Midland Athletic League Team Manager Confirmed

15 Apr

We are pleased to announce that Simon Knibb is taking over as our new Midland Athletic League Team Manager. Simon is the son of our past chairman Cy Knibb and is very much looking forward to reacquainting himself with the club.

Simon is being supported by our previous Team Managers Pete Mountain and Steve Grant to aid a good transition.
The Midland League is taking a different form this year because of the COVID restrictions and is aiming to provide competition opportunities to local clubs with no league consequences. We are grouped together with Cheltenham, Forrest of Dean, Gloucester and Yate with three matches confirmed:
20th June at YOSC being co-hosted by Yate and ourselves.
11th July at Cheltenham being co-hosted by Cheltenham and Gloucester.
15th August at YOSC again co-hosted by Yate and ourselves.
There is the possibility of a September match.

Simon will be in touch with athletes in due course and we wish him well in this position and thank him for taking it on.

Southwest PB Series and AGM Update

06 Apr
We hope everyone enjoyed their Easter bank holiday weekend!
The South West PB Series:
We’re excited to announce that we’re aiming to begin the South West PB series in June!
This is a road race series on a super fast course at Odd Down race circuit in between Bristol and Bath and currently we’re hoping to put on 5km races.
The races will take place on the last Wednesday of every month from June until September (COVID permitting race licences to be issued.)
AGM 2021:
Following the postponement of last year’s AGM to July 2020 this year’s AGM will also be postponed until July 2021.
Given the Government’s COVID road map there is the slim possibility some form of face-to-face AGM could take place in July.
It also allows the current committee to serve a full 12 month term rather than 9 months following the previous committee who served a final term of 15 months.

Lockdown fails to stop junior athletes having fun.

31 Mar

Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic with a little initiative & luck, good things can still happen

Our final fitness session via zoom with the Royal Navy involved 28 girls & boys from the club’s cross country squad.

The highlight of the evening was guest speaker Lewis Nightingale who spent many years in Ali’s Army. He spoke fondly of the fun & fitness he gained as a member of Bristol & West & how this gave him a strong foundation when he successfully enrolled as  a Royal Marine several years ago.

Going forward this is not the end of our relationship with Major Ryan Kestle & Charleine Wain. Further planning is in progress involving zoom cookery work outs providing go faster food along with a  with a celebration of the 2019/2020 cross country season with medals & plenty of cake.

Behind the scenes this was a steep learning curve & certainly took me out of my comfort zone. However as usual the troops rallied & from a coaching perspective I have learnt a lot about involving alternative organizations who can offer additional support when needed.

Although not quite match fit it will not take long for Ali’s Army to sharpen up & we can all look forward to some exciting times soon.

Ali Hurford.

New Payment System & Track Fees

23 Mar

From the 29th March a cashless payment system will begin at the Whitehall facility and cash will no longer be accepted. Payment will be taken using contactless debit/credit card or contactless mobile payment. All members should have been provided with a unique QR code to scan on arrival at the sign in desk at Whitehall. If you have not received an email containing cashless system instructions with your QR code attached then please contact secretary@bristolandwestac.org. The use of the Whitehall facility, including the Strength and Conditioning area will cost £2 per session for junior club members, £2.50 for senior club members and £5 for non-members.

Zoom Talk by British International Distance Runner

19 Mar
A brilliant learning opportunity for BWAC young athletes!

Dan Studley, British international distance runner, will be giving a talk via zoom on Tuesday 23rd March at 7pm.

Dan has been a member at Bristol & West since 2011 and over the last 19 years in the sport he has competed all through the age groups both at club and county level – regularly finishing in the 100s or 200s at National Cross-Country Championships. Something Dan always aspired towards but never quite achieved was qualifying for the English Schools Track Championships; leaving school with PBs of 4:19 for 1500m and 9:13 for 3000m. The following 10 years have seen Dan slowly develop through the national rankings; notably winning silver medals at the British Universities and National Under-23 Championships over 1500m; whilst also running a PB of 3:43. Recent years have seen a move towards longer distances with a Half Marathon PB of 1:03 earning a debut Great Britain vest at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships. Now aged 29, Dan is working towards the marathon distance hoping to make future Great Britain and England teams.
Dan’s talk will be about development and progression through the junior age groups and how to achieve your full potential as you move into senior competition. We highly recommend that the club’s distance runners tune in, but this will also be a valuable learning opportunity for any junior athletes in terms of development.

Please email Paul Owen at healthandsafety@bristolandwestac.org to book your spot for the zoom talk!

Ali’s Army Join the Navy

01 Mar

Throughout the recent lock down I have used remote coaching, weekly emails, strava & a few orienteering maps thrown in for good measure, but enthusiasm was starting to wane. So when I was approached by the Royal Navy with an offer of a zoom workout for the group I could not believe my luck.

They certainly supplied  the A team consisting of the boss Major Ryan Kestle who intrigued the boys with his account of running alongside Paula Radcliff in the closing stages of her final London Marathon in 2015. After many years in the Marines Ryan has recently trained as an Easy Jet pilot so has promised free drinks & doughnuts when we fly with him soon.

Leading the work-out session was Charleine Wain whose motivation was infectious & clearly these skills were put to excellent use several years ago when she was a very successful participant in the much acclaimed Alan Sugar Apprentice show reaching the semi-final.

Keeping everyone fit & healthy while on board ship keeps Charleine on her toes.

Finally the icing on the cake was chief chef Richard who gave an account of a typical day at sea along with the Navy’s favourite dish “cheesy, hamy, eggy” which no doubt the lads will have a go at some time.

After the team introduced themselves they gave a brief outline of why fitness is important & how being part of the Royal Navy had enabled them to continue their various passions & travel the world. All the lads were asked to think of  a question to ask at the end. After a warm up we split into 2 groups for a session of strength & conditioning. Each group exercising for approx  90 sec for each rep, followed by a short rest to think up a question or two.

The consensus of opinion concluded that this squad  can go the distance & everyone one gave it their best shot.

The final part consisted of Q&A which clearly could of gone on all night. From my perspective the lads were fascinated to hear the stories from Charleine, Ryan & Richard. Overall this was a highly positive evening evolving exercise & engagement with the Royal Navy who may well have won over many of Ali’s Army.

So we are booked in for the next couple of weeks & after that who knows!

Ali Hurford

Midland Athletics League Team Managers Needed

15 Jan

We’d like to say a massive thank you to all our team managers, officials, coaches and other volunteers who were not only integral in successful competitions and training prior to the pandemic but have gone the extra mile to continue to provide training and competitive opportunities since.

In particular we’d like to say a big thank you to Peter Mountain and Steve Grant who are stepping down as the womens and mens Midland Athletics League (MAL) Team Managers respectively after many years organising our teams for the league, they have both done a brilliant job. We are recruiting replacement team managers for the 2021 MAL -which is currently still planning to go ahead- so if you or someone you know would be interested in getting involved please get in touch by emailing your interest to secretary@bristolandwestac.org .

Ali’s Army Run up to Christmas

21 Dec

These photos give a lovely summary of our recent festive activities as follows :-


Monday evening jaunt around the streets of Clifton taking in all the tree lights especially the enormous tree in the Mall gardens as shown in photo.

Wednesday at Whitehall we took over the track for the usual Christmas cracker relays plus a lot of fun was had by all especially the cracker finale at the end.

Saturday was definitely a Bristol & West take over in Eastville park when 23 lads plus many girls from Paul Owens endurance squad took part in the ever popular 1 mile relays.

It has been a busy week!

Thank you to all the parents who assisted yesterday with time keeping, marshalling & cutting cake. Personally I felt all the lads gave a very good account of themselves & without doubt if they were wearing a race number they would of probably ran around 10 seconds faster. Overall we were lucky with the weather plus no one fell over & the general public appeared to applaud our effects.

Ali Hurford