Berni Mundy and the late Kevin Sheppard are credited with starting the first training sessions back in 1981 when they were preparing for the London Marathon. Within a short time a small group of runners were assembling by the Fountain in the Wells Market place for the Wednesday run every week. The new Club was called Cathedral City Striders to start with and then changed its name to Wells City Harriers in 1982.
(photo below of the 2007 u13 boys team with Frank Tickner's England Cross Country Champions Trophy)
Tony Williams (whose sons and grandsons also compete(d) for us) was one of the early members:
“For a Club to be completely successful a certain degree of humility and unselfishness must be prevalent with the top runners always ready to help those not so talented. Elitism must end at the finishing post, for even the slowest runner must be included in the general success of the Club.
When we start running we are all beginners and even now many of us, myself included, are being ‘overtaken’ by the wealth of talent that has developed in Wells. This bodes well for the future and I hope that in the years to come we will still find the same air of companionship at the club between fast and slow alike.
If that continues Wells City Harriers can only go from strength to strength.”
(from the Harrier newsletter, 1984)
Of the early runners, some, like Steve Masters, continues to train and compete hard for the Club some 30 years on. Others, such as the Club’s first County Champion, Clive Thomas who won the County 5000m track race in May 1983, became known in a different capacity as he masterminded our coaching and team efforts for many years. We have recognised some of the achievements of these individuals with our Hon Life Membership awards (see below).
In the early days the Club had a fearsome reputation as the top cross-country club in the County – winning the then called Avalon League against all comers. The club also did its bit for town twinning with various escapades, including running a continuous relay from Dover back to Wells with athletes from Bad Durkheim in Germany in Summer 1983.
On December 10th 1984 Mary Rand became the Club’s Honorary President. Her achievements in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics are forever commemorated in the Wells Market Place.
After seven years of training out of the Wells City Sports Club, in 1988 the Club relocated its training nights on a Wednesday to Wells Rugby Club and we are still grateful to be part of the set up there
In 1989 the Club also started to train on the new tartan track at Millfield School on a Tuesday evening. Soon afterwards a junior section was established and in addition to being a cross-country and road running Club we became a track and field club too. We entered a team into the South west Athletics League and with the good coaching provided enabled a number of youngsters to achieve national ranking status at various jumps and running events.
In 1990 the Street 5k Series was started. This followed on the experience of the Club in organising the Mendip half marathon (early 1980’s) and the Wells Gerry Murray races (1988-1998).In addition during the 1980s the club helped local committees establish their own races, such as the Glastonbury Road race, and the Shepton Mallet Fun Run, and in the 2000s we helped revive the Wells Fun Run. We also heped the junior schools set up their Mendip schools XC League.
In September 2000 the Club signed a Partnership agreement with Yeovil Olympiads for the two Clubs to work together, with members of the Harriers automatically becoming members of the Olympiads for track and field purposes and Olympiad members becoming members of the Harriers for road running, cross-country and multi-terrain/fell running events. This has played to the traditional strengths of the two Clubs and has enabled them to grow together to field teams at the highest levels of national competition.
In the 2000s the Harriers have continued to grow and thrive with annual membership of well over 200 members of all ages competing at all athletic disciplines, and also continuing to provide 'Running Sisters' and 'Up & Running' type programmes for those new or returning to running. We also sponsored the local Secondary Schools Cross-country league. We have seen a number of our juniors and seniors go on to individual national level achievements, and as a team we have punched above our weight at regional and national level Championships. (see below).
The Harriers have been fortunate to have a number of 'driving forces' throughout its history - otherwise we wouldn't have been as successful as we have been. Many who have served on the committee, or as coaches, as officials, or as team managers etc have given up hours of time - some every week, for many years if not decades. To continue to be successful all new members and parents of juniors should stop and think 'what can I do to help?'. The sum of the parts is much greater than the individual elements. We try to formally acknowledge the voluntary efforts of our members every year, and for some we have granted them Hon Life Membership.
We have some dedicated committee members which has given us excellent stability. Past Chairpersons:1986-1996 Mike Derbidge; 1996-2004 Clive Thomas; 2004-2015 Paul Chadwick; 2015-16 Simon Prior; 2016- Graham Goldsmid. Amongst our current coaches, Paul Chadwick & Graham Goldsmid have now been coaching well in excess of 10 years.
Beyond the Finishing Line recalls some of our members who are no longer with us but who have contributed in some small way to making the Club what it is.
We currently (2021) compete as a team in the following:
Track & Field (competing as Yeovil Olympiads)
British Men’s Premier South West Division (the only Somerset Club at a national level)
Southern Athletics League SW (men & women u17s upwards)
South West Athletics League East Division (all age groups u13 upwards)
Uk Youth Development League (u17s & u20s)
We also team manage and support individual athletes to compete at regional and national track & field competitions, including some that compete at Indoor track and field during the winter season.
Road (competing as Wells City Harriers)
Southern and National Road Relays 6 stage and 12 stage events for men; 4 stage & 6 stage for women; 3 and 4 stage for girls and boys
Cross-Country (competing as Wells City Harriers)
Gwent XC League
Wessex XC League
Somerset XC Championships
South West XC Championships
Southern XC Championships
National XC Championships
National XC Relays
Fell Running (competing as Wells City Harriers)
Southern Fell Running Championships
Cotswold Way Relay & other long distance relays
HON LIFE MEMBERS
For services to the Club or to sport:
Berni Mundy (Founder Member)
For athletic achievement (Selection to compete for Britain (i.e. TEAMGB) as a Wells City Harrier)
Selection for Team GB at WORLD XC Championships & at EUROPEAN XC & Track Championships: Frank Tickner (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011);
Selection for Team GB at WORLD XC Championships: Ben Tickner (2005)
Selection for Team GB at EUROPEAN u23 Track & Field Championships (1999) 3000m Steeplechase: Andy Hennessy
Selection for Team GB at WORLD Junior XC Championships: Amber Gascoigne (1998)
Selection for Team GB at Marathon (Toronto): Adrian Marriott (2007)
Selection for Team GB at WORLD XC Championships (2019) & at EUROPEAN XC Championships (as a Junior 2015 & as an u23 2018) and at the Edinburgh XC International: (2015) Oliver Fox
Selection for Team GB at WORLD Junior XC Championships: Luke Prior (2017)
Selection for Team GB at EUROPEAN Track & Field Championships (under 18, 2018 & under 23, 2021): Elise Thorner (Steeplechase);
Selection for Team GB at EUROPEAN Track & Field Championships(under 18) Ollie Thorner (Decathlon) (2018)
Selection for Team GB at Manchester International for u'20 team Harry Barton (110m Hurdles) (2021)
Selection for England at Steeplechase at both Junior & Senior Level: Laura Parker (2010)
Selection for England at Senior Level, Lotto Cross Cup, Ann Taswell
Selection for England Juniors at Brussels Lotto Cross Cup Isobel Glaisher & Oliver Fox (2014)
Selection for England u23s at Rennes 10k road race Oliver Fox (2019)
Selection for England u20s at Elgiobar XC International (Spain): Luke Prior (2017)
Selection for England u20s at InterTrust Games (Channel Isles) 1500m: Elise Thorner(2018)
Selection for Wales u20s (2015) at Antrim Home Countries International: Matthew Dickinson
Selection for Wales u20s (2017) at Cardiff Celtic International: Oliver Dickinson
English Schools Champions/Medalists at Cross-country: Frank Tickner (Inter Boys Champion, 2000); Emily Smith (Junior Girls Champion, 2010); Dan Maydew (Senior Boys, 2021 virtual event); Silver medal - Oliver Fox (Senior Boys 2015)
In addition to Frank & Emily, a number of the Club's juniors have been selected to compete for English Schools at the international schools match: Oliver Fox (2011 & 2013 & 2015), Isobel Glaisher (2012), Sam Sommerville (2012)
English Schools Champions/Medallists at Track & Field: Elise Thorner Inter-girls 1500m Steeplechase Champion (2017); Harry Barton (Senior Boys, 110m Hurdles, 2021)
whilst Emily Smith was also 1500m Steeplechase silver medalist (Senior Girls 2014); and Sophie Hamilton was 1500m bronze medalist at the same Championships (Junior Girls 2014).
Elise selected to represent English Schools at the SIAB match July 2017.
A number of the Club's veterans have been selected to compete for Wales or England at Masters XC Matches: Angela Thomas (Wales); Dickie Wythe, Les Lock, Jon James, Jenny Moore & Clive Harwood (England). Tim Hawkins has been selected as a V40 representative for England at Masters Marathon distance.
National (English) XC Champion: Frank Tickner (2007 & 2009)
UK Inter-Counties Champion: Frank Tickner (2007 & 2013)
Welsh XC Silver medalist u20s: Matthew Dickinson (2015)
National u23 Steeplechase Champion: Laura Parker (2010); Laura was also British Universities Champion at Steeplechase in 2010.
National u20 110m Hurdles Silver Harry Barton (2021)
Cross Country First/Gold medal Southern XC Championships: Frank Tickner (2008 & 2013) & Ben Tickner (2012)
Runner up/Silver Medal Southern XC Championships: Ben Tickner (2011) & Frank Tickner (2014) & Matthew Dickinson (u20 2015)
Third/Bronze Medal Southern XC Championships: Ann Taswell (1999) & Amber Gascoigne (2004) & Isobel Glaisher (u17w 2014)
Track & Field:First/Gold medal for Southern T&F Championships u20s 5000m on the track Luke Prior (2017)
Fell Running The Harriers have also provided the individual gold medalists/Champions at the annual Southern Fell Running Championships on a number of occasions: Helen Rutter (1995 & 1996); Laurie Phippard(nee King) (2004); Jenny Moore (2007); and Paul Chadwick (1996). Paul continues to administer these Championships (3 races over a weekend on the Isle of Wight in September) on behalf of the South of England Athletic Association, in conjunction with Ryde Harriers. Amongst other notable hill-running achievements, Chris Kelsey was the first Club member to achieve the completion of the 'Bob Graham Round' within 24 hours. Oli Frost also achieved the feat in 2014. John Reynolds (2015) & Oli Frost (2016) have also completed the Ultra Trail Mt Blanc.
Somerset Race Series: A number of Harriers have won outright the Somerset Race Series over the years: Jenny Moore (6 times); Wayne Speak (3); Paul Levick; Les Lock; Denise Hoogesteger; Angela Thomas; Sue Cook; Jon Gilling; Nathan Young; Kieran Young; Tim Hawkins; Ali Blaney; Christian Green
(The following list includes only the performances as Wells City Harriers - in addition we have contributed to many excellent team performances when competing as Yeovil Olympiads AC at Track & field team events) Top performances - top ten - only included here
Senior Men: 2nd at Southern 6 stage Road Relays (2005 & 2006); & 4th (2007); & 5th (2004)
5th at English XC Relays (2007)
5th at Southern XC Championships (2008); & 7th (2010)
8th at English Road Relays (2007)
9th (12 to score) at Southern XC Championships (2010)
7th at Southern 12 stage relays (2008)
1st at Gwent XC League Div 1 (2010/11); 1st Gwent XC Div 2 (2009/10); 1st Gwent XC Div 3(2008/09); 1st Gwent XC Div 4 (2007/08) - our first year.
2nd at SW XC Championships (2011 & 2018)
3rd at Gwent Xc League Div 1 (2011/12)
1st at Tri-County XC Championships (2012)
Senior Women: 1st at SW XC Championships (2011)
1st at Cotswold Way Relay (1995,1996 & 1997) (as Mendip Mudlarks)
5th at Southern XC Championships (2004)
Veteran Men: 1st at Cotswold Way Relay (1999)
3rd V50 team at Southern Road Relays (2014)
2nd V40 team at Gwent XC League (2012/13)
3rd V50 team at Gwent XC League (2011/12 & 2012/13)
u17 women: 1st at SW XC Championships (2013)
7th at Southern Road Relays (2018)
9th at Southern XC Championships (2010)
1st at Gwent XC League (2012/13)
3rd at Gwent XC League (2011/12)
u17 men: 1st at SW XC Championships (2013)
2nd at Gwent XC League (2011/12 & 2012/13 & 2014/15)
5th at Southern Road Relays (2014)
6th at Southern Road Relays (2013)
u15 girls: 1st at SW XC Championships (2011 & 2013)
10th at Southern XC Championships (2011)
2nd at Southern Road Relays (2010) & 7th (2011)
3rd at Southern Road Relays (2014)
2nd at Gwent XC League (2011/12)
3rd at Gwent XC League (2014/15)
u15 boys: 2nd at English Road Relays (2011)
1st at SW XC Championships (2018)
2nd at SW XC Championships (2011 & 2013)
1st at Gwent Xc league (2012/13)
2nd at Gwent XC League (2011/12)
9th at Southern XC Championships (2011)
4th at Southern Road Relays (2010) & 9th (2011 & 2018)
u13 girls: 5th at English Road Relays (2013)
2nd at Southern Road Relays (2013)
2nd at SW XC Championships (2018)
10th at Southern XC Championships (2009)
u13 boys: 1st at Gwent XC League (2008/09 & 2010/11)
2nd at Southern Road Relays (2010) & 5th (2009) & 6th (2011)
3rd at SW XC Championships (2018)
2nd at Gwent XC league (2012/13)
3rd at Gwent XC League (2011/12)
6th at Southern XC Championships (2008 & 2010) & 9th (2005)
Novice Boys: 1st at Gwent XC League (2008/09)
3rd at Gwent XC League (2011/12)
Juniors: Top Junior Club perfomances Gwent XC League (2008/09)
(more team performances at Championships & Leagues to be added; Please advise Paul of any outstanding team or individual performances not on this page)
We make Annual awards to our members for their achievements and a note of those awards appears in our Annual Report to the Membership made at the AGM every May. One of the awards given out at the Annual Dinner is the prestigious Bog Seat award presented to the Harrier who has done the daftest thing the previous year - . many of the committee have proven to be talented at this! A list of the Bog Seat winners is here.
There is a Wells City Harriers History publication covering the first 21 years of the Club that was edited by Colin Turner & Paul Chadwick (2002). Ask them if you want to read the details.
Below; u15 girls team at the English Road relays (2015) - Elise in the middle subsequently selected for TeamGB at both u18 & u23 level; whllst Sophie on right gave up athletics in order to concentrate on hre hockey and is now part of the GB Hockey squad.