BWAC Membership Survey 2019: key thoughts and actions

23 Sep

Over 100 club members completed our membership survey this summer. The BWAC committee have analysed the results, and are committed to making the club even better based on suggestions from our members.

Here’s some of the feedback we received, and the actions we’ll be taking!

The website is not user friendly

We’re in the process of updating the site, and are hoping to launch a slimmed down, super easy to use version in October! Thanks to club member Nicko Brooke who has been helping with this. If you have any ‘must haves’ for the new website, then let Ellen know on

Can we have more advice on things like injury prevention and nutrition?

Watch this space for a new series of talks for BWAC members on topics of use to athletes of all disciplines…we’re planning the first speaker session for November. We’ll also be adding useful links and sources of advice to the new website!

Can there be better communication about upcoming events, particularly for juniors?

Hopefully our new fixtures information on the new website will sort this one too!

Juniors want to be able to try lots of disciplines when they are young, but also to have clear development plans…

Paul Filer and Mike Down are working on our new performance and people strategy and development plan. As coaching coordinator, Paul will be leading work to support our awesome team of coaches, and to ensure that we develop our young athletes to their full potential.

We need a branded tent and flags at events!

Yes, we do! We’re working on getting the new(ish) tent branded, and on getting some new flags in time for the cross country season.

Facilities at Whitehall need improving, and we’d like a clubhouse please

The clubhouse project is ongoing, with continuing negotiations with Cabot Learning Foundation, who own the Whitehall track. We’ll make sure we communicate better about this and give members regular updates on what’s going on.

Can we have more socials please?

We’ve set up a small social team to run a series of get-togethers during the cross country season, and we’re hoping to run some Christmas events for the track and field teams. We’re also aiming for events that bring the whole club together: watch this space on those!

We also had lots of suggestions for different types of sessions (hills were popular) and changes of venue…these will be fed back to the coaching team.



23 Sep


On the face of it my concern that with so many of our first choice runners missing we might be up against it in the Midland 6-stage road relay championship may appear to have been unwarranted as our expectations were comfortably exceeded. How else to view our three teams’ results, with the A team beating all bar the hot pre-race favourites and defending champions Birmingham’s top club Birchfield Harriers to take the silver medals, and the B and C teams quite remarkably finishing 10th and 17th respectably among the huge field of 122 teams that started.

While our teams’ performances are a glowing recognition of the club’s ever increasing strenth in depth – what other club, for instance, could boast one of its third team members ending up with a time among the top 50 of the close on 700 runners that covered the undulating 6K lap round Sutton Park – there is need for caution in one’s conclusions. As you all know one of my favourite maxims is that the watch never lyes. Let me explain.

The brutal reality is that our overall time was still less than a minute faster than we clocked in 5th place last year and actually half a minute slower than we subsequently recorded when finishing a very disappointing 18th in the National. That if you recall heralded an interrogation on what had gone wrong. What’s more when we last won the Midland 6-stage two years ago and went on to finish a creditable 5th in the National we posted a time nearly two and a half minutes faster at 1:48:33 compared to this year’s 1:50:47. Admittedly it was a freakishly hot day and all six of our runners bar Andy Watt ended up running vitual time trials, yet no one clocked a time within a minute of the day’s fastest.

So it’s feet on the ground time guys and to be realistic a statement of where we are fitness wise at this early stage of the season, with many of you only recently returning to serious training after holiday breaks. True as that may be we have only two weeks to find at least three minutes – half a minute a runner – to be genuinely competitive in the National. All six of our runners need to break 18 minutes to give us any sort of a medal chance, but more of that in next week’s preview.

For now it’s time to celebrate Saturday’s successful day when perhaps the biggest surprise was the brilliant start we were given on the opening stage. “So Watt” was ANDY’s characteristically modest response as he gave a model lesson in how to deal with the varied contours of the tough Sutton Park circuit. Refusing to get involved with the initial skirmish at the front up the long drag to the top of the course, he methodically worked his way into a position just behind the leaders. Perhaps he was goaded by the sight of one of his current training group FELIX MCGRATH (18:11), who was running for Newcastle Staffs, setting the pace with Bath’s former junior international ALEX CARTER (18:07). He was never able to get on terms with either of them, but passed everyone else among the early pacesetters to finish only ten seconds down on the lead in a time of 18:17, which was nearly half a minute faster than last year’s (18:42). It was surely his best ever run at Sutton Park and continued the progress underlined by his recent 10K pb of 31:11 at Stirling.

HARRY ALLEN for his part had probably expected to have a few more to try and hunt down on the second leg, but found himself soon in front and left to open up as large a gap as possible aware that the Birchfield team appeared to be backloading their challenge with their African star OMAR AHMED set to run the anchor leg. Following his third place in the Bristol Half the previous weekend, Harry was expected to post our fastest time and his 18:03 duly extended our lead over Birchfield, who were now up to 4th place, to almost a minute.

It left JED BARTLETT, who had only come into the team due to ADAM STOKES being involved in a car accident the day before, with a daunting task on his debut in the event, and although he predictably lost gound to the chasing pack, cool head Jed showed no sign of panic and ran his own race to just hold off his fast closing Birchfield rival with a creditable effort of 19:04.

It was now up to team captain KURT TAYLOR to preserve our narrow lead, but he had the Brummy club’s Sutton Park specialist WiII RICHARDSON (17:28) to deal with, and having only just resumed serious training wisely let him go when caught on the opening hill, but stuck to his task and consolidated our silver medal position with a time only just over 10 seconds slower than Harry’s of 18:15.

Next up WILL CHRISTOFI, who has just started a new teaching job in Essex, was faced with the unenviable task of knowing that he would have needed a course record time to give ANDY CHAMBERS  any hope of holding off Omar Ahmed on the anchor stage. But Will has been having to fit his training in round his new job and this was his first race of any kind since the early summer, so while satisfied with the way he felt he had run, his time of 18:49 was only enough to consolidate our silver medal poasition well clear of our old rivals and eventual bronze medallists Notts.

Despite ANDY CHAMBERS  knowing he faced a fruitless task chasing Birchfield’s pocket rocket, he had not travelled up from Exeter to cruise round in view of his plan to run the Swansea Bay 10K the following day That would have been understandable in the circumstances, but flogging it hard all the way he was rewarded with another creditable mark of 18:19, which meant that four of the team had all clocked times within a quarter of a minute of one another to provide a solid platform for next week’s National challenge.

As for the B team OLI SHEPPARD (19:58) did not have the start his recent training efforts had suggested, but still broke the 20 minute barrier to finish only just outside rthe top 30 on the opening stage. The pack of runners lined up ahead  was just the cue newcomer to the team JOHNNY SUTTLE, who has been training with Bristol & West AC’s ‘Whitehall Runners’ since joining from London club Queens Park Harriers, needed, and he duly gained nine places to move us up to 23rd with what proved to be the team’s fastest time of 19:24.

If DAVE EAGON, who had moved up from the C team following Jed’s corresponding promotion to the A team, felt he had a point to prove, he certainly did so as his 19:30 – the team’s second fastest – lifted us another eight places to 15th before handing over to ADAM WILSON, who was only eight seconds slower, his time of 19:38 being some half minute quicker than last year and maintaining the relentless progress up to 12th. Another new face to the squad Bristol University graduate FELIX RUSBY (19:46) advanced another place on the penultimate stage to 11th, leaving 800m specialist OTIS MONDIR to prove he is more than a two lap wonder by gaining that one vital place to  finish the team in the top ten with an impressive time of 19:33.

Meanwhile the C team owed their remarakable 17th position to a flying 4th stage by young HENRY COCHRANE, who with his long standing injury problems behind him underlined his natural talent with an eye-catching time of 19:03. Earlier LEE GAWLER (21:09), who had to move up from the incomplete D team, finished only just outside the top 50 on the opening stage, while another newcomer to the squad from Bitton ROB FARLEY was some half minute faster, his 20:30 moving the team up 13 places to 39th. Club stalwart ANDY DRAKE (20:19) then passed another five before Henry’s spectacular effort gained ten more positions, leaving  ANDY COOKE, whose 19:47 was the team’s second fastest and PETE BAINS to lift us into the top 20 for the first time. Pete’s time of 19:59 was more than a minute faster than last year’s and arguably one of the club’s best performances of the day.

All in all then, as my fellow team manager Chris Elson concluded, as successful and rewarding a day as we could have hoped for, but all must accept that we need a productive next two weeks of work if we are to make the mark we want to at the National.

PS ANDY CHAMBERS shrugged off any residual fatigue form his Sutton Park effort as well as the rain and wind  to equal his pb of 31:22 and finish 7th in the Swansea bay 10K.
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Under 13 lads have a training party in Clevedon!

12 Sep

Ali Hurford reports…

As the winter fixtures are just around the corner the endurance lads met up in Clevedon last weekend for a scenic run around sunny Clevedon followed by a very large picnic lunch back at my house.


Numerous parents also joined in along with several siblings therefore a real family occasion. This was an ideal opportunity for the group to get to know one another a little better & so bodes well for the forth coming season.

We very much hope to repeat this successful format next summer, and perhaps to have a swim in marine lake as well!


Membership, Officials and Volunteers

01 Sep
The club is pleased to announce that Betti Farkas has agreed to take on the dual roles of membership secretary and officials + volunteers coordinator. Betti brings a wealth of experience to these roles and we are all excited to have her onboard.
Bev Barrett will be handing over the officials secretary role after many years in this vitally important position and on behalf of the club I would like to thank her for all her great work.
Contact information can be found on the club website here.
Owain Jones,
Club Secretary.

David Taylor’s Middle Distance Training Group

26 Aug

[From Dave Taylor]

Can all Athletes be made aware that due to an unexpected influx of Athletes, David Taylor has no more capacity in his Middle Distance training group?

If you are interested in training for 800/1500m then please speak to your current Coach, Chris Elson or Paul Filer the coach coordinator for alternative Coaching solutions.


Junior boys take on the big dipper at Merthyr Mawr

23 Aug

The summer holidays would not be complete without a trip to this famous sand dune area. So by popular request the junior boys once again enjoyed a day out that consisted of hard work, a large lunch and was rounded off by a chilly swim at Ogmore.

The life guards suddenly appeared from nowhere as the lads sprinted towards the water!









As the photos show lots of happy faces but for sure there will be some tired legs today.

Midland Athletic League Division 1 – 2019 Match 4 Report for Combined Bristol & West/Yate & District team – Yate, 4th of August

11 Aug

A storming home win secures a repeat League Championship

Our combined team for this last match was always looking strong, and so it turned out on the day when we won by a massive 89 points to record our 3rd win of the season and take the League title in the top Division for the second time in three years.

Hurdle superstars Jess and Hen in Yate and Bristol colours

Tamworth continued their late season push to take second on the day ahead of Birchfield, Notts and the relegated Abingdon and Cannock & Stafford.  The league order and points ended up as:

Bristol & West/Yate & District


Birchfield Harriers


Notts AC


Tamworth AC


Abingdon AC


Cannock & Stafford AC


For 2020, we will be re-joined by Gloucester AC who we last competed against in 2015 in Division 2 and Rugby & Northampton AC who were in the top Division with us in 2016 and 2017. So enough of the statistics, its people that matter win or losealthough I’m not knocking winning.

We welcomed new track & field athletes to our group and look forward to their continued involvement next year – Sarah Long, Eva Purse, Daisy Harvey, Owen Merrett, Jed Bartlett, Josh Maggs, Josh Moody, Jack Randell and Stewart Wareing.

Josh Moody and Kurt Taylor

We had so many fantastic team developments and contributions throughout the season, it’s not possible to list them all but here goes for a summary:

the growth of our athlete pool means we can get a near full team out match after match.  They are not alone in this, but the male and female throwers are a great example of a group of competitors who cover each other’s absences and form a rock solid core of the team.
Pete Bains running a 800m for the first time in a long while at the Alexander Stadium and then getting a hamstring tear in the 3000m but still finishing on one leg to get the points.  Thanks Pete but please don’t you or anyone else do thisagain.  Better timing was David Thomas in the LJ on Sunday and the securing the HJ B string win before damaging his hamstring.  Get well soon both of you.
all of the have a go heroes who make that extra difference on the day and contribute to what looks like, but isn’t, an easy season’s win – Lucy Durham filling the gaps year on year; Hen Anstey trying and now loving the 400mH; Jack Randell’s last minute go at the full height 110mH with James Casling and Matt Lewis doubling up as an official and steeplechaser on many occasions.
the ever reliable officials and especially Bev Barrett and Pat Jeffries who organise them, accompanying parents , supporters and much larger pool of volunteers we call on to make a home match work.
Ana Duran-Mingo and Claire Jolliffe

Another fine year of good company, a few laughs and a nice dose of personal and team success to go with it.

Results are now on power of 10 at:

PB’s and SB’s are listed below and what a long list it is, well done all.  Apologies if I missed anyone:

Women’s PB’s: Katie Robbins (400m), Danni Sinclair (800m), Ana Maria Duran-Mingo (3000m), Alexia Bennett-Cordy (100mH), Daisy Harvey (400mH), Henrietta Anstey (400mH), Lucy Durham (LJ), Eva Purse (TJ), Libby Parker (SP, DT & JT)

Women’s SB’s: Yvette Westwood (200m), Georgia Taylor (400m), Karen Jones (HT), Maria Townsend (JT)

Men’s PB’s: Dan Brooks (100m), Isaac Cory (200m), Aaron Belchamber (400m), Kurt Taylor (800m), Greg Hayward (1500m), Stewart Wareing (1500m), Jed Bartlett (3000m), David Eagon (3000m), Jack Randell (110mH), James Casling (110mH), Kane Lee (400mH), Matt Lewis (3000m S/C), Adam Brooks (TJ), Owen Merrett (DT& JT)

Men’s SB’s: Kane Lee (400m), Josh Moody (800m), Adam Wilson (800m), Matt Muggeridge (JT)

Steve Grant, Pete Mountain and Matt Muggeridge



Senior women clinch promotion back to Division 1 in UKWAL

09 Aug

Team manager Chris Elson looks back at the UKWAL season…

A selection of stars from the happy team!

It must be true, it’s in Athletics Weekly. At the beginning of the season I’d had my slide rule out and was optimistic that the team was in with a shout for promotion back to division 1. This expectation was born out by events, but who could have predicted the nail biting nature of the fixtures? The first fixture in Chelmsford turned out to be typical. 4 event points separated the first 3 teams with B&W AC sharing the pole position with Victoria Park Glasgow. The next fixture in Sheffield was equally hair raising (difficult for some), with the home team pipping B&W AC by all of one event point, although Glasgow lost a little ground 9 event points shy. That left the last match, which Glasgow must have fancied winning on home turf.

In the first fixture, the B&W AC was off to a good start with Christina Jones & Lauren Aldridge in the hammer, while Andrea Jesudason and Tia Jackson took maximum points in the long jump. The standard in the 400mH is disconcertingly high, but Grace Cottrell & Sam Barrett fought hard to pick up points. We’ve usually done well in the middle distances and this match proved no exception with Kate Maltby winning both the 3000m & 1500m, ably supported by Issy Talbot-Price & Catie O’Donoghue both 2nd B, Hannah Pollak & Elaina Gard both 2nd in the 800m A & B races respectively, and Emma Clarke 3rd in the chase. The shortsprints were more difficult with our fastest sprinters unavailable for valid reasons, so Melissa Cooke, Ella Falk & Jess Frazer shared the burden of collecting points. Again the standard in the 400m is high, but Natalie Jones & Elisa Kelsey Richards did well to finish 4th (A) & 2nd(B) respectively. That left the100mH where ever reliable Hannah Jackson was 4th (A) & Hattie Dent 4th (B). Back to the field, Esther Leong was 2nd in the pole vault, Andrea Jesudason, hampered by a hamstring injury that put her out for the rest of the season, 3rd in the Triple Jump while Sam Barrett took first B spot. The club currently has no specialist high jump, so it’s been a matter of appealing to the better nature of multi-eventers. Grace Cottrell sailed into 2nd place in the A string event & Hannah Jackson 5th in the B. Anyha Kerr has held the javelin together for us all season, and Christina the shot & discus aided by Sasha Spottiswoode & Grace Cottrell at Chelmsford.

Hannah Pollak and Elaina Gard: the 800m team for the sunny first fixture!

Next up was another early start to Sheffield & again it was a good start with Cathrine Beatty & Christina collecting 16 points between them & Sam Barrett & veterinary student Sam Raettig who was parachuted in at the last minute coming 2nd (A) & 3rd (B) respectively in the long jump. We had out top pole vaulters, namely Esther Leong & Sylvia Amabilino, out in force, who duly took maximum points. Hannah Jackson was doing overtime this fixture scrounging points in the high jump straight after third place in the 400mH (B), where Hattie was 4th (A). The discus squad was reinforced by Alice Grosjean (2nd) with Christina 4th in the B event and ditto the shot with Christina 4th A and Alice 6th B, while Anyha Kerr 6th (A) & Maria Townsend 5th (B) took the honours in the javelin. In the triple jump Sam Barrett was 2nd (A) and Emma Clarke took time out from jumping over sticks to come 7th (B).  On the track, we launched our H/C superstar Jenna Blundell in the 100mH with a 13.74 clocking. Jenna took the English title a fortnight later! Hannah Jackson too had a good one clocking 15.62. In the short sprints Melissa Cooke was doing overtime (again?) with the 100m (A), 200m (B) with both the sprint & 4 X 400m relay to come. Many thanks Melissa! Jenna meanwhile took 3rd (A) in the 200m. The middle distances saw Kate Maltby again doing a winning double in the 1500m & 3000m with, Lucy Wallace & Becky Pierce 2nd in the 1500m (B) and 1st in the 3K (B) respectively. Becky, making her first appearance for B&W AC, was also 6th in the 800m (A) and Lucy second in the B race. Becky completed her afternoon with 2nd in the 2000msteeplechase, while Emma Clarke was first in the B race. That leaves the 400m with Elisa 5th in the A race and Natalie 3rd in the B race.

So it was off to Glasgow! Would the plane flights get cancelled? Would the coach get there in time and with everyone fit to compete? How were we going to get people there for the first event of the revised timetable put out with 1 week to go with a 9.45am start? Roger to the rescue (again). He & Darren Boulten drove a 9 seater people carrier to Glasgow. I’d like to put in a plug here for Roger. Many people don’t realise how much he does. I do and it’s an awful lot!

Well there were a few hiccups on the way up, with the coach not getting to Carlisle Travel Lodge until 11.45, but we did make it and it was a great relief to arrive at Scotstoun to find everyone there. This included all those who missed the Sheffield match due to the proximity of their number 1 priority of the season, the English Schools. On board were Tia Jackson, Emma Bakare, Jess Frazer & Naimh Boulton plus Jenna all providing grounds for hope of a good outcome. The team couldn’t have got off to a better start. Our officials scored the maximum 20 points and I was just in time to see Tia jump out of the pit with a winning 5.73 metres not far short of her PB. After a first no jump, Bethan (after a technical review with Simon Hannam) jumped 5.24m giving the team maximum points. I scuttled round to the hammer to see both Christina & Cathrine start their competition and trying to watch 3 events at once just saw their winning throws, Christina first (A), Catherine first (B). The track events started with the 400mH, Hattie 4th (A), Hannah first (B), but Glasgow got a first & second. The 800m saw Natalie Griffiths make her first appearance of the season with 3rd (A) and Becky back in action with first (B). The high jump was next and here again it was multi-eventers to the rescue. Jenna was 3rd (A) with 1.55m and Emma 3rd (B) with 1.50. Next up was the 100m, Tia 3rd (A), Melissa 5th (B)  but things were getting tighter, Glasgow had a first & second. The discus saw Christina throw a seasons best of 31.4m for 6th (A) and young Niamh Boulten make her Senior debut with 25.85m  and 4th (B). The triple jump saw Emma Bakare again in action & looking very powerful with 11.15m, 4th (A) in a high calibre competition and Anyha Kerr posting 8.97m with one jump for 3rd (B) before the javelin started. Anyha came 5th (A) in the javelin, while Tia nobly threw 24.89m for 3rd (B). Both Sheffield & Glasgow had strong middle distance squads so could we hold on. Natalie doing the double was 2nd (A) and Catie O’Donoghue 2nd (B) so that looked OK. I had high hopes that Jenna would nail it in the 100mH but it was run, like the other sprints, into a stiff breeze funnelled by the stand. Jenna did nail it, first (A) and Hannah added to the glee with first B. Meanwhile the pole vault was underway & here Esther Leong came out first with 3.70m. Back on the track it was the 400m where Glasgow handy a very handy pair taking a first & second. Elisa Kelsey Richards was 5th (A) & Natalie Jones 2nd (B). We were holding on to the lead, just! Next the 1500m and here to we had a new star making her first appearance for the club. Zoe Wassell ran an excellent tactical race to take 2nd (A) with a nippy 2.29.43m while Lucy Wallace took a break from her sailing holiday in Inverness to take 2nd B in a time just shy of her PB. The 200m saw Jenna back in action with 3rd (A) & Jess Fraser 5th (B). The sprint relay saw Hannah, Melissa, Bethan & Tia post the teams fastest time of the season in 3rd place with Glasgow 1st. Then came the announcement, B&W AC are 9 points in front with 2 to events to go. Becky took 3rd in the 2K chase with a PB by 8 secs, with Glasgow in 2nd.  Emma was 6th. That left the 400m relay. The squad was Natalie Jones, Melissa, Jess & Amalia Westerlund. Was Amalia fit after being concussed playing rugby 4 weeks earlier?  The squad posted a time 10secs faster than in the previous matches finishing 3rd behind Glasgow & Sheffield. B&W AC had won and were promoted back to Division 1.

Emma, Zoe, Chris, Catie and Becky in Glasgow

Thank you everyone for your help. Firstly our officials, Mike & Carol Strange, Peter Jackson & Alan Dent who scored maximum points at all three events. Next all our coaches, DebunAdemuyewo, Keith Brackstone, Murray Grant, Paul Filer, Nick Harris, Eugene Hechavarria, Ken Holmes,  Jon Jackson, Tristan Jamieson, Matt Muggridge, Mike Strange and Paul Weston. Finally to the group of wonderful supremely athletic, competitive women who make up the team, bringing credit to themselves and the club. It’s been a joy to be team manager.

So on to next year. Well the travelling should be easier with 3 London Clubs, Nottingham, Southampton, Swansea & Victoria Park Glasgow. We’ll be putting in for a long overdue home match so all being well, no trip to Glasgow. I hope you will all be up for it. Perhaps sign up for it now?