South of England Schools Inter-County XC Championships

Despite the entire UK being smashed by rain storms, a little spot in East Sussex missed the rain and stayed dry throughout the day, despite the dry skies the footing was very muddy in places making for tough going on all the runners. It was a great day out for the Hampshire Schools teams, and a great day for AFD runners with representatives in three of the County teams, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire. Individual club membership is a little difficult to decipher due to numerous misspelt names in the results, leading to the club alignment on Pof10 being missing for a number of runners. So apologies to any AFD runners I don’t mention below.

On the day Hampshire came away with 3 Individual Gold medals, 3 Individual Silver medals, 2 Team Golds and 2 Team Silvers.

Hampshire Schools

Junior Girls 2nd Place – Equal points with Sussex, but Sussex taking the Gold based on the last man(girl) in rule, Sussex last scoring runner placed 27th, Hampshire’s placed 28th. Very Close.
Hampshire Scorers
5 – Saffron Moore
7 – Nicole Ainsworth
11 – Isabel Richardson
17 – Phoebe Moriarty-Palios
18 – Ellie Farrow
28 – Charlotte Parsons
AFD representation from Abi White (Surrey), Charlotte Parsons (Hants), Alice Garner (Hants) and Ellie Monday (Surrey)

Junior Boys 4th Place – The Junior Boys race was dominated by Surrey with 5 runners in the top 6, congratulations to AFD’s Luke Van Oudtshoorn (Surrey) for his 2nd place finish.
Hampshire Scorers
9 – Toby Hale
22 – Henry Mcluckie
24 – Oli Bulpett
26 – Ben Pattison
34 – Theo Doran
37 – Samual Charig
AFD representation from Luke Van Oudtshoorn (Surrey), Theo Doran (Hants), Oliver Harris (Hants)

Intermediate Girls 1st Place – An outstanding performance from Josie Czura provided the first Hampshire Individual Gold of the day, closely followed by the first Individual Silver picked up by AFD’s Lucy Pygott both aiding Hampshire to their first Team Gold of the day.
Hampshire Scorers
1 – Jose Czura 2 – Lucy Pygott 6 – Maddie Deadman 8 – Stacey Burrows 12 – Maisie Grice 13 – Poppy Clements AFD representation from Lucy Pygott (Hants), Stacey Burrows (Hants), Maisie Grice (Hants), Eugenie Cockle (Surrey), Lizzie Squibbs (Hants), Amy Ratcliffe (Surrey), Katriona Brown (Surrey), Katie Standen (Hants)

Intermediate Boys 2nd Place – Like the Junior Girls, the Inter Boys were held off Gold based on the last man in rule, finishing on equal points with Berkshire, but with our last man coming in in 17th, and Berkshire’s coming in in 13th topped the Gold Berkshire’s way. So despite a very impressive run from Lachlan Wellington to win Hampshire’s 2nd Individual Gold, and Zac Mahamed picking up Hampshire’s 2nd Silver and Robbie coming in in 5th place, it still wasn’t quite enough to secure that elusive Team Gold.
Hampshire Scorers
1 – Lachlan Wellington
2 – Zac Mahamed
5 – Robbie Coupland
10 – Jacob O’Hara
12 – Sean Pocknee
17 – Keir Sullivan
AFD representation from Robbie Coupland (Hants), Sean Pocknee (Hants), Ollie Percival (Surrey), Joseph Jakubait (Surrey), Billy Smith (Hants), Will Brockman (Berks), James Hier (Hants)

Senior Girls 2nd Place, another win for Team Berkshire, but neither 1st place Berks nor 2nd place Hants won any individual medals in this race, the top three coming from Kent, Sussex and Essex in that order with a particularly impressive win by Sabrina Sinha crossing the line some 24 seconds before 2nd place Martha Coyle.
Hampshire Scorers
5 – Hannah Froud
8 – Charlotte Dannatt
11 – Anna Sharp
12 – Holly Collier
19 – Lucy Wildash
20 – Evie Grice
AFD representation from Evie Grice (Hants), Lianne Lafreniere (Surrey), Rebekah Pantony (Hants), Tula Hart (Surrey)

Senior Boys 1st Place – Like the Intermediate Girls, the Senior Boys brought home Individual Gold and Silver medals as well as picking up the 2nd Team Gold of the day, an impressive run from Jack Boswell saw him crossing the line some 23 seconds in front of Hampshire and AFD team mate Nathan Gibson who crossed the line some 7 seconds before Essex took the bronze.
Hampshire Scorers
1 – Jack Boswell
2 – Nathan Gibson
5 – Sam Costley
11 – Bonnor Sullivan
15 – Connor Lopez
17 – James Beeks
AFD representation from Jack Boswell (Hants), Nathan Gibson (Hants), Bryn Smith (Hants)

Robbie had a strong race and is starting to look like his old self again, fitness is definitely coming back, not quite 100% yet, but certainly getting there. Heavy conditions left many runners feeling the pain and looking almost done in on the long finishing straight, an early burst from Surrey runner Oscar Subuh-Symons saw him close the gap on Robbie, but that old Robbie shone at this point, as he too kicked and not only held Oscar off but stretched the gap to 8 seconds before crossing the line, at the same time closing the 16 second gap between himself and Sam Rodda (Berks) to only 8 seconds. An excellent finish, a sign of things to come, hopefully a few more weeks training will provide the foundation for a top 8 finish and England selection at the National Schools in Nottingham.

The Muddy Way

The Muddy Way

South of England Cross Country Championships 2016

With quite a deluge on Friday night, it was no surprise that Parliament Hill was once again very muddy under foot, creating a technically difficult and physically demanding course for all runners. AFD had another great showing on the day providing the winning team for 5 of the 10 races, coming 2nd in another and just missing out on a bronze in the U17 Men’s race. Well done to everyone who competed, especially all those Individual runners who medalled on the day. AFD Individual Medal Winners

U17 Women
Niamh Brown – Gold – 19:59
Lucy Pygott – Silver – 20:08

U17 Men
Jack Boswell – Bronze – 20:29

U20 Men
Jack Rowe – Bronze – 26:35

Senior Women
Georgie Bruinvels – Bronze – 30:58

Senior Men
Johnny Hay – Gold – 49:08

Robbie had a strong run in the U17’s a slightly disappointing 24th place finish, but still beating off some of his biggest rivals so not a bad result on the day. Given that the SEAA XC Championships is another deciding factor in team selection for the inter-counties it was important to place higher up the Hampshire scale than he did in the County Championships, so his 4th place Hampshire finish was a great result. There were a lot of other great performances on the day, both from AFD runners and from some great runners from other clubs, but a long day, and lots and lots of runners (1026 in the senior mens race alone) just adds up to too many to report on, so this one is a brief one. Well done everyone who ran, it is truly a great experience.

Battle For The Hill - U17 Men

Battle For The Hill – U17 Men

Hampshire Schools XC Championships 2016

Great weather conditions in Southampton for the Hampshire Schools 2016 XC, this was Robbie’s 3rd visit to the Southampton course, and we were hoping for a better result than previous visits which both ended up with a disappointing result on the day. The Inter Boys race, is a year off-set from the standard U17 club races, meaning that Robbie was running as top year, not bottom year, with much of the competition expected to come from the bottom year, in the form of Zac Mahamed and Lachlan Wellington (who didn’t attend on the day) and Jacob O’Hara. On the day, the course was reduced in length from 5k to 3.8k which ultimately suited the younger year more than the older year adding even more weight to that bottom year pressure. The race was on from the start with Keir Sullivan (Eastleigh and Winchester) pushing the pace, closely followed by Robbie, in his distinctive orange and black Aldershot Schools vest,  leading the chasing pack of Zac Mahamed (Southampton), Jacob Moore (Eastleigh and Winchester) ,Jacob O’Hara (South East Hants), Connor Dauven (Aldershot), Sean Pocknee (Aldershot) and Sam Coles (New Forest). By the time the boys had finished the climb to the top of the big loop and started on their first descent the field was spreading out, with Zac pulling away at the front, chased by Robbie with something of a gap building back to Jacob O’Hara in 3rd place. The uphill elements saw Robbie closing the gap between himself and Zac, but the long downhills suited Zac more and aided in re-building those gaps so there was an element of yo-yoing going on as far as the gap was concerned, but it didn’t ever effect their positions, though it would have been interesting to see the effect another km and a bit would have had on the younger runners.

Hampshire Schools - Top Loop (Early Days)

Hampshire Schools – Top Loop (Early Days)

Results (Top 10)
1 – Zac Mahamed – Southampton – 13:08
2 – Robbie Coupland – Aldershot – 13:13
3 – Keir Sullivan – Eastleigh and Winchester – 13:31
4 – Jacob O’Hara – South East Hampshire – 13:49
5 – Sean Pocknee – Aldershot – 13:58
6 – George Budden – Southampton – 14:12
7 – Sam Bramwell – Aldershot – 14:14
8 – Billy Smith – Aldershot – 14:15
9 – Jack Wergen – Southampton – 14:26
10 – Matt Prest – Eastleigh and Winchester – 14:29

In this event the first 6 runners over the line count toward the team event, in addition to the results above Aldershot’s first 6 included James Hier (12 – 14:33) and Connor Dauven (15 – 14:37) making a team points total of 49, beating 2nd place Eastleigh and Winchester by a staggering 42 points and making Aldershot District the County Champions once more.

On the day the team performances from Aldershot were quite fantastic;
Junior Girls – 2nd Place
Inter Girls – 1st Place
Senior Gilrs – 2nd Place
Junior Boys – 1st Place
Inter Boys – 1st Place
Senior Boys – N/A

Well done to everyone that ran on the day, a great competition, a wonderful experience and some great stories to take away.

Reading – Hampshire League 4 of 5

The sun was shining over cold and frosty fields as we headed to Prospect Park in Reading for the 4th Hampshire League race of the season, but by the time we arrived the frost was well and truly melting, lending to a very slippy and in places sticky course.

Another great day for Aldershot, clocking up numerous individual positions and pushing the team league positions further up the tables, or simply cementing their current top spots.

Up the Hill - 1st Time

Up the Hill – 1st Time

Under 13 Boys
Individual (Top 3 AFD Runners)

1 – Sam Bodoana – 10:39
6 – Edwad Henderson – 10:57
8 – Alfie Spear – 11:03
Team (Provisional)
HL4 = 1st
Overall = 1st

Under 15 Boys (Top 3 AFD Runners)
Congratulations to Lachlan Wellington from Portsmouth on a stunning run, winning by 26 seconds (12:44). Now if my maths is correct, in the team event AFD and Reading drew 1st place, but as AFD’s final runner was higher than Reading’s I believe we get 1st, which means Reading get 2nd and Portsmouth get 3rd. A great result for AFD as it means that AFD slip to the top of the aggregate league table.
2 – Max Heyden – 13:10
6 – Marcus Shantry – 13:45
7 – Eoin Canning – 13:57
Team (Provisional)
HL4 = 1st
Overall = 1st

Under 17 Men
Individual (Top 10)

A great race for the Under 17’s with a leading group of 5/6 hanging together for the first 3k, the double up on the primary hill taking it’s toll on a number of runners and seeing AFD’s jack Boswell hit the flat in front, a good and strong run from Reading’s Micheal Lennon had him chasing Jack out on to the field, closely followed by Reading’s Chey Kemp, Basingstoke’s James Beeks and AFD’s Robbie Coupland. Other strong performances from James Heneghan (Winchester), Ollie Percival (AFD), Luke Powell (Southampton), Connor Lopez (New Forest Runners) and Dominic Willmore (Poole Runners) completed the top ten. A strong finish from James Beeks and a trunk full of determination from Robbie Coupland saw an excellent battle for 3rd place, with James using his strong and long legs to pull out a 3 second gap over the last 250m, but without Robbie’s determination to hang in, it could have been much more. As mentioned very muddy underfoot, with a couple of hard hills make the Prospect Park course a hard course to run so congratulations to everybody who completed their races on the day, irrelevant of position. Well Done.
1 – Jack Boswell – AFD – 17:26
2 – Micheal Lennon – Reading – 17:54
3 – James Beeks – Basingstoke – 18:00
4 – Robbie Coupland – AFD – 18:03
5 – Chey Kemp – Reading – 18:16
6 – James Heneghan – Winchester – 18:17
7 – Ollie Percival – AFD – 18:26
8 – Luke Powell – Southampton – 18:31
9 – Connor Lopes – New Forest Runners – 18:37
10 – Dominic Willmore – Poole Runners – 18:38
Team (Provisional)
HL4 = 1st
Overall = 1st

Under 13 Girls
Individual (Top 3 AFD Runners)

2 – Charlie Parsons – 11:17
6 – Alice Garner – 11:50
8 – Emily Squibbs – 11:56
HL4 = 2nd
Overall = 1st

Under 15 Girls
Individual (Top 3 AFD Runners)

1 – Niamh Reid-Smith – 12:33
3 – Abi White – 12:36
23 – Ellie Monday – 13:43
HL4 = 2nd
Overall = N/A

Under 17 Women
Individual (All 4 AFD Runners)

AFD only have a very small contingency in the U17 Womens race, with many off our runners choosing to step up in to the senior race. Still we had a complete team on the day, plus a spare fielding 4 runners in this race.
8 – Evie Higton – 16:27
16 – Sammy Bonny – 17:44
17 – Tula Hart – 18:15
18 – Maddie Sturgess – 18:20

HL4 = 3rd
Overall = 2nd

Under Senior Women
Individual (Top 3 AFD Runners)

Great performances throughout the field, with a number of AFD U17’s women stepping up an age category and shining in the competition. Well don to all the Women who ran in this race, a busy start line of 117 runners on the day and a great win for AFD by Lucy Pygott.
1 – Lucy Pygott (U17) – 19:39
2 – Katie Bingle (U23) – 19:47
6 – Stacey Burrows (U17) – 20:32
HL4 = 1st
Overall = 1st

Hampshire XC Championships 2016

A good day in most for AFD, but very wet and muddy conditions to run in. Not such a great day for Robbie though, after 4 weeks of enforced rest a great performance wasn’t expected with the only true aim trying to finish top 8 in order to qualify for selection in the Hampshire Team. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be with Robbie running well, but obviously suffering from the lack of training, finally crossing the line in 9th place, just outside those important qualifying places. Still he is first reserve, and now back training so lets hope a chance occurs.

AFD didn’t really make much of a dint at U11 with a single representative in the boys, and nobody in the girls, but step up an age group and things start to change, with Harry Hyde winning the U13 boys race and AFD winning the team event by a massive 40 points, the U13 girls received an individual bronze for Charlie Parsons and despite Portsmouth coming 1st and 2nd AFD pipped a team gold based on the fourth runner position rule. Unfortunately AFD’s very strong U15 girls team are predominantly Surrey runners and AFD failed to enter even a single runner in that particualar race, the U15 boys missed out on any individual medals but did grab the team bronze, with our highest placed runner (Billy Smith) finishing in 6th place.

And so on to the U17’s – AFD did well in the boys, but only fielded 3 runners so no team medal, that said no teams fielded any more than 3 runners and no team medals were handed out on the day, a shame I think.

Packed tight almost at the halfway point.

Packed tight almost at the halfway point.

With no team results posted I have created a team result chart based on the following concept.
(Team Actual Score) plus (Team Forfeit) = Team Result
Where Team Forfeit = 27 (there were 26 runners) multiplied by the number of missing runners.
Which Leaves the Team Table Top 3 as…
1 – AFD – 53
2 – Guernsey – 54
3 – Southampton – 62

Individual Results
1 – Jack Boswell – AFD – 20:08
2 – Sam Maher – Jersey – 20:34
3 – James Beeks – Basingstoke – 20:44
4 – Ed Mason – Guernsey – 20:47
5 – Connor Lopez – New Forest Runners – 20:55
6 – Luke Powell – Southampton – 21:00
7 – Sam Costley – Southampton – 21:02
8 – James Heneghan – Winchester – 21:05
9 – Robbie Coupland – AFD – 21:17
10 – Kier Sullivan – Winchester – 21:41

With AFD’s 3rd runner, Sean Pocknee coming in 16th.

To quickly conclude the round up from an AFD perspective, U17 women won individual silver (Lucy Pygott) and bronze (Stacey Burrows) and team gold, U20 men won Individual bronze (Bryn Smith) – no team medals issued, U20 Women won Individual Gold (Daisy D’Santos) and Team Gold the Senior men saw Matt Arnold place highest from AFD in 5th place but no team medal, and finally the Senior Women received an Individual Gold through Louise Small but again no team medal.

Well done to everyone who competed on the day, it was a very heavy course, just walking the medium loop once wore me out.

Hampshire Championships

Tomorrow (Saturday 9th) will see Robbie running in the Hampshire Championships, with no training for 4 weeks due to an IT band problem it will be interesting to see how he gets on. Still hoping to finish in the top 8 and get selected to represent Hampshire in the National Inter-County Championships on the 12th March.

Good Luck to Robbie and to everyone racing in their county championships this weekend.

South of England – Inter Counties XC Championship

Well the weather seems to be changing, quite a nip in the air today, the chill accompanied by a horrible drizzle and a very cold wind set for miserable conditions. The footing was generally good though, no swamps, no puddles just grass and a little mud to contend with. Robbie running in the white and green of Hampshire started well, the race quickly breaking down to Ali Kinloch way out in front, followed by a chasing pack, followed by another chasing pack, followed by the rest of the field. Robbie sat comfortably in the second group for some time before pushing to the front of that group and pulling it along in an attempt to close down the group in front. The group worked hard and well closing the gap and presenting opportunities to pull back some places. For most of the race Robbie was the leading Hampshire runner, closely followed by New Forest Runners Connor Lopez, but the last 1km saw Jack Boswell come through to sit behind Robbie and subsequently pass him on the finishing straight.

Top 5
1. Alasdair Kinloch Kent 14:59
2. Terry Fawden Middlesex 15:07
3. Ben Davies Bedfordshire 15:08
4. Jamie Goodge Kent 15:11
5. Will Perkin Buckinghamshire 15:14

Hampshire Results
Team Position 4th (1st 4 runners score)
14. Jack Boswell 15:40
15. Robbie Coupland 15:41
19. Connor Lopez 15:49
27. James Beeks 16:10
28. Sam Costley 16:12
51. Luke Powell 16:43
53. Sam Metcalf 16:45
62. Keir Sullivan 17:07

Good run by everyone who attended, an excellent race to watch, well done boys.

Robbie kicking hard down the hill, about 1.2k to go.

Robbie kicking hard down the hill, about 1.2k to go.

Team Hampshire

Team Hampshire

Bournemouth – Hampshire League 3 of 5

Another wet and windy day in Bournemouth saw some good results for AFD overall with Team 1st in U13 and U17 boys, 2nd in U15 boys, the girls winning at U13 and the U20’s and coming second in the Senior Women.

Robbie’s race went very well, with Sam Costley taking on the wind and the weather to pull away early, a decision that ultimately cost him, as the chasing guys clung together in a group of around 20. That chasing group slowly closed the gap until they caught and pulled past Sam, and pushed on with Connor Lopez taking the bull by the horns and pushing out at the front a place he held until about 1k to go when Jack Boswell caught and overtook him, pushing hard and soon pulling away from the group. Connor feeling the effects of leading the pack slid back to 4th place with Jack holding 1st place, Sam Maher taking 2nd, Matt Rawlings taking 3rd.

Robbie’s race went well, sticking with the chasing pack and being as sensible as he could, kicking a little at the 1k to go point as the leading 4 pulled away and fiding himself in 5th place with nobody around, like Sam and Connor before him, breaking through the wind took the legs out from under him, allowing Sam Rodda to catch him, and on the finishing straight take him and push him back to 6th place. Still a strong run executed very well.

Individual Results
1. Jack Boswell AFD 19:34
2. Sam Maher Jersey 19:41
3. Matt Rawlings Reading 19:45
4. Connor Lopez New Forest 19:54
5. Sam Rodda Reading Reading 19:55
6. Robbie Coupland AFD 19:58

Reading 3rd Runner – 11. Micheal Lennon 20:31
AFD 3rd Runner – 10. Ollie Percival 20:22

Team Results
1. AFD 17 points
2. Reading 19 points
3. Basingstoke 56 points

Individual League Standing
1. Jack Boswell AFD 3 points
2. Matt Rawlings Reading 4 points
3. Sam Rodda Reading 8 points
4. Robbie Coupland AFD 11 points
5. Sam Costley Southampton 12 points

Team League Standing
1. AFD 4 points
2. Reading 5 points
3. Basingstoke 12 points

About half way....

About half way….

UK Cross Challenge – Liverpool (2 of 5)

A long trip up to Liverpool for the UK Cross Challenge, but a great experience, watching some great runners compete. Steph Twell coming 3rd (behind Gemma Steel and Kate Avery) in the Senior Womens and guaranteeing a place in the GB XC squad, with AFD pushing 2 runners in to the GB squad at the Junior Women level, Amy Griffiths finishing 3rd and Grace Baker finishing 5th. The men having a little success too, with Johnny Hay qualifying for selection in 4th place in the senior men, but unfortunately, despite some good prospects, nobody qualifying in the Junior Men category which was won, amazingly, by U17’s Ben Dijkstra, with Hampshire favorite Mahamed Mahamed performing well and coming 3rd  in his first season in the Junior Mens race. AFD continued with good results in the older categories, seeing Niamh Brown (2nd) and Lucy Pygott (5th) finishing high up in the U17 Women and Jack Boswell (5th) doing the same in the U17 Men. Unfortunately the younger categories were very scarcely populated as far as AFD were concerned, with no runners in the U15 girls and the U15 boys, but at least a little flag flying from Emma Boswell (U13G) and Patrick Brown (U13B) who both had a great first outing at such a massive and major event. What an experience for all who ran.

Robbie looked strong, relaxed and fresh throughout the U17 men’s race, perhaps a little too relaxed finishing 37th overall. The field was very strong, and for the first time in an age I witnessed Robbie do a sprint finish to complete the race, another sign perhaps that he over relaxed in the race. Still a confident run, against strong opposition, in hard conditions so there are plenty of positives to take away. A special congratulations to Matt Willis, bottom year U17’s, in his 3rd place finish and of course to Jack Boswell (AFD) for his 5th place.

1. Tom Mortimer 17:28 (Stroud)
2. Scott Beattie 17:35 (Morpeth Harriers)
3. Matt Willis 17:38 (Wrexham)
4. Sol Sweeney 17:45 (Perth)
5. Jack Boswell 17:47 (AFD)

37. Robbie Coupland 18:49 (AFD)

Slowly Picking Off the Opposition

Slowly Picking Off the Opposition

Aldershot District XC Championships

Weather good, but after years of running the same course at Lord Wandsworth College, there were some changes this year. The finishing blast, up the hill through the farmers field, now closed, is gone and a re-route back to the horrible loose stone path that the runners run down and away from the college on is required. Bad enough running it on the way out, horrible to run it on the way back, with tired legs and spikes, not the best of under foot conditions.

Still, once again a very well organised event, that ran smoothly and on time so thanks to all those at LWC and the other volunteers that made the day a success.

Robbie, now running as upper year Intermediate Boys, had a great race, battling hard for the first 1500m against Dan Brooking from Yateley School before slowly pulling away and starting to build a gap. A great and convincing run from Robbie, who felt comfortable and relaxed throughout and in his words “Had plenty more in the tank” had it been needed. Good run, great result, roll on the County Championships.

1.   Robbie Coupland   Calthorpe park School   17:07 2. Dan Brooking Yateley School 17:53 3. Sam Bramwell Robert Mays School 17:57 4. Billy Smith Robert Mays School 18:04 5. Ethan Hartley Robert Mays School 18:58

With fellow CP runners Richard Oliver (20:59), Simran Lall (21:17) and Jack Watson – injured (31:55) finishing 19,21 and 44th leaving CP in 4th place in the team event.

Still a good day out for all, well done Calthorpe Park, and especially well done to Robbie Coupland.

Robbie running the lonely road in at LWC 2015

Robbie running the lonely road in at LWC 2015