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U-18s fight to the finish

2 July 2014

Video shows battling qualities of young Dons

AFC Wimbledon Under-18s demonstrated a steely resolve that will stand them in good stead for next season with 15 players completing a tough endurance test at Richmond Park yesterday.

There was a record-breaking performance too in this fifth annual staging of the challenge with Callum Overton storming clear of the rest in a time of 44 minutes and 47 seconds over the seven-mile course, which included one or two energy-sapping hills on a hot day.

Under-18s manager Mark Robinson set his squad a challenge of catching him with a five-minute deficit to make up and 10 participants managed it.

 to view this video.You TubeWith the help of WDON commentator Rob Cornell, we put together a video all about the Richmond Run, which shows all 17 runners crossing the line. It also features interviews with Mark Robinson, Academy Physio Jenna Richards and Under-18 players Callum Overton, Ryan Sweeney, Alfie Egan and Billy Bishop. Click on 

Mark Robinson said: “This challenge is not really to do with football fitness because we do that with the balls in training. It’s more about character and it tells us a little about the boys. The lads have to really push themselves and it gives them a sense of achievement away from the training ground.

“Callum has beaten Will Nightingale’s record, which is fantastic, but I’m really pleased with everyone. The players all have different strengths and two of the lads who were quickest in our speed tests earlier this week did everything to finish. Showing that mental strength is all you can ask of them.”

It was certainly a challenge of a different kind for Under-18s goalkeeper Billy Bishop as less than 48 hours earlier he had been on the catwalk at Centre Court Shopping Centre for the AFC Wimbledon kit launch!

“That was a bit frightening on Sunday but I managed to do it and I managed to get through this today,” said Billy. “I did not know what to expect with this run because it’s not really my type of thing, but I can’t argue with 52 minutes. I’m very happy with that time.”

Having now completed this challenge two years in succession, the author of this article can certainly vouch that it's a tough test of character - and I'll just have to get over the memory of Egli Kaja storming past me near the end! 

Full results:

1. Callum Overton (44:47)

2. Ryan Sweeney (46:07)

3. Louie Cockle (46:21)

4. Alfie Egan (47:24)

5. Reece Batchelor (47:40

6. Callum Wilson (47:45)

7. Dylan Bahad (47:55)

8. Billy Frost (48:08)

9. Egli Kaja (50:15)

10. Chris Slavin (50:28)

11. Billy Bishop (52:33)

12. Neset Bellikli (53:15)

13. Jason Stripp (54:05)

14. Ben Harrison (56:46)

15. Mark Robinson (57:10

16. Dan Agyei (60:13)

17. Daniel Ano (65:26)

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