CANCELLED: WHITEHALL TRAINING

16 Mar

Update 17-MAR-2020

Further to the announcement below concerning the temporary closure of the Whitehall Track, we have now received this statement from England Athletics. This should be read by everyone in its entirety. As well as endorsing our statement of yesterday, it also advises a suspension of all face-to-face activity until at least the end of April.  The Club fully supports this statement and expects that all members will comply.

We will keep everyone informed of future developments.  Further details will follow on the Club AGM.

16-MAR-2020

It is with great regret that, following Government advice today, we feel it is our duty to suspend all our regular training sessions at Whitehall until further notice, as of midnight tonight. Training is “social contact” and we are asked to all avoid this from tomorrow onwards, not only for our own protection but also for the protection of others.

We advise you that if you wish to continue training alone, for example in parks and open spaces where you can train without coming close to others, then your coaches may be able to advise you of a plan to ‘keep you going’: their email addresses are on the club website if you don’t have them anyway.

We do not know how long this closure will last. Season Ticket holders please note that is that however many weeks we are closed for, we will extent those season tickets by that number of weeks.

Fast 5000s 2020 Entries Open!!

Fast 5000s 2020 Entries Open!!
12 Mar

Entries for the Fast 5000s on 25-JULY-2020 are now open, this year incorporating the South West of England championships and the Avon championships.  Places are limited so sign up now to avoid disappointment.  The event is open to athletes of all abilities and we already have a number of elite entries looking for times as low as 14:00!

Full details and entry information here: https://www.entrycentral.com/event/112035
Keep up with the latest news here: https://www.facebook.com/events/832130000571726/

Whitehall Track Maintenance

05 Mar

All members are advised of the following necessary works being carried out at Whitehall in the near future please note that access will be restricted during these times:

Cleaning

  • Friday 20th March – Moss cleaning chemical
  • Wednesday 1st April – Saturday 4th April – Deep clean (4 days). No admittance to the outdoor facilities on the evenings of Wed 1st April and Thursday 2nd April.

Track Repairs

  • Carried out from Monday 20th April – Friday 24th April. The outdoor facilities cannot be used throughout while the repairs are taking place.
  • The facility will be back in use Saturday 25th April.

Access to the S&C facility and indoor high-jump during these works is uncertain at the moment, an update will be issued when we know more.

Gwent League Survey

21 Feb

Message below from the Gwent League, all club members are encouraged to offer their thoughts on this wide ranging survey about the Gwent League XC events:

At the 2019 Gwent League AGM we made the decision to survey the member clubs on race distances. We’re also taking this opportunity to seek your views on the running of the league in general.

The attached survey was distributed by hand at the Chepstow fixture and will also be distributed at the final fixture of the season at Swansea on Sunday March 1st. It’s also available here on the Gwent League.

I’d be grateful if you could distribute this to your members as we’d like as large a response as possible. We’re asking for feedback from all age groups so if your club has a junior section please include them in the distribution.

The deadline for surveys being returned is midnight on Sunday, March 15th 2020.

 

MIKE DOWN’S NATIONAL CROSS PREVIEW

21 Feb

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS – ARE WE READY TO SEIZE IT?

The major fascination of all competitive sport is its unpredictability, no more so than in an event like our men’s National cross country championship, which this year has attracted entries from more than 390 clubs to what looks sure to be a really testing course at Wollaton Park given the unusually wet winter we have been experiencing.

While known current form can narrow down the main contenders for the individual medals, the outcome of the team championship depends more than anything on which of the major clubs involved succeed in getting all their leading runners to the start. Our record in this respect over the last two years has been pretty good, taking the silver medals against the odds at Parliament Hill two years ago – the club’s best ever performance if the championship – and likewise the bronze medals at Harewood House, Leeds last year. Nor should one underestimate the significance of those achievements, for though we were founder members of the English Cross Country Union in 1884, we had only medalled once before, taking the bronze medals in 2008 – and that too came since the rebranding of the club as Bristol and West in 2004. The fact remains that we have never won the senior men`s team championship in the 136 years of its existence!

Rumours abound about who is running, and who not, but from our point of view we look set to be fielding our strongest ever team, with only HARRY ALLEN, JACK BANCROFT and BEN WESTHENRY, all of whom are never at their best on yielding ground, missing from what would be a full strength line-up. Our top finisher last year in 18th place marathon international PETE LE GRICE heads the team again with our two cross country internationals JACK MILLAR, who has been in the form of his life this winter, and WILL CHRISTOFI, who it will not be forgotten made the top ten two years ago.

The back-up to these three is led by our new Tri-Counties champion and South West silver medallist FELIX MCGRATH and KURT TAYLOR, the bronze medallist in both those races behind Felix, along with our two other outstanding West country runners CALLUM JONES and ANDY CHAMBERS. Callum underlined his class at Armagh last week, and despite the intensity of his training being compromised this winter by a chronic groin strain, he has been making up for it with a big mileage which could pay dividends over the demanding 12K championship distance, while as for Andy he has opted for a warm weather training period in Spain to complete his preparation for the race and feels he is going as well as he ever has.

While our scoring six should come from those seven, all of whom apart from perhaps Pete, Callum and Kurt will relish the likely  gruelling underfoot conditions that seem inevitable after the rain of the last few weeks, there will be strong support behind from the team’s most improved runner this season ANDY WATT, who only just missed making the top ten in the Midland championship, along with the experience of team captain OWAIN JONES and JARLATH MCKENNA, both of whom were key members of our 2018 and 2019 medal-winning teams, as well as JOSH MOODY, who surprised everyone, including himself, by making the top 100 last year and scoring for the bronze medal-winning team. It is even conceivable that we could have as many as ten runners in that coveted top 100 of the huge field of up to 2500 runners, which would make us serious contenders for the subsidiary nine to count classification, while others who might contribute to that extra challenge include our two other Midland bronze medallists JED BARTLETT and GRAHAM BREEN, recent recruit JOE CONNORS, OLLY SHEPPARD, MACIEJ BIALOGONSKI and PETE BAINS.

Despite rumours that last year’s individual silver medallist EMILE CAIRESS and track international PHILIP SESEMANN are not expected to line up for LEEDS, last year’s all-conquering cross and road relay champions will still start firm favourites, such is their remarkable strength in depth, along with the runaway 2018 winners and runners-up last year TONBRIDGE, plus the three recently crowned new area champions ALDERSHOT (South), SALE (North) and BIRCHFIELD (Midlands). Led by Ethiopian pair OMAR AHMED and KHALID ABDULLAH, the individual Midland gold and bronze medallists, Birchfield are reported to be targeting the race this year, while the dark horses could well be BEDFORD, who like us rarely aim for the area championship and have been boosted by the recent signing of AARON SCOTT from Lincoln.

To have any hope of taking the team title you invariably need to have your six counters in the top 50. Leeds’ winning total last year for instance was a remarkable 110pts, Tonbridge the year before 131pts, an average of plus or minus 20th, but this year a score of around 150pts may well be more than good enough, but that’s still an average of 25th. Nevertheless a total of 180-200pts looks well within our reach and should put us well in contention for medals of one colour or another. This race has been our target all winter guys. The opportunity is there, and remember if we don`t take it another club will!

Mike Down.

Facilities: Whitehall Horizontal Jump Pits

19 Feb

As many of you know the horizontal jump pits were fouled by animals over the Christmas period. The sand was treated very quickly in line with ROSPA guidance and in agreement with a number of our coaches, has been in use for a number of weeks now.

The even better news is that our landlords have ordered the delivery of replacement sand to refill both jump pits.

Arrangements are also being made for track repairs as well as a deep clean of the track at some point during March. We will advise dates and any consequences on training when we have them.

MIKE DOWN’S NATIONAL CROSS COUNTDOWN NO4

19 Feb

THE VAPOUR FLIES AT ARMAGH

Many of our first team runners took time out from their National preparations to make the annual pilgrimage to Armagh for the UK’s top 5K road race. What is it about this race that year after year smashes its own record-breaking times? One answer is the weather. How could a winter evening in February sandwiched between Storms Chiara and Dennis once again produce perfect racing conditions? Maybe it’s the Brexit effect this year, or could it just be the latest reaction to the notorious Nike Vapourflies? Whatever the explanation the annual pb paper chase once again defied all logic, with no less than 21 men breaking 14mins and nearer 140 15mins and what’s more not an African among them!

Only four of our 12 who made the trip – HARRY ALLEN, JACK BANCROFT, KURT TAYLOR and MIKE WILSMORE – failed to fly faster than ever before albeit only by a few seconds, and all of them had had their preparations compromised in some way by injury problems or illness. Harry’s training has been hampered by an ankle problem, Jack by chronic achilles tendinitis, Kurt by a bout of flu and Mike by on-going foot issues.

As expected our top track and cross runners on paper – CALLUM JONES and JACK MILLAR – duly led the way, both clocking substantial new PBs of 14:20, Callum despite having his training this winter periodically affected by a groin injury (osteitis pubis). Even so their times were only good enough for a place just inside the top 50! Harry (14:35), Jack B (14:41), Kurt (14:47) were next to finish, closely followed by our BTC associate ALEX CROSSLAND (14:47), JOSH MOODY (14:49), and Mike (15:00).

The rest of the squad all ran faster than ever before, while both JOE CONNORS (15:19) and ADAM WILSON (15:34) apparently might have gone even quicker had they not set 2K PBs en route! Sandwiched between them JED BARTLETT (15:27) shaved a few more seconds off his previous best, as did OLLY SHEPPARD (15:37) and PETE BAINS (15:47). To put it all in perspective Pete’s time could win most local parkruns, and even possibly our own Pomphrey 5K, yet it was only fast enough here for 217th position!

My own prediction is that the Vapour will fly even faster next year as the shoe companies continue to vie with one another to produce the perfect “springboard”, be it by further juxtaposition of carbon fibre plates or varying composition of foam. However for all of you it’s now back to the real world of a windswept Aztec West on Tuesday evening. At least a good old slice of British mud should produce an even playing-field at Wollatton Park on Saturday, on more of which I will report later in the week.

Competition Roundup – 13-FEB-2020

Competition Roundup – 13-FEB-2020
13 Feb

Gwent League, Pomphrey 5k and more!

A lot has happened in the last week, including the Gwent League XC match organised by B&W at Chepstow, in case you missed any here they all are:

Chepstow Gwent League XC reports:

Mike Down’s National XC Countdown No.3

Pomphrey Hill 5k series positions after 4 races are now available here

Mike Strange has been hard at work compiling the latest addition to the club’s All Time Ranking lists, located here and now include the Womens 1500m!

Chepstow Gwent League Cross-Country – a view from the field

13 Feb

Steve Grant reports

Bristol & West has not hosted a Gwent League Cross-Country race day for a long time and we managed to convince the League to fund a more salubrious venue to
make our return. They very much regarded this type of venue as a new departure and were willing to support it as a trial. We need to wait and see what the League made of the event and its finances. They have a wide ranging questionnaire on their website so if you liked or didn’t like Chepstow, let them know as well sharing your views on other issues such chip timing and gender equality of race distances – https://www.gwent-league.org.uk/

We started investigating venues back in March and settled on Chepstow Racecourse after a viability check on a truly horrendous wet and windy day and a follow up visit to do the detailed course layout on a blistering hot day. That’s British weather for you.

All the exciting stuff of further negotiations with the League, identification and selection of the paramedics, preparation of course information and maps, risk
assessment and scheduling of our on-course marshals eventually got us to the race weekend.

The course was set up on Friday after a trip to Cardiff to get the mats to cover the roads. The first surprise was that the inner rail of the racecourse had been moved near the Start area requiring a course modification and the loss of another interesting up and down. Most other things were as expected but deciding to set the course up on Friday rather than Saturday morning had already paid off. With every stake Bristol & West owns used somewhere on the course, we were ready and hoped the wind wouldn’t give us a wrecked course in the morning. On race day the overnight and daytime weather was being kind and with the marshals deployed, the U11’s got the races going. You have to love the enthusiasm of this age group and with decent size fields they give us all some encouragement
about the future of the sport.

All was going well until we realised the ‘link lap’ could have been better laid out. After a quick redistribution of our on-course marshals, “ assertive vocal stakes and tape” were deployed to clear the path for runners doing multiple laps. It wasn’t perfect but it worked, and is about the only significant area we need to modify if there is a next time, but it is an easy fix.

The races were clicking past with plenty of opportunity for the marshals to cheer on our red and white vests and the good representations from the other Bristol clubs despite the South-West schools event being held on the same day. There was lots of watch checking going on in the younger age groups so maybe our  coaches could have a word.

The SW & Masters race looked like a B&W takeover from the front of the field to about 1/3 rd of the way down, and the fantastic results back that up. Marshals have to be ready for all eventualities and a very hot and distressed Newport runner stripped off just to the point of decency, thrust her second layer top into our Marshals arms saying something like “too hot,.. can’t .run , too warm” and then she was off putting her vest back on as she ran. What a great competitive attitude.

The biggest test of any course is the race with the largest field, in this case it was the SM & Masters race and it was a proper spectacle to behold. As the leaders approached the middle of the course, you could still see a solid trail of moving men on the far hill about 800m away. One of the paramedic teams couldn’t get over the number of runners and the level of effort that was being expelled, and they are well used to attending sporting events.

After the Lord Mayor’s show comes the clear up, and it is then that you realise how big the course is. With a small band of helpers and the ability to get cars on the
course, we got there but not quite quick enough to get the last of us off site before they locked the gates. It’s only funny now because we chanced over someone who had keys after about 30 minutes.

On to the roll of honour for making this event happen:

  • The very special on-the day volunteers in alphabetical order– Neil Barratt, Matt Burden, Tom Burgess, Tanya Chowdery and children, Sian Davis, Chris Elson, Ellen Harrison, Nicky Hodges, Bill Hull, Tariq Kurd, Sarah McNamara, Rosey Mushens and Paul Owen
  • The very very special on-the-day volunteers who had no reason to be at Chepstow other than to help out – Mike Lewin, Nick Roberts and Fliss Russell
  • The event preparation and course layout team – Keith Brackstone, Roger Brockelsby, Steve Grant and Owain Jones