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Gwent League Blaise - Seniors Roundup

Our thanks to Elaina Gard for her write up on how the Senior teams got on at Blaise Castle

The sun shone on an amazingly warm day for mid November and Bristol & West AC flourished.


Teams: Bristol & West AC A 1st 1579 points, Bristol & West AC B 3rd and 1st reserve division 1499 points, Bristol & West AC C 6th & first C team 1357 points, Bristol & West AC D 66th & 25th D team 241 point 84 teams competed. The V35 team was 7th and the V45 team 15th


A team 1 Kate Mctear 24.32, 2 Katrina Enwistle 24.33, 5 Elaina Gard 24.55, 8 and 1st V40 Jessie Sanzo 25.25, 11 Catie O’Donogue 25.37,

B team 12 and 1st V45 Nicola Brookland 25.40, 17 and 5th U23 Hannah Dyer 26.14 18 and 4th V35 Caz Buckridge V35 26.17, 26 Ellen Harrison 27.10, 33 Ellie Armstrong 27.41

C team 34 Marie Monaghan 27.42, 49 Amy Brammer 28.21, 51 Emma Jolliffe 28.45, 52 and 5th V45 Tanya Chowdhury 28.46 66 Billie Williams 29.05

D team 81 Lizzie O’Mahoney 29.36, 89 Olivia Zeltner 29.47

Those in the know were predicting that Kate Mctear might be a handy cross-country runner and so it proved to be. Chloe Dooley (Pontyprid Roadents) started fast and led for much of the race but, ominously for her, Kate with Kat Entwistle taking close order were gradually closing up. Both overtook Chloe on the last hill, opening a 12 second gap at the finish. Who would take the honours? It was mighty close up the home straight but Kate prevailed by an odd second. This was Kate’s first cross-country race and her first winning running race! There’s a lot more to come there. Kat ran her now usual canny race. She has the knack, many of us envy, of racing better than her training might suggest. Elaina Gard produced her best Gwent League placing coming 5th. Clearly, Ironman triathlon training is working with the combination of swimming and cycling halting the running injuries that have slowed Elaina in the past. It was great to see Jessie Sanzo back running, taking 8thplace and first master. For those of you who may not remember, Jess is a class act getting in the top 15 in the National Cross Country some years ago. Ever consistent, Catie O’Donoghue, who must still be tired after her recent marathon PB, completed the A team in 11th place. It is worth mentioning that both Elaina and Catie were caught on camera well camouflaged by copious mud after Sundays Sodbury slog, albeit with prizes!

Leading the B team home, Nicola Brookland, who has been suffering from the long shadow of covid-19, had her first race for while. As befits a former British Masters champion Nicola was first V45 beating all the other masters bar Jessie in 12th position overall. She was followed by last season’s U23 league champion Hannah Dyer, in 17th position. Caz Buckridge continued where she left off last season in 18th place. She too was caught on camera on Sunday with a liberal coating of mud. Ellen Harrison is getting back to form, despite the demands of her work. Ellen worked her way through the field to finish 27th. Ellie Armstrong completed the B team in 33rd place. Ellie is another who has been competing over longer distances and it seems to be paying off as Saturday was Ellie’s best performance in the Gwent League by over twenty places.

For the C team Marie Monaghan was only a second behind Ellie despite her early morning warm up of 21.53 at Eastville parkrun. Amy Brammer running her first cross-country of the season was 49th followed by Emma Jolliffe in 51st. It was good to see Emma running strongly and pulling through the field. Tanya Chowdhury in 52nd place, produced another good run with her two daughters who’d competed earlier cheering her on. As someone commented, Tanya is a lot better than she thinks she is witness the master’s relays! That left Billie Williams, who is gradually getting back to form to complete the C team in 66th position. The D team was incomplete, but both Lizzie O’Mahoney & Olivia Zeltner, fresh from the birth of her first child, were easily in the top third of the field, such is the strength in depth of the B&WAC ladies.


Teams: Bristol & West A 1st 2122 points, Bristol & West AC B 3rd & 1st B Division 1982, Bristol & West C team 1st in reserve division 1780, Bristol & West D 18th and 2nd in reserve division 1623, Bristol & West E 27th and 3rd in reserve division 1290. Bristol & West F 55th and 9th in the reserve division. 105 teams competed.

The V35 team was 2nd, the V45 team 3rd and the V55 team 17th and V 65 team 7th with Pete Mountain winning the M65 race by over a minute! Watch out V65 men’s 1500m runners next summer



A team 1 Kurt Taylor 25.37, 2 and 1st V40 Owain Jones 26.14, 3 Felix Mcgrath 26.22, 4 and1st U23 Luke Burgess 24.26, 14 Andy Salmon 28.14

B team 16 David Awde and 2nd V35 28.20, 21 Rhys Goddard 28.27, 27 Daniel Shepherd 28.43, 42 Tom Halling 29.09, 52 and 4th M45 Graham Breen 29.26,

C team 53 Simon Bright 29.28, 65 Chris Nielson 30.04, 76 Matt Davies 30.19, 81 Hamish Wyatt 30.35

D team 85 Will Maule 30.43, 86 Matt Brydon 30.48, 92 and M40 Andy Drake 31.03, 96 and V35 Niall Morony 31.12, 102 Henry Sly (M40) 31.16,

E team 142 Jon Bennett 32.38, 145 Cameron Toms 32.43, 175 Tom Watkins 33.33, 176 Richard Noble 33.35 M50, 180 Tariq Kurd 33.45,

F team 181 Steve Swan 33.46, 190 Tim White M45 34.04, 191 Mark Taylor M50 34.11, 226 Daniel Thornton M 55 35.25

This was arguably the men’s best performance in the Gwent League with four of our big guns on the start line. They imposed their class on the field from the start packing together at the front at the end of the first lap and bringing smiles to the faces of the on looking B&W AC supporters club. Kurt Taylor took the honours, followed by evergreen Welsh international M40, Owain Jones, fell-running champion Felix Mcgrath, who is still recovering from covid-19 and our new star in the firmament U23 Luke Burgess. With Jack Millar and U23 Max Davies (23rd and 33rd in the British cross-country challenge at Milton Keynes) plus European canicross champion, Ben Robinson, all in action on the same day, plus injured Tim Lefroy, team manager Mike Down can be forgiven for fancying the men’s prospects in the forthcoming territorial and National Cross-Country Championships. The A team was completed by Andy Salmon in 14th place. Andy, a former Bristol University team captain, is settled back in Bristol. With a 32:36 10km clocking earlier in the year, it was good to see Andy transferring his form to cross-country.

For the other five teams, many of the men had run nippy times on the road and were making their first appearance on the country for a while. These included Rhys Goddard (2:45 marathon), Tom Halling (74:54 half marathon), Simon Bright (2:46 marathon), Matt Davies (2:52 marathon), Will Maule (2:46 marathon), Matt Brydon (2:49 marathon), Nial Moroney (2:55 marathon) and Andy Drake (2:33 marathon). In the event it was David Awde who led the B team home in 16th place. David was a star junior but now has to fit in training with work and a young family, but showed that he’s still a class V35 act. Not far behind, Rhys Goddard posted his best Gwent League placing while Dan Shepherd had his first outing since helping the men’s team win the Cotswold relay. Tom Halling, preparing for next year’s track season and Graham Breen happily recovering from a bike accident completed the B team. Simon Bright, another speedster led the C team home, followed by Chris Neilson in his first race after a prolonged injury break. Matt Davies and Hamish Wyatt completed the C team. Both excelled themselves, and should be pleased with their progress. The marathon squad comprised most of the D team, namely Will Maule, Matt Brydon, Andy Drake and Niall Moroney with M40 Henry Sly another recovering from injury completing the team.

Ever reliable Jon Bennett led the E team home followed by newcomer Cameron Toms and Tom Watkins, making his first Gwent League appearance since 2018. Tom’s preparation includes 29 parkruns this year. Richard Noble 12th M50 a recent and welcome acquisition and club talisman M45 Tariq Kurd completed the team. The F team was led home by Steve Swann who rejoined the club recently, M45 Tim White laying the basis for his steeplechases next summer, and 14th M50 Mark Taylor who is getting back to form nicely after injury. That leaves M55 track star, Dan Thornton who showed he’s no slouch on the country coming 9th in the V55 race. It’s worth reiterating that the E & F teams were 27th and 55th out of the 105 teams competing, such is the strength in depth in the club currently.

Next stop, Saturday December 3rd, Pembrey park. Make sure you get the date in your diary.

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