Harriers have continued to train hard and compete wherever possible. This week we report on how Elise & Ollie Thorner are progressing whilst on their College scholarships in the USA – you will see that their times are coming down as their performances continue to sparkle! Meanwhile, given that the final Gwent League was cancelled, due to waterlogging, we also have the first report of Harriers affected by Coronavirus – not directly to their health but due to the cancellation of a mass event. Who knows if this will be the start of serious disruption to the sporting calendar?? Meanwhile, get ready for the final round of this year’s Clive & Angela Thomas Street 5k Series to be held on Wednesday 11th March.

Elise Thorner in action




Over in the States, the 19 year old twins Elise & Ollie Thorner, who are attending different US Universities on Scholarships due to their athletic talent, have been turning out for their College teams at indoor events and performing rather well…..

Al Thorner reports:

“Excellent weekend of athletics for Wells City Harriers duo Ollie & Elise Thorner as they competed for the first time in their respective university's indoor track and field regional championships. The events held all across America are collegiate athletes' last opportunity to gain qualifying standards and finish ranked in the top 16 in the US and qualify for the prestigious NCAA indoor finals being held in Albuquerque in a couple of weeks.

On Thursday 27th February Elise had her first race competing in the University of New Mexico team of four athletes in the Distance Medley Relay comprising of 1200m, 400m, 800m and 1600m legs. Elise blistered round the 4 laps timed at an unofficial split time of 2 mins 08.5 seconds (after adjustment for altitude) which is takes a few tenths of a second off of her outdoor 800m personal best. The team finished in 11mins 02 seconds to rank 9th in the US and qualify for the NCAA finals. This is a tremendous achievement for Elise to make her first NCAA finals in her first year in America. Her efforts however took their toll and she failed to get through the heats of the individual 800m races the following day, finishing a few tenths off in third place with only two to go through to the final. A busy weekend concluded with her running the 3rd leg of the 4 x 400m relay "A" team clocking the fastest UNM split time of the day in an unofficial 57.9 seconds. 

On Friday 28th February, Ollie Thorner competed in his first US indoor track and regional finals on his home track in Seattle at the University of Washington in the Heptathlon. He went into the competition having set an amazing personal best score of 5343 a month ago which ranked him 3rd on the UK All Time list for U20 athletes using senior implements. His first event was the 60m dash and he got off to an excellent start with a PB of 7.18 seconds. Next up was the Long Jump and an indoor personal best of 7m 71cm followed by another PB of 11m 46 with the 7.25kg Shot Put. The final event of Day 1 was the High Jump where he scored a solid 1m 96cm, albeit short of his best of 2m 01cm set a month ago. He went into Day 2 in 7th position overall with 3 strong events ahead.

First up on the Saturday, 29th February, was the 60m hurdles and, despite clattering two of the barriers, he managed to get within 4 hundredths of his personal best with 8.61 seconds. Another personal best followed in the Pole Vault with a clearance of 4m 70cm leaving only the 1000m, a strong event for Ollie. Excitement had built in his support team as he needed to run a 2 second PB of 2 mins 38.00 to achieve a finishing score of 5455 points and overtake his mentor and UK No 1 senior decathlete Tim Duckworth in the All Time U20 UK rankings for the Indoor Heptathlon using senior implements. Despite Ollie leading practically from gun to tape he came up an agonising 0.86 seconds short in a personal best time of 2 mins 38.86 to go No 2 on the All Time rankings with a finishing score of 5445. His performance gained him a 5th place finish in the competition and takes him to No 1 in the U20 Uk Heptathlon rankings for 2020 and third ranked freshman in America. “


We hope to continue to carry reports on how the twins progress – they certainly seem to be thriving with the coaching and facilities available Stateside.

Coronavirus affects racing plans!

Meanwhile, another group of Harriers were also abroad -  this time for a big road race event  - and had their plans come to nought. Club Membership Secretary Alice Knight, together with husband Andrew Pate and their grown up 'kids', Jessica and William Pate have all been in training for the past weekend’s Paris Half-Marathon. Will is currently studying in Paris so it was a nice target for them all to take part. They duly arrived at registration on Saturday to find that the French Government had ordered that there should be no gatherings of more than 5,000 people due to the threat posed by Coronavirus – as a consequence the 44,000 who were due to run in Paris were turned away. Hopefully, they all got to walk up the Eiffel Tower instead and they can use their training towards another (smaller) event sometime soon.

National XC Championships - it has been possible to add a few more photos to the previous report since it was first published. Our thanks to the parents who sent photos in.(*)

Training Update

There has been no further progress these past few weeks with the Millfield Track refurbishment. A spell of dry and not too cold weather is required for the laying of the top surface and marking of the lines. See the Training tab for the latest Tuesday night training programme for the period March and April 2020. This will be revised if there is a further delay with our being able to start using the Track facility. Well done to all Harriers who have been dedicated enough to keep on training at the temporary facility at Strode College Sports Centre this past very wet Autumn and Winter period!

Street 5k and junior 1k & 2k races coming up - Wednesday 11th March

The final race in this year’s Series (number 186 over 31 years) will take place on Wednesday 11th March as per usual. Come and run this 5 laps of 1k race for the first time ever to gain your bottle of Bullbeggar Cider, or Lamyatt Apple Juice, or indeed improve your time from before this Series for the same award. For those who have competed in at least 5 races over the Series this year there will also be the Series award, and engraved glass prizes for those who are top in the various age categories.

More details of the Street 5k and junior races, and entry links to the Butleigh 10k multi-terrain and Wells Fun Runs here.

Get ready for the Track season!

Fixtures for the new season are now being finalised – please see our partner Club’s fixture list. Harriers compete for YOAC at Track and Field. The Early Season Spring Meeting is being held on Easter Monday 13th April – u11s through to seniors. This season, the Senior athletes team will be competing in the new National League which brings together the previously separate Men’s and Women’s British Leagues.

Harrier Membership, Volunteering & Committee News

The new Membership year commences on 1st April 2020 - all those who are currently members will receive an email direct from England Athletics on that day to request payment for the next 12 months. Please ensure that the Membership Secretary has a record of your email address, especially if you have changed it in the past year. New members (only) should use the paper form to sign up - this will be available on the Harrier website later this month.Club Membership fees should be paid by 30th April 2020.

All members, or parents of junior members, are expected to volunteer during the course of the year - this could be by marshalling at a Street 5k race, or at the Wells Fun Run, or team managing or acting as a First Aider or assistant coach. Please ensure you have volunteered during the past year for at least one of these roles and let the secretary know what voluntray role you will be fulfilling in 2020/21. The next committee meeting is on Wednesday 25th March and the Club AGM is on Wednesday 5th May - both meetings will be held in Wells - venue tbc - starting at 8pm.

Reports for the web

Remember to send all reports for the website by 8pm every Monday for inclusion that week. A summary copy of the report also goes to the Mid-Somerset Series of Newspapers. Reports and good photos welcome. (* note that due to very poor Broadband speeds in Lamyatt all photos should currently be sent as jpegs at low resolution with a caption). Reports should include details of the event, conditions on the day (weather, ground/terrain); distance and times of all Harriers taking part. Send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.