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Young Dons beat the boss

8 July 2013

Under-18s show they're in great shape at Richmond

AFC Wimbledon’s Under-18s had a training session with a difference today with the whole squad participating in a “Beat the Manager” running race around Richmond Park.

Academy Manager Mark Robinson designed a gruelling seven-mile circuit with plenty of undulations and, of course, the searing heat to contend with on a scorching day at the local beauty spot. However, this season’s Under-18s crop – a talented bunch of players that have come right through the Wimbledon ranks together – also showed that they could dig deep as they finished with very creditable times.

A total of 12 boys beat Mark Robinson, who was given a five-minute head-start and that was a big improvement on last year’s total of seven. Rob Switon led them home with a time of 45 minutes and 17 seconds, a superb effort on such a tough course. Captain Dan Pearse was runner-up with 47 minutes and 13 seconds, followed by Ryan Sweeney with 47 minutes and 22 seconds. The top-three are pictured above (left to right are Dan, Rob and Ryan).

A total of 18 completed the run, which included Mark Robinson, his assistant David Walsh, and the author of this article, who finished in a respectable 52 minutes 01 seconds.

Wimbledon Under-18s have their first pre-season fixture at Colchester United on Thursday week and Mark Robinson believes today’s challenge is an important one for character-building among his squad.

, he said: “We have brought the boys down to Richmond Park and we do this twice during pre-season. Though 80 per cent of what we do is with the ball, we like to get the boys away from the training ground a bit. This is not just about fitness; it is about character-building, getting the squad more together and their mental strength. If we are going to achieve things then sometimes we will have to do things that we don’t want to do. In any walk of life you have to stretch yourself and this is a tough course which is bang on seven miles.”Dons PlayerSpeaking to

Our gallery of pictures above shows a group photograph of the Under-18s on the starting line, the boys warming up and Mark Robinson getting his run underway.

Dons Player subscribers can watch a full feature on the event with commentary by Rob Cornell and also on our premium site is an interview with Alan Bennett.

Full Richmond Run results are as follows:

1.Rob Switon (45:17)

2.Dan Pearse (47:13)

3.Ryan Sweeney (47:22)

4.Kieron Tarbie (47:33)

Charlie Turnbull (Sports Science Intern) 47:385.

6.Jake May (50:00)

7.Danny Gallagher (50:14)

8.Callum Wilson (50:16)

9.Taylor Roles (50:23)

10.Chris Slavin (52:01)

11.Harry Bruce (52:02)

12.Nas Majeed (52:04)

13.Ben Harrison (55:12)

14.Egli Kaja (56:50)

15.Mark Robinson (57:25)

16.David Walsh (1:01.41

17.Harlan Basker (1:02.23)

18.Parus Nischal (1:05.55)

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