Weekly News – Sunday 19th March

Sunday 19th March

Westbury Harriers – Weekly News

Editors Piece

I’ll start the newsletter with a reminder that we have our Annual General Meeting next Sunday (26th March) at 6:45pm via Zoom. Please do attend as it’s your opportunity to provide feedback and gain an insight into the workings of the club. 

The day after we have a drop-in session at Coombe Dingle (from 6pm) should you have any ideas or feedback you would like to provide on a more informal, one to one basis.

I’ll also mention the GWR Towpath series. This low-cost, friendly and relaxed race series takes place on a Friday evening during the summer months and is a great event to stretch the legs after a busy working week. I recommend it and try to at least attend the mob match in May.


Tuesday Running Session at Yate Track and Thursday Intervals

The running session at Yate Track will be advertised on facebook nearer the time.

For the Thursday session it really is hills this week. I’m 100% confident, in fact I’ve treble checked, definitely hills! That means we’re on the road so wear bright clothing/lights and wear road shoes.

EDP Lisbon Half Marathon and Vodafone 10k

A small group within the club have taken a keen interest in the SuperHalfs Marathon series. There are 5 races in the series including Prague, Copenhagen, Cardiff and Valencia but many of us decided to start the SuperHalf journey with the Lisbon event. With almost daily flights from Bristol and plenty of accommodation options in Lisbon it seemed the natural choice.

This elite performance group of Westbury runners weren’t just there for high intensity training, ice baths, strict diets and route reconnaissance. We were in Lisbon for a holiday too!

We all had a great time, doing everything together as a group. On the first day, after picking up our numbers, we went to see all the sights of Lisbon. Day excursions included a trip to Sintra, exploring the castle on the hill. Cascais was a lovely sea side town an hour’s train ride away with Mark, Clair and Kate braving the cold Atlantic for a swim. We didn’t even stop after the race with one small group heading into a bar to watch the rugby and another taking a boat trip to see the view from the Cristo Rei Christ statue.

Most nights we dined out but the evening before the race we decided on a quiet night in.  Sandra and I glided around the supermarket, effortlessly selecting ingredients as if we were locals. Sandra then morphed into a cross between Delia Smith and Prue Leith to cook us all a performance enhancing meal.

Now, this is a running newsletter so I better get on with describing the race.

There are two half marathon events in the calendar that regularly achieve world records, one is Valencia, the second is Lisbon.  In fact the men’s course record of 57:31 was set by Jacob Kiplimo from Uganda in 2021 and remains as the current world record for the half marathon. 

Both the 10K and half marathon are point to point routes, starting from the iconic Bridge 25 de Abril, with a fast, flat out and back route along the stunning Lisbon coast. 

The weather was warn and sunny, perhaps a little too warm for a group that had only just left a snowy Bristol. The course is fast with a slight downhill as you come off the bridge. The only complaint was without formal start waves there was a lot of traffic to negotiate. Even so, with around 15,000 runners in each race there was always going to be somebody to run with.

Unfortunately no world records were broken this year by Westbury Harriers, or even the elite athletes.  In the half marathon the men’s winner was Nibret Melak from Ethiopia in 59:06. The women’s winner (also an Ethiopian) was Almaz Ayana with a time of 65:50.

In the 10k event we had Sandra Sforza and Kate Hoffen competing, and both achieved some impressive results in the W55 age category. Kate crossed the line in a time of 48:14 with a 5th place category win and Sandra was 9th in her age group in 54:15.

In the half marathon the highest category position was achieved by Sandy Masters in a time of 01:45:38 taking 6th place in the W65 age category. A very impressive result even though the event was just part of her marathon training with her ultimate goal being the London Marathon this April. Only a minute behind, Sarah Andrews was hot on Sandy’s heels, crossing the line in 01:46:36.  Heidi Andrews is in a similar position to Sandy with Lisbon being part of her training programme as she prepares for London. Heidi had a great run, finishing in 01:49:59. Emma-Jane Orchard (like many of us) was a little apprehensive at the start but she used the nervous energy to power her run, with a chip time of 01:53:37.

For the Westbury Harrier men we had a runner in each age category from M45 to M60. Ian Gawinowski had a fantastic day achieving a personal best of 01:27:05. The second Westbury male was Mark Andrews, who surged across the finish line in 01:44:32. Richard Hughes had fortunately recovered from injury in time for Lisbon, and perhaps the enforced rest did him some good as he finished in 01:49:39 ,claiming 28th place in the M60 age group.

Clair Cusack was unable to run due to injury but provided fantastic support on the day. Clair had positioned herself just before the finish and her shouts of encouragement were needed on tired legs. The great action shots of Sandra and Kate would also not have been possible without Clair.

It’s now time to recover and think about planning the next Super Half.


Riga 23 World Athletics Road Running Championships, Saturday 30th Sept

The World Athletics Road Running Championships is just around the corner and it’s time to gear up and lace up!

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to test your limits and push yourself to new heights. Running with the best in the world, with mass participation events, on a world-class course, is an experience like no other. So don’t miss this chance to challenge yourself and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Join the global running community and Westbury Harriers runners in Autumn in Riga, Latvia.

On Saturday 30th September, it’s the World Mile Mass race and the 5km Mass Race. On Sunday 1st October, it’s the Half Marathon Mass Race

Entry prices for the half, 5k and mile are as follows (until March 31st, then they increase): €49, €24 & €14 respectively

So far we have eight club runners signed up, mainly for the half-marathon.  If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Richard Hughes.


Two Tunnels

Congratulations to Dawn Stygall who ran the Two Tunnels race in Bath a few weeks ago. The event by Relish Running is very well organised with more races on the 4th June and 20th August. See the link below for details.

Dawn who race the 10k event was flying along crossing the line in 44:53 and taking 3rd lady overall and first in her age category.

Dawn says she didn’t run with the dog, he just loves to be in a photo!

The other photo is from the colour run,  also at two tunnels the same day with her son Toby. This proved to be a  good 2k warm up with a (hopefully) future Westbury Harrier!

Surrey Half Marathon

Rachel Liston tells me that she did the Surrey Half a couple of  weekends ago. She says, ‘I’m still on a bit of a high after the Surrey half. Marathon training for London is going well, and the training plan was telling me to do a sub 1.45 half marathon this weekend. My PB, set 12 years ago! Was 1.43 so I did wonder if I might stand a chance of getting close to it.

For a Bristolian, where you can’t run five minutes without encountering a hill, the route was super fast. Any slight undulation up was quickly repaid with a downward slope. There was a rather mind numbing few miles of an out and back along an A road, but then we were back into Woking and it was all over!

Totally stoked to achieve a 1.40 PB and come 19th in my age category. With 6 weeks to go until London hopes are high of getting a good time, I’ve my fingers and toes crossed all illnesses and injuries are avoided between now and then!

Falmouth Half Marathon

Lucilla Macgregor reports that she entered the Falmouth Half Marathon as a Westbury Harrier member and achieved a reasonably good time on a very challenging course. She strongly recommends the race. She goes on to say , it was really well organised, and everyone was exceptionally friendly.

The course was beautiful, with wonderful views of the sea and huge fields of daffodils. It was entirely on the road, but as you’d expect along the coast, very hilly!’

Club Drop-In Session

Dear Runners, Parents and Volunteers,

The club will be hosting an informal drop-in session on Monday 27th March in the meeting room at Coombe Dingle Sports Complex between 6pm-8.30pm.

The purpose is to invite people to give their feedback and ideas on how the club can improve, develop and spend resources. There will be committee members who you can talk with and places where you can jot down your suggestions.

The meeting room is upstairs in the cricket pavilion opposite the bar.

We hope you can spare 5-10 mins that evening to pop along.

Midland Counties 12 Stage Relay, Saturday 1st April, Sutton Park

A date for your diary is Saturday 1st April 2023 for the 12 Stage Relays at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield. We are inviting entries from Group 3 runners upwards with the aim of putting out two teams.

There are 12 stages per team – 4 long stages of 8.6K and 8 short stages of 5K

This is one of the top road relays in the UK. It’s a great occasion with around 75 teams.

If you would like to race in a Westbury Harriers team please let us know straight away and we’ll put in provisional entries from this weekend.  The club will pay for entries and will help with travel.

Just reply with your Name,  preferred distance (5K or 8.6 K) and your estimated time.

Chris Palmer and Geraint Torrington will also be helping to recruit team members so feel free to have a chat with any of them.

Mike Mewse     Senior Men’s Team, Manager.

New to Athletics?

Are you interested in training at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex or even competing in some track events this summer? If you are have a read of this handy guide provided by our sister club, Yate and District AC.  We also have Vicky Tester as our senior track manager so worth e-mail her if your interesting in training or competing on the track. senior.track.manager@westburyharriers.co.uk


Strava Segment of the Week

Well done to James Eke on his run around the environs of Eastville. James achieved a third fastest time on Strava Segment Eastville Parkrun sprint finish in 17 seconds.

Diary Dates

Sunday 26th March Club AGM via Zoom

Monday 27th March Club Drop in Session, Coombe Dingle from 6pm

Friday 31st March Severn Bridge Twilight 5 (and Club Championship event)

Sunday 23rd April Offa’s Orror 10k and 10k trail run, Chepstow Harriers

Saturday 1st April 6 and 12 Stage Midland Relays, Sutton Park

Sunday 2nd April Forest of Dean Spring Half Marathon

Friday 7th April Bristol Track Club 5 km

Sunday 16th April Frenchay 10k, it’s hilly!

Monday 17th April Seniors back to Blaise estate for training

Sunday 23rd April Offa’s Orror trail race including both the 20k and 10k options

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

Friday 19th May GWR Towpath Race 1 (including Mob Match)

Saturday 20th May Club Awards Evening at Shirehampton Golf Club

Thursday 25th May Weston Prom

Saturday 10th June Man V Horse

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

Tuesday 13th June Clevedon AC Midsummer 10k 

Friday 16th June GWR Towpath Race 2

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

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