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McMillan makes the Horror look easy with runaway victory

CHRIS McMillan enjoyed a crushing victory in the Hanham Horror 6 miles multi terrain race.

The event, which is organised by Bitton Road Runners and sponsored by Easy Runner, completed the wet and muddy course in a time of 35mins 14secs which left him 2mins 37secs clear of Westbury Harriers’ Scott Campbell with Michael Ferris of Gade Valley third.

Top woman in fifth overall was Bristol & West AC veteran Nicola Brookland with Westbury’s defending champion Sophie Voller runner-up (43:29) .

Top male veteran was B&W’s Leion Grogan in seventh overall of the 242 finishers with the race having sold out for the first time in its long history with 300 entries

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Good Friday win is a lift for Catie ahead of London Marathon

CATIE O’Donoghue’s preparations for the Virgin London Marathon later this month appear to be ticking along nicely on the evidence of her latest victory.

The 26-year-old Bristol & West AC runner broke the course record when winning the Chippenham 10 miles road race on Good Friday clocking a time of 63mins 22secs in what was her first attempt at the distance.

Catie O’Donoghue in action winning the Tri Counties Cross Country title before Christmas

“It was an awesome event and really exciting,” said O’Donoghue.

On a wet and miserable day, which forced the organisers to tweak the course as sections were flooded, O’Donoghue can take great encouragement from her performance – especially as she went straight to the event from work.

“I was on nights so as soon as I finished my shift I drove over to the race,” added O’Donoghue, who works as a nurse in the Bristol Children’s Hospital.

“It was a bit of a crazy thing to and I wasn’t expecting too much from the race but I absolutely loved it. Even though it was chucking it down with rain the marshals were brilliant and I thought the organisation of the race was great.

“I would definitely recommend this race to anyone.”

In the men’s race Alex Hamblin (pictured right) of Westbury Harriers finished sixth in a time of 58mins 06secs to smash his previous best of 60:12 set in the Oldbury event three years ago.

From Bitton Road Runners Sam West clocked 67:14, which was almost three minutes off his PB set last year, in 32nd while Paul Sperrin won the veterans’ over 60s prize clocking 68:25.

Chippenham 10 miles road race – men: 1 Mike Towler (AVR) 54:12; 2 Robert Eaton (Durham) 56:30; 3 Max Harrison-Tosatto (Serpentine) 56:55.

LOCAL: 6 Alex Hamblin (WH) 58:06; 32 Sam West (Bitt RR, M40 9th) 67:14; 35 Paul Sperrin (Bitt RR, M60 1st) 68:25; 55 Paul Downie (SRC, M40 14th) 71:26;

M40: 1 Simon Gilbert (Devizes RC) 58:08; 2 William Trew (Chipp) 58:21.

M50: 1 Stephen Bartlett (Unnat) 59:56.

Women:  1 Caitlin O’Donoghue (B&W) 63:22; 2 Vicky Green (Chipp, W35) 63:52; 3 Natalie Ruffell (Clapham) 65:12.

LOCAL:  12 Helen Hinsley (Bitt RR, W45 5th) 72:16; 14 Annelie Hendy (Bitt RR, W45 6th) 73:01. 448 finishers.



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Ellie sparkles in America with PBs over 800m and 1500m

ELLIE Leather has made a cracking start to the outdoor track season in America.

The Westbury Harrier, who is on a sports scholarship at Fresno State University in California, ran a persona best over 15000m last week to follow up her recent best over 800m.

* Leading from the front: Ellie Leather

In her first attempt at the 1500m this season Ellie, who is a former winner of the Easy Runner/Bristol Post athlete of the month competition, clocked a time of 4mins 32secs.63secs at the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, to carve seven seconds off her previous best set last May in the UK.

The time ranks her seventh of all time at Fresno State and is currently number 2 for the season in the Mountain West region. In UK terms it puts Ellie third in the South West Rankings behind Poole AC’s Melissa Courtney (4:06.70) and Bristol & West AC steeplechaser Charlotte Taylor-Green (4:25.50 indoors).

Over 800m Ellie, who is coached by Jason Michael when at home with the Harriers, is sixth in the South West Rankings with her PB of 2:15.08 in California last month and with plenty of more races to come don’t be surprised if those times come down even more.

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More European glory for Westbury ace Pat

PAT Gallager has returned home with two medals from the European Masters Indoor Championships in Madrid.

Having already won a bronze for the 800m in the over 70s age group the Westbury Harrier coach (pictured left with athlete Hannah Hobbs) duly added another bronze medal in the 1500m.

She clocked a time of 7mins 41.23secs on the boards to make the podium again and add yet more hardware to her long and successful career as a runner.




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BMC switches Millfield Young Athletes Classic from Monday to Saturday

THE traditional May Bank Holiday British Milers’ Club Academy Young Athletes Classic Meeting has been brought forward from the Monday to Saturday May 5th this year.

The decision was taken in a bid to boost entries and improve competition, both of which had been suffering in recent years as athletes from further afield shied away from making the long trip to Millfield School, Somerset, on one of the busiest days of the year.

“The BMC welcome all young athletes to enter this PB classic and target regional and national qualifying times, especially for the English Schools’ Championships, “ said competitions administrator John Knowles.

“In addition this year’s meeting is not just being held on a Saturday, but also for there will be male and female 1500m steeplechase (subject to enough entries of the entry standard). If insufficient entries those entered will be given the option to revert to another event.”

Apart from the steeplechase entries are being taken for the 800m, 1500m and 3000m.

All entries should be made via the BMC website at:



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Ponter celebrates stunning British Schools’ victory

WHAT a great week it has been for Somerset teenager Joe Ponter.

Having finished sixth in the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships to win his first England vest the previous weekend the Taunton AC then produced a stunning performance seven days later to win the British Schools’ junior boys’ title at Nottingham.

Clubmate Tom Heal, who had finished second in the national championships, was 14th in the junior boys as the pair helped England to a team victory.

Top Taunton boys: Tom Heal and Joe Ponter

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Eleanor roars into UK top 10 with PB in Cardiff 10k

ELEANOR Davis zoomed up to sixth in the UK Rankings this year after setting a personal best in the Cardiff Bay 10k on Sunday.

The Bristol & West AC runner (pictured after winning the race) finally found her racing groove as she dominated the women’s race to win the event in a time of 33mins 40secs to carve 16 seconds off her previous best set two years ago – also in Cardiff but over a different course.

“I have been in good shape for a while and training really well but as for races I have had a few shockers until Sunday,” said Davis.

“But it all came right in Cardiff. The course was pancake flat around Cardiff Bay and fortunately there was barely any wind and conditions were ideal.

“I was really pleased with that run and now I have got the ball running hopefully I can keep the streak going.”

Davis dominated the race to finish almost a minute clear of Belgrave Harriers’ Sophie Harris with Stroud-based Rachel Felton third.

In a strong showing from Bristol & West Kate Maltby (pictured right)  was fourth, Charlotte Taylor-Green fifth as she slashed over a minute off her PB, Fiona Marks ninth and newcomer Elaina Gard 14th on her 10k debut.

Team Bath’s Eilidh Bell also clocked a big personal best, breaking 38 minutes for the first time, in 11th place.

Alice Smith of Great Western Runners and Donna Radford of Southville Running Club also made the top 100.

In the men’s race it was good to see Tom Merson back racing well after his foot problems and clocking his fastest 10k of the year with 30:52 in sixth place.


Cardiff Bay 10k – men: 1 Charlie Hulson (Liverpool) 29:32.

WEST: 6 Tom Merson (B&W) 30:52; 8 Dan Nash (ECH) 30:57; 12 Mike Wilsmore (B&W) 31:42; 13 Owain Jones (B&W) 31:57; 15 Luke Evans (B&W) 32:19; 16 James Rodgers (NSAC) 32:25; 29 Steve Mitchell (B&W) 33:29;

Women: 1 Eleanor Davis (B&W) 33:40 (PB); 2 Sophie Harris (Belgrave) 34:35; 3 Rachel Felton (B&W) 34:38; 4 Kate Maltby (B&W) 34:54; 5 Charlotte Taylor-Green (B&W) 35:02 (PB); 9 Fiona Marks (B&W) 37:00; 11 Eilidh Bell (TB) 37:43 (PB); 14 Elaina Gard (B&W) 38:44; 19 Jenny Creed (TB) 41:19; 87 Alice Smith (GWR) 51:12; 89 Donna Radford (SRC) 51:26.

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This is only the start, says Dan after GB debut in Spain

DAN Studley realised a lifelong ambition when he made his debut for Great Britain in the World Half Marathon Championships yesterday.

The Bristol & West AC runner (pictured left) finished 103rd overall and sixth scorer in the GB team as he completed the course in Valencia, Spain, in a time of 66mins 20secs.

Sadly, that was well outside the personal best of 64mins 23secs that he set in Barcelona at the start of the year to earn his place in the squad and which he had hoped to better again on his international debut after an encouraging build-up to the event.

“It was an unforgettable race to be part of this weekend,” said Studley.

“Certainly not my finest day; but a learning curve and fuel for the fire. Huge pride running in that vest at a World Championship.

“This is only the start.”

The eye-catching performance of the weekend came in the women’s race with Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta clocking a women’s only world record time of 66mins 11secs for a $50,000 bonus  – truly amazing.

The next two women also finished inside 67 minutes with the top 13 breaking 70 minutes. For the record the fastest half in a mixed-standard race is held by Joyciline Jepkosgei with 64:51.

In the open race Studley’s Bristol & West colleague Pete Le Grice (pictured right) finished 54th in a time of 70mins 27secs, which was a personal best by four seconds from his previous best in the 2016 Bristol half.

GB squad: 36 Mohamud Aadan 62:34; Luke Traynor 62:38; 64 Ben Connor 63:45; 77 Paul Pollock 64:29; 92 Stephen Scullion 65:19; 103 Dan Studley 66:20; Tsegai Tewelde DNF

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More medal success for Westbury Harriers super vet Pat

CONGRATULATIONS to Pat Gallagher who made the podium at the European Masters Indoor Championships in Madrid yesterday.

Pat is pictured with one of her athletes, Floren Scrafton

Pat, who combines her coaching duties with her running ambitions at Westbury Harriers, finished third over 800m in the over 70s age group.

The Wales international runner clocked a time of 3mins 46.63secs which is her best time on the boards this winter.

The bronze medal should sit nicely alongside the one she picked up for the same event at the World Masters Championships in Perth, Australia, two years ago.

During that trip Down Under she also finished third in the 1500m so there could be yet further success for Pat in Madrid. We’ll let you know.

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Taunton pair set to make England debut at British Schools’ Champs

ALSO well done to the Somerset pair of Tom Heal and Joe Ponter, who made their debuts for England this weekend.

The youngsters, who are both members of Taunton AC and coached by Richard Caburn, were selected for the England junior boys’ team at the British Schools’ Cross Country Championships in Nottingham tomorrow (SATURDAY MARCH 24TH).

Heal, who is a student at Kingsmead School in Wiveliscombe and is pictured, finished runner-up in the English Schools Cross Country Championships last weekend with Ponter sixth to earn selection for the event.

Also three west youngsters made the junior girls’ squad led by new English Schools’ champion Bea Wood of Salisbury, Emily Shaw of Dorset and Kiya Dee of Gloucestershire.

Last but not least Falmouth teenager Harris Mier won his second England vest. The Truro School runner put him behind an injury-ravaged season to finish to earn his place in the squad after finishing eighth last weekend.

Mier, who is coached by John Knowles, made his England debut two years ago when he won the national junior boys’ title.