It’s a new year and the Harriers have already been out competing on the roads, at cross country, and at indoor track & field. This report covers the South West XC Championships, where the Harriers were representing Somerset; the South West Indoors Championships held in Cardiff; and on the roads at the New Year's Day Chard Flyer 10K, and a competitive 10K in Exeter, the First Chance 10K. We also have another Meet the Harriers interview for you to read, and our sister club, Yeovil Olympiads, are looking for support after there is a threat to closure of the athletics track where they train.
There were two South-west Champions from amongst the Harriers at the cross country: u13 Oskar Beck (seen below showing the determination to win!); and u11 Ruby Shaw who follows up her Wessex XC League Champions title.
At the SW Indoor Championships held at the Cardiff Arena, u17 Tom Webb started his year in the same way he left off last year - winning the 1500m. Isaac Slight and Rosie Joynes won SW Golds in the u15 Pole Vault competitions and u17 Lily Jones fought off stiff competition to win Gold in the Long Jump.
South West XC Championships - 07/01/2024
This year’s South West XC Championships was held again at RNAS Merryfield, Ilton on a slightly altered, but once again, muddy course. A proper cross country workout!
Headlines are taken by the two junior Harriers who are South West Champions – u11 Ruby Shaw and u13 Oskar Beck who both train with our Monday group. There was also a very good 2nd place finish for u11Harriett Scott and 3rd place finish for u13 Bibi Abernethy. All achieving a podium place would have received their South West medals.
There were some 35 Harriers in total competing at Ilton – a good mix of the Club’s Monday & Tuesday night training groups augmented by a very good turn out from the Yeovil side of the Club. Many of the Harriers were also selected to compete for the Somerset County team and wore the County vest - white with black & red horizontal band. Overall, numbers competing from across the South west seemed down on previous years.
Oskar Beck has been selected to compete for the South West counties at April's London Mini - marathon which covers the final 3 miles of the traditional 26.2 full distance finishing in front of Buckingham Palace.
The start of the Senior Men’s Race at the South West XC Championships, Ilton.
Matt Lusby and Alexander Coombs in their Somerset vests.
1 Ruby Shaw
2 Harriet Scott
15 Heath Hughes-Davies
31 Alfie Beck
32 Milo Cook
3 Bibi Abernethy
48 Henrietta Stevens
1 Oskar Beck
23 Jamie Dawson
44 Jack Barker
48 Dominic Cook
U15 girls – Harrier team was 1st SW Club team
9 Daisy Abernethy
11 Jemima Davey
13 Isabelle Whittle
15 Isobel Stacey
31 Victoria Townsend
33 Arthur Fisher
40 Harry Dawson
U17 women – Harrier team was 3rd SW women’s team
8 Daisy Davies
11 Lucy Bickerton
24 Evie Horsfall
30 Amelie Cook
31 Macey Burge
13 Joseph Usher
16 Reuben Cawley
34 Gabriel Chatard
35 Jay Carey
38 Joshua Hinton
4 Daisy Davies
7 Lizzie Ingram
67 Melissa Aspinall
19 Matt Lusby
25 Alexander Coombs
100 Geoff Cole
Harry Dawson wearing his Somerset vest for the first time.
South West Indoor Championships – Cardiff - 07/01/2024
There were five Harriers competing at track & field at these Indoor Championships and three came away with SW Titles. On the track, U17 Tom Webb continues his good run of form when winning the 1500m in 4.06. u15 Gemma Tolputt, who has been helping out at Monday juniors as well as training with the Tuesday group, was 3rd in her 1500m in 5.06, and u15 Isaac Slight was 9th in his 800m race in 2.42.
In the field, Isaac was the winner of the u15 Pole Vault with his clearance of 2.41m whilst u15 Rosie Joynes also won the u15 girls Pole Vault with 1.71m. u17 Lily Jones won the Long Jump with a great leap of 5.09m
Chard Flyer 10K - 01/01/2024
The first race in this year’s Somerset Series was the Chard Flyer 10K. This event took place on News Years Day. A course with a variety of terrain, including cycle paths, steep ascents and descents, lakeside footpaths, and even a set of stairs to conquer and cycle barriers to dodge. Many Harriers took part, maybe a few with sore heads from the previous night’s celebrations. The race began with a 15 minute walk away from the Race HQ which felt like a parade of runners, marching through the High Street to mark the start of the New Year.
First 3 finishers (Alexander Coombs 1st, and Matt Lusby 3rd)
First home was Alexander Coombs in 34:40, with Matt Lusby finishing 3rd in 35:21. Other Harrier results:
Sam Harvey: 22nd - 42:55
Jonathan Williams: 24th - 43:22
Melissa Holmes: 47th - 47:35 (First F35 - outside top 3)
John Ratcliffe: 55th - 48:41
Ethan Harvey: 60th - 49:17
Carol Buckland: 79th - 51:33
Full results can be found here.
The next race in the Somerset Series is the Babcary Road Race, supported by Wells City Harriers. For details click here.
Carol Buckland tackling the hill at the Chard Flyer.
First Chance 10K - 07/01/2024
Zak Hurrell raced at the First Chance 10K on a cold Exeter morning. He finished 3rd in a time of 33:01. Great running! Full race results can be found here
Zak with his finishers trophy, alongside the top 3 men and women
Zak reports: It was great to start the year with a road 10k even if it was 2 degrees. Compared to the weather of recent we were pretty lucky to have a fairly still dry morning although the course was very icy in places which made the turns challenging. There was a big turn out with 585 runners on the start line [maybe a reason for the fall in numbers at the South West XC Championships?] and the course consisted of 2 laps on concrete paths with 2 separate out and back sections which mixed with pedestrians, cyclists, dogs and other runners, certainly made it interesting. I started the race strong but soon got passed by 2 low 31 minute 10k runners so ended up running the whole race in a gap between 2nd and 4th. Whilst it’s definitely not the fastest course with many turns and busy paths it’s a fun way to start the year and I’m happy with the result.
|Zak at the beginning of the race.
|Zak finishing strong to claim 3rd.
Meet the Harrier
Our latest edition of Meet the Harrier features Rosie Park. To read the interview click here.
Rosie Park after finishing London Marathon, 2019
Don’t forget we have entered a new quarter and school term, therefore Monday night and Tuesday night Harriers’ training fees are now due. You can pay by cash or card (preferred) at your training session. £15 for half-term on Mondays; £20 for Jan-March quarter on Tuesdays. Register before each session.
We welcome those who are new to joining us - seniors joining now will need pay only £10 for membership to cover the period to the end of March, with new full membership year to start from 1st April. (training fees additional).
Yeovil Olympiad Petition
For over 50 years, the Yeovil Olympiads Athletic Club has called the Bill Whistlecroft Athletics Arena at Yeovil Rec home. This facility, along with other sports and leisure amenities at the Yeovil Recreation Centre, are under threat due to a proposed closure by Somerset Council, to save costs. These facilities are not just local assets; they hold regional importance across the South West as they represent the only public facility of its kind and quality in Somerset.
The impact of this closure would be far-reaching. The Yeovil Olympiads would lose their base, local schools that utilise these facilities for physical education and sports events would be left without an alternative, other athletics clubs who depend on these amenities would be displaced, and County, Regional and National level competitions hosted here would need to find new venues.
The significance of these facilities extends beyond sport - they foster community spirit, promote physical health among locals of all ages and contribute to our regional identity. We must ensure that future generations have access to these invaluable resources.
We urge Somerset Council to reconsider their proposal to close down such a vital part of our community's life. Let us preserve our sporting heritage for current users and future generations alike. Please sign this petition if you believe in protecting public sports facilities like those at Yeovil Recreation Centre from closure.
To sign the petition, click here.
& Finally....don't forget the 201st edition of the Street races being held on Wednesday 10th January. Race details can be found here. If you're a senior Harrier or parent of a junior Harrier and you haven't yet volunteered please take this opportunity. Entry on the night available for 5k, 2k and 1k but please arrive by 7pm to enter by 7.15pm.