T&F Bonanza and much more.

 
 
The Dream Team. Jess Sheppard, Daisy Musk, Emily Field and Imogen Sheppard, our 4 x 400m relay team after destroying the opposition and winning the race by 23 seconds, in a club record time of 4.04.2
When you consider that what follows is a mere 8 days in the life of Stratford upon Avon Athletic Club, it really does beggars belief.

This is the 99th newsletter I have produced and I doubt there has been many more eventful weeks in that time.

Paul Bearman’s diary for the week goes some way to explaining what’s been happening and I daresay if Paul Hawkins were to produce something similar it would be equally exhaustive.

When you consider that 13 out of 32 of the Warwickshire Team competing in this weekend’s English School’s Championship are from our club, a team who’s selected captains for the women’s and men’s team are club members Imy Sheppard and Jack Sumners and a team that will be co-managed by Danny Tolhurst, together with the fact that of the 69 team members who will be representing their country at the upcoming European U20 championships, only two clubs in the whole country will be supplying more than one team member, ourselves and Exeter, the term punching above our weight doesn’t get close.

I guess we must be doing something right !

As well as Paul’s diary for the week, we have reports on Nacho Fernandez, our first decathlete for over a quarter of a century.

There are reports on both the Senior and Vet’s latest T&F fixtures. The final results for the Vets team show that our men were just 8 points, not 14, behind Worcester.

The team spirit and camaraderie of these fixtures is perhaps best summed up in Paul Hawkins’ comment referring to Dan Boyd :
 

“I was immensely proud of all the athletes who gave everything for their team. Dan Boyd epitomised the team spirit; he’s a sprinter/long jumper but was injured in our last match, as we were short of throwers he offered to do all four throws, trained for them, and performed exceptionally”

Paula Williams and Phil Brennan helped Midland Masters win the Inter Area Championships and Phil won silver in the BMAF half marathon.

We have Pete Wharton’s report on his PB performance at Ironman Austria. There’s a couple of half marathons – The Black Country and Leamington. Rachel Pearce finished 2nd in her age category in the Didcot 5 and we had 4 members competing in the Evesham 10k.

What isn’t included is the fact that Emma Bexson got a silver medal at 2019 Târgu Mures ETU Multisport European Championships in Romania. She was 2nd in the female 40-44 age category with a time of 4:42.29, just 6 minutes behind the winner and 11 minutes ahead of the 3rd placed finisher.

Also at the  2019 Târgu Mures ETU Duathlon European Championships there was bitter, bitter disappointment for Fern Hordern. Having trained tremendously hard for these championships and knowing she had a good chance of winning a medal, she got sunstroke 3 hours before the start of the race.

Despite this and despite feeling really unwell, she managed to complete the race, finishing in 4th place just 139 seconds off a bronze medal but also knowing that someone who she had consistently beaten in the past won silver medal.

Some time life just isn’t fair. You’ll be back Fern.

So that was the week that was and this evening it all starts again.

I’m guessing there will be close to 100 members, juniors and vets, training at the track, tomorrow the English School Championships start, on Saturday there’s the Bourton on the Water mile, on Sunday the Northbrook 10k  and a real biggie is that on Saturday our latest Couch to 5k group graduate at the parkrun. If you get the chance, please do go down to give support and encouragement to this inspiring group.

Blimey, it never stops.

Enjoy the week

Best Wishes

David Jones

 

The 13 club members who will be part of Warwickshire’s 32 strong squad at this weekends English Schools Championships.

Back : Nick Butler (Triple Jump), Ollie Cresswell & Jack Sumners (Hurdles), Ollie Wear (Javelin), Cole Williams, Freddie Clemons (Hurdles), Joshua Roberts (Javelin), Inset Lewis Byng (Shot)

Front : Kailie Woodward (Long Jump), Caitlin Buckley (100m), Georgie Campbell (1500m), Imogen Sheppard (400m), Millie Leighton (Triple Jump)

 
Alison Gravelsons, Sandy Green and Louise Leighton.

Lewis Byng is pictured seeing who can jump the highest with Seb Hillard and Jessica Moore…..looks like Lewis wins again!

Seb Hillard tries on the Warwick Vase for size, alongside Paul Bearman.

 
A week in the life of Paul Bearman !

It’s been a busy week!!

After training on Tuesday evening and coaching at Thomas Jolyffe on Wednesday afternoon, the rest of my week was one of variable and interesting contrast.

Wednesday evening saw me being joint Field Referee with Michael Lane (briefly out of retirement to help out) at the thoroughly enjoyable Midland Vets league fixture which was the first time we had organised a match like it. David Jones and Andy List pulled it together with everyone across the club mucking in to make it a huge success…..and we do it all again on 8th September at the Club Champs. Entry forms will be out soon. 

During the evening I got a call from Jack Sumners who was competing at an event at Birmingham Uni. He was trying to emulate Lewis Byng and get the 13.7 secs standard for the 110m hurdles U20 Euro Champs and this was his last opportunity with photo finish….and guess what it broke! 

After nothing but lousy conditions and other things that had robbed Jack of the chance to get the standard previously, it was a complete gut wrencher, especially as he was hand timed with 13.5s in his race.

However, Ian Hodge UKA’s stats man and selector was like me convinced Jack could do it and he rearranged the race. With the now fixed photo finish and after sustenance from McDonalds, Jack ran at 9pm and ran an incredible 13.66s. An excited Jack called to say he’d done it and had made the standard…woo hoo!!.

After all the hours of training and competing and all the setbacks I couldn’t have been more chuffed for him….all we needed was for the selectors to pick him which wasn’t a given.

Back to business. After many hours preparation, on Thursday afternoon, ably assisted by Cait Davis, Danny Tolhurst, Emily Madden Forman, Dan Boyd, Dan Hague and Ianto Davis along with Leaders from Stratford School, I organised the South Warwickshire Primary Schools Athletics final at the track with 250 children representing 6 areas across South Warks.

That was a very long day after 3 hours of training as well but it was so worth it because for many it was their first experience of competing in a properly organised competition on the track.

Lewis Byng who represented Henley area as a sprinter, as an U11, presented the medals. It was inspirational for the children, parents and teachers to see where he is now and what he’s achieved…..and how big he is.

On a lovely summery Friday evening I watched over 50 of our new generation of Year 3,4,5,and 6 youngsters become the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Young Athletes M40 League Division Champions…. a great job by the young’uns and also Carolyne Johnston, Jenny Sheppard and Elaine Ledden for organising them over the 3 matches. 

While we were there I was given a big box containing the Warwick Vase we won at the Warwick County Champs for formal presentation at our awards. 

Saturday was the Midland League in Telford with Paul Hawkins tearing his hair out trying to pull a team together. It really is a thankless task at times trying to pull teams together but he managed it and the good news that filtered through was that team did well enough to finish 3rd overall and also move up one place in the division.

I gave the Midlands a miss and enjoyed a restful day around the river festival before it was back to business on Sunday, on a lovely summer’s day in Sutton Coldfield for the final Heart of England Match.

After winning the first 2 matches we were in the driving seat to retain the first division title but after all the preparation that goes into getting everything ready, the only trouble was that we were losing athletes for various reasons right left and centre and it potentially wasn’t going to be a victory stroll; it never is with the unpredictability of the HofE league. 

However, with a change sheet that was filling up very quickly, along with the other team managers Jenny & Mike Sheppard, Carolyne Johnston and Elaine Ledden, we shuffled the dwindling packs in the various age groups to the extent that even with the results still being ratified the team came out on top and we retained the title by a considerable points margin. Report next week.

The one thing we always say is that when someone is not available it enables others to have the opportunity to step up and fill in without too much angst, because at some time our youngsters will have been coached in all the events, so it’s relatively comfortable for them to step up….and step up they certainly did. 

On behalf of the junior Age Group Leaders we are indebted to our officials across the 3 matches who have not only helped the matches go without a hitch but they’ve earned points for the team too. Thanks to Sandy Green for again leading the field team with his regular A Team of Louise Leighton and Alison Gravelsons supporting him, regular track judges and timekeepers Amanda van der Schyff, Rachel Clark, Chris Belcher and Julie Richardson plus all the other rakers, measurers’, timekeepers etc  who have helped during the season.

On Monday I got a call from Jack who was trying to remain cool….but then blurted out he’d been selected for the Euros…..double woo hoo! 

It was a secret until it was officially announced on Tuesday but I couldn’t be happier for Lewis and Jack heading off on their adventure to Sweden next week. Their hard graft to match their wonderful talent has paid off. The 69-strong team is the largest ever selected for the championships and interestingly Stratford is only one of two clubs (the other being Exeter) with 2 athletes selected.

This weekend we have the brilliant occasion of English Schools Championships in Birmingham and an incredible baker’s dozen of 13 of our athletes (42% of the Warwickshire team) going for glory and representing their county across a very diverse range of events.

Imogen and Jack have had the honour of being appointed team captains and that’s a tribute to them and their families.

Our very own Danny Tolhurst will co-manage the Warwickshire team

For some it will be the first taste of a massive championship occasion and a few of us will be there cheering them on and we wish them well.

After all this I’m heading off to the Anniversary Games in London with my chums to enjoy watching the top athletes including our Andrew Pozzi which will be treat.

I said to David Jones writing this isn’t about me saying what a busy boy I’ve been …on the contrary, plenty in the club are but it shows what goes on week after week with so many people involved. 

Seeing about 500 South Warks youngsters over the week taking part, enjoying athletics, being inspired and having a good time and trying to discover the next Pozzi, Sumners or Byng and doing it all with wonderful people still takes the biscuit for me and is a great incentive to do it all again next year.

…..but we always have room for others to get involved and join the mayhem and the fun.

Happy Days

Paul Bearman

 

Nacho Fernandez.

Southern Combined Events Championships.

Report: David Jones.

The last time we had a decathlete in the club was over a quarter of a century ago and the current club record of 3750 has stood since 1993 but now there’s a new kid on the block.

Nacho Fernandez competed in the decathlon at the Southern Combined Events Championships last weekend, scoring 3166. His score would have been considerably higher but for the fact that he failed to register a height in the pole vault.

He managed five PBs across the two days. These were 100m (12.70), long jump (4.70m), shot put (9.35m), 110m hurdles (22.59) and 1500m (5:15.66).

His results in the other events were: high jump (1.38m), 400m (61.84), discus (22.59m) and javelin (30.76m).

He finished in 14th place overall and the competition was won by Elliot Thompson with 6910.

Seriously well done Nacho.

From the top :
Fergus Alison on his way to a technically superb victory in the 800m.
Something you don’t see very often – Imy Sheppard throwing the hammer.
Rob Minton showing perfect balance on his way to an age group club record in the steeplechase.

Midlands Track and Field League Division 3.

Report: David Jones

A strong all-round team performance in the third fixture of this season’s Midlands Track and Field League Division 3 helped the club move up to third place in the overall standings.

Thirty competitors, together with team manager Paul Hawkins and a team of four officials made the 130-mile round trip to Telford on Saturday 7 July.

A combination of injuries and competing events meant Paul had to dig deep in to the club’s talent pool to field a team capable of maintaining the club’s solid start to the season.

Our athletes rose to the occasion, finishing in third place on the day with 341 points, just 19 points behind home club Telford’s second-place finish.

After the fixture Team Manager Paul Hawkins commented ;

“I was immensely proud of all the athletes who gave everything for their team. Dan Boyd epitomised the team spirit; he’s a sprinter/long jumper but was injured in our last match, as we were short of throwers he offered to do all four throws, trained for them, and performed exceptionally.

“There were many PBs – too many for me to single out – but I was particularly pleased for Emily Field and Daisy Musk,” he added. “An incredible relay from the girls to finish off the day and they weren’t pushed, apart from the first 200m of leg one. They can still go quicker.

“Jasmine Cole did her first ever 100m hurdles, ran superbly until the last hurdle, got it wrong and had to stop. She was calm and sensible enough to step back, jump (not hurdle) the last barrier and still finish second.

“Eleanor Johnston ran her first 200m for three years following serious knee injury and operations. She also competed in the 100m (14.2,) the shot (7.13m) and discus (11.21m). I was very pleased for her. David Jones came to do a press report and ended up doing an 800/1500m double, fantastic! And Millie Leighton was making her senior league debut and she won the triple jump.”

This performance enabled the team to leapfrog Worcester AC in the overall league standings, where they are now third overall.

Having had two successive promotions, the club have been able to compete strongly in this division, which is no mean feat when you consider that the team promoted with them last season are in danger of relegation.

The highlight of the day from a Stratford perspective was arguably the women’s 4x400m. The team of Jess and Imogen Sheppard, Daisy Musk and Emily Field destroyed the opposition with a 23-second victory in a time of 4:04.2, edging ever closer towards a sub-four-minute time.

They beat the club record, which had been equalled at the last T&F fixture, by more than six seconds. Their time ranks them seventh in the 2019 UK U20 rankings, which iare currently headed by the national team.

It was a busy day for the Sheppard family, with Jess and Imogen being part of both the winning 4x100m and 4x400m teams. Jess was also second in the 100m, recording the same time as the winner, and first in the 400m (58.7), a season’s best and just 0.17 off her PB. Sister Imogen won the 200m in 26.1, a mere 0.1 off her PB. She also cleared 1.30m in the high jump and recorded a one-metre PB in the hammer with a throw of 14.41m.

As if that wasn’t enough, their father Mike Sheppard got in on the act by competing in the 400m.

As well as the women’s 4x400m record, there were also M40 club records for Rob Minton in the 2000m steeplechase (7:48.2) and Matt Burdus-Cook in the 5000m (17:33.8) a 13-second PB. This was less than 72 hours after he broke the M40 club record for the 1500m.

There were several individual victories from Stratford AC athletes.

After a lengthy period of injury, Fergus Alison enjoyed a textbook win in the 800m (2:00.8), his first victory of the year. Daisy Musk recorded a victory in the 400m B race in a PB of 63.2, Emily Field was first in the 800m B race with a three-second PB of 2:19.8, and Anna Gionis won the 400m hurdles A race in 74.6.

 Charlotte Gravelsons, in her first 400m hurdles race, won the B race in 77.0. Kaili Woodward’s leap of 4.92m in the long jump secured first place, as did Millie Leighton’s 10.54m in the triple jump and Anna Gionis’s PB of 8.75m in the B competition.

It was a long and busy day for Dan Boyd. Injury prevented him taking part in his favoured running and long jump events, so he opted to compete in all of the throwing events instead. His day started at 10.30am with his first ever hammer competition (15.87m) and finished seven hours later with his first discus competition since 2015 (22.89m). In between he competed in the shot put (6.84m) for the first time since 2012 and the javelin (35.66m).

Cavan Farrow and Dan Hague also had a busy day. Farrow completed his first competitive 200m in 26.0, he was third in the 400m hurdles (64.4), third in the 110m hurdles (19.6), he won the high jump B competition with a jump of 1.60m and was second in the triple jump with 11.53m before competing in both relays.

Dan Hague threw a PB of 40.71m in the javelin, as well as competing in the B long jump (5.52m) and 4x100m relay. James Gionis competed in both relays and set season’s bests in the high jump (1.60m) and triple jump (10.38m).

The club’s youngest and oldest team members competed in the A and B 1500m races respectively, a mere 53 years separating them. The younger Fin Hutchinson (5:42.8) showed the older David Jones (6:04.4) a clean pair of heels.

Mathew Milward-Brookes was fifth in 100m (11.8), third in the 400m (54.2) and fourth in the long jump (6.04m), Cole Williams recorded a PB of 23.6 in the 200m. 

Tim Hutchinson, running his first 5000m for two years, recorded a time of 18:47.9, while Brian Gravelsons threw 5.67m in the shot put and 13.82m in his first hammer competition.

Making a welcome return to track and field after a six-year gap, Yvonne Gajny competed in three events. Her 3000m (12:47.7) was only 12 seconds slower than her last race at this distance in 2013, in the shot she threw 6.29m and in the javelin she threw a PB of 13.17m.

In the women’s middle-distance races Georgie Campbell ran 4:46.04 in the 1500m A race, with Abbie Wootton recording a time of 5:40.2 in the B race. Cadie Hibberd ran 11:22.9 in the 3000m.

Maddie Clark jumped 4.36m in the long jump, while mum Rachel Clark threw a PB in the discus (18.33m) and 16.46m in her first hammer competition.

 

From the top:
Our women’s 800 x 400 x 200 x 200m relay team  of Sheila Lammas, Elaine Ledden, Christine Coote and Paula Williams 
Christine and Peter Coote in the 100 metres.

 

Midland Veterans Track and Field League.

Report – Andy Reeves.

Stratford AC played host to the third round of the Midland Veterans T&F League on Wednesday 3rd July. 

With over 50 club members either competing, officiating or volunteering, it was the first time that the club had hosted a round of the competition at our own Stratford High School track.  It was also a night that saw both the junior and senior sections come together to put on a fantastic event.  Even the weather played ball, as the athletes were greeted by glorious weather.

There was even more success with a total of 9 age group club records being broken as the club finished 2nd in both men’s and women’s competitions, which resulted in the club finishing 2nd overall to the eventual winner’s Worcester AC.

 

Fresh of his bronze medal performance the weekend before in the British Masters 10km Race Walking Championship, Paul Hawkins would take another fine victory in the M60 2km walk recording a club record of 11:52.4, some 7 seconds faster than the previous record.  After equaling the M40 100m club record of 13.2 to finish 2nd. Rob Minton would go on to set a new M40 800m club record in what was a closely contested race, in 2:12.8 for 2nd place and missing 1st by just 0.3 of a second.

 

The middle distance races contributed a further 3 club records across the various age group races.  Matt Burdus-Cook would take 2nd in the M40 in a time of 4:42.6.  Martin Foster, making his debut, set a new M55 club record whilst competing in the M50 race in a time of 5:22.0.  Another debutant was Liuba Pasa who set a M50 800m club record, recording a time of 3:05.4

 

In the field events there would be further success with 2 club records in the triple jump.  After running a competitive 100m in 13.2, David Wilson would go on to further his own M50 triple jump with a best jump of 9.33m.  Elaine Ledden added over 1m to her own triple jump M50 club record with 7.47m.  This was backed up a 15.6 performance in the 100m. 

Andy Reeves would back up his 12.9 in the 100m by taking victory in the M35 long jump with a club record of 5.22m.  Brian Gravelsons would set a new M40 discus club record with a throw of 18.08m.  He also competed in the 800 (2:45.3)

 

For the women’s team Paula Williams added a good haul of points by taking 3 wins.  The victories came in the 100m (13.8), Long Jump (4.35m) and the Discus (22.57m).  She also added a 2nd in the Hammer (19.01).

Christine Coote had two solid  2nd places in the W60 100m (17.2) and High Jump (1.10m).  Hannah Osbourne had a busy night competing in the W35 100m (17.8), 800m (3:03.7) and the 1500m (6:24.3). 

Kate Sergent enjoyed a good evening in the W60 2k walk (14:00.0) and 1500m (7:52.7)  Gemma Smith joined Kate in the W40 2km walk with a time of (16:25.0)  Sheila Lammas, sugaring with a bad cold, competed in the W40 800m (2:52.4) before joining Christine, Elaine and Paula, in the Medley Relay.

 

On the men’s side of the team, Peter Coote had his usual busy night competing in the 100m (15.7) High Jump (1.05m) Shot (6.96m) and Discus (22.95m). 

Phil Brennan would get some speed work in ahead of the upcoming championships competing in the M70 100 (18.7).

Team manager David Jones would take victory in the M35 2km walk in a time of 14:00.6. 

In the 1500m, this would see solid performances from Wayne Vickers M35 (4:53.3) and Martin Foster M50 (5.22.0)  Drew Sambridge M35 would compete in the 800m (2:24.4) before teaming up with Rob Minton, Dave Wilson and Dave Battersby to compete in the Medley Relay.

 

The final round takes place at Worcester on Wednesday 31st July, with Stratford looking at securing 2nd overall in both Men’s and Women’s championship.

 
Paula Williams and Phil Brennan, our talented twins. Okay, I get that they’re not physically similar but hopefully you get my drift.
British Masters Athletics Inter Area Challenge.

Report – David Jones.

Our International Masters Athletes Paula Williams and Phil Brennan helped Midland Masters to a win in the British Masters Athletics Inter Area Challenge in Coventry at the weekend.

Williams had her usual busy day, competing in 7 events in total. In the hammer she threw a season’s best 21.50 to finish 4th, in the discus she also finished 4th with a PB of 24.41. She was 3rd in the triple jump with a jump of 9.35. She won the shot with a throw of 10.81 and the highlight was a championship best time of 13 seconds in the hurdles. 

Phil ran the 1500m in 6:16.72 to finish in 4th place and in the 800m, his time of 3:08.66 ensured he finished 3rd.

Phil Brennan’s latest medal. If anyone knows of a local storage facility, please let Phil know. Rumour has it he is running out of space at home for all of his medals.

The Ashbourne Half Marathon – Incorporating the 2019 British Masters Half Marathon Championships

Report – David Jones

This beautiful but challenging half marathon took runners out into the Peak District and Dove Dale.

The course went through the fabulous Derbyshire Dales,  scenery so beloved by Jane Austen and back to the historic market town of Ashbourne.

The 2019 race was also hosting the 2019 British Masters Half Marathon Championships.

It was the latter that attracted Phil Brennan to take part. He was competing less than 24 hours after running both the 800m and 1500m in representing Midland Masters in Coventry and less than 4 days after running the both the 100m and 1500m for his club, in a Vets track and field fixture.

His finishing time of 2:01.31 was good enough to earn him a silver medal in his age category and although he expressed disappointment at just failing to break the 2 hour barrier, he was more than happy just to have finished this most challenging of courses which included 1100 feet of elevation.

The race was won by Gareth Lowe in a time of 1:14.32 and 362 runners completed the course.

 
A delighted Pete Wharton after completing his triathlon and then Pete on the red carpet !
Ironman Austria .

Report – Pete Wharton.
 

On Sunday 7th July myself and 5 other local triathletes took part in the Ironman Austria race located around Klagenfurt. 

The organisers called a non wetsuit race on Saturday morning due to the temperature of the lake being over the 24.5 degree limit. This increased the apprehension for probably 80% of the competitors.

From the start gun we jumped into the warm lake and began the 3.8km swim in the perfectly clear water. The swim was a one lap route, ending with a 1km swim down the canal which leads to the city centre. The canal was lined with spectators who you could hear every time you came up for breath. 

Out of the water and into T1 to collect you bag and bike for the best part of the day, the 180km bike ride.

For the first time the route has been changed to a single lap of 180km, taking in the most picturesque countryside I had ever seen.

The first 80km I completed with an average speed of approximately 40km per hour. I realised it was a fast course and a sub 6 hour bike was possible. On the second half of the the bike leg things changed somewhat. With 40km to go and with me very much looking forward to a fast 25km descent to translation 2, the heavens opened.

For the final climb of the day a few spots of rain fell and then a biblical storm erupted. Thunder and fork lighting and torrential rain started to fall, to a point that the water was rolling over the top of my rims and then the hail came.

At this point riders were pulling off the course to take shelter wherever possible. The final descent, which should have been 70kmh downhill turned into a max of 40kmh and clinging on for dear life. At this point my aim was to get down safely. 

I headed into T2 shivering and wondering how the weather had gone from 26-27 degrees to what felt like freezing.

Into the 42km marathon course I went, 2 loops around the town.

Unfortunately the run did not go according to plan and I began cramping up and an injury I got a month before the race flared up on my knee, which was agony.

The run course support was amazing which kept me going. 

This is one of the most spectacular courses and well supported races I’ve ever done. I came in with a new pb of 12:21 and a bike time of 5:49. I will now rest and recover ahead of planning my next challenge.

I almost forgot to mention that the afterparty was unreal, europoptastic. 

Graham Hill.

Birmingham Black Country Half Marathon

Report – Graham Hill

The Birmingham Black Country Half Marathon is a unique point to point race along the canal towpaths between Wolverhampton City Centre and Brindley Place in Birmingham.

The race format is based on predicted running times (seeded) in a time trial format, with runners starting in waves between 08:00 – 12:00. The conditions underfoot vary from gravel tracks and unkept trails, to smooth pavement.

The route is largely flat with locks and bridges as the only inclines. The route includes the famous Coseley Tunnel, a 360 metre tunnel, which is a memorable feature of the scenic course. 

With ideal running conditions and a relatively flat course and the weather being cool and overcast, club member Graham Hill believed a PB was there for the taking.

On arrival at the Canal & River Trust Boat yard in Wolverhampton there was time for a quick warm up and a safety briefing before he started in the 10:20 running wave.

The race started in the old industrial area of Wolverhampton, before heading southwards, passing through the Coseley Tunnel, Tipton, Sandwell & Dudley, Smethwick before heading into the centre of Birmingham finishing at Brindley Place.

A good pace for the first 8 miles, ensured that a PB was on the cards for Hill. Considering it was a ‘flat’ course, he felt the last 3 miles went on forever but with a final push a PB of 1:39:58 was achieved, finishing in 144th place.

With the finish in Brindley Place, it was then time to get a well earned drink and refuel in the numerous pubs and bars.

If a Half Marathon PB is your goal, then this could be the race for you

The race was won by Ian Williams in a time of 1:12.23 and 1002 runners completed the course

 

Leamington Half Marathon.

Report – David Jones.

This traffic free race started and finished in the heart of Royal Leamington Spa, alongside the iconic Royal Pump Room Gardens. It then headed north out of Leamington Spa, through scenic villages, passing farms and fields in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside before descending back into the town for a tour of Leamington Spa’s stunning historic gardens and parks.

Considering it is such a local event, it was somewhat surprising that just two club members took part. 

For  Andy Cox it was his first race since injuring his ankle in this year’s London Marathon. Andy found the conditions ideal and despite the undulating nature of the course was delighted with his time of 1:27.47, just 12 seconds shy of his PB. He finished in 46th place. Ben Phyall completed the course in 1:40.04. 

The race was won by Rob Smith in 1:09.42 and 992 runners completed the race.

Rachel Pearce.

Didcot 5

Report – David Jones.

 

The course for this race is a certified 5 miles on the paths in and around Ladygrove in Didcot. Apart from around 100m at the start and finish, which is on grass the entire route is paved.

Rachel Pearce was the sole club member taking part, finishing in 55th place with a time of 33.29.79. Rachel also finished 2nd in her age category.

The race was won by James Bolton in a time of 26.26.16 and the first female to finish was Vicki Cronin, in 22nd place and a time of 30.17.95. 265 runners completed the course.

 

Evesham Town 10k.

Report – David Jones

The Evesham Town 10k is an accurate chip-timed route around the streets, parks and riverside paths of historic and beautiful Evesham.

The club had 4 members competing and the first of these to finish, Darren Nash, managed a top 10 finish. Finishing in 10th place, he recorded a time of 38.47 and he was also 4th in his age category.

Next to finish for the club was Tomos Horbury. Tomos will have been delighted to dip under the 1 hour mark with a time of 59.55. This was a couple of minutes quicker than his time for the recent Two Castles.

Unfortunately, just failing to dip under the 1 hour mark, was Alice Baxendale. However, Alice should be well pleased that her time of  1:00.42 was over 8 minutes quicker than when she last competed in this race in 2017.

Finally, the ubiquitous John Butler finished in a time of 1:14 and was 7th in his age category.

The race was won by Tom Bains in a time of 31.57 and the first female to finish was Shona Crombie-Hicks in 9th place, with a time of 38.47. 472 runners completed the course.

 
Last week’s report on the Midnight Mountain Half Marathon missed out the fact that Simon Curran also competed. He wasn’t down as a Stratford member in the results but the eagle eyed Lesley Kirk spotted my omission. Here he is sandwiched between Lisa and Lesley. His time was 2.33.42, finishing in 79th place. He suffered stomach cramps, due to the hot weather, as such his slower time than he’d hoped for. Well done Simon
Shakespeare Race.

Below are a few photos from last night’s extremely humid but wonderfully organised Shakespeare Race at Newbold.
58 senior club members took part in the race that was won by Ben Rothery in a time of 32.45, which was an average pace of something like 5.30 per mile and let me tell you it was far from a flat course.
Ben was followed by Matt Burdus-Cook in 35.15 and the first female finisher was Emma Bexson in 43.58

Above – Ben Rothery and Emma Bexson.
Clockwise from top left : Ruth Calderbank, Gavin Bliss and Kate Sergent. Suzi Graham, Josh Newman, Matt Burdus-Cook, Jordan Metcalfe, yours truly, Alex Hill playing a flying visit (sorry) from his pilot training and mum Jean Hill, Jan Turner, Rob Minton, Ollie Senior and Pippa Abrams.
Photos courtesy of Louise Stewart.
More photos from the T&F fixture at Telford.

Courtesy of Mike Sheppard.

Clockwise from top left : Eleanor Johnston, Abbie Wootton, Brian Gravelsons, Charlotte Gravelsons, Anna Gionis, Georgie Campbell, Cavan Farrow, Jess Sheppard, yours truly being shown a clean pair of heals by Fin Hutchinson. The gap got wider ! Tim Hutchinson, Rob Minton, Maddie Clark and Kaili Woodward.
And Finally

More photos from the Vets T&F fixture at The High School Track

Clockwise from top left : Andy Reeves, Liuba Pasa, Dave Wilson, Rob Minton, Martin Foster and
Kate Sergent.
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