Summary of Track Season 2018

The remaining AFD Non-Scorers pass Newbury A and B.

To be honest, Robbie’s track season in 2018 never really got started, with himl suffering from prolonged time out through injury, then revision etc. Although 2018 was Robbie’s last year for running in the Schools Championships, this particular event landed right in the middle of his A levels and was skipped, as were so many other races. All in, 2018 has seen Robbie compete 3 times on track, the Hampshire County Championships at 3000m, a Southern Athletics League (SAL) event at 3000m and this weekend a SAL event at 5000m.

The Hampshire Champs race, held back in May was prior to his revision break, and saw him running well for the past year, but not at the level we have seen in the past. His PB at 3000m (8’53”) was never threatened but he finished 2nd to Sam Tyas in a time of 9’05”. Some time after his exams, and still way off his peak fitness level he got back on the track at Aldershot to compete in his first of two SAL races, this one 3000m where he ran for AFD in the B stream race, finishing 2nd in 9’26” in a slow but very hot race.

And finally to his 3rd and final track race of the season, with A level results released, an accepted place at Sussex University (Brighton), his worries behind him and a large group of AFD non-scoring runners taking to the track, aiming for a sub 16′ race it looked like the stage was set for a good one. Toby and Bryn Smith took on the scoring roles, with both looking to compete in sub 15 minute times, the sub 16′ minute non-scorers were to be led out and paced by Alex Pointon, and Robbie settled in nicely to that chasing group.

Toby and Bryn set a blistering pace, and were soon forming a substantial lead over all other racers, with 2 Newbury runners chasing them, and the AFD NS group chasing Newbury, Alex set a 77″ lap pace and the guys settled in to beating out the 12.5 laps. With about 2k to go the NS group had caught the Newbury Runners but had lost a few of their own, the Newbury guys didn’t drop off though and slotted in behind Robbie and Alex leading the AFD guys home, meanwhile Bryn had taken the race on, pulling away from older brother Toby while Robbie and Alex closed him down. With about 1k to go Alex dropped out, his pace making complete and Robbie took on the mantle, chasing after Toby and slowly closing the gap between them, then slipping past and targetting Bryn in the distance. That gap was too big to ever close down though, and the 1 of the 2 Newbury runners who had slipped in behind Toby pushed past him with one lap to go and started to close down on Robbie, catching him with about 30m to the line and edging past him. Robbie was not in the mood to let that happen though, and as the Newbury runner started to pull past, Robbie slipped a gear and sprinted for the line leaving Newbury A behind him.

Race Finished, Robbie completed his first ever 5k on track in a respectable 15’51”, coming 2nd overall to Bryn Smith who finished in 15’42”, with Newbury A in 3rd and Toby Smith in 4th.

Hampshire League 2017/18 (Match 2)

First time that Queen Elizabeth park has hosted a Hampshire League event, and what a course. Robbie stepping up to run in the Under 20’s for the first time finds himself racing a long 10k event, 3 laps that include one hell of a hill. A good start in an impressively attended race (286 competitiors completed the race). First down hill saw Johnny Hay leading the way and a substantial amount of AFD vests in the leading 10 runners with the Senior Men’s event being won by  Matthew Sharp of Team Spy, but closely followed by Dane Bloomquist, then Johnny. The first 10 finished included 6 AFD runners, one of which (Luke Prior) was racing in, and won the Under 20’s.

Robbie came 25th overall, 5th in the U20’s behind Luke Prior (AFD), James Heneghan (Winchester), Jake Cvetkovic (AFD) and Dominic Willmore (Poole Runners) and completed the tough 10k course in 37:34.

Great run, especially after his 7.0k race in the AOC southern championships on Friday where he finished 3rd representing Farnborough 6th Form College.

Robbie Negotiating hise Second Downhill

National Cross Country Relays 2017

Well, it took the National Relays to get Robbie back on the cross country circuit, running for the first time in an under 20 race.

Robbie was given the role of anchor, bringing in the AFD Junior Mens B team, a good run in general, though over 30 seconds slower than last year, a combination of conditions and running the last rather than the first leg. It’s a start though, now time to concentrate on the leagues, and to work toward the championships in early 2018.

AFD A – 11th 28:14.45
1. Jake Cvetkovic 09:13.20 (16)
2. Jack Boswell 09:52.45 (21)
3. Luke Prior 09:08.80 (11)

AFD B – 20th 29:09.80
1. Lewis Reid 09:29.60 (29)
2. Ollie Percival 09:52.20 (26)
3. Robbie Coupland 09:48.00 (20)

Southern Athletics League 2017 – 4 of 5

Well after the turmoil of exam time, driving lessons and well everything, Robbie finally returned to the track this weekend, competing for AFD in the SAL.

Each event consists of an A and B stream, initially Robbie was scheduled to run as the A stream runner in the 3000m. As you can imagine the 3000m is run as a single race, the A and B scores taken from the whole post race, and the numbers bolstered by non-scoring runners looking for PB’s. As it happens, Jack Rowe (PB = 8’13”) became available and stepped in to the A stream shoes, Robbie dropped to B stream and Marcus Shantry ran as a non-scorer.

After a fairly steady first 2k, Robbie took on the lead and pushed out the time with Jack sat comfortably on his shoulder the race was seriously picking up and after a lap sat on Robbie’s shoulder, Jack took another notch up and pushed out the boat, from there on it was always going to be an AFD 1, 2 or to be more accurate a 1, 1. As Jack took the A stream win in 8:48.8 with Robbie taking the B stream win in 8:58.5.

Great day out for AFD, finishing second on the day with 213 points, beaten by Kingston and Polytechnic Harriers with 231, and beating Herne Hill (152) and Brighton and Hove (124)

Robbie and Jack with 600m to go.

National Inter-Counties 2017 – Loughborough

A long almost single loop course for the U17’s a good solid 6km with some very sticky mud covering the entire width of the course in places. Robbie had another disappointing performance this week, seems to be a standard at all the major events this year finishing way back in 39th place and not scoring for Hampshire team, so despite Hampshire coming 2nd, Robbie did not qualify for a team medal.

Overall one of his worst performances on the cross country circuit, with no real rhyme or reason behind it, obviously he is quite annoyed with his performance, and a talk and planning session with coach Mick Woods needs to be on the cards to give advice and direction for the future.

With only one event left, the English Schools Cross Country Championships coming up on Saturday, a little less expectation sits on his shoulders due to his bottom year status in the schools events. The plan is to go out and maybe try something a little different, play around with the tactics a little and see if we can find something that works.

A great day out for Hampshire as a whole though with Zac Mahamed winning the race and Lachlan Wellington taking Individual Bronze, despite these 2 great individual performances Hampshire were still pipped in to 2nd place in the team event by a very strong Yorkshire team.

Hampshire Team Results (First 4 score)
01 : Zac Mahamed : 20.00
03 : Lachlan Wellington : 20.05
29 : Sam Tyas : 21.01
34 : Jacob O’Hara : 21.05
39 : Robbie Coupland : 21.09
88 : Max Satterley : 21.59
137 : Sam Galpin : 22.35
147 : Steven Cross : 22.44

Robbie couldn’t be found for the team photo, so no team photo, and to be honest it was a struggle to get an action shot of him, he seemed to be constantly hiding behind someone 🙂

Find the Robbie – Stampede at Prestwold Hall

Prospect Park, Reading – Hampshire League (2016/7) 5 of 5

After a bit of re-arranging due to traveller interference the Reading leg of the Hampshire League was held on Saturday March 4th. With the tweaks and changes this became the final event of the league, so timings were altered slightly to take in to account the medals ceremonies, in which AFD were rather prominant.

On the day we had some great performance from both teams and individuals, doing well in the female events with the first three scorers finishing 1,2 and 6 in the Senior womens, 2, 6 and 9 in the U13 girls, but unusually for AFD showing prominence in the male races with the scoring 3 finishing 1, 6, 12 in the Senior men, 8, 11, 12 in the Veteran men, 1, 2, 3 in the U17 men, 2, 3, 4 in the U15 boys and 1, 2, 4 in the U13 boys. All of which aided greatly in the overall results with AFD taking away the following medals from the Hampshire League 2016/17 season.

Vets – Team Gold
Senior – Team Gold
U20 – Individual Silver (Non-Trophy Event)
U17 – Team Gold, Individual Gold, Bronze
U15 – Team Gold, Individual Bronze x 3
U13 – Team Gold, Individual Gold, 4 x Bronze

Vets – Nothing
Senior – Team Gold
U20 – Team Gold (Non-Trophy Event)
U17 – Nothing
U15 – Team Silver
U13 – Team Gold, Individual Silver, 2 x Bronze

Well done to everyone who competed over the entire season, some great runs, a very fast one in the U17’s at Reading with Robbie competing the (claimed) 6km course in 17:19 with 6 AFD runners in the top 7 all finishing in under 18:30.

Congratulations to the top 10 boys who ran a very fast, very aggressive race in some quite difficult conditions.

1 – Robbie Coupland – AFD – 17:19
2 – Marcus Shantry – AFD – 17:21
3 – Max Heyden – AFD 17:33
4 – Chey Blatchford-Kemp – Reading AC – 17:55
5 – Lewis Reid – AFD – 18:02
6 – Ollie Percival – AFD – 18:18
7 – Sean Pocknee – AFD – 18:29
8 – Steven Cross – City of Portsmouth – 18:48
9 – Ethan Hartley – Basingstoke & Mid Hants – 19:10
10 – James Porter – Basingstoke & Mid Hants – 19:16

AFD U17 Mens – Team Strength in Breadth

English National XC Championships 2017

A very “Cross Country” course at Wollaton Park in Nottingham greeted the hordes of runners turning up for the National XC Championships. Robbie’s U17m race due to commence at 12:35 gave us plenty of time to walk the course and investigate the swamps. The course had plenty of diversity, some good hills, some smooth good going, some heavy going and some very boggy areas made a good mix.

Target was top 20, with a push target for top 10 but alas it wasn’t to be, a week away from college, a birthday and a couple of birthday celebrations took their toll on Robbie who simply didn’t have the legs on the day ultimately finishing 34th in 21:48, not a totally bad result, but not where we wanted to be. Time to get his head back in the game with the last Hampshire League this coming weekend, and Inter-Counties and English School just around the corner, preperation is everything now.

The silver lining from the day is that AFD had another great spread of team results, out of ten team races winning 4 golds, 2 silvers and a bronze, one of those silvers being from the U17m’s race, so Robbie managed to walk away with a Silver medal on the day.

Exit the Mud

Staunton Country Park – Hampshire League (2016/7) 4 of 5

With half term hitting on many of the participating Counties the younger races were a little light on numbers this week, but AFD came on mass to up the stakes and had a great club day out.

Girls / Women
U13 – 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 19 – Team 2nd
U15 – 6, 9, 10, 12 – Team 2nd
U17 – 4, 17, 18 – Team 3rd
U20 – 2, 4, 6, 11 – Team 1st
Senior – 9, 12, 15, 18 – Team 3rd

Boys / Men
U13 – 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 – Team 1st
U15 – 2, 3, 11, 12 – Team 1st
U17 – 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 – Team 1st
Senior – 4, 10, 12 – Team 1st

So a great day for boosting the League positions across the board. Robbie had a great run in the U17’s with the previous league leader (Lachlan Wellington) missing a second race and dropping out of contention the race was still going to be hard with current 2nd place Zac Mahamed, and 3rd place Jacob O’Hara still running. The strong AFD squad looked keen from the start and by the end of the 1st lap, of the 3 lap race, a break away group had formed comprising of Zac, Jacob, Robbie and the AFD possie, Max Heyden, Marcus Shantry, Ollie Percival and Lewis Reid. Coming over the top of the hill and Robbie decided to push the pace a little, taking the others a little by surprise it wasn’t long before a gap began to form, and before the hill was reached for a 2nd time Zac had pulled out, leaving Robbie clear at the front, chased by Jacob, in turn chased by the rest of the AFD boys.

With the boys about to come over the rise for the 3rd and final time the starting horn is blasted and a stampeded of senior men explodes down the starting straight, Robbie hears the horn and puts everything he has in to his finish in a successful attempt to get past the merge point before the Men joined the course, which caused not a small amount of confusion for the boys caught in the middle of the madness. Robbie clear, but being chased down now by a rampaging pack of seniors managed to stay ahead of them for the 20m dash to the peel off point for the finishing straight, where the others were was to be honest hard to tell, and with conflicting advice being shouted about hard to see where they were going to come from. But despite the chaos the positions coming up the hill remained the finishing postions of the runners;

1st – Robbie Coupland (AFD)
2nd – Jacob O’Hara (Portsmouth)
3rd – Ollie Percival (AFD)
4th – Lewis Reid (AFD)
5th – Marcus Shantry (AFD)
6th – Max Heyden (AFD)

Well done to everyone who ran through the snow, over the cobbles and battled the chaos. A really good day out for AFD.

AFD looking strong and dominating the numbers in the leading pack

South of England Cross Country Championships 2017

For the first time since Robbie started running I missed the Southerns, but Robbie didn’t, with Anna and I celebrating our friends birthday in France both the Southern XC and the Southern Inter-County Schools would pass without our presence.

Robbie headed in to London with Anna’s Mum and Dad with hopes of a high finish, targeting top 5 which seemed possible given current form. Unfortunately on the day, things simply didn’t go to plan.

A strong start saw Robbie running half the race just inside the top 10, a great place to build from, but a quick trip in to face plant heaven left him feeling a little dispondent when he regained his feet, and despite pushing hard the fire was gone and he ultimately finished in 17th place (in 20.16) . All in all it was a good run, it wasn’t a reflection of his current form but 17th at Parliament Hill is still a great placing. Robbie was 2nd AFD runner on the day, the 1st runner in for AFD was Marcus Shantry (20.03) having a great run and coming 8th, Lewis Reid was AFD’s 3rd runner coming in 20th (20.25)  just in front of our 4th and final scorer Max Heyden in 22nd (20.27).

Unsurprisingly, on current performance Zac Mahamed (19.01) and Lachlan Wellington (19.02) took 1st and 2nd place with a photo finish required to choose the winner, which was after deliberation handed to Zac, but what a battle for the finish line, both runners finishing 20 seconds in front of 3rd place George Groom.

As often happens at the Southerns, Tonbridge had the breadth of field to take the team gold (58 points), closely follwed by AFD in silver place (67 points) with Reading (132)  just pipping Ipswich (134) to 3rd and bronze.

AFD U17's Team Silver Medalists

AFD U17’s Team Silver Medalists


Hampshire Club XC Championships 2017

After the ice, frost and frozen grounds of the midweek a soggy and heavy Cross Country route was something of a surprise, but given the almost 24 hours of rain on Friday it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise. Fairthorne Manor in Botley provides a very changeable course, with the footing and surface varying from compressed stone, through clods of heavy grass all the way to bogs of mud and sand making for a very “Cross Country” cross country course.

For the first time 2017 sees the U17 (6300m) and U20 (8700m) races are combined, running the same course up to around the 6000m mark where the U17’s peel of and head for the finish line whilst the U20’s have another 2500m loop to complete. The combined group of boys raced away across the open fields of the “Arena Stage” and with no Arena loop were soon hitting the first wooded area of the course, coming through those woods for the first time saw Robbie sat back in 8th place with Lachlan Wellington leading the combined groups through the woods. Some 700m later with the slightliy lighter footing of the “Golf Course” stage and Robbie had powered to the front of the group and was taking the race on, looking strong and a lot like the Robbie of old. The lead didn’t last for long though with both Lachlan and Zac responding and coming past Robbie as they entered the second wooded area and pushed in the “Cap Site” stage, Robbie’s legs still not 100% and with a heavy Christmas training routine still hanging on his muscles he simply didn’t have the endurance to keep up the pressuer for any serious amount of time, that said it was really good to see him push it and put the effort and determination in while he could. As the boys completed the first full lap and entered the shorter second lap Robbie was clinging on to 3rd place with U20 team mate Jack Boswell and U17 competitor Jacob O’Hara closing the gap, which and passing Robbie.

At the end of the seconf lap, the U17’s peeled away, by this time Robbie was in about 7th or 8th place overall, but 4th in the U17’s so as they peeled off the race was led by Lachlan, who had a convincing gap between himself and second place Zac Mahamed, with a similar gap back to Jacob and another similar gap back to Robbie. Though for a tense final 200m it looked like there might be an upset with Zac switching in to full on sprint mode and quickly closing the gap on Lachlan, though never quite getting there and ultimately leaving the placings as they were at the peel off point.

  1. Lachlan Wellington – Portsmouth – 20:38
  2. Zak Mahamed – Southampton – 20:42
  3. Jacob O’Hara – Portsmouth – 21:23
  4. Robbie Coupland – AFD – 21:41
  5. Samuel Tyas – Southampton – 22:00

A weekened AFD team, alongside very strong team performances from Portsmouth (1st) and Southampton (2nd) saw AFD finish in a dissapointing 5th place behind 4th place Winchester and 3rd place Guernsey, not through a lack of trying though with great performances from Connor Dauven (23rd) and Stephen Lawry (32nd) in a very strong Hampshire field.

Robbie chasing Zac, chasing Lachlan in to the Camp Site stage.

Jacob chasing Robbie, chasing Zac, chasing Lachlan in to the Camp Site stage.