All posts by Steve Parsons

Brilliant Day For Club At National XC Champs

North Somerset  AC took full teams in the U13, U15 and U17 age groups to the biggest race of the year, the English National Cross Country Championship. 53 runners set off early on Saturday morning to compete at the prestigious Parliament Hill course. With fields in each age group of over 500 runners, the start is fast and furious followed by a huge hill climb and then an undulating muddy course with ditch crossings along the route.

The U17 boys produced the best team result of the day finishing 20th team thanks to fine runs by Sam Gentry, Callum Smith, Jack Wilkinson and Luca Murray. Sam also produced the clubs highest individual finish with a superb 41st place. In the girls age group race Megan McCrum was our sole representative and used all her experience to finish just outside the top 200.

The best female performance of the day went to U13 Keira Devereux. You have to be on top form and have natural ability in this race to finish inside the top 100, and Keira achieved this with a hard fought 90th place finish backed up by a great Nationals debut from Blythe Jones in 212th.

The U13 boys had 14 club runners, the majority making their Nationals debut. With 575 finishers this was the biggest age group field of the day. The club were led home by Ollie Campbell who competed well for 137th place, and was closely followed by Louie Brunsdon and Charles Broadhurst. Special mention goes to Herbie Cooksley, who in virtually his debut for the club was our 4th scorer despite being only 11 years old, a real talent for the future.

The U15 boys have performed well as a team unit all season and today they again raced in big numbers, with 14 setting off. Alfie Hocking ( 104 ), Ollie Lock (145 ) and Ben Hamblin ( 174 ) were the top performers over the 4.5k course, with Will Scott completing the scoring 4 and giving the team a creditable 27th place finish.

Poppy Burton-Dickie’s strength from her triathlon background helped throughout this demanding course as she was the clubs top U15G performer finishing 207th. Steph Brooks and Holly Avery were close behind with Ruth Day and Alysha Forsbrook  and bravely battling through the course despite foot injuries.

Joe Gentry was the sole Junior Mens race entry and he ran fantastically well to record 38m 28secs over the gruelling 9k course. It was his first attempt at the top event in the UK and his 131st place was only one minute off the first three athletes, all internationals.

It was a great day for everyone involved, all 53 runners deserve credit for acquitting themselves well on this daunting occasion, with all runners completing the course and gaining valuable experience for future championship races.

Tough Course At Pontypool

The penultimate fixture of this seasons Gwent Cross Country League in Pontypool produced by far the toughest track of the five race series. Another 50 pus turn out of club juniors had to contend with a near vertical climb that appeared to have no end!

Millie Redman was the top club performer of the day with an impressive 3rd place and just five seconds off the winner. Mia Darlington, Lyla Briffitt and debutant Harriet Brown worked well as team with just 8 seconds between them in 22nd, 25th and 28th respectively, ensuring the team finished third on the day.  Ellie Seagle 38th, Willow Preen 60th and Livi Sherlock 61st completed the team scores from a field of 93 runners.

The Novice boys were also 3rd on the day and led superbly once again by the ever-present pair of Elliot Jeston and Zeki Harston in 15th and 16th. Newcomers Conor Hewitt and Harry Shallcross worked brilliantly together for very impressive debut races, finishing just 10 seconds further back in 29th and 30th place respectively. Jacob Forsbrook was next home for the team in 55th with Rowan Preen 65th, Joseph Sandiford 73rd, Alex Liddell 75th, Ben Kelly 78th, Zachary Yeung 82nd, Oliver Krestovnickoff 98th, Ranolph Yeung 107th and Peter Briffitt 113th.

Miss consistent ‘Keira Devereux’ finished 5th in the U13s race with Grace Metcalfe and Mary Hemmings both having their best races to date in 32nd and 34th. Blythe Jones was next home in 38th place followed by Abigail Taylor 42nd and Abigail Briffitt 52nd.

Ollie Campbell made a welcome return to form with a hard fought 5th place, which took him to 3rd place overall in the individual league standings. Charles Broadhurst continues to improve with every race and his 17th place was his highest placement so far. Ollie Andrews was another to impress, showing lots of potential as he finished 20th with Will Sandiford 24th  to  ensure the boys finished 1st on the day, and consolidating their 2nd place overall with one race to go. Will Maine looked strong again as he finished 27th followed by Reuben Dean in 28th, Louie Brunsdon 30th and Sam Holloway 35th. Stan Hemmings continues to improve with a good run in 46th and Oliver Haley completed the team scores in 65th.

Poppy Burton Dickie had a super run in the U15 race. In her strongest performance to date, the newcomer showed great strength and looked totally at home over the testing course to record a fine 12th place. Steph Brooks finished very strongly over the final 400 metres passing several athletes to record an 18th place with Ellie Redman making a welcome return to form close behind in 20th. Alysha Forsbrook and Victoria Pearson completed the team in 32nd and 38th places respectively.

Alfie Hocking and Ben Hamblin worked brilliantly together during the U15 boys race and were rewarded with their highest placing by a distance at this level, with superb 6th and 7th places respectively. Newcomer Theo Edwards didn’t enjoy the hills quite as much as his team mates, but there’s plenty to come from this hard-working youngster and 22nd is still a very decent position at this level.

Callum Day ran well for his highest place to date in 35th to ensure the boys were 2nd team on the day and now sit just 4 points off third place in the league standing with one race to go. Debutant Adam Ray ran in trainers up the muddy hills for a very creditable 36th place, so  more to come for sure from the newcomer who was followed home by Max Davies in 41st and Jamie Pass 48th.

However, it was Jamie Van-de-Velde who took the plaudits as he showed amazing strength of character after suffering an Asthma Attack almost as soon as the race started. Others would have pulled out after such a set back, but not Jamie! After recovering he set off and ran his race gaining many admirers around the course.

It was good to see U17 Jack Wilkinson back running again after an extended period of injury. He partnered ever present Will Cheek in the  U17 race and coped extremely well over 2 laps of the super hilly course. Jack finished an excellent 13th place with Will 23th from a 42 strong field.

Next weekend sees the club taking another 50 plus athletes to the biggest event of the season ‘The National Cross Champs’ in London.

Results link: http://www.gwent-league.org.uk/2017/res174.htm

Club Athletes Run Well At SW Schools XC Champs

The Avon Schools Cross Country squad had a successful day at the South West Schools Champs last weekend with 6 of the 8 teams securing top three team finishes.

Sam Gentry and Keira Devereux once again ran superbly in the Inter Boys and Minor girls race for silver and bronze respectively. Sam raised the bar in very tough conditions underfoot for a tremendous 2nd place finish, whilst Keira maintained her incredibly consistent run of results throughout the season for a fine 3rd place.

Running for Somerset Schools, Matt Howard finished 18 seconds behind Sam for a fine 5th place in only his 3rd XC race his season.

Callum Smith was another club athlete to excel with a brilliant 7th place as a bottom age athlete in the Senior boys race. It was also great to see Harrison Garland making a rare cross country appearance. 25th place at such a high level was very good result indeed for somebody who doesn’t do cross country!  hopefully the penny will  now drop, as this talented young athlete can go far in this discipline if he wants to.

Blythe Jones continues to impress in her first XC season and 34th in the Minor girls race was evidence of the progress she’s made. Meg McCrum finished well in the Inter girls race for 47th with Ellie Maule also making the team finishing  59th. Bottom age Ollie Lock was not was not feeling at his best in the heavy conditions and did well to finish 50th in the Inter Boys race.

Congratulations go to Sam, Matt, Callum, Harrison and Meg who will all go on to compete at the prestigious English Schools XC Champs in March.

Results below:

SW XC Results 2018

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Avon Schools XC Champs Results

Qualifying for the Avon Schools Cross Country squad is no easy feat, and  standards at the Avon Schools Championships on Saturday was very high indeed.

However eight of the clubs athletes did just that and will now travel to Devon on February 3rd to represent Avon in the South West Schools Championships.

It was the final race of the day that provided the best finish with Sam Gentry making a welcome return to form in the Intermediate boys race. After an uncharacteristic run of poor results, Sam went with his great Westbury rival from the gun with the pair breaking clear from the leading group at the midway stage before Sam timed his sprint finish to perfection to take the boys title.

Keira Devereux was the only other club medalist on the day. Running sensibly throughout, Keira worked her way through the field effortlessly before closing in on the leader, but she left just a little too much to do in her quest for gold. A silver medal however is just reward for the talented Minor girls athlete.

Other  top ten performances to secure Avon qualification came from Callum Smith (Senior boys); Ollie Lock (Intermediate boys); Harrison Garland and Will Scott (Junior boys); Blythe Jones (Minor girls); and Megan McCrum (Intermediate girls).

Ernie Cooksley, Jack Wilkinson, Ellie Maule and Josephine Hallet finished in the top twelve and make the reserve list.

In the Somerset Schools equivalent, Matt Howard put in a terrific performance to win the Intermediate boys title. It was only his 2nd cross country race this season, but the GB Triathlete had too much for his rivals finishing 12 seconds clear of his nearest challenger.
AvonSchoolsXC_2018_AllResults

High Standards at SW XC Champs

30 North Somerset AC athletes attended a very competitive South West Cross Country Championships at Alden Hill in Yeovil last weekend.

Although conditions were ideal for championship racing, athletes had to contend with bitter cold winds and a killer hill before the home straight.

Millie Redman was the pick of the clubs U11’s on show with another terrific run to finish 6th place. Mia Darlington, Willow Preen, Rowan Preen and Jacob Forsbrook all ran well in their non-championship races.

Ollie Campbell was amongst the leaders at the halfway stage of the U13 boys race, before acute cramp saw him drop out. Charles Broadhurst, Louie Brunsdon Sam Holloway, William Sandiford, Sam Hemings and Oliver Haley completed the team.

Keira Devereux was the top club performer of the day finishing 4th place and just 1 second behind the third placed bronze individual medalist and only 5 seconds behind silver. Quite a feat for a bottom age athlete and a deserving bronze medal was her reward for leading the U13 Avon County girls team to 3rd place in the team competition.

Blythe Jones was next to finish of the North Somerset AC girls with Daisy Manners-Lolley, Grace Metcalfe, Poppy Adams, Mary Hemmings and Simone Manners-Lolley completing the team.

In the U15girls race Steph Brooke’s in 44th place led home her team mates Ella Johnston and Poppy Burton- Dickie from a high class field. The U15 boys race was no less competitive with Ollie Lock finishing 32nd in front of debutant Theo Edwards, Ben Hamblin and Alfie Hocking.

U17 Megan McCrum and U20 Alys Withers both ran well in their respective races with Meg finishing 15th and Alys 10th.

Callum Smith continued his recent fine run of form in the U17 men’s race. He finished a superb 6th place and at the same time secured an silver medal for his efforts leading Avon to 2nd place in the team competition.

SW2018Results

 

CHRISTMAS ENDURANCE TRAINING

*Please note that  the Dec 26th and Wednesday 27th endurance sessions are cancelled, as is the Sun morning 24th Dec recovery run*

SESSION CHANGES IN GREEN

  • Saturday 23rd DecMOVED TO ASHTON COURT – MEET MANSION HOUSE CAR PARK for 9.30am to 11am (Xmas Hats & Hot Chocy in Cafe afterwards!)
  • Tuesday 26th DecNO TRAININGClevedon AC’s Boxing Day Road Race and junior races before main event for those interested – enter on the day
  • Wed 27th Dec – NO TRAINING
  • Thursday 28th DecFilton Track Closed – BUT MOVED TO CLEVEDON SCHOOL for 6.45pm to 8.15pm
  • Saturday 30th Dec – Clevedon School for 9.30am to 10.45am – ON AS USUAL
  • Tuesday 2nd Jan – Clevedon School for 6.45pm to 8.15pm – ON AS USUAL
  • Wed 3rd Jan – Seafront for 6.30pm – ON AS USUAL
  • Thursday 4th Jan – Filton Track ON AS USUAL – for 6.45pm to 8.15pm
  • Saturday 6th Jan – Clevedon School for 9.30am to 10.45am – ON AS USUAL

Sunday morning recovery run on 24th December is CANCELLED, but ON AS USUAL New Years Eve!

BONE CHILLING AT TRI-COUNTY XC CHAMPS

20 North Somerset AC youngsters braved the icy cold conditions at Bath University where heavy snow fell during the races.

U11 Millie Redman had an outstanding race and fell just 3 seconds short of overall victory, but well clear of the chasing group her 2nd place was enough to take Avon Gold. Lyla Briffitt was the only other NS athlete on show in this race finishing 9th overall.

The snow was falling heavily by the time bottom age athletes Harry Shallcross and Max Weatherley took their places on the starting line up. Harry ran superbly for 9th overall and 2nd placed Avon athlete for a well deserved silver medal, whilst Max battled bravely for his more than respectable 17th place.

Ollie Campbell had his 2nd race in successive weekends, and once again ran with the leaders holding fantastic form throughout. Another fantastic 3rd place overall saw him take the Avon Silver. Charles Broadhurst is another newcomer going from strength to strength and his 14th from a field of 44 is an excellent result from a youngster that looks at ease whilst racing.

Bottom age Sam Holloway gets stronger with every race that passes and he should be very pleased with his 21st. Louie Brunsden was another the suffered from the icy conditions and he too battled bravely for his 23rd, whilst young Kyle Burford finished strongly for 36th in only his 2nd race in the country.

Bottom age U13 Keira Devereux ran well considering the conditions to take 6th place overall and bronze medal in the Avon competition. Team mate Poppy Adams was the only other finisher in this age group in 25th place.

Steph Brooks and Ella Johnston were the only U15 club athletes that fancied this one and both gave good accounts of themselves in 20th and 22nd respectively.

Ollie Lock was just outside the medal positions in his race amongst a strong field of athletes. He finished 9th overall with bottom age newcomer William Scott having a fine run to finish 17th from a field of 41.

U20 Alys Withers has not missed a cross country season since she started running for the club 10 years ago and her strength of character and positivity sets a fine example that all young athlete would do well to follow. As she gets older she seems to grow stronger and nobody looked more comfortable in the conditions than Alys, as she held her position throughout against some top quality athletes to finish superbly in 4th place overall and adding an Avon Silver to add to the many she has collected over the years.

The U20/17 mens race was the last up with Callum Smith and Sam Gentry waving the club after 4 withdrawals before the race. Callum appeared to cope better during worsening conditions to finish strongly for his 11th place, whilst Sam was clearly uncomfortable in the snow and will put this one firmly behind him and move on to the important races that lie ahead for him.

Fast XC track at Pembrey Park for 3rd Gwent League

A fantastic turn out of 48 North Somerset AC athletes enjoyed a superb coastal course (golfers equivalent of a Linx!) at the Pembrey Country Park near Swansea for the 3rd Gwent Cross Country fixture of the season.

Elliot Jeston once again led the U11 boys with an excellent 8th place and the fast improving Zeki Harston supporting him superbly just 6 seconds behind in 13th. Jacob Forsbrook also had a cracking run for his highest place so far in 20th with excellent running from bottom age athletes and newcomers Joseph Sandiford, Rowan Preen, Ben Kelly and Jacob Veale in 32nd, 34th, 39th and 75th respectively.

After being boxed in at the start, Millie Redman worked her way steadily through the field to finish a superb 6th in the U11 girls race. Willow Preen continued her improvement in the country with her best place of the season in 35th, whilst Celia Becerril-Galan finished close behind in 42nd in her first race. Bottom age Bonnie Mills and Lavanna Madge both ran well in their race to finish 58th and 63rd respectively.

U13 Ollie Campbell is learning very quickly and ran this one to perfection. He sat behind two very good athletes throughout and although too far off the race winner, he was only 5 seconds behind the 2nd placed runner for a superb 3rd.  Another newcomer this season, Charles Broadhurst continued his progress with an excellent14th place finish, whilst Louie Brunsdon and the fast improving Sam Holloway finished 24th and 28th. William Sandiford also impressed in 30th closely followed by Will Maine and Ollie Andrews in 33rd and 34th.  Stan Hemmings and Alex Davies completed the team scores in 58th and 61st.

Bottom age U13 Keira Devereux had a terrific race to finish 4th in a very good quality field, whilst team mates Grace Metcalf in 29th, Abigail Taylor 33rd, Mary Hemmings 34th and Poppy Adams 36th packed together well in a show of good team running.

U15 Steph Brooks recorded her best Gwent League finish this season in 18th after running with the leading girls in the early stages. Poppy Burton-Dickie looked very comfortable following Steph throughout in her first ever cross country race for a terrific 19th place. Holly Avery had another good run in 24th leading  her team mates Ellie Redman, Ruth Day, Ella Johnston, Alysha Forsbrook and Victoria Pearson in 30th,34th,41st,42nd and 50th respectively.

Ben Hamblin continues to improve in his first season in the country and a 20th place was an excellent result against some very good opposition. Without Alfie Hocking, Will Scott and Ollie Lock, Callum Day had his best run to date in 40th with debtant Marco Becerril-Galan and Louis Carr in 45th and 49th respectively completing the U15 boys scores.

Matt Howard and Jaylan Bacon had their first run outs of the season in the combined U17/20 race and both can be pleased with their category 7th and 14th places respectively.

Club coach Julian Emery had his first XC race in a good while and ran brightly throughout for 56th overall and 4th in his age category, whilst Russ Forsbrook looked really comfortable in 79th place, clearly enjoying the superb track. Steve Parker 188th, Andrew Sandiford 257th, Kevin Davis 290th and Andy Devereux 314th  completed the team scores. Lucy Avery was our sole lady competing and clearly enjoyed the course with her 153rd place finish from a field of 263.

Results Link: http://www.gwent-league.org.uk/2017/res173.htm

Tough Competition at MK Cross Challenge

Three of the clubs leading athletes ‘Sam Gentry, Callum Smith and Ollie Lock’ made the long trip to Milton Keynes for the 2nd event of the 5 race British Cross Challenge series. These races attract the top dozen or so athletes in the UK at every age category and Ollie continued his good run of run form to finish 20th in the U15 race, whilst Callum also ran well for 27th place in the U17 race. Sam was not at his best in 57th place in the same race, but his focus for the season will be the English Schools and if he can peak at the right time and run to his potential, there is every chance of an England vest for the talented young athlete.

Athletes Out In Force At Brecon XC

Despite a number of last minute withdrawals a full coach made the journey to Brecon for the 2nd Gwent League meeting of the season, and in the shadows of the Brecon Beacons a total of 50 athletes made it a successful day for North Somerset AC.

First up were the U11 Boys who were led by the talented Elliot Jeston, whom having found himself hemmed in at the start, worked impressively through the field for a very promising 9th place. Backing him up were Zeki Harston and Jacob Forsbrook who both ran very well for 20th and 33rd, whilst bottom age youngsters Max Weatherly and Rowan Preen should be chuffed to bits with their 47th and 55th places respectively from a 115 strong field.

The U11 Girls team were without North Somerset Schools champion Millie Redman, but six girls lined up at the start in determined fashion.  Leading the group, Mia Darlington and Lyla Briffitt worked tremendously together in their first cross country race for superb 30th and 31st places respectively and they’ll no doubt be relishing the next opportunity to race. Rosa Ford was net to finish in 55th place, closely followed by Ellie Seigle 60th, Xara McKinnen 64th and Willow Preen 68th with only 9 seconds separating the 4 girls in another huge field of 121 runners.

The U13 Boys were lying in 2nd place after the first fixture, and first home for the team in 6th place (and top club performer of the day) was Ollie Campbell to consolidate his own top 10 position in the league standings. Ollie’s competitive edge took him to the front early doors, whilst more experienced athletes sat in behind content to save themselves for the later stages. But he’ll learn very quickly I’m sure, as great things lie ahead for this young athlete.

Newcomer ‘Charles Broadhurst’ looks full of promise too and an impressive 17th place saw him finish just a few seconds ahead of Louie Brunsdon who also ran very well in 20th. Ever-present Will Maine, handicapped by a heavy cold, battled bravely throughout, with excellent support from team mates Sam Holloway, Herbie Alexander and Will Sandiford seeing just 14 seconds separate the four from 40th to 51st place. Bottom age youngster Oliver Haley completed the team scores in his first ever race finishing 81st.

The action continued in the U13 Girls race with the ever improving Keira Devereux running amongst the leading group throughout and securing a superb 9th place finish, whist Daisy Manners-Lolley was another to impress, finishing very strongly in 34th place. Working well together Poppy Adams and Abigail Taylor finished 46th and 47th respectively, as did Bella Clark and Blythe Jones in 55th and 51st. Simone Manners-Lolley completed the team scores with her 58th place finish.

With leading U15 Boy Ollie Lock missing, 12 U15 Boys rose to the occasion with a great team effort to make up for the loss of their team mate. Leading the team home in 14th position, Alfie Hocking continues to show huge improvement and he thoroughly deserved his best finish in the country to date. Close behind and working well together were equally impressive newcomers to the country discipline, William Scott and Ben Hamblin in 19th and 22nd respectively. Max Davies has also made huge strides and his 42nd place was a major improvement on his 70th place in Cardiff. Callum Day was another big improver in 47th whilst debutant Alistair Sinclair looked a very able runner in 52nd place. Emile Swanson finished in 54th and was followed in by the younger Sinclair ‘Harry’ who also looked very comfortable in 59th.

Cameron Baker-Perry was next through in 61st with Jamie Va-de-Velde in 62nd making a vast improvement from his first race in Cardiff. Jamie Pass and Louis Carr completed the team scores in 64th and 68th respectively.

It was a team full of bottom age U15 Girls that lined up at the start and despite losing momentum after a very heavy fall at the half way stage, Steph Brookes recovered well to grind out a solid 33rd place finish. Holly Avery has made great strides this year and was 2nd of our girls to finish strongly in 40th. Ella Johnston and Alysha Forsbrook worked together well throughout and a fine sprint finish from the pair up the home straight took them past rival athletes to finish in 46th and 51st respectively just 6 seconds apart. Connie Ballentine completed the teams scores in 60thplace.

In the combined U17/U20 race the large contingent of U17 Boys available at the club were largely missing. Only Will Cheek and Jacob Faulkner were present to score team points, with both showing great strength of character in worsening conditions underfoot. Will in fact had his best race to date and will no doubt be extremely happy with his 30th place finish. Jacob braved the conditions despite very little training of late and he should take heart for digging deep to finish 36th from a field of 47 runners.

Megan McCrum and Issy Gall likewise were the clubs only U17 girls in the combined U17/U20 Ladies race with Megan finishing 12th in her category and Issy looking very comfortable amongst all around her in 18th from a field of 24.

WINTER SEASON STARTS IN STYLE AT MIDLAND ROAD RELAYS

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NSAC had a record 10 teams competing at the annual Midland Road Relay event held in Sutton Park Birmingham last weekend. In what is the annual curtain raiser to the forthcoming cross country season, the clubs athletes gave a very good account of themselves with many athletes having their first ever competition race.

The U13 boys opened proceedings, and Will Maine finished the first leg in 19th position. Louie Brunsden picked up 3 places in the 2nd leg before newcomer Ollie Campbell ran a storming final leg to bring the team home in 11th place overall in a time of 14:46, which was 16th fastest of the 104 runners….not bad for a first attempt!

The U15 Boys fielded two teams with 4 athletes competing for the first time. Ollie Lock led the teams to finish as leading scorer in a time of 13:21 as he finished the first leg in 8th place and was 9th quickest of the 127 runners. Alfie Hocking and Ben Hamblin recorded excellent times of 14:59 and 14:31 respectively to bring the A team home in 11th position. Max Davies 16:14, Louis Carr 16:44 and Cameron Baker-Perry 17:03 completed the B team scores and enjoyed their first taste of competitive racing.

The club put out three teams of U17 Men, a sure sign of the strength in depth of this age group. The A team of Sam Gentry, Callum Smith and Jaylan Bacon ran very well as a team, finishing 8th overall, with Sam completing 1st leg of the 3.8k course in 12:44, Callum 13:13 and Jaylan 13:12.

Kes Pitchers 14:21, Jacob Faulkner 15:16, Jamie Carroll 15:22, Will Cheek 15:27 and Jonah Murray 15:44 completed the teams scores

The U15 girls fielded three teams with Steph Brooks leading the scores in a 1st leg time of 16m dead with Holly Avery showing great recent improvement next quickest in 16:56. Ellie Redman was in good form prior to this race but she encountered a knee problem during her leg and bravely battled to finish in time of 17:25.

Ella Johnston 17:48, Ruth Day 17:58, Sophia Murray 18:08m, Ruby Murray 19:12, Connie Ballentine 19:15 (another victim of knee problems), and Alysha Forsbrook 19:19 completed the U15 scores.

Megan McCrum led the U17 Women with a time of 15:50 with Lucy Maine 16:51 and Maisie Squire in 18:55 bringing the team home.

The teams will now go forward to Nation Road Relays on 7th October before the Cross Country season kicks off just a week later in Cardiff for the opening Gwent League fixture.

GOWER TRAINING CAMP 2017

The clubs Endurance Squad recently returned from a training camp at Port Eynon on the Gower coast. This  was a first for the club and proved to be a  fantastic success, with every aspect of our weekend away far exceeding expectations.

Huge thanks to the coaches and helpers whose efforts ensured everything ran smoothly without any hitches. However a special mention must go to Luke and Ellie Murray who fed all 35 of us with amazing fare, and Luke in particular must have been exhausted after the weekend. When he wasn’t coaching the athletes he was either in the kitchen or putting extra miles in along the coast paths in preparation for the Manchester Marathon.

The athletes were a credit to themselves, you as parents and the name of our club. Everyone took part in all 5 training sessions and although they must have been shattered when they arrived home their commitment was second to none.  They all had down time for rest and play and their behavior in and outside of the accommodation was exemplary.

I asked the athletes to send me their favourite memory/aspect of the weekend, so here are a few:

“I absolutely loved the weekend and my favourite memory was the sand dunes, because running down them was so fast and fun. Also running on top of mountains on Saturday because it made me feel free” (Harrison)

“My favourite moment was when I was running as fast as I could down the massive sand dune. My legs took control and I was going so fast it felt like I was flying. It was incredible and good fun! I hope to be able to do it again!” (Emile)

“I had an amazing time and thank you very much for organising it. I would love to do it again next year! My favourite aspect was the sand dunes, it was so fun but also challenging and it was brilliant that we all worked together as a team never leaving a man behind and always encouraging each other to persevere. Thanks again I really had a wonderful time!” (Ellie)

 My favourite part of the training camp was the run up the huge hill on Saturday in a field with sheep, the view from the top of the hill was beautiful and the run was challenging, but I felt great when I got to the top”. (Steph)

Some great memories for all of us and I know they are all itching to do it all again next year!       (see gallery in ‘News’ tab above for photos)

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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. 

LONDON TO PARIS CHARITY BIKE RIDE FOR HEAD COACH – JULY 19TH – 24TH 2017

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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:

https://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/chrismillard2017

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…

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!!

Chris Millard

Sam Selected for South West Team

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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.

 

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.