Wells City Harriers



Photo of the last Harrier Tuesday training group in 2020 (Photo by Paul)

Wells City Harriers wishes all its members and fellow athletes a Merry Christmas and all the very best for the New Year! Here’s hoping we are back training and competing as normal as soon as possible in 2021. In the meantime, read on about the postponement of the SW XC Championships, for our latest race report, update on training, and a blast from the past of when the Club was able to organise its annual Parlauf event on Christmas Day (before the Pudding!)

SW XC Championships postponed from Sunday 3rd January 2021 – new date provisionally 21st February 2021

Following the recent escalation in the Covid-19 situation the event scheduled for Ilton on 3rd January has been postponed to a new provisional date of Sunday 21st February. Watch this space for any further updates or check the website at source. This will be a huge disappointment to many that had already entered but given the situation is something we have to cope with. No further entries are being taken at this present time but if and when the event does get the go ahead to proceed the entry portal will re-open again. Latest here. Our thanks to the organisers at attempting to put these races on.

Chippenham Shortest Day 10k race report

Senior Club coach Jon James has been in competitive action this past week (Sunday 20th December) at the Chippenham Shortest Day 10k road race and finished 7th overall, 1st V50, in a nippy time of 33.34. There were 376 runners in total with runners set off in waves of 6 to comply with Covid-19 rules. Jon continues to demonstrate that he’s in the top 5 nationally for his age. Jon reports:

“It was supposedly a road race - and might seem like it in midsummer when it was meant to be held - "longest day 10K", now rebranded as the "shortest day10K"! - but only 4K of it was on road and the rest was on very wet grass/trails/tracks. I was pleased therefore to run 33.44 and finish 7th overall - 1st V50 and in fact 1st V40 as well.

Other Racing news

There is no Southern nor Inter Counties XC Championships in the new year, and the National XC Championships have been postponed – most likely cancelled in this time-frame. There is no sign of any relaxation happening in the licensing by UKA of any road or multi-terrain or fell racing events in the foreseeable future. There are still some events happening either where the venue is effectively a closed circuit, or where by using waves of runners starting the organisers have secured a licence through a different route. (Race organisers effectively need a permit from a Highways Authority/Local Authority as well as from UKA or via the Association of Running Clubs. There are, of course, some Virtual races out there too.)

Training Update

We held the last training session for 2020 on Tuesday 15th December as Strode College is closed now through to the New Year. The session saw almost 30 Harriers train on the grass under the watchful eye of Club coaches, with an age range from 14 to 77 and speeds from sub-17 minute to plus-30 minute for 5k. The Club expects to resume training in the New Year at the same venue but please check national updates on Covid restrictions and this website for confirmation of changes.

Monday 4th January 6pm-7pm for junior Harriers aged 8 to 15 – Register via Paul This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tuesday 5th January 6.05pm-7.20pm for older juniors and seniors – Register via Graham

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(The Tuesday Training plan for January will be posted up on the website before the session. The December plan is in the previous web article - try and do the session on your own or with up to 5 other people according to the rules)

Usual rules during these times for registering with a Club coached session: Must be a Club member and have registered for a session 24 hours ahead so that we can inform Strode College of attendees for purposes of Test & Trace. The Club organises these coached sessions under UK Govt rules and England Athletics Guidelines following a regularly updated Risk Assessment.

Blast from the Past

Many of us long in the tooth will have enjoyed the annual Xmas Parlauf (‘Pair Run’) event which the Harriers have traditionally held.



The Parlauf saw teams of 2 selected with 1 quick runner and 1 not as quick runner put together with the challenge of covering as much ground as possible in 30 minutes of continuous relay running. Some years all teams were tasked at evenly splitting the distance covered on the track – 1 lap per runner – whilst other years we allowed teams to work out how to make the most of their team by allowing 1 runner to cover more distance than the other or to allow runners to run 200m each and then cross to the other side of the track…. Lots of tactics meant some interesting results with the top pair awarded wine or chocolates after the event. Most recently we followed up the session with a Curry & drink in one of the local pubs. Alas not this year!


The tradition for the Parlauf event for the Harriers was started in the 1980’s by Clive & Angela Thomas (Clive & Ange were Chairman & Secretary for the Harriers in the 1990's) who brought the idea from their London running days. The Harriers started using the Millfield Track for the event in 1989 and it was always held on the morning of Christmas Day! This early photo below from Christmas Day 1992 indicates just how many crazy runners we used to get coming to take part back then:


In that photo, left to right, I can identify Ken Derham (Harrier Secretary for 10 years 1982-92); Wayne Speake’s dad in jacket; Wayne Speake in tracksuit; Mike Cave (white top); Ange Thomas; Allan Thomas; Ian Humphreys (crouching); Clive Thomas (Blue hat); Rachel Wray in front of Clive; Vicki & Phil Mills behind Rachel; Helen Rutter (in green tights); Paul Chadwick – that’s me- crouching; Andy Hennessy (white T-shirt). There’s a few of these still active & racing with the Harriers, or in Rachel’s & Helen’s case still running & helping out recording times at the Club’s Street 5k!


In more recent times the Parlauf has been held on the Tuesday evening before Xmas Day but with no less of an effort by all that have taken part. This photo below is from the 2016 edition and there is inevitably a good number of these guys & gals still training and competing with the Club. Next year we look to see the return of the Harrier Parlauf!


 (Photo by Paul)

ALSO: Christmas Greetings to all Harriers have been received from our Swiss-based Coach Adrian Marriott & we wish all former Harriers the very best for the season


Training in December and Details of South West XC Championships

Christian, Zak & Archie win whilst Owen runs a pb - all Club group training cancelled

Harrier training continues to grow

One Year ago - Cold, but dry at the December 2019 Street 5k race

Ten Years ago - Harriers triumph at Bath Cross Country race whilst Tickner runs for TeamGB