All posts by Steve Parsons

Victory in Bridgewater Half for James

North Somerset AC’s James Rodgers won the Bridgewater Half Marathon for the first time on Sunday after his recent return from injury. He was over the moon with his performance, particularly after only a few weeks back at training. A winning time of 01:11:55 saw him finish 2 minutes clear of the 2nd placed athlete. James remarked “The undulating course was a good test and the event itself we’ll supported considering it rained pretty much all the race, but I just loved being back out there despite the conditions”. 

James is now hoping he can take this form into the 10K road races that he favors in an effort and reduce his PB. 


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With exactly one month to go I am increasing my fundraising efforts in an attempt to raise the £1,500 that I pledged to charity. I would therefore be extremely grateful to accept any support you can offer, whether corporate or personal.

The Charity and donation page if you would like to sponsor me is:

I will also have sponsor forms with me at all coaching sessions, if you would prefer to donate this way. So please just ask me, and I will be happy to hand one over!

I am riding with a team of 36 from London to Paris, covering a distance of over 500km/300 miles with 4 days to complete the task. We have targeted a minimum amount to be raised of £50,000 for our selected charities, and we are currently standing at £43,000.

For those who do not know me…I was/am (depending on injury!) an International Sprinter, both as a senior athlete for Wales, and as a Master (35+) for Great Britain. I have won plenty of medals etc at this level, and in 2004 I decided to set up our own Athletic Club (North Somerset Athletic Club) that now boasts a membership of around 400. A year later I created North Somerset Athletics Academy (210 athletes) and have been Head Coach of both ever since.

My training, since 1993, has been based on improving my explosive ability (weights, sprints, plyos etc), so this bike ride has been a massive personal challenge due to it being ‘the exact opposite’ of the training I’ve been used to the last 24 years! I purchased a road bike for the first time since I was 14, and after my initial struggle I have managed to ‘be-friend’ it and hit some decent mileage in the last few weeks (over 100 miles a couple of weekends ago). Trying to squeeze training into a manic work schedule has been among the most difficult areas for me (6am starts some days), with the summer being ‘key athletic season’. The ride remains a massive challenge, and will test my mental and physical ability. Day One of the ride will be on my birthday… What a way to spend your big day!

So please sponsor me if you can! If you have already, then many thanks for your support, it’s very much appreciated…


Chris Millard

Sam Selected for South West Team


U15 Sam Gentry has been rewarded for his successes this winter with selection to compete for the South West region at the London Mini Marathon later this month. All the top junior endurance athletes throughout the UK will be competing against each other in this high profile annual prelude race to the London Marathon.

Sam has had a remarkable winter season in the Country, culminating in a fantastic 22nd place in the English Schools Cross Country Championships Inter Boys race a couple weeks ago. Competing as a bottom age athlete at this event, he’ll have another crack in the same age group next year and who knows where he’ll finish!

A week prior to wrapping up the Individual U15 Boys title in the Gwent Cross Country League, Sam also appeared (along with many others representing the club) at England’s premier Club National Championship event in Nottingham. Finishing just 2 seconds shy of the 3rd placed athlete and a podium finish, his superb 5th place was a sure sign that Sam is a top athlete to be reckoned with in the Country discipline.

We all wish him well for London, and look forward with relish to watching Sam repeat his winter feats on the track this summer!

Top 10 for James at Cardiff 10K

James Rodgers finished as top local runner at the Cardiff 10K on Sunday with a superb 6th place. James fell short of his PB by just 6 seconds in a  time of 31mins 22secs.

Training is going well for road specialist James and he’ll no doubt be looking forward to the Bristol 10K early next month. The club should have a fair few men running the race this year and it’ll be interesting to see how we fare in the team event.


Gwent Feb 17th U15 Girls Team

Newport Mud Provides Strong Test

Conditions were challenging at the penultimate fixture of the Gwent Cross Country League in Newport last Sunday with many athletes find the going tough.

Not so for Sam Gentry though, as once again he was the star of the show, but he didn’t have things all his own way with his main rival in close pursuit throughout. However Sam had the measure of the Westbury athlete in a sprint finish for the second race in a row and pulled away with ease to take the honours once again. The final race in two weeks’ time should be a cracker with Sam requiring another race victory to take the Gwent title.

Sam’s older brother Joe could make it a family double at the final fixture after finishing 1st U20 past the post in Newport. He now trails the current leader by two points and will hoping for a repeat performance at Pembrey Park.

Callum Smith had a great run to finish 4th U17 and has strengthened his silver medal position going into the final fixture. Conditions were not well suited for big Jaylan Bacon in the same race, but he battled well through the soft ground for his 14th place.

With Alan Baker, James Rodgers and Cameron Coetzee all unavailable the senior men were always likely to lose their top place in Division 3. However, the teams lead cross country runner Josh Davis chose the right time to have his best race of the season with a fine 5th place finish. With numbers depleted talented U20 David Warnes stepped in to help the senior men with vital points for a fantastic 49th place from the 317 field.

Thanks to valuable contributions from Jonathan Flower 157th, Steve Hollier 205th and Andy Devereux 260th the senior men remain on target for a top two finish and a 2nd successive promotion.

Megan Mcrum has improved her position in every fixture this season and her 12th place moved her into the top ten athletes in her U15 category. Ruth Day continued her return to fitness with a fine 21st place with Ellie Maule and Maisie Squire completing the team scores in 40th and 41st respectively.

Stephanie Brookes continues to improve and she led the U13 girls team with her highest place finish of the season in 19th place. Ella Johnson in 32nd, Connie Ballantine 34th, Holly Avery 39th and Alysha Forsbrook 42nd all supported the team well.

Louie Brunsdon led the U13 boys in 27th with Cameron Baker-Perry 31st and Will Maine 33rd completing the team scores.

The novice races displayed plenty of promise from the clubs younger athletes with Kiera Devereux once again leading the girls team in in 15th from the 69 strong field. Poppy Adams continues to improve with another good run in 21st whilst the Amelia James and Emma O’Connor both ran well to finish 32nd and 38th respectively.

Louis Raymond ran strongly to lead his team with a fine 24th place pipping team mate Sam Hollaway in 25th place by just a second. The team worked really well together in this race with Bodie Raymond 30th and Elliot Jeston 31st locked together just 5 seconds behind Louis and Sam in a big field of 107 runners.

As the cross country season enters it’s climax the National Cross Country Championships at Nottingham is next up with a coach full of young athletes making the trip next weekend.


Congratulations to 13 of our athletes who have gained selection to Avon Schools Cross Country teams that will be travelling the Cornwall for the South West Schools XC Championships this weekend.

Sam Gentry continued his fine form with an outstanding victory in the Inter boys race  at the Avon Schools Champs, and will be confident of making an impact at Truro, despite being a lower age group athlete.  Team mates Callum Smith was 3rd with Jack Wilkinson, Will Fuller and Jaylan Bacon all finishing in the top 10 places to also qualify.

Daisy Manners-Lolley, Millie Rosenior and Abi Taylor all qualified for the Minor Girls team with top 10 positions in the Bristol qualifiers, whilst Megan McCrum finished 5th in the Inter Girls race qualifying as the sole club athlete in this age group.

David Warnes and Joe Gentry take their places after 3rd and 4th place finishes respectively in the senior boys race, whilst senior girl Alys Withers ran very well to qualify in 9th place.

Ollie Lock was the sole junior boy to make the top 10 after running solidly to also qualify in 5th place.

Good luck to you all on Saturday!

Victory At Last As Ellie Shines In Belfast

Ellie Wallace At Antrim 2

Ellie  Wallace had arguably the best win of her young career as she stormed to victory at last weekends British Athletics Cross Challenge fixture in Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Wallace won the high profile junior women’s race finishing six seconds clear of Birtley junior international Sophie Burnett with Stockport’s Katy Whiteoak a further 10 seconds adrift in third. Both athletes representing the North of England squad.

This victory followed her convincing race win in the Tri-Counties Championships at Bath University just before Christmas, and represents a terrific result for the Steve Hollier coached North Somerset based athlete.

Coach Julian Emery said ‘Ellie has worked extremely hard over the last 12 months and it came as no surprise that she finally secured her first victory at this level after  near misses in previous years’.  ‘We have worked tirelessly with Ellie in training, and she’s been looking very strong for the last few months now’ continued Emery.

With the finale of the cross country season now approaching, Ellie will surely look forward with relish to the big races coming her way.

GB Selection For Ada’ora


After her silver medal performance at the English Champs, Ada’ora Chigbo has been selected to represent Great Britain at Under-20 level in an International Event in Prague, Czech Republic. She has competed in Samoa, Colombia and Gerogia at High Jump, but this is the first time at Combined Events. We will be supporting her throughout the event, and once we have event info will distribute to all. Ada’ora has been with North Somerset since the age of nine, and has represented us fantastically for around 9 years now.

Standard High At SW XC Champs

For those that traveled to the South West XC Championships at Exeter racecourse last weekend the competition was tough! The switch from the events traditional home of Bicton College resulted in a big increase in the entries, and at the same time raising the standard to a level not seen for a few years.

As a result successes were few and far between with only Sam Gentry and Josh Davis managing to stay with the front-runners in their respective races. Sam was not quite at his best and had to settle for 5th place in the U15 boys race where Jack Wilkinson finished a minute behind Sam in 23rd. Ollie Lock, Jacob Faulkner and Will Cheek completed the teams scores in 42nd, 46th & 51st place respectively.  The team finished 4th in the club competition, but Sam and Jack were among the first 4 Avon athletes that claimed the County Team Bronze medal.

Josh’s 11th place is a sure sign of his return to full fitness as he finished 3rd of the 6 scoring Avon athletes that formed the County Gold medal winning team. In the same senior mens race, 1st year U20’s David Warnes and Joe Gentry both ran solidly over the longer distance to finish 42nd and 55th from the 129 finishers.

Callum Smith ran strongly in the U17 boys race and should be very pleased with his 12th place finish as a bottom age athlete in a very strong field of 44 runners.

The U11 girls were well represented with Keira Devereux leading the group in 16th place, very closely followed by Poppy Adams, young Rosa Ford and Emma O’connor who were all well packed together in 17th, 18th & 22nd respectively. Elliot Jeston was the sole U11 boy and as a bottom age group athlete at this level he should be well pleased with his 36th place from the 50 finishers.

Louie Brunsdon and Guy Owen enjoyed the experience of running together at this level for the first time as lower age athletes. They finished 50th and 51st respectively from the field of 66 athletes with Guy forming part of the Gold medal winning Somerset Team.

Ruby Owen, Stephanie Brooks and Ella Johnston finished 49th, 54th & 56th respectively from a 70 strong field, whilst in the same race ex club athletes Grace Ashurst and Alice Bridger-Morales both ran well finishing 14th and 17th respectively with only 4 seconds between them.

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Josh Davis                                             Steph Brooks & Ella Johnston

Medals A Plenty For North Somerset Athletes At Tri-XC Champs 

There were plenty of County medallist’s from North Somerset at the combined Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire County Cross Country Championships held at Bath University last weekend

Sam Gentry and Matt Howard took the U15 boys race by the scruff of the neck and ran away from the field with Sam taking the tape in his now customary sprint finish. The one two gave them each a county gold medal – Avon for Sam and Somerset for Matt. Jack Wilkinson also had a cracking run with a fine 4th place and with it an Avon silver medal.

In a very strong field of 37 runners Kes Pitchers 21st, Jacob Faulkner 23rd and Will Cheek in 24th place were separated by just 11 seconds to complete their teams score.

Bottom age group Ruth Day continues to improve with every race and her 10th place finish in the U15 girl’s race was just 6 seconds off a county medal.

Keira Devereux had another strong run in the U11 race and her 4th place finish was enough to secure an Avon silver medal whilst Poppy Adams continues to improve and will be pleased with her 13th place. In the boys race Herbie Cooksley in only his 2nd race secured a Somerset bronze medal with his 13th place finish, whilst Elliot Jeston finished just behind Herbie in 17th place.

Alice Bridger-Morales had a fine run to finish 4th in a very strong field of U13 girls and took the Avon bronze medal. Ruby Owen and Connie Ballentine battled hard for their respective 17th and 21st respectively whilst both were suffering the effects of heavy colds.

Louie Brunsdon and Guy Owen were both bottom age athletes in the U13 boys race and they worked well together to 27th and 28th in a field of 46, whilst Ben Hartigan in his first ever race should feel very pleased with his run in finishing 31st.

U20 David Warnes looks to be nearing his best again with a fine run to 3rd place overall in a very strong combined U17/U20 race, which was also good enough to give him the Avon county gold medal. Ultra-competitive U17 Callum Smith was a little disappointed with his run whilst not feeling 100% and his finish of 17th from a field of 28th was a below where he would normally have expected.

U20 Ellie Wallace looked a class apart in the combined U17/20 women’s race. She led the field from the off as she stormed to victory and Avon gold, with Alys Withers taking silver in 15th place overall. Alice Davies took Somerset gold in the U17 category with her 4th place overall followed by Olivia Burton in 7th and an Avon silver.

Jo Gallagher had another fine run to finish 8th place in a strong field of just 31 senior ladies, whilst Josh Davis led the senior mens race at one stage only to be undone in the final 1k, but his superb 3rd place finish from a field of 85 secured the Avon silver medal.

James Rodgers ran another high profile 10k at Telford on Sunday where he finished just 3 seconds off his PB in a time of 31.19. With training going well his coach Steve Hollier said he is confident that James can breach the elusive 31minute barrier in the new-year.