Bristol GBBO Star, Briony Williams, announced as Great Bristol 10k University Ambassador

The University is delighted to announce Briony Williams as their Ambassador for this year’s Great Bristol 10k in May.  

Briony, who lives in Bristol and studied for her post-graduate qualification in teaching at the University, became a household name when she starred in the 2018 series of the Great British Bake-Off, making it all the way to the semi-finals.  

Briony went on to win the 2019 edition of The Great Christmas Bake-Off, and it’s also been announced that she has joined the presenting team of Channel 4’s  ‘Food Unwrapped’. As well as her TV appearances, Briony writes regularly for food magazines and features at food-festivals around the country! 

So, where does running fit in? We wondered the same!  

When she’s not creating masterpieces in her kitchen, Briony admits be being a keen runner. To date, she has taken on several 10k races and a couple of half-marathons, with more lined up for this year.  

This year, the University Bristol 10k campaign is focusing on the benefits that running, and being more physically active in general, can bring to our mental health – something Briony is a huge advocate for.  

Announcing her ambassadorship on Instagram, Briony wrote, “I’m really excited to be championing two things I care about so deeply: running and mental health”

We are thrilled that Briony will be running alongside our students, staff and alumni in the gigantic University Wave, and working with us in the lead-up to the event to encourage everyone on campus – runners and non-runners alike – to get active to support more positive physical and mental health and wellbeing at the same time as raising awareness and funds for the University’s B:Active Healthy Minds initiative. 

Almost 500 students, staff and alumni has already signed up to this iconic Bristol event! Get up, get together, and get active by lacing up your trainers and joining #TeamUoBristol for this year’s Great Bristol 10k on Sunday 3 May.   

Sign up for the University Wave

If you are University of Bristol staff, Student or Alumni, you can sign up to run the Great Bristol 10k with discounted entry.

Race Report: University of Bristol Boat Club Head Race 2019

Guest post written by: Iwan Rees (Press and Publicity Officer, UBBC)

University of Bristol Boat Club joined forces with their Nonesuch Alumni rowers!

Last Saturday (30 November 2019) the University of Bristol Boat Club hosted our annual Head Race. Over 150 crews from a range of University Boat Clubs came to Bristol’s Boat House in Saltford, and took to the River Avon to battle it out to be the fastest crew down the course!

Our senior squads took to the water in morning with both first eights looking to defend the headship. As the first boat down the course, the Men’s 1st VIII had a clear course on which to make their mark.  

“After much anticipation, and a dominant display at the BUCS Indoor comp, the Men’s 1st VIII was fired up and rearing to go in search of their third consecutive win at UBBC Head Race.” – Simran Gill, Cox Men’s 1st VIII

Simran Gill was the Cox for the Men’s 1st VIII. For those who don’t know, the Cox (aka Coxswain) in a rowing crew is the team-member who sits in the stern of the boat and is responsible for steering, and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers. Simran he told us:

The boys got up to the start with confidence in their strength, with five members already having featured in winning crews over the previous two years. After settling into the loose rhythm they had been honing during training, they maintained this through the s-bends. Once onto the ‘Salford Straight’ they drew from practice and went all-out to secure Bristol’s Men’s Championship Medal for another year.

Men’s 1st VIII came away with a gold medal and an impressive start to the winter racing season!

Up next, the Men’s 2nd VIII stepped up, to follow the 1st VIII to a medal winning time. Isabel Burridge is the Coz for the Men’s 2nd VIII, and she spoke to us about their performance on the day:

“From our progression in sessions, we felt confident going into head race and were aiming high. The race itself went pretty well and the guys rowed fantastically, despite a few hiccups with the cox box and a last-minute manoeuvre! As a team we produced a good time, putting us first in our category and finishing sixth overall – a wonderful result that we as a crew can be proud of.”

The Women’s 1st VIII was the next crew down the course, and were another team looking to defend their headship from last year. They adapted well to new combinations, introduced by new Coach, Holly Stead, and the team put their training progress to use.  They finished in with a gold medal and an impressive 10 second gap between themselves and Bath University team, who finished in second place.

Our Men’s and Women’s Intermediate 4+ crews were the last of the senior boats to race. Both were filled with relative newcomers to the senior squads, but despite this put in a really strong effort, with Women wining Gold and our Men’s crew winning Bronze. We spoke to each crew about their performance on the water:

Motivated by the home crowd we saw a big shift from the dynamic middle pair to overtake the crew out in front at 750m, with a sprint to the finish – we were all exhausted but delighted with our performance as a team.” – Rose Scotton, cox Men’s 4+  

“We went into Head Race with a strong race plan, setting out our goals for the race developed during our training sessions. Once onto the bend after the final bridge, we had to take a wider line due to a capsized four but, after a quick technical reset, we got back into our final focuses for the straight and held our focus on strong grip through the water till the end, achieving first place in our category. – Ophelia Morley, Women’s 4+ crew member.

To finish the day, in Division II, the Novice Squad made their racing debut. This came just weeks after their selection and with very limited time on the water beforehand.  

The Men’s Beginner VIII were first down the 1km course, aiming for a smooth race and to build on the basics they have worked on in training. They finished ninth in their field, but felt positive after the race with Anna, the Men’s Beginner VIII cox, said that despite her nerves:

“The atmosphere and buzz of race day was incredible. I am so pleased with how we did and the resilience demonstrated by everyone. Bring on the next race!”

The Women’s Beginner VIII followed, and finished in eighth place. Overall they were very pleased with their performance as a full crew, having done very little full crew rowing in training. 

We were really happy with our first race, we were energised by the crowds cheering [and] there was a high feeling of morale and team spirit – everyone was very pleased” – Kirsty Partridge, Cox Women’s Beginner VIII

To end the day the Beginner 4+’s raced with an equally impressive debut – our Women’s Crew came third in their category and our Men’s crew finished in ninth (despite a collision into the bank at one point)!

“Our Women’s Beginner IV got off to an excellent start in their rowing career this weekend. During the race they rowed at their very best, and ended the race pushed on by cheering support from the bank. We are very happy with the result and excited to build on this strong foundation going forwards.” – Mollie Cornell, cox Women’s Beginner IV

Ultimately, the day was a huge success for the club. We want to say a huge thanks to Simran Gill, our Events Officer, who organised and executed the day flawlessly. Also, a huge thanks to our Alumni Club – Nonesuch BC – for coming down and giving us a good run for our money!

We now look forward to the rest of the season and to next year’s UBBC Head Race!! 

Find us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with the club activities!

Full results – MENS:  

Championship VIII – Gold
Intermediate VIII – Gold
Intermediate IV – 3th
Beginner IV – 10th
Beginner IV – 9th
Championship I – 2nd
Championship II – 2nd

Full results – WOMENS:  

Championship VIII – Gold
Intermediate IV – Gold
Beginner VIII   – 8th
Beginner IV – 3rd
Championship I – 4th
Championship II – 5th

Full results – MIXED:  

Championship II– 5th

Bristol Alumni Rowers Set To Take On 3000-Mile Atlantic Challenge

(L-R) Flo, Hannah & Georgie will attempt the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge in December 2020

This week (18-24 November 2019) is #ThisGirlCan week on Bristol Uni campus. We have a timetable of exclusive female-only classes and club taster sessions, all completely FREE, to encourage more women across campus to get together and get active!

Alongside this timetable of activities, we are featuring on social media a showcase of ordinary women, achieving extraordinary things in world of Sport, Exercise and Health! #WomenInSport

Atlantic Antics

Atlantic Antics 2020 is a self-titled trio of keen rowers – Hannah, Flo and Georgie – who, next year, will take on the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000 rowing race from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, to English Harbour, Antigua.

Why the Atlantic?

Flo: “Because why sit at a desk all day when you could be sat in the middle of the ocean?”
Georgie: “Because rivers are too flat.”
Hannah: “Why not?”

The responses of three women determined in their mission to cross the Atlantic together – a journey of 3,000 miles, against 30 other crews from around the world. Not only that, in doing so they are attempting to become be the fastest female trio to complete the trip, aiming for a crossing of only 50 days. If successful, the trio will beat the current record by 10 full days!

The Team

Particularly exciting, is that two-thirds of the trio are Bristol University Alumni, having met one another as members of the University of Bristol Rowing Club!

Flo attended a Fresher’s taster session for rowing and was immediately hooked by the competitive nature of the sport. She rowed for Bristol throughout her degree, and for local club. Hannah also rowed with UBBC throughout her time at Bristol Uni and becoming Women’s Captain. Hannah saw a number of UBBC members complete the Atlantic Challenge and was inspired to follow in their footsteps one way or another!

Georgie found rowing whilst studying at Lincoln University, and was put in touch with Hannah and by someone in the rowing biz who knew she was also looking for a crew to take on the Challenge. Very quickly, Atlantic Antics was born!

Why the challenge?

In Hannah’s words; why not? The trio are taking on this epic challenge because with the adequate training and preparation, they can! Not only that, they could make history by being the fastest female trio to do so.

Beyond that, Hannah, Flo and Georgie are on a mission to inspire other women to give sport a go. Through this challenge they are supporting Women In Sport, a charity “with the goal of giving every woman and girl in the UK the opportunity to experience the transformational rewards of sport.”

The trio admit that sport didn’t come naturally to all of them, but that “what stuck with all of us from those younger years was the friendship and community found in sport”. These courageous women hope that by sharing their ‘antics’ online whilst they prepare for this epic challenge, they will inspire other women to get involved in sport, at any level, and “find something that they are as passionate about as we are”.

6 am training sessions and gruelling training camps put us through our paces and pushed us beyond our limits. Sport has given us the confidence to always try, regardless of how silly we may look, our lack of natural ability, or the chance of failure.

Atlantic Antics 2020

Atlantic Antics is also supporting Rowing Together for Healthy Minds; a charity changing the attitudes surrounding mental health in rowing.

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