Group mentality important to manager
George Marchant won AFC Wimbledon U18s annual Richmond Park run for 2015 and smashed all past notable times in the process, including that of now first-team defender Will Nightingale.
Right-back Marchant set a new record and was closely followed by midfielder Alfie Egan in a competitive race.
Afterwards, manager Mark Robinson said: "As a group it is the best set of results we have ever had. One of the things we have been focusing on during pre-season is being a strong squad in everything we do. Every test we do whether it speed, strength or endurance we want the gap from first to last to be as small as possible.
“Players all have attributes they excel in and things they struggle in, but we want them to work as hard as possible to improve whilst giving them time to recover,” added Mark. “They obviously all want to excel as individuals, but having a strong group mentality will help them do that.”
Unfortunately this year Mark had to take to a bike due to an injury. In his place was first team training ground groundsman Mathew Grant, who is a keen runner and completed several half marathons.
course was run in 28 degrees heat, but it was the most successful run in terms of overall times in the five years it has taken place. There was the usual sense of nerves from the new first year scholars at the starting line (pic), but after Academy therapist Jenna Richards blew her whistle the boys soon got into focus. The 7.2 mile
Mark said: "As always the new scholars were a little nervous at the start line, but afterwards they were all feeling good about themselves and pretty confident that the hills were not as bad as they thought they would be!”
“It’s very important to feel a sense of achievement as a young person. Socially it is a great event for the lads they get to mix with all the cyclists and other runners using the park and it was great to have Matt Grant join in this year, who is a very accomplished runner.
“Most of the boys were chasing him, rather than Matt chasing them off areas they shouldn't be on at the training ground! The boys are here to develop as footballers, but we also take pride in developing them as young men".