Weekly News – Sunday 5th December

Sunday 5th December
Westbury Harriers – Weekly News

Editors Piece

I had promised to publish the Christmas Treasure Hunt ‘somethings’ today but an event of such importance deserves a separate post. I hope to get the details out to you all later this week.

Member of the Month Winners

A big round of applause please for our junior member of the month. Finn Goodhew received the award for his impressive running in the winter fell series. He’s already 7th in the series after running the Sugar Loaf and Blorenge, a fantastic result, especially when you consider he has only run 2 out of the 3 events in the series so far.

Finn charges up to the summit of the Sugar Loaf.

Our senior award goes to Nicola Derrick. Nicola has been working very hard to make the Yate track sessions a big success. They are well structured, and Nicola aims to ensure everybody has somebody to run with. The sessions are growing in popularity and Nicola ensures whatever group you run in, you’ll have an enjoyable session. I certainly recommend giving them a try.

Nicola below, taking part in the Riverbank Rollick.

Club Intervals and Yate Track Sessions

This session for this week’s training at Yate Track is all about short, quick intervals. We start with 200m Dynamic Walking Stretches followed by 3x social warm-up laps. The session will then consist of 6x400m (100m jog rec) then a 400m recovery jog in between before we finish with some quick 10x200m (100m jog rec). The session ends with a couple of cool down laps and stretches

For the Thursday session we will be out on the road for some hills! Don’t forget your road shoes and please wear something bright or fluorescent.

High Altitude Training by James Harrod

This week we have a short article from James Harrod about his big altitude training in the French Alps. James Harrod has been one of our top juniors for many years. Working with Neil Miller and guided well by his dad Paul ( an accomplished runner himself) he has consistently produced high class runs with Westbury Harriers and Yate & District AC. James is on a gap year before going to university. James is working in his gap year to fund a trip to Kenya to take part in a running camp. As a warm up he organised his own running camp – closer to home in the French Alps.  Here’s his inspiring account of the trip.

Right, training camp checklist. Running shoes? Check. Passport? Check. Driving licence? Whoops, Dad dropped it in Bristol airport….. £300 midnight taxi to Chamonix ! Never mind. Dad, stop banging your head against the window. The taxi driver thinks I’m weird enough going somewhere for nearly a month just to run. Always a good thing when the worst bit of the holiday comes before you’ve even left the airport terminal. Anyway, my name is James Harrod. I’ve been a member of Westbury Harriers since I was ten. Eight years later, and I decided I would spend a little over three weeks in Chamonix in the French Alps training for my last cross-country season with the club before I go to university. I would be training mostly on my own with limited French language skills – but plenty of enthusiasm !

The view of La Mer de Glace was well worth the 90-minute mountain hike, even if Fridays were supposed to be my rest days!

I stayed in a friend’s chalet just outside Chamonix, located nicely between the bakery (always a perk) and the trails. I trained mostly on the UTMB trails going up the valley. Or if I didn’t fancy the climb, I made the bus do the work for me and enjoyed the views as I ran back towards Chamonix. I could see Mont Blanc from my window! My long run route took me past some of the bluest rivers you’ve ever seen, through little Alpine villages such as Argentiere, Le Lavencher, Le Bois, and of course, Chamonix, with spectacular mountain and glacier views. Maybe I’ll put the runs on Strava one day and watch the crowns roll in! On my rest days, I would go to the gym and combine three sessions into one (it was pay-per-entry) in the morning and then in the afternoon I would shun the comforts of the valley and attempt to negotiate the perilous mountain trails that lead up to (what’s left of) the Chamonix Valley’s incredible glaciers, including La Mer de Glace, the Argentiere glacier and the Le Tour glacier, or go swimming in freezing lakes up in the mountains.

This is as close as I got to Le Tour glacier. Just before I took this photo, I asked a couple in perfect French how far it was to the glacier. Having already climbed for two hours, I decided that a further hour’s hike for a slightly better view wasn’t worth it. Do I regret that now? Of course!

Before he left, my Dad banned me from such exertions but my conscience failed to enforce this rule. At the end of the day, being somewhere specifically for training meant that I had time to do all the little things (all of you readers know exactly what I mean) that you just don’t have time for (or at least think you don’t have time for) at home. I finished most of my runs at the track in central Chamonix and did warm-down strides as I watched the sun go down behind the mountains.

I had lots of natural ice baths such as in the little pool that I’m sitting by in this photo. Having swam in a hole in the ice in the Finnish Baltic before, I was unprepared for the absence of a sauna near the freezing pool of glacial melt!

By James Harrod, Autumn 2021

Gwent XC Pembrey Senior/Vet Men Results

The Tri-counties XC The results are up in impressively quick time!! 16 senior/vet men travelled over to Pembrey for another sunny and dry edition of this year’s Cross Country. A lovely course which is becoming a favourite for many awaited us although the wind was certainly pretty challenging.

The team was led by Ben Rawlins who went out fast and kept up his strong running to finish in 21st. Close behind was Oli Beale who finished in 31st (3rd V40). The first team was the made up by Anthony Glover who swapped the track for the XC and then Scott Campbell and Chris Palmer who continued their close battle this season with just 4 seconds between them!

Special shout out to Jack Derrick who improved by over 30 places from Brecon and surely a top 100 finish is now just around the corner, plus Alex Hamblin who was feeling a bit under the weather but battled hard to finish. Ewan Paton then led home a close bunch of 5 Westbury runners who packed nicely to push each other on. Sadly the big battle of the day between Ian Derrick and Geraint Torrington was unable to take place due to a niggle for Ian although there was a suggestion from some runners that Ian was unable to handle the pressure!

The team stayed in 1st place in Divison 2 although our lead was reduced to just 13 points so we need to make sure we take full advantage of home advantage at the next fixture at Blaise in February.
Individual results:

Ben Rawlins 21st, Oli Beale 31st, Anthony Glover 59th, Scott Campbell 72nd, Chris Palmer 75th, Jack Derrick 107th, Alex Hamblin 132nd, Ewan Paton 146th, Ben Wood 154th, Stephen Clayson 158th, Alastair Blackwood 165th, Robin Phillips 177th, Tim Clothier 207th, Paul Edward Stuart 213th, Mike Mewse 266th, Geraint Torrington 312th

Race report by Scott Campbell

Westbury Kit Christmas Gifts

Don’t forget our kit shop for Christmas gifts, there’s a lot of different gear to choose from! https://westburyharriers.co.uk/about/kit-shop/

If you want a hoody (£20) or buff (£8) Tamsin is at training on Thursdays and can get there for the end of the junior session. Parents, the XS hoody would fit juniors age 10 upwards. Welcome to collect from Tamsin or Katie Hughes, they both live close to Coombe Dingle and are around in the day. Men’s vests are also now back in stock.

Black Swan Christmas Buffet

The buffet for those eating at the Black Swan on Monday 13th December from 8pm is now fully booked. Those who are going have been informed, if you can’t remember check Lou’s facebook posting dated 1st December. If you are no longer able to make it you must inform Lou ASAP as she has to confirm the order with the pub by this Monday.

Riverbank Rollick

A reminder that entries are open for the Thornbury Riverbank Rollick which is planned to take place in Sunday 16th January. The Riverbank Rollick is 9.6 miles long, and has approx. 120m of ascent and is 80 per cent off-road, on trails, bridle paths, across fields and through woodland and, of course, along the Riverbank. It’s very muddy and exposed to the elements! Link to enter is below:


Some great running by Vicky Tester, Chris Palmer, Robin Phillips and Carol Fee (I think, difficult to tell under the beard!) They were all taking place in the Shire Santa Dash and it must have been very warm in their Santa costumes!

Well done to Carolyn Dent and Ian Gawinowski who took part in the Forest of Dean Night Race. It was even harder than usual as not only were we running in the dark on some very technical terrain, but there was also thick fog to contend with! I’m pleased to report everybody got around safely. Photo below thanks to Tosh K Simpson.

Strava Segment of the Week

Well done to Matt Swaine with a chilly run around the Downs. Matt dug in and achieved a personal record on Strava segment NO CYCLING southbound in 1:14.

Diary Dates

Monday 13th December Brailsford Xmas Lights, followed by sandwiches at the Black Swan.

Thursday 16th December. Weston Prom followed by Xmas meal.

Sunday 19th December Tri Counties XC Championships, Bath

Sunday 19th December Weston’s Christmas Cracker 10k, entires now open.

Sunday 26th December Clevedon AC Boxing Day Race. A great event to work off the Christmas excesses. https://www.clevedonac.co.uk/races/2-boxing-day-race

Tuesday 28th December Bank Holiday Festive Run, starting from the Blaise Clubhouse

Sunday 2nd January 2022, South West XC Championships RNAS Merryfield, Ilminster

Sunday 16th January Riverbank Rollick, Thornbury

Thursday Jan 20th 7:30 pm. Off Road Night Race 2 Wye Valley and Piercefield Park, Chepstow Race Course. Wye Valley and Piercefield Park. Easy access, good parking and a cosy event base at Chepstow Race Course … plus our usual quality course.

Sunday 23rd January Doynton Hard Half Marathon, a ‘horrible’ cross country

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

Saturday 19th February Gwent League Cross Country, Blaise Castle

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.

Editor this Week

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