By Rob Cornell
Osaze Urhoghide beat fellow Dons defender Tom Scott in a thrilling sprint finish to the line to claim first place, in the annual AFC Wimbledon under-18s "Richmond Run".
The centre-back took victory over his left-back team-mate, as both players were initially given the same time of 45 minutes and 1 second, with pre-race favourite Urhoghide edging it by the narrowest of margins.
Some impressive times were recorded in cool, showery conditions and ten players completed the tricky seven-mile course breaking the 50 minute mark, but most important of all was the fact that the entire squad made it round in a key test of individual character and team-building.
There were some great stories to emerge from this year's event. Defender George Marchant prepared to sign-off from the Academy with a very creditable time in fourth place.
Marchant figured in the under-18s impressive FA Youth Cup run a couple of seasons ago, but had a lengthy spell on the injury-list having required a couple of operations. Now, fully recovered, he has earned a scholarship in the United States.
Young Dons fan and aspiring goalkeeper William Lonsdale also showed real spirit with a notable finish, having spent time and bonded with the squad recently.
A video of this year's event can be viewed in the link below, via our official club YouTube channel.
Coverage includes interviews with Academy Head of Football Mark Robinson, Head of Coaching Michael Hamilton, Lead Youth Phase Coach Rob Tuvey, Lead Foundation Phase Coach Joe Roberts, Sports Science and Medicine Manager Jenna Richards and Academy Player of the Season Tom Scott.
"It was a little bit different this year, we've got a bit of a mixed group," said Academy Head of Football Mark Robinson. "We've had ups and downs during the first week, so there were a few things I did differently because there are a few of them that need to get what we are about and get with it quickly.
"On the whole though, I was pleased and it's the same response at the end as always. They question why they are doing it and don't know why they are doing it, but afterwards they get that sense of achievement that they've taken themselves out of the comfort zone and they feel they've achieved something and that's what it is about really.
"You see the team spirit after and how they feel and that's exactly why we do it – no other reason. It's not really a fitness thing – it's about people stretching themselves."
When Tom Scott got his breath back he provided an entertaining guide to the class of 2017/18 in his own unique way for viewers, as he battled on against the elements towards the end! This can be seen below, in a link to our official club YouTube channel.
The full result of the 2017 AFC Wimbledon Academy "Richmond Run" –
1 Osaze Urhoghide - 45 min 01sec.
2 Tom Scott - 45.01
3 Richie Mbele - 46.47
4 George Marchant - 47.19
5 Valentino Carpene - 47.32
6 Jamil Awoyejo - 48.01
7 Reggie Young - 48.12
8 Reuben Collins - 48.16
9 Great Nii Okai-Evans - 49.07
10 Dean Perana - 49.08
11 Will Lonsdale - 50.26
12 Keith McGrath (Academy Sports Scientist) - 50.33
13 Finlay McNab - 51.57
14 Yasir Haji - 55.43
15 Reece Weeks - 56.51
16 Tyler Burey - 57.52
17 Mark Robinson (Head of Football & U18s Manager) - 60.53
18 Donte Lodge-Francis - 61.59
19 Michael Hamilton (Head of Coaching) - 63.41
20 Tyler Evans - 64.18
21 Edward Ogbebor-Onaiwu - 65.00