Wiltshire Athletic Association hosted the 2016 Wiltshire Athletics Awards at Doric Park in Trowbridge. The event which was sponsored by Wiltshire and Swindon Sport (WASP) recognised the best athletes in the county and those that make athletics happen in Wiltshire. Just short of one hundred nominations were received and it was down to the Awards Judging Panel of Wiltshire Athletic Association Chairman Darren Wrintmore; Honorary Secretary Denise Grech and Deborah Bray of Lavington Trust to draw up the short list of three nominees in each of the eleven categories. The awards were presented by Wiltshire Athletic Association Chairman Darren Wrintmore who was assisted by members of the Awards Judging Panel.
The first award presented was to Nynka Rucker of Team Bath for the Young Female athlete of the year, Nynka proved to be a consistent Quad Kids performer throughout 2015 as well as winning the Cardiff Junior indoor Championships 800m and Bronze medallist at South West Inter-Counties XC plus runner-up in the Gloucester XC League. The other short listed nominees were Molly Hole from City of Salisbury and Taya Dee of Highworth Running Club.
The Young Male athlete of the year was awarded to Rico Lionetti of Lavington Athletics who achieved a Wiltshire Schools Championship record for High Jump and finished 2015 ranked 12th in UK for High Jump and 11th for Long jump in only his second year of competition. The other short listed nominees were Gregg Herring from City of Salisbury and Thomas Holmes of Marlborough & District Junior AC.
The Senior Female athlete of the year was awarded to Kate Jacobs of Swindon Harriers who in 2015 claimed both the Wiltshire 5,000m amd British Masters 5,000m titles. Kate was also selected for the England squad in the British & Irish Masters XC International match in Dublin. Ruth Barnes of Avon Valley Runners and Charlotte Bowers of Chippenham Harriers were the other short listed nominees in the category.
The Senior Male athlete of the year was awarded to Simon Nott of Calne Running Club who was Wiltshire 10K and XC champion in 2015 plus winner of the 2016 South West Road Race championship 10-miler. Nyle Clinton of Swindon Harriers and Tom Gale of Team Bath were the runners up in this closely contested category.
The Veteran Female athlete of the year was awarded to Fiona Price of Avon Valley Runners for the third year as the Wiltshire 10K, Half Marathon and South West Vets 10,000m champion, plus winning a Bronze medal at European Masters 10K in Italy. The other short listed nominees were Jacqueline Rockliffe of Avon Valley Runners and Denise Grech of Calne Runnning Club.
The Veteran Male athlete of the year was awarded to Gary O’Brien of Swindon Harriers who won the Swindon Half Marathon champion and represented Great Britain at the European Masters Championships 10K plus the World Masters Half Marathon. The other short listed nominees were Dave Telfer of Calne Running Club and Simon Rawlings of Royal Wootton Bassett Hounds.
The Coach of the year proved so difficult to decide between the three very strong nominations that Bryan Clinton of Swindon Harriers, Alan Munro from City of Salisbury and Rich Ayling of Avon Valley Runners were declared joint winners of the award.
The Official of the year award went to Dave Amey from City of Salisbury, with Jacqui Sykes from Marlborough & District Junior AC and last years winner Alan Brown from Swindon Harriers being the runners up.
Unsung hero of the year was awarded to Tony Nott of Calne Running Club who single handidly kept the club going through some very difficult times, from a point where there were less than five runners turning out at club nights to a position where they now have over 70 members on the books. Tracey Gravell of Calne SMaRTT and Sarah Richardson of Marlborough & District Junior AC were the other short listed nominees.
The Club initiative of the year award was presented to recognise an initiative setup by a club to improve athletics in the area. This award went to Calne Running Club for their Sofa to 5K programme. Avon Valley Runners Beginners programme and City of Salisbury Beginners programme were also short listed for recognition.
The Race of the year was presented to the Race Director of the Devizes Half Marathon, organised by Events Logic South West. The other short listed races were the Heddington 5K organised by Calne Running Club and the Mark Cawte Track Meeting hosted by Swindon Harriers.
The final award presented was of a more light hearted nature and was for the "Athletics Brain of Wiltshire" where attendees at the Awards evening were invited to recognise the club vests belonging to Wiltshire affiliated clubs, with Ian Isaacs of Avon Valley Runners gaining the top score of the evening.
The event showed that athletics is thriving well in Wiltshire and that we are producing a good number of athletes that are able to hold their own on a regional, national and for some an international level. Behind these athletes is a good community of coaches, officials and volunteers enabling the sport to progress in the county. 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.