Weekly News – Saturday 22nd January

Saturday 22nd January

Westbury Harriers – Weekly News

Editors Piece

We have two very different races taking place tomorrow. The Doynton ‘Hard’ Half Marathon, hosted by Emerson Green is described as tough but fun. The website describes it as ‘hilariously hilly and marvellously muddy’. A tough cross country across ‘public footpaths, bridle paths, and country lanes thick with mud and other sticky things that occur naturally in the countryside’. Sounds very pleasant, and don’t expect to come back with clean kit!

This is a popular event for the club and we may even see a few Westbury category wins! I’m not going to name names though, last time I did that I jinxed one of our members who ended up falling over and fracturing a bone!

On the same morning we have another race taking place, but in complete contrast to the ‘horrible half’. The Speedway 10k is taking place across the old Severn bridge, near Chepstow, by the army barracks in Beachley. 

The route is a dead flat, two lap course, and it’s all about speed. It will be fast, and very furious with a high number of elite athletes taking part, including a few Westbury Harriers’.

I was hoping to run but unfortunately didn’t make the selection criteria this year, but it didn’t stop me! Friday afternoon I headed over the Beachley and did a solo attempt of the route and was pleasantly surprised by my time. I would have been even quicker, had I not stopped for a dog walker on the narrow footpath, very selfish of the guy, didn’t he realise I was in a race!

Of course the runners tomorrow won’t have to worry about footpaths and dog walkers as they’ll have the pleasure of running on closed roads. If you fancy spectating and cheering on our runners the race starts at 11:00.

Yate Track Sessions and Thursday Intervals

The Tuesday evening track sessions at Yate are becoming increasingly popular and  with a wide range of abilities there’s a good chance you can buddy up with somebody of a similar ability.  This Tuesday the session will start with dynamic walking stretches, followed by 3x social laps, then the session itself made up of: 

5x500m, 100m jog recoveries; 400m float: 2x1000m, 200m jog recoveries; then 2x cool down laps.

For the Thursday interval session we will be meeting at Coombe Dingle sports centre but heading off in small groups to run some hill intervals. Please bring your road shoes and wear bright or fluorescent clothing as we’ll be on the road. 

Membership Renewals and Yate AC

Just another reminder that renewals were due at the beginning of January so please can you join promptly. Existing members will have received an e-mail with joining instructions (check your junk in-box). New members wishing to join can find joining instructions by using the link below. https://westburyharriers.co.uk/membership/how-to-join/


After the success of the trail running weekend in October 2021 held in the Brecon Beacons (pictured below), Dan Summers and Dean Russell will be putting on another trail running weekend, but this time in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park.

Already, we’ve had lots of interest and in order to reserve your space please email communication@westburyharriers.co.uk  by no later than Wednesday 26 January.  Then please transfer a deposit of £100 no later than 31st January 2022. Full details of the trip were in last week’s newsletter, link below.  https://westburyharriers.co.uk/westbury-harriers-snowdonia-trail-running-weekend/

Volunteers for Gwent Cross-Country

Please make a note that the Gwent Cross-Country will be hosted by Westbury Harriers and held at Blaise Castle on Saturday 19th February. Not only will the club be looking forward to seeing many of you competing but we will also need willing volunteers to help manage the event.

There are various roles to fill, and even if you’re racing you can still help out. More details will follow nearer the time but in previous years we’ve needed volunteers to help with car parking, marshalling, setting up and clearing away the course and registration to name a few jobs which will need doing on the day.

Strava Group

If you’re new to the club please don’t forget we have our own group on Strava. I recommend joining as it’s a useful resource for seeing where our members like to run. It’s also handy to gauge the pace of different groups that run on a Monday evening, so if you’re thinking of trying a ‘move-up Monday’ it will give you an idea of distance and pace.

Strava Instructions

Richard provided some useful instructions for his group that run hill intervals but it’s so useful I’m sharing it in the newsletter as well. Strava App If you don’t have a sports watch, you can download the Strava  App onto your phone (whether an iPhone or an Android phone such as a Samsung)

Then when you leave the Downs to run to the start of the hill just start an activity, and stop it when you get back. Strava will automatically give you a time for each segment you run.  So for example, tomorrow’s segment is “Old Sneed Park to Mariners”.

Garmin Watch – link to Strava. If you have a Garmin watch and account, you can load your runs automatically to Strava.  Info is here : https://support.garmin.com/en-GB/?faq=4uYoMd5zEt22rg0iehnro9

You may still want to manually lap the start and end of each effort, as I find Strava doesn’t always pick this up exactly.

Apple Watch – link to Strava. Here are the instructions –  https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000161184-Strava-Apple-Watch-App

Strava Leader boards. Whilst you will always see your segment efforts, however they will not appear on the Leader board unless the activity privacy is set to “Everyone”, as below.


You can set the default on your profile (under “Privacy Controls”), and you can also change it on an activity-by-activity basis, including past activities.

Privacy Zones. You can set up privacy zones to hide portions of your route. So for example, you run from home and don’t want to share that start and end point on the Strava Map.  You can access this option on the desktop under “Privacy Controls”  – “Additional Controls”, as below.

For example, below I have hidden the route start and end points ¼ mile within Coombe Dingle Sports complex.
By Richard Hughes

Saturday Water Tower Group

I’ve not mentioned that Saturday Water Tower group for a while so here’s another plug. The group meet every Saturday morning from the Downs, just in front of the Water Tower and the Downs Cafe. It’s very much a social run with the group aiming to run as much trail as possible. We tend to run about 10 miles but there are times we will split up if a few plan on running a shorter distance. Either way nobody will run on their own or get left behind. Today’s group pictured below.

Riverbank Rollick, Thornbury, Sunday 16th January

It was race day for the multi-terrain athletes with sixteen Westbury runners heading to Thornbury Running Club’s Riverbank Rollick – 10 miles of hills, mud, gates, stiles, streams, more mud and more hills. Luckily the weather was perfect and the scenery inspirational.

The race was won by Kevin Bale of Weston AC in 1hour 5 minutes, Sean Leadbeater (unattached) was 2nd in 1.07 and Simon Water (Dursley) 3rd in 1.07. Annabel Granger (B&W) was 6th overall and 1st lady in 1.09.

In a field of around 280 runners Alastair Blackwood (SM) and Tim Clothier (V40) led out the Westbury Harriers team. The pair ran strongly for the whole race and finished close together in 1 hour 17 minutes for 23rd and 25th place.

Our ladies were in really good form and picked up some good category prizes. Trish Robson won the Lady Vet 60 category in 1.26 with Anneke Bull finishing 3rd in 1.34. The prolific Helen Sawyer was 1st LV 50 and Kate Hoffen 2nd LV55. The Westbury V65 men took a clean sweep on the podium with Mike Mewse 1st (1.21), David George 2nd (1.26) and the legendary Mike Harris (returning to racing after two years) 3rd in 1.37.

Just off the podium with 4th places were Trevor Fitsall (1.25) and Jane Goodwin (1.34) in their respective V50 categories. Tim Carr finished in 116th place with the “Tough of the Track” Clive Attwood continuing his recovery from injury with a solid 1.45 clocking, just ahead of Nicola Derrick who finished 1.52 for 187th place.

Great to see former Westbury runner Caroline Bull (77th 1.30) and (“Junior Tough of the Track”) Jake Attwood (34th 1.19) in action.

Thank you to our photographer Ian Derrick and Many Thanks to our colleagues at Thornbury Running Club for putting on an excellent race. Great work from the marshals, who included some well known to Westbury Harriers – Dave Hobbs, Chris Studley, Paul Harrod and Jerry Clothier.

Race report by Mike Mewse.

EA Challenge Sunday 23rd January 4pm

The EA 30 Challenge now seems a distant memory, but for many of us the weekly attempts to see how far we could run in 30 minutes played an important part in maintaining our physical fitness and mental well-being during the lockdown restrictions in the first half of 2021.

At various times the rules allowed us to run in pairs, groups of 6 and for the last weeks of the challenge in larger groups. Some of us ran regularly around Aztec West finishing with a party at the end of the run on 29 May!  The BAP (Big Aztec Party) pictured below.

A few of us have decided it would be fun to recreate the challenge by getting back together for another run around Aztec West on Sunday 23 January at 4pm. 

For those who are new to the club or didn’t take part last time the challenge is simple, run as far as you can in 30 minutes! The loop around Aztec West is almost exactly a mile, we will do a warm up lap together, then the 30 minute run followed by a gentle cool down. 

If anyone would like to join us we increase the chances of having runners at a similar pace to run with! We will meet by the lake at 4pm.

By Mark Andrews

The National Cross-Country Championships – Parliament Hill, London,  Saturday 26th February 2022

The “Nationals” is like the FA Cup Final of the cross-country world.

You can’t just sign up and play in the FA Cup Final – but you can run in the Nationals.

Expect a field of over 1,000 for the women and over 2,000 for the men – 8K for Women and 12K for Men. It’s do-able for anyone from Group 1 to Group 4 – anyone really. If you want to run you just need to go online, pay your entry fee – and then you’re in.  Even better the club will reimburse your entry fee. Entries close on Friday 28th January. Please let you team manager know if you’re running too.

Get the training in and be brave – you won’t regret it. Here’s the link https://www.englishcrosscountry.co.uk/the-national-cross-country-championships/entry-procedure/

Masters Racing

Next event up is  the South West Vets Cross Country at Sidford, East Devon on Sunday 6th February. Masters Athletics is for those over the age of 35 who want to race competitively.

South West Vets AC is staging the event – it’s one race of 6K for all age groups (5 year bands from 35 upwards) , men and women. There’s an Open race with prizes with medals for SWVAC top three in each age band.  Entry is £8 for EA affiliated members. Details : http://www.southwestvets.co.uk/

There are Masters events in all the disciplines – track & field, road running and cross country – run by the British Masters Athletic Federation. To take part in all BMAF events it’s best to join an area club – South West Vets are offering yearly membership for just £8 at the moment. See website or ask Mike Mewse if you’re interested. We will be sharing lifts and it should be a great day out.

Strava Segment of the Week

Well done to Valerie Hughes for becoming a local legend on Strava segment ‘Bell Barn -2’. Local Legends are, and to quote from Strava, a means to ‘celebrate grit, discipline and passion’. To become a Local Legend and earn a laurel crown, athletes must log the most efforts on a segment over 90 days.

The 90-day competition period is a rolling window, measured back from the current day. The path to the Local Legend throne can change daily, with old efforts expiring and new ones taking their place. Athletes will have to defend their laurel crown if they want to keep it.

Diary Dates

Sunday 23rd January Doynton Hard Half Marathon, a ‘horrible’ cross country. https://www.doyntonhardhalfmarathon.co.uk

Sunday 23rd January  Speedway 10k. Beachley. https://tinyurl.com/2p8f7nf7

Saturday 29th January Midland Cross Country at Berry Hill, Mansfield

11th February 7:30pm Beechenhurst Lodge FoD Night Race. A beginners course totally on forest trails with no mud. Road shoes may be suitable (depending on weather conditions in the days leading up to the event). This is a fast course with a ‘hard- pack’ gravel surface throughout. 

Saturday 19th February Gwent League Cross Country, Blaise Castle.

Sunday 20th February Castle Coombe Chilly 10k and Chilly Spring Duathlon. DB Max Events.

Sunday 20th February Ironwood Challenge 2022 Off road 10k trail race.  https://tinyurl.com/2p8atcez

Saturday 19th March Gwent League Cross Country, Singleton Park, Swansea

Saturday 19th March 20 & 1/2 Fission ,fast flat 20 miler starting at Berkeley Power Station. Half marathon option too. Now in its 7th year, this event has sold out every year. 

Sunday 20th March Forest of Dean Spring Half Marathon. https://www.rotary-rfod.org.uk/events.php

Sunday 3rd April at 6:45pm Annual General Meeting via Zoom

Saturday 9th April Family festival of running.  Active soul are holding at Pomphrey hill- It would be awesome to see some members of the club and their families at this event. https://wishy.org.uk/runforfun

Saturday 7th May. Provisional date for Annual Awards Night. Venue TBC

Saturday and Sunday 11 and 12 June. Cheddar Challenge by Relish Running

Sunday 26th June. Lacock Road Races, Half and 10k by Relish Running.

Thursday 7th July Tintern Trot, 10k trail run along the Wye Valley. Group discount if we have more than 10 interested.

Saturday 30th July Magor 10K, fast, flat and furious.

Saturday 17th September Relish Running Cheddar Gorge Downhill 10K. https://tinyurl.com/2p9yrsvk

Saturday 24th September, Uphill to Wells Relay. An off-road relay race starting at Uphill beach and finishing at Wells Cathedral. The route is 90% off-road and follows the West Mendip Way along footpaths and bridleways. The race is a ‘hand-over’ relay, run without marshals, water stations or other assistance. Teams are responsible for their own safety and for researching the route although their progress will be monitored at check-points at the end of every leg.https://www.uphilltowells.com/default.aspx

Sunday 25th September Forest of Dean Autumn Half Marathon. https://www.rotary-rfod.org.uk/events.php

Editor this Week

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