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Lucy is ready for the Grizzzly challenge - 7/3/14
THE legendary Grizzly 21 miles terrain race in east Devon couldn’t be more different to the Bath half marathon but after finishing third and first Brit there last weekend Wellington’s Lucy MacAlister has high hopes of marking her debut with victory.
“It will be the first time I have run the Grizzly but I am looking forward to it as well as being a little apprehensive,” said MacAlister
The men’s race is always difficult to predict but Totnes-based Ceri Rees is sure to be prominent.
Merson targets quick 10 in Manchester - 7/3/14
TOM Merson has turned down the chance to run the Grizzly to improve his 10k personal best.
The Exmouth-based runner as entered the Trafford 10 on Sunday and with a top class field and a renowned fast course Merson is optimistic.
“I have improved my times at other distances ad it is about time I did so over 10k as well,” said Merson.
“There are not many fast 10ks at this time of year so that’ why I am going up to Manchester and hopefully it will prove worthwhile.”
Merson’s current PB s 30mins 53secs which he set in Bristol last year.
Peters edges ahead of Ce in UK All-Tine Rankings! - 7/3/14
RICHARD Peters has fired a warning to his domestic rivals this summer by smashing the all-time US Collegiate 1000m record in Boston at the weekend.
The Bristol and West AC runner took almost a second off the existing mark of 2:19.53 when he clocked 2mins18:55secs which was less than a second off the UK record of 2:17.86 that was set more than 20 years ago by former international Matt Yates in 1992.
“Rich now goes ahead of Sebastian Coe on the indoor 1000m British rankings,” said coach Mike Down.
West races on offer - 7/3/14
WEST races on Sunday include the Great Western 10k MT event in Sherbore (www.yeoviltownrrc.com), the Castle Combe half marathon in Wiltshire (www.209events.com) and the Salisbury 10 miles road race (www.salisbury-arc.org).
Next Wednesday is the Street 5k (www.wellscityharriers.org.uk).
Mystery of Bath half runner revealed - 7/3/14
MYSTERY Bath half marathon runner Matt Sharp has revealed he is making the city his new home as he seeks to qualify for the Commonwealth Games – in the triathlon.
The 24-year-old produced arguably the best run of the day by a British athlete as he finished fourth – only Irish international road runner Paul Pollock and two Kenyans finished ahead of him – and then quickly left the scene for a hot shower back at his new home in Larkhall.
Sharp’s time of 65mins 13secs on his debut over the half marathon in Bath was an impressive achievement but then as a former World U23 Champion the 24-year-old appears to be yet another talented all-rounder in the mould of the Brownlee brothers.
“I was really happy with that time,” said Sharp. “Obviously racing triathlons is my full-time sport but it was nice to do my local race and put my foot down. I am going well and I really enjoyed it.”
Sharp was born and bred in north London and flirted with athletics and football as a youngster before the lure of the triathlon saw him switch to that hugely popular sport.
“I was originally at Bath University studying sports performance and there was a big triathlon community back then,” added Sharp.
“Then it was disbanded and everything was centralised at Loughborough University so I was there for a while. But now we have been given the freedom to go where we want so I have returned to Bath because it is great for training around here with all the green countryside and hills and the facilities at Bath University are excellent.
“I love it around here and it is a lot quieter than Loughborough so you can just get on with your training.”
Sharp’s time was good enough to put him sixth in the British Athletics Rankings but sadly for athletics there is no chance of him ditching his other two disciplines.
“I am off to New Zealand on March 15th to do a couple of triathlons, including one in Cape Town and see if I can qualify for the Commonwealth Games,” added Sharp.
“That is my I aim but it won’t be easy as the standard is so high in this country but the good thing is that if you are good enough to make the team then you are also in with a chance of winning a medal as well.”
Merson and McCalll are new Westward League champions - 3/3/14
Tom Merson and Steph McCall were crowned the 2013/14 Brooks Westward Cross Country League yesterday.
Merson won the sixth and final race at Plymouth for a perfect score of 1,500 points, 24 clear of Cornwall C’s Dan Rodgers who opted to miss the final league race.
Exeter University student McCall also ended her season on a winning note to finish 12 points ahead of Torrington’s Hannah Blair, who is a student at Plymouth University.
On the team front Cornwall AC saw off the Bideford challenge and regained the men’s title from Exeter Harriers. The women’s prize also went to the Duchy but it was Newquay & Par AC to the fore – by just 11 points from the City of Plymouth AC.
Overall results (after six fixtures): 1 Tom Merson (Exm) 1,500 points; 2 Dan Rodgers (CAC) 1,476; 3 Callum Jones (CAC) 1,473; 4 Alistair Bristow (EVH, M40) 1,464; 5 P Wilson (CAC) 1,462; 6 David Weir (CoPly) 1,453.
Teams: 1 Cornwall AC 7,278; 2 Bideford AC 7,168; 3 Exmouth Harriers 7,007.
M40: 1 Bristow 499; 2 Ian Gooding (Bide) 494; 3 Dave Stone (Exm) 490.
M45: Tony Dunn (CAC) 499. M50: Dave Buzza (CAC) 499. M55: A McLaren (Bide) 495. M60: John Shapland (Bide) 500.
Senior women: 1 S McCall (Exeter Uni) 496; 2 H Blair (Torr) 484; 3 Cathy Newman (Exm, W50) 478; 4 Isabel Steele (CAC, U20) 474; 5 Sharon Coyne (N&P, W45) 460; 6 S Toher (N&P) 427.
Teams: 1 Newquay & Par AC 1,344; 2 City of Plymouth AC 1,333; 3 Exeter University 1,303.
W35: 1 K Burgess (CAC) 494; 2 L Gore (N&P) 487; 4 J Herd (&P) 295.
W40: R Exley-Deane (Tavi) 493. W45 Coyne. W50: Newman. W55: L Wright (CAC) 498.
Lucy is top British woman in Bath half - 3/3/14
WEST Country international Lucy MacAlister finished top British runner and led her club to the team title in the 33rd Bath half marathon yesterday (SUNDAY).
The Wellington-born runner, who recently returned to the county with her family after living in London for several years, was third overall behind Kenyan runners Perendis Lekapana and Gladys Kwambai.
“I was really pleased to finish top Brit as I wasn’t sure where I was for a while,” said MacAlister.
“It wasn’t a very fast time but in the conditions it was okay and I really enjoyed the race and the support was amazing which really helped.”
MacAlister clearly inspired her Bristol & West clubmates as newcomer Jessie Sanzo smasher her personal best to finish fifth and Annabel Granger completed the three-strong squad in sixth for an over-whelming team victory after second place last year.
“The girls ran so well and it is nice to win the team prize as well,” added MacAlister.
Lekapana’s time was the fourth fastest winning time in the history of the event that was first held in 1982 and at 21 she seems destined for much better things.
Wells City Harrier Frank Ticker had hoped to make it a west double in the battle of the Brits but his race didn’t go to plan. Tickner started well and was alongside Irish international Paul Pollock and debutant Matthew Sharpe on the opening lap as the Kenyan pair of Nicholas Kirui and Boniface Kongin fought out their private battle well up the road.
But on the second lap Tickner began to struggle and instead of pushing on to secure third dropped back to fifth behind Pollock, who clocked a PB of 63:52 and Sharp.
“It is very frustrating as I ran faster on my debut last year (in the Paddock Wood event) when I was on my own and led from the front and I also felt I was fitter for this race,” said Tickner.
“It is so disappointing as you cannot go out and race a half marathon every week and I had hoped to go a lot quicker but today it just didn’t click and I struggled.”
There were no such struggles for Exeter Harriers’ Jake Waldron as he smashed his personal best to finish 15th in 70:24 but despite a desperate sprint finish down the long finish straight along Great Pulteney Street Taunton AC’s Phil Burden could only equal his PB of 71:23.
Bristol-based runner Matt Battensby also made the top 25 with a big PB of 72:29.
On the men’s team front official results had still to be confirmed but it appears as if the Team Bath quartet of Ewen Malloch (29th), David Coales (33rd), Guy Landon (35th) and Matthew Maynard (36th) will scoop the top prize.
Bath half marathon – men: 1 Nicholas Kirui (Kenya) 63:13; 2 Boniface Kogin (Kenya) 63:27 3 Paul Pollock (Kent AC) 63:52; 4 Matthew Sharp 65:13; 5 Frank Tickner (Wells) 65:42; 6 Kevin Rojas (Brighton) 68:00; 7 Paul Molyneux (Springfield) 68:14; 8 Paul Rodgers (AFD) 68:19; 9 Mark Pollard (Belgrave) 68:56; 10 Ash Chambers (Liverpool, U20) 69:22.
Women: 1 Perendis Lekapana (Kenya) 70:53; 2 Gladys Kwanbai (Kenya, W35) 75:07; 3 Lucy MacAlister (B&W, W35) 76:20; 4 Jessica Parry-Williams (Les Croups) 77:33; 5 Jessie Sanzo (B&W, W35) 77:41; 6 Annabel Granger (B&W, W40) 78:19; 7 Helen Sharpe (B&W) 78:27; 8 Georgina Schwiening (Cambridge, U20) 80:36; 9 Nicola Lockhart 81:01; 10 Ellie Davies (unatt, U20) 81:20.
Emma takes heart from Reading run - 3/3/14
EMMA Stepto finished sixth overall and top veteran in a top class domestic field at them Reading half marathon, which incorporated the British Championships.
Stepto clocked 73mins 50secs to finish just ten seconds outside the PB she set when winning the Bristol half last autumn.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect as I have been feeling very tired recently what with the heavy mileage in preparation for London, working flat-out and also struggling with a stinking cold recently,” said Stepto.
“But that result shows everything is on course for the marathon and while it would have been nice to have run another PB the conditions weren’t great and the course has quite a few twists and turns as it goes through the centre of Reading.
“It wasn’t a bad effort and it was great to be on the start line with so many good British girls.”
Justin Thomas was first west runner in the men’s race finishing 85th and sixth veteran over 40 in 73:47.
Women: 1 Susan Partridge (Leeds) 72:20; 2 Tish Jones (Bel) 72:56; 3 Aly Dixon (Sunderland, W35) 73:09; 4 Amy Whitehead (Notts, W35) 73:16; 5 Sonia Samuels (Wallsend) 73:24; 6 Emma Stepto (CAC, W40) 73:50.
Tickner aiming for a hot Bath run - 1/3/14
FRANK Tickner returns to the West Country tomorrow to lead the British challenge in the 33rd Bath half marathon.
The Wells City Harrier from Bruton lives and works in London but has opted to race for the half marathon for only the second time in Bath rather than Reading, which is the unofficial trial for the World Championships at the end of the month and as attracted a top class domestic field.
“I think the Bath half will suit me better because I can concentrate on my own race,” said Tickner.
“When I ran 65mins 01secs in Paddock Wood last year I ran from the front the whole way and that suited me. I feel I am in better shape now and my first target is to beat that time in Bath.
“There is also the vague target of running under 64 minutes which is the qualifying standard for the World Championships but a lot of that will depend on conditions on the day and how the race goes but I am looking forward to it.”
Tickner has been one of Britain’s best cross country runners in recent years and it will be interesting to see whether the 30-year-old can re-invent himself on the road to the same level of success.
Tickner could easily finish top British male tomorrow – and scoop his fair share of the £16,000 prize money on offer - but whether he will be able to challenge the African dominance of this race remains to be seen.
Kenyan men have won nine of the previous ten races and that reign was only interrupted twelve months ago when Tewodros Shiferaw of Ethiopia upset the natural order.
But the Kenyans are out in force with the Run Fast management group bringing along Boniface Kiprop Kongin, who was third in the Cardiff half last year in a PB of 63:02 and also set a course record of 65:21 when winning in Torbay, plus Nicholas Kirui who was third in the Bristol half in a PB of 63:57.
As for the last British winner one has to go back to 2003 when Bedford’s Hugh Lobb claimed victory. Other leading Brits tomorrow include Leeds AC’s David Webb (PB of 64:45, 2010), Central AC’s Ross Houston (65:50, 2012) and Altrincham’s Dave Norman (65:22, 2002).
In the women’s race the challenge will be led by the Kenyan pair of Prendis Lekepana, who won the Cardiff half in a PB of 74:22 and Gladys Kwambai, who is making her debut at the distance.
The leading British women include the Bristol & West pair of Lucy MacAlister and Jenny Jagger and Team Bath’s former marathon international Holly Rush.
The race, which is again a 15,000 sell-out, starts at 11am on the iconic Pulteney Street.
Emma is cautious over her hopes in Reading - 1/3/14
EMMA Stepto has opted to tackle the Reading half marathon tomorrow which appears to have attracted a much stronger domestic field than Bath.
The race is part of the Run Britain Grand Prix so is offering a big chuck of prize money and in addition is also a chance for the home runners to impress the selectors ahead of the World Half Marathon Championships at the end of the month.
“I am not sure of my realistic aim as I have felt under par lately,” said Stepto.
“I would like a PB but we will have to see.”
No way back for the Tough Ten in 2014 - 28/2/14
IT has finally been confirmed that the Two Bays Tough Ten will NOT be held this year.
The race had to be called off due to the bad weather and the dangers not just to the runners but also the countless volunteers who give up their time to make sure it runs smoothly.
Race director Mike Buckland has spent hours trying to find a way to re-schedule the race for later in the year but such is the enormous task in co-ordinating such a huge event that he has finally had to concede defeat.
This the statement that Mike has just issued.
‘Naturally we are still really disappointed at having had to cancel this year's brand new Two Bays Tough Ten
on 9th February. However, as promised, over the past couple of weeks we have been in discussions with
our chip timing supplier and the local council to see if we could find a suitable date to re-schedule.
Sadly, with the limited dates that the chip timers are available for the remainder of the year, mixed with
the seasonal restrictions that the local authority will understandably put on the closure of roads & use of
the sea front and finally the tidal constraints for use of the beach we have reluctantly had to accept that
it is not realistic to put the event on again in 2014.
So what happens now?
As we said before race day when we had to cancel, despite our entry terms and conditions stating that
entry fees would not be refunded if we had to cancel at short notice due to severe weather etc, we didn't
want to fully enforce that clause. Clearly it is not possible to fully refund everyone from this charity race
due to the huge admin task that would entail and the significant funds already having been spent. Having
said that, we have been very lucky that some of our regular suppliers (Full On Sport, Weston College,
North Somerset District Council, Co-Channel Radios etc) have waived some or all of their fees. For that we
say an enormous thank you! This has helped us to be in a position to offer all of this year's entrants a
reduced fee of 40-50% for next year's event, which we hope will go someway to reduce the disappointment
of this year.
How will it work?
To administer this process, in early September, we will send all this year's entrants a unique, one time use,
access code and a link to a reduced price online entry system. The allocated codes will ensure that only this
year's entrants can benefit from the significant discount we aim to offer and anyone else wanting to enter
the 2015 race will have to use the usual online system and pay full price. This reduced price offer will only
be available online (not by post) and will close at the end of November. From December onwards all entrants
will have to pay the full price entry fees.
Of course, if you would rather pay the full fee in 2015 we will ensure that any spare monies from your fee
in 2014 are given to charity!
Fancy a race across the Severn Bridge? - 28/2/14
AN intriguing new event has been launched in the west country this autumn – the Severn Bridge half marathon.
Starting on the Chepstow side of the old Severn Bridge runner will run over the Bristol Channel towards Thornbury and then tackle a loop taking in the villages of Elberton, Littleton upon Severn ad Kington before heading back across the bridge for the finish.
To my knowledge this is the first ever race to incorporate crossing the Severn Bridge so has a unique USP as well as taking in some nice countryside lanes in south Gloucestershire and is sure to be popular.
The race is scheduled for Sunday August 24th (9am) and for further details see the website at: www.severnbridgehalfmarathon.co.uk
Corking runs by Allison and Squibb - 24/2/14
A decent field of 180 finishers turned up for the inaugural Castle Hill Corker 10k multi terrain race organised by South Molton Strugglers.
Top performance came from veteran Jane Allison of Mud Crew Trail Runners, who finished ninth overall and top woman while leading man was Kevin Squibb, running as unattached.
Squibb was exactly two minutes ahead of Kevin Reed of Ilfracombe Running Club .
There was an equally emphatic victory for Patrick Devine-Wright in the Dalwood Three Hills, organised by Axe Valley Runners.
Devine-Wright enjoyed a three minutes lead over Honiton RC’s Kevin Hawker, another fellow veteran. It is worth noting the performance of Tavistock teenager Harrison Baker, who finished fourth.
Was Miranda's 'National' sixth a Cornwall best? - 24/2/14
So just how good was Miranda Heathcote’s performance in the senior women’s race at the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships?
Talking to some of the local experts in Cornwall it appears that her sixth place in the senior women’s may well be the best ever by a runner from the county – unless anyone out there knows otherwise?
'Mystery' girl Ellie causes a stir in the Bourton 10k! - 24/2/14
THE ‘mystery’ woman who kept Wendy Nicholls off the podium in the Bourton 10k road race yesterday can now be identified – it was Ellie Sutcliffe of Exmouth Harriers!
Nicholls initially thought she had finished third in the race so was shocked when she wasn’t called onto the podium to collect her prize. The fact that the ‘mystery’ woman who came second also didn’t appear only added to the confusion.
“At the turn-around point on the course I was keeping an eye on how many women were ahead of me and I knew I was second at the point,” said Nicholls.
Official results produced last night confirmed that Sutcliffe was the mystery woman – which came as a big surprise to her as well!
“I had entered the race but couldn’t run as I am injured so I was just watching having taken a few days off on holiday in the Cotswolds,” said Sutcliffe.
“The blunder may have occurred because I had the race chip in my handbag and I may have crossed the finish line.”
Sutcliffe said she was trying to contact the organisers to point out the mistake – and make sure Nicholls got her prize.
Men: 1 Oliver Mott (B&W) 32:21; 2 Chris Illman (Ciren) 32:41; 3 David Bell (Ciren) 32:43; 4 Brett Halliwell (Stroud) 32:50.
Women: 1 Rachel Felton (Stroud) 34:40; 2 Kate Wright (Stratford, W50) 37:34; 3 Wendy Nicholls (Ciren, W40) 37:47.
Miranda sparkles with super sixth in the 'National' - 23/2/14
EVERY now and again a performance comes along from a west runner that deserves the sort of praise that initially it might not get.
Miranda Heathcote’s result in the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships in Nottingham yesterday was one such performance.
Heathcote’s sixth place will, understandably, be over-shadowed by the medallists and Gemma Steele’s victory over Steph Twell - but it cannot be over-looked.
For the 41-year-old veteran Newquay & Par AC runner to finish sixth in the senior national championships is truly a staggering achievement.
“I am so thrilled, it was a fabulous day,” said Heathcote, a mum of two young children.
Anyone who has run the ‘National’ will know just how tough a race it is. To prosper you need to run hard and fast from the gun to tape and cannot afford to let you form or confidence drop for one second.
Heathcote did just that to follow up her brilliant victory in the British & Irish Masters International before Christmas and her silver at the South of England Championships last month.
“It must be one of the best veteran 40 places ever, hasn’t it?” added Heathcote.
We’ll look into that but I cannot imagine too many over 40s who have managed to make the top ten in either the women’s or men’s races.