The women of Bristol & West AC are a powerful group who help make the club great - and we celebrate them today on International Women’s Day.
There are many inspirational women across the club; from our officials, coaches, volunteers, and committee members to the female athletes who make up over 42% of our 900-strong club membership.
Whether it’s Emily Diamond in the Olympics, Henrietta Anstey winning England Athletics’ 2021 Newcomer to Officiating award, Megan Hornung performing at the very top of the u17 field, our 5 female committee members, Jenna Blundell and Simran Kaur flying the flag for B&W at UK Champs, Ali Hurford leading her army of u11 and u13 boys, Kate Maltby Mountain Running for GB, or Anne Dockery winning national Masters titles, to name but a few, there is no shortage of women doing amazing things to support and showcase athletics at all levels of B&W.
As Mike Down, the current Vice Chair and founder chair of the club, put it “it’s always been our policy to give our women the same opportunities and support as the men”.
We’ve asked a few of our women for their thoughts on what female involvement at B&W means to them.
The important part of being with B&W for me has been to go to races with the support of other athletes from the club and, best of all, to be part of a team.
I want to celebrate the female camaraderie in the club - there is such a positive supportive culture of the women in the club. I believe this down to some key people, including stalwarts Claire Jolliffe and Sarah Everett who are so encouraging, Chris Elson who has gathered a great bunch of women together who really support each other and Jon Jackson and Eugene who are creating a similar culture with our younger female sprinters and jumpers.
At times I have felt quite lonely due to the few female coaches at the club. However, over time this has turned around, partly due to the massive support from the parents of the athletes that I coach.
My confidence has grown since a parent mentioned the level of respect that is shown to me from the numerous lads I coach - for many of them I am their only female coach despite them taking part numerous sports outside of athletics! During the last year I have worked to maintain, improve and expand the junior boys endurance squad - thankfully we have emerged from the pandemic in a great place: larger, stronger, better and ready to take on all the challenges ahead of us!
Happy International Women’s Day to all our inspiring, talented women and the allies helping to bring about change.