Wells City Harriers

"A FRIENDLY RUNNING CLUB THAT WELCOMES ATHLETES OF ALL AGES AND ABILITIES"

aaaaOskar winning Dec 23

 

Wells City Harriers again had some excellent performances at the latest of the Gwent Cross Country League fixtures held at Blaise Castle, Bristol last Saturday, 2nd December. We also look back at some memories of the Street 5k races as we head towards its 200th edition next Wednesday, 13th December.

Headlines are taken at Blaise Castle by u13 Oskar Beck, winning his 3rd Gwent League fixture on the trot; u17 Tom Webb 2nd in his race despite giving away a year to most of his rivals; u17 Daisy Davies for another composed 3rd place; and u11 Harriett Scott 4th.

Of course, we coaches at the Harriers are just as pleased with those taking their first competitive outing in a Harrier vest/top and trying their best – read on for details! Good luck to all Harriers from the Club and our Yeovil partners competing this coming weekend at University of Bath at the County Championships.

 

The Buffs, based on the Street race logo, which will be given to all of the competitors and volunteers at next weeks Street 5k and junior races event, have now arrived and Graham Goldsmid will make sure everyone gets one on the night when they sign in. 200 editions is 33 and a half years of effort by the volunteers (that’s a lifetime to some) and we’ve seen some great running over that time – read on for some looking back.

Also a shout out for the next Harrier supported local community race which our Harrier member Kay Franklin is organising on Sunday 17th December at Baltonsborough – please enter in advance if you can. All competitors over the 5 mile hilly course receive a Christmas Pudding. Information and entry link here.

aaaagraphic. 2020jpg

 

Gwent XC League at Blaise Castle, Bristol – 2nd December

There were a number of the Harrier's junior Monday training group competing, some for the first time and they grew in confidence with every stride. For the u11s, Harriett Scott was 4th and Aneri Tanna 45th in their first outing at this tough League. For the u11 boys Rowan Kelly was 23rd, William McAslan 23rd, Milo Cook 64th and Alfie Beck 66th.

 

u13 Oskar Beck again won his race to make it three wins out of three in this League so far. u17 Tom Webb finished 2nd in his race, with Gabriel Chattard 20th in the same race. u17 Daisy Davies was 3rd in hers, with team-mates Macy Noad 12th, Amelie Cook, 13th and Mikaella Harnett 17th for some good packing.

Matt Beck reports:

"On a very foggy (visibility around 30m!) and cold (frozen puddles were found on the course walk) morning at Blaise Castle Oskar ran a well-paced race, leading from gun to tape and increasing his lead around the course eventuallly winning by 13 seconds. (Photo at the top of Oskar negotiating the tricky downhill slalom at the end of the wood section of the course- under the leaves were lots of stones!)"

There was also a big squad of Harrier senior men competing and they were led home by Adam Gibson with a top twenty finish. The senior men's team is now in 7th place overall in the League out of the 82 competitive teams, and the Harriers are now leading the way with the V55 men's age group team.

Below are the results from the senior mens race:

19th Adam Gibson - 29:39

25th Matt Lusby - 29:56 (4th V35)

34th Chris Green - 30:10 (7th V35)

38th Alexander Coombs - 30:14

117th David Hirst - 33:09 (14th V45)

155th Laurence Badman - 34:25 (37th U23)

181st Andrew Deamer - 35:01 (7th V55)

182nd Stuart Nash - 35:04 (78th V35)

208th Tim Hindle - 36:00 (9th V55)

224th Stephen Nicholls - 36:36 (11th V55)

239th Steve Master - 37:21 (13th V55)

240th Jonathan Williams - 37:21 (63rd V45)

241st Graham Goldsmid - 37:26 (14th V55)

257th Callum Cardwell - 37:50

267th Nick Stevens - 38:04 (18th V55)

363rd Howard Harnett - 42:29 (131st V45)

384th Mark Pople - 44:37 (49th V55)

aaaaBlaise Dec 23 men

 The Senior men, pre-race

 

The next competitive outing for many will be the Somerset County XC Championships on Sunday 10th at the University of Bath, and after that there are opportunities to compete at XC at the final fixture in the Wessex League (Sunday 17th December (pre-entry required but Free) and at the SW XC Championships in early January (enter online before the deadline by paying entry fee)

 

Street 5k

The 200th edition of the Street 5k road race, and the associated junior races over 1k and 2k, takes place next Wednesday 13th December, starting at 7.30pm Entries can be made online up to this weekend and then on the night by 7.15pm. See here for entry information and link.

 

The Harriers started the regular monthly 5k Street races back in October 1990, organising 6 every Autumn and winter since then to encourage runners to race faster. All that compete next Wednesday will receive a souvenir buff to mark the occasion.. The original 5k course was 4 circuits of slightly longer laps which started and finished on the High Street corner by the Bank and then down Farm Road and round the corner and went past the Fire Station on Cranhill Road.

 

That was then changed to the now familiar 5 laps, of almost exactly 1k each, a few years later as there might be a time when there was a Call out of Fire engine. The actual measured course is on the pavement. The race start and finish line was moved near to the Farm Road pedestrian crossing for safety reasons, away from the High Street.

We might forget that back in 1990 the 5k distance was by no means the most common racing distance on the road running scene – 5miles; 10miles or half marathons would have been more common. Now that Parkruns have been around for quite a while of course the 5k has become ubiquitous and you can race the distance every week!

It was great foresight, though, by previous Chairman and senior Coach Clive Thomas and his wife Angela to organise and race direct the very first Street 5k, and to host it as an autumn and winter Series as a change from the regular Club training regime. The invention of the Street Series also helped to inspire Steve Brown at Yeovil Town Road Runners to organise the Yeovil 5k Series across Spring & Summer.

We added junior races of 1k and 2k back in the early 2000s when we were re-building the junior section of the Club. It’s also true that the course has become a bit more difficult …as first the rubbish bin was placed on the Farm Road corner, then a bench, and so on to make it almost an obstacle course. I sometimes think the ‘sleeping Policemen’ on Farm Road have got steeper and more of a trip hazard over time.

 

We’ve got a few active members who will recall the original 4 lap circuit – Ian Eddy & Terry Kingham ran it a few times, both running under 20 minutes for the distance back then.

Al Thorner also remembers that circuit:

“Great memories of the Street 5k not least because Elise held the U18 (I think) record for a while. I recollect I ran the race a few times when the route went past the fire station and was fewer laps. I think my best time was in the high 15 mins but had a few runs clocking 16 mins something, 17 mins something also.

On my PB night I think I beat local legend Andy Hennessy by a few metres, much to Clive's amazement and indeed my own….Andy was only around aged16 at the time… not that that stole my scalp in any way! 

 

Below: March 2008 - the 2k winners that night - Curtis Stevens (who still holds the 1k record) & Vera Assis (who still holds the 2k record) - they were lovely runners!

aaaa1k winners Curtis Vera Assis

Helen Rutter:

“It was a shock having to run 4 laps (the original course) or 5 laps. The first couple of laps felt good then suddenly the realisation that there’s another few laps to go! Best time about 19.40.

Paul Chadwick:

“Before I came down to Somerset I think I’d only ever run one 5k before - the distance being felt to be too short to bother with! - so discovering the Street Series, and then the Yeovilton Series, was great for speed. I first raced Street 5k in Jan 92 (18.04) on the 4 lap circuit and then when we moved to the 5 lap circuit, probably the following Series, being a bit confused once or twice as to how many laps I’d run.

I’ve now competed at the Street 5k some 66 times including once when I was the Race Director, as I like to compete! Pb on the course was 17.14 in February 1993 and I always thought the course was 20—30 seconds slower than the Yeovil course.

Clive used to shout the times & Ange scribbled them down whilst Ken Derham & Gordon McBride wrote down the numbers. Maybe only 30 or so runners in those early days. £2 to enter.”

Below : March 2008 Andrew Deamer collects another Series prize from Race Director Clive Thomas

aaaaAndrew D Clive 2008Street 08 presentations 20

Pete Wright:

“I didn't take part in the initial races but more likely around 1991-1992.

Old circuit for sure with Clive and Angie running the event and Wayne Speake a regular winner and of course chasing Stuart Marsh most of the time.

My times gradually improved over several years and I think I bottomed out at just over 17.00 but most were around 17.20.”

Graham Goldsmid:

“I think my pb for the Street 5k Series was back in Nov 1997 when I came 23rd in a time of 17.27 (See results here – who can you spot?)

This was only my second Street race having joined the club that year. 

There were 66 finishers that night & I can't believe it was over 25 years ago! 

I remember then the finish used to be in the High Street outside the chemists. Looking at results from that night there are a lot of familiar names, some sadly no longer with us but others still members of the club with good sub 20 times from Ian Eddy and Terry Kingham. 

I have not run Street since March 2014 as have been stuck on that first corner marshalling so looking forward to running in the 200th on the 13th Dec though I doubt I will beat my pb!”

Below: March 2008 our Life Member for Team GB selection Andrew Hennessy inherited his racing talent from his mum Annette, seen here collecting her Series award from Clive

aaaaAnnette H Clive 2008

Ben Tickner:

“Not sure about my first memory but I remember the good old days in late 90s early 2000s when you could guarantee an honest 5 lap scrap  against the likes of Justin Swift Smith, Eddie Richards, Danny Williams, Mike Grist, Gary Eagle, Jon James, Andy Hennessy and co, all the old school Wells legends.

My Personal Highlights:

-Perfecting racing line through the penultimate lamppost corner

-Dodgy unlit first left hand corner - fortune favoured the brave!

-Crowding round results board to check the holy age grade percentage.

-almost mowing down Xmas shoppers in road in obsessive pursuit of PB

-Pete Darton's amazing results service

I always thought of as the poor man's Yeovilton, but for me the far better course and more enjoyable.”

Below: March 2009 and the then Race Director Paul Chadwick lines them up at the start

 aaaaRace start March 2009

Kay Franklin:

“In 2002 David and I moved to Baltonsborough Somerset. I entered a local road race and met Angela and Clive.i was introduced to WCH and the Street 5K races.

What a shock to the system. It was and still is, run at night which I found most peculiar as I had only raced during the day. I remember racing with ice on the roads and returning to tell David about this unusual race.”

Carol Buckland:

“It’s always good to do some short speed work and it doesn’t take up half of the weekend. The club is always supportive and friendly and it’s generally a very friendly race.”

Below: March 2009 Sols Chadwick with his 2k prize for his race that night - thats then youngsters Jess Pate, Will Pate on the left and Luke Prior on the right - Sols came up with the Race the Night graphic design in 2020

aaaaSols others March 2009

And a view from the organisers and Race Directors:

Paul Chadwick (Race Director temporary 2006/07 then 2008-2012)

“There was one race when we forgot the entry forms so everyone had to just sign their names on a sheet of paper with their date of birth on. Forgetting, or not having enough safety pins for the race numbers has happened a few times…a mad dash to the nearest supermarket!

Then there were the races when roadworks in the middle of Orchard Road created a potential bottleneck; and on the night before bin day all the houses on Farm Road having their bins out – another bloomin’ obstacle!

My race records and memory are of a lowest entry of 33 one month and highest entry of 131. We've only ever had to postpone one race - to the following Wednesday - due to the weather, icy conditions."

Below : March 2009 - It was our 20th year of organising the Series so we had to have cake

aaaa20th birthday cake Street March 2009

Ed Tickner (Race Director 2012-2019)

“My main first memory as Director, and directing my very first race, was of a finisher dropping senseless to the pavement right in front of me just before the Finish.

As I stepped over to him in his prone, unconscious state and fearing the very worst, a lady rushed out of the group of spectators opposite, shouting ‘Don't panic; it's his heart pacemaker battery’

It turned out he knew it needed replacing but had not quite got round to it. He eventually got to his feet and was helped away from the scene. A real nightmare scenario for any Race Director which fortunately turned out well!”

Helen Rutter (Finish line supremo for some 20 years)

“Of course we’ve regularly had folk who forgot to run through the funnel, or suspicions about some runners who might only have done 4 laps, rather than 5, and occasionally we’ve had the runners who have their numbers on their backs and we have the challenge of recording them properly.

I was fortunate in having learnt the finish line ropes from Angela, and then working with a great crew of regular recorders over the years, including Rachel, Tatiana, Lucy, Sue, Alice and others.”

Below: 2020 some of the stalwarts on the finish line left to right - Tatiana Storie, John Beveridge , Hannah Whitcombe, Kay Franklin, Rachel Wray & Helen Rutter

aaaaFinishcrew

Street Race records as at December 2023

 

My thanks to all those who were able to contribute to this item recalling the history of the Street 5k.

Have you any memories of your first Street 5k you'd like to share? Send in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Look out for more next week!

 

Training Update

The last Junior Harrier training session on a Monday is held on 11th December and any talented and keen local runners that want to train and compete for the Club should contact us to enquire about joining the sessions for 2024.

 

The last Tuesday Harrier training session is on 19th December with the traditional parlauf event. Come with your recent 5k time in mind and provide it to Jon James so that he can ensure you are well matched with another partner to run continuously in a relay for 30 mins. Any that want to attend the post-parlauf curry evening afterwards, whether you run or not, should contact the Harrier Secretary Alexander Coombs at least a week beforehand.

Wednesday sessions continue as usual, and particularly through that network you can also find out other plans for long runs on Sundays or over the festive period coming up.

 

Baltonsborough 5 mile road race – Sunday 19th December

Race organised by Harrier member Kay Franklin in aid of Charity, and supported by local marshals and Harriers. Please enter online to help with administration, or on the day if need be. Entry link here. All competitors receive a Christmas Pudding. Wearing tinsel etc is not obligatory but makes the photographs look better!

New Kit

We now have a new jacket available to purchase from our shop. If you are interested in buying one please contact our kit manager Graham Goldsmid to place your order. The cost for the new jacket is £35 and is available in S, M, L and XL. Visit our club shop for other kit you can buy. 

Wells Jacket

 

& finally....GOOD LUCK TO ALL FOR THE COUNTY XC CHAMPIONSHIPS THIS COMING WEEKEND - send reports & photos as usual by Monday 8pm to Paul at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.