The cool nights draw in, the schools go back, the apples and leaves start to fall, and memories of sun-baked West Country race nights begin to fade. So as you put away your sun hats, water bottles and ultra-light race shorts, while digging out the fluorescent bibs, long sleeved tops and even (sigh..) the gloves, relive the joys and glories of a very busy Westbury Harriers racing summer, in which intrepid runners of all ages performed (as ever) with distinction and endeavour….
The summer began with another hugely successful and fully subscribed Westbury Wipeout at Blaise. Well done to all the young runners who took part, and to all organisers and volunteers who made it so enjoyable for everyone. Neil could say with some pride that “we had a record 324 finishers; the water was deeper this year, but there were no reports of any shark attacks, nor was anyone eaten by a crocodile.”
Tintern Trot 4th July (Club Championships)
Thanks to roving racer and reporter Ian G for this:
“On a sunny evening and under blue skies, approximately 250 runners lined up on the old railway bridge, within sight of the ruins of Tintern Abbey. Then, at 7:30 promptly, we all set off along a narrow, but mercifully flat path following the Wye. After a few K it steady climbs, getting steeper and steeper until reaching the Offa’s Dyke. A little bit of level path to follow, although rooty and rocky, then it falls steeply downhill, all the way back to the start.
The first runner home to scoff their cake and tea was Robin, as well as scoring maximum Club Champs points. He was also 3rd in age category. Kay also had a great run, coming third in her age group too. In the team awards the gents were placed 4th and the ladies 6th for Westbury Harriers.
(Full Results: 18. Robin Phillips 44:06, 30. Alastair Blackwood 46:19, 32. Ian Gawinowski 46:50 (same time as last year!!!) 50. Richard Hughes 49:42 (getting quicker every day) 75. Clive Attwood 52:28, 76. Laura Pankhurst 52:30, 96. Jane Goodwin 55:17. 99. Trevor John Fitsall 55:36, 133. Tim Carr 58:29, 222. Kay Ridgwell 01:11:57, 232. Eithne Noonan 01:14:55)
6th July – Ham & Lyme Ultra 50k
What will you be doing when you’re a V70 runner? Maybe, like the astonishing and evergreen Ken Lovell, you’ll be running a 50K ultra in blazing summer heat…an incredible effort, Ken.
Bitton 5k series 10th July (Club Championships)
This is a series of fairly fast 5Ks on the Bristol-Bath cyclepath near Bitton station, downhill going out but with a slight but steady climb home. 13 Harriers young and old(er) turned out for this one. Stand out performances included an impressive 18:21 from young Rosie Hamilton-James, to finish as first woman overall. Aidan Noble finished 5th in 17:46, just ahead of dad Richard (10th in 18:18). Also good to see a return to racing for Bridget Belfourd after a long layoff, with a strong sub-20 time (19:40).
Thornbury 10K 11th July
Ten Westbury Harriers turned out for what the organisers call a “relaxed, hassle free but very competitive road race on quiet, undulating country lanes”.
Well done to Chris Palmer, 7th overall and 2nd MV40 in 37:58, and to young Jack Derrick, 20th overall and so close to breaking 40 minutes (40:15). Good runs also from Vicky Tester (3rd female overall, 40:45) and Ann Lovell (2nd VW65). Looked like a fun evening for all!
Purdown Pursuit 18th July
This is an undulating TACH (Town and Country Harriers)-organised race up and down the grass and trails of Stoke Park and Purdown (between the big pointy telecoms tower and big yellow house you can see from the M32 – a great place for a long Sunday run). A small but doughty Westbury contingent took part, remembering the late Graham Bazley who was a central figure involved with this race for years.
Well done to flying Irishman Brian McCarthy, first Westbury finisher (18th in 43:52), and also to Jane Goodwin, David Martin, Richard Hughes, Anneke Bull and Rosalind White.
Towpath 10K Mob Match 19th July
Thanks to running reporter Mike Mewse:
“This was a particularly wet evening with mud, flooded sections of the course and constant rain but a great event and a good atmosphere. With over 300 runners from running clubs in the Bristol and surrounding area it was a high quality event with top class running throughout the field.
For Westbury Harriers it was a disappointing turnout with only 14 runners but Oli Beale brightened up the evening with another demonstration of top class running – our first runner home in 5th place. Hard to believe Oli is a V40 such is his superb form. Vicky Tester (British Masters 5K champion) was our first lady home in 77th place. Special thanks to Club President Dave Perkins who braved the conditions to support all of our runners and help with the admin – much appreciated Dave.
Westbury Results : Oli Beale 5th, Aidan Noble 39th, Chris Palmer 41st, Rich Noble 42nd, Alastair Blackwood 74th, Vicky Tester 77th, Alex Miller 108th, Mike Mewse 135th, Ewan Kilgour 150th, Tamsin Chick 170th, Ellen Horner 185th, Geraint Torrington 207th, Helen Sawyer 231st, Kay Ridgwell 277th .
No trophies for Westbury but Helen and Oli did win wine in the draw !”
Bristol & West Night of the Fast 5000s – 27th July
For those who don’t know about this, and fancy aiming for a track 5K PB with a proper pacemaker and great mini-stadium atmosphere, Bristol & West’s annual “Night of the Fast 5000s” at the Yate track, with seven time-graded races, is well worth a go. Relatively few Harriers this year, but they included Mike Mewse (20:55):
“A great night of 5,000m races at the newly refurbished Yate track – the Jefferies Arena. (Named after Westbury’s legendary runner Tony Jefferies).
Outstanding runs from Matt Ellis (who won the bronze medal in the Avon AA Championships in 15:30), Nigel Gates (18:14) , Ian Gawinowski (19:27 PB) and Robyn Ellis (19:35)
Very well organised by Bristol & West with help from other clubs, including Westbury Harriers, with Mike and Lizzy offering a reassuring welcome at the check-in desk.
It’s a tough race and a real test of running but there was great support from the crowd. Matt ran an excellent, well paced race. Nigel ran a great time, and Ian ran a well-controlled race for a great PB on his debut. Robyn ran really well and her finish is the best you will see.”
Seaview 17 (not sure why it’s “17” as it’s 21 miles..) – 28th July
Well done to Chris Palmer for a very strong run in this “tough run along the South West Coast path from Countisbury to Minehead (about 21 miles). The route is marked and marshalled, but the onus is on you to find your own way. This is one of the most beautiful (and hilly) stretches of Coast path in the country.”
He was the sole Westbury Harrier on a blazing hot day by the coast, finishing in an impressive 6th place overall in just under 3 hours
You can’t put away your running shoes just because it’s August, the sun is shining and it’s time for your hols. Many (most?) obsessive runners pack them in their luggage for a “gentle early morning one along the beach” in various foreign or British destinations, or impressive Strava postings from exotic locations.
Racing also continued throughout the month.
Standish Woodland Chase – 11th August (Club Championships)
If there are Club Championships points on offer, it’s a fair bet that Ian G will be there…and he was joined by 4 others at this Stroud AC-organised “multi-terrain race over a course of almost 10 miles following parts of the famous Cotswold Way…The route is hilly and run on mainly woodland trails, with some road along the scenic Cotswold escarpment.”
“This year we had more Westbury runners taking part in this club championship event, although with a few more we may have had a chance in the team awards.
Luckily we had Sophie Voller to scoop up a second place female win (16th overall 1:10:48) and maximum club championship points. Sophie was sharing the pace with a young Forest of Dean chap and they were both flying along; I should know as I was attached to them both by an imaginary piece of elastic! Unfortunately it snapped at the point of the final water station (that will teach me for not pace sharing) and I came in just under a minute later (18th 1:11:35)
This year we also had Jane Goodwin, Matthew Mohan and Kay Ridgwell running.
It was Jane’s first time running the ‘Standish’ but she did not let the unfamiliar route put her off. She came home in 66th, 1:24:02 with an impressive age category score of 66%
Matthew is also becoming a familiar face at the start line of club champ events and raced well finishing in 98th, 1:31:24
Kay had done some of the route as part of the Cotswold Way Relay but told me she preferred this event a lot more. One of the reasons being there was no chance of getting lost with plenty of marshal’s to point runners in the right direction. Kay was 134th in 1:49:22
Well done all.”
Bath Two Tunnels 10K 18th August
Just to remind you that these results reports are not just for the race and prize winners. Every result counts, particularly if it’s your first major race. Thanks to Mark Andrews for this report on a great effort from new member Amelia Statham (pictured) who made her 10k debut in this enjoyable race:
“Amelia is a fairly new club member who completed the Couch to 5k course this summer and has then gone on to double that distance just a couple of months later! As we all know improvement like that takes a lot of hard work! Well done!! Half marathon next!!”
Crook Peak Cake Race 21st August (Club Championships)
We don’t really have proper hardcore Northern-style Fell Racing here in the gentle West Country, but Weston AC do their best with this short (5k), sharp and steep race up a Mendip then (steeply) down again. In a beautiful setting on a warm evening, there was a very good Westbury Harriers turnout. And how reassuring it was to see the friendly face of our very own Neil Miller as the marshal on the summit of the brutal opening climb (1.2km, average gradient 10%, maximum gradient 23%!) up the Peak. After a brief respite there was another, even steeper, short climb, before a tumbling “ankle breaker” descent to the finish.
Special mentions and very well done to new-ish member Alex Smith, 1st Westbury finisher and 5th overall (in 21:30) and to Robyn Esther Ellis, 1st Westbury woman, 3rd woman overall and 1st VW40.
It’s called the “Cake” race because the male and female winners each get a big cake (pictured). It really is as simple as that.
25th August double header
i) Avon and South West 5K Road Relays (Cleeve, North Somerset)
What a fantastic Westbury Harriers turnout at this excellent and well-organised team event. In some previous years it had dwindled to virtually a dual Westbury/Bristol & West run-off, but this year’s incorporation of the South West Championships attracted teams from as far away as Cornwall, as well as an “all star” ladies team featuring GB athletes Charlotte Taylor-Green and Gemma Steele.
Ladies teams manager Tamsin:
“We had a fantastic ladies turnout for the relays. Combined with the men it was great to see so many Westbury Harrier members running. In contrast to last year’s torrential rain, this year was glorious sunshine (bit hot for running but lovely for spectating!)
The ladies V35 team led the way with Catherine Treble (19:08, 8th fastest time of the day) and Vicky Tester (10th fastest time 19.19) With Lucy Richens (19.33) this strong team won the V35 Avon & South West title.
The U20s team of Rosie Hamilton-James 19.37 Kate Howard 19.38 and Rhiannon Paton 20.59 took home the South West title, and were 5th ladies Team overall.
The senior ladies team of Emily Whitaker 21.58 Stephanie Cummins 23.02 and Alison Rogers 22.44 were 13th ladies team overall.
The V55s were second – Judy Knights 25.08 Helen Kershaw 27.47 and Eithne Noonan 30.19
Unfortunately Caroline Scapens sustained and injury in the v45s. However – the team of Heidi Andrews 25.15 Nicola Derrick 30.48 and Caroline were doing well up to this point.
It was great to see the young to the young at heart represented in our ladies teams. Impressive times on a hot day. Good to have Heidi along in what is hopefully her first Westbury outing of many to come. Wishing Caroline a speedy recovery. Thanks to everyone for running.”
And men’s manager on the day Scott Campbell – very good to see Scott back racing again after a long absence:
“Great to see such a good turnout from all ages at the Avon Road Relays yesterday. The sun was shining and quality runners were out in force. Mike Mewse did a great job of putting the teams together and encouraged a number of his younger runners to race.
Quickest Westbury runner of the day was Abdi Hassan who stormed round in 16:16 – a very impressive run from Abdi in what looks like his first 5k (based on power of 10).
Team of the day was the V40 A team who won the Avon and South West V40 championships gold medal, with Oli Beale running a speedy leg of 16:27 which was the 2nd quickest V40 leg of the day.
[Editor’s note: The V40B team of Alex Miller, Mark Andrews, Ian Derrick and Ewan Paton won the bronze. Admittedly there were only three V40 teams taking part, but when it comes to County and Region medals, you’ve got to be in it to win it (or finish 3rd)..]
Also our V50’s picked up Silver medals in the Avon Championships being led home by Nick Smart – good to see him getting back into form and fitness.
Thanks very much to Stuart Hancock and Kate Britten for organising a fab event – can’t be easy with all the team results, Avon champ results and also South West champ results! We’ll be back next year with hopefully even more teams.
7th Westbury SM A (1:09.47) Ben Rawlins 17:20, Abdi Hassan 16:16, Ben Whitaker 18:36, Alex Hamblin 17:35
8th (1st V40) Westbury V40 A (1:10.28) Anthony Glover 17:00, Chris Palmer 17:48, Oli Beale 16:27, Richard Noble 19:13
16th Westbury SM B (1:16.37) Scott Campbell 18:27, Alastair Blackwood 19:52, Tom Peaston 19:50, Jack Derrick 20:28
20th Westbury V40 B (1:26.05) Alex Miller 21:05, Ian Derrick 23:08, Mark Andrews 22:34, Ewan Paton 19:18
2nd V50 (3 legs) Westbury V50 (59:02) Terry Jewell-Davies 21:16, Alan Price 19:03, Nick Smart 18:43
ii) Severn Bridge Half Marathon (Club Championships)
It took real stamina and courage (and plenty of water) to get round a half marathon on such a hot day, so very well done to the 11 Westbury Harriers who successfully completed the Anglo-Welsh bridge-hopping.
Special mentions to Sophie Voller and Robyn Ellis, 2nd and 3rd VW40s in 1:31:31 and 1:32:10 respectively, to Sandy Masters, 2nd VW60 in a hugely impressive sub-2 time of 1:57:05, and Jane Goodwin, 3rd VW45 in 1:50:16
Other results: Tim Clothier (87th, 1:36:18), Ian Gawinowski (139th, 1:41:20), Kim Ingleby (1:59:18), Matthew Mohan (2:16:10), Rebecca Hopes (2:16:44), Ewan Cameron (2:24:45) and Liz Gamble (2:40:46).
Well done to all.
1st September double header
i) Ross-on-Wye 5K (Club Championships)
It was a pleasant 1 hour drive over the bridge for 4 Westbury Harriers to run an enjoyable trails and grass 5K by the banks of the Wye, held simultaneously with a canicross event. Ewan Paton evaded the speedy dogs on leads to cross the line first in 19:08, while Eithne Noonan won the best VW65 prize ever – a bottle of Bacardi. Good runs also from Tim Carr and Kay Ridgwell.
ii) Oldbury Power 10 Miler
This is a popular and highly competitive race over an unusual distance, on country roads around the power station. A large and very strong Westbury contingent took part this year – thanks to Vicky T for this write-up (and well done for outsprinting a local rival to bag the 2nd place female medal and hamper!).
“Well done to everyone who took part in Oldbury 10 Miler, also incorporating the Avon Champs. Matt Ellis hit the front from the off, and despite his claim that the “wheels came off”, finished second overall and was crowned Avon Champ in 55.10. Despite good packing from the rest of the men’s team Anthony Glover, Chris Palmer and Robin Phillips they just missed out on the team prize which went to Weston. Next year!
Results for all Westbury runners (for the Avon champs):
Matt Ellis 1st (1st v40-44) 55.10, Anthony Glover 6th (2nd V40 -44) 1.00.01, Chris Palmer 12th (3rd V40-44) 1.02.12, Robin Phillips 16th (3rd V45-49) 1.05.00, Vicky Tester 2nd female 1.06.41, Sophie Voller,4th female (1st V40-44) 1.06.59, Robyn Ellis 14th female (3rd V40-44) 1.15.04, Trevor Fitsall 62nd (7th V45-49) 1.25.17
It’s a great, well organised local race with lots of prizes to be won for age categories and teams. It would be good to see more Westbury vests there next year!”
Finally, to end the adult reports in a suitably Shakespearean way (hint- see report title), well done to Katie Hughes for a very speedy 37:23 at the Stratford-upon-Avon 10k. She finished 4th lady overall, and 2nd V45.
There should really be a whole post by itself to do justice to some of the extraordinary achievements of our young runners. And some of them are more than just runners…
Ben Rawlins goes from strength to strength in the demanding event of Aquathon (usually a 1K swim and 5K run)
As the Bristol Post reported on 30th July, Ben won the Gold medal at the Under 20 Aquathlon event in the European Triathlon Union Championships in Transylvania (!), Romania. Proud coach Mike Mewse told the Post that:-
“Ben didn’t panic after being held up in the swim. His run was top class [a stunning 16:31] and the seven second he gained in transition were crucial. He deserves great credit for his dedication and determination. We set out six years ago with a plan for him to become a world class athlete and we’ve achieved that aim. He’s done amazingly well to beat athletes who are funded and sponsored.”
A mere two events? Pah! Ellie Hobbs has competed with great distinction this summer in the junior triathlon.
She and fellow Westbury Harrier Rosie Allen both competed for GB in Riga, Latvia on 10th-11th August in the European Triathlon Union Junior European Cup.
Thanks to Maria:
“A very respectable 7th for Ellie, and Rosie coming in 13th despite coming off her bike. Ellie had the 4th fastest 5km run split of 18.31 after a 750m swim and a 20km bike. Huge thanks to her fantastic coach Pat Gallagher who is doing a great job coaching the juniors. Well done!!”
On 7th September, Ellie took bronze in the British Triathlon Junior Championships at Mallory Park, to clinch the Elite Junior Super Series overall.
Westbury juniors, usually running for sister club Yate or the consolidated “Team Avon”, have had a very good summer on the track too.
Abdi Hasan has continued his excellent progress this year, with perhaps the highlight being an 800m PM of 1:54:96 in the heats of the English Schools Championships at Birmingham on 12th July, followed by a narrow 8th place in the final the next day.
Greg Hayward has not been far behind, running with great consistency and tantalisingly running 2:00 at 800m on repeated occasions. Greg and others also became Avon County 1500m champions at Bath in late June. Thanks to Mike Mewse:
“Avon AA 1500m Championships – held at Team Bath Open Meeting 26th June
Great racing from some of our Westbury juniors as they donned their Yate vests for the track races. Seamus Robinson (Under 15 Boys), Greg Hayward (U20 Men) and Laura Chance (U13 Girls) ran superbly to become Avon 1500m champions at the Team Bath Open Meeting.
Seamus and Laura both had a similar race plan – go out fast and stay ahead ! They both dominated their races to take their respective Avon AA title. Times : Laura 5.14.7. Seamus 4.30.0
Greg Hayward is an experienced runner these days. He sat in behind the senior runners and then finished strongly to win the U20 title in 4.20.0”
On 8th September, a number of Westbury/Yate runners ran for Team Avon in the National YDL Finals at the Regional Sports Arena in Manchester, helping them to a superb 3rd nationally. Very well done to Kate Howard (2nd, U17W A 800m, 2:21:18), Rosie Hamilton-James (3rd, U17W A 3000m, 10:33:26), Emily Whitaker (U17W B 1500 steeplechase, 5:45:64), Alexander Wilson (U17M B, 800m, 2:21:51), Greg Hayward (2nd, U20M B 1500m, 4:12:53) and Abdi Hasan (2nd place, U20 800m, 1:59:14 AND 1st place, U20 3000m in 8:59:51!)
Excellent running all round, and with another large junior intake at the start of this school year, the club’s future looks very bright.
Keep the results and reports coming. Thanks also to recent Facebook posts reminding us that you can spy on the weekend “parkrun” efforts of fellow club members by clicking on the “Westbury Harriers” club name beside a runner’s name, then following the link to “View the consolidated club report for member participation at last Saturday’s parkruns”. So from last weekend alone, well done to Floren Scrafton (17:30, 1st lady at Bushy Park in London), Jane Goodwin (23:38, 3rd lady at Seaton) and Vicky Tester (19:06, 1st lady at Burnham) amongst many others.
Next up, the Bristol Half Marathon – full report to follow. Then it’s nearly October and the cross-country season, beginning with the first round of the Gwent League (and the UK Cross Challenge) at Cardiff on 12th October. Start brushing down those spikes now…..