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Dan is definitely the man in Cornwall! - 25/11/14
DAN Rodgers is currently enjoying a rich vein of form.
A week after the Launceston Road Runner smashed his PB in the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k he retained his Falmouth Mob Match 5 miles title.
Rodgers, who lives on Bodmin Moor, not only retained his title but improved his own course record, clocking 26mins 03secs, running fifteen seconds faster than last year.
Add in the Cornwall cross country title two weeks ago and it has been amazing month so far for the much-improved runner.
Fleet-footed Cathy strikes team gold for England - 24/11/14
WEARING her new spikes – courtesy of Ironbridge Runner of course ! – Cathy Newman produced a superb run at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country Championships.
The 52-year-old Exmouth Harrier finished third in the W50 age group behind the World Masters champions Clare Elms and Fiona Matheson of Scotland.
“It definitely exceeded her expectations,” said husband Pete Newman.
Newman was also in the winning England team.
In the W55 age group Honiton-based Jill Harrison was fourth.
Drage leads West medal charge in Masters showdown - 24/11/14
TAVISTOCK’S Richard Drage finished seventh in the M55 age group race at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country Championships.
But Drage came away from Nottingham with a gold medal as he was third and final scorer for the winning England team.
Taunton AC’s Phil Burden also won team gold for England in the M35-39 race. Burden finished eighth overall and was third scorer in the squad.
There was also team gold and an individual bronze for Newquay & Par’s John Scott in the M45-49 age category.
Karla cashes in on football bet - 21/11/14
HERE is a great story about a west athlete that made the news pages this week. Former Exeter Harrier multi eventer Karla Drew, who is a student at Sheffield Hallam University, has just won a £50,000 windfall from placing a £5 bet on the outcome of 10 international fixtures on Tuesday night.
Drew, who trains with Olympic champion Jessica Hill-Ennis, had gone to bed nervous knowing that eight of her 10 selections had all come in. But she woke up to find that a life-changing sum of money, £50,054 was hers after Panama held on for a draw against Canada.
“This is a life-changing win for me,” said Drew. “Being an MSC student, I’m not entitled to any Student Loan. I want to continue my studies and do a PhD in Sports Psychology and this will enable me to realise my dream.”
BetVictor’s Director of Public Relations, Charlie McCann said: "Karla acknowledged on Twitter that she faced a sleepless night on Tuesday knowing that eight of her ten selections were winners but she need not have worried.
"Few football fans will remember the goalless draw between Panama and Canada with quite the same affection as one lucky Sheffield student and it is a fantastic story that her win will enable her to continue her postgraduate studies and long term objective of becoming a sports psychologist."
Should also ensure she never goes short of shoes ad it too!
Jo is third in national sportswoman awards - 21/11/14
CONGRATULATIONS to Exeter Harriers’ Jo Pavey for finishing third in the Sunday Times/Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year awards for 2014.
Victory went to Olympic dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin. The 29-year-old won gold in the individual and team events at London 2012 on-board Dutch gelding Valegro. She also collected freestyle and special titles at world and European level and won at the dressage World Cup finals in Lyon in April
Sochi Winter Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold was named runner-up ahead of 41-year-old European 10,000m champion Pavey.
Drage leads Devon assault in Masters' showdown - 21/11/14
FOUR Devon runners have been named in the England squad for the British & Irish Masters Cross Country Championships in Nottingham tomorrow.
Tavistock’s Richard Drage (M55), Bideford’s John Shapland (M60), Cathy Newman of Exmouth Harriers (W50) and Honiton-based Jill Harrison (W55) will all be in action at Wollaton Park.
Yes, Emma really is the champion! - 21/11/14
THE confusion over the women’s results at the England Athletics 10k Championships held in Leeds on Sunday has been rectified.
The EA website yesterday stated that Steph Twell had been awarded gold which will have surprised Cornwall AC’s Emma Stepto on her holiday in Egypt as she had already been handed the gold medal after the race.
But the website has now been updated and Stepto has been restored to full glory in top spot as Twell was running for Scotland.
Fancy a super fast 5k on the road? - 21/11/14
THE third of the Winter Series of Aztec West Fast 5K races (www.bristolandwestac.org) takes place next Tuesday (November 25th) with registration on the night from 6.30pm in the Goodman Buildings, Aztec West Centre, BS32 4TD. The race starts at 7.30pm.
Rodgers' goes the exra mile to smash PB - 20/11/14
ONE has to admire all levels of dedication in this sport, whether it is out super 40-year-old pus west ladies Jo Pavey and Emma Stepto searching for athletics excellence or the occasional Park Runners compete for fitness and better health.
But occasionally a story leaps out that really catches your attention – like Launceston Road Runners’ Dan Rodgers.
Rodgers, who lives on Bodmin Moor, worked until 3pm on Saturday and then made the six-hour drive up to Yorkshire for the race on Sunday.
“I had a nice walkabout and got my bearings, then kipped in the van!” said Rodgers.
The van couldn’t have been too uncomfortable as Rodgers smashed his PB by 53seconds with a time of 31mins 17secs.It means the Launceston Road Runner has improved his 10k time by two minutes over the past year which is a remarkable achievement.
“The journey was worth it,” added Rodgers.
The time puts 31-year-old Rodgers 11th in the 2014 South West Rankings and second quickest in Cornwall after 20-year-old Dan Nash (30:23 also in Leeds).
So is Emma the England 10k champion - or not? 20/11/14
NOT quite sure what is going on at England Athletics over the individual medals for their 10k Championships held in Leeds on Sunday.
Cornwall AC’s Emma Stepto was awarded gold on the day because despite finishing fourth overall he three women ahead of her were all representing Scotland.
Well, at least that was what she was told on the day – and she has the medal to prove it.
But now he England Athletics website states that Steph Twell is the England Athletics champion. Okay Twell lives in England runs for Aldershot, Farnham & District A but didn’t she run for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games?
So what is going on?
West runners can choose from six road marathons in 2015 - 20/11/14
THE launch of the new Yeovil event brings to six the number of road marathons scheduled for 2015 in the west country.
The summer race will be the second marathon to be staged in Somerset with the long-standing Taunton event in early April.
Until this year Cornwall also boasted two marathons but the Duchy event in March wasn’t held after the organisers decided to take a break and no-one could be found to take on their duties. That leaves just the Cornish Marathon, which was held last weekend.
Devon now has two marathons with the new Barnstaple event in September joining the Dartmoor Vale race in October while I also hear rumours that a new event could be launched in or around Exeter in the near future. Watch this space for further details when they are confirmed.
Sadly there are no road marathons in the Avon area or in Gloucestershire following the cancellation of the Gloucester marathon in January. Dorset offers just the North Dorset Village race in May.
Of course if you go off-road there is a wide selection with endurancelife offering some super events along the west coastline and Relish Running organizing trail marathons around Bath (July) and Cheddar Gorge (August).
Entries are trickling in for new Yeovil marathon -20/11/14
BY the way the organisers of the new Yeovil marathon next year report 37 entries in the opening week – and there is still six months to go!
For entry details of this new race which is being held over a rural two-lap course, check out: www.yeovilmarathon.com
Hail Emma - Queen of Cornwall running! - 17/11/14
EMMA Stepto uncorked yet another stupendous performance to smash her personal best in the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k road race yesterday.
The Cornwall AC runner clocked a sparkling 33mins 02secs to slash 21 seconds off her previous best set last year in the very same race.
It gave Stepto fourth place overall and subject to confirmation wrapped up overall victory in the Run Britain Grand Prix, a remarkable success for the 44-year-old.
The race proved a happy hunting ground for the west runners who made the long trip north.
In the men’s race in-form Tom Merson shaved four seconds off his PB – remarkable as it was his fifth race in two weeks - with 30:24.
Improving Dan Nash was the top Cornwall runner in 30:20 clipping 10 seconds off his previous best set just two months ago in Cardiff – which in turn was his first time ever under 31 minutes.
Bideford’s Shaun Antell ran his fastest time of the year with 31:29 but that was 13 seconds slower than last year and his 2012 best of 31:00 still stands alone.
Leeds Abbey Dash 10k – women: 1 Steph Twell (AFD) 32:30; 2 Eilish McColgan (Dudee) 33:04; 3 Rhona Auckland (Banchory) 33:05; 4 Emma Stepto (CAC, W40) 33:11 (PB).
WEST: 12 Jenny Jagger (B&W) 34:35 (PB); Imogen Ainsworth (B&W) 35:40;
Men: 1 Andrew Butchart (Central) 29:18; 2 Callum Hawkins (Kilbarchan) 29:23; 3 Phil Hurst (Elswick) 29:25.
17 Steve Mitchell (B&W) 29:59 (SB); 18 Graham Rush (Chelt) 30:02 (PB); 28 Owain Jones (B&W) 30:13 (PB); 33 Tom Merson (B&W) 30:24 (PB); 35 Dan Nash (ECH) 30:22 (PB); 50 Dave Roper (Chelt) 30:59; 54 Will Christofi (B&W) 30:59 (PB); 61 Oli Mott (B&W) 31:15 (SB); 72 Shaun Antell (Bide) 31:26; 78 Matt Whitfield (B&W) 31:35 (SB).
Race machine Merson takes a 'breather'! - 14/11/14
TOM Merson is having a ‘break’ this weekend – he is only racing once!
The Exmouth-based runner has never been shy of putting himself on the line but even he went the extra mile recently when he tackled four races in nine days.
Merson crammed in the English Cross Country Relays in Mansfield (Saturday Nov 1st), the Plymouth 10k (Sunday 2nd, 1st), the Home Countries International Trail Challenge North Wales (Saturday 8th, 2nd) and the Brooks Westward Cross Country League, Newquay (Sunday 9th, 1st).
So this weekend he is settling for ‘just’ the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k, though as this race is one of the best quality 10ks in the country it is certainly not an easy option. It will be interesting to see what Merson has left in his legs.
Jasmine is finding her feet in Bristol - 14/11/14
JASMINE Finney could be one of the athletes to watch in the west country this winter.
Since moving to Bristol to study at UWE and linking up with coach Keith Brackstone at Bristol & West AC the ex-Bude Rats runner has been making big progress.
Last weekend she finished runner-up in the second Gwent League fixture which means the 22-year-old is now the overall leader of the senor women’s category.
In addition Finney also came third in the Gemma Butler Bowl race in Ashton Court and it will be interesting to see how she fares when the championships come around in the new year.
Emma is delighted with England call-up - 14/11/14
EMMA Stepto’s storming finish to the 2014 season has been recognised by selection to represent England at the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k road race on Sunday.
It will be the 44-year-old Cornwall AC runner’s second appearance in England vest after making her debut two years ago in the Toronto Marathon and is reward for victory in the British Half Marathon Championships and subsequent personal best of 2hrs 32mins 40secs in the Frankfurt Marathon.
“I was so surprised to be picked for the 10k but obviously delighted as it means an awful lot to me,” said Stepto, who lives in Treskillard, near Camborne.
New Yeovil marathon is launched for 2015 - 12/11/14
MISSED out on the London Marathon again and scratching around for a target next year?
Then why not try the newest marathon in the west country which is being organised by Yeovil Town Road Runners with the first ever Yeovil marathon.
The event will be stage on Sunday June 14th and while officially called the Yeovil Marathon it won’t actually go into the town as it will start and finish at RNAS Yeovilton and then take in the Somerset villages of Podimore, Limington, Ashington, Mudford and Chilton Cantelo.
The military connection is further strengthened with the announcement that the race will benefit two charities – the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and the Yeovilton Military Wives Choir.
Entries will be limited to 500 - costing £30 for club runners and £32 unattached - and are now being taken with further details at: www.yeovilmarathon.com
Norman os making progress on the comeback trail - 12/11/14
IT is great to see former English Schools’ champion Phil Norman continue his comeback with 15th place from 390 runners in the senior men’s race in the second Gwent League fixture at Cardiff on Sunday
This winter the 25-year-old North Devon AC runner has won two Giddon & Squire North Devon League races and finished sixth in the Mike Sully event in Bristol.
He wasn’t the only Devon runner to impress in Cardiff with seven top 20 finishes in very strong fields.
The fast improving Callum Choules was eighth in the under 15 boys and Summer Whitely was 17th in the under 20 women’s age group.
Merson just keeps on winning - 9/11/14
TOM Merson made it two wins out of two as he continued his unbeaten start to the Brooks Westward Cross Country League.
Merson headed down to Newquay with his Exmouth Harriers team-mates and in a repeat of the opening fixture enjoyed a great battle with Cornwall AC’s Dan Rodgers over the four lap course.
The pair broke clear on the first of the three big laps and remained shoulder to shoulder until Merson kicked hard on the final lap for victory.
Now Emma is Cornwall champion on the country - 9/11/14
JUST two weeks after smashing her personal best in the Frankfurt marathon Emma Stepto made a rare appearance on the country – and claimed victory in the Brooks Westward Cross Country League.
Stepto made the short trip to Newquay for the event which also incorporated the Cornwall County Championships so it was a double success for the popular Cornwall AC runner.
First Chance 10k is a sell-out - 9/11/14
ALL 500 on-line entries for the always popular First Chance 10k road race in Exeter on Sunday January 18th have now been taken.
The race is organised by South West Road Runners and if you are still looking to run one of their events don’t despair as entries are still being taken for the Castle Drogo 10 miles multi terrain race next Sunday (www.swrr.co.uk).
Fancy a fast 5k on Wednesday? - 9/11/14
THERE is a good choice of 5k road races on Wednesday with the Armada Network race in Plymouth’s Central Park (7pm) and the Street 5k in Somerset (7.30pm). For details log onto: www.armadaathletics.co.uk or www.wellscityharriers.org.uk.
Funding decision is no surprise to Jo - 5/11/14
JO Pavey’s omission from the list of elite athletes to receive funding for 2015 came as no surprise – least of all to her.
“Obviously I'm disappointed not to get funding but I'm not surprised,” said Pavey. “I've been in this situation before.”
The Exeter Harrier Olympia has received little direct help from British Athletics for some time and has been happy to go her own way without the authorities dictating her schedule as they could do if they held the purse strings.
Fortunately she and husband/manager Gavin had been able to secure sponsorship and financial help from other sources, most notably her kit and shoe supplier Nike.
That is the reality of where Pavey stands so the decision to keep her off funding is not likely to impact on her hopes of qualifying to represent Britain in her fifth Olympic Games in Rio in two years’ time by which time she will be 44.
Mind you, it should be said that if even a quarter of those – younger – athletes achieve anything close to what Pavey has done in her career then they will have done brilliantly.
And just a thought: Do we put too much onus on the qualities of youth and potential when deciding issues like funding?
Bideford's fabulous baker boy wins again! - 5/11/14
BARNSTAPLE baker Shaun Antell easily retained his Bideford 10 miles road title on Sunday.
Antell clocked 55mins 15secs – well down on the mark of 53:29 he ran last year – to finish more than three minutes clear of the 265-strong field.
Victory means Antell now holds both the Bideford 10 and half marathon titles.
Duncan Woolmer, of Walton AC, was second in 58:23 with Cornwall AC’s Steven Wherry third (59:00).
Alison Thorn, of Erme Valley Harriers, was the first woman home in 65:27 over a minute clear of defending champion Serane Stone, of Tiverton Harriers (66:31).
North Devon AONB marathon winner Mary Menon was third in 67:30.
Merson scorches to Plymouth 10k victory - 2/11/14
EXMOUTH-based star Tom Merson raced home to victory at the Plymouth 10k road race this morning.
Merson claimed a solid victory in a time of 31mins 35secs, 19 seconds clear of Josh Trigwell from Exeter Harriers. Third place went to last year’s winners Johnny Gilby (32:04), who lives in Plymouth.
Top woman was Jane Khan in 37:56 with Ami Yetton finishing second in 38:59 and Cleo Andrews taking third in 39:35.
The race attracted 2,009 runners making it the largest 10k in Devon and Cornwall.