Weekly News – Sunday 18th February 2024



Happy Sunday everyone! It’s my turn to write the newsletter and it’s been another busy week. Last Saturday saw lots of Harriers wade through Margam Park’s finest mud at the penultimate Gwent League XC fixture of the season. The men’s and women’s team both did really well and there’s lots to play for at the final fixture at Parc Pont-y-Pwl on Saturday 2nd March. Please do consider running if you can – every runner counts and we’d love to be able to field two big teams for the Gwent season finale. On firmer ground, the Midlands Road relays are fast approaching on 23rd March and we’re hoping to enter teams for both the men’s and women’s relays. More details and Run Together sign up links for both Midlands RR and Gwent below.

On the training front, it’s also been busy with Harriers braving the grotty February weather to rack up the miles on the road, trails and track! Several people tried a new group at Move up Monday, six of us slid around Blaise for Tuesday Trails, 14 braved “marmite” 400s in the rain at the Tuesday Track session, six summitted Knoll Hill many times on Wednesday lunchtime, seven sped along the Portway on Wednesday evening, 26 whizzed around Woodland Grove for the Thursday intervals session and six strode along the Strawberry Line on Saturday to bank a great half marathon/marathon training session. Phew!

As for today, it’s the Dursley Dozen 12 mile trail race – another club championship race. The course description mentions “the infamous precipice where ropes are provided” so it’s bound to be an interesting race! Results and maybe even a write-up to follow next week. Good luck to all running.

Also best of luck to all those racing at the National XC Championships on February 24th! Important parking information is here. 

Hannah Large

GWENT LEAGUE #4 – MARGAM PARK 10th February 

Senior Men’s report from Geraint Torrington

What a way to celebrate the start of our centenary year! It was a mud-fest of a cross country race with our highest placed individual finish for many years – Seamus Robinson on his senior debut finishing 2nd! And he was only using the event as a warm-up for the nationals where he’ll compete as an Under 20 athlete.

It’s the second consecutive fixture that the men have been the fourth team on the day with Seamus’ 2nd place backed up with Ben Rawlins 12th, Matthew Cant 49th in his first XC race, Iain Large 57th on his Westbury XC debut and first XC for a few years and Jack Derrick hitting some great form to finish in 86th.

Another debutant, Joe Addrison, led the B team home in 107th, closely followed by Scott Campbell in 109th. Alastair Blackwood was 154th, George Griffiths in 214th and Tim Clothier 221st to complete the B team scoring.

The George Pickering v Geraint Torrington XC head-to-head sprint finish didn’t happen as George powered away from Geraint at the start and that was that. George had probably his strongest XC run to finish in 239th. Geraint didn’t beat George, but after taking a slide as he turned into the downhill on the first lap, thoroughly enjoyed the mud (even though it was horrible along the start straight). With support from the Fan Club (thanks Mark and Sarah) he did record a first ever win over a Bridgend rival who normally trots past after a couple of K. Geraint finished in 268th and was able to give Seamus and Ben some advice as he cleared space for them to go by on their final lap.

The A team’s performance in the past two fixtures has meant that from being in the relegation zone, we’re now up to 9th and 1393 points clear of 11th placed Cardiff University AC. This is quite a turnaround from being 12th (bottom place) and 700 points from safety after the first two fixtures. It really goes to show what strength we have in the men’s team when we can get a good squad out and the more men we have, the more points we score, so every runner counts.

The final fixture is at Pont-y-pŵl on Saturday, March 2nd where we’ll aim to finish strongly on the hills.

Senior Women’s report from Tamsin Chick


Margam Park is a fabulous cross country course, set on the side of a scenic hill. I remember thinking last year in a very dry February this course is tough, imagine how tough it would be in a wet year! Well, we definitely had those conditions on Saturday at the 4th Gwent League fixture of 2023/2024 season. The ground was soft, there was a lot of mud and it was hard going! I pulled Ian’s leg after he said the Cardiff course was muddy. However, this was proper XC mud. Jayne, I’m sorry you missed it. The weather on the day was kind, a great temperature for running. Even a picturesque rainbow as the men ran. The course was run in the opposite direction to last year. Don’t know what others thought? But this way round felt harder. The main field was really muddy which meant after the first 400m your legs were tired and that was before the laps with the hill. However, the large lap was dry on the way up the hill. But I don’t think any of us want to see Mark’s video of us getting to the top!

A big congratulations to all our ladies, this was a true testing cross country. Everyone ran superbly, showing what a strong bunch they are both, mentally and physically. Hannah had another fantastic run, the course suiting her ultra/mountainous strength. She finished in her best ever Gwent position of 5th. I was pleased in my last season as a V35 (and technically now a V45) to finish in my highest V35 placing. Becky set off saying, ‘I don’t think I can do this,’ but went on to have a great run with Olivia packing in right behind her. Both having run really well in the hard half the weekend previously. Great to see Emma back to form after a number of injuries this season completing the A team.

Our V55s went in determined as team. Fabulous runs from Sarah, Kate, Antonia, Helen and Anneke, with many of them doing well in the individual overall results. Sandra unfortunately suffered a fall after one of her spikes fell apart leaving the sole flapping for her to trip over, only for the same to happen on the other shoe. Sandra not only managed to carry on with no soles on her shoes but finished strongly and with a smile. What a runner! Up and Running crew Sandra will be paying you a visit for some new spikes! Thank-you to Hannah and Emma-Jane who came to score us some points after managing recent injuries. Heidi, one of her strongest runs and was maybe the only one to finish saying, ‘That was brilliant, I loved it!’ The V65s (and V75) in a league of their own as team – well done Fliss, Eithne and Anne.


A team (Hannah Large SL 5th, Tamsin Chick V45 24th, Becky Lee V35 42nd, Olivia Zeltner SL 43rd, Emma Woodworth V45 52nd)

B team (Sarah Andrews V55 67th, Kate Hoffen V55 81st, Antonia Gooder V55 84th, Hannah Batchelor SL 89th, Heidi Andrews V45 104th)

C team (Helen Sawyer V55 116th, Emma-Jane Orchard V45 127th, Anneke Bull V55 159th, Sandra Sforza V55 175th, Felicity Russell V65 176th)

D team (Katie Ramsden U23 192nd, Eithne Noonan V65 208th, Anne Dockery V75 210th)

Senior team 4th on the day, B Team 9th, C team 32nd, D team 51st out of 66 teams on the day.


The A team have moved up from 3rd overall to 2nd. Reserve Division – B team have improved on their 2nd position and moved up to 1st. C and D team have held on to their 7th and 11th places respectively. place D team improved from 19th to 11th. Whilst we did not have numbers for other teams at this fixture the E team are in 18th, F team is 28th, G team is 35th, H team 43rd and I team 56th.


Current Age groups team standings

U23 – 12th (moving down from 11th)

V35 – 2nd (moving down from 1st, 4 points behind)

V45 – 2nd (staying the same, 28 points behind the leaders) B team for V45 6th

V55 – 1st (moving up from 2nd, 2 points in the lead)

V65 – 1st (staying the same, 24 point lead)


Individual standings after 4 fixtures

Overall – Tamsin 12th, Becky 17th, V35s – Tamsin 4th, Becky Lee 8th, V45s – Emma 9th, V55s – Kate 3rd, Helen 6th, Sarah 9th, Sandra 10th, V65s – Eithne 1st, Fliss 2nd. Amazing stuff to have so many high placings!

Last fixture, Saturday 2nd March 2024 at Pontypool. The team needs you!

MCAA Road Relay Championships – Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield (B73 6BU) – Saturday 23rd March 2024

Another instance where you club needs you! Westbury Harriers will be entering teams for the Midland Road Relays. The men’s race is a 12 stage relay (8 x 3.16 miles and 4 x 5.38 miles. Long legs 1-4) and the ladies’ is a 6 stage relay (2 x 5.38 miles and 4 x 3.165 miles Long Legs one & three. Short legs two, four, five & six). We are looking to get out a competitive A team and an ‘anyone who would like to give it a go’ B team. We can also enter a C team if we have enough interest. As a guide this event is more suitable for those runners who train in groups 1-4, but anyone is welcome to take part. Relays are great fun, Sutton Park is great course and venue.
Please sign up on RunTogether.

Tamsin is coordinating the ladies team and Chris Palmer the men’s team. Entries close on 10th March so we need to know by 8th March (latest) if you can run. With this event you can enter 3 times the number of names per team with 12/6 to run, but there are no amendments nearer the time. So anyone who can be a reserve is most welcome. Please let Chris or Tamsin know if you are regular racer and are not available so we don’t chase you. Equally, contact Tamsin and Chris if you have any questions.
Organising relay teams is not easy, so please help Tamsin and Chris by signing up promptly. It is always a good day out and it’s great to support your team mates. Lift shares will be available.
The club pays the entry fees and supports towards petrol costs as this is a regional championship event.


Monday night tempo session

Please remember all groups now leave Coombe Dingle promptly at 6:30pm, torches and bright/reflective clothing are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Tuesday Track session 

From February track session fees (+admin fee) will be taken through RunTogether like other sessions, so there will be no need to pay Yate directly, as the club will do this. Please do cancel if you can’t make the session as the track sessions are popular and there has been a waiting list in recent weeks. As before, if RunTogether doesn’t refund you automatically please message Tamsin.

This week the session is: More distance with 5k pace or quicker:

2 X 800M @ 5k pace with 200M jog recovery
4 x 200M @ quicker than 5k pace, with 100M jog recovery
2 x 800M @ 5k pace, with 200M jog recovery

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 joined Yate for free as an associate Westbury Harriers member. https://westburyharriers.co.uk/membership/yate-partnership/

Wednesday hills session 

Many thanks to Fliss who is supporting coaching these sessions since Richard stepped back. We also grateful for others who are completing their LiRF course to help out too. These sessions are covered over the next few months so please book on via RunTogether.

Thursday Intervals


This week on the grass (slightly weather dependent), bring a headtorch!

Session: 10 x 2 mins (1 min recovery) @ 10K effort
Aim to increase effort as session progresses, finishing off at slightly harder than 5K effort.

Remember you ALWAYS have an option to drop down groups, and times on these, so don’t be shy.

For something a bit different…

If you enjoy hilly and mountainous running, why not try one of the fell races in South Wales? They are cheap and low-key but very friendly. This website lists all the fell races in Wales (but you can narrow the search down to South Wales) and this website has more information on the main ones that are closest to Bristol.

For those who are interested in a slightly different kind of running challenge or who want to learn some navigation techniques, Bristol Orienteering Klub is running its popular Track to Terrain course again this spring. The course consists of six events in total: four evening coached training sessions and two local orienteering events where you can practise your new skills. Sign up coming very soon on the BOK website.

BOK also hosts a summer series of Urban races on a Wednesday evening. These are great fun and a really good way into orienteering for beginners. Most of the courses stick to roads and marked paths (so don’t require the more complex navigation that you need for forest events), and a number will be suitable for children as well. If you haven’t done it before, your first race is free! If you fancy giving it a go, I’ll be at most of them (and will be helping to organise the Sea Mills event) and would be happy to talk anyone through the basics before you start.


KeyRed = key club team racesGreen = Club Championship race, Blue = Club Centenary/other events

Saturday 24th February National Cross Country Championship, Weston Park.
Sunday 25th February 2024 Bath Two Tunnels Railway Race
Saturday 2nd March 5th Gwent League Pont-y-pŵl (Club Championship)
Sunday 3rd March Newport Half Marathon fullonsport
Saturday 16th March 2024 – Masters Open Cross Country ChampionshipsCorwen, Wales. (Men/Women masters V35, V45, V55, V65 plus)
Sunday 17th March 2024 – The Big Cheese: https://www.cheddarrunningclub.co.uk/big-cheese 15 glorious miles of off-road running in the Mendips!
Saturday 23th March – Midland 12/6 stage road relays – Sutton Park (any questions please speak to your Team manager)
Saturday 23rd March – Club awards evening –  time TBC but probably around 6pm
Thursday 4th April – Weston Prom series (5 miles)
Sunday 7th April – Exe to Axe (a bit of a journey but a brilliant race!) 22 miles of coast path from Exmouth to Seaton https://www.sidmouthrunningclub.co.uk/jps-exe-to-axe-2024/
Sunday 21st April – London Marathon
Thursday 25th April 2024 – Club AGM after training at Coombe Dingle. Senior training will begin earlier at 6.30pm this evening.
Saturday 27th April Butcombe Trail Ultra Marathon 50 or 56 mile options
Saturday 18th May – Formal Dinner for Club Centenary celebration – details circulated via email)
Saturday 25th May – Masters road relays – Leicester (team managers will complete entries)
Sunday 23rd June: All club event, with activities for juniors and seniors followed by food