I know I may well have mentioned this before, but the usual, round the corner trip to the Southern Road Relays was somewhat extended this year. That and the closure of the M1 meant a long and extended trip out to Bedford for the relays.
Despite the extended travelling times AFD still managed to shine, winning both the Senior Mens and Senior Womens events by very impressive margins.
The Bedford Autodrome provided a very flat and exposed circuit for all races, the wind whipping across the open spaces to steal breath from the very lungs of the athletes, but still they ran.
Robbie’s first race since his foot injury, so some questions in mind on just how well he would perform, but questions smashed away on the day as he stepped up to take the 3rd stage of the 4 stage 4.5k relays, a stage that he completed in the more than acceptable time of 14 mins 35 seconds.
Times and Postions are not yet available, and given the issues on the day, may never be available, so at present we don’t really know how he performed on the grand scale, but it was a great run, especially after such a long time away.
Well done Robbie Coupland, well done AFD, and I have to say what a delight it was to watch Andy Vernon storm around stage 6 of the senior mens race. A very impressive performance completing 6k in 16:48, with AFD’s Josh Grace 2nd fastest on the day in 17:22, the AFD overall winning time for the 6 stage senior mens event being 1:46:12, some 2 minutes ahead of second place Tonbridge.
Despite the venue change Robbie still manages to keep both feet off the ground.
Back at Portsmouth, this time for the Hampshire Schools T&F Championships. Robbie was very positive going in to the 3000m, with the main competition coming from Lachlan Wellington, both having run similar PB’s to date. Ultimately the race was combined with the older (6th form) age group leading to Robbie’s AFD team mate Jake Cvetkovic running on the track at the same time. For a long time Jake led tha pack, which quite quickly slimmed down from about 12 runners to 3, with Jake pushing the group forward, Robbie sat in second and Lachlan keeping in nice andf tight in 3rd place. This continued for a number of laps until Jake started to push, as the pace stepped up, Lachlan slipped past Robbie and a look of pain was plastered to Robbie’s face… From this point on the gap between Lachlan and Robbie just continued to incrase, with Robbie finishing the race some 30 seconds slower than his worst run to date. When asked what happened, Robbie decalred that his foot was really hurting. Turns out he has a stress fracture in his right foot, and will now be out of training and competitive running for at least 8 to 10 weeks, so it looks like the summer T&F season is well and truly over. Hopefully once sorted he will be able to start building his fitness back up ready to be competitive in the upcoming Winter season.
Robbie still finished 2nd in his age group, taking the County Championships Silver Medal.
Robbie gritting his teeth as pain flairs in his foot with 2 laps to go.
Another drive around the M25 to glorious Watford and another open event. Robbie looking to put in a good PB tonight, and hopefully get the National Standard to confirm his place in the Hampshire Schools. As always with Watford the 3000m is broken down in to various races, on this occasion 10, Robbie is running in the 2nd to last race (they get faster throughout the night) with a race target of 8:40, and a personal target of 8:50 a bit of a push from his current PB of 8:59.
The race runs well, with Robbie running a steady 70″/71″ per lap pace which is spot on for an 8:50 time, but as things push out his times slow of the pace slightly and he drops down to a couple of laps at 74″ and obviously struggling with the pace for the last lap only manages a time of 8:56.8. Not the 8:50 he hoped for but still a good 3 seconds better than his PB, so can’t complain. A few more of these events and a few more 3″ of his PB and he will be well on his way to Schools and competing well at the National 3000m.
Robbie sitting in and waiting for his time.
Thes econd YDL of the season is a home track event for Robbie, running once again stepping up and age category to run in the U20 Mens B race. Athletes from all 4 U17/U20 raceswere lined up to compete in one single event, specific race positions extracted from the final positions and times.
Robbie started off fast, taking the race on for the first 400m at which point Aldershot team mate Nathan Gibson stepped to the fore and pushed the race on, the weather was, as seems to often be the case, a little blustery and it had an obvious impact on the runners coming down the back straight, that said Nathan kept a good pace, with Robbie sat right on his shoulder, and Bedford’s Ryan Ward sat on Robbie’s. With about 200m to go Ryan pushed out the boat, passing Robbie, and then Nathan and ultimately taking the U20 A race win, with Nathan 2nd. Robbie finished 3rd overall, 1st in the U20 B race in which he was actually competing. So another good YDL result promising an excellent YDL season for Robbie in his first year competing at U20. (Even though he is still U17).
Robbie leading the pack for the first lap.
Another 2 event Championships for Robbie, medals expected in both the 3000m (Saturday) and the 1500m (Sunday) with a chance at gold in either of both events. The big rivals for the weekend being Zac Mahamed and Lachlan Wellington, on the weekend though Lachlan was out with a sickness bug, and Zac only entered the 3ooom which left Robbie with high hopes for a gold in the 1500m.
The 3000m was a combined race, both the U20’s and the U17 running in a single event, the U20’s went out and immediately slowed the race to what amounted to a painfully slow pace, with Robbie’s preferred style being a consistent pace, this really didn’t help him at all, a fact that was highlighted in the middle third of the race when the U20’s decided to push the pace, and the only U17 willing to push that early was Zac Mahamed, there were signs of Robbie closing the gap toward the end of the race but Zac’s lead from that middle section was far to great to close. A great run from Robbie, but a great race from Zac saw Robbie taking silver in the 3000m with Zac taking Gold and Kier Sullivan taking bronze.
The 1500m was short manned enough to run it as a single race, so no heats to deal with, and no U20’s to add tactics to the mix. Robbie took the race on from the start, and it was fairly obvious that Jersey runner William Brown was happy to let Robbie blast the pace and sit on his shoulder, in a windy Portsmouth stadium William took the benefit of that powerful wind on his back down the back straight, with Robbie taking the brunt of the wind in his face on the finishing straight. A situation that gave all the advantages to Will, and made everything hard for Robbie, highlighted by the blast of speed that Will delivered in the last 300m to take Gold from Robbie’s silver and Jacob O’ Hara’s bronze. A great run from all 3 lads, and some excellent tactics from Will.
Robbie Taking on the race with Will Brown sitting in tight on his shoulder.
Well done to everyone who competed over the weekend it was another great event, with some exceptional performances.
(by Martin Blogg)
Robbie Coupland running the YDL 1500m at Horspath track in Oxford, representing AFD U20 men. After being boxed in for the first two laps and constrained by a stiff breeze, Robbie still managed to achieve a personal best of 4:15.9 Well done Robbie!
Knocking a few seconds off his PB
The first, and likely only, inter-schools event for Robbie this year was held at Basingstoke and for a change, in good weather conditions.
With 1500m being the only middle distance event Robbie prepared himself, once again a very limited warm up time was available, and set his mind to winning the race. A race out front on his own was always likely, even if he took it steady, so with that in mind the aim of the day was to win, be dammed with the time.
As it happened, Robbie took a very steady approach to the race, finishing well in front in a time that was only half a second slower than his PB, though his PB dates back two years after his injury filled summer season last year.
So 1st place in 4:19.0 looking comfortable and feeling good, can’t ask for much more from him. Great run.
Aldershot District – Inter Schools
Approaching the Bell