Mud glorious mud: junior boys at the National XC

Muddy legs
26 Feb

Our u13, u15 and u17 boys were out in force last weekend. Many thanks to team managers Ali and Emma for all their efforts supporting the lads!

U13 boys: Ali Hurford reports…

Having fond memories of three years ago when the u13 lads finished in a very creditable twelfth position  I was looking forward to another exciting day in Wollaton Park.

Arriving on site with plenty of time after an uneventful journey the fun began. Much to the boys amusement our car clearly did not like the mud so with the help of Zac, Joey & Ronnie pushing we eventually managed to park.

After warming up around the course it was clearly going to be a case of when the going gets tough the tough get going. This was the first national event for most of the group & they were clearly excited to be on the start line with around 400 other eager boys. This must be the most difficult race for the starter to control & also extremely competitive.

Once the race had finished I had hoped for some down time but this was not to be as I needed to find Zac who due to illness earlier in the week had to pull up, Walter lost both his spikes in the mud & Ben had mislaid his wallet and wished to buy a hoodie.

The day did improve once Zac left the first aid tent and ate his picnic, Ben found his wallet in the car and Walter thought he had rescued  his spikes but unfortunately I have now discovered he does not have a matching pair.

Going into the race I had predicted a team position of around 22nd which would have been possible if Zac had been 100% fit but these things happen, so hopefully he will be fully recovered for the final Gwent league where he is in a top 10 position.

The best race of the day came from Alex Auton Green (126) who is young in the age group so will be top 100 next year. Ronnie Wilmott (160) used this race well as a warm up for the intercounties later in March. Joey Taylor (238) has really committed to the winter season & will certainly improve next year along with Vijay Bakrania (273) who closed the scoring team in.

Ben Pocock (324) continues to chip away at each race & is all smiles at the end so clearly enjoys the challenge. Max Finning (351) was certainly aqua-plaining around the course & I admired his run into the finish looking for the best ground. Walter Davies ( 367) showed real grit after losing both
spikes halfway round he continued to finish showing such determination.

384 boys finished & we were 29th out of 42 teams. Next year I very much hope to be further up the leaderboard & already many of the group have saved the date when we will descend on Hampstead Heath.

u15 and u17 boys: Emma Withers reports…

The road to the National XC champs in Nottingham had a bumpy start.  With a half hour delay in Bristol our arrival at Wollaton Park was less than easy.  Hampered by storm Dennis the previous week, the long queue saw us disembark before the car park with 7 u15 boys and run to the start of the race, this was not how we had planned the day.  With the help of one of our Senior Ladies, spikes were tied tightly, numbers pinned, chip timing secured, warm up (dynamic stretching) whilst we waited at the crossing point, we went into the pens with a whole 3 minutes to spare and a few more grey hairs for me. The boys took it all in their stride and dealt admirably with the exceptionally wet and muddy conditions underfoot.  Sinking into a very large puddle just a few 100 metres in, took its toll on Fred Cummins, who took the decision that it was too strenuous on his knees and enough was enough.  Ishmael Bradley continued with his good form and fresh from the South West Schools in Bournemouth, leading the boys home in 204th position (20.03). Nick Pestell, who appeared at the finish covered head to toe in mud, was next in 246thposition, (20.38).  Joseph Hull, managed to remain upright, 326th position (22.39) and completing the team, with a steady return to form and over taking several competitors in the last 100m, Tomek Czerepinski, position 332 (22.53).  Ollie Robertson Kurd, with support from Dad, Tariq, looked relatively clean at the finish, his height being an advantage with the mud splashing from other runners, position 351 (24.08) and completing the Bristol and West u15 team, Alex Robertson, who had been quite nervous at the start, took the advice to not worry about anyone else and just keeping going, finished in position 362 (27.05).

Our three u17 boys headed out at 12.05, having viewed the course in all its glory before warming up.  Ollie Harper made steady work through the pack and should be delighted with his top 100 finish (helpfully counted through by the spectator next to me!), position 96 (25.48) and glad to be injury free this year and not needing the services of the medical tent as he had done in Leeds last year.  Jay Akbar, who was clearly not enjoying the mud and water, fought through to 245th position (29.26), with no smiles at the end but very relieved to have made it to the finish line.  Otto Kingston, started off well, but pulled up on the downhill stretch and limped to the finish line to cheer the others through.

After cheering the Senior Ladies around we made our way back to the coach and headed back to Bristol with half of Wollaton Park stuck to our shoes and legs.  Our last fixture is the Gwent League in Swansea on Sunday, lets hope the weather in Wales is kinder, fingers crossed! 

MIKE DOWN`S NATIONAL CROSS REVIEW

26 Feb

CLOSER – BUT STILL NOT, CLOSE ENOUGH!

To make the podium for the third year running in what is surely one of the most competitive team championships in British sport is no mean achievement and rightly cause for celebration. Yet there was a sense that our bronze medals in this year`s National championship race  were something of a consolation prize, for unlike our success in the previous two years. This year for the first time we arrived at the event with our strongest ever team and a realistic, if outside, chance of challenging for the overall title. Such was the tangible nervous tension beforehand  that one sensed our runners would have considered it a failure if we had not medalled.

The senior men’s squad

While that may be so, there is no disputing that we have closed the gap in our title quest, finishing just 54pts down on winners Tonbridge who regained the title they had won at Parliament Hill two year ago, when very much against the odds we had taken the silver medals but with a deficit three times that much. What`s more this time we were only 20pts behind the favourites and holders Leeds City, who beat us by more than 200pts last year. Even more significantly in the subsidiary 9 to count classification only Tonbridge beat us and our score was nearly 200 pts lower than we totalled in third place last year.

Perhaps these stats help explain any disappointment felt, for to have taken the title our six scorers would have each only had to finish some ten places higher, and apart from JACK MILLAR  for whom that would have meant winning the race(!),  our other counters PETE LE GRICE, CALLUM JONES, KURT TAYLOR and ANDY CHAMBERS would probably have all been expecting to do at least that, depending of course on the prevailing conditions, and so too our team captain OWAIN JONES on his past record in the race, while to be honest in terms of performance on the day only Jack, possibly Callum, Owain  (due to his enforced lack of training) and JED BARTLETT exceeded our pre-race expectations. All this surmise merely highlights how close we are getting to the ultimate goal, for we have now built a squad that is capable of challenging the best in Britain every time we turn out. As for this year we have kept our bronze medal position and retained the trophy going to the top Midland club, comfortably avenging our defeat by Birchfield and Notts in the Midland championship, as well as the engraved plinth awarded to the leading team among the ten founder member clubs of the organising English Cross Country Association.

The race itself was a genuine traditional cross country test –  a mix of rolling fields, gravelled tracks, water ditches, and above all stretches of squelching mud that after all the previous races had turned into a gruelling slurry underfoot – conditions that we felt would favour most of those expected to score, in particular JACK MILLAR, ANDY CHAMBERS, WILL CHRISTOFI and FELIX MCGRATH, as well as OWAIN JONES and JED BARTLETT. Of those as events transpired only Jack, Owain and Jed were able to capitalise, with the others not coping as expected, with Will the first to admit that his limited training time this season due to job commitments left him underprepared for such an arduous course.

Jack had planned his whole winter since finishing at Oxford University in the summer to peak for the major tests of the cross season. After a couple of impressive early season performances in UK cross challenge races at Cardiff and Milton Keynes, a ten week altitude training trip to Kenya provided the groundwork to achieve his goals. His confidence duly boosted by a best ever 4thplace in the recent Midland championship and subsequent selection for an England team in the latest Belgian cross cup race, where he finished in 11th place, he underlined his ambition from the start by wasting no time in following the early leaders of the huge near 2000 strong field. Relishing the underfoot conditions that he had been praying for, he was always in the top 20 , and while others faltered on the final large lap of the 12K course he never showed any sign of weakening to end up in a career defining 10th place.

It was just the start we needed, but PETE LE GRICE, who had led the team home in 18th place last year, knew he was not in such good shape and ill prepared for a race  on such testing ground as he has only recently started his long build up for the London marathon, which is his priority this year. Consequently despite a determined start that saw him only just outside the top 20 after the first small lap, he soon found his level in the mid thirties and that`s where he stayed to eventually end up in 33rd place.

Behind Pete CALLUM JONES proved  a real revelation. He had only finally decided to race on the day – he was there as part of the Saucony team that sponsored the championships – as the intensity of his training has been limited this winter by a chronic groin strain. However in the testing conditions the big mileage he has managed to get in as compensation, certainly appears to have payed off. He was never far behind his fellow Cornishman and held on grimly to finisnh just ten places back in 43rd place.

ANDY CHAMBERS, like Jack, was expected to take advantage of the tough conditions, but after settling initially around the top 50 and expecting to move forward in the second half of the race, like FELIX MCGRATH further back he failed to capitalise on the sort of soft ground that he normally enjoys and actually fell back in the closing stages  to be caught by teammates KURT TAYLOR and OWAIN JONES, who had both measured their efforts to finish the last 2K strongly, with Kurt, who coped with the mud better than he had anticipated, eventually passing Andy on the run-in to finish  a creditable 69th. Andy was right behind in 70th and Owain only two places further back our final scorer as he had been last year in 72nd position. No one, not even Owain himself, had anticipated he would be scoring this year due to his training being chronically hampered by a niggling knee problem, but he once again ran a true team captain`s race to close our score at 297pts, some 20 better than last year. As for Andy, his failure to move through in the second half of the race may have been due to incubating a cold that he woke up with on Sunday morning.

Had Owain not produced the goods on the day, we would not have medalled as we had to wait till just outside the top hundred before ANDY WATT, who has been struggling with a hip injury for the past month, came home a reasonable 104th, chased all the way by JED BARTLETT, who lapped up the slogfest conditions to cap the steady progress he has made this winter and finish an impressive 110th. This left JOSH MOODY  to complete our nine man challenge. Despite conditions that hardly suited him, big Josh characteristically measured his effort meticulously to work his way through the masses and finish strongly in 122nd place.

Josh was followed closely in 128th position by our Tri-Counties champion FELIX MCGRATH, who has been recovering from a cold and admitted he never got to grip with the conditions that normally he would have no problem with as an international mountain runner. The same unexpectedly applied too to WILL CHRISTOFI, who failed to improve on his Midland effort in 148thplace, while the evergreen JARLATH MCKENNA, who by his own admission is not fully race fit after a busy last six months moving house, still managed to finish 165th and give us 12 runners in the top 10% of the field, which we have never approached before. Clearly Felix, Will and Jarlath have all suffered this year too by having to do all their training on their own and not raced as often as they would not only have liked but perhaps needed due to their work commitments. But having said that everyone has a disappointing day at the office occasionally, especially in a sport like ours that offers competition 52 weekends of the year and we look forward to seeing them all back in action at the spring road relays.

Pick of our other runners was our supervet GRAHAM BREEN, who finished 250th, with LUKE ROBERTS 310th and PETE BAINS 387TH. But to put those positions in perspective Pete had clocked a personal best 5K of 15:47 in Armagh the previous week. Such is the standard of the National.

Back to the team standings. As expected Tonbridge and Leeds  maintained their stranglehold on the top two positions, with Tonbridge (243pts) regaining the title  they had surrendered to Leeds (277)  last year, and to continue the action replay nature of the result, our repeat third place was again at the expense of the luckless Bedford team by the same margin of just five points, with Highgate only another seven points back in 5th and Southern champions Aldershot (348) completing the top six. The other area champions our Midland conquerors Birchfield (511) and Northern winners Sale (583) could only finish 9th and 10th respectively.

Perhaps the most encouraging result from our point of view was that whereas our championship score was only 20 points better than last year, in the nine to count standings, as mentioned earlier, it was nearly 200 points lower and bettered only by Tonbridge to underline the team`s ever growing strength in depth. It was further proof too of the success of the  model that led to our rebranding of the club in 2004, with three of our medallists having their roots in the West country. I like to think that the South West now has a club firmly established at the top table of our sport.  It`s surely only a matter of time before we bring back that elusive National title to the region, and while there`s no denying that opportunity had knocked this year, the door is still ajar and we will soon get another chance to open it wider at the legendary 12 stage road relay championship.  We did win that exactly 40 years ago. It`s surely about time we won it again!

 

 

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Gwent League #4 – Chepstow: u11 and u15 girls

12 Feb

U11 girlsSimon Jones reports
It was a fantastic day out for the under 11 girls at a surprisingly sunny Chepstow racecourse; a fantastic venue for a Gwent League match!  It is superb to report that we had 6 girls running; our highest in cross country for a long time.  Gabi came in a brilliant 7th, running herself into joint 6th on the league for the season, closely followed by Holly a second behind in 10th, now 10th overall in the league.  Mairi made her debut in a brilliant 22nd, with Phoebe running solidly into 25th, and Amira in 29th.  Primrose  finished in 66th; another fine debut in a field of 116.  As a team, the girls improved their score from match 3 by 10 points finishing 3rd on the day and going into the final match in 5th overall, with an outside chance of 3rd place.  The future of Bristol and West is bright!

U15 girls – Paul Owen reports
On a glorious sunny day at Chepstow races I had the pleasure of being honorary team manager today and reuniting with girls I recently coached.  We had 3 girls left from an Avon Schools depleted team. However proving the strength in depth we had Fleur Hayden with a really solid and consistent run coming in 5th showing that she is back to her best (or very near) next up was Molly Thomas also showing a return to form with 9th place working really hard throughout. 3rd in was Sophi Hayes in 15th who ran incredibly given she’d been suffering hip pain throughout. I am confident this performance has ensured that the team are in a great position for the final race to secure a silver medal. Sadly no 4th team member. Great efforts from the girls today who did themselves and their coach proud.

Feedback was generally that it was a good venue. I liked the ease of the car park and close proximity. Good facilities. Tent area with good view on to the course. If the weather had been awful then there was plenty of shelter in the stands where people could watch the end parts of the race.

Gwent League #4 – Chepstow: u11 and u13 boys

12 Feb

U11 & U13 boys run to form over good going at Chepstow race course.

Ali Hurford reports…
This was a new venue & clerk of the course did an excellent job & although perhaps we did not quite live up to the sport of kings there was some very competitive racing from the colours of Bristol & West.

The u11 boys were as usual raring to go and eager to maintain the bronze team position. So it was no surprise when dark horse Tom White (6) made a long run for home resulting in his best ever position. Oisin O’Halloran (10) continued his impressive season & along with Eddie Bent (29) who still has another season in this age group, the team result was looking promising. Our final score was Rufus Hull (49) who gave nothing away in the closing stages. Our final finisher was Alfie England (82) who continues to improve & held his own in a large field of 109 finishers.

The u13 lads likewise did not disappoint & once their racing plates were well secured it was going to be a case of horses for courses. So it was no surprise to see our front runner Zac Cox (7) eating up the track just ahead of Ronnie Wilmott (8) who made up some impressive places in the last 50m beating the Swansea athlete by a short head. Harry Harvey (23) just got the better of Joey Taylor (27) over the last few metres & these two training partners definitely bring out the best of each other in a racing situation.

Unlucky not to make the scoring team Vijay Bakrania (33) ran his most positive race to date but closing in very fast was Dan Jarrold (43) who is certainly coming into form at the right time. Barney Thomas (63) is still learning the ropes & along with Walter Davies (65) should progress well next season if they can Summer well.

Felix Pearson (72) has been training well & perhaps this was just not his day. I am sure he will up his game at the final fixture.

Overall this was an encouraging result for the squad. We were not at full strength due to the numerous other activities on offer this weekend ie South west schools xc, music lessons & not everybody passed the vet. So with a bit of luck we can be at full strength going in to the final race & maintain the bronze position which is so well deserved.

Gwent League #4 – Chepstow: u15 and u17 boys

12 Feb

Emma Withers reports…
With several of our team away at the South West Schools in Bournemouth we needed a good turnout to keep our team ranked positions and the u15 and u17 boys did not disappoint.  14 boys turned out for the Bristol and West hosted Gwent League at Chepstow.

Leading our u15 boys home, Amos Kingston had his best run to date, enjoying the undulating course and realising that with a little more effort in training that he could be a top 10 contender.  Finishing in 12th position, (13.53).  Misha Evans made a determined effort, particularly on the tough uphill home stretch, finishing in 22nd place (14.37).  Joseph Hull, went out with gusto, but perhaps a little too fast, was third home for B&W in 33rd place (15.13) and completing the first team, Ollie Robertson Kurd, a little distracted by his watch, showing he has a lot more to give in these competitions, 37th (15.32).  Leading our second team in, a battle between team mates Ismail Rashid and Tomek Czerepinski, gave an entertaining finish with Ismail only just pipping Tomek over the line, 40th (15.49) and 42nd place (15.53) respectively.   Zac Roe who had already completed football training that morning, in 49th position (16.38) and our most consistent runner, Joe McNamara, completed the second team in 57th position, (18.04).  Our 9th runner, Fred Cummins, was unable to complete the course due to painful knees, but did a sterling job cheering and encouraging his team mates around. 

The u15 squad

The u15 boys have moved up to 5th position overall. 

The u17 boys had a long wait until 2.10pm and plenty of time to study the course.  Starting out strongly Jay Akbar, glad that there was no mud this week, glided around and finished in 14th place, (18.13).  The battle for 2nd in the team between good friends, Otto Kingston and James Casling, made for another exciting finish, with James putting in his fast sprint on the hilly home stretch.  The hills were on Otto’s side this time and he maintained his lead, 26th place (19.34), James in 27th place (19.38).  Jacob Roe,  hot on their heels, finishing only 2 seconds behind in 38th place (19.40).   A debut run for newcomer Dylan Peters showed a fantastic start to cross country competition, in 40th place (20.12).   Dylan said he enjoyed it and we hope he will be back for our last fixture in Swansea.

The u17 boys were very pleased to hold their 2nd position overall. 

The u17s – currently 2nd!

Massive thank you to Steve Grant, Keith Brackstone and Roger Brocklesby for setting up the course and providing us with a great cross country run and brilliant facilities.  No complaints from the junior boys, particularly as the teenagers got an unusual and much appreciated lie in!!

MIKE DOWN’S SOUTH WEST CROSS REVIEW

MIKE DOWN’S SOUTH WEST CROSS REVIEW
07 Jan

CHAMPS AGAIN IT’S SMASH ‘N GRAB ON ALDON HILL!

One can only say well done guys (and gals) for once again doing the club proud in the South West cross country championships at Aldon Hill, Yeovil. However you look at the results – four in the first six, including the individual silver and bronze medals for FELIX MCGRATH and KURT TAYLOR, our five counters all in the top ten, and the score of our second five finishers bettered only by the overall silver medallists Cornwall AC – this was as good a smash ‘n grab raid as we have made on these championships in recent years.

Felix McGrath and Kurt Taylor, 2nd and 3rd in the SW XC behind Jake Smith

When one considers too that arguably our four top cross country runners PETE LE GRICE, JACK MILLAR, WILL CHRISTOFI and ANDY CHAMBERS were not in our line-up, the results here was another outstanding display of the team’s growing strength in depth as we launch another assault on the country’s major winter cross and road championships.

Call it the taming of Aldon Hill if you like, though a pound to a penny more than a few runners’ sore limbs on Monday morning would agree to a score draw! Not Felix however, for when it comes to horses for courses our good doctor knows how to pick ’em. He gave us a first glimpse of how to speed up and down slopes when winning the Tri-Counties title at Bath University last month, but the leg-sapping ramp and fast downhill stretch though the Aldon Hill valley that had to be encountered four times in less than half an hour provided an altogether stronger dose of his fell running expertise.  The inscrutable expression on his face each time he appeared to breeze up the brutal climb while others’ legs were clearly screaming for mercy suggests that he has vaccinated himself against such moments of fleeting torture!

In the circumstances it was predictable that it was Felix who led the chase of the fierce early pace set by experienced Wiltshire hardman ED KNUDSEN, who himself was soon joined by the pre-race favourite Cardiff’s international road runner JAKE SMITH on the preliminary hilly loop before the main lap was re-joined that had to be covered four times. At this point Kurt, BEN WESTHENRY and ANDY WATT were grouped together no more than 10m down on Felix., with HARRY ALLEN duly making sure we already had our scoring quintet well to the fore.

Knudsen, apparently unaware of Smith’s pedigree, perhaps unwisely tried to keep forcing the pace on the second lap, but by the third time round Smith had duly made his class tell forging ahead on his own, while Felix with Kurt still in his slipstream, began to close the gap on Knudsen, with Andy and Ben now well clear of the rest in 5th and 6th positions respectively.

Not much actually changed from there to the finish, other than that Knudsen, having looked as if he was weakening third time up the hill with Felix and Kurt by then in relatively close attendance, seemed to find an extra gear on the last long run along the valley in a final effort to drop our pair before the final decisive climb. But though he managed to open a small gap on his two rivals, Felix soon reeled him in up the long drag with Kurt struggling desperately to limit the damage before the long run down to the finish. Off the crest of the climb Felix, as unperturbed as ever by the ascent, wasted no time in stealing the initiative on the Wiltshire man and went headfirst for home to secure the silver medal. Kurt meanwhile, having agonisingly limited his loss on the two of them to no more than 20 metres at the top of the ramp, used his superior natural speed on the final 500m run-in to overhaul Knudsen within sight of the line and finish just two seconds down on his clubmate and take the bronze medal in what was undoubtedly the best cross country race of his career to date.

1st club team at the South West XC champs!

Behind our leading pair Andy and Ben were never in danger of losing their top six positions, with Andy once again underlining the remarkable progress he has made during the past six months and Ben proving indisputably that he is on the way back after more than two years in the wilderness created by his chronic shin problem. Harry meanwhile, despite his well advertised dislike not only of cross country but even more so of hills, did all that was necessary to close our score in 10th place not that far ahead of team captain OWAIN JONES and JED BARTLETT, who had progressively worked their way through the chasing pack to provide ideal back up in 11th and 13th positions respectively. Owain, who was actually defending the title he won last year, was happy enough to have got round as well as he did after missing so much training last year due to a niggling knee injury, while Jed again demonstrated the continued improvement he has made over the last 12 months. Further back DAVE EAGON in 30th, PETE BAINS 45th and ROB FARLEY 68th completed our second five with a score that would have been good enough for the bronze medals.

Interestingly the team results produced the unusual stat that our club team, thanks to Ben who was representing Dorset, ended up with a lower score than the winner of the accompanying inter county championship Avon, of which we provided all six counters. Finally though we failed to produce the individual winner, we did have a champion on the day in JON GOODLAND, who took the V60 gold, while stalwart trouper TONY ROPER added the bronze in the V50 category.

Jon Goodland takes the M60 title.

So begins the countdown to next month’s National cross country championships, the first stepstone for which looks to be Chepstow’s Speedway 10K on Sunday week that on the face of it promises to be the club’s unofficial club championship! The Midland cross championships follow two weeks later, for which anyone wanting to run who hasn’t already told us  –  and that includes the National as well – should let Chris know urgently as the entries close midweek.

PS News of a fine run by ANDY CHAMBERS, who must surely must be the fittest unfit man in the club. Having declined to enter the South west champs on the grounds that he was not fit enough to do himself justice, Andy proved what he might achieve when fully fit by pushing former clubmate TOM MERSON (24:22) all the way in Exeter’s inaugural CityRuns New Year 5 mile road race to smash his previous best by more than half a minute with a time of 24:33 that takes him to the top of the club rankings for the distance.

Mike Down.

Bristol and West South West XC results

Ladies

5 635 Isabelle Talbot Price Bristol & West AC Avon SW 22.04
6 582 Natalie Griffiths Bristol & West AC Avon SW 22.12
7 580 Annabel Granger Bristol & West AC Avon F45 22.19
18 614 Catie O’Donoghue Bristol & West AC Avon SW 23.10
22 578 Elaina Gard Bristol & West AC Avon SW 23.30
31 570 Sarah Everitt Bristol & West AC Avon F45 24.20
50 558 Emma Clarke Bristol & West AC Avon SW 26.09
56 594 Georgina Holt Bristol & West AC Avon SW 27.38

 

Men

2 774 Felix McGrath Bristol & West AC Avon SM 27.30
3 819 Kurt Taylor Bristol & West AC Avon SM 27.32
5 828 Andy Watt Bristol & West AC Avon SM 27.54
6 831 Benedict Westhenry Bristol & West AC Dorset SM 28.01
10 685 Harry Allen Bristol & West AC Avon SM 28.41
11 763 Owain Jones Bristol & West AC Avon SM 28.47
13 693 Jed Bartlett Bristol & West AC Avon SM 28.51
30 729 David Eagon Bristol & West AC Avon SM 29.37
45 691 Peter Bains Bristol & West AC Avon SM 30.32
68 734 Robert Farley Bristol & West AC Gloucestershire SM 31.55
74 686 Aled Anderson Bristol & West AC Not SW SM 32.11
76 697 Samuel Bentley Bristol & West AC Avon SM 32.17
88 805 Anthony Roper Bristol & West AC Somerset M50 33.25
122 738 Jonathan Goodland Bristol & West AC Avon M60 36.05
124 768 Nathan Lomax Cooke Bristol & West AC Avon SM 36.31

 

Juniors

4 266 Megan Hornung Bristol & West AC Avon U15G 14.38
15 279 Amy Nicholls Bristol & West AC Avon U15G 15.59
23 262 Fleur Hayden Bristol & West AC Avon U15G 16.35
42 353 Jay Hunt Bristol & West AC Avon U15B 18.29
50 351 Joseph Hull Bristol & West AC Avon U15B 19.17

 

Under 13 & under 11 lads make the most of festive break

05 Jan

Although coaching, training & racing can be tricky during the Christmas holidays it failed to deter this keen squad of endurance runners who certainly did not let the grass grow under their feet throughout the festive season.

Making the most of some fun training during the day light hours plus a well supported tinsel run on Christmas eve kept many lads plus their parents, dogs & siblings busy & enjoying all that Ashton Court has to offer especially the café at the end of training.

There were numerous Parkrun PBs as listed below.

What better way to start Christmas day so well done Ronnie Wilmott who took part at Windmill Hill 2k running 7mins 25sec PB

Boxing day was the turn of u11 Eddie Bent who raced really well over 3k in the junior race at Clevedon. He was supported by Barney Thomas & Alfie England.

Another Parkrun PB on 29th Dec was always on the cards & again Eddie Bent gave it his all  finishing first in 8min exactly. So sub 8 is the aim for 2020.

Several boys plus parents held back on the New Eve Year celebrations & as the photo suggests were all smiles at the Eastville Parkrun & both Felix Pearson (22.53) & Alfie England (26.06) kicked of the New Year in style recording PBs.

Eastville Parkrun on New Year’s Day

We are all looking forward to a busy January with school races shortly plus the Midland champs which on paper suggests we have a competitive team. Everyone just has to stay well & in one piece, which with such a lively bunch is quite a challenge for their coach.

Ali Hurford.

Gwent League #3: u11 and u13 boys take full advantage of festive home fixture

Gwent League #3: u11 and u13 boys take full advantage of festive home fixture
11 Dec

 The ploy of a festive tent,  Christmas lucky dip plus the usual abundance of cake seemed to work its seasonal magic as all 18 lads turned out for their respective team.

The overall improvement from the u11s resulted in  a move up from 7th position in to the bronze position, but only just. We will need to keep our finger on the pulse at the remaining 2 fixtures.

As a result of great team spirit the u13s finished second on the day & have further consolidated the bronze position moving away from Cardiff but we still need to keep it together for the rest of the season.

 

U11s results.

Leading in the team was Oisin O Halloran (9) who was the Avon bronze medalist at last weeks tri counties. Gradually moving through the field was Tom White (24) who had given his all in a school race the previous day. Having his best race to date Eddie Bent (28) managed to stay on his feet & keep his laces tied up so third time lucky. Rufus Hull (46) was clearly on a mission & is  starting to make a big impact on the team result. Providing useful back up Alfie England (72) continues to combine running with his swimming training & he is looking more confident at every race.

U13s results.

The scoring team consisted of Ronnie Wilmott(9) clearly still on a high after his victory at the Avon xc champs a week ago. This set things up well for Zac Cox (10) who thankfully has recovered from falling off his bike quite badly a couple of weeks ago. Fantastic team packing from Alex Auton Green(11) who has shown real consistency all season meant we needed just one more Bristol vest to show up soon.  So it was down to new recruit  Harry Harvey (28) who  was a real star & listened well to my pre race advice & it certainly paid dividends

The B team packed really well starting with Joey Taylor (34) just holding off a fast finishing Vijay Bakrania (35) who also played his role well as team captain on the day. Never far behind & giving his all was Daniel Jarrold (44) followed very closely by Barney Thomas (47) who has made real progress since Pembrey .

Leading the c team in was Max Finning (48) looking an awful lot happier than his race at Bath last week. His finish is something to behold. Felix Pearson (51) continues to improve & clearly enjoys being part of this lively group. It was good to have Oliver Draper back in the team after a break from competing & finally Ben Pocock (57) now looking much more comfortable after thinking about music terminology whilst running ( legato) springs to mind.

Our final finisher was Walter Davies(66) who has very recently become part of Alis Army so full marks for turning out & giving it a go.

Our next big race is the Midland xc champs at the end of Jan. So we have plenty of time to enjoy some festive running over the next couple of weeks before we starting getting back in the zone for the remaining fixtures next year.

If any one wishes to have a social run on Christmas eve we will be at Ashton Court 10am. Please bring a mince pie & some mistletoe!

Merry Christmas.

Ali

Gwent League #3 – u15 boys and u17 men in buoyant form at Blaise

11 Dec

Travelling in the daylight can only mean one thing, a local match. 20 u15 boys and u17 men made the journey to Blaise Castle, the home of Westbury Harriers.  With two almost full squads the mood was buoyant.  With club tent set up, warm ups commenced.

Eoin O Halloran led the u15 boys out, maintaining a good position throughout the race, 15th (15.07), Ishmael Bradley showed great strength and determination in 24th position, (15.31), Ishmaels regular training is certainly starting to pay off, improving with each race.  Misha Evans and Amos Kingston battled out the next two positions, coming across the line with only 6 seconds between them, Misha (15.49) 30th and Amos 31st (15.55.) completed our first team home.  Misha feeling that this had been his best race so far this season.  Jay Hunt lead the second team home in style, 39th place (16.21).  The ever reliable Joseph Hull took 45th position, (16.39) cheered on by Dad, Bill and brother, Rufus.  Behind him relative new comer, Ollie Robertson Kurd who despite being nervous at the start, showed no nerves on the course, 48th (17.08).  Jacob Franklin, who is easy to spot in the crowd with his fluorescent shorts and socks, only 10 seconds behind Ollie in 50th place (17.18) completing the second team.  Alex Robertson, whose last visit to Blaise had resulted in a broken ankle, did not let this deter him, finishing strongly in 56th place, (18.58) and in 62nd place, Joe Mcnamara who continues to improve with every competition (19.54) completed our teams.  The u15 team held their 7th position in the table. Second team 12th and third team 28th.  

Next up, the u17 men.  With almost a full squad, 9 boys set off at 2.05pm running their longest race distance yet of 5500m.  Leading the boys out, Ollie Harper, Rufus Thomas and Fred Hawker packed together tightly,  keeping a good pace for the first medium lap.  Ollie, with the lure of a Gwent League T Shirt in his mind, finished in the top 10%, 5th overall (18.54), just 4 seconds behind, Rufus Thomas secured 7th place, (18.58).  Next in with a solid performance, Fred Hawker, 12th place (19.35) and completing the first team, Jay Akbar who looked relaxed in what where good conditions for Jay, no wind, no rain in 26th place, (20.55).  First home for the second team, Cole Edmonds in 32nd place (21.38), closely followed by Otto Kingston, just 10 seconds separating them, in 34th place (21.48).  James Casling, with his signature 100m sprint into the finish, 46th (23.05) and Jacob Roe, only 4 seconds behind him, 47th (23.09), completing the second team.  Lewis Adamson, who ran through gritted teeth having twisted his ankle early on, was determined to start and finish, in 49th position (24.11).  The u17 boys move up to 2nd place in the table, second team 11th place and third team 27th.

All watched on by Steve Grant, there to get tips for the next Gwent League in Chepstow, which will be hosted by Bristol and West on Saturday 8th February.  

Blaise Gwent League XC – Senior teams

10 Dec

Chris Elson reports

Report Blaise 7.12.19

There was a 15 strong contingent at the Telford 10K, which included the Master’s selection race for the home international. A goodly number of PB’s were posted with Harry Allan 30.17, Felix McGrath 31.07, Joe Connors 31.58, Jed Bartlett 32.40, Andy Cooke (40) 33.04, Ben Maliphant 33.07, Phil Parry (4th M55) 35.48, Brad Pontin 37.47, Natalie Griffiths 37.33, Clare Jolliffe (2nd W50) 39.32, Sarah Everitt (5th W50) 40.45, Sian Davies 43.10 (7th W55), Fliss Russell (6th W60) 47.13, Christine Rose (12th W60) 52.32, Anne Dockery (2nd W70) 53.17. In addition, David Eagon, Alex Whittaker and Annabelle Grainger were 1st, 4th, & 1st women respectively at Christmas Cracker 10K. So how would B&W AC fare at Blaise? Rather well as it turned out, with a few unanticipated reinforcements and some handy debutantes. In fact the weekend’s events must rank as one the best performance by the B&W AC endurance section in terms of strength in depth in living memory!

This time the women did set a record namely A team 1st & B team 2nd! The C, D, E & F teams were all 1st in their category, out of the 76 teams finishing with the C team 9th, D team 15th, E team 25th,  and F team 54th. The W35 & W45 teams were 1st and W55 team 2nd. I think Keith is going to be pleased with these results! Individually, Kate Maltby led the field home and it was lovely to see Kate in full flow gliding away from her pursuers. Kate even said she enjoyed it! Next up was a rejuvenated Nicky Brookland who produced a cracking run in 6th and was first W45 by the proverbial mile. That left a trio of Rosie Hattersley (10th), Catie O’Donaghoe (14th), and making her club debut, Annie Carroll (15th), all running strongly to complete the A team . The B team was led home by Anna Duran-Mingo, back after injury, in 19th, followed by another debutante Hannah Steeds (23), Katerina Entwhistle (24th), Elaina Gard fighting off a cold (26th) & Naomi Aylwin (31st). That was some performance by the B team! Lucy Wallace, not at her best, was first home for the C team in 40th position, with Tanya Chowdhudry having an excellent run (43rd & 8th W40), Thea Payne making an impressive debut (46th), Emma Clarke (56th) & Nicky Hodges,  (71st & 8th W45) completing the team. Alice Doggrell, warming up for the race with a nippy Clevedon park run (somebody needs to talk to her about this), was first finisher for the D team in 73rd, with W40 Harriet Williams running well in 77th, Ruth Tredgett (90th), a notable performance from Antonia Gooder (106th & 6th W50) and an excellent one from Maggie Salter (120th & 4th W55) & no, I didn’t miss the 26 min park run. Another debutante, Kate Hoffen with a run to be proud of led the all masters E team home in 134th position (11th W50), with Rosey Mushens (139th & 7thW55), Ali Hurford, cheered on by the army, (157th & 11th W55), W45 Julie Ilogu (169th), and W45 Emma-Jane Orchard (174th). Finally the F team was composed of Harriet Middlebrough (184th), Danielle Suttle (213rd) & W45 Katie Ronald (215th) out of the 292 finishers.

In the M65 race run with the ladies Dave Bedwell was 1st & Tom Burgess 10th & they held on to their 2nd place overall.

Could the men emulate their female counterparts? They did give it a good shot! The A team were first and now have a handy cushion of 149 points over our nearest rivals, Aberdare AAC.  The B team were 4th and head the B Division by over 500 points! Notably, the C, D, E & F teams occupied the first four places in the Reserve Division with the G team in 14th out of 31 teams in the division. The M35 team were 2nd on the day and M45 5th. I’m indebted to Mike Down for his report on the A team. The Blaise race was particularly significant for the long awaited comeback of the club’s former junior international Ben Westhenry and the return from injury of Andy Chambers. These two were joined among others by Andy Watt, whose progress has been a revelation this autumn but who himself was returning from an inactive fortnight’s holiday in South America. So there were question marks all round, but the way Ben attacked the three undulating three lap course from the start you could have thought he had never been away! He took the bull by the horns, opening up a lead of as much as 30-40 metres on the first two laps, but a combination of an ankle roll suffered midrace and a predictable reaction to such an aggressive approach in his first race for two years saw him run out of gas on the last lap and have to settle for 7th place at the end. Nonetheless it was a remarkable resumption to what had been a promising junior career before an overuse shin injury suffered during a short athletics scholarship stay in the U.S. left him so exasperated that he made an early return to the UK. Now happily based back with his alma mater in Bristol studying for a Ph.D. and hopefully finally clear of his chronic shin problem, it should not be long before he underlines his outstanding natural talent. While one’s attention was inevitably focussed on Ben’s comeback effort, behind him Andy Chambers, was also returning to action after before being sidelined for the past month due to an ankle sprain together with a recurrence of the back problem that grounded him for the first half of the year. Unlike Ben he purposely started cautiously, and although never in contact with the leaders soon worked his way through to a position in the top six and gradually closed the gap to finish in 4th place in a race that he thought he could have won if his training had not been interrupted. Andy and Ben’s efforts sandwiched those of Andy Watt and Jonny Suttle, who both took their time to work their way through a number of the early pacesetters to finish 5th and 6th respectively just ahead of Ben. Andy Watt, clearly acted as a spur to Johnny, who underlined his ongoing progress by producing what was arguably his best ever performance on the country. (Chris again). The A team was completed by Maciej Bialogonski who finished 15th despite his race warm up over the Seven Bridge at the parkrun earlier in the day. The B team was led home by Graham Breen (19th & 1st M40) who took the scalp of international James Thie, followed by a good run from Olly Sheppard (20th), Rob Farley (21st) who seems to be getting better every race, Pete Bains (39th) and  Lee Gawler (51st) with perhaps his best performance since joining the club. When you have a C team led home by someone of the calibre of Andy Drake (54th 11th M35) you know you have a good team. Henry Sly (68th & 8th M40) was next followed by the ever improving Sam Bentley 75th,  Darren Garmen (76th & 4th M45), who must has kept something in reserve for his exploits at the Cracker the following day and Joe Lyne (94th) another person ascending the league rankings. Under 23 Tom Blake (119th) making his league debut led the D team home, with Matt Burdon some 30 places higher than at Pembrey park (123rd), Neil Turney (125th) a recent addition to the sleep deprivation society but now getting enough to return to the fray, Jon Bennett (130th) a graduate from the said society, and debutante & another parkrun warm up victim, Simon Brice (131st) completed the team. The E team comprised Cameron Grayling (132nd), Steve Swan (148th), M45 Paul Jefferson (154 & 15th M45), Pete Gandon (158th), and M40 Tim White (180th) & F team M40 Peter Wang (188th),  Tom Moriaty (189th), Tariq Kurd with a breakthrough run (194th & 28th M45), Mark Taylor (195th & 29th M45), & Dan Titheradge returning after a long break (214th). After Nathan Lomax-Cooke (234th),  the next three members of the G team were all running their first cross-country race with M40 Ben Holding (295th) in the van, followed by Nicko Brooke (299th), Andrew Young (348th), & super coach Nick Crewe (362th & 36th M55) out of 481 finishers. Next Race the SW Championships enter online before 23rd December.

Full results are available here: http://gwent-league.org.uk/2019/res193.htm