RUTH Barnes and Tom Gale have been named as the Wiltshire athletes of the year for 2017.

Their success was revealed at the Wiltshire Athletics Association annual awards evening, which was supported by Wiltshire and Swindon Sport, held at the Doric Park, Trowbridge, on Saturday.

For Barnes, it was the second successive year she has won the award and while the Avon Valley Runners’ member couldn’t personally be there she was delighted to once again receive the accolade.

“I am very flattered and happy to receive this award for a second year,” said Barnes.

“It is always nice to be recognised for one’s achievements and it was a nice boost after the disappointment of hearing that the Bath half marathon on Sunday had to be cancelled due to the weather as that had been a big target for me.”

The award reflected Barnes’ success in 2017 when she finally won the Bath Half Marathon for the first time and was also crowned South West Cross Country champion, a title she successfully defended in January.

The Wiltshire doctor also won her first England vest for a half marathon in Spain and celebrated the occasion with a personal best and second place.

If anything Trowbridge-based high jumper Tom Gale enjoyed an even more successful 2017 so it was no surprise that he was named as the county’s top male athlete.

The Team Bath international high jumper was a class apart from his rivals after winning a bronze medal at the European Junior Championships and then subsequently winning a place in the England team for the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

“It is always nice to be recognised at any level and it was unfortunate I could not be there personally,” said Gale.

“I am grateful for all the support I receive and it is much appreciated.”

Calne Running Club’s Denise Nott returned to form after injury and was named female veteran athlete of the year, an award she received from husband Simon – who himself was highly commended in the overall male competition.

In addition, Denise was also highly commended in the coach awards behind Team Bath AC winner Di Viles.

Sean Price of Avon Valley Runners won the Unsung Hero category and the Official of the Year category was awarded to Southwick’s Graham Mattacks for his work as a field judge.

It was the second award for the Mattacks family as daughter Zoe, along with her Team Bath clubmate Caitlin Wosika from Trowbridge, were highly commended in the female athlete of the year competition won by Barnes.

“I have to say I was more than a little shocked to win as I've worked with Steve and Andy in many competitions and they are outstanding officials,” said Mattacks.

“I've been attending these awards for a number of years on behalf of my daughter and as you can imagine there has been a little bit of banter about it.”

Heath Bampton of Royal Wootton Bassett Hounds was named male veteran athlete of the year ahead of Damian Hall (Corsham Running Club) and Simon Gilbert (Devizes Running Club).

Male Athlete of the year winner: Tom Gale; Highly commended: Simon Nott (Calne Running Club), Aaron Wilson (City of Salisbury A&RC).

Female Athlete of the year winner: Ruth Barnes (Avon Valley Runners); Highly commended: Zoe Mattacks (Team Bath AC), Caitlin Wosika (Team Bath AC).

Young Male athlete of the year winner: Thomas Holmes (Marlborough & District); Highly commended: Niall Thorne (Avon Valley Runners), Ransford AkoNai (Team Bath AC).

Young Female athlete of the year winner: Beatrice Wood (City of Salisbury A&RC); Highly commended: Freya Buglass (Avon Valley Runners), Delleah Belgrave (Swindon Harriers).

Male Veteran athlete of the year winner: Heath Bampton (Royal Wootton Bassett Hounds); Highly commended: Damian Hall (Corsham Running Club), Simon Gilbert (Devizes Running Club).

Female Veteran athlete of the year winner: Denise Nott (Calne Running Club); Highly commended: Anna-Marie Watson (Avon Valley Runners), Diane Hier (Avon Valley Runners).

Coach of the year winner: Di Viles (Team Bath AC); Highly commended: Denise Nott (Calne Running Club), Bryan Clinton (Swindon Harriers).

Unsung Hero of the year winner: Sean Price (Avon Valley Runners); Highly commended: Rich Keyzorr (Shrewton Running Club), John Webster (Team Bath AC).

Official of the year winner: Graham Mattacks (Team Bath AC); Highly commended: Andy Angell (City of Salisbury A&RC), Steve Hutchinson (Team Bath AC).

Initiative of the year winner: “The Trowbridge Track” – Avon Valley Runners; Highly commended: “Win your entry fee back” – Calne SMaRTT, “Beginners course” – Corsham Running Club.

Race of the year winner: Tri-County XC Championships (Wiltshire AA); Highly commended: The SMaRTT Smasher – Calne SMaRTT; Roundway Revenge ( - Devizes Running Club.