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Studley pulls out of the Commonwealth Games half marathon in Cardiff

DAN Studley has been forced to withdraw from the England team competing at the inaugural Commonwealth Half-Marathon Championships in Cardiff on Sunday.

The Bristol & West AC runner (pictured left) made the decision after missing two weeks of training due to an injury in his foot and decided not to risk further aggravating the problem.

“I am probably back to 70-80 training now and hope to be up to 100 per cent in the next week or so,” said Studley.

“Unfortunately, the injury came at the wrong time for me. It was inflammation in a joint on one of my toes and while only a small injury every step I took felt pretty painful.

“I was even advised to have an MRI scan in case it was a fracture or something but fortunately it was just inflammation and has cleared up now but sadly not quick enough for the race on Sunday.”

Studley was clearly disappointed to miss this new event which has attracted teams from Australia, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, New Zealand, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

“I probably tried to chase too many short term goals this year and have been racing hard for the past ten months,” added Studley.

“But if at the start of the year you would have told me that I would run PBs at every distance and win by first GB vest at the World Half Marathon Championships I would have bitten off your hand.

“It has been a good year and hopefully I can continue that into 2019.”

Studley made his debut for Great Britain at the World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia last March.  Since then he has also recorded PBs on the track over 5000m, clocking 13mins 53.55secs at the Morton Games in Dublin to break 14 minutes for the first time and in the 10,000m running 29:15.14 at the Highgate meeting.

He also ran a PB of 64mins 23secs for the half marathon in Barcelona at the start of the year to get the ball rolling in what has been a terrific 2018.

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Johnson and Strange praised in South West Volunteer Awards

CONGRATULATIONS to local officials Colin Johnson and Mike Strange for being recognised in the England Athletics South West Volunteer Awards held in Exeter over the weekend.

Johnson, who is a member of Westbury Harriers and Bristol & West’s Strange were both rightfully recognised for the fantastic work they do not just for their clubs but the athletics community within Bristol and around the west country.

In a comment on the Westbury site Johnson (pictured far left with Jo Pavey) said of his award: ‘This was really on behalf of VI Runners Bristol and every one of the guides that support the group and give up their time in all weathers.

‘As well as the VI runners that inspire myself and others every week.’

Strange (pictured right) has worked as a team manager, timing official and referee for many years now and like Johnson is a committed member of his club.

He won the SW Athletic Official of the Year award, and will be in contention for the national official’s award which will be announced on Saturday 13th October.

‘From all at the club, a huge well done to Mike for this very well deserved accolade,’ said a statement from Bristol & West.

Also during the evening, in which five-times Olympian Jo Pavey was the guest of honour, Bristol & West’s Emily Diamond was named as female Senior Track Athlete of the Year.

Finally clubmate Eleanor Davis (pictured left), who has made  considerable progress this year, was named as female Senior Endurance Athlete of the Year.



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Hamblin notches up a marathon over two races

ALEX Hamblin showed good powers of recovery and impressive consistency as he ran his second half marathon seven days.

Having clocked a personal best time of 76mins 44secs for 41st place in the Bristol half marathon the Westbury Harrier made the short hop up the M5 for the Cheltenham half where he recorded 77:40 for 17th place.

That time is his second quickest ever which is encouraging – though maybe now he needs a break from racing the distance!

Bristol & West AC’s over 50 veteran Miles Pearce opted for the Taunton Deane 10k and ran 42:51 for 67th.

 Cheltenham half marathon – men: 1 Ben Price (Chelt) 69:50.

LOCAL: 18 Alex Hamblin (WH) 1:17.40.

Women: 1 Rachel Felton (Stroud, W35) 1:20.29;

 Taunton Deane 10K: 1 Daniel Cahill (Minster Milers) 33:49.

67 Miles Pearce (B&W, M50) 42:51.

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North Somerset’s under 17 men strike road relay silver

NORTH Somerset’s under 17 men’s squad covered themselves in glory at the Midland Counties Road Relay Championships.

The team of Oliver Lock, Matthew Howard and Alfie Hocking (pictured left) won a superb silver behind Charnwood as they produced one of the best results for the club in the event held around Sutton Park, Birmingham.

Lock got the team off to a solid start finishing seventh on stage one (12mins 42secs) putting Howard in the perfect position to carve through his rivals with a superb run to move up to third with a sizzling 12:19, the fifth fastest time of the day.

Alfie Hocking then kept his cool to move up another place on the final stage with a time of 12:51 for a great achievement.

For North Somerset’s under 13 girls it was a frustrating case of what might have been.

Keira Devereux (pictured right) gave them a blistering start clocking a time of 14mins 45secs – the second fastest of the day – to bring the team home in first place.

Millie Redman ran 15:30 to keep them in second as they were overtaken by eventual champions Wolverhampton & Bilston but sadly the NS girls didn’t even make the podium – as they didn’t have a third runner.

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Westbury’s golden girls lift the Midland under 15s relay title


WESTBURY Harriers under 15 girls’ squad took pride of place at the Midland Counties Young Athletes Road Relays on Sunday.

The trio of Dalis Jones, Amelia Honor and Kate Howard (pictured above, courtesy of Neil Miller) lifted the title in a time of 44mins 21secs, just edging out Birchfield Harriers by nine seconds after a thrilling finale that had the Harriers supporters’ tearing around the course shouting support.

“The team led from gun to tape, although there was an anxious wait after a report from the Jamboree Stone came back saying that Birchfield had almost caught Kate Howard on the last leg,” said team manager Neil Miller.

“However, Kate ran a very strong downhill section to re-establish a clear lead, eventually winning by nine seconds.”

The trio should be rightly proud of their strong performance to beat Birchfield with Gloucester AC finishing a surprise third.

There was further glory for Westbury with Jones clocking the fastest individual time of the time as she tore around the course in 14mins 02secs, seven seconds quicker than her nearest rival.

The Bristol & West AC squad of Alice Bridger Morales, Amy Nichols and Danni Sinclair did well to make the top ten in eighth place while the North Somerset trio of Holly Avery, Ella Johnston and Connie Ballantin came 31st.





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Bristol & West women add to growing road relays medal haul

Pacesetters: Bristol & West AC runners Latife Comlek, Ellen Harrison, Hannah Pollak, Mel Newbery, Natalie Griffiths, Catie O’Donoghue, Elaina Gard, Amy Partridge, Issy Talbot-Price


FOR the tenth time in the past 12 events Bristol & West AC’s senior women finished among the medals at the Midland Counties Road Relay Championships.

The silver won by the squad of  Natalie Griffith,  Hannah Pollack, Catie O’Donoghue and Mel Newbery in Saturday’s race was the seventh of that colour since 2006.

In that time the women has won the event twice and also had a sole bronzer last year. The only blemishes in that enviable record came in 2016 when they didn’t field a team and then in 2006 when they finished sixth – in 2012 the event was cancelled due to an E-Coli outbreak.

It is impressive to note that the quartet this year were winning their first medals in this traditional autumn race while the club also claimed the B team prize in eighth place.

“The girls did so well and I was really chuffed for them,” said team manager Keith Brackstone, who has to miss the event for the first time in living memory as he is recovering from a heart operation.

“The B and C teams also did really well so it shows what strength in depth we have at the moment with some really good young runners and a great team spirit.”

Griffiths gave Bristol & West a solid start on the competitive opening stage finishing in sixth, clocking the ninth fastest time of the day overall before Pollack lifted them to fourth at the halfway point.

O’Donoghue clawed back another place and Newbery delivered a superb finale, recording the seventh quickest time overall, to over-haul Royal Sutton Coldfield and bag the silver medals behind runaway winners Birchfield.

A special mention also to former Yate runner Jane Wassell, who joined forces with her daughter Zoe in the Stroud women’s team that finished a fine 10th, with Zoe clocking one of the fastest times of the day.


Midland Counties Road Relay Championships – Women’s 4-stage relay: 1   Birchfield Harriers    1:02:57; 2 Bristol & West AC 1:04:22 (Natalie Griffith (6) 15:44,       Hannah Pollack   (4) 16:37, Catie O’Donoghue (3) 16:20, Mel Newbery      (2) 15:41); 3 Royal Sutton Coldfield AC  1:04:37.

Also: 8   Bristol & West AC B 1:06:12 ( Ellen Harrison   (12) 16:24, Amy Partridge    (10) 16:34, I Talbot Price    (8) 16:35,         Sarah Everitt    (8) 16:39).

10   Stroud & District AC  1:07:20 (Zoe Wassell      (3) 15:18,  Jane Wassell     (8) 17:21, Joanne Fifield   (10) 17:29,        Lucy Baker       (10) 17:12).

17   Bristol & West AC  C  1:09:17 (Elaina Gard      (31) 17:24, Claire Jolliffe  (18) 17:06, Emma Jolliffe    (18) 17:49,        A Duranmingo     (17) 16:58).

Incomplete: Bristol & West D (Helen Clarke     (38) 18:11, Latife Comlek    (61) 21:39, Henrietta Anstey (58) 20:26).

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Track star Wilsmore toughs it out with half marathon boys in Bristol

The start of the 2018 Simplyhealth Great Bristol half marathon with Mike Wilsmore and Harry Allen flanking eventual winner Matt Clowes (wearing cap)

WALES international Matt Clowes extended his excellent September from with a runaway victory in the Simplyhealth Great Bristol half marathon yesterday.

Running with all the confidence of a man who has clocked a personal best of 29mins 19secs to finish second in the Cardiff 10k at the start of the month followed by another swift 29:47 to win the Swansea 10k last week Clowes dominated the race to finish almost four minutes clear of former Bristol & West AC runner Tom Merson.

Merson, who now runs in the colours of Exmouth Harriers after along period out of action with a big toe injury, couldn’t live with the Welshman but was satisfied with a repeat of his second place he achieved in 2016.

Top local runner was Bristol & West’s Harry Allen in fifth, smashing his time of 73:27 on his debut in bath last year with a sparkling 70mins 03secs.

Arguably even more impressive was the performance of clubmate Mike Wilsmore, who finished two places behind in 70:17. Middle distance expert Wilsmore has just come off a track season in which he ran PBs over 800m and 1500m so the half marathon is a huge challenge for him, though one he has completed twice before in Torbay last year (87:40) and Plymouth in 2016 (78:03).

No wonder then that Wilsmore (pictured right) was delighted with his PB, which shows he possess a lot of strength and stamina as well as sheer speed.

“Got taught how it was done by the big boys today!” said Wilsmore.

“But still a huge PB of 70mins 17secs for 7th at the Bristol half marathon, not bad for a 1500m runner! Now back to winter work!

In addition there were PBs for the Westbury Harriers’ pair of Oli Beale, who also finished third veteran over 40 and Alex Hamblin, Bristol & West’s Simeon Howson plus Luke Hanson of Southville Running Club.

Clara Evans completed a Cardiff double by winning the women’s race from Torbay’s Charlie Arnell with Bristol & West AC veteran Annabel Granger the leading local runner as she finished just ahead of Southville RC’s Jane Faram, who smashed her personal best by over a minute.

Westbury’s Katie Hughes also made the top ten in ninth with 83mins 53secs, also celebrating a superb PB shaving three seconds off her previous best mark of 83:56 which she set five years ago in Cardiff.

Simplyhealth Great Bristol half marathon – men: 1 Matt Clowes (Cardiff) 65:10; 2 Tom Merson (Exm) 69:34; 3 Matthew Rees (Swansea) 69:51.

WEST: 5 Harry Allen (B&W) 70:03 (PB); 7 Mike Wilsmore (B&W) 70:17 (PB); 9 Mike Towler (AVR) 70:28 (PB); 14 Adam Stokes (Taunton) 71:35; 18 Steve Gallienne (Bide) 73:25; 21 Oli Beale (WH, M40 3rd) 74:22 (PB); 25 Simeon Howson (B&W) 74:41 (PB); 27 Kieron Summers (Weston, M40) 75:00; 34 Robert Farley (Bitton) 76:01; 38 Luke Hanson (Southville RC) 76:31 (PB); 40 Edward Baldry (SRC) 76:44; 41 Alex Hamblin (WH) 76:44 (PB): 45 James Atkinson (TB) 76:37; 48 James Shorney (WH) 77:21.

 Women: 1 Clara Evans (Cardiff) 76:26; 2 Charlie Arnell (Torbay) 77:28 (PB); 3 Marta Bagnati (Serpentine) 78:38

WEST: 7 Annabel Granger (B&W, W45) 83:19; 8 Jane Faram (SRC) 83:45; 9 Katie Hughes (WH, W40) 83:53; 12 Emma D’Alton (WH, W40) 85:16; 13 Rosie Hattersley (B&W) 85:52 (PB);


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Catie spearheads Bristol & West team for relays challenge


THERE is an exciting new look to the Bristol & West AC team senior women’s team for the autumn Midland Counties Road Relays in Birmingham tomorrow.

Many of the more established names are not available but that hasn’t prevented stand-in team manager Chris Elson – who is in charge as Keith Brackstone recovers from an operation – from fielding a significant presence for the event around Sutton Park.

Catie O’Donoghue (pictured centre)

 None of the team who finished third last year, just beating Westbury Harriers by seven seconds, survive though Ellen Harrison is included in the B squad.


Instead the A squad comprises Natalie Griffiths, Hannah Pollack, Catie O’Donogue and Mel Newberry.


 “We’ve got four teams and here they are in batting order,” said Elson.


 A:  Natalie Griffiths    Hannah Pollack    Catie O’Donoghue  Mel Newberry 


B:    Ellen Harrison    Amy Partridge     Isabelle Talbot-Price   Elaina Gard   


C:   Sarah Everitt      Clare Jolliffe        Emma Jolliffe          Ana Duran-Mingo  


D:    Helen Clarke      Latife Comlek      Helen Newberry        Hen Anstey 


 As for the men Mike Down is playing down hopes of retaining the title they won in such exciting fashion twelve months ago when Steve Mitchell over-hauled Cheltenham on the sixth and final stage.

“We have so many unavailable either through holidays, illness or injury while others are racing the Bristol half the following day,” said Down.

“We’ll just be looking to qualify for the Nationals.”

Nonetheless, the squad does include the experienced pair of Owain Jones and Jarlath McKenna (pictured right) and look capable of a top six finish.

Despite the lure of the Bristol half stretching their resources to the limit Westbury Harriers will also field a men’s team.

Leading the way is Anthony Glover with Joe Connors (fresh from his recent 10k personal best), Ben Whitaker, who will be making his first appearance at the road relays as a senior, Chris Palmer, Matt Lavis and Scott Campbell.

Joe Connors recently ran a PB over 10k


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Turner praises Avon’s silver ladies after historic success

LONG-SERVING and popular team manager Dave Turner has praised the Avon athletes who won the county’s first senior girls’ team medal at the English Schools’ Combined Events Championships.

Inspired by 17-year-old Stroud and South Gloucestershire College Filton student Jenna Blundell, who made the podium with an individual bronze, the Avon trio won the silver medals after a great contest against west country rivals Somerset.

Avon team managers with the senior girls squad (L to R); Sue Turner, Rebecca Ousby,  Ken Holmes, Jenna Blundell, Julie Alexander, Renee Jelf and Dave Turner


“The girls were actually in the gold medal position going into the seventh and final event, the 800m, but Somerset had a really strong runner and that just made the difference as they beat us by just 40 points, which equates to just a few seconds,” said Turner.

“So there is a slight tinge of disappointment but not much of one because that is the first time Avon’s senior girls have won a team medal so it was an historic moment for the county and an outstanding achievement.

“The girls performed brilliantly and it was a special weekend.”

Senior girls heptathlon: 1 Natasha Smith (Glos) 5123pts; 2 Emily Race (Notts) 5055; 3 Jenna Blundell (Avon) 5014 (100H: 14.27; HJ: 1.68; Shot: 8.83; 200m: 26.52; LJ: 5.89; Jav: 26.29; 800: 2:26.58).

14 Rebecca Ousby 3565pts (18.18secs; 1.50m; 8.95m; 26.89secs; 4.70m; 10.75m; 2:30.00); 25 Renee Jelf (Avon) 2882pts (19.89secs; 1.56m; 6.31m; 29.20secs; 4.45m; 11.07m; 2:45.55).

Teams: 1 Somerset 11,501pts; 2 Avon 11,461

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Catie sharpens up for Midland road relays witrh third in Worcester half

CATIE O’Donogue has started her autumn racing campaign at quite a strong pace.

Last week she finished fourth in the Swindon half marathon recording a personal best time of 1hr 26mins 49secs and then just seven days she was lining up for another half in Worcester.

Catie O’Donogue (centre)


This time she made the podium in third place with a time of 1hr 28mins 00secs, the second quickest time of her career.                                                                                                  .

“That was my best time for the course and I was pleased with that as it was a lot hillier than I remembered it,” said O’Donogue.

The Bristol & West AC runner will be taking it easier this week as she is in the squad for the Midland Counties Road Relays in Birmingham on Saturday.

“The relays are my favourite event and I am really looking forward to them,” she added.