Wiltshire Athletic Association supported by Wiltshire Council hosted the inaugural Wiltshire Athletics Awards at Devizes Sports & Social Club. The event which was sponsored by Wiltshire and Swindon Sport (WASP) recognised the leading athletes in the county and those that make athletics happen in Wiltshire. One hundred and thirteen nominations were received and it was down to the Awards Judging Panel of Wiltshire Athletic Association Chairman, Darren Wrintmore; Alex Muse of Wiltshire Council and Caroline Palmer of Devizes Running Club to draw up the short list of three nominees in each of the eleven categories. The awards were presented by Wiltshire Athletic Association President, Derek Drewitt who was assisted by Dominique Oughton of WASP along with the Awards Judging Panel.
The first award presented was to Skye Allen of City of Salisbury A&RC for the Young Female athlete of the year, Skye being both the South West England champion at 100m & High Jump. The other short listed nominees were Wiltshire 70m Hurdles champion & 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 awarded to Jacob Ness of City of Salisbury A&RC who as well as being the reigning South West England 400m champion is ranked 2nd in UK. The other short listed nominees were Will Crisp of Swindon Harriers who is the Wiltshire 800m, High Jump & XC champion and Lewis Harnett of Moonrakers AC who is Wiltshire 100m & 200m champion and a South West England medallist.
The Senior Female athlete of the year was awarded to 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.
The 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 the other short listed nominees.
The Veteran Female athlete of the year was awarded to Fiona Price of Avon Valley Runners as the 2013 Wiltshire 3000m champion, BMAF 5000m & 10-mile medallist and GB Silver Medal in World
Masters Half Marathon in Budapest earlier this year. The other short listed 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 UK.
The Veteran Male athlete of the year was awarded to Peter Molloy of Swindon Harriers who has achieved gold medals at the British Masters’ Indoor 800m, 1500m & 3000m and also a medallist at
the World Masters championships in Budapest this year. The other short listed nominees were Gary Dunstone of Chippenham Harriers who finished as 1st 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
shortlisted nominees. The 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 the other short listed nominees.
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 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 Avon Valley Runners for their JAVR 2K which is a monthly event held in Southwick Country Park targeting young athletes as young as 8-years old, with its own League scoring system. The event also launched the inaugural Wiltshire Junior Race League in 2014. The other short listed 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.
The 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 7th September when it will be Race #10 for the Newsquest sponsored 2014 Wiltshire Road Race League and is expected to once again attract 1,500 runners and raise £10K+ for local charities and good causes. The other short listed 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 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 answer a series of trivia questions about local athletics and athletes, with Ellie Isaacs of Avon Valley Runners gaining the top score of the evening.
The event which was attended by England Athletics (South West) regional Chairman Nigel Rowe, showed that athletics is starting to thrive 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.