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Pole vault ace Lucy soars to personal best in America

LUCY Bryan is warming up nicely for the Commonwealth Games on the evidence of her form during the indoor season.

The Bristol & West AC international pole vaulter, who is a student at Akron University in Ohio, rose to second on the UK Rankings after setting a personal best of 4.47m in the Akron Invitational.

The jump added seven centimetres to her PB set last year – both indoors and when finishing third in the European U23 Championships – and puts Lucy second to current GB No 1 Holly Bradshaw, who cleared 4.60m in France last weekend.

And to put the effort into true perspective Lucy’s 4.47m also lifted her to fourth on the UK All Time List (indoors and outdoors).

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Bristol & West AC women closing in on Gwent League team title

BRISTOL & West AC’s senior women are closing in on the Gwent Cross Country League title.

A strong showing in the fourth and penultimate fixture at Pontypool Park last weekend, with Amy Partridge runner-up and Catie O’Donoghue third and Natalie Griffiths, Ellen Harrison, Elaina Gard, Imogen Peck, and Sarah Everitt all in the top 20, consolidated the squad’s grip on the league.

Action from the senior women’s race in Pontypool. Photo courtesy of Mike Mewse at Westbury Harrier

 

Bristol & West AC’s points tally now is 5,575 which is 302 points clear of Westbury Harriers and with Bristol & West AC B third on 5,208 points the local clubs are utterly dominating this year’s league with just one match remaining.

Blaise Castle hosts the fifth and final match  on March 3rd and Westbury will be looking to stage a grand finale on their home course but the gap appears too big to bridge – unless the B&W women don’t turn up and therr eis no chance of team manager Keith Brackstone allowing that to happen!

As for the individual standings B&W’s Nat Griffiths, who was fourth at Pontypool, is joint top on 1,141 points with Chepstow’s K Matthews with Cardiff’s C Evans third.

O’Donoghue (pictured right winning the Tri-Counties title before Christmas) lies fourth in her first Gwent season with Westbury’s Katie Hughes eighth overall.

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How junior Ellie is following in the footsteps of Olympian Diane Leather

WESTBURY Harriers coach Jason Michael recently let me know of an amazing story concerning Ellie Leather.

The former Easy Runner/Bristol Post athlete of the month winner (pictured left)  is now on a sports scholarship in America at Fresno State University in California and is enjoying a terrific indoor season.

Just recently Ellie ran her first sub five minutes mike with a time of 4mins 59.24secs to finish third at the Washington Invitational meeting.

She has since improved that to 4:58.58 racing for Fresno in Ohio at the SPIRE Division 1 Invitational, where she finished 2nd in her heat. 

Wind back 64 years to May 1954 and Jason tells me that Diane Leather (pictured right) became the first woman in history to break five minutes for the mile when she ran 4.59.6 in Birmingham. Remarkably Ellie, who is coached by Jason at the Harriers, is Diane’s Great Niece.

“While Ellie has her career in front of her, Diane went on be one of the best female runners in British history as she brought the world record for the mile down to 4.45, ran in the 1960 Olympic games, finished runner up in the 800m at the 1954 and 1958 European Championships,” explained Jason.

“She also won the National Cross Country Championships four times as well as holding the 1500m World Record (4.49) and the British record over 400 (56.3) and 800m (2.06).”

If Ellie goes on to achieve just a fraction of that then she will have also enjoyed a terrific running career – good luck to her.

 

 

 

 

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Entries are looking good for the Easy Runner Rodway 10k

ENTRIES are flowing in strongly for the 7th annual Rodway Easy Runner 10k multi terrain race next month.

The popular race, which is organised by Emersons Green Running Club in north Bristol, is scheduled for Sunday  March 11th at 10.00am with the race HQ at Rodway Common, Mangotsfield.

The course incorporates stretches along tracks, trails and cycle path – plus a few steps – and attracts runners of all abilities.

For further details of the race, which has already 60 per cent of its places, see the website at: http://www.rodwayeasyrunner.co.uk/

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Now Hannah notche sup her first international victory

ON only her second appearance for England Hannah Hobbs claimed her first international victory in Belgium yesterday.

The in-form 18-year-old-Westbury Harrier won the under 20 women’s race at the EasyKit Belgium Cross Cup event in  Rotselaar finishing five seconds clear of England team-mate Francesca Brint of Sale Manchester Harriers.

Hannah, left, showing her hurdling style as she dictates the pace in the under 20 women’s race and below on top of the podium.

On her England debut in Spain last month Hobbs finished runner-up to team-mate Grace Brock and on top of second place in the South West Inter-Counties Championships and victory in the South West Schools’ it has been a terrific start to the new year for Hannah.

There was also a west presence in the senior women’s race with Bristol & West AC’s Steph Barnes, who lives in Belgium.

Steph finished sixth overall and third British runner in the race which suggests she is also in decent form.

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Studley smashes personal best in Barcelona half marathon

DAN Studley smashed his personal best in the Barcelona half marathon today.

Racing for the first time in 2018 the Bristol & West AC runner clocked a swift time of 64mins 23secs to slash 2mins 2secs off the time he recorded on his debut in Holland last October.

Dan prepared for the Barcelona half marathon with a five-week training camp in Spain

As an added bonus the time is within the qualifying standard set by UK Athletics for the World Half Marathon Championships but whether Dan has done enough to make the team remains to be seen.

On a great day for running in Catalonia three fellow Brits made the top ten in a red-hot race that ws won by Ethiopia’s Mule Wasihun in a course record of 59mins 44secs.

Top Brit and also leading European behind a phalanx of Africans was Ben Connor as he shattered his PB by three minutes with a superb 61mins 12secs.

Just behind Luke Traynor also notched up a big PB with 61:57 while Jonny Mellor was 10th in 63:17.

The time will lift Dan into the UK top 10 this year and is easily the quickest in the South West.

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Why Hannah is just loving 2018!

WHAT an amazing start to 2018 for Hannah Hobbs.

This weekend the 18-year-old Westbury Harrier from Thornbury will win her second England vest after being selected to run the Belgium CrossCup event in Rotselaar, near Brussels.

The call-up follows her England in Spain last month and in-between she finished runner-up behind Ruth Barnes and top junior in the South West Inter-Counties Championships in Yeovil and then last weekend cantered to victory in the South West Schools’ senior girls’ race.

That represents a fantastic start to the year for the Pat Gallagher coached runner and is a deserved reward for a lot of hard work and dedication.

 

 

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Just what the doctor ordered for Ruth

RUTH Barnes enjoyed a dream international debut as she smashed her personal best at the Granollers half marathon in Spain.

Representing England for the first time the 39-year-old member of Avon Valley Runners and reigning Bath half marathon champion showed she can perform on the big stage as she finished second overall behind the Kenyan winner with a time of 74mins 59secs to carve 33 seconds off her previous best.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” said Barnes, who also squeezes in work as a GP and looking after two young children.

“I must admit I turned up with the England team definitely feeling the underdog when I learned that all the others were full-time.

“So to come away having finished top England runner is so pleasing.”

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Kate’s smiling again as she regains her mojo

BRITISH international runner Kate Maltby has a spring back in her step after making a successful return to competition on Sunday.

Second place in the Chichester 10k on Sunday in a time of 33mins 58secs shot the Bristol & West AC runner from Slad to the top of the South West Rankings and is also seventh fastest in the UK this year so far.

For her first race in three months that represents a remarkable achievement especially as Kate admits that in 2017 she fell out of love with the sport and nearly quit.

“I just didn’t enjoy running last year and was looking around for other sports to do,” said Maltby.

“I am not exactly sure why that was. I think it was several different things coming together at once and I felt I just needed a break from running.

“Over Christmas I went to Australia for a month and didn’t train hard at all, just went for a few runs. Since coming home I have only done three hard sessions probably so I was thinking that would run around 36 minutes on Sunday.

“To come out and run that fast was a big surprise.”

The time was only 29 seconds slower that Maltby’s lifetime best which she ran in the Bristol 10k early last year and suggests that 2018 could be a much different year.

“The conditions weren’t that good on Sunday either and at one stage the headwind made it feel like I was running backwards,” added Maltby.

“But I really enjoyed it and it was nice to feel competitive. It is good to be back and I am looking forward to racing again now.”

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It’s double gold for Hannah on South West Schools farewell

HANNAH Hobbs celebrated her final appearance in the South West Schools’ Cross Country Championships with her first victory in the event.

The 18-year-old Castle School student from Thornbury made her debut in the event six years ago finishing 16th in the minor girls’ age group.

Sister Act: Ellie and Hannah Hobbs

Many of her rivals on that day have since slipped away from the sport but Hannah has never wavered and through sheer hard work and no little dedication has improved year on year.

Her best result until this weekend was second in the 2016 inter girls’ race while twelve months ago she finished third on her first appearance in the senior girls’ race at Truro.

On Saturday Hannah was in a class of her own – main rival Grace Brock of Cornwall gave the event a miss after winning the South of England title the previous weekend – as she finished  nine seconds clear of Dorset’s Grace Copeland.

“I was exhausted at the end but very happy,” said Hannah.

As a bonus she also led the Avon squad of Imogen Moroney (sixth), Caitlin Wosika (14th), Steph Cummins (19th), Elizabeth Plews (26th) and Isobel Leeming (39th) to the team title for a magnificent double.

“That was so unexpected!” added Hannah.

Hannah’s success was Avon’s only gold medal at Stover School but there were also three silver medals and two bronzes.

Ellie Hobbs continues her return to form after illness with a hard-earned second place in the inter girls’ race while 15-year-old Backwell School student Sam Gentry is also on an upward curve on the evidence of his second place in the inter boys’ race.

They were both delighted with their silvers but Hugh Sadler may not feel entirely happy with his second place in the senior boys’ race. The defending champion went into the event in decent form having recently made his Great Britain debut and then the previous week finishing third in the Midland Championships but on the day he came up against an inspired Finn Birnie.

Birnie won the inter boys’ title last year and like Sadler in 2017 made the step up into the senior age group with style as he romped to victory by 10 seconds.

The two bronze medals both came in the minor age group races with Dylan Stoneman third in the boys’ race and Kira Devereux (pictured right) third in the girls’ event.

 

South West Schools’ Cross Country Championships, Stover  School, Devon – Senior boys:  1 Finn Birnie (C ) 22:19; 2 Hugh Sadler (A) 22:29; 3 Max Davis (A) 23:17; 4 Sam Goodchild (C ) 23:22; 5 Callum Choules (D) 22:34; 6 Joe Crutchley (G) 23:38.

Teams: 1 Cornwall 56; 2 Avon 79; 3 Devon 107.

Inter boys: 1 Oli Smart (D) 21:11; 2 Sam Gentry (A) 21:35; 3 Flynn Jennings (D) 21:40; 4 Jacob Macalone (C ) 21:59; 5 Matt Howard (S) 21:53; 6 Johnny Livingstone (D) 21:57.

Teams: 1 Devon 71; 2 Somerset 81; 3 Avon 107.

Junior boys: 1 Tom Heal (S) 13:40; 2 Joe Ponter (S) 14:00; 3 Sam Mills (D) 14:10; 4 Artie Savage-Swaine (A) 14:21; 5 Robert Jones (W) 14:26; 6 Lukas Bailey (W) 14:28.

Teams: 1 Devon 69; 2 Somerset 90; 3 Avon 114.

Minor boys: 1 Will Rabjohns (Do) 10:35; 2 Alex Adams (G) 11:22; 3 Dylan Stoneman (A) 11:32; 4 Fletcher Hart (G) 11:35; 5 William Pengelly (D) 11:38; 6 Jasper Kolowska (Do) 11:40.

Teams: 1 Devon 94; 2 Wiltshire 103; 3 Gloucestershire 139.

 

Senior girls: 1 Hannah Hobbs (A) 17:10; 2 Grace Copeland (Do) 17:19; 3 Imogen Wood (C ) 17:47; 4 Katie Hughes (C ) 18:07; 5 Jade Littlechild (W) 18:12; 6 Imogen Moroney (A) 18:15.

Teams: 1 Avon 105; 2 Dorset 111; 3 Devon 123.

Inter girls: 1 Amelia Wills (S) 15:04; 2 Ellie Hobbs (A) 15:28; 3 Chloe Olford (D) 15:43; 4 Millie Porter (G) 15:49; 5 Lydia Attwood (G) 15:53; 6 Natasha Farrington (D) 15:56.

Teams: 1 Devon 80; 2 Gloucestershire 94; 3 Somerset 142.

Junior girls: 1 Emily Shaw (Do) 12:24; 2 Kiya Dee (G) 12:30; 3 Emelia Castagna (Do) 12:52; 4 Lucy Chalmers (S) 12:54; 5 Maisy Luke (C ) 12:56; 6 Dalis Jones (A) 13:06.

Teams: 1 Dorset 67; 2 Gloucestershire 109; 3 Avon 117.

Minor girls: 1 Scarlet Livingstone (D) 8:42; 2 Harriet Hilman (W) 9:04; 3 Keira Devereux (A) 9:11; 4 Iona Farquarhson (D) 9:21; 5 Iris Courtney (Do) 9:23; 6 Seren Jones (G) 9:29.

Teams: 1 Devon 77; 2 Avon 91; 3 Wiltshire 98; 4 Gloucestershire 98.