boswell (AFD) – 4:20.4
7: William Brown (Jersey) – 4:21.6
8: Robbie Coupland (AFD) – 4:22.6
Robbie Leading the Pack in the 3000m
Another odd day, at least as far as weather is concerned, from glorious sunshine, to black clouds, gale force winds, and even hail on the day adding to the fun. Robbie, running for Calthorpe Park chose to race in the 3000m and from very early on it was fairly obvious that he was going to walk away with the gold. By the 5th lap he had lapped 4 of the 8 competitors, and coming in to the finishing straight on his last lap was chasing down 4th and 3rd place, with 2nd place only half a lap away. A convincing win, but not unexpected in the GCSE exam timetable reduced field, Robbie finishing in 9:35 with second place crossing the line almost a minute later.
As a note: The 1500m race was won in 5:00, Robbie ran the first 1500m of his 3000m in about 4:30. Something that was noted by the selectors, who contacted Robbie and asked him if he would be willing to run the 1500m at the County Championships, because of his win at 3000m he had a confirmed place, but as a district we were struggling for 1500m runners. Robbie subsequently chose to run the 1500m at the Hampshire School Championships.
200m in to the 3000m, already forming a gap.
A very sunny yet windy day left a number of spectators with decidedly pink skin, a full on afternoon of spectating for us, Robbie raced in the 3ooom at 14:05 we arrived at the very new and very nice Wycombe Phoenix track at about 12:30, just missing Jack Boswell winning the U17’s 1500m. This time wee remembered our chairs, so a little comfort in our spectating, and we managed to kick back and simply watch a good chunk of the days activities, waiting around for the 4 x 400 at the end of the day, which in the end we were short of 1 runner in and had to pull out.
The 3000m was run at just after 2pm, and was, due to numbers run as a single combined race including both A and B stream U17’s and A and B stream U20’s the inclusion of the U20’s added some competition, but with a starting grid of 7 runners, not a lot. From the bell there was a determined charge to lead by Toby Clyde from Thames Valley Harriers who went on to win the combined race, as an U20, in 9’12”, Robbie came second overall but won the U17’s race in 9’33”, the second place runner (from Chiltern) in the U17’s finished in 10’17” so a very convincing win. Fellow AFD athlete Dan Rickards came 2nd in the U20’s finishing 3rd overall with a time of 9’49”.
A good, and quite tactical run, Robbie decided not to go with the U20, partially convinced that he would die, and to some extent not worried since he wasn’t in that race. Still slow compared to last season, but with all the problems hopefully behind us it is nice to trim another few seconds off his seasons best.
Robbie starts fast behind Thames Valley Harriers, Toby Clyde before settling down to run the race at a steady 77 second per lap pace.
A trip inside the M25 to the first Alder Valley Boys event of the season, some changeable weather conditions, cloudy one second, sunny the next and once again, fairly strong winds. Robbie racing for AFD in the B stream 1500m hoping to improve on his previous outings so far this season. Improvement wasn’t to be though, with the A & B stream merged in to a single race, and with an exceptional line up, including James Daly, Chey Kemp and Ollie Percival a very fast race was expected, but once again at the first bend Robbie is sat out in front setting the pace, despite not wanting to and with his tactical plan to sit behind the leaders shattered, it wasn’t until way past the half way point that the others started to apply pressure, with Chey Kemp (Reading) going past, followed by Alex Rodrigues (Camberley) and Ollie Percival (AFD) and finally putting some pressure on the front, a battle of will ensued and saw both Robbie and Ollie trying to push past Alex, only to find themselves drifting wider, with Robbie breaking away on the finishing straight and Alex slowly falling back. The chase was on, the little battle of wills had allowed Chey to pull 10 meters in front and Robbie put a concerted effort in to close the gap and was very successful, kicking hard at the bell, but with 200m to go his steam ran out, Chey was still 5 meters in front and now Ollie and James Daly were closing in on Robbie, and were right on his back as they hit the finishing straight. A finishing straight that with flagging legs, saw Robbie drop back from 2nd to 5th, pipped by the second Reading runner in the last 10 meters to knock him down in to 2nd place for the B stream race, and 5th place overall.
Still a good run, tactics didn’t work out well, but lessons were learnt and there is still more in the tank, faster times to come.
Robbie pushing the race from the front.