Swedish International Mikael Ekvall, in Bristol on one of his many visits to coach Tom Watson, was an easy winner of the fifth and final race in the 2011-2012 Bridge Inn Winter Series sponsored by Easy Runner. Moreover, his time of 14:48 eclipsed the course record of Steve Francis (14:56) set last year and shows he is in good form prior to his up-coming half-marathon. Westbury Harriers star Matt Ellis had to be content with second place in 15:26 with Jack Bancroft showing a return to form in third place in 15:38. Although a member of Wells City Harriers, Bristol-based Jack is a regular training member of the Bristol & West endurance group.
Phil Westlake of Bitton Road Runners turned a few heads with a 16:38 clocking for a V50 and must surely be looking for a top finish in the Masters cross-country championships to be held at Bath on Sunday 25th March 2012. Club mate Jacob Hayes was first V40 but at 16:58 was 20 seconds behind Phil.
Hannah Alderson has shown recent good form on the country and on the track indoors and brought this form onto the road to be first Lady in 17:01 – from memory there aren’t too many ladies who have run sub-17 for the course. Thirty-nine seconds behind her Lucy Richens was second lady and is a useful recent addition to the ranks of Westbury Harriers.
Race Director Chris Elson will have been pleased at the performances of the Whitehall Recreational Runners – many of whom are now full members of Bristol & West Athletic Club and several recorded PBs over the course. Simon Thornton’s 16:16 for seventh place deserves mention after a tough Duathlon at the weekend.
Lewis Nightingale (Bristol & West Athletic Club) was first under-17 in 17:41 – showing his coach Dave Bedwell a clean pair of heels. Dave at least had the satisfaction of finishing first V55 in 18:06. Dan Binns had a breakthrough run to record 19:31 – his first sub-20 clocking.
On a good night for running – especially in February – it is disappointing that there were only 100 finishers in a series that had seen very strong fields in most of the earlier races.
As the final race in the series there are also the series results to report on. Nineteen runners completed all five races and Phil Westlake of Bitton Road Runners recorded the fastest cumulative time with 85:42 to bring him home clear of Jacob Hayes of Bitton Road Runners with 86:15. Christine Campbell of Gloucester Athletic Club was one of three women to complete all five races and her total time was 113:26.
Simon Thornton of Bristol & West (and trained by Chris Elson) was the series winner based on scoring his best four races with 65:59. Phil Westlake and Jacob Hayes were second and third respectively and featured among several members of Bitton Road Runners who supported the race throughout. Louise Cronin of Great Western Runners won the women’s title with an accumulated time of 81:53 with Clare Jolliffe and Emma Bowers, both of Bristol & West, finishing second and third.
Our thanks to Chris Elson and his team for a great race and a really strong series. These events have become a feature of the local road running scene in the winter and give numerous athletes a monthly target to bench-mark themselves against.
Full results from the last race and the series can be found by following the link to Results – Bridge Inn 5k.