Weekly News – Sunday 14th April 2024

Spring has sprung and the racing season is well and truly underway! Lots of members have been out and about this weekend putting in some fantastic performances – I know there have been Harriers competing at Manchester Marathon, the Frenchay 10k and Bristol Track Club’s 5k Race Day, to name but a few. At the Frenchay 10k, Heidi Andrews was 1st V50 female and the Westbury ladies won the team prize! Lots of members sped round the Odd Down circuit last night at the BTC 5k. Full results can be found here but a particular mention to Freya Bradley (U17) who came 8th overall in the Senior race in a time of 17.03, and to Katie Hughes (18:53) and Paul Stuart (19:42) who both came second in their age categories.

Best of luck to everyone who is running the London Marathon next weekend – hope you all have a fantastic run and enjoy the experience!

Racing aside, there’s a lot going on at the moment in the club, with an upcoming AGM, more club centenary events planned, the return of our Blaise Blazer race in June and much more! Do have a read through the notices and mark key dates in your diary. This Monday also marks the return to training at Blaise on Monday nights (6.30pm from the clubhouse) which is always a lovely point in the season – just remember that the Kings Weston Iron Bridge is still shut and there are roadworks on Falcondale Road so you may want to allow a bit of extra time.

Also those who were at intervals on Thursday on the field at Coombe Dingle said there were lots of mosquitoes around by the end of the session – you may want to consider insect repellent for next week!

Finally thanks to Louise and Sarah for organising another club supper at The Black Swan last Thursday. There was a good turnout, with extra celebrations for Vicky’s birthday! Tamsin also presented Ian with some beers and running vouchers to say thanks on behalf of the club for Ian’s stalwart efforts writing the weekly newsletter for many years.

Thanks also to Yvette (and Rick from Up & Running and Richard from Altra) for organising a brilliant Altra shoe demo at training last Monday. Several members tested out some of the Altra models and all WH members get 20% discount if they place an order before the end of April – see Yvette’s post on Facebook for more info.

Happy running,




This week, we have race reports from Rachel Liston and Dan Sampayo – thanks for sending these in and well done to both of you for the great performances. We always love to include race reports from members so do send them in to communication@westburyharriers.co.uk

Rachel – Brighton Marathon

It was a bright sunny day in Brighton, thank goodness, the rain seems to have headlined the last few weeks, but thankfully not part of this tale. The wind featured though, heavily!  I had been a little worried the Brighton marathon route might feel a bit repetitive, with lots of looping in another so big area, but that actually didn’t feel the case! The race started in Preston Park, (with Paula Radcliffe starting the race!) and then quickly made its way to the sights of Brighton, past the Pavilion, down the Lanes and to the seafront. The looping didn’t feel too loopy, which was a good thing.

We took a decent loop out to the marina and back, presenting a brilliant seafront view, plenty of cooling breeze and the opportunity to see the leading pack making their return towards town. It was generally flatish (from a Bristolian perspective!) But I wonder if the route has changed to include a few more hills than previous years as there was definitely more than one hill! The last 6 miles were hot, residential and without huge support, but I had my head down by that point! Pleased to have managed a spirit finish and a PB and, the highlight of my day…Paula at the finish line giving out medals! Pleased I was with it enough to join her queue, annoyed I wasn’t quite with it enough to ask for a photo!…next time!

Dan – Kingston Break-fast Run

The Kingston Break-fast Run sets out to answer the age-old question: Which is better? A loop, or an out and back.

The Break-fast run, a 20-mile race positioned perfectly ahead of the Spring marathon season, consists of two 8-mile loops followed by not one, but two out and backs. Now, as you seasoned runners will know, both of those route options have their own negatives, difficulties and mental challenges – so is there even an answer to the question?

At 8am on Sunday 17thMarch over 700 of us gathered at the historic Kingston marketplace to take on either the 8-mile, 16-mile or 20-mile course and find out…With the London Marathon less than weeks away (6 at the time of racing) this was a fantastic opportunity for me to build some confidence, see where my fitness was, and bank another 20 miles of training, and what better place to do it than my old hometown.

The start of the race is fairly chaotic, with all distances setting off at the same time from the same paddock – you are hard pressed to get near the pacers and therefore runners similar to you, which left me spending most of the race either overtaking or running alone. You begin by looping round the back of the Bentalls Centre, before crossing over the Kingston Bridge and onto the Barge Walk towpath. Now because the roads hadn’t been completely closed you did have a few disgruntled cyclists coming the other way down the towpath, and I saw at least one berating a poor photographer (side note – free official photos on the race website!). The towpath acted like towpaths do on rainy days: it got muddy. But the tough conditions were worth it once you got to the end of the path and were greeted by the sight of Hampton Court.

You then loop round and face a tricky few miles of rather anonymous road up the A309 and back into Kingston to start again. Personally, when I can visualise a route, I find it a lot easier, so miles 8-16 were softened by knowing exactly where I needed to go. However, the last 4 miles takes you a mile up the towpath again, then back, then back over the bridge and a mile back the way you just came then back again. Mentally this was incredibly tough when you’re looking over the river literally miles away knowing you’ve got to get there!

So, for me, the Break-fast run does manage to answer that old question and I am firmly team loop (very happy to get into a lengthy debate at a Wednesday social run). Although the course is very well marshalled there’s limited crowd support on the course, so it was a lovely final few hundred metres with a crowd who had braved the rain cheering you on.

Ultimately, I would say this is a great training run and one I’d recommend, but not a goal race or one to go out of your way for. I ran this ahead of the London Marathon, which I’m running this year in aid of PHAB, a fantastic charity (aren’t they all?) which supports families with disabled children, offering them help, respite and community. It’s one I used to volunteer for and I have lots of friends still heavily involved.


If you’d like to donate, you can do so using this link – https://2024tcslondonmarathon.enthuse.com/pf/dan-sampayo




Blaise Blazer entries are now open. Apologies for the delay it has been a busy time with our centenary year and we have moved to chip timing so had a new system to navigate. As people have noticed, unfortunately this year our event clashes with the Hogweed Trot 10km which they have had to move forward a week due to the race HQ they use. This means we really do need people to support the Blaise Blazer both my volunteering to marshal (information will be sent out by Alistair nearer the time) or by taking part in the race. For people new to the club this is a 4 mile (approx.) route around the Blaise estate, a few big hills thrown in for fun, all abilities welcome and lots of cups of tea and cake at the end.


Price is £7 affiliated, £9 unaffiliated

Information here https://westburyharriers.co.uk/events/blaise-blazer/ Please to spread the word to friends, family, work colleagues and other runners.



The Westbury Harrier’s AGM takes place on Thursday 25th April at 7.30pm at Coombe Dingle Sports Complex in the bar area upstairs in the cricket pavilion. All members welcomed and encouraged to come along. Buffet provided.

You will have received your AGM pack via email on 11/04/24.

Questions for any other business (AOB) to be submitted by e-mail to secretary@westburyharriers.co.uk by 5pm 20th April


Vacant Posts

Treasurer Judy Knights – standing down at end of year, so an assistant is required with a view of taking over the role at end of year 2024.

Senior Men’s team manager (*Vacant)

Masters’ Women’s team manager (*Vacant)

Academy Coordinator (*Vacant) –Carrie Jones is standing down in July 2024. Would be good to have a team going forward in this role from September 2024.


New positions

Parent Helpers/volunteers at the Gwent League for junior age groups (*Vacancies) – to have assigned parent helpers/volunteer for each or several of the age groups to support the team managers in meeting and greeting, ensuring, youngsters have the right number and these put it back in the folder. Supporting with warming up and checking in with youngsters after the race.

New members enquiries (*Vacancies) 2x or more designated people to deal and respond with new queries for the academy and the junior section.

Marketing & Publicity (*Vacancies) persons to look at marketing the club, social media presence, links with other organisations and promoting the club.

Events co-ordinators (*Vacancies) to have designated people who book and organise the AGM, awards night and any other events – includes the booking and sorting of food/drinks.

Equality, diversion and inclusion (*Vacancies) person/s to focus on and engage with with marginalised groups to help with expanding barriers to participation.



Please get signed up for this event if you are available. This is a really good event with each leg being about 5k around the motor racing circuit. The club pays the entry fee, we can share lifts and the club will contribute towards travel costs. We would like to put out some competitive teams but also give an opportunity to anyone who would like to enjoy taking part. Representing the club as part of a team is great fun, we hope to have a good day out as well as giving it our best in the race!

For the women, we are hoping to enter a V35 team of 4 and FV45, FV55 and FV65 teams of 3. If you would like to take part in this race, then please get in touch manager.vet.women@westburyharriers.co.uk

Sign up on RunTogether and let you team manager know you want to take part.

Men – Chris Palmer/Mark Andrews mark.andrews65@me.com

Women – Eithne Noonan manager.vet.women@westburyharriers.co.uk


CENTENARY DINNER – SATURDAY 18TH MAY 7PM – The Bristol Hotel, Prince St, Bristol BS1 4QF


Link above of how to purchase tickets and submit your meal choices for the centenary dinner. It would be lovely to see many of you there. Partners/friends welcome. Past members encouraged to come along and catch up. Don’t be put off by the dress code. Whilst it is lovely to see runners out of their lycra and sweaty kit, it is smart/casual – so whatever you feel comfortable in.

Westbury Harriers Monday night training survey

All members should have received an email explaining why we are asking people to complete a survey about Monday Night training. Please can everyone read the email and respond.

Please consider the initial question in the light of the information in the email. We would like responses from all members who run on a Monday or would run on a Monday if the sessions we are able to offer were at a start time they were able to run at. Please remember that what we are able to offer is dependent on a number of factors including the availability of our brilliant group of Volunteer Coaches and Run Leaders. The deadline for responses is Friday 26 April following which we will be able to collate and consider everyone’s views before deciding on the best way to move forwards.

Feedback suggestions

In March 2023 we held a feedback evening. People left comments and told us what the club does well, what it could improve on and gave their ideas and suggestions.

You Said


We Did


Supplying transport to some of the further races. For example, the Pembrey Gwent and National Cross Country.


We agreed that supporting club members to get to races is really important. We used to arrange coaches to Gwent Leagues and events like the National XC. We have found in the past they don’t get always get well used as it means a longer day for people and are expensive. However, we will look at trying this for the Pembrey Gwent and the National XC in 2024 and review how this went.




We organised a coach share to the Pembey Gwent League with North Somerset AC however this option was not taken up my club members and therefore we will not be offering this again. The National XC was cancelled this year due to the weather. However, the location was straight forward to get to. We may consider a coach the next time the Nationals is at Parliament Hill. But due to the cost we do need to ensure it is used.


Improve the lights on a Thursday night for on the field.


We have purchased some new lights.


Parents new to the club, difficult to know what the different events are. Be good to understand the different races. For example, the difference between Glos league and Gwent league. Not sure what the priorities of the main ones are. Do read the newsletter. Lots of opportunities for the kids but don’t want them to miss out. Being part of the team is important but need to have the information.


At the beginning of the cross country season the fixtures were shared, with links to the websites, how entries are made and who the events are suitable for. This was shared via the newsletter.


Can we meet together as we used to


The seniors are trialling meeting at the same time again from January 2024.



A reminder that we have an events calendar on our website where you can keep track of dates for training, events and races. (Thanks, Vicky, for keeping this updated). https://westburyharriers.co.uk/events/events-calendar/


If anyone would like to purchase a Westbury Harriers t-shirt, please contact Tamsin as she is putting in an order. T-Shirts are custom ordered to individuals – cost £22 adults, £18 juniors. These are ‘official’ so you can race in them. If you need a vest, we keep stock so these are available then you want – £18.50 adults, £15 juniors. We also have crop tops at £20 (it’s got to warm up soon!) Let Tamsin know if you’d like to place an order or comment on her post on Facebook earlier this week.


Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to help run the WH stand at the running show in two weeks time. A few more volunteers (particularly men!) would be welcome so if you’re available to help in any of the slots, (9-11, 11-1, 1-3), please contact Mark Andrews or comment on his FB post.




Remember that Senior Training is back at Blaise clubhouse for the first time this year! 6.30pm start.


This week the session is:

Goal:5k specific pace session

6 x 800m (90 secs recovery – 200m)

If you run regularly at Yate or plan to give track races a go this season. Do make sure you have taken advantage of our partnership with Yate AC and join Yate for free as an associate Westbury Harriers member: https://westburyharriers.co.uk/membership/yate-partnership/


Meet every Wednesday at 12pm at the traffic lights by Saville Road on the Downs. Book on via RunTogether HERE.


18th April planned session ON GRASS IF DRY

4 mins, 2 min recovery
2 x 3 mins, 90 secs recovery
3 x 2 mins, 1 min recovery
4 x 1 mins, 1 min recovery

Aim for 10k pace/effort on the 4 minutes, aim to increase pace as intervals get shorter.


This week’s editor: Hannah Large