AoC National Championships XC 2017 (Part 1)

Just a quick initial post, the AoC Cross Country race provided some excellent performances, with some great running, and from what I understand an amazing experience for all the sports people involved, not just the XC runners. Farnborough 6th had representatives in Badminton, Rugby and of course Cross Country.

The seven person South of England teams, included 3 x Farnborough 6th runners (coincendentally all of whom are also AFD runners) in both Womens and Mens events, all of which performed really well.

Womens (Sorry Missed the postions, though I do know Lizzy came 5th)

  1. Lizzy Squibbs
  2. Katie Standen
  3. Amy Radcliffe

They weren’t the only AFD runners either, Maisie Grice also ran and performed really well. The South of England Womens team taking 2nd place and team Silver.


  1. Jack Boswell (2nd)
  2. Robbie Coupland (4th)
  3. Lewis Reid (11th)

With fellow South of England runner Mahamed Mahamed from Southampton taking individual gold the Team Gold was assured as the South of England clocked the following places…

1. Mahamed Mahemed
2. Jack Boswell
4. Robbie Coupland
5. James Heneghan
6. Sam Costley
11. Lewis Reid

To score a staggeringly low 29 points and take team gold by a long stretch.

Well done to everyone who ran on the day, we hope you got the most out of the experience and really enjoyed your time away.

The Farnborough Boys post race, don’t they look relaxed?

South of England Schools Inter-County XC Championships 2017

So the second event to be missed, though Anna and I were back at home before Robbie started his race, we were sitting on a plane flying back as he travelled over to Brands Hatch.

Little feedback from this one to be honest other than Robbie’s “twas alright” comment. But from the results I am assusming a good run, with Robbie holding 3rd place for the vast majority of the race, being pipped in the finshing few hundred meters by fellow Hampshire Athlete Toby Roe to finish in 4th place.

Great runs from all the Hampshire team led to the boys taking home Gold, and Hampshire being crowned South East Schools, Senior Boys Inter-County Champions.

First 6 runners count in the scoring team, placings shown below:

3: Toby Roe : 21.09
4: Robbie Coupland : 21.12
5: James Heneghan : 21.24
8: James Beeks : 21.31
11: Sam Costley : 21:36
14: Lewis Reid : 21:54

Overall, through the 3 age categories (Junior, Inter and Senior) and the 2 sex categories (girls and boys) Hampshire got 3 team golds, 1 team silver and 1 team bronze.

JG : 2
JB : 3
IG : 5
IB : 1
SG : 1
SB : 1

Well done to everyone who ran, it sounds like a great day out, especially well done to the Hampshire team on such an awesome showing.

Hampshire Schools XC Championships 2017

With the club event out of the way, time to compete for School glory. The U17’s field sporting a number of runners outside of Robbie’s club XC age group, as he is bottom year Senior Schools. So the top 3 U17 names from the club event are running in the age group below, meaning Robbie needs to step up to compete against the likes of Jack Boswell, James Heneghan and Sam Costley, though some familiar names are still in the field notably Sam Tyas, Lewis Reid and Keir Sullivan.

With the first 16 qualifying for the Southern Schools XC Challenge, and then the top 8 from the Southerns qualifying for English Schools XC Championship there is a need to succeed. Last year Hampshire only had 16 contestants in the Seniro Boys event, so the competition to compete was a little reduced, this year 24 line up on the start line, so no guaranteed places to be had.

Unfortunately event favorite, Jack Boswell who has been suffering with flu like symptoms all week did not finish the event, despite making a valiant effort and actually giving it a go. Well done for trying Jack, and good luck representing AFD in European Team Championships.

Robbie set a good solid pace from the start, but the long gentle down hill slopes so prevelant at Southampton simply don’t suit him and it soon became obvious that James Heneghan had the better downhill capability. It was a good race though, with Robbie closing gaps on the uphills, and james pulling away on the downhill, both pulled away from the chasing pack, with James making the most of the final downhill to lengthen his lead on Robbie.

The Race is On

The Race is On

The short course led to quick times and it was all over for the leaders in less than 14 minutes.

Individual Placings
1: James Heneghan : Eastleigh and Winchester : 13.28
2: Robbie Coupland : Aldershot : 13:45
3: Sam Costley : Eastleigh and Winchester : 13:55
4: Sam Tyas : Eastleigh and Winchester : 13:58
5: Lewis Reid : Aldershot : 14:00

Sam (3) - James (1) - Robbie (2)

Sam (3) – James (1) – Robbie (2)

Team Placings
1: Eastleigh and Winchester
2: Aldershot
3: Isle of Wight

English Schools – National Cross Country Championships – Part 2

Cross Country can be a fickle affair, so many elements need to align on the day for things to work out. With a pretty much guaranteed top 15, and a good chance at top 8 and England selection, Robbie warmed up with confidence practically steaming out of his ears. Unfortunately that confidence was smashed away very quickly. The fairly flat course, with long straights, lent for a quick and aggressive running style, by the first corner Robbie is well back in about 35th place. His only thought as the pack starts to break up is “I need to be nearer the front”, and with that in mind he kicks only to find there was simply nothing in the legs to kick with, no strength, no power, no energy. The confidence smashed, the race already lost and all he can do is hang in and hope for the best. A final placing of  41st was testament to desire, but a highlighter that everything needs to be aligned. A very disappointing result, and a very disappointed runner as Robbie’s hopes of representing England Schools in Cross Country are ended for good.

Well done to the eight boys that did get those England vests, especially Lachlan Wellington (Hampshire), Josh Cowperthawaite (Cleveland) and Zac Mahamed (Hampshire) all three being bottom year runners, a stunning performance. ESAA XC Champion 2016 is Matt Willis with an amazing run, finishing the course in 17:58.

As for Robbie, the day was not completely lost, his 41st place helped Hampshire to a team gold and trophy position winning the Team Intermediate Boys event by a mere 5 points, so had Robbie given up, Hampshire wouldn’t have won. A celebration then for shear determination in the face of adversity.

Well done Hampshire.

Team Hampshire - Inter Boys Champions 2016

Team Hampshire – Inter Boys Champions 2016

English Schools – National Cross Country Championships

Robbie is heading off to catch the Hampshire Team coach tomorrow, taking the journey to Nottingham to run in the ESAA National Championships. Hampshire have a great Inter Boys team this year, and we are all looking forward to the event. Anna and I will be heading up to Nottingham ourselves tomorrow, spending the night in the Crowne Plaza (the old Royal Hotel) and taking the chance to wander the streets of Nottingham remembering our misspent years of drinking and partying on those very streets. The pubs have changed, but some old haunts are still there and you can guarantee we will visit Yates Wine Lodge, even if the visit is only brief. Saturday will see a vast number of young men and women, boys and girls, descend on Wollaton Park for the actual races, wishing everyone racing the best of look and particularly hoping Robbie can pull one out of the bag and make the top 8. Good luck everyone, hope you run well, do the best you can and enjoy the experience

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

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.

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

Hampshire Schools Inter-Boys Cross Country Championships

Despite 2 weeks of easy going and 4 sessions of Physio, Robbie’s ongoing Hamstring issue reared it’s ugly head once again at the County Schools Championships. With Robbie running in the bottom year it was always going to be a hard race for him, and the start saw two Southampton Runners set a fairly swift pace, the Aldershot boys, led by Jack Boswell, Jake Cvetkovic and Robbie, formed a group and sat back, letting the race ride out at their own pace, as the second lap kicked in Jack and Jake upped the pace, but Robbie’s hamstring simply would not let him push on, doggedly sticking in there and slowly watching other runners catch and over take him, slipping back from 5th, down to 8th, then 9th as Sean Pocknee, another Aldershot runner pushed past with 500m to go. 9th place is enough to make down selection for the Southern Inter County Schools, from which the 8 man team for the Nationals will be selected, that said though, it looks like Robbie will be out of action for a number of weeks, probably missing the Southerns, and ultimately missing that opportunity to race in the National Schools at the end of the season.

All in all a disappointing if brave performance, leading to a disappointing result and probably the end of his Cross Country season for this year. That said, Aldershot District Schools stormed the leader board with runners, with their first 4 runners placing 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th leading to a walk over win at the team level.

Jack, Jake and Robbie in Aldershot Tangerine, chasing Sam Costley and Luke Powell from Southampton.

Jack, Jake and Robbie in Aldershot Tangerine, chasing Southampton.

Unfortunately the times and official results haven’t been published yet, but I will update when I get them.

Aldershot and District Schools – XC Championships 2014

After a lot of rain, today’s sunny climate was a welcome change for any spectators, but the inches of mud on the floor were hard to wade through, and doubly hard to run through. A lot of familiar names on the start line today in somewhat unfamiliar colours, the first bend saw four AFD runners round first, Jake Cvetokovic running today for Courtmoor School, Jack Boswell for Frogmore, Robbie Coupland for Calthorpe and Sean Pocknee for Yateley. The finish line saw a very similar line up with only one minor change where Sean got pipped for fourth and ultimately finished in 5th place. Still with Aldershot Schools selecting the top 16 runners to compete in the Hampshire County Schools event, there will be a strong AFD presence in that camp.

1st – Jake Cvetkovic
2nd – Jack Boswell
3rd – Robbie Coupland

1st – Robert Mays
2nd – Courtmoor
3rd – Salesian College

Sorry no times 🙁

Chasing Jack and Jake up the hill...

Chasing Jack and Jake up the hill…