Hampshire Schools T&F Championships 3000m

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.

Robbie gritting his teeth as pain flairs in his foot with 2 laps to go.

Watford Open – 3000m

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.

Robbie sitting in and waiting for his time.

YDL2 – Aldershot

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.

Robbie leading the pack for the first lap.

Hampshire County T&F Championships 2016

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.

Hampshire Champs 3000m


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.

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.

Summer 2016

Well, thwe first run never happened, apparently as an Under 17 you can run 5000m races, but you can’t run 5000m races if they include anyone older than yourself. The 1500 doesn’t have this rule but was already full from an AFD perspective, so no run for Robbie.

So last night April 20th presented Robbie with his first track event of the season, a 3000m open at Watford Harriers home stadium and a late night was to follow, we got home about 11:45pm.

The race itself though went very well, three heats were created with runner in heat 1 aiming for times sub 8:40, heat 2 between 8:40 and 9:40 and heat 3 for runners expecting to be slower than 9:40. A few AFD team mates were there on the day, some running 800 and some running the 3k along with familiar age group runners such as Sam Crick. From the start Robbie was keen to keep with the leading runners, although 8:40 would be too fast for him, the pace wasn’t quite that hot anyway, and the first 200 (Robbie’s target 35 seconds) was hit in 36 seconds from there the 1 second out approach seemed to manifest itself in most laps the next 400 being run in 72 seconds (Robbie’s target 71 second laps) followed by 72,71,71 and just as things were getting on track a couple of laps saw Robbie forced a little wide on the bends and came in at 73 and 73 which still put Robbie on target for his PB (just) but would not put him sub 9 mins nor would it get the English Schools Qualifying time of 8:59:00. Robbie stepped up the pace as the bell rang running the last lap in 68 seconds with all the little bits added on the total time came in at 8:59:02 so a good 6 second PB but 200th of a second of the English Schools Qualifying standard. All said though a great, if cold night, extended by some naming problems on the score cards, but we are sure they will get sorted soon enough.

Watford Open - April 20th 3000m

Watford Open – April 20th 3000m

Dibden Inclosure – Hampshire League 5 of 5

The Hampshire League is a particularly strong age group league, run by Hampshire Athletics Association it attracts clubs and runners from Dorset, Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Isle of Wight and even the Channel Islands. The spread of clubs and runners provides all participants with an exceptional level of competition. This was Robbie’s 5th season racing in the Hampshire League where he has collected, through the help of some great team mates, a team medal in every season. 2011/12 saw AFD U13 Boys take Gold, 12/13 Silver a season dominated by Reading’s Matt Rawlings, 13/14 saw the Under 15 boys take Silver with Jack Boswell and Jake Cvetkovic providing most of the AFD winning points but being out-manned by a Reading trio of Chey Kemp, Matt Rawlings and Peter Cook, 14/15 and AFD claim another team Gold, but still no top 3 individual finish for Robbie 14/15 was supposed to be Robbie’s year, but bottom age group runners Zak Mahamed and Lachlan Wellington burst on to the scene and Robbie was plagued with injuries throughout the year.

So after 4 seasons, Robbie’s best race finish being 3rd and best league finish being 5th a bottom year U17’s season was expected to provide another team medal, and the season started really well with a 5th place in his first race (behind AFD’s Jake Cvetkovic in 1st and Jack Boswell in 3rd), but that first race was to be Jake’s last and with his loss a fierce battle for Team Gold would be contested between AFD and Reading with AFD’s Ollie Percival taking on the mantle of 3rd AFD runner and racking up some great races to keep AFD in with a chance. After two races AFD and Reading are equal on 3 points each, after 3 races AFD edge in to 1st place with 4 versus Reading’s 5 and going in to the last race AFD are 2 points clear meaning that Reading need to not only beat us, but beat us in the team rankings by 2 places, victory in the team event is all but assured.

This is Robbie’s second visit to Dibden Inclosure, the course containing some long straights, some very wet and muddy areas, some gravel like paths and a nice hard hill all lending a little something to a real cross country course, a course that saw many a runner splash down in to the mud and indeed saw Robbie take his 2nd ever race fall, his first being at Dibden Inclosure too. Despite the fall, the hard conditions this turned out to be Robbie’s best ever Hampshire League Individual finish, though to be honest the field of runners was obviously missing some of the medal contenders on the day. Robbie’s hard run race saw him cross the line in 2nd place approximately 31 seconds behind AFD team mate Jack Boswell giving Robbie his 1st ever 2nd place finish, and ultimately his first ever league top 3 finish, actually finishing the season in 2nd place and winning his first HL individual silver medal, along with his AFD team Gold medal.

AFD won the team Gold, the Individual medal winners are listed below.
1 – Jack Boswell – AFD – 5 points
2 – Robbie Coupland – AFD – 17 points
3 – James Beeks – Basingstoke – 24 points

The Leading Pack - Top of Hill 1

The Leading Pack – Top of Hill 1

It was another great season for AFD winning medals in many of the age groups including; (Note: In the lower age grousp a bronze medal is presented to 3,4,5 and 6th placed Individual runners)
U13 Girls – Team Gold, Individual Silver for Charlie Parsons and a 4th place Bronze for Alice Garner
U15 Girls – No team medal but Individual 3rd place Bronze for Abi White
U17 Women – Team Silver, no individual medals.
Senior Women – Team Gold, Individual Gold for Lucy Pygott and Individual Bronze for Katie Bingle
Although the Senior women and Junior Women is a combined age group, HAA still post the Junior Women individual places seperately so…
Junior Women – Team Gold, Individual Gold for Lucy Pygott, Individual Silver for Tilly Horton and Individual Bronze for Stacey Burrows

The Boys/Mens results aren’t in yet so the below is a bit of guess work on my part but…
U13 Boys – Team Gold, Individual Gold for Ryan Martin, Individual Silver for Sam Bodoano
U15 Boys – Team Gold, Individual Gold for Max Heyden, Individual 4th place Bronze for Marcus Shantry
U17 Men – Team Gold, Individual Gold for Jack Boswell, Individual Silver for Robbie Coupland
Senior Men – Division 1 – 2nd Place, Individual Silver for Matt Arnold
Junior Men – No team results posted, Individual Gold for Matt Arnold

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

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.