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Magnficent Molly breaks UK 800m record in Tavistock - 31/7/14


A LITTLE piece of history was created at the Tavistock track on Tuesday night.

Competing in the British Milers’ Club regional meeting 12-year-old Molly Canham of Newton Abbot AC broke the UK All-Time Record for the Under 13 girls’ 800m.

Canham, who lives in Teignmouth, South Devon, won the 800m A race in a magnificent time of 2mins 14.17secs to shave two one-hundredths of a second off the previous best set by Newquay & Par AC’s Jessica Hicks in 2004.

“It was a remarkable performance by the young girl,” said meeting organiser John Knowles.

In second was Exeter Harriers’ 23-year-old Emily Weeks in 2:14.55 with 15-year-old Cornwall AC runner Yoyo Barnsley third in a PB of 2:16.76.


Battershill and Long race to PBs in 1500m - 31/7/14 


TWO west English Schoools’ champions turned up for the latest in the British Milers’ Club regional meeting at Tavistock – and both were rewarded with personal bests.

Erme Valley Harriers’ William Battershill has dominated the 15000m steeplechase event his summer winning both the English and British Schools’ titles.

On Tuesday he gave the barriers a break but continued his stunning form with victory in a personal best time of 4mins 02.44secs – slashing 12 seconds off his previous best.

English Schools’ 80 champion Molly Long also opted for the 1500m after a summer concentrating on the two laps and in along solo run won in a PB time of 4:25.64.

That sliced eight seconds off her best and put the 17-year-old eighth in the UK Under 20 Rankings.

Plymouth Armada half set to sail again - 31/7/14


FOLLOWING the success of the inaugural Plymouth Armada half marathon held in 2013 the Armada Athletics Network is pleased to announce that the event will be held again on Sunday 5th October 2014.

The race is based in Saltram Park and has a 9am start. The event is held over an out and back course starting alongside the historic Saltram House in Saltram Park and the race route will circle  the estate before linking with the beautiful Plym Valley Trail  what is virtually traffic free half marathon.

The organisers have increased the entry limit for this year’s event to 400 runners – it was quickly sold out last year - and have a time limit on the race of 3 hours. The course has been accurately measured and proved last year to be a personal best course for many runners.  

There will also be a 1.2K fun run held over a traffic free course within Saltram Park starting at 9.15am.

The Armada Network Chair, Paul Ross said:  “The members of the Armada Network Clubs were delighted with the success of the 2013 Half Marathon. We have listened to the runners in last year’s race and have introduced some ideas and initiatives put forward by them and hopefully this will improve the event.

“We continue to work with the National Trust who are very supportive of Armada Athletics Network and of its ideals. We get great support for this and other events from the National Trust staff at Saltram Park and Plym Valley. We are also indebted to Plym Valley Railway for their continued support.” 

Entries for the Half Marathon are already being accepted with full information available at Fun run entries will only be accepted on race day before 8.45

Cash available to coaches and officials - 31/7/14


THE British Athletics Supporters’ Club (BASC) is looking to assist Coaches and Officials with bursaries, through the ‘BASC Peter White Bursary Scheme’.  Peter was a long-standing member who had watched sport on five continents and who died last year.

BASC will award sums of up to £250 ‘in their pursuit of higher standards possibly, but not exclusively, by attendance on a course run by England Athletics’.  In return the club will expect them to keep BASC members updated on their progress.

Those interested should write to  preferably before end August 2014, explaining why they should receive a bursary. 

The selection will be at the discretion of the BASC directors


Season just keeps getting better for Battershill - 29/7/14

FRESH from his victory double in the England and British Schools’ Championships Ivybridge Community College student William Battershill has now be selected for the Sainsbury’s UK School Games in Manchester.

The 16-year-old Erme Valley Harrier from Holberton has made the Team South West, which is drawn from 12 counties from as far afield as Sussex and the Channel Islands, to run the 1500m steeplechase at the four-day event which is being held from September 4-7th.

Battershilll is also top of the UK Rankings for under 17 men and on top of an excellent winter in which he also won an England Schools’ vest he  has emerged as one of the top west athletes of the year.

Other Devon representatives in the squad include Plymouth sprint hurdler Jade Simpson (80m hurdles) plus Jonathan and James Anott (ambulant 100m and 200m respectively).

And there is no stopping 'youngster' Hall either! - 29/7/14 

GOOD to see Stuart Hall, 49 years young,  back in action again on Sunday winning the 6 Moor Miles race from Yelverton and finishing well clear of fellow veterans Allister Bristow and Neil Holmes both of Erme Valley Harriers.

Coincidentally on the same day was the Commonwealth Games marathon and that reminded me of Hall’s finest hour when he represented England in the same event 12 years ago in Manchester – and I can recall standing on the roadside cheering him on.

Does it seem like only yesterday . . . . .

That's a fair win for Fox - 29/7/14

YOUNG Wells City athlete Oliver Fox ran out a convincing winner of the Kingsbridge Fairweek 10k finishing almost a minute clear of Jim Cole. Plymouth Harriers’ veteran Jane Allison was top woman.

Kingsbridge Fairweek 10k, Devon – men: 1 Oliver Fox (Wells) 35:53; 2 Jim Cole (Tavi) 36:44; 3 Peter Monaghan (Torbay, M45) 38:01.

Women: 1 Jane Allison (Ply H, W40) 45:27; 2 Vicky Winzer 46:12; 3 Marta Garica 48:10.

Loren's super silver at World Juniors - 29/7/14

WEST athlete  Loren Bleaken won a silver medal on the final day of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

The Team Bath AC runner, who lives in Marshfield just north of Bath, was part of the Great Britain women’s 4x400m relay team who finished close second to the USA with a time of 3:32.00, the second fastest ever by a British junior women’s team.

“I was pleased with my run. Shona had a great first leg to pass it on to me and I knew I had to keep going to get the girls as high as possible,” said Bleaken. “We ran brilliantly and I’m so proud of all of us.”

 The quartet comprised Shona Richards (Marina Armstrong, WSEH), Bleaken (Malcolm Arnold, Team Bath), Sabrina Bakare (Jane Dixon, Bracknell) and Cheriece Hylton (John Blackie, Shaftesbury Barnet).


Why Jo opted to give the Glasgow 10,000m a miss - 25/7/14 

JO Pavey has admitted that if it hadn’t been for the European Championships in Zurich following so soon after the Commonwealth Games she would have run both the 5,000m and 10,000m in Glasgow.

Instead the Exeter Harrier, who was initially selected to run both races for England, has withdrawn from the 10,000m on Tuesday and will focus exclusively on the 5000m a week tomorrow (Saturday August 2nd).

“It was a tough decision and if there had only been the Commonwealths this summer I would have decided to double,” said Pavey.

“With the Europeans literally the week after the Commonwealths I thought it was a better plan to concentrate on the 5,000 at the Commonwealths and then double at the Europeans.”

From bitter experience Pavey, now aged 40, is also well are that the punishment to calf muscles and legs is so intense that she may have risked injury by attempting to tackle all four events.

The Exeter trails half - so good it is being held twice! - 25/7/14


THE 2015Exeter trails half marathon is promising to be twice as good as last year!

Such was the success of the event held earlier this year that race organiser Pete Ferlie has decided to stage the race twice on both Saturday February 14th & Sunday 15th.

“It is a great 3-lap traffic free, pancake flat half marathon run on footpaths and cycle tracks around the River Exe and Exeter Canal,” said Ferlie.

“This event is suitable for people chasing PBs along with novice runners.”

Both races are limited to 350 runners and on the basis of this year’s response will be sold out quickly. For further details see the website at:

 Tozers backing the Great West Run - 25/7/14

EXETER-based Tozers Solicitors are the new sponsors of the Great West Run half marathon on Sunday October 19th.

The second edition of the new-look race, which saw a switch in date and course after being taken on by Bath-based GO2 – now owned by Achieve Events (UK) Limited, is now taking entries and for further details log onto:

Bath Festival entries taken on the day - 25/7/14

ENTRIES will be taken on the day for the Bath Running Festival on Sunday when options at 5k, 10k, half marathon and the marathon  - all off road – are on offer. For details see the race website at:


New fast 5k road race series planned for Bristol - 25/7/14

JOINT race organisers Chris Elson and Roger Brocklesby are putting the finishing touches to the new Aztec West Fast 5k Series in north Bristol just off the M5/4 junction and are planning a test run for club runners on Tuesday 19th August (7.30 pm). As usual entries will be on the day from 6.30 pm. onwards.

The race series comprises the following dates: Tuesday 30th September; Tuesday 28th October; Tuesday 25th November; Tuesday 27th January 2015; Tuesday 24th February 2015. For further details see the website at:

JO ditches 10k to focus on 5,000m in Glasgow - 23/7/14  

JO Pavey has decided to focus all her energies of running the 5000m at the Commonwealth games and give the 10,000m a miss.


Originally Pavey had been selected by England to run both distances but has withdrawn from the longer distance. Kate Avery will take her place.


William the First reigns supreme - 23/7/14

CONGRATULATIONS to Ivybridge Community College student William Battershill, who added the British Schools’ title to his English crown last weekend.

In the space of seven days the 16-year-old Erme Valley Harrier from Holberton won the inter boys’ 1500 steeplechase in both major events and for good measure improved his personal best in Cardiff to 4mins 18.15secs to strengthen his grip on top spot in the UK Rankings for under 17 men.

Coming on top of an excellent winter in which he also won an England Schools’ vest  Battershill has emerged as one of the top west athletes of the year.


Antell suffers in the heat - 23/7/14


SHAUN Antell struggled in the heat and humidity at the latest British Milers Club Grand Prix at the historic Iffley Road track, in Oxford.

 The 27-year-old Bideford AC runner from Barnstaple was really suffering n the conditions but showed great character as he kept going despite being lapped and finishing 17th and last in the B race in a time of 15min 37.48secs, over half a minute off his best.


Don't forget the South West Chapionships - 23/7/14

ENTRIES are still open for the South West Track and Field championships but the deadline for entries is a week today (Wednesday 30th July 2014).


The championships will take place at Exeter Arena on Sunday 17th August 2014.


The aim this year is to increase Participation and Standards at the championships, so extra events in the under 15 age groups have been added, and in the senior age groups by having entries to non South West or non County selected athletes while still retaining entry standards. 


All pre-race information is online at


Online booking can be made at can be made at





Why Merson gave Snowdon race a miss - 21/7/14

WHEN Tom Merson saw the forecast of severe weather for north Wales on Saturdayhe decided not to make the big round trip from his home in Exmouth for the inaugural Snowdon Super Cup.

I proved a wise decision as thunder and lightning flashed across the mountain forcing the organisers to delay the race for an hour.

It was eventually held but was shortened for safety reasons and only 30 men and women of the elite invite only field turned up and they only raced to the three-quarter point which meant missing out the hardest section

Picture perfect: Emma's Magnnificent performance - 21/7/14

INTERESTING to note that Emma Stepto has just changed her Facebook profile photo.

It is now a glorious action shot of Emma holding off her Cornwall AC team-mate Dave Buzza at the end of the Magnificent 7 miles road race in Saltash yesterday.

Emma finished 10th overall and top woman in 42:03 with Buzza one place and two seconds behind. But the former GB international was top veteran over 50 so that may have cheered him up. Just a little.

Rimmer romps to victory in Saltash - 21/7/14

CHRIS Rimmer of Plymouth Harrier raced to one of his best wins of the year in the Magnificent 7 miles road race yesterday.

Rimmer clocked 38mins 49secs to finish 37 seconds ahead of fellow Devonian Gwylym Gibson of Exeter Harriers with Mike Robinson of Tamar Trotters third.


Merson is facing a real uphill challenge - 19/7/14 

ANYONE who knows Tom Merson realises he loves a challenge. And boy has he accepted one today.

The Exmouth-based runner travelled overnight to prepare for the inaugural Snowdon Super Cup which is the first time an uphill only race has been held on the iconic mountain in north Wales.

Merson will join a 50-strong elite invited-only field for the event that starts in Llanberris and then climbs 1085 metres to the summit of Snowdon.

“It is uphill only and I believe is around 10-12k long,” said Merson.

“I have been working hard on hills in Haldon Forest with my coach Gordon Seward and if I do well then there is a chance of being selected for the World Championships.

“I have no idea what to expect except that is sure to be very hard!”

Like me you are wondering how do you get back to your kit when a race finishes at the top of a mountain. Take the train?

“I expect I will jog back and use it as a warm down – if my legs are still working!” added Merson.

Fancy a beautiful run around Bath? - 19/7/14 

ENTRIES are being taken for the 2nd Bath Running Festival on Sunday July 27th when options at 5k, 10k, half marathon and the marathon  - all off road – are on offer.

“All the races are designed to be fun, friendly and hilly and we put on glorious buffets of fresh fruit and tasty treats at the feed stations around the course and at the finish line,” said race director Tom Room.

For details see the race website at:

West teenagers on England duty - 19/7/14


THE Somerset pair of Archie Walton (1500 steeplechase) and Laurie Dawkins (javelin) plus Ivybridge student Will Battershill  (1500 steeplechase) will be representing England at the British Schools’ Championships in Cardiff today (SATURDAY).


Somerset kids are best in the west - 17/7/14 

SOMERSET emerged the top county from the south west at the English Schools’ Championships.

Somerset’s finest won a total of seven medals to edge out Cornwall by just one with Avon on four. The county won two golds with Cliff Schwabauer in the junior boys’ shot putt and Holly Brown in the senior girls’ 1500m steeplechase.

In fact the steeplechase proved to be rich picking for the west runners with Devon’s William Battershill winning the inter boys’ 1500m event from Somerset’s Archie Walton. Also Somerset’s Emily Smith was runner-up in the senior girls’ 1500m steeplechase.



AVON (4) - SILVERS (2): Kurt Cameron JB pole vault; Loren Bleaken SG 400m. BRONZE (2): Rownita Marston IG shot putt; Avon SG 4x100m relay squad.

CORNWALL (6) - GOLDS (1): Molly Long SG 800. SILVERS (2): Patrick Swan IB discus; Rebecca Gray IG pole vault. BRONZES (3): Connor Swan SB javelin; Maria Brett SG hammer; Ollie Clark SB long jump.

DEVON (3) - GOLD (1): Will Battershill IB 1500 steeplechase. BRONZES (2): Carie Robertson SG 400m hurdles; Jade Simson IG 80m hurdles.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE (1) - GOLD (1): Mollie Courtney SG 100m hurdles.

SOMERSET (7) - GOLDS (2): Cliff Schwabauer JB shot putt; Holly Brown SG 1500m steeplechase. SILVERS (4): Charlie Granville SB javelin; Archie Walton IB 1500 steeplechase; Emily Smith SG 1500m steeplechase; Laurie Dawkins IG javelin. BRONZE (1): Sophie Hamilton JG 1500m.

WILTSHIRE (3)  GOLDS (2): Sophie Merritt IG discus; Grace Chambers JG high jump. BRONZE (1): Emily Hutchinson SG shot putt.


Marathon ace Lucy opens new Taunton HQ - 17/7/14

FURTHER good news from Somerset came in the recent opening of Taunton Athletic Club’s new clubhouse.

International marathon runner Lucy McAllister, who recently returned to the county after living in London, did the honours to mark the end of a three-year project at the Castle School track.

Club chairman Mike Rogers said: “The club has enjoyed great success on the track and with cross country and it is now great to be able to continue to allow the club to grow.

“For a club of our size we have had some remarkable achievements; only recently ten club members were selected for the English Schools' Championships. What is really pleasing to see is that this comes from nine different schools, which meets with our philosophy that we are here to develop people of all ages, background and ability.”

The new clubhouse, which has so far cost around £140,000, was part funded with a £50,000 grant from Sport England plus further support from the club's main sponsor RH Fibreboard and Containers Ltd.

A further £40,000 is needed to provide various furnishings including showers and more toilets.

No barrier to success for west runners - 17/7/14


SO what is it about steeplechasers in the west country?