The endless hot summer became a distant memory, the schools (if not yet the clocks) went back, the Blaise Castle clubhouse was locked up for another winter, and runners from Westbury to Weston could once again say “That was actually quite pleasant to run in”. Despite the occasional burst of afternoon sunshine, the cooler weather and browning leaves signalled what for many is effectively the start of the racing season.
September saw Westbury Harriers young and old in action all across the region, and far beyond.
9th September 2018
Oldbury 10 Miler, incorporating Avon 10 Mile Championships
This fast and fairly flat 10 mile race, near the banks of the Severn in the shadow of Oldbury Power Station, had a small but particularly strong Westbury contingent. Many congratulations to Alex Hamblin for another sparkling run, going comfortably under 1 hour (so averaging sub-6 minute miles..). The other Harriers were not too far off that mark, and there were highly impressive 2nd and 3rd FV40 category places, and County medals, for Sophie Voller and Robyn Ellis. Full runners and times:
00:58:27 Alex Hamblin 5th
01:00:15 Anthony Glover 6th
01:03:33 Robin Phillips
01:08:16 Sophie Voller 2nd Avon SF
01:10:25 Robyn Ellis 3rd Avon SF
16th September 2018 – Solo flyers in Swansea and Copenhagen
It’s still officially a Westbury Harriers race even if just one member runs in some far-flung foreign land. So well done to young Joe Connors for a stellar PB of 33:58 and 12th place in the Swansea 10K, in what our spectating President Jim Murphy described as “horrible conditions”.
Well done also to roving racer and new club communications officer Ian Gawinowski, for running the Copenhagen Half Marathon in 1:30:54, one of 22,000 runners at what sounds like a cracking event: “..the ambience was fantastic, the route thick with crowds, nice and flat, a live band playing on almost every corner and a sunny, windless day”.
20/9/18 Weston Prom Run: #1 of 9
I’m sure that this was a successful start to this ever popular series of 5 mile races on the Weston Prom, and that there were Westbury Harriers in attendance who ran well, but no results have been posted for it as yet. If a race is run, but no-one publishes its results or posts about it on Facebook, did it actually happen….?
22nd September 2018: Midlands Road Relay Championships: Senior Men
It was a shame that the prestigious and high quality Midlands Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park, near Birmingham, were the day before the Bristol Half Marathon. Westbury Harriers nevertheless managed to get a strong men’s team out, and perform very creditably. Team captain Scott said:
“Congratulations to the Senior Men’s team at the road relays on Saturday. Despite the team being a little bit depleted due to the clash with the Bristol half we still managed a very respectable 49th place out of 105 teams in a time of 2:11:18.
Special mention to Joe Connors who led the team with a really strong run to carry on his great form, Chris Palmer who switched to the daunting leg 1 at the last minute due to traffic issues, and Ben Whitaker who ran for the senior team at the relays for the first time.
Leg 1 Chris Palmer 21:26
Leg 2 Joe Connors 19:45
Leg 3 Ben Whitaker 21:42
Leg 4 Anthony Glover 20:13
Leg 5 Matt Lavis 26:26
Leg 6 Scott Campbell 21:46.”
23/9/18: Bristol Half Marathon
[pictured above: Katie flying to a PB and 1st FV40; Father and son Ewan and Adam K; Alex H also PB-ing]
It comes around quite quickly after the summer, but no fewer than 39 Westbury Harriers took part in our ‘home’ HM. Thanks also to all those Harriers who turned out to shout, cheer, photograph and generally encourage.
The conditions were surprisingly good for running once starting line ponchos and bin bags were discarded and the field of over 7000 headed off down the Portway. Despite its familiarity, the course is never straightforward, particularly when the course heads back into the centre, and a series of hairpin bends and short sharp climbs can easily slow you down.
All 39 Harriers who completed the race deserve great credit, but there were some truly excellent runs deserving of special mention.
Oli Beale finished 21st overall, and 3rd MV40 (is he really a veteran?), in a stunning PB of 1:14:26. Alex Hamblin was not far behind in 42nd, also in a PB of 1:16:44. James Shorney and Alan Uren completed the quartet of sub-1:20 flyers.
Massive congratulations to Katie Hughes, not just the first Westbury woman home, but 1st FV40 and 9th female overall, running superbly to break 1:24 for a new PB. In fact, the Westbury women dominated the vet categories, with 3 of the top 5 in both the FV40s (Katie, Emma D’Alton and Sophie Voller) and the FV50s (Clare Eskell – 2nd FV50, Helen Sawyer and Judy Knights).
Very well done also to those who targeted their first sub 1:30 half marathon and achieved their goal, including Matt Swaine and Steve Puetz; and similarly those going for sub-2 hours (well done Tony Rudd – 1 second is good enough!).
It was also great to see Rich Noble returning to running and racing after 5 weeks off through illness, and cruising round in a very respectable time. Also a great father and son effort from Ewan and Adam Kilgour, crossing the line (almost..) together.
And perhaps most impressively of all, Nick Hounsfield ran the entire race (in just over 2 hours) while carrying a surfboard. There was no category prize for that, but there certainly should have been.
Well done to all not specifically mentioned above, especially for any PBs or half marathon debuts. Thanks also to Carol Fee for organising the club entry. Full results are available on the club Facebook page and the official HM site: too many to list here!
30th September 2018: Other Halfs (Halves?): Forest of Dean and Windsor
Well done to those Harriers who ventured beyond Bristol for their Autumn half marathon, and flew the Westbury flag (or at least vest) with distinction.
Judy Knights ran both, and just a week after Bristol was first Harrier home in the Forest of Dean Autumn Half Marathon (and 3rd FV50) in an impressive 1:47:49. Well done also to Kim Ingleby (1:58:50), Heidi Andrews (2:00:47), David Martin (2:01:54) and Ros White (2:29:25).
Meanwhile, over in Windsor in “perfect running conditions” in the Great Park (maybe the Queen came out to watch), the club was admirably represented by one family (or most of them), the Derricks. Well done to Nicola and daughter Jade for PBs (2:07:46 and 1:55:40), and also to Ian for a strong run in 1:49:01.
29th September 2018: Green Man Ultra, Bristol
For some, a half marathon, or even a marathon, is a mere jog in the park. It takes a special kind of runner, some might say a slightly crazy one, to tackle the 46 miles of the Green Man Ultra in, around, out of, through and back round virtually all parts of Bristol. So a massive well done to Chris Lowe, Ian Smith, Mark and Sarah Andrews, and Stef Louvain-Pasco, for completing such a mammoth challenge and staying on their feet for around 10 hours. In the words of Mark:
“Wow, what an amazing day….we even did an extra mile when we got lost a couple of times! The weather was perfect and the route is challenging but so scenic. I was so lucky to have such brilliant and positive company to run with. Stef came prepared with 46 jokes, facts and motivational quotes one for each mile! We all forgot how steep the climb was up to Dundry as we guessed how many words the Scottish have for snow! (The answer is 421 by the way!)
Well done to Chris Lowe and Ian who completed the course in under 10 hours. Amazing. We did all run together very briefly early on!
We met some lovely people on the way round, a great Irish guy ran the whole race with us and for the last 16 miles teamed up with another group of 4. We all supported and encouraged each other through to the finish. So different to road races where the other runners are competitors to beat!
It was a real challenge, toughest thing I have ever done. But it is achievable even for club runners like ourselves. I know some of you are already booked to run the Green Man or are thinking of it. Go for it, I am sure you will love it!”
As the summer track season drew to a close and the schools went back, young Westbury athletes were in action across the country, performing admirably on the national and regional stages.
Well done to all those who performed with such distinction for Team Avon on the track this season (the amalgamated Yate/North Somerset/Bath/Bristol team), and for helping the Upper Age group team qualify for, then finish 4th at, the National finals of the Youth Development League at Bedford on 9th September. Finishing 4th in the whole of the UK, behind the likes of Blackheath, Rugby and Shaftesbury Barnet, and ahead of Edinburgh and Glasgow (so basically the whole of Scotland..) was a fantastic achievement.
Westbury participants were Hannah Hobbs (2nd in the U20 3000m), Abdi Hasan (winner of the U17 men’s 800m), Rosie Hamilton-James (4th in the U17 3000m A), Rhiannon Paton (who once again ‘doubled up’ in the 1500m and 3000m within a few hours of each other) and Emily Whitaker, completing her fine debut season in the 1500m steeplechase with 3rd place in the B race.
22nd September 2018: Midland Counties Road Relays
It can be difficult to get teams out for events so soon after school goes back, so it was great to see both a boys’ and a girls’ U15 team, along with the men’s senior team at Sutton Park.
The boys – ‘A’ team Seamus Robinson, Artie Savage-Swain and Finn Goodhew, and incomplete ‘B’ team Benedict Bradwell and Ceredig Jones – ran brilliantly , the As finishing 9th overall out of 32 complete teams and the Bs the fastest incomplete team. Well done to Seamus Robinson for the 6th fastest leg overall (12:59).
On this occasion, however, and despite the boys’ excellent running, pride of place goes to our super U15 girls’ team, who only went and won the whole thing! With the flying Dalis Jones leading off with the fastest leg in the race (14:02), Amelia Honor, back after almost 18 month out injured, ran superbly to sustain the Westbury lead. It was then over to Kate Howard bravely to anchor the team home, holding off the advancing Birchfield Harriers by a mere 9 seconds.
What a fantastic achievement, in a strong field of 31 teams from all across the West and the Midlands.
22/9/18: 2018 UNVL Invitational, Las Vegas, USA
And finally, while we are of course all looking forward to running in Welsh (and Bristolian) mud, wind and rain in the Gwent League Cross Country this winter, spare a thought for Westbury Harrier and star Fresno State University athlete Ellie Leather. Apparently “cross country” in the USA includes running in 25 degree (Celsius) heat in Las Vegas. So a massive well done to Ellie for winning the above race in such conditions, another great achievement in her blossoming University running career.
Well done to all runners who raced this month. If we’ve missed anyone out, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and your name will go up in lights (or at least in bold) next time.