Weekly News – Sunday 6th December

Sunday 6th December

Westbury Harriers – Weekly News

Editor’s Piece

After a short break over lockdown the Weekly News is back in force! And let’s be honest, after being awarded the committee person of the year (thank-you committee), I didn’t really have a choice but to continue with the newsletter!

Unfortunately, by being in tier 3 it does complicate things as restrictions apply to travelling. The good news is we can train and run in our pods, meaning that small group runs and the interval session can continue.

Member of the Month Nominations

We didn’t have many nominations this month so please do have a think and submit some names for next time. As I’ve said before, it’s not just about winning virtual races or time trials, but getting out there and running. If you know of anybody who’s consistent in their training, then let us know.

I’ll start with the Junior winner this month. Many congratulations to Katie Ramsden who’s won this month for her dedication and always giving it 100%. Katie is truly focussed towards her running and works extremely hard.

Everybody knows our senior winner who’s supported the club for many, many years. He’s the man with the gift of the gab, compere extraordinaire and everybody’s favourite awards night host. It is of course Geraint Torrington! This award goes to Geraint for the fantastic job he did in hosting the virtual awards and keeping us all entertained and informed.

Running vouchers will be in the post to you soon, and the good news is Up and Running is back to normal opening so you’ll be able to treat yourselves to some early Christmas presents. Well done to you both.

George Blackburn – a Celebration of his Life

With great sadness I have to report the passing of George Blackburn, at the age of 83. With thanks to John Robbins, the Chair of Avon Athletic Association, I can share this tribute. Photographs thanks to John Canning.

George was a huge driving force behind the rise of Westbury Harriers from mid 1970. He can rightly be considered one of the father figures of the Club. A top class distance runner right up to and including as a Veteran (I think I am right in saying he represented Ireland at Cross Country on more than one occasion) he was a formidable competitor for the Westbury teams in their battles with Bristol AC for supremacy locally, regionally and nationally. 

I first competed against George in the mid 1970’s when I was running for Hercules Wimbledon AC. In 1978 when I moved to Keynsham and then Longwell Green I sought out George’s training group for some sessions from his home in Bedminster. He tried hard to persuade me to join Westbury (as he did every athlete he came across) but never held it against me that I joined Bath and Percy AC instead. He was a great coach, particularly of young distance runners and devoted hours to attending schools events with the aim of spotting talented (and not so talented) youngsters who were brought into the Westbury fold. Chris Buckley, Maurice Cowman, Robin Nash and Mike Silverthorne (to name just a few) became top class Championship winning athletes under his guidance. 

A typical Irishman, George could spin a yarn with great charm and a ready sense of humour. One of my favourite memories of George came from remarks he made on the start line of an Avalon League Cross Country race on Rodway Common. There I was sporting a new pair of Nike Spikes in what now would seem fairly tame colours of yellow and green, when George took great delight in bringing them to the attention of the assembled field by asking if I was so nervous I had been ill over my shoes. Cue loud laughter all round, at made at my expense. No malice intended on his part and none taken, not least because by the standards of the time the spikes were rather garish and the wisecrack had a galvanising effect on my run that day.

George was a steely competitor who liked nothing more than beating Bristol AC. But he was also a kind man with a sharp mind and wit, who wanted nothing more that to see people enjoying their running and reaching their potential. He will be missed and the sport is poorer for his passing.

Happy Birthday

The ‘twins’ are celebrating their birthdays today (Saturday), although there’s a year’s difference between them. Congratulations to both Ewan Paton and Richard Noble. Pictured below, Ewan takes the lead from Rich at the Hogweed Trot.

Blaise Strava Segments

A couple of Strava segments have been created by Alex Miller to encourage some friendly club rivalry and get us all running around Blaise. The first is a segment called ‘Westbury Harriers Blaise nearly 4 miler’.

Start outside the club house, run down to the zig zags, up the zig zags, right out of Blaise, turn right down Hillsdon Road, right onto Falcondale, right again onto Canford Lane, all the way to The Dingle then turn right, left into the car park, then back to the clubhouse through Blaise. 

For a short while Geraint was the holder of the crown in a time of 31:50, although this has recently been stolen from him by by some quicker runs by Josh Morland and Thomas Reed. To be fair to Geraint they are just a few years younger!

Do give them a try and let us know how you get on.  The links to the two segments are below:

‘Westbury Harriers Blaise nearly 4 miler’ and ‘WH Blaise Castle XC Trail’



Christmas Special Treasure Hunt

The treasure hunt is back, and because it’s a Christmas special we have some Up and Running Vouchers for the first place winner. As with all competitions there are a few rules to follow to ensure it’s fair for everyone, these are listed below. Sarah and I are already looking forward to selecting the winner, good luck!

The Christmas treasure hunt is here!! Right you need to walk, cycle, scoot or run to find the following…


Guess the Christmas song/Christmas carol

Guess the Christmas film


A nativity scene

A Christmas tree

Mistletoe (extra point for berries)

Holly (extra point if it has berries)

A Robin

Christmas lights


A reindeer (doesn’t have to have a red nose)

A seasonal selfie (bonus points for wearing Christmas fancy dress)

A snow flake

The Rules

1. All photographs must be taken in December 2020, while on your walk, cycle, scoot or run.

2. Only one photo submission for each ‘something’.

3. The theme can involve multiple images, although only one film and song/carol is allowed

4. ‘Cut and paste’ from the internet is not allowed.

5. To be eligible for the prize you must be a paid up member of Westbury Harriers

6. The judges are Sarah and Ian. Their decision will be final. No appeals.

7. First prize will be Up and Running vouchers.

8. Treasure Hunt submissions are via facebook or e-mail to communication@westburyharriers.co.uk

9. All somethings and themes must be submitted in a single facebook posting or e-mail (this will make it easier for Sarah and I to collate the entries)

10. Competition opens Sunday 6th December.

11. Competition closes Sunday 20th December.

12. Winner will be notified the following week in the Weekly News

13. Images of astronauts and/or bike stands will result in instant disqualification.

Thursday Club Intervals

Vicky’s been very lazy this week and recycled an interval session from a few weeks back already programmed into her watch. Sorry Vicky, I guess I was supposed to keep that secret! 

We will be doing 4 sets of 3 minutes, 90 seconds and 30 seconds. Recovery is one minute after the 3 mins, 45 seconds after the 90 secs and then 90 seconds after the 30 seconds. It all works out at 20 minutes effort in total.

If you don’t do your session on the Thursday evening then please remember to do a short warm-up jog, a warm-down and then some stretching.

The last interval session before we break for Christmas will be the 17th December.

Runtogther app and Website

As we are out of lockdown club training and group running has resumed but obviously in a covid compliant manner. There are various group runs taking place at different times and days during the week. For club efforts we will be meeting at Coombe Dingle on the Thursday evening at 6:45pm. For all runs just check the Runtogether site, link provided below. https://groups.runtogether.co.uk/WestburyHarriersRunningClub/Runs

Strava Results of the Week

Well done to Nick Dobson for a cold and wet run around the docks. Nick achieved a personal record on Strava segment ‘Brunswick to City’ in a time of 1:33. Extra kudos for getting outside on a really miserable day.

Diary Dates

Sunday 13th December – Westbury Harriers (unofficial) XC Championships. At the Yate Outdoor Sport Complex. Open to U13 and U15 girls and boys with a maximum of 12 runners per race. Only £2 per runner.  Placers are going fast so speak with Jason Michael before Wednesday. See Jason’s WH facebook posting on the 29th November for more details.

January 2021 – Virtual Rollick Although we are disappointed not to be holding our typical Riverbank Rollick in January 2021, Thornbury Running Club are delighted to be holding the inaugural ‘Virtual Rollick’. To make sure that the spirit of the infamous ‘Rollick’ is not lost, we expect at least half of your run to be off-road and to involve an acceptable level of mud wind and water.

To this end we would encourage all participants to upload photographic evidence of rivers, dirty trainers, muddy faces or any other inspired pictures from their chosen routes on to our Facebook event page to assure us that you have suffered appropriate and traditional levels of discomfort. All participants will receive a medal for their efforts and whilst we will NOT be providing prizes for the speediest runners, we will judge the photos received via Facebook and reward the muddiest and grubbiest accordingly.

The Club (TRC excluded) with the most entries will receive 6 free places in the next Rollick that we are able to hold.

Run your own socially distanced 9.6 mile route.Run any time between 1st and 31st January 2021 – go on you know you want to do it on New Years Day!

Follow the instructions and the link emailed to you to in order to submit your elapsed time (not moving time) accompanied by a screenshot of your run from your running application of choice. Medals will be posted during February as we collate the results and assess the photos. Places can be transferred using the Race Nation web portal.

Entries are limited to 400 and will close when this limit is reached or at 13:00 on January 31st, whichever comes soonest.

Runs must be completed and evidence submitted before 23:59 on January 31st

“Over the past few years our medals have been shaped like a segment of pie (or cake for those with a sweet tooth!) so that by completing all three of our events it creates a whole large medal. As the Virtual Rollick is a one off we have, on this occasion, opted for a smaller version to keep costs down and donate more to our two charities. We hope you understand.”To enter please go to Race Nation: https://race-nation.co.uk/register/thornbury-running-club/virtual-rollick-2021

Editor this Week

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