Kevin's Column

Contact Kevin -

Follow Kevin's Podcast

100% Sports Clinic



Olympian Chris Maddocks Interview | Listen via Endurance Talk website

Merson keeps hold of his Devon cross country title - 7/12/14

TOM Merson won the senior men’s title at the Devon Cross Country Championships at the Exeter Arena this afternoon.

The championships were incorporated into the third Brooks Westward League match and Merson extended his unbeaten start to the series with his third straight win.

Plymouth-based Derby AC runner Jon Gilby was the only ma to push Merson, briefly taking the lead on the third lap, but he had no answer when the Exmouth Harrier moved up a gear to clinch a decisive victory.

Gilby held onto a safe second with Ashley Chambers of Cornwall AC third, then an impressive run by Ronnie Richmond of Bideford in fourth with Exeter Harriers’ Jake Wadron fifth.

Early leader John Scott of Newquay Road Runners gave another gutsy performance to finish sixth and easily top veteran runner.

And Ami notches up fifth win in six years - 7/12/14

AMI Yetton raced to her fifth Devon senior women’s title in six years which is clearly an outstanding achievement for the Plymouth Harrier.

Yet the story of the race, which saw the senior and under 17 women run alongside the under 17 men, was that two teenagers finished ahead of her.

The City of Plymouth pair of Poppy Tank and Victoria Weir finished 46 and 14 seconds clear of Yetton respectively and while that might not please Yetton it is a great sign for the future.

Torrington’s Hannah Blair was runner-up in the senior category with England Masters international Cathy Newman of Exmouth third.


Get set to vote for Jo is SPOTY awards night - 3/12/14 

MEMO to all west athletics fans – get voting for Jo Pavey!

The four-times Olympian and Exeter Harrier has been nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award with the ceremony to be held on Sunday 14 December in Glasgow.

After a fantastic summer which delivered European 10,000m gold and Commonwealth Games 5000m bronze, the nomination for the accolade is yet another fitting tribute to the 41 year old mother of two.

Pavey became the oldest ever winner of the European Championship 10,000m her first senior European gold medal at the age of 40 years old. It was achievement that captured the hearts of the nation and fittingly saw her featured in the national media as an inspiration role model for all mums.

Jo is already a legend in the west, especially in Devon, so hopefully will receive plenty of support when the judging takes place.

You will get a chance to vote for Jo on the night of the awards ceremony by phone or online – information on how to register to vote online at:

Heathly Squibb is back on track again - 3/12/14

KEVIN Squibb bounced back to form with an excellent second place in the Bicton Blister multi terrain race and is optimistic he will end the year on a high.

The 41-year-old Tiverton Harrier, who lives in the village of  Templeton, suffered a blip in the Castle Drogo last month running well below his recent top form which has seen him top the Devon Masters Rankings in the half marathon.

“I had a really poor run at Drogo but I was struggling with a virus that seemed to knock me back for quite a few weeks,” said Squibb.

“It was really horrible and I hated it but I guess it was another experience.

“I nearly didn’t bother with the Blister as I wasn’t sure whether I was feeling quite right but I thought give it a go and I think the result shows I am now over the worst and getting back to it.

“I also finished strongly which was a good sign and I loved the new course. It was testing but a lot of fun.”

Squibb reckoned he was closing the gap on winner Ceri Rees of Totnes in the final mile but by then Rees was untouchable having worked hard in the early stages to open a winning lead.

Rees crossed the line in 59mins 27secs with Squibb almost two minutes behind.

But scroll back a year and Squibb was ‘only’ 12th in the same race which was marked just his third following his return to the sport after a long absence so his performance on Sunday is a really good measure of his progress and explains why he has emerged as one of the most exciting newcomers in 2014.

There was a terrific win in the women’s race for Elizabeth Dyson of Haldon Trail Runners as she also finished well clear of the field with Emma Sharples of SWRR runner-up. There were 442 finishers.


Rees shows blistering form over Bicton Common - 30/11/14

CERI Rees claimed his first ever Bicton Blister title with a runway win today.

The Totnes-based multi terrain specialist had previously counted second place three years as his best performance but he is a far more accomplished performer now and was in a class of his own over the new-look course,

Tiverton Harriers’ Kevin Squibb worked had to clinch second spot from Torbay’s Arran Tocknell only shaking off his rival in the closing mile.

There was a terrific win in the women’s race for Elizabeth Dyson of Haldon Trail Runners as she also finished well clear of the field with Emma Sharples of SWRR runner-up. There were 442 finishers.

Bicton Blister 10.5 miles multi terrain – men: 1 Ceri Rees (Wild Running, M40) 59:27; 2 Kevin Squibb (Tiv, M40) 61:23; 3 Arran Tocknell (Torbay) 61:46.

Women: 1 Elizabeth Dyson (Haldon TR) 70:35; 2 Emma Sharples (SWRR) 71:55; 3 Mary Menon 73:24.

442 finishers

Battershill is top Devon runner in Liverpool - 30/11/14

WILLIAM Battershill delivered the best performance by a Devon runner at the British Cross Challenge, in Liverpool.

The Erme Valley Harrier teenager, who had such a brilliant summer in the steeplechase, finished a fine fifth in the under 17 men’s race.

Battershill was the only top ten finishers from Devon and Cornwall though Newquay & Par’s Finn Birnie came close finishing 12th in the under 15 boys’ event with Exeter Harriers’ Finlay Mclear just behind.

British Cross Challenge, Liverpool, incorporating European Championship trials - senior men:  23 David Bishop (B&W) 30:20; 27 Owain Jones (B&W) 30:24; 72 Dan Studley (B&W) 31:34; 74 Ben Westhenry (B&W) 31:37; 82 Dan Nash (ECH) 31:52; 133 Richard De-Camps (Glos) 33:09;

Under 20 men:  11 Oliver Fox (Wels) 21:02; 37 Nyle Clinton (Swin) 21:39; 42 Harry Bishop (Sev) 21:43; 56 Thomas George (Glos) 22:02; 70 Rowan Preece (Taun) 22:19; 95 Hobie Martin (B&W) 23:15.

Under 17 men: 5 William Battershill (EVH) 17:39; 6 Tom Mortimer (Stroud) 17:45; 11 Sam Sommerville (Wells) 17:55; 64 Joe Gentry (NSAC) 19:09;  71 Owen Parkin (EVH) 19:18.

Under 15 boys:  12 Finn Birnie (NRR) 9:59; 14 Finlay McLear (Ex) 10:00; 17 Themis Bower (TBAC) 10:05; 40 Hayden Bailey (TBAC) 10:24.

Under 13 boys: 7 Sam Gentry (NSAC) 10:46; 29 Lee Dart (Tiv) 11:30; 73 Nichols Bower (TBAC) 13:18.


Senior women:  22 Jasmine Finney (B&W) 28:40; 30 Jessie Sanzo (B&W) 29:04; 34 Imogen Ainsworth (N&W) 29:20; 64 Rachel Langbein (Taun) 30:43; 73 Floren Scrafton (WH) 31:28.

U20/17 women:  15 Iobel Glaisher (Wells) 15:32; 24 Yoyo Barnsley (CAC) 15:55; 36 Zoe Wassell (Stroud) 16:10; 50 Emily Smith (Wells) 16:20; 79 Holly Brown (Taun) 17:00; 118 Kirsty Stanley (TBAC) 18:33.

Under 15 girls: 8 Alice Davies (NSAC) 11:13; 27 Jade Littechild (TBAC) 11:42; 40 Grace Knapp (Stroud) 11:51; 65 Ellie Mortimer (Stroud) 12:48.

Under 11 girls: 10 Charlotte Sidwell (NSAC) 8:08.



Masters success surprised me, admits Cathy - 28/11/14

CATHY Newman had admitted she was taken aback by her success on her debut at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country Championships.

The 52-year-old Exmouth Harrier from Lympstone marked her first appearance in the annual event with a bronze medal in the W50-54 age group and a gold in the team event with her England team-mates.

“I was very pleased with that and it was a lot better than I expected,” said Newman.

“I had never raced the event before largely because I was not that aware of it but on this occasion I was selected to take part and I really enjoyed it.

“Hopefully I will do the event again as there was a great camaraderie amongst the runners and it was nice to compete against women in my own age group.”

The next race for Newman will be the Devon Championships at the Exeter Arena next Sunday December 7th (incorporated into the third Brooks Westward League fixture).

“My target there will be to try and qualify in the open women’s category for the Devon team (for the South West Championships),” said Newman.

Why Dan is the main man in Cornwall! - 28/11/14


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.

2015 steeplechase seminar date confirmed for Devon - 28/11/14 


A 2015 DATE for the diary for all steeplechase runners in the west country.

In conjunction with England Athletics former British No 1 Spencer Duval – who ran 8mins 24secs at his peak - will be hosting a steeplechase workshop on Sunday  March 29th (10.30-12.30) at North Devon AC.

For further details click on the following link:

Alternatively call Area Coach Mentor Mark Brace on 07540 703511.

Tri-Coumty Champs deadline is looming - 28/11/14


THE entry deadline for the Tri-County Championships event to be held on Sunday December 14th at Bath University is looming large,

Runners from Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire have until December 8th (paper entry) or December 11th (on-line) to register for the event which this year is being held separate from the Gwent League with the Wiltshire AA as lead organisers. There will be no entries on the day.

For further details see the website at:

Holly relishing rest after mountain ordeal - 28/11/14 

TEAM Bath ultra specialist Holly Rush finished second woman in the Manaslu Trail 200k mountain race in Nepal last week.

Rush completed the challenge in 20 hours 52 minutes 48 seconds with victory going to Mira Rai of Nepal (20:03.57).

Holly explained that the race, which was held over seven stages of varying lengths and difficulty, attracted 34 participants from nine counties.

Husband Martin Rush expanded his normal support duties to run as well – ad apparently survived the ordeal.

Kate smashes Aztec 5k course record - 28/11/14


KATE Hulls smashed the course record in the third Aztec West Fast 5k road race on Tuesday.

Hulls (ne Goodhead), who was returning to action after a period of intensive training, clocked 16mins 56secs which takes her to 18th equal fastest in the UK on the Run Britain Rankings for 2014.

Cathy puts her best feet forward! - 26/11/14 

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 ( 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