Weekly News – Monday 24th February 2020

Club Person Profile: Jim Murphy

This week, our club Chairman, celebrates an amazing 50 years with Westbury Harriers.
Jim tells me that the previous Saturday, in 1970, he came 4th in the Gloucestershire Schools Cross Country Championships in Coleford. He also says in those early days the club Chairman was Glyn Lewis, who was also involved with rugby. You would have therefore seen a few beefy rugby players representing the club in track and field events and at training at Greenway School in Southmead. Thanks to our club historian, Pete Keogan, I can provide you with some more interesting facts from those early days.

Jim competed regularly in the Gloucestershire Cross Country League as a youngster. Current race categories would have seen him running as a junior (under 20), but they were made of tougher stuff back then, so he ran with the senior men. In October 1972 in came 61st in Newport, December 1972 and October 1972 saw him positioned 38th and 62nd in Gloucester. Then, in January 1974 he ran in Dursley, which was also a County Championship event, coming 36th. These are very impressive results indeed when you consider the Cross Country events were just as competitive back then, being made up of high class athletes, as they are now.
Jim also competed in road events, including many full and half marathons. As you will see from the newspaper clipping below in 1989 he took a flight across the Atlantic to race in the New York marathon. He flew out with a group who were running to raise money for charity and it says Jim raised a modest £300 (which back then would probably buy a house!). He completed the course in 3 hours 35 minutes and he would have achieved a quicker time, had it not been for cramp at the 21 mile point. The article goes on to say Jim was planning to run the Berlin Marathon in the Autumn of 1990.

And this he did, crossing the finishing line in 3 hours 30 minutes (the winner was Steve Moneghetti from Australia in 2:08:16). I would be interested to hear from Jim about his experiences because this was one year after the fall of the wall in November 1989 and the race was called the Berlin Reunification Marathon. For the first time in history the route went beneath the arches of the famous Brandenburg Gate.

Many of you will have seen Jim at the finish line of various events, such as the Bristol 10K, Bristol Half Marathon, Swansea 10k, Tow Path Series etc. He may well have also shaken your hand if you were lucky enough to win a prize at our annual club awards evening, but you may not realise Jim has also worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the club a success.
I believe Jim’s first committee post was in 1994 when he was co-opted as a Promotions Officer to raise funds to support the younger athletes in the club. The following year he took on the role of Vice Chairman and finally the role of full Chairman in 1998 when Peter Griffin stood down. So, not only have we had Jim supporting the club for 50 years, he has worked tremendously hard as our Chairman for over 20 years.

Finally, a big thank-you to Jim for the support he’s provided the club over the past years and to the many years to come!

Bristol 10k Club Entries

The Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k takes place on Sunday, May 3rd 2020 and the organisers are offering clubs a 15% discount on group entries of 20 or more, making the entry £26.35 instead of £31. This offer is only available to fully paid up club members.
Instructions on how to enter were in last week’s news. They have also been pinned to the top of our Facebook page. It is key to note that entries need to be made by Sunday 8th March and you need to be a fully payed up club member.

Upcoming Events

Midlands 6/12 Stage Relays. The Midlands Mens 12 Stage and Women’s 6 Stage Road Relay Championships take place as Sutton Park on Saturday 21st March. If you’re interesting in running please let Scott or Tamsin know.
Blaise Blazer. Entries are going fast on the Full on Sport website, all for the bargain price of £5. The event will take place at Blaise on the evening of Monday 1st June.
To enter use the link below: Blaise Blazer Link

Race Write – Ups

Last week a lot of events were cancelled because of the weather. Today (Sunday) was also supposed to be the River Avon Trail 10k event (a Club Championship) but was cancelled due to flooding. But don’t be too despondent, I’ve still got plenty to report.

The main event this weekend was the Saucony English National Cross Country held at Wollaton Park. As predicted, the conditions under foot were atrocious, thick, gloopy mud around most the course. Even so, we had some amazingly quick times from our juniors, seniors and vets who represented Westbury Harriers. All the results and plenty of photos can be found on our Facebook page.

Chris L is a trail race enthusiast, and the tougher the event the more he enjoys it. This Sunday Chris was running the Hameldown Race. Half marathon in distance which started from Widecomb-In-The Moor, Dartmoor.

Also taking part in a half marathon trail event was Robyn. The Carsington Water Half Marathon is a multi-terrain event that takes in a loop of Carsington Water in Derbyshire.

And for those who really like to punish themselves we had Shirley taking part in a 50 mile ultra in West Yorkshire. She tells us the mud was something special and 50 plus mph gusts just added to the entertainment.

And finally, a little closer to home, we had the Iron Wood Challenge. I’ve done this race a couple of times and a few years back it was a Club Championship event. You can always guarantee that it will be muddy and the rope climb really does make it interesting.

This year we had Tim, Trudy, Richard and Sophie competing. A very impressive result from Soph who was first lady!!! Looks like those group 1 training sessions are paying off.

I do apologise if I missed anyone but I often have to rely on Facebook or Strava. If you do want to be mentioned in future write-ups please add yourself to the Strava Westbury Harrier Group, as I use this to find out what’s going on.

Diary Dates

Saturday 21st March. Midland 6/12 Stage Road Relays, Sutton Park.
Saturday 4th April. National 6/12 Stage, Sutton Park.
Monday 20th April. AGM, Coombe Dingle, after training.
Sunday 3rd May. Bristol 10K.
Saturday 16th May. Masters Road Relays, Sutton Park (Over 35’s).
Monday 1st June. Blaise Blazer.
Saturday 4th July. Cotswold Way Relay.

Club Championship Events

Sunday 1st March 2020. Gwent League Event: Singleton Park, Swansea.
Sunday 15th March. San Domenico 20 miler.
Sunday 29th March. Forest of Dean Half Marathon.