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NDAC take over cross country league organisation - 28/8/14 

NORTH Devon AC has taken over the organisation of the Gliddon & Squire North Devon Cross Country League.

The league, which opens at Bideford on September 21st, comprises five fixtures and caters for runners aged under 9 up to seniors and veterans. All meetings start at 9am.

“If you are in the area or looking for another race do feel free to join in the fun,” said spokesman Mark Brace.

For further details see the event website at: or email Brace at:

Fixture list: Sunday 21st September 2014: Kingsley School, Bideford; Sunday 12th October: West Buckland School; Sunday 16th November 2014: Shebbear College; Sunday 30th November 2014: Arlington Court; Sunday 11th January 2015: West Buckland School.


Ultra ace Holly stars in Sweden - 28/8/14 

TEAM Bath’s Holly Rush ran herself into the record books with a magnificent victory in the inaugural Ultravasan 90k trail race in Sweden.

The former British marathon international runner has established a reputation as one of the premier female ultra distance runners in the world since stepping up from the traditional 26.2 miles distance and this win will only enhance that further.

“It was a great event and the organisation was epic,” said Rush.

“The organisers want it to become a really big thing, a destination race like the iconic ski event and I think in future it is going to be a great race to run.

“Everything was amazingly organised and I think race organisers over here could learn a few things from the way they go about it over there.”

Rush didn’t take the lead until 64k but then pushed on to n comfortably I 7hours 9mins.

“I so desperately wanted to be the first winner of the historic Ultravasan  and I was just so pleased to win the race and it was a great day,” added Rush.

“I just feel so privileged to be racing in these sort of events and I have to say the ultra running community, especially in Europe, has been so welcoming and friendly.”


New look to Bristol cross country races - 28/8/14

ENTRIES are now being taken for the Bristol Cross Country Races – which this year have been switched Ashton Court Estate on Saturday 25 October.

The races will be staged by Bristol & West AC in partnership with runbristol. The events will incorporate the Mike Sully Trophy and Gemma Butler Bowl.

Previously the event had been held on Sunday and marked the start of the McCain UK Athletics Cross Challenge series but the loss of the sponsor has meant that series has been axed.

There is no race sponsor so the club will be looking to keep costs to a minimum so that the entry fees can remain at £8 for senior athletes and £5 for juniors (plus a £2 fee for unattached runners),” said club development officer Keith Brackstone.

There will be no late entries or entries on the day so runners need to register sooner rather later.

For news, updates and further information about age categories and how to enter log onto the website at:


Wylie delight at European bronze medal - 26/8/14

EXETER-based Phil Wylie is today celebrating his first international medal after finishing third the European Duathlon Championships in Weyer, Austria.

 Over the challenge that comprised a 10k run 40k bike ride then a final 5k run Wylie was only denied the silver by one second in a desperate sprint finish with reigning World champion Nicolas Benoit of France.

 “It feels amazing to win my first individual medal and I am so happy,” said Wylie.

European Duathlon Championships, Austria – elite men: 1 Rob Woestenborghs (Bel) 1:51.49; 2 Benoit Nicolas (France) 1hr 52:16; 3 Phil Wylie (GB) 1:52.17.


Don't forget the Forest Flyer - 26/8/14 


A REMINDER  that the Forest Flyer 5 miles multi terrain race, organised by Dawlish Coasters, will  be held at Haldon Forest Park this Friday (August 29th) with a 7pm start.

Entries will be taken on the night as long as the 200 limit hasn’t bee reached. For further details see the website at:


Gibson smashes PB in the Exeter 10k - 26/8/14 


I GATHER that Gwylym Gibson, who finished the leading Exeter Harrier in fifth (32:43) at the second Exeter 10k last week, smashed his personal best by almost a minute in the race.

Gibson’s time slashed a fantastic 56 seconds off the mark he set at the Bupa London 10k at the end of May, which itself was a PB by one seconds from his 2013 best  of 33:40 in the Plymouth 10k.

 Remarkably the Exeter 10 was only Gibson’s fourth attempt at the distance in what amounts to his second full season in the sport and at this rate of progress surely it won’t be long before the 25-year-old edges close to the 32 minutes barrier.

 The time also puts him seventh in the Devon Rankings for 2014.


Antell leads the Bideford one-two - 25/8/14

THE Bideford AC boys weren’t to be denied a second time on their jaunt down to the south of the county as Shaun Antell and Mark Jenkin claimed a one-two in the Torbay Royal Regatta 10k.

The previous Wednesday the same pair had to settle for second and third in the Exeter 10k which was dominated by Tom Merson but with the Exmouth man absent – and he had thought of running despite racing the 5000m at the Inter Counties earlier in the day! – Antell and Jenkin were given a clear run.

Antell took he honours in 31:47, 13 seconds quicker than he clocked in Exeter with Jenkin just a second slower that his Exeter time with 32;10 in second. That adds up to two mightily consistent performances by the lads.

A distant third was Exeter-based Andrew Chambers (32:57)  with Tavistock’s Jim Cole fourth (33:32). Top veteran was Torbay’s Peter Monaghan in sixth (33:56).

Top woman was Hayle Runners Jane Khan in 22nd overall (37:41) with Erme Valley Harriers’ Alison McEwing second (38:31) and Naomi Flanagan of South Devon third (3:22).

There were 521 finishers.


Merson runner-up in Inter-Counties - 24/8/14

TOM Merson ended a busy week with an excellent silver medal at the Inter Counties Championships in Bedford today.

Representing Devon the Exmouth-based runner uncorked a 60-seconds last lap to record a time of 14mins 44.90secs and go one place better than last year when he ran his PB of  14:39.71.

“I just got beaten by a few tenths but I think that last lap was a personal best for 400 metres!” said Merson.

Merson’s silver comes after his victory in the second Exeter 10k road race during the week with a time of 31mins 12secs while seven days ago he won the 5000m at the South West Championships and also cam third in the 1500m.


Merson and Stepto star in Exeter 10k success - 21/8/14 

A TERRIFIC field of 358 runners completed the second Exeter 10k road race last night.

As well as quantity there was also top quality with local favourite Tom Merson who sharpened his speed by winning the 5000m at the South West Inter Counties Championships on Sunday, holding off a strong Bideford challenge.

Merson clocked a rapid 31mins 12secs which was too hot for the boys from North Devon with Shaun Antell second (32:00), Mark Jenkin third (32:09) and Ronnie Richmond fourth (32:38).

Gwylym Gibson was the leading Exeter Harrier in fifth (32:43) with Cornwall AC’s Justin Thomas the sole Cornishman in the top ten as he finished seventh (32:58).

But 40-year-old Thomas will be more than happy with that effort as it broke his personal best of 33:13 which he set in Glasgow last year.

To further underline the quality of the race British marathon international Emma Stepto made the trip up the A30 to finish 12th overall and easily first woman in 34:22, her second fastest 10k of the year after the 34:17 she clocked in Bristol.

Runner-up in 35th (37:51) was Alison McEwing of Erme Valley Harriers with Tiverton’s Serane Stone third (39:03).

Wilsmore continues his revival - 21/8/14 

DEVON’S Mike Wilsmore continues his comeback after surgery to a long-standing foot problem with a season’s best in the final British Milers’ Club Grand Prix meeting at Solihull last weekend.

The Bristol & West AC runner won the 1500m D race in a time of 3mins 52.21secs which is just a fraction quicker than he managed in the final British League meeting. Hopefully after a good winter he will return to the sort of form that saw him clock a PB of 3:44.41 two years ago.

New west road relays promise to be a big hit - 21/8/14 

THERE is still time for clubs to enter the new Avon 5k Club Road Relay Championships next Sunday (August 31st) at 11am – and it is not just restricted to county clubs.

The new event has been organised by Stuart Hancock and Kate Britten to replace the now defunct Clevedon relays which were also held at this time of the year.

But the new course will be based from Cleeve Cricket Club, north Somerset and is easily accessible from the M5.The men’s race will comprise 4x5k legs with the women tackling 3x5k. There will be prizes for juniors, seniors and veterans age groups.

Entries should be sent to: Stuart Hancock & Kate Britten (Race Organisers), Cadbury Farm, 29 Cadbury Farm Road, Yatton, BS49 4HW. Captains to collect race numbers on the day.

And new west winter 5k course looks super quick - 21/8/14


THE new Aztec West Fast 5k road course in Bristol looks like it has personal bests written all over it on the evidence of the trial held this week.

Commonwealth Games 1500m runner Richard Peters clocked 14mins 46secs for the circuit for the fastest male time ahead of clubmate Owain Jones (14:51) with Jessie Sanzo easily the fastest woman with  swift 17:18.

It also proved a very useful exercise for the organisers as they seek to smooth out the running of the event which kicks off  on Tuesday 30th September. For further details see the website at:

Deadline to enter Bristol half looming - 21/8/14

A reminder that entries for the 2014 Bristol half marathon close on  Tuesday (August 26th). Anyone still wishing to register for the event, which will be held on Sunday  September 21st, should log onto:


Merson clinches South West 5000m victory  18/8/14

IN his first 5000m of the season Tom Merson won the South West Inter Couties title at the Exeter Arena yesterday.

The Exmouth-based runner,  who has been quiet on the tartan this summer, clocked 14mins 49.89secs to beat Cornishman Dan Nash (15:10.53) and Taunton’s Luke Scott (15:30.42).

It was Merson’s second quickest time at the event behind his 2013 personal best of 14:39.71. For good measure Merson was also third in the 1500m clocking a season’s best of 4:13.06.

The women’s 5000m was won by Plymouth Harriers’ Ami Yetton in 18:34.30.

Cook serves up a tasty result on the Isle of Wight - 18/8/14 

PAUL Cook of South Molton finished sixth in the Isle of Wight half marathon clocking a personal best of 81mins 01secs.

Clubmate Mark Batchelor was ninth and third veteran M40 in 82:24.

Now this is an excellent race to enter! - 18/8/14

ENTRIES are being taken for this year's Ash Excellent Eight Races on Sunday 31st August 2014 (11.00am) from Ash School near Martock, South Somerset.

There will be the usual tough 8 mile multi-terrain course as well as a shortened 4.5 mile race, Junior 3k and Village Fun Run.

Entries will also be taken on the day and for more details/entry forms log onto:      

Why not try a track 10,000m? - 18/8/14

DON’T forget that the Devon County 10,000m Championships on the track will be held at the Exeter Arena on Wednesday September 3rd.

These races are graded so present a perfect opportunity for runners who have never tried the distance before on the track – and it is a lot different to racing on the road – to give the challenge a go.

For further details see the race website at:


Seven Up! Emma is the champion again! - 16/8/14

EMMA Stepto has won the Cornwall Grand Prix senior women’s title - for the seventh successive year!

The British international, who is a member of Cornwall AC, clinched the title with a handsome victory in the St Levan 10k road race last night.

With fellow 40-year-old plus runner Jo Pavey racing to a brilliant success in the European Championships it has been a great week for the west’s ‘golden’ generation!

Loren heads star cast for South West Champs - 16/8/14


BRITISH junior international Loren Bleaken will be among almost 500 athletes competing in the South West Inter Counties Championships at the Exeter Arena tomorrow.

It will be the Team Bath sprinter’s first competition since helping Great Britain win the silver medals in the 4x400m relay at the World Junior Championships in America a couple of weeks ago.

“I will be running the 200m and 400m and it should be a nice way to finish my season,” said Bleaken.

Entries are now closed for the meeting which begins at 10.30am.

“We have had a record entry and hopefully it is going to be a great day,” said meeting organiser Sonya Ellis.

Cheddar Gorge entries still open - 16/8/14

ENTRIES will be taken on the day for the Cheddar Gorge Running Festival tomorrow (SUNDAY) ( and are still open for the White Horse 5k in Gloucester next Tuesday (

BMC Exeter meeting entries warning - 16/8/14

THE final meeting of the South West Regional British Milers Club Series on Tuesday August 26th will be held at the Exeter Arena.

The meeting had been originally scheduled for Braunton but with the Arena now open again after refurbishment the BMC has decided to return to the city which is more accessible for all west athletes.

The closing date for on-line entries – and none will be taken on the evening - is next Friday (August 22nd) and for further details check the website at: Alternatively call meeting organiser John Knowles (tel: 07850 812229).

“This meeting will be an ideal opportunity for athletes to obtain a personal best before the athletic season draws to a close,” said Knowles.

Sign up for the Yeovil Games - 16/8/14 

THE Yeovil Games will be held on Sunday September 14th and will celebrate the re-naming of the track to 'The Bill Whistlecroft Athletics Arena' in tribute to the former club official who was awarded the MBE for his services to the sport. For details of the programme see the website at:

West coach praises 'remarkable' Jo - 16/8/14


BRISTOL & West AC coach Mike Down has praised super mum Jo Pavey as one of the most remarkable athletes with whom he has ever had the privilege of working.

Down coached 40-year-old Pavey, who on Tuesday became the oldest gold medal winner in the history of the European Championships after victory in the 10,000m, for four years in the mid 1990s.

Even then Down could see she had the make-up to become an international athlete and arguably the second most successful distance runner in recent British history after Paula Radcliffe.

“Jo is a remarkable athlete and is what I call a classic 3D runner,” said Down.

“She has discipline, dedication and determination in abundance and was a joy to coach. The determination that she showed when sprinting on the last lap of the 10,000m on Tuesday  is a quality that not many athletes possess.”

Pavey was studying physiotherapy at the University of the West of England but her running was low key at the time and she didn’t really start to pick it up until after returning from an around-the-world trip after graduating.

“When Jo came back from that trip she had clearly decided to give her running a serious go,” added Down.

“I have never forgotten that because it proved to be one of the most remarkable phases of my entire coaching career spanning 50 years. Within six weeks of hard training she progressed so much that it convinced me she had world class ability.

“Of course she had always been talented as she had shown when winning the English Schools’ junior girls’ 5000m title (in 1988) but she was now showing he had the ability to apply herself to achieve anything she wanted.

“She is an amazing athlete.”

Husband Gavin was also working in Bristol at the time and Down said his role shouldn’t be under-estimated. Once Jo decided to pursue at athletics career Gavin gave up his job and his sown athletics ambitions – he was a good standard club 800m runner - to support her and ultimately became her coach, training partner, masseur and manager.

“It is a unique relationship the likes of which I have never seen before and I would say is probably the biggest single factor behind Jo’s durability as an athlete,” added Down.


Ferlie calls on Exeter to mark Jo's European success - 13/8/14 


THERE is a growing groundswell of support for the idea that Exeter star Jo Pavey should be granted a civic reception in honour of her brilliant victory in the 10,000m at the European Championships in Zurich this week.

Ironbridge Runner shop owner and events promoter Peter Ferlie, who lives in the city, first floated the idea on social media within hours of Pavey’s first major championship victory on Tuesday night.

The win has clearly caught the imagination not just of the athletics community, in which Pavey has long been held in high esteem, but also the wider sporting world in recognition of her achievement as a 40-year-old mum of two young children.

“I think Exeter should say well done to superstar Jo Pavey , let's have a civic reception for her,” said Ferlie.

Born and bred in Feniton, near Honiton and a lifelong member of Exeter Harriers, where she met her husband and now coach Gavin, Pavey has joined the ranks of the greatest athletes to have ever been associated with the city.

The Europeans this week marked her 15th major championships – comprising four Olympics, five World Championships, three Europeans and three Commonwealth Games appearances – and was her first ever gold medal on top of a silver and bronze in the Commonwealth Games.

She also became the oldest ever athlete to win gold in the Europeans  and one of the most popular athletes to win a title –26 years after winning her first English Schools’ title as a prodigiously talented 15-year-old.

With the newly refurbished Exeter Arena opening for business with the South West Inter Counties Championships today how about the clubhouse or stand being named in her honour?

As a role model for the city and region’s young athletes there would be no-one better than Jo Pavey.


National press praising Devon's 'Supermum' - 11/8/14

IT has been great to see Jo Pavey getting recognition in the national press this weekend. In both the Sunday Times yesterday and the Times this morning there were nice pieces on Pavey’s success in combining the demands of motherhood with being a successful international athlete.

The headline for Matt Dickinson’s excellent article on pages 56/7 of  today’s Times read: ‘Pavey proud to have delivered mother of all performances’ and spelled out in detail how she has become a Supermum.

Jo might be embarrassed by all the attention but she deserves it and hopefully further success lies ahead when she runs the 10,000m and the 5,000m on Saturday at the European Championships in Zurich.

Harriers slip to relegation - 11/8/14

DISAPPOINTMENT for Exeter Harriers’ men as their relegation from the British Men’s League Division Three was confirmed on Saturday.

The Harriers finished last in the final match at Abingdon leaving them second from bottom to join Reading in Division Four next season.

Overall standings (after four matches): 1 Crawley AC 31 league points (1451 match points); 2 Nene Valley Harriers 25 (1249.5); 3 Bedford 24 (1277); 4 23 (1270); 5 Trafford AC 13 (953.5); 6 Mansfield 11 (95.5); 7 Exet