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Thie wins British Milers Club award for coaching

CLEVEDON-born former international runner James Thie has won a leading award for his work as a coach.

While Thie (pictured), who was formerly a member of Westbury Harriers, still competes it is as his work as a middle distance coach now based in Cardiff that he has received considerable acclaim in recent years and earned him the British Milers Club Coach of the Year for 2017.

Thie has five Great British internationals, a UK senior champion, multiple UK medallists, age-group national champions/medallists and many home international representatives in his group, including Bristol & West athletes Steve Mitchell and Charlotte Taylor-Green

Bristol & West AC coach and team manager Mike Down made the short-list for the Lifetime Services to Coaching Award but the prize went to Bud Baldaro from Birmingham.

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Team boss Down realistic over teams near miss in relays

BRISTOL & West AC’s record of near misses in the National 6-Stage Road relay Championships continued over the weekend.

The Midland Counties champions had high hopes of a top finish in the event with the outside chance of a medal but sadly on the day had to settle for a hard-earned and certainty creditable fifth place.

That is the same position as two years ago and compares well to last year’s 11th – though Richard Peters’ calf injury was behind the team dropping from fourth on the final stage – 15th in 2014 and 10th in 2015.

“It is frustrating but I think to be honest that is probably where we stand at the moment,” said team manager Mike Down.

After a solid start Dan Studley (pictured) brought the club up to second on stage four which probably gave Maciej Bialogons, making his debut for the A team, a shock.

“Understandably Maciej went off a bit too hard but he gave it everything,” added Down.

The winners were Swansea Harriers (1:45.16) from Tonbridge (1:46.30) and Lincoln Wellington (1:46.34) with Aldershot, Farnham & District fourth (1:46.38) and B&W fifth in 1:47.59.



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McGrath gives Westbury Harriers a storming start

FELIX McGrath had a storming run to give Westbury Harriers a flying start in the National 6-Stage Road relay Championships.

The former mountain running international, who has recently moved from Bristol to the north Midlands as he is at Keele University, tore around the Sutton Par course to finish in seventh place.

That was probably McGrath’s best run on the course for the Westbury senior team and to run under 18 minutes was an excellent effort.

The rest of the team – Oli Beale, Adam Wilson, Robin Phillips, Alex Hamblin and Joe Connors –  battled hard but were never going to hold into that lofty position eventually finishing 58th.


McGrath’s grit and determination is clearly shown by Neil Miller’s excellent action shot so many thanks to him.

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Antell cooks up a storm in National 6-Stage Road Relays

IT appears that Shaun Antell is carrying over his terrific form this summer onto the roads in the autumn.

The Barnstaple-based baker had a great run on stage one of the National Road Relays bring his club Bideford home in third place. Mark Jenkin (7th) and recent Bristol half marathon winner Ronnie Richmond (6th) kept Bideford at the front-end of the race until the halfway point but then the slipped away to eventually finish 21st.

Antell’s time of 17mins 28secs proved to be the 10th fastest of the day, just 11 seconds off third spot and must rank as his best relay run ever – and suggests some big performances will follow in the months ahead for the former Bristol & West runner.

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No damp Squibb for Kevin as he wins Burnham half marathon

TIVERTON Harriers’ veteran Kevin Squibb claimed an excellent win in the Burnham-on-Sea half marathon clocking a time of 79mins 29secs to finish 26 seconds clear of Ian Connock.

Weston AC’s Darren Stacey was third (81:01) with Peter Leach of Bristol & West AC sixth (84:33).

Taunton AC’s Lucy Paull was top woman finishing 23rd overall in 92:09 from Cheddar Valley veteran Jennifer McNamara (92:28) and Weston’s Phil Richards (93:17).

Westbury Harriers’ Alan Uren opted for the trip north up the M5 for the Cheltenham half marathon and came 18th in 79:52.

Stroud international Rachel Felton was an impressive winner of the women’s race as she came 13th overall in 78:54. Bristol & West’s Rebecca Awde, who is pictured on the far right in her club vest at a different event, was ninth woman in 89:11, which was well shy of her PB of 84:42 which she ran at Bath earlier this year.

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Watch those Ellie girls go in America!

INTERESTING to see Westbury Harriers clubmates Ellie Wallace and Ellie Leather racing each other last weekend –  in California!

The pair, who are both former winners of the Easy Runner/Bristol Post athlete of the month competition, are now both based in America having taken up scholarships to pursue their education and running careers across the Atlantic.

Wallace (right) is studying at the University of San Francisco while Leather (left) is at Fresno State University, which is also in California roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Last weekend saw them both in action at the Capital Cross Challenge in Sacramento held over a fast course at the Haggin Oaks Golf Course with Wallace finishing a creditable 30th and Leather back in 156th.

No doubt they had a good catch-up afterwards and it will be intriguing to watch their progress over the next couple of years.

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Merson leads west change in record-breaking Cardiff half marathon

TOM Merson finished leading west runner in a stellar line-up at the Cardiff half marathon yesterday.

In only his second half marathon of the year  – he won Torbay in June – Merson (pictured with Jack Bancroft at the 2016 Bristol half marathon) did well to place 23rd overall and 10th British runner rom a strong entry of African runners in a time of 68mins 39secs.

He has run quicker over the course with a best of 66:46 three years ago but in view of the problems he has suffered with his big toe, which ultimately required an operation, that is another positive step back for the Bristol & West AC runner.

Clubmate Steve Mitchell, who lives and works in the Wales capital, ran the race for a bit of over-distance training and finished just behind in a PB of 69:09 which is a fair effort the week after he ran the glory leg in the club’s successful defence of their Midland 6-Stage Relay title.

But arguably the best run by a Bristol & West runner came from Maciej Bialogonski, who slashed almost two minutes from his previous best of 72:41, which he ran in Bath earlier this year, with a time of 70:52 for 31st place.

Leading west woman was former Bristol half marathon winner Emma Stepto, who finished ninth and first veteran over 45 in 79:37.

There were some astonishing results overall with new course records being set by both the top man John Lotiang (60mins 42secs) and his Kenyan team-mate Edith Chelimo (65:52) as first woman.


Cardiff half marathon –  WEST: 23 Tom Merson (B&W) 68:39; 24 Steve Mitchell (B&W) 69:09; 31Maciej Bialogonski (B&W) 70:52; 68 James Donald (TB) 76:48; 77 Andrew Tarrant (B&W) 77:26; 78 Mike Dooley (TB, M50 2nd) 77:29;n 4 Thomas Davies (TB) 77:43; 86 Eliot Ball (TB) 77:53; 132 Chris Moore (TB) 80:16.

Women: WEST: 9 Emma Stepto (CAC, W45 1st) 79:37; 12 Katrine Svane (TB) 82:23

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Steve storms to victory with final stage cracker for Bristol & West AC

A STORMING final stage by Steve Mitchell ensured Bristol & West AC retained their title at the Midland Counties 6-Stage Road Relay Championships in Birmingham yesterday.

Bristol & West had been trailing west rivals Cheltenham & County Harriers for the whole race with British international Graham Rush giving the Gloucestershire club the lead on stage two clocking the fastest time of the day.

They bravely held onto that until the sixth and final stage when former Bristol & West runner Oli Mott took off with Mitchell (pictured)  in hot pursuit.

Mott didn’t run badly but Mitchell took 48 seconds out of him to bring Bristol & West home with a 32 seconds advantage.

Mitchell was also rewarded with the fourth fastest time of the day and three of his team-mates – Dan Studley, Tom Merson and Jarlath McKenna – all making the top ten to underline the depth of their squad.




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Oli stars as Westbury men also bok their place for the National Relay finals

WESTBURY Harriers’ men were also celebrating qualification for the National 6-Stage Road Relay Championships after a battling top 20 finish yesterday.

Adam Wilson pictured in team kit prior to making his Great Britain debut.

Adam Wilson (pictured left) got the squad off to a solid start on the fiercely competitive stage one setting up the platform for Oli Beale to scorch into the top 20 with the club’s fastest time of the event as he carved his way through the field over-taking 20 runners to move u to 16th.

Joe Connors regained a further place to 15th leaving Chris O’Donovan, Alan Uren and Alex Hamblin to consolidate 17th place.

“A special mention to Oli for an awesome time on a tricky course and to Chris for running on a full packet of paracetamol due to his foot,” said Wilson.


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Down is hoping to finish among the medals in Midland Relays

BRISTOL & West AC men’s team manager Mike Down is cautiously optimistic of winning yet another medal in the Midland Counties Six-Stage Road Relay Championships tomorrow.

The club won the title last year and again field a strong six who should be in contention although without former international 1500m runner Rich Peters, who ran the equal fastest time last year, they may not be as strong.

“It is still not a bad squad at all,” said Down.

“We have lost Rich but Dan Studley is not a bad replacement so we will see but I would be disappointed if we didn’t win a medal again.”

Remarkably only one of the team that won last year – Steve Mitchell – survives twelve months later which probably only serves to underline the strength of the squad.

“Since the club was re-branded as Bristol & West AC we have won it four times, finished second twice and third three times which is a pretty impressive record,” added Down.

 Squad: Miles Chandler, Tom Merson, Jack Millar, Dan Studley, Jarlath McKenna and Steve Mitchell.

Westbury Harriers and Team Bath AC are also expected to be among the entries for the event.