General, Track and Field

Bea Wood wins English Schools’ 1,500m title

bea's flag mar 18.jpeg City of Salisbury’s Bea Wood is national 1,500m number one in her age group following an outstanding run in the English Schools’ athletics championships at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.

After cruising through the junior heats, she was briefly challenged for the lead early in the final but then put tactics aside and sped to a decisive win in a rapid 4min 28.11sec, well clear of Maisie Collis of Surrey (4.32) and Cheshire’s Holly Weedall (4.35).

At the same event, Georgia Clarke did well to take eighth place in the junior girls’ shot with 10.72m and Theo Cochrane cleared a personal best 1.75m for 12th in the junior high jump.

The club’s seniors proved similarly unstoppable in their Southern League match at Swindon, clinching a remarkable fourth win in four fixtures to stay ahead of Brighton and Hove AC and Team Dorset at the top of division three.

Sarah Brett

They started with two wins in the women’s 400m hurdles by Sarah Brett and Tasha Mundell, Sarah going on to win the 400m flat too in a new pb of 61.5sec.

Tasha then won the 5,000m and the steeplechase where she was joined by Emma Clarke who took the B string.

New girl Charlene Matthews won the javelin and Ellie Yarwood won the shot.

The Salisbury club’s men excelled in the field winning both strings of the long and triple jumps and in both cases Richard Holt was just 1cm behind Dan Brown’s 6.06m and 12.48m.

Jack Paget won the shot, discus and hammer, with Eion Brown taking the discus and shot B string and Darren Clissold the B string hammer.

The promotion-deciding final fixture is away to Brighton on August 18th.


Road, Track and Field

Bea Wood sets new 1500m standard

Bea Wood

With only three weeks’ track training in her legs, City of Salisbury’s exceptional young prospect Bea Wood set a new uner-15’s age-group club record for the 1500m in a British Milers’ fixture at Millfield School in Somerset.

After following a pacer for the first lap, and despite jostling that forced her to run wide for much of the distance, she clocked a time of 4min 30.4sec to clip two seconds off her previous best and go top of the national rankings.

Alex d’Arbost competed in the under 20’s for the first time and was only slightly below his best with 4:23.95.

In the British University Championships, Alex Mundell was timed at 2.21 in the 800m, her best so far this season.

On the road, Nick Hudson gave a clear demonstration of how hard work and dedication can produce results when he defied the bank holiday’s heatwave in the Milton Keynes marathon.

Running conservatively he rose to the 26.2mile challenge and still beat his previous best by two minutes to record 3hours 39min 26sec.
Richard Larcombe was not far back in 3.55.21.

Shane Wilkinson Photography

In the national event photography awards ceremony at the British Museum in London, club member Shane Wilkinson scooped top sports category award for his photo of Salisbury’s very youngest athletes enjoying the challenge of competition in fun-day sack racing on the Five Rivers track last autumn.
The same picture, well-liked by the judges for its exuberant tone, also earned runner-up placing overall.


General, Track and Field

Medal Madness at Marlborough


The City of Salisbury Athletics & Running Club’s (CoSARC) young athletes were in action on Sunday 29th April, when the U9s to U15s competed in a friendly event based on the Quad Kids format hosted by Marlborough & District Junior Athletics Club. Despite the cold weather there were some hot performances, with six medals won. The U11 boys managed a clean sweep with 1st going to Joey Holme, 2nd to Charlie Coles and 3rd to Jacob Earle. The U11 girls grabbed a joint 2nd place with Livvy Hewlett and the U13 boys took the final 2 medals with 1st going to Rory Glover and 3rd place going to Kieran McCullam.

Also on Sunday, two CoSARC runners headed to Chester for the Half Marathon. An undulating course with a couple of killer hills, Craig Weatherburn finished in 1:27:59 – a new personal best –while Denise von Roretz followed in a creditable 2:16:51.

A strong contingent of Salisbury runners headed down to Studland in Dorset for White Star Running’s Bad Cow weekend. This began with a ‘Frolic’ on the Saturday – a 12-hour event allowing runners to complete as many 4.4 mile laps as they wanted to within the time – and was followed by a marathon and half marathon on the Sunday. Charlotte Boardman was the first CoSARC runner home in the Marathon in 04:42:55 – fifth woman overall – followed by Chris Maple in 05:00:15 and then Elizabeth Roberts, Di Cross and Jane Knight, who ran together to finish in 06:22:06; Charlotte, Elizabeth and Di also ran six laps of the Frolic course on Saturday – equivalent to a marathon – to complete a weekend double, while Kathryn Dreyer and Jeanette Hardiman ran five laps. In the Half Marathon, Jackie Chlebowski finished in 02:45:36.

On Saturday, CoSARC’s Steven Mitchell headed the team that organised the Finsbury Challenge charity run, with many CoSARC members acting as volunteers. The event raised money for Winterbourne Earls Primary School and, this year, for national children’s mental health charity Place2Be. More than 220 children and adults took part in the 1k, 3k and 5k routes.

General, Track and Field

Salisbury athletics club locked out from its home track

Amidst the biggest boom in running and athletics the city of Salisbury has ever seen, the running club at the heart of it has been locked out from the running track where it has built its success for the past 25years.

The lock-out was instigated by South Wilts Grammar School for Girls, in response to a disagreement over the introduction of new fees it intends to charge City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club for use of the running track. Since 1st November, the school has become sole key-holder.

Over 100 junior athletes, some of them ranked nationally, were forced to train in the car park of Fiver Rivers Leisure Centre.

Around a hundred children, some as young as nine and some of them disabled, were affected by the school’s action. The club’s team of volunteer coaches promptly rearranged the planned training sessions and held them instead in the adjacent leisure centre’s car-park, within the confines of a safety cordon the club put in place to salvage something for all the young club members present.

“This was a hugely disappointing episode and we believe the school’s action to have been ill-judged,” said club chairman Lee Ness.

“As recently as a month ago, the school wanted to start charging the club £50 an hour given the amount of time we use the track. It’s an exorbitant rate that would have bankrupted the club, and it bears no relation to the value of the facility.

“This sum was reduced in a draft agreement a few days ago to a far more reasonable £200 per month which we were on the verge of accepting. But suddenly, in what was to be a final agreement, the school then laid claim to ownership of our clubhouse – which we built and paid for more than ten years ago!

“Now the school has changed its stance again and is demanding around £1,000 per month: that’s eight times higher than the club paid previously to Wiltshire Council to use the track. A voluntary organisation like ours simply cannot afford to pay that much, and the school knows that.”

The club has well over 400 members, aged 8-80, drawn from Salisbury and a wide radius beyond.

Ness points to the massive contribution the club makes to the community, young and old alike; that it is markedly successful in what it does; is held in high regard within the sport; has a strong team of wiling volunteers; fosters participation and inclusion among all parts of the community including the disabled; and has up and coming young champions in different disciplines of the sport and top performers among the senior ranks too.

“We want to continue to build on our success and further grow our benefit to the community: that has been our outlook for a quarter of a century and remains unchanged. But all of it is clearly in jeopardy if the interests of our club members are not recognised,” he concluded.

For further information please contact:
John Ruskin, City of Salisbury A and RC press officer
077177 18045

General, Track and Field

Letter to Club Members with regards to the Athletics Track Use

From Lee Ness, Chairman of City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club on behalf of the club committee.

As most of you will be aware, our club is now in a difficult situation with regards to the use of the track. This led to the situation on Thursday where the club was unable to gain access and some of our groups trained on the car park. While this was done safely with excellent supervision of coaches, club officers, helpers and parents, it is clearly not what any of us want.

Because of the fantastic response from the members and public, the School and Wiltshire Council have responded; by letters from the school to the parents, a statement on their website and in response to the Salisbury Journal. For our part, we are run by volunteers with full time jobs and so our response is naturally slower as we must bring the committee together before we can respond officially, so I hope you will forgive the delay. This letter is the first stage of our response and it is right that it should be to our members first.

Our club has operated on the athletics track, continuously and without issue for 25 years. We have been working hard on the replacement of the track for the last three years. Throughout this process, our aim has been to come to an operating agreement with the school that continues in that vein and protects the status of our club for future generations of athletes of all types, ages and abilities. The school have always maintained that they are not prepared to contribute financially to the track, neither to the funding of the replacement, nor the maintenance. This is a situation the club has always been aware of and had to accept in our planning for the future.

The track was due to be replaced in 2017. We believe we have a viable plan for the club and the track which achieves this objective. We have shared all our information with the school on numerous occasions. The school have not yet accepted our plan and were not prepared to draw the Sport England Funding until the financial plan and contracts had been agreed. This was the stage of the negotiations until recently.

It is our view that the club has always been an outsider to the discussions between the school and the council. After securing the funding, the two parties refused to allow us to be involved for almost a year while they negotiated the handover of the track to the school. In recent times, we have been summoned to meetings arranged between the school and the council at short notice, with no agenda and no minutes. At one of these meetings a few weeks ago we were informed that Wiltshire Council would hand over the running of the track to the school on 01 November. We believed until that point that this would only occur once the track refurbishment, and the contract with the club, was completed.

At a subsequent meeting, ten days ago, this was confirmed and we were then told that the rates for hiring the track would change. Although this was a difficult meeting, it seemed like a reasonable agreement had been reached for the interim operation of the track, until the new one was laid. The club agreed with the interim Heads of Terms which would form an operating agreement and we also agreed to pay 100% of the available income from the track funds to the school, which amounted to £200 per month.

Unfortunately, late last Friday evening, we received the formal version of that agreement and several clauses had been added with respect to equipment and particularly the club house that we could and would not sign up to. We attempted to negotiate this with the school but we were left with an ultimatum: sign the contract or pay £20 per hour. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to pay what amounted to £300 per week, considering the school already knew our limit. We can’t pay more than 100% of what we earn. We continued to try and resolve this, but in the end this led to the school informing us that we would not be able to use the track without one of those two agreements. This was 32 minutes before Thursday’s Quad Kids session was due to start.

This is the situation in which we now find ourselves. Our Club Officers are working with our legal representative to find a way to resolve this in a way that allows the continued survival of our club. While there is bound to be some short-term pain, I hope you all understand that we can’t in any conscience follow a path that would lead to our destruction.

The school has made a statement and of course this is from their perspective, where the above is from ours. However, there is some misinformation in their statement that I am duty bound to correct for our members.
The business plan developed by the club was created on instruction by the Sports Development officer for Wiltshire Council to show how we would be able to offset the running costs. The club were never, despite numerous requests, provided with details of those running costs, nor did we believe them to be realistic. Our business plan was only intended to offset costs so that the school had no financial contribution. We have since shown that the costs were incorrect and our updated plan covers the correct costs. Additionally, the original agreed plan was that the club had full control of the track and its income outside of school hours. This was changed by the school without consultation and led to a further review of our business plan.

The delay in the interim agreement for which the schools claims no responsibility before has been described above. The school changed the terms after the meeting with no consultation and without any notice. We could not agree to the new terms. The school has made no concession on this.

The date of handover between Wiltshire Council and the School was not communicated to the club until the end of September, despite what the school claims.

As a club we will continue to work hard to assure our continued survival. If you have any questions going forward, please submit them via email to me, or via the club Facebook page.

Lee Ness
On behalf of the committee of
City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club