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I am just going to have fun, vows Tri-Counties champion Catie

BRISTOL & West AC newcomer star Catie O’Donoghue faces her sternest test yet when she races in the South West Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships in Yeovil on Sunday (JAN 7th).

O’Donoghue ended 2017 on a high with a superb victory in the Tri-Counties Cross Country Championships at Bath University (pictured left) which was a significant breakthrough for the 26-year-old nurse.

But this weekend’s regional event represents another big step up and with a strong entry, led by Wiltshire’s reigning champion Ruth Barnes and clubmate Eleanor Davies, O’Donoghue knows this will be her toughest race to do date.

“It is going to be a really competitive race as there are going to be some really good girls there,” said O’Donoghue.

“I don’t have any particular aims but it would be nice to win the club team prize with my Bristol & West clubmates as we have a strong squad running.

“It would be nice to finish in the top ten but really I am just going there to enjoy it and have as much fun as possible.”

Other local runners to look out for include in-form Westbury Harrier Hannah Hobbs in the under 20 women’ race and sister Ellie in the under 17s.

The Hobbs sisters are in god form this winter

Reigning men’s champion Owain Jones heads the Avon squad with Weston AC’s Chris McMillan and Dan Jones of Team Bath also running.


South West Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships, Aldon Hill, Yeovil (BA22 9TA) Timetable –  11.30:  Under 11 Boys 1580m (Not Championship Race); 11.30:  Under 11 Girls   1580m (Not Championship Race); 12.00:  Senior Men  8.5k (Including Under 20 Men and Masters – M40, M50, M60); 12.45: Under 13 Girls 3.1k; 13.00: Under 13 Boys 3.1k: 13.15:  Under 15 Girls  3.6k; 13.35: Under 15 Boys 4k; 13.35:  Under 17 Women 4k; 13.55:        Under 17 Men 5.2k; 14.15: Senior Women 5.2k (Including Under 20 Women and Masters – W35, W45, W55).

Avon squad (AVR=Avon Valley Runners; B&W=Bristol & West AC; Cl=Clevedon AC; NS=North Somersset AC; TB=Team Bath AC; W=Weston AC; WH=Westbury Harrier

Senior men: Luke Murray (Cl), Ken Ham, Mike Mewse & Scott Campbell (all WH), Guy Woods (SWVets), Jonathan Goodland, Maciej Bialognski, Andy Salmon, Harry Allen, Daniel Titheradge, Owain Jones & Tom Dobra (all B&W), William Smith (SRC), Chris McMillan (W), Dan Jones (TB).

U20 men: Joe Connors (WH), Ben Whitaker (WH).

U17 men: Aidan Noble (WH), Max Davis (AVR), Sean Barry (TB), Callum Smith (NS), William Cheek (NS), Kes Pitchers (NS), Luca Murray (NS).

U15 boys: Justin Davies (TB), Johan Hobbs (WH), Fred Hawker (B&W), Ollie Lock (NS), James Harrod (WH), Rufus Thomas (B&W), Tom Connors, Ben Hamblin (NS).

U13 boys: Louis Brunsdon (NS), Will Connors, Freddie Billing (AVR), Charles Broadhurst (NS).

Senior women: Niccola Oldroyd, Imogen Peck, Lisa Newing, Natalie Grifffiths, Imogen Peck, Fiona Marks, Catie O’Donoghue, Julia Belyavin, Rosey Mushens, Lucy Bird (all B&W), Rebecca Pierce (TB), Kelly Dicks (GWR), Katie Hughes, Tamsin Chick (both WH).

U20 women: Hannah Hobbs (WH), Rosie Allen (WH), Alys Withers (NS).

U17 women: Ellie Hobbs (WH).

U15 girls: Connie Clementine (NS), Sophie Moore (AVR), Alice Bridger-Morales (B&W), Enya Maylor (TB), Rosie Hamilton-James (WH), Emily Whitaker (WH), Ella Treby (TB), Dalis Jones (WH).

U13 girls: Poppy Adams (NS), Daisy Manners-Lolley (NS), Simone Manners-Lolley (NS), Clementine Houden (B&W), Katie Whitaker (WH), Molly Thomas (B&W), Blythe Jones (NS), Grace Metcalfe (NS).


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Hugh is so happy after winning his first Great Britain vest

GREAT news for Bristol and West AC runner Hugh Sadler this week with confirmation that he will be making his debut for Great Britain.

The 18-year-old from Clifton will pull on the national vest for the first time a week on Saturday (JAN 13th) in the Great Edinburgh Cross-Country International against teams from Europe and the United States.

“When the news came through it was a bit of a surprise so I was absolutely delighted,” said Sadler.

Sadler’s selection was secured following his 13th place in the European Championship trials in Liverpool before Christmas after a good start to the season.

“After that race I thought I might have a chance of getting selected for the Edinburgh meeting but I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much,” added Sadler.

“I was really happy with my run there and all the hard work has paid off.”

That hard work hasn’t just been over the past year either as Sadler has been a member of Bristol & West since 2013 and under the careful guidance of coaches Alison Hurford and then Dave Bedwell has made steady progress.

“Hugh has been guided by Dave Bedwell since 2013 and by Alison Hurford from 2010 to 2013 and it is great to see a club member advance gradually through the ranks as he moved through the age groups,” said club development officer Keith Brackstone.



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The Doynton Half half is another sell-out success

FOR the third successive year the Doynton Hard half marathon trails race on Sunday January 21st is a sell-out.

Promoted by Emerson Green Running Club, north Bristol, the race is flagged up as a cross country event and last year boasted 402 finishers compared to 281 on its debut in 2016.

Photo courtesy of the organisers at Emerson Green Running Club

Reflecting the severity of the course Richard Bateston of Yeovil Town Running Club set the record of 1hr 30mins 34secs last year with Westbury Harriers’ Lucy Richens top woman in 1:47.04.

To get on the waiting list see the website at:

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Ruth’s delight at finally winning her first England vest – aged 39

WEST runner Ruth Barnes has realised a sporting ambition after being awarded her first England international vest.

At the tender age of 39 Barnes, who is a member of Wiltshire club Avon Valley Runners, has been selected for a five-strong England team to compete in the prestigious Granollers half marathon, in Spain, on February 4th.

“At 39 I thought I had almost left it too late, it is a miracle!” said Barnes (pictured left).

“To be honest I never, ever expected this. I hadn’t sent an email or request to be picked for England so it came totally out of the blue.

“It is just so lovely to get this recognition and reward for all the years of hard work and training, day in, day out.”

Apparently Barnes’ selection was finally secured six weeks ago with her sixth place in the Simplyhealth Great South Run 10 in Portsmouth, which also incorporated the England Championships.

At the time Barnes didn’t feel like she has done enough to warrant a first England vest but that performance re-enforced her fine win in the Bath half at the start of the year when she smashed her personal best with a time of 75mins 32secs.

“The win in Bath was one of those that made me feel like it was all worthwhile but there have been times this year when I have started to wonder why I bother,” added Barnes.

“It was becoming a lot of effort for not much really but this is the first time I feel I have achieved something really worthwhile.

“It has given me my one big moment and I will get that England vest and make sure I take some photos so that even if it never happens again I have done it once and that is wonderful. I am so happy.”

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Luke strikes out to seal surprise Boxing Day win in Clevedon

LUKE Grenfell-Shaw claimed one of the best and most surprising wins of his young career with a super victory in the Clevedon 4 miles road race held yesterday.

Nothing in his recent form suggested that the Bristol & West AC runner, who races rarely, was among the podium favourites let alone had a chance to claim top spot.

Jack Millar leading Bristol & West AC clubmate and eventual winner Luke Grenfell-Shaw. All photos courtesy of Clevedon AC.

But clearly no-one had told that to Grenfell-Shaw as he beat the experienced international duathlete Phil Wylie by just two seconds with Jack Millar a further two seconds adrift in third.

At least Grenfell-Shaw knew the course inside up having finished third last year (19:40) and sixth in 2015 (20:53) so no-one can claim he hasn’t been improving steadily and is a deserved winner of this prestigious event.

Clevedon AC’s Alex Crossland gave the home supporters plenty to cheer as he came home in fourth for his best result in the event with Miles Chandler competing  strong Bristol & West showing in fifth.

It is also worth noting that former winner Ben Noad, once of Bristol but now a long-sanding member of Highgate Harriers, was back in ninth and first veteran over 40, just ahead of another former west international, James Thie.

Emma Pallant is the most prolific winner of the female race in the history of the event as she takes advantage of a family Christmas in the west.

Step Barnes (right wearing 743 on her Kenya t-shirt)) chasing leader Emma Pallant while below Westbury’s Hannah Hobbs tucks in behind Ollie Sheppard of Emmersons Green Running Club

Defeated last year by course record holder Kate Reed, who was unable to defend her title in her home town race as she is again suffering from her long-standing ankle problem, Pallant was restored to the top of the podium with a solid win ahead of Steph Barnes.

Laura Gent, an AFD clubmate of Pallant as third with Westbury Harriers’ junior Hannah Hobbs continuing her excellent recent form in fourth place.

Younger sister Ellie was seventh and with Sophie Voller fifth the Harriers were well represented at the top end.

Men: 1 Luke Grenfell-Shaw (B&W)  19:39; 2 Phil Wylie (Chelt) 19:41; 3 Jack Millar (B&W) 19:43; 4 Alex Crossland (Clev) 20:02; 5 Miles Chandler (B&W) 20:14; 6 Mike Towler (AVR) 20:16.

M40: 1 Ben Noad (Highgate) 20:30; 2 Luke Murray (Clev) 20:50; 3 David Hobbs (WH) 22:54.

M50: 1 Michael Hart 22:38.

Women: 1 Emma Pallant (AFD) 21:28; 2 Steph Barnes (B&W) 22:06; 3 Laura Gent (AFD) 22:14; 4 Hannah Hobbs (WH, U20) 22:28; 5 Sophie Voller (WH) 24:50.

1,063 finishers.

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Why the Clevedon 4 men’s record may never be broken

BRISTOL & West AC coach Mike Down believes that it is unlikely that the men’s course record in the Clevedon 4 miles road race held on Boxing Day will ever be broken.

Ian Gillespie, who was coached by Down, set that mark of 18min 25secs 20 years ago and to underline the quality of the time it is worth noting that the former Westbury Harrier was a 13mins 18secs man over 5000m who also dipped inside 3mins 40secs for 1500m.

It was that sort of track speed that enabled Gillespie to scorch around the Clevedon course to post a mark that has reigned supreme ever since.

“I remember when Ian set that record he attacked it right from the gun,” said Down.

“He started really hard through the town, which rarely happens these days and he went through two miles in 8mins 40secs!

“Then you come to the famous hill and you need to do that next mile in five minutes to stay on course for the record. Ian did that and it is a hell off a time.

“To be honest I don’t think we will ever see it broken. It would need an international standard athlete who is fit and determined to come along and attack the race in the same way as Ian did.

“I don’t see that happening.”


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Coaching courses on offer in the West Country for 2018

WEST coaches may be interested in the following England Athletics Courses which will take place over the coming months.

Coach in Running Fitness Cost £420 per person (EA affiliated club members £255) You must attend all to 4 days to complete the course

17/02/2018 & 18/02/2018, 08/04/2018 & TBC 30 June or 1st July 2018: Tavistock College, Devon

24/02/2018 & 25/02/2018, 29/04//2018 & 08/07/2018: Alexander Stadium, Birmingham

17/03/2018 & 18/03/2018, 28/04/2017 & 07/07/2018: Gloucester, Gloucestershire

Coaching Assistant Cost £245 per person (EA affiliated club members £185)

13 & 14/01/2018: Alexander Stadium, Birmingham

03 & 04/02/2018: Tavistock, Devon

17 & 18/02/2018: Marlborough, Wiltshire

24 & 25/02/2018: Loughborough

10 & 11/03/2018: Bath

17 & 18/03/2018: Northampton


Leadership in Running Fitness Cost £160 per person (EA affiliated club members £140) 14/01/2018: Bodmin, Cornwall

14/01/2018: Dudley, West Midlands

20/01/2018: Gloucester, Gloucestershire

20/01/2018: Loughborough,  Leicestershire

27/01/2018: Bodmin, Cornwall

03/02/2018: Taunton Somerset

04/02/2018: Burton on Trent, Staffordshire

11/02/2017: Marlborough, Wiltshire

11/02/2018: Stourport On Severn, Worcestershire

25/02/2018: Exeter, Devon

04/03/2018: Wootton, Northamptonshire

10/03/2018: Bournemouth, Dorset

10/03/2018: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

11/13/2018: Alexander Stadium, Birmingham

17/03/2018: Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

17/03/2018: Coventry, Warwickshire

March TBC: Bristol area

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Now don’t forget your Boxing Day treat in Clevedon!

ENTRIES are still being taken on-line – plus on the day with a £2 supplement – for the popular 41st Clevedon Boxing Day 4 miles road race sponsored by grs stone supplies.

The race is the arguably the best festive event in the West Country and attracts not just a big field but also a high quality one that ensures a very competitive race up front.

Last year victories went to Jean-Pierre Weerts of Belgium in 18:57 and former Bristol & West international Kate Reed, enjoying a popular win in her home town with a swift 20:39.

Kate still holds the women’s course record of 20mins 15secs, which she set in 216 while the men’s record celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with Ian Gillespie’s super-fast mark of 18:25 looking untouchable.

Photos of Jean-Pierre Weerts above and Kate Reed courtesy of Clevedon AC

But if anyone fancies having a go at either then a very tasty record-breaking bonus of £250 is being put up by the organisers.

For further entry details see the website at:

There is also a 3k race for young athletes at 10.15am with the main event 45 minutes later.




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Simon aims for the sky – and comes away a winner

SIMON Marchant of Southville Running Club won the latest round in the Bath Skyline 10k series yesterday.

Marchant completed the course in a time of 42mins 49secs to finish 22 seconds clear of Johnny Suttke with junior Alex Parsons third.

Over in Weston Annabel Granger of Bristol & West AC (pictured far left at the Bristol half marathon this year) won the Christmas Cracker 10k at a canter finishing almost three minutes clear of her nearest rival as she clocked 38mins 33secs.

Cheddar’s Jenny McNamara was runner-up (41:22) with Victoria Ratcliffe of Somer AC third (42:12).

In a far tighter men’s race victory went Alastair Campbell (34:47) by just two seconds from Tom Lander (unattached) with Bideford’s Keith Shapland over a further minute behind in third (36:10).


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England call up Prior to race in Spain

CONGRATULATIONS to Somerset junior international Luke Prior who will be racing in Spain on Sunday.

The Wells City Harrier life member from Burnham-on-Sea (pictured left) has been selected to represent England in the junior men’s race at the Venta de Banos International Cross Country Meeting in Castile and Leon.

“Luke was disappointed not to make the European team but he has got this vest now and that will boost his confidence and he is looking for a top three finish,” said dad and coach Simon Prior.