Popplewell Trophy

Andover Athletics celebrated one of their favourite coaches and athletes receiving the coveted Popplewell Trophy this year. Every year clubs in the Hampshire Athletics League nominate coaches, helpers, athletes & supporters whom deserve the accolade for commitment to the sport.

Helen Dobson has a wealth of experience coaching middle distance running, she has been nurturing athletes for over a decade and consistently produces County Standard athletes. Her athletics background stems from a junior international career; she won numerous English 1500m titles and competed for England over cross country.

Helen unwaveringly attends every cross country meeting encouraging both her young under 13 boys and girls through to the under 15’s, 17’s, senior and veteran members of her squad.

Andover is a small club in comparison to most Hampshire league teams, which means on most fixtures Helen may have only 1 or 2 athletes in some age categories. Despite this Helen is still there for them, walking the course, offering words of wisdom and encouragement and congratulating/commiserating them at the finish line.

Often her most talented athletes move on to bigger clubs for more competitive training, leaving the new coaches with the glory of Helen’s hard work and nurturing. Helen is never deterred by this, and continues to encourage cross country and middle distance running from its embryonic stages in athletes to those representing Hampshire and England in running, biathlon, ironman, triathlon and modern pentathlon.

To put the icing on the cake, this season Helen donned the mighty blue & white vest of Andover to compete in the cross country league, truly leading from the front. Her aim for match 3 at Popham was to finish 1 lap, but she managed the whole race finishing in 113th, 68th vet 45 in a time of 37:47. At Bournemouth she wanted to finish with more athletes behind her than at Popham, which she proudly did finishing in 114th place and 61st vet 45 in a time of 35:22. To call this respectable, would be the year’s mightiest understatement.

Helen is truly inspirational and a lovely person to have the privilege of being coached by. She thoroughly deserves this award.