Southern Counties – U17 Inter-County

Robbie was selected to represent Hampshire in this inter county T&F championships at the last minute when one of the team had to pull out due to injury. A fairly easy trip to Little Marlow in windy but sunny weather conditions, didn’t bode well for  any fast times or any special results.

Hoping for a top 5 finish overall, but was scuppered on the day by the bad conditions, and getting stuck leading the chase to catch the break away group. Hard work pushing in to that wind, but it had to be done. Ultimately finishing 8th out of 18, not bad but was hoping for a little better, the slow time of 9’33” represents the conditions more than anything, the race was won by fellow AFD and Hampshire runner Jake Cvetkovic in 8’58” (PB is 8’39”). Slow results were clocked in the 1500m too, it simply was not a high performance day. Well done though to Robbie, it has been a while since he raced, so not a bad re-entry on to the circuit.

Robbie in the chasing pack at 200m in.

Robbie in the chasing pack at 200m in.

Watford Open

Watford Harriers Open meets can be hit and miss events, get the right heat and you have a good chance to get a PB. Tonight saw a lot of lads get the right heats, the 1500m serving up PB’s to lots of last years U15’s. Robbie raced in the 2nd 3000m heat which very quickly saw 3 distinct groups form with Robbie and fellow AFD athlete Macgregor Cox sitting nicely in the second group running 72/73 second laps. Robbie’s target to knock off a massive 16 seconds from his PB in order to meet the National Championships qualifying time and book a place at Bedford in August, although the time wasn’t forth coming an excellent run was still had with Robbie smashing 13 seconds from his PB to finish in 9’05”. With that time gained so early on in the season, we are certain that 9’02” will happen in time for that place at the National Championships.

Well done to the multitude of runners that got PB’s at Watford tonight, it was a good night to run, and a big thank you to Watford Harriers for hosting such an excellent event.

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Hampshire County T&F Championships 2015

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

Robbie Leading the Pack in the 3000m

YDL2 – Wycombe

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

Robbie starts fast behind Thames Valley Harriers, Toby Clyde before settling down to run the race at a steady 77 second per lap pace.

AVB 1 – Hillingdon

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 pace from the front.

Robbie pushing the race from the front.

SAL 1 – Braunton

Well a busy weekend had me completely forgetting to post a report on this one, but hey, better late than never.

Saturday 25th April saw Robbie take to his first ever Senior event racing in the Southern Athletics League for AFD in the 1500m, a very long journey to deepest Devon, with three generations in tow, a day trip of sorts with a look round Braunton, and exploration in to a Braunton pub and a lovely lunch in a Braunton cafe pre-race.

The event hosted at the North Devon Athletics track targeted senior athletes but all athletes from U17 upward can compete so Robbie took the opportunity to have a go, representing AFD as their “B” stream runner. A combined A & B stream race fired off quickly at quite a pace, a pace that had it been sustained would have seen Robbie smash his PB, though that wasn’t to be, the race slowed somewhat in the middle before kicking off again in the last lap it was a very good race for Robbie, quite fast, but not too fast, quite competitive, but not too busy and ultimately it saw him taking the 5 team points for winning the B stream, with team mate Macgregor Cox taking 4 points for second place in the A stream, the actual race saw Robbie in third place overall, but as mentioned winning the B stream race for maximum points in an official time of 4:20.0 (though I had him down at 4:19.9) just over a second off his PB, not a bad start to the season.

Robbie with the leading pack in the Southern Athletics league 1500m - Match 1

Robbie with the leading pack in the Southern Athletics league 1500m – Match 1

YDL 1 – Oxford

Over to Oxford today for the first competitive track race of the season, Robbie competing in the U17’s 3000m. The weather was nice, sun shining but the wind was horrendous and would effect times throughout the event. The 3k started very quick, Robbie blasting out in front of the combined U17/U20 runners and completing the first 1k in an astonishing 2’46”, the wind and starting speed took their toll though and the pace simply could not be sustained, Robbie overtaken by 6 U20 runners, including AFD’s Dan Rickard, the last 400m saw Robbie claw two of those runners back in, finishing the race in 5th place, but winning the U17’s race by 3 seconds. The time of 9’36” was disappointing, but not unexpected given conditions and recent injury traits. A good run for Dan coming 4th in the under 20’s and setting a new PB of 9’31”.

Finally a shout out to Daisy D’Santos who won the U20’s women’s 3000m in a very convincing performance, lapping everyone except the 2nd and 3rd place runners.

So for Robbie, 1st race, 1st win, shame about the time but a great start all the same.

Robbie taking the bull by the horns.

Robbie taking the bull by the horns.

AFDAC – The John Hewitt Memorial – Junior Club Championships

Sunday 7th September saw the first ever John Hewitt Memorial – Junior Club Championships, the championships devised by the AFDAC Young Leaders was hosted in remembrance of John Hewitt who died earlier this year. John has been involved with Athletics, local community and AFD for a long time, and the Young Leaders felt that something should be done to remember him. With that in mind they set about devising, planning and ultimately hosting the first ever Championships.

The day was great, weather was excellent, organisation exceptional. Robbie entered the U15 Boys 1500m Championship Race, on the day the 1500m was run as a single race incorporating U15 boys, U17 boys, U15 Girls and U17 Girls. Robbie went off from the start with a deep intent to ensure that he won, and more importantly beat all the girls 🙂 An aim he managed to succeed in. Ultimately the time wasn’t spectacular 4’30.8″ but given that he’d run in excess of 20k during his morning training session it was pretty good.

Congratulations to all the AFD Champions on the day, and to the team that organised the event it was an excellent day out for everyone.

If you’ve got time to look at your watch, you aren’t trying hard enough.

Qualified !!!

With less than two weeks to go before the Hampshire Schools Championships Robbie has managed to push out a National Schools qualifying time. Running in the 1500m at the Watford Open, with a heat target time of 4’15” Robbie was hoping to use the fast pace of the other runners to pull him round for a schools qualifying time. Unfortunately the race wasn’t as fast as hoped and Robbie ended up having to set the pace, once again leading the pack from the front and doing all the work, this didn’t bode well for a great time, but in the end it was good enough to provide the needed qualifying time, and another new PB.

The finishing 300m saw Robbie knocked back in to 2nd, then 3rd place but not by far, the race being won in 4’19” and Robbie finishing in 4’20”. A good run, well run but a better field would definitely see Robbie improve his times even further.

Pushing the Pace from the front - Watford Open 4th June 2014

Pushing the Pace from the front – Watford Open 4th June 2014

Hampshire Track and Field Championships 2014 – Day 2

Day 2 of the Hampshire Championships and Robbie is officiating again, but the race of the day is the 1500m, which possibly carries a little bit more importance than the 3000m as it will feed the English Inter-County Championships. Originally scheduled as a single heat followed by a final, drop outs on the day caused a rethink by the officials and the race was reorganised in to a straight final. After planning for a heat, this meant a quick rethink by Robbie on his tactics, and he pretty much went for the same tactics as he did in the 3000m, i.e. Get out there, run like mad and hope he burns out the opposition. Great Plan 🙂

The race held completely different opponents to the 3000m, but a similar race style with Robbie leading from the front, Alex Forster took up the shoulder sitting role and kept hard on Robbie right up to the 1200m point, where Robbie started to pull away, and Alex started to slow having given his all and Robbie seeing the clock kicked with a hope to hit the elusive 4’22” English Schools qualifying time, unfortunately he didn’t make it and Alex was knocked back in to 3rd place by Patrick Whelan from Southampton, but not making the qualifying time was a minor and almost insignificant point on the day, Robbie got a 1500m PB of 4’23”, won a second gold for the weekend and was, for the second time in two days awarded the title of  County Champion, this time at 1500m.

Once again, well done Robbie.

Podium Line up for the Hampshire Championship 1500m