Weekly News

Saturday 15th April

Westbury Harriers – Weekly News

Editors Piece

Next Sunday we have the London Marathon and if you’re running then no doubt you’re all enjoying the taper. If competing on Sunday why not share your numbers with us all on facebook? I enjoy seeing who’s running from the club and tracking your progress along the iconic route. It would be even better if you could let me know how you got on and I’ll be sure to include your comments (perhaps with some pictures?) in a future newsletter.

The title of the newsletter is Westbury Harriers – Weekly News and let’s be honest it’s not very imaginative. In fact sometimes it’s not even weekly! 

I’m therefore going to propose we change the name and I’m looking for suggestions. To give you an idea when I was in a cycle club the newsletter was called ‘Chain Chatter’ so perhaps we can come up with something similar, but running related. Who knows, perhaps I can convince the Treasurer to provide some running vouchers for the best suggestion?

Easter Social Run from Blaise Castle Club House

The morning may have started with heavy rain but we were all fortunate enough to return from our social run to blue skies and bright sunshine. An impressive turnout from a wide range of groups who all enjoyed some muddy trail running around Blaise estate, followed by teas, coffees and biscuits.  

Many thanks to Tamsin for organising the event and Alison Rodgers (and girls) and Sandra for doing the refreshments, and of course all the Run Leaders.

Tuesday Running Session at Yate Track and Thursday Intervals

The running session at Yate will be posted on facebook neared the time.

I’m not sure what the session is for Thursday but we are due to be back on the grass at Coombe Dingle, weather dependent! 

Track Competitions with Yate AC

As part of your membership, you are also entitled to run for Yate AC (wearing the green and gold) on the track. 2023 League and Championship fixtures are: 

National Athletics League (Yate are in National One) – Events available: 800m, 1500m, 3k (some fixtures may have a 5k instead for men) 2k steeple chase (women), 3k steeple chase (men): 

  • 11th June – Reading 
  • 15th July – Trafford 
  • 5th August – Milton Keynes 

Midland Athletics League (Yate are in Division 2) – Events available 800m, 1500m, 3k or 5k, 2k or 3k steeple chase. 

  • 22nd April – Tamworth 
  • 20th May – Yate 
  • 18th June – Special ‘technical’ match- athletes from all divisions invited to single meeting – no venue yet – 3k steeple chase ONLY 
  • 9th July – Telford 
  • 19th  Aug – Birchfield 

Avon Track and Field League. Timetables and venues TBC (most likely Yate or Gloucester). Provisional dates:

  • 21st May
  • 25th June
  • 6th August 
  • 17th September 

Avon track and field championships 

  • 13th&14th May – Yate 

British Masters Track & Field Championships

  • 1st-3rd September – Derby

To compete for Yate there are 2 steps: Sign up for Yate as a Westbury Harrier Associate Member for free:  https://membermojo.co.uk/yateac/joinus

Complete the ‘other discipline form’. You must be done before you can compete, it is recommended that you do this as soon as possible if you are interested in competing for Yate.  Please complete the form (this can be done electronically) and return it to membership@westburyharriers.co.uk so that it can be countersigned and passed to the Membership Secretary at Yate and District AC for completion and registration with England Athletics.

If you are interested in competing in any of the above, or have any questions about training or competing on the track please contact with Vicky Tester: senior.track.manager@westburyharriers.co.uk

Pictured below, Emma-Jane (number 183) showing how it’s done at an event last summer.

Club Championships- Frenchay 10K

Just a reminder that tomorrow we have the first Club Championship event of the year, the Frenchay 10K.

If you’ve not signed up you can still enter on the day, but you will need to be quick as they only have a dozen places left. Get there for 9:45am and be at the front of the queue for registration if you’re keen to run. £25 cash on the day, all proceeds go to charity. http://www.frenchay10k.co.uk/

Hanham Horror 

It was the Hanham Horror today, a race traditionally held on Easter Sunday. 

Leading the Harriers was Trevor John Fitsall, followed by Kate Hoffen , Richard Hughes and Sandra Sforza .

Conditions were good, quite a bit firmer than previous years.

Couch to 5K

Not long now to the Couch to 5K launch date, which is Monday 15th May 7pm.

For simplicity and to help brand new runners we are going to follow the NHS App course with 1 coached session each week with a view of integrating runners into Westbury Harriers and joining the Club.  And the best news, the course is free!

Be great to get the word out for participants and Debbie (pictured below) is looking for Westbury Harrier club runners willing to come along and join in the fun as running buddies. 

Please get in touch if you can help support and Debbie can add you into her rota. If you pass on your details to me I’ll forward them on. Thank you. 

  • Week 1 – 15th May
  • Week 2 – 22nd May
  • Half term break
  • Week 3 – 5th June 6pm (earlier session before Blaise Blazer – a perfect warm up!)
  • Week 4 – 12th June
  • Week 5 – 19th June 
  • Week 6 – 26th June 
  • Week 7 – 3rd July
  • Week 8 – 10th July  (Group parkrun 15th July 9am)
  • Week 9 – 17th July – 6/6:30/7pm – integration into Monday Groups

Many thanks, Debbie Hunt

Check your Poo

If you’ve been in the club a few years like me you will know Lizzy as a Run Leader and somebody keen to compete. If you’re relatively new to the club then you will be more familiar with her as our Membership Secretary.  In fact she devotes a lot of time and energy to help run the club, along with all the committee and club volunteers.

I’m very grateful to Lizzy for her contribution to this weeks newsletter with an important message we should all take the time to read. Now over to Lizzy.

What does the month of April mean for you? Many runners associate April with the London Marathon. Indeed, in 2019, that was me!

Many of you will know me as the one who organised Monday night training groups pre-Covid or, more recently, as the irritating individual who chases you for your membership fees, training subs or coaching qualifications. I have always been the one who does things (including running) at 100%…until now.

For me, April now represents something vastly different. Something which no one can or should ignore. Bowel cancer awareness month. You have likely heard of Dame Deborah James and her “check your poo” message. You have probably thought, it’s fine, I run and I’m fit, or I would know if something was wrong. Would you?

In September 2022, my life, and that of my partner, our amazing Club Secretary, changed in a moment. Having run for so long, I was well used to those wonderful portals at races, and stomach cramps associated with long runs. I was feeling very tired, more so than usual, and the frequency of those cramps increased. I began to worry in April 2022 and saw a GP who sent me packing, with the words “it’s dehydration”. And so it was that in September 2022, Mike and I walked into Southmead Hospital for a colonoscopy, believing that we would be there for an hour and then get back to normal life. How wrong we were.

Nothing can prepare you for what came next. 3 hours later, after a long, anxious wait, a Consultant appeared, said “there is a significant growth” and then walked out of the room. Urgent scans followed and biopsies confirmed a diagnosis of bowel cancer. Yes, as the person who does everything at high intensity, I could not have a “simple” case of IBS; no, I go full on in, cancer. 

Major surgery followed within a fortnight, which identified that there was already spread to lymph nodes and blood vessels. This meant facing the harsh reality of chemotherapy, with its brutal side effects (I am writing this whilst battling chemo induced conjunctivitis and experiencing neuropathy in my hands). I have become the person who can’t do everything – though when it comes to cooking and housework, I’m not sad. I’ve become the person who is exhausted by a short walk, who, at times, feels like the stairs are a mountain. 

I have benefitted from support through a truly incredible charity – Shine Cancer Support – which helps those in their 20s, 30s and 40s through the trauma of a cancer diagnosis. I very much hope that as a Club, we can draw together to raise much needed funds for Shine. 

Look out for those key symptoms:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

If you have any niggling doubts, go to your GP. Push for tests. It may just save your life. 

I’d love you all to read about the absolutely life chaining support that Shine* offer on their website (www.shinecancersupport.org). The support of my family, friends, my Westbury family and Shine has been pivotal on my “cancer journey”. And so it is that I hope, at some point in the near future, to return to club sessions and don my running shoes once again. In the meantime, though, I will continue pestering for your membership fees, subs and the like! 

I have questioned why on many occasions, questioned how the person who ran the marathon in just over 3 hours a few years previously was now sat in a chair, and attached to an intravenous poison pump for 3 days every fortnight. I’m in my 30s. I’m fit. I’m healthy. I’m a runner. What I have learned, however, is that none of that matters. Cancer doesn’t choose based your fitness, gender, ethnicity, your activity or your age. And so it is that I write this. You may think you are fit and healthy but cancer, and particularly bowel cancer, can happen to anyone. And so, I shamelessly adopt Dame Deborah’s words – “check your poo”.

Editors Note: Also our club charity of the year.

Charity of the Year – Shine Cancer Support

This year the club will be supporting a small charity called Shine Cancer Support. It works with young adults with cancer – essentially those in their 20s and 30s who are too old for the teenage support but isolated from other support. More details are in the link below.  https://shinecancersupport.org/

Charity Cake Sale and Hash – Monday 21st August

I’m pleased to announce we have a date for this years Charity Hash so make a note in your diaries for the evening of Monday 21st August. 

Hashing’ is an organised run, where nobody knows where the route goes! The object is to get everyone around the course as quickly as possible, without losing anyone. But there are lots of false trails, which will slow the faster runners down, and allow the pack to keep up (hopefully). 

It’s a great event, very social and you get to explore parts of Blaise that you never knew existed. My tip is to let the youngsters charge off and find all the false trails, while I enjoy a more direct route to the finish!

We will be asking you all to bake cakes, the sales will go to this years charity (see above).

Westbury Wipeout T-shirts

Westbury Wipeout T-Shirts – people are welcome to help themselves to these. A range of sizes and colours available. In the corner of the club house.

Richard Bloss Personality of the Year Award

In 2013 the club unfortunately lost one of its greatest personalities, Richard Bloss, after a short battle with cancer. Before he passed away, he was presented with an award named in his honour, the Richard Bloss Personality of the Year.

I was honoured to receive the award last year and its had pride of place on my bookcase. It’s now time to think about who should receive it this year, and let’s be honest, there are plenty of big personalities in the club to choose from!

The club awards night takes place on Saturday, May 20th (the trophy has already had a quick polish in readiness) and for this award we’d like you, the club members, to choose the recipient. 

Nominations must be received by midnight on Saturday, April 22nd and they must be current members of the club. Please send your nominations to bloss@westburyharriers.co.uk

Once the nominees are in, you’ll then have a week to be able to vote for your Richard Bloss Personality of the Year, with the winner announced at the awards evening.

Mens Team Manager Needed

Just another reminder we’re in desperate need for a Men’s Team Manager. If you’re interested in this role please pass on your details to me and I’ll let the committee know. 

Race the Train Saturday 19th August

It would be great to make this a club event and combine it was some social running too. We already have a small group who’ve entered from the club.

I plan on turning the trip into a long weekend, heading up on the Friday and returning Monday (I’m happy to offer lifts to those planning to stay the same period). The actual race is the Saturday, so Sunday would be a leisurely jaunt with time for a short run the Monday morning. I shall camp but hotel/B&B accommodation is available in the area too. If you do intend to camp (I’ve suggested a campsite close to the start in the link below) please let me know as I can arrange with the campsite owner to group us together. 

Race the Train is a cross country event and attracts runners from all over the world. Runners compete against a steam train and there are various distances to choose from over 14 miles to 3.5 miles.

It’s obviously early days yet but I thought it worth mentioning so people can mark it in the diary. 



Blaise Blazer 2023 – Monday 5th June

Alastair has asked if I can put out a call for volunteers for the Blaise Blazer. If you, family, or friends would like to help with this great event please add your details to the online form and more details will be provided to you nearer the time.  Many thanks. http://westburyharriers.co.uk/blaise-blazer-volunteering/

Strava Segment of the Week

Well done to Stu Bennett enjoying a sunny Benidorm on this morning run, achieving a PR on Strava segment Parque de ELCHE in 1:45.

Diary Dates

Sunday 16th April Frenchay 10k, (club championship) it’s hilly!

Monday 17th April Seniors back to Blaise estate for training

Sunday 23rd April Horton Bull Run (Club Championship) 

Thursday 27th April Weston Prom

Saturday 29th April Butcombe Trail Ultramarathon 50 or 56 miler

Tuesday 9th May Race 1 Rose Inn Series, Chepstow Harriers 

Sunday 14th May AJ Bell Great Bristol Run 10k and HM (Club Championship)

Friday 19th May GWR Towpath Race 1 (incl. Mob Match) (Club Championship)

Saturday 20th May Club Awards Evening at Shirehampton Golf Club

Monday 22nd May 10k Hogweed Trot and Avon County Championships 

Thursday 25th May Weston Prom

Monday 5th June Blaise Blazer Trail Race

Saturday 10th June Man V Horse

Tuesday 13th June Race 2 Rose Inn Series, Chepstow Harriers

Tuesday 13th June Clevedon Mid summer 10k (Club Championship)

Tuesday 13th June Clevedon AC Midsummer 10k 

Friday 16th June GWR Towpath Race 2

Tuesday 27th June Sri Chimnoy 2 mile (Club Championship)

Thursday 29th June 19:30 Thornbury 10k Road Race, Thornbury Running Club

Thursday 6th July Tintern Trot Trail Race, Chepstow Harriers 

Saturday 8th to Sunday 9th July Brecon Fans Race Weekend. Horseshoe 10 miler and Pen y Fan

Tuesday 11th July Race 3 Rose Inn Series, Chepstow Harriers

Friday 14th July GWR Towpath Race 3

Saturday 29th July Magor 10k Road Race  massive PB potential on a mega flat route

Tuesday 8th August Race 4 Rose Inn Series, Chepstow Harriers

Friday 18th August GWR towpath race 4

Saturday 19th August Race the Train, trail event and you chase the choo choo

Monday 21st August Club Charity Hash and Cake Sale

Sunday 27th August Severn Bridge Half Marathon and 10k

Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October. Trail running weekend, Peak District.

Saturday 30 September – Sunday 1st October World Athletics Road Running Champs Riga 1 mile, 5km and half marathon

Sunday 17th September Copenhagen Half Marathon (part of the Super Half Series)

Sunday 17th September Oldbury 10 miler Thornbury Running Club

Sunday 24th September Forest of Dean Autumn Half Marathon

Sunday 1st October Cardiff Half Marathon (part of the Super Half Series)

Editor this Week

Ian Gawinowski is Westbury Harriers Communications Officer and can be contacted via communication@westburyharriers.co.uk