ATHLETICS: County competitors honoured at inaugural ceremony

Wiltshire Times: The awards evening winners (Picture by Jaret Wrintmore) The awards evening winners (Picture by Jaret Wrintmore)

THE Wiltshire Athletic Association hosted their inaugural awards ceremony at Devizes Sports & Social Club last week.

The awards, supported by Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire & Swindon Sports (WASP), saw accolades presented in 11 categories, with 113 nominations sifted into shortlists and eventual winners by Association chairman Darren Wrintmore, Wiltshire Councils’ Alex Muse and Caroline Palmer, of Devizes Running Club.

Presenting the awards was Association president Derek Drewitt, assisted by Dominique Oughton (WASP) and the judging panel.

Skye Allen, of City of Salisbury A&RC, was named the young female athlete of the year, having both the South West England champion at 100m & high jump.

The shortlisted nominees were Wiltshire 70m hurdles champion and South-West 200m indoor champion Becky Alexander, of Swindon Harriers, and Polly Maton, of Moonrakers AC, who has been short listed for both the world junior championship and the European Championships as a T46 athlete.

The young male athlete of the year was Jacob Ness, also of City of Salisbury A&RC, who as well as being the reigning South West England 400m champion is ranked second in the country.

Shortlisted nominees were Will Crisp, of Swindon Harriers, the Wiltshire 800m, high jump and cross country champion and Lewis Harnett, of Moonrakers AC, the Wiltshire 100m and 200m champion and a South West England medallist.

Senior female athlete of the year was South West England 400m hurdles champion Lizzie Clifford, from City of Salisbury A&RC, with Wiltshire Half Marathon and 10K champion, Ruth Barnes, of Avon Valley Runners, along with Welsh 60m indoor hurdles champion Keeleigh Chapman, of Swindon Harriers, the other short listed nominees.

Senior male athlete of the year was awarded to South West England 800m champion, Simon Dill of Swindon Harriers, with Wiltshire Half Marathon champion Michael Towler, of Avon Valley Runners and Wiltshire 10K champion, Simon Nott of Calne Running Club, shortlisted.

The veteran female athlete of the year was Fiona Price, of Avon Valley Runners as the 2013 Wiltshire 3000m champion, BMAF 5000m & 10-mile medallist and silver medallist in the Masters Half Marathon in Budapest earlier this year.

The other shortlisted nominees were Denise Grech, of Calne Running Club, with her multiple race wins across the county and Sam Kelly, from Royal Wootton Bassett Hounds, who was the winner of the Leicester Marathon and Downton Half Marathon and has also achieved the highest number of first place Park Runs in the country.

The veteran male athlete award went to Peter Molloy, of Swindon Harriers, who achieved gold medals at the British Masters' indoor 800m, 1500m and 3000m and was also a medallist at the World Masters championships in Budapest this year.

Shortlisted were Gary Dunstone, of Chippenham Harriers, who finished as first MV40 at the Newsquest-sponsored Wiltshire Road Race League in 2013 and MV75 athlete Gordon Wiltshire, from City of Salisbury A&RC.

The coach of the year award went to specialist sprints coach Colin Baross, of Moonrakers AC, with Tony Jackson, of Swindon Harriers, and Michelle Maxwell, of Chippenham Harriers, being the other nominees.

Official of the year award went to specialist track judge Aly Sloane, from City of Salisbury A&RC with Alan Brown, of Swindon Harriers, and Dave Amey, also from City of Salisbury A&RC, being shortlisted.

Unsung hero of the year was awarded to Stuart Henderson, from Corsham Running Club, who as club treasurer and Wiltshire XC secretary was the driving force behind the inaugural Wiltshire Off-Road Race League which proved so popular with the Wiltshire clubs.

Lorraine Ferris, of Royal Wootton Bassett Hounds, and Sean Price, of Avon Valley Runners, were nominated.

The club initiative of the year award was presented to recognise an initiative set-up by a club to improve athletics in the area.

This went to Avon Valley Runners for their JAVR 2K – a monthly event held in Southwick Country Park targeting young athletes as young as eight, with its own league scoring system.

The event also launched the inaugural Wiltshire Junior Race League in 2014.

Other shortlisted nominees were Corsham Running Club's One Mile Club which provides incentives to younger runners to run a mile or multiples of and the ‘Sofa to 5K’ programme by Devizes Running Club, which encourages beginners into running.

Race of the year was presented to the organising committee from Chippenham Harriers for the Chippenham Half Marathon which this year takes place on Sunday, September 7 when it also will be race ten for the 2014 Wiltshire Road Race League.

It is expected to once again attract 1500 runners and raise more than £10,000 for good causes.

Shortlisted races were the AVR Wiltshire Half Marathon, organised by Avon Valley Runners and the St Georges 10K, organised by Corsham Running Club.

The final award, for the ‘Athletics Brain of Wiltshire’ saw attendees answer a series of trivia questions about local athletics and athletes, Ellie Isaacs, of Avon Valley Runners, gaining the top score of the evening.

The event was attended by England Athletics (South West) regional chairman Nigel Rowe.

The category winners will be put forward by Wiltshire Athletic Association to the England Athletics awards that take place later in the year and also to the Wiltshire Sports Awards that take place in October.

MORE SPORTS NEWS & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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