Andrew Drake reports:
It was a cold, frosty morning in January that saw a drove of Bristol and West runners wake up to sunshine ahead of the winter edition of Speedway 10k in Chepstow. Anticipation and excitement were in abundance as the runners made their way over the Severn Bridge with conditions perfect for some fast times. The midday start allowing plenty of time for the morning sun to defrost the pavements ahead of the mayhem to follow.
As drivers arrived at Beachley Barracks, Mike Down and Chris Elson could be seen making final checks on the course whilst undoubtedly picking out their preferred spots for shouting encouragement and split times to the numerous Bristol representatives. Their excitement for race day clearly not waning with age. Owain Jones, whilst not competing, had clearly anticipated a barrage of PBs and cycled over to watch the excitement unfold, pitching up at the 2 and 7 km markers on the two-loop course to shout encouragement.
With the usual pre-race easy jogs, drills and stretches complete, it was time for the Nikes to be laced up (for nearly everyone, apparently some people still wear other brands) and to listen to final instructions for the organisers; which seemed to consist of “keep left and run fast”. There is a case for not confusing runners by making it too difficult.
Once the whistle was blown, it was no surprise to see the pre-race favourite, Omar Ahmed, of Birchfield Harriers setting the early pace with a small pack just behind. Given this report is being written by someone who ran the race, it’s hard to add too much to the commentary so from this point it will be a summary is drawn in large part by the finishing times.
A quick glance down the results listings reflects the perfect conditions for racing on a great course with countless PBs achieved across the board. The first 11 men all under 30 minutes, 32 on the nose only just good enough for a top 40 spot in a field of 183. The male and female course record went with Omar Ahmed (Birchfield Harriers) and Verity Ockenden (Swansea Harriers) winning the male and female races in 28:58 and 33:08 respectively. Jack Millar led home the Bristol and West contingent with a big PB (30:17) followed closely by Andrew Chambers (30:40) and Mike Wilsmore (30:47). Sian Davies was the sole female club representative. The men’s team (4 to count) finishing second behind Birchfield Harriers.
Full Bristol and West results below. Owing to some chip timing issues, where finishers didn’t record a chip time (C), their gun time (G) is shown.
13th Jack Millar 30:17 G PB
15th Andrew Chambers 30:40 G PB
18th Michael Wilsmore 30:47 G PB
23rd Harry Allen 31:13 G
26th Josh Moody 31:19 G PB
30th Dave Eagon 31:30 G PB
48th Andy Cooke 32:50 G PB
51st Ben Maliphant 32:58 G PB
52nd Pete Bains 33:04 G PB
56th Marcus Dunsford 33:16 C PB
57th Jamie Hinton 33:20 G PB
66th Nick Roberts 33:43 C PB
69th Andrew Drake 33:52 G PB
80th Stephen Honight 34:24 C PB
85th Phil Parry 34:36 G
102nd Greg Chance 36:03 G
112th Neil Light 36:32 C PB
118th Jon Bennett 36:50 C
122nd Josh Habgood-Coote 37:05 C
134th Nicko Brooke 38:11 C PB
147th Tariq Kurd 39:00 C PB
163rd Stew Wareing 40:59 G PB
169th Sian Davies 42:53