Under 13 Boys kick off the winter season with gusto at Midland Road Relays

23 Sep

The day began very positively, everyone on time, standing room only on the minibus plus lots of enthusiastic new members to the team proudly wearing their Bristol & West vests.

After an uneventful journey we proceeded to park & although this was not straight forward it bore no resemblance to what was to follow four hours later.

Being first race off at 10.45am meant we were blessed with perfect racing conditions.

Once the lads had eventually climbed out of a wonderful tree which they always manage to find the serious task of racing took over & I was really impressed how well everyone managed the change overs. Clearly practice makes perfect.

Some of the under 13 lads relaxing in the sunshine!

The first fixture is always very difficult to decide the teams & running order & this year although not perfect it could have been a lot worse.

The A team consisted of Zac Cox (14.45) running a remarkable first leg finishing in 12th position & so I had to leg it to the start to alert Joey Taylor (16.20) he needed to make his way to the line. Despite an unfortunate fall half way round & a bloody knee Joey ran a very strong race & is well capable of running close to 16 min next time. The final stage was down to Vijay Sanjeer (16.23) who has recently shown great promise on the track. Running a very senseable  race he bought the team in for a very creditable 12th place overall. Considering the three members of this team have never competed at this event before I was delighted with this result.

The B team started with Daniel Jarrold (16.09) competing for the club for the first time plus young in the age group so he could not of wished for a better start. He ran with great maturity & was not phased by the fast pace in the early stages. An experienced Ronnie Wilmott (16.04) ran a very useful second leg picking up several places on his way as well as running 52 seconds quicker than last year. So the final leg was down to Max Finning (17.12) who is very new to the group & still learning how to train & race. He clearly was enjoying himself & there is much more to come form Max in future races. The B team finished a very respectable 20th

The C team was set on its way by Felix Pearson (17.48) who made the most of the competitive start & so running 41 seconds faster than last time which shows what a difference a year can make if you continue to train consistently. Likewise Ben Pocock (18.28) also beat his previous time & continues to improve as well as enjoying the occasion. Another new recruit to the u13 ranks is Barney Thomas (18.10) who showed real staying power right to the finishing line to bring our final complete team in 30th.

Apart from being the only club the to finish a C team we also started the only D team & this is thanks to Archie Green (19.21) who stuck solidly to his task on the first leg. This shows what remarkable team ethos the group has developed & everyone plays their part.

Overall the day went well from every perspective until we attempted to leave. As we approached the minibus it became very apparent we were well blocked in. However about half  an hour later & 101 three point turns James Green our in-house  driver finally made it out. The highlight of the day was probably the services on the way back but after such a fun day the chips were well deserved.

I am looking forward to our next away day again on Sunday 6th Oct, the National Road Relays.

Sun, sea and sand beckon Ali’s Army into Wales

13 May

Ali Hurford reports:

Sand dune training at Merthyr Mawr is not for the faint hearted, but this did not prevent a large contingent of young lads committing to a day of hard work along with lots of fun.

After a brief and uneventful warm-up we moved on to the famous big dipper which was looking splendid in the sunshine. After lots of short sharp hill reps and plenty of rest the gang plus many parents tackled the climb to the very top.

As the photos show everyone eventually summitted. Running back down afterwards for a picnic proved rather easier.

After plenty of food and further high jinx in the sand as boys cannot sit down for long we moved on to Ogmore for a dip in the sea for those happy to brave the cool temperature at this time of year.

As usual we ended the day with more cake before making our way back home after a very full on day for everybody.

This day away with Ali could not have happened without the support of all the willing parents regarding transport, cakes and general herding, along with Shani’s amazing whistle the like of which I have never heard before. It certainly had a magic effect when required.

So onwards and upwards we hope to make time later in the summer for more fun in Wales.

The final Gwent League, Blaise Castle: u11 and u13 boys

07 Mar

Under 11 & Under 13 Lads turn out en mass for final cross country race of the season. Ali Hurford reports…

Well done to all 20 lads who participated at Blaise Castle in the final gwent league fixture. Everyone truly raised their game & clearly even at the end of a long and successful season  the group still have plenty of running in their legs. The u13 lads who were safely in the silver position prior to the race did not hold back & the plan was to win the final fixture on our home ground. Thanks to team captain Jay who encouraged everyone to be their best we comfortably won on the day. Our 6 silver medalists look very professional as the below photos show.

The under 11 team also had their best day of the season finishing 5th team on the day & 13th overall in the league which comprised of 51 teams. Many of these boys have next year in the age group and they have  a very exciting future as long as they summer well.

Once all the racing was over it was down to the serious task of refuelling & there was enough cake to feed an army as the photos show. All these lads are a true credit to the club in terms of commitment to training , racing & the professional approach that they are starting to develop especially on race day & all it entails. I am also aware that none of this success comes without the unrelenting help from the support crew, so thank you parents for the massive contribution you have given to myself & your son this winter.Finally save the date. The winter fixtures start on Sat 21st Sept the Autumn road relays Sutton Park. See you all there!

The final Gwent League, Blaise Castle: u15 and u17 boys

07 Mar

Emma Withers reports on the boys’ final efforts of the cross country season.

Lie in, leisurely breakfast; time for a parkrun…this can only mean one thing, home turf! The 5th and final Gwent League and XC race for this season took us to Blaise Castle. Having been denied our gold glory run for the u15 boys last year due to ‘The Beast from the East’, there was no stopping our 7 intrepid u15 athletes, plus our guest member from taking on the challenge. New tent in position by parent and athlete power we were off to warm up and on the start line in good time.

Rufus Thomas led the team home with an impressive run in 2nd position, followed closely by Stephen Kerfoot, looking and feeling confident having found his cross country legs, 5th. Cole Edmonds showing no signs of his recent heel injury in 16th position and Jay Akbar 18th, achieving his goal and taking him into the top ten standings for the Gwent League season, which he will be mighty pleased about. Leading our B team in and completing his first year in this age category, Joseph Hull 22nd, Jacob Roe 32nd ran a solid race and Amos Kingston 38th, with Dad and a very noisy dog cheering him round completed our teams. Evan Gerard came over the line in 44thposition, running for the first time in competition with us. It was lovely to see Joe Mead, out due to injury, arriving in time to support his team-mates, aided by a super loud air horn.

The u17 boys fresh from the Nationals and finally picking up their medals from last season, headed out for the 5.5k route. Fred Hawker taking our first position home in 5th place and finally getting that Gwent League t-shirt he so rightly deserves, 7th overall in the Gwent League standings. Ollie Harper, who was supposedly taking it easy, in 13th, Luke Iles 24th, flying through the wooded section with ease and Nathan Marchant 30th, with new go faster hair cut, smiling his way round completed the A team. Otto Kingston 39th having his best run in a long time, held his position and Lewis Adamson 43rd found the course not very forgiving on his knees but true to plan ran a conservative race in order to start and finish.

Both u15 and u17 teams finished 4th overall. B teams 13th and 20th. The u15 boys just 10 points shy of North Somerset and a bronze medal!  So this is the time for everyone to move up a year in their age group, increasing the numbers in both our u15 and u17 squads. We look forward to welcoming the u13 boys to our training groups in preparation for September when we will be back at the Road Relays in Birmingham.

The final Gwent League, Blaise Castle: juniors girls

07 Mar

Paul Owen reports on the junior girls’ performances…


Molly Thomas 13th felt a little disappointed with her position but ran well throughout the race and shouldn’t be too hard on herself. Ruby Claridge 67th, Olivia Tarr 70th and Niamh Roe 72nd all close to each other and all appeared to have good strong finishes which suggests there is more to come.


Megan Hornung 4th ran the race to perfection again using the length of the course to draw in and pass most runners and looked strong at the finish. Danni Sinclair after a fast start settled down and held on for a creditable 11th. Amy Nichols also made a fast start and likewise settled down running consistently for an encouraging 16th. Carmen Chance fourth in for the team again running a consistent race finishing strong at 34th. Grace Claridge will not be sad that cross country is all over finished 40th, and can now look forward to some speedy track work and no more mud. Well done to Danni with 3rd individual girl, joint points with 2nd but was beaten today by the 2nd place girl. 

The team finished 4th and is a case of what could have been as we’ve not always had all our runners available throughout the season. Next year…


Claudia Spice 2nd and as ever ran well throughout the race and consistently, also managed to not faint at the end. 2nd place individual girl so congratulations!

Summary. There have certainly been several encouraging and pleasing individual performances during the season and not just for those who have achieved a medal. There are many promising young girls in the group and we also had an u11 team for the first time in many years. We will be working hard to prepare and develop the group as a whole for next season as I feel a club of our size and stature ought to be challenging for medals in all age groups and it was disappointing for me that going in to the last race we were not really in a position to challenge as a team in any age group for a medal. But, we have several new girls of late all with lots of talent, so I am now looking forward to enjoying a speedy track season perhaps almost as much as the girls look forward to crop tops again in training and racing!

Track and field update: 26th Feb

27 Feb

Mike Strange reports on the British Under 20 Championships in Sheffield & English Masters Inter-Area Challenge at Lee Valley.

In a week when it would be very difficult to emulate the great performance by the B&W Senior Men at the National Cross Country Championships our Indoor athletes Under 20/U17/U15 youngsters enjoyed their moment of glory with their National Indoor Championships in Sheffield as did our prolific Masters Athletes who competed in the Inter-Area Challenge at Lee Valley.
In the U20 Championships and competing for the first time in her new B&W vest Caroline WALDER excelled herself with a superb lifetime pb in the Pole Vault. Cally inched up her pb by 2cm to record a great 3.55m Vault to finish 5 th in the competition and move herself to 3rd on the Club ‘all time’ U20 Indoor ranking list. Well done – a great way to christen your B&W colours. There were high hopes for another recent convert from North Somerset Emma BAKARE to Triple Jump close to 12m but unfortunately the
timetable did not allow her to compete as she also had another commitment that day. Also competing were two Higher Competition Members Multi-event athletes Jenna BLUNDELL and Rory HOWORTH. Both
competed well in the Long Jump: Rory was extremely close to his 6.63m best with a jump of 6.59m and Jenna did achieve a pb with a 5.93m performance. Jenna also competed in the 60m hurdles finishing with
an 8.53 pb clocking to take the Silver Medal in the final behind a solid 8.63 clocking in the heat.

At Lee Valley some of our leading Masters athletes Sarah EVERITT (W50); Clare JOLLIFFE (50); Henrietta ANSTEY (W45); Tony ROPER M50); Anne DOCKERY (W70) and Peter MOUNTAIN (60) kept the B&W flag
well and truly flying. Sarah competed in and won all three of her events 800m 2:32.83; 1,500m 5:17.81; 3,000m 11:13.31. A mean feat, don’t you agree? Clare came a close second her training partner the younger Sarah in two of those races :- 1,500m 5:19.57 & 3,000m 11:19.03.

Anne, a distance specialist, strangely competed in the 60m sprint where she finished with a new Over 70’s Club Indoor Record of 11.96 secs. And took the Bronze Medal before taking Silver in the 800m with a 3:22.53 clocking. Hen ran another 200m sb and looked powerful in 31.50 before she competed for the South West Vets in the 4x200m relay. Tony did compete in the 1,500m even if he was nursing an ongoing ankle problem so saved
himself a bit for the later 3,000m but never the less clocked a respectable 4:53.11. Having saved himself for the 3,000m Tony then clocked a season’s best of 10:14.10 and took the Bronze Medal also beating one of our greats from the past International Nigel GATES. Peter, an over 60, was persuaded to run down an age category with the V35 to V50 athletes in the 1,500m and the outcome was successful as he clocked 5:03.97 for a 5 sec seasons best of 5:03.97. In the later 800m Peter clocked another respectable 2:29.47.

Mike Strange – 26 Feb 2019

A Nintendo Switch, a go-faster haircut and a bus stuck in the mud…

31 Jan

Emma Withers reports on the u15 and u17 boys’ efforts at the Midland XC Champs on Saturday 26th January.

7 u15’s and 7 u17’s travelled to the Spa town of Leamington to take part in the Midlands XC. The Nintendo Switch kept them amused on the way up and arriving in good time gave all the boys the opportunity to walk around and familiarise themselves with the ditches and hills on this challenging cross country course.  Spikes on, numbers pinned, timing chips on ankles and warmed up the u15 boys were first on.  Leading the pack out was Beck Harding-Hill, back on racing form, finishing in 24th place (15.40), enjoying better conditions, Jay Akbar, 39th place (16.14), Cole Edmonds, just managing to keep upright through the first ditch 56th(16.49), closely followed by Joseph Hull 59th completing the first four home (16.50).  Next up, continuing to improve at every race, Tom Beech 69th (17.39), Amos Kingston 74th, complete with smile and new haircut (18.08) and Will Chapman taking on this distance for the first time 80th (19.43).  7th Team overall. 

The u17 men were next up, having cheered round their younger team mates.  Oliver Harper, 29th, Fred Hawker 31st and Luke Iles, 36th led the team out with excellent packing on the first lap, 23.35, 23.59 and 24.19 respectively.  Fred gave a most impressive sprint along the home stretch to the finish.  Otto Kingston 60th (26.52) and Nathan Marchant 61st (26.53) battled out the last 200m, spurring each other on to the finish, followed closely by Robert Kiekuth 62nd (27.06). Lewis Adamson completed our team, running a steady but cautious race as he continues to come back to running form following issues with his knees.  He was pleased to complete the course in 65th position (29.46).

Our biggest challenge of the day was yet to come when our bus got stuck in the mud trying to leave the venue.  All hands on deck, digging out the wheels, borrowing bark chippings from the course and getting a tow from one of the wonderful marshals we managed to free the bus and head home, just a little delayed.  Thank you to the Senior Ladies who were travelling with us for their patience and understanding.  I hope the delay didn’t interfere with their evening plans!!  Please also give a thought to our poor tent, which met its demise yesterday, just when the boys were so expert at putting it up!!  It has served us well.  We are looking forward to a nice new one for the Gwent League.

South West Indoor Champs – NIAC Cardiff – 6th January 2019

07 Jan

What a joy it was to witness at Cardiff such a plethora of Bristol & West young athletes competing in this prestigious Indoor Meet. We are pleased to note not only quite a few Gold, Silver and Bronze performances amongst our ranks but also good competitive spirit amongst the circa 30 B&W athletes on show. Well done to our Junior Academy. With the first event commencing at 10:30 and the final event clearing the track at 16:45 this was truly mammoth. Quite short events (from 60 metres to 1,500 metres) came relentlessly on to the track providing a spectacle of Indoor Athletics. The field featured Pole Vault and Long Jump competitions with very lengthy Start Lists.
Where shall we start – I think with our sprinters where the spectacular Under-15 Ryan BRADY (who had already excelled before Christmas to win the 200 metres Gold) ran 8.03 for 60 metres to dominate and take another Gold Medal. Interestingly for older members Ryan headed Luke GAME son of our past Junior International Sprinter Duncan GAME in the medals. Ricardo POWELL also dominated to take Gold in the Under-13 event winning in 8.39 (a Club Record) ahead of our other competitors Akalie REED 8.92 and an injured Maxwell JACKSON 10.10. In the Under-17 event Josh MAGGS took the Bronze position with 7.42 and coming back from an injury that has kept him away from hurdling Edward WILSON just missed the medals running 7.49.
In the Women’s sprints Kasavia SMOLKA-HEADLEY (Under-15) led the pack but just missed the medals with an 8.38 clocking followed closely by Tamara JACKSON 8.54, Ella BOWELL 8.87 and Libby DICKENS 9.19. A word about Libby who is an outstanding hurdler and sprinter but has had a long term painful leg injury that has prevented her from training. Her current times do not reflect her talent but of course in both events she was drawn in the lead race which made it more difficult to succeed and made her feel that she had let herself down. It is tough when coming back from injury Libby you have to be patient. In the Under-17 races Disability International Simran KAUR also drew a tough top seed race against able bodied competitors but she still excelled with an 8.66 clocking. In the Under-13 series Jasmine RICHARDS clocked 9.37 and hurdler Rivie BATES 9.48.
In the longer events Steve KERFOOT ran cautiously for the first lap of the Under-17 Men’s 800 metres but then took the initiative with regular 32 second laps to win in 2:07.74 and take the Bronze Medal in a fine Outdoor as well as Indoor PB. Steve surely would have beaten the Silver medallist’s time (in a separate race) had he taken the initiative earlier. Danni SINCLAIR took the Bronze in the Under-17 women’s races with 2:27.94, as did Tilly EDWARDS 2:39.09 and Jasmine RICHARDS 2:58.20 Club Indoor Record in the U13 races. Grace CLARIDGE ran 2:39.56 for fifith SW place having started well but settled back in the middle of her race then finishing with a flourish on the final lap.
In the field Lottie STEIN had a number of excellent clearances in the Under-15 Pole Vault to take the Bronze with a 2.51metre (Indoor PB) clearance behind Gold winner and our adopted athlete Nyree PERRY who cleared 3.01 metres. Nyree trains with us at Whitehall. In the Under-13 Long Jump the youngsters performed well with Ricardo POWELL jumping 3.88 metres, Akalie REED 3.64 metres and Max JACKSON 3.37 metres. Patrick KYLE jumped 4.21 metres in the Under-15 Long Jump to take an excellent Bronze Medal following an earlier Bronze in the 60 metre Hurdles with a 10.23 clocking. Two Bronze Medals in one day Patrick, where will it end as you now are growing? Newcomer Keanu WONG had a difficult hurdle race where he was disturbed by the arm of another competitor which disturbed his stride to see him finishing in 10.70 seconds. Keanu had also returned on the previous day from a skiing holiday in Austria which possibly compounded problems but this was nothing like the beautifully smooth and accomplished hurdling that Keanu shows in training. We all have bad ones Keanu, just put this race behind you now and look to future races.
Outstanding Alice MATTHEWS did not start in the re-run Under-15 60 metre Hurdles (in the first race the hurdles were not spaced correctly) but her shoes were amply filled by our other competitors. Smooth hurdler Nyah REUTER led the field with 10.19 closely followed by a rejuvenated Ella BOWELL in 10.20 and Tamara JACKSON in 10.29 in the same heat. Very close and requiring a detailed photo finish picture to decide this result. Libby DICKENS clocked 10.47 as commented about earlier just off the pace was in her top seed race. Sole Under-13 hurdler Rivie BATES missed the Under-13 medals by one place showed good promise clocking 13.15.
Two athletes caught my eye as I know both were searching for confidence in training. Patrick KYLE has been struggling to get 3 strides between the hurdles and had to be convinced that he should give it a go at Cardiff. In the warm, windless NIAC compared to the outdoor Winter nightmare of Whitehall he accomplished his goal and with his Long Jump triumph went home a happy boy. Ella BOWELL had a similar confidence problem with hurdles but under the pressure of competition she came through with flying colours looking the part just behind Nyree. She also did well in the 60 metre sprint to add to her fine 200 metres before Christmas. So a great day was had by all.
Mike Strange – 6 January 2019

Gwent League #3 – Bryn Bach Park: u15 and u17 boys

12 Dec

11 boys, u15 and u17, headed off from Bristol on a grey ‪Sunday morning‬. Grateful for a fixture a little nearer to home they took on the challenge of Parc Bryn Bach (small hill in Welsh!) and the driving wind and rain.

Cole Edmonds showed his previous sore heel was not going to stop him as he battled his way to 9th position in a time of 16.31, ever reliable Joseph Hull followed in 20th position in 17.05, Joe Mead, gritted his teeth and showed his resilience in 25th position, his first Gwent League of the season, in 17.19, just seven seconds behind was Tom Beech, 26th position, 17.26 earning his place in the A team. Just one second shy of Tom, was Jay Akbar, who found the conditions particularly trying, in 27th place, 17.27. Amos Kingston, embracing the elements, just 10 seconds behind Jay, in 31st position, 17.37 and completing the u15 team, Will Chapman, showing great determination, in 49th position, 20.13. The u15 boys have retained their 6th position overall. 

The u17’s, again combined with the u20 age group, followed the Senior Ladies and a certain, Dave Bedwell, making his debut in this race. The course was pretty churned up at this stage and the weather seemed to take a turn for the worse. 4 boys took to the start line, determined to stay on their feet, they knew this would not be a fast course. First home Fred Hawker, 14th position in 24.09, Nathan Marchant followed in 30th position, 26.14, James Casling in 41st position, 27.33 and completing the team, in 43rd place, 28.07 having lost his spike in the mud on every lap, Otto Kingston. Courageous boys, if they can run in those conditions they can run in anything. The u17’s are currently in 8th place overall. Everyone enjoyed a well deserved piece of Nathans birthday cake back at the tent.  Our next race is the Midlands Champs on the 26th Jan.

Gwent League #3 – Bryn Bach Park: Junior Girls

09 Dec

Bryn Bach 2018
Team managers Paul and Debbie report: 

On a sunny summer’s day this would have been a beautiful race to both watch and take part in, however, it was not.

U11 Girls

The weather conditions posed a tough race for our U11 girls team. Both girls setting off to a strong start into an even stronger wind. Holly Massey-Jones (13) ran a determined race and stormed her way around the boggy course. Zoe Hunt (56) also running a gutsy race, pushing hard for that final sprint finish.


U13 Girls

Fleur Hayden with a plan to run a more paced race did exactly that today and was a very impressive 6th. Katie Beech ran well in 41st  place, and we wonder what she’d do if she actually ate and drank something before running!? Ruby ‘have a go’ Claridge was our third runner coming in at 71st  All ran well in very challenging conditions battling the wind to the end. Unfortunately, no 4th runner today to make a team.


U15 Girls

I’d like to say the conditions had improved by the time of their race, it hadn’t. Not to be perturbed Megan Hornung ran a very impressive 3rd place looking strong throughout and continues to improve race by race. Next in was Danni Sinclair who’s not a great fan of the cold and rain but credit to her stuck at it and did well for a 7th place. 3rd in was Grace Claridge who does not love the cross country but never gives in and always treats us to a cracking sprint at the end to finish 27th   Again in some awful conditions all the girls put in fantastic determined efforts. Sadly no 4th runner to complete a team.