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
Sadly as so often happens the Field events at Birmingham were overlooked in my report of 20 Jan. To make amends please include this item within your reading of that report.
Emma BAKARE U23 our formidable Triple Jumper bounced back this week after a disappointing performance last week at Loughborough to record a fine 11.21m jump. An excellent all round Athlete who specialises in Triple Jump Emma will be well pleased with this improvement as she settles into her new lifestyle at University.
Higher Competition Member Jake BURKEY U23 was also forgotten. Paul WESTON coached Jake who is normally a 7m + jumper cleared 6.84m to take 3 rd place in the competition in his first competitive jump of the new year. Jake also sprinted and in his two 60m runs recorded 7.62 & 7.65 secs.
As another addition Otis MONDIR has messaged to say that he was disqualified in that 800m for a lane infringement. Tough Otis, it is sadly something so easily done on an indoor track.
London Games / Master’s & SW Champs / Birmingham Open / USA – 18/19 th January.
Mike Strange reports
US based Lucy BRYAN was our top performing athlete this week-end with a top ranking Pole Vault at her home base of Akron, Ohio. Lucy cleared 4.42m following another great vault of 4.30m last week also in Akron. These performances both auger well in Lucy’s preparation as we move into another ‘Olympic Year’.
Three centres featured in this week-end’s domestic Indoor action with Lee Valley generally being the preferred choice for our some of our Senior Athletes. Ella FALK U23 put in a surprise showing with an outstanding 400m in 60.73 to at last live up to her outstanding 300m performances whilst an Under 17.
Ella is based in London these days and one trusts that she has now settled into a consistent training regime to further her Athletic talent. Another to make a surprise showing was the Connell MACQUISTEN Hong Kong sprinter Bertran CHAN Snr who recorded excellent 7.14 & 7.19 times for 60m. Welcome to UK
competitions Bertran, it is good to see all that hard work at Whitehall paying off. Matt NEWTON Snr went for the 200m / 400m double in which he also showed early season promise although quite short of his PBs with 23.02 & 50.55 clockings. Canadian ‘All Rounder’ Dan GREGORY Snr took in two events and improved his UK mark for 60m Hurdles with a 9.92 clocking plus running a sound 800m in 2:18.59.
At Birmingham ‘HIPAC’ Tamara JACKSON U15 fired off two magnificent PBs and Club Records of 9.66 secs for 60m Hurdles before clocking 8.39 for the 60m flat whilst nursing a perpetual swollen knee problem thought to be caused by her hurdling activity. Ella BOWELL U15 also troubled by knee problems featured
in Tam’s 60m clocking a 8.56 & 8.57 in her two races. Sophia BOWELL U13 was slightly down on her recent Cardiff performance with a very creditable 60m in 9.55 secs and U20 Mia BREEZE clocked 8.37 for her first run of the season 60m race. Under 13 Club High Jump record holder Evie MOIR was at Birmingham the previous day and attempted to improve that record. However it was not to be so Evie had to be content with equalling it with another 1.35m clearance. Don’t worry Evie, you nearly always plateau before moving forward. HCA Adam BROOKS U23 also showed his class in the High Jump with a 2.03m clearance.
Cardiff saw the Non Thomas Open this week-end that incorporated BMC, Welsh Masters and more South West Championships events. Tia JACKSON U20 was the outstanding performer here with a scintillating 60m run of 7.67 pb just behind UK Bobsleigh International Mica MOORE making the star studded final.
However although finishing again just behind Mica in that final in 7.70 she developed a leg injury which completely messed up her chances of making any mark in her specialist event the Long Jump. A sad exit on what was such a promising day for Tia with the additional disappointment of losing her Club 60m Hurdles
Record to her cousin. Close behind Tia in both the heat and final was her training partner Higher Competition Athlete Abigail PEAKE U20 from Mendip AC. Abi clocked 7.81 & 7.84 respectively in her races. Scott BAJERE ran an outstanding 7.08 secs in his 60m to also make the senior final however he did not
appear and one hopes that he did not also develop an injury in the first race.
Matt CURTIS Snr opened his year at Loughborough last week and this week improved that 60m hurdles time down to 8.64 secs. Matt was looking a little sharper and can hope to take even more off this time as the Indoor season progresses. Rightly to improve his speed Matt dabbled with the 60m flat clocking 7.51 secs.
T64 Disability Athlete Sophie KAMLISH Snr showed that she is still well on form in this Paralympic Year for yet another selection with a close to her best 60m in 8.54 secs and newcomer U20 Fahmida Amed also showed well with an 8.84 secs time.
In the 800m Otis MONDIR was timed just outside 2 Mins at 2:00.44 but strangely did not appear in the PowerOf10 results. I have no idea what happened here as no-one can remember a disqualification in this race? In the 1,500m series Neil KENNEDY was slightly down on his Indoor best of 4:18 with a time of 4:22.99 but once again Neil had no-one around him to push him on so ran a largely solo race. Adam WILSON T20 disability has turned Snr this year and should be pleased with his 3,000m debut Indoors with a 9:04.5 clocking.
Kate HULLS looked to be able to dominate her 3,000m race as she went through kilometres in 3:15.0 and 6:24.5 but sadly faded in the final stages to finish well off her indoor best with 9:49.98.
In the Field it was down to HCA Rory HOWORTH U20 to fly the flag with a below par 6.54m jump just behind an interesting athlete Joel TOWNLEY U20 from Gloucester who also cleared a below par 6.58m.
B&W Masters Athletes featured well in their events this week-end at Cardiff. Mark ELLERY M55 once again showed well in the sprint races clocking 8.47 60m & 28.72 in the 200m. Mark was seeded with Senior competitors and fared well holding his own without problem. It was great to see Club stalwart Martin FLOOK M35 back on the boards with an outstanding 57.82 time for 400m. If it wasn’t for the remarkable Jim DIXON in the distant past this would have been a Club Record. Evergreen Peter MOUNTAIN M60 tried for a semi-sprint race in his eyes on this occasion and clocked 65.78 for 400m to win his race in an exciting finish. Many Masters endurance runners contested the series of 1,500m races and Both Tony ROPER M55 & Dave BEDWELL M65 acquitted them-selves well with younger Tony coming out on top 4:53.91 but with David creating a Club O65 Record with 4:54.71 just behind him.
In the Women’s Masters races we largely had sprinters on display. In the 60m another evergreen Caroline POWELL W65 shone with 9.13 secs and newcomer Vicki CATNACH V35 improving on her recent time at Cardiff with 9.63 secs. If you include Club International Member Joanne WILLOUBY we had 4 magnificent Ladies competing in the 200m with 3 being drawn together in one race. Jo W50 managed to overcome the others to lead in with 30.12 followed by Caroline POWELL W65 with 31.28 and Henrietta ANSTEY W45 with 32.11 to improve by over 1 sec on her previous best. Vicky CATNACH was drawn in the following race and executed her first attempt at 200m Indoors or Outdoors with a superb 33.08 clocking. Henrietta after her magnificent 300m Club Record at Cardiff also ventured herself up to 400m for first time Indoors to clock a great debut 74.77 secs. Well done to all Masters.
INDOOR TRACK & FIELD
Loughborough Students Indoor Meet – 11th January – Mike Strange reports
Senior competition came into its own this week with the Loughborough Students Meet and Bristol & West’s # 1 Sprinter Hannah WILLIAMS did us proud by equalling the Club Record for 60m with a top performance of 7.59 secs. The joint record holder is British International Emily DIAMOND / LEONARD so this shows the high standard of this excellent record. In the Meet Hannah matched her performance last week at Eton in her first run of 7.68 before coming out to blast 7.59 secs in her 2 nd run. This is great newsfor Hannah and for this Club at such an early stage of this new season.
An Under 23 Indoor Record was also equalled by Emma BAKARE in the Triple Jump where she leapt to 11.07m to match the previous mark of Samantha BARRETT. Well done Emma.
On the Men’s side we had two 60m Hurdlers operating for the first time in a good many years with
Loughborough based Dajon WRIGHT and Matt CURTIS in action. Dajon continued with his emergence as a top performer with a sound pb of 8.61 secs clocking in his first race before knocking a further second off to move up to third on the Club ‘All Time’ 60m Hurdles list with a 8.51 secs clocking. Matt who set his pb of 8.53 secs before joining B&W 1 st Claim opened with a good 8.69 clocking before rounding off a good day with 8.77 secs.
Also in action for the first time this season was our 400m specialist Mark COTTAM who at 60m set a pb in his first race to 7.25 secs and then improved it to an excellent 7.20 secs.
Over in the USA I note that Emily WRIGHT featured once again after a rest from athletics for a couple of years. Emily the current Club Indoor Record holder for the Long Jump at 6.19m tentatively eased back into competition with a 5.27m leap and sprinted 8.11 secs for the 60m. Good to see you back in action Emily.
The club’s Annual General Meeting for 2020 will be held on 17-APR at the Kings Head near the Whitehall track, all club members are invited to attend, please come along and find out more about what is going on in the club. Further details to follow closer to the time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bristol & West Athletic Club will be hosting the fourth round of the Gwent Cross-Country League at Chepstow Race Course on Saturday 8 February 2020 and we urgently need volunteer marshals to mark the course on the day. Keith Brackstone and Steve Grant are leading on the club’s preparations for the event so please contact one of them to let them know if you are available to help.
We will need a minimum of 12 marshals but the more the merrier as we will be able to split the day if we get more than 8 volunteers. Please spread the word. This will be the first time in several years that the club has hosted a Gwent League fixture so we want the event to go off really smoothly and with no complaints.
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.
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.