Blimey, on Monday I didn’t think I’d be doing a newsletter this week as I wasn’t sure there would be enough stuff to include. I was forgetting that you guys won’t let something like social distancing and a pandemic get in the way of achieving your goals ?
So this week we’ve got quite a bit, including links to an EA podcast featuring our very own club, courtesy of Paul Hawkins.
We’ve got a T&F update on the juniors from Paul Bearman with news on Lewis Byng, Andrew Pozzi and Jack Sumners. I see that Lewis has just dead lifted 322kg……….
There’s also a report on some of our talented juniors competing in their very own virtual 2020 Saunton Challenge.
We also have reports from three senior club members who didn’t let the cancellation of the London Marathon stop them achieving something notable at the weekend.
Jan Turner was not that long ago a new recruit to the club’s hugely successful Couch to 5k group and now, here she is, running a half marathon. A quick glance on Power of 10 tells me that had it been an official half, she’d now be ranked 36th in the UK in her age category.
26.2 miles next Jan ?
We have Tim Hutchinson’s report on his Backyard Ultra. Just the 2000 x 25 metre shuttles. Yep, there are 3 zeros after that 2.
After completing it, Tim told me that he feels he might need some help. There’s no might about it Tim. He also tells me that he’s now suffering from delayed onset muscle soreness. Really ? I’m shocked.
Kate Sergent, the club’s international marathon runner, decided to spend Sunday morning running an idyllic half marathon along her favourite course, the canal towpath towards Wootton Wawen.
Thank you so much to all three of you for having shared your experiences with other newsletter subscribers by way of their wonderful reports.
Thanks are also due to them for following the government’s guidelines, reiterated by Paul Hawkins in his email to senior members earlier in the week.
“Staying at home isn’t so bad so please do respect the government guidelines and keep exercising alone or just with other members of your household and give others plenty of space.”
And also further reiterated by Sarah Bland when sending out details of the next virtual Shakespeare Race
The same rules apply regarding social distancing, only family members with you, and please give walkers you pass a considerably wider margin than 2 metres, no-one wants to be showered with sweat at the best of times, least of all now.
We all surely appreciate that for members to do anything other than follow these guidelines would be to put themselves, their fellow club members and friends, the club’s reputation and the wider community at risk.
I’ve rounded off this week’s newsletter with a further dip in to both the junior and senior club archives and finally there’s a few photos of Emily Adams showing early athletic promise at her primary school. Bless.
Please keep sending me details of any athletics activities you are involved in at the moment, together with any historical photos etc of your life in athletics.
Enjoy the rest of your week, stay well and take care.
England Athletics Podcast.
A long while ago, before we even thought of lockdowns and the like, we had some visitors from England Athletics, led by their CEO Chris Jones. We recorded a conversation with them which has now appeared on their monthly Podcast. So if you’d like to hear Tony, Emily and me talking about our club it’s on the links below. Our bit is between 36 to 45 minutes in if you don’t want to listen to all of it.
The first thing to say is that without SAC I would never have achieved this at all.
I was a sedentary pensioner and had jogged round one Race for Life in my fifties.
I heard about the Park Run and CT5K and the first step was taken when Rob’s reassuring email told me that 71 was not too old to start.
What followed was the most wonderful support and encouragement from everyone I encountered, Victoria particularly, and Sally, and Martyn Sergent. I made real friends and discovered that trying hard and sticking with it, is actually fun.
I joined the club as a way of maintaining 5k runs. I remember being terrified when people started talking about the 10k Shakespeare races. Volunteering as a marshal was an alternative option and the benefit of this was that I encountered yet more friendly people. Jan Maclure was particularly welcoming on a very cold dark night.
Finally, with my CT5K friends, I had a go. Sandie Owen, Angela Mclean and Annie Threadgill became 10k buddies.
The best part is that although we are usually at the back we are welcomed and cheered and Sarah greets us like winners!
My continuing running pleasure has included a bit of sprinting and long jump with the Vets and increasing the stamina I have developed. I have had no injuries thanks to all the advice about stretching (thank you Sally)
All along the way, thumbs ups and positive comments on Strava, cheery words running with other people, track sessions which I wasn’t sure I could manage, lovely social events like the Race for Beer, the Teddy Hall relays, and the post Vets Macdonald’s with Paula.
These are the magic ingredients. What a super Club.
The Stratford Half Marathon was the next goal. I found the Hal Higden Training Plan followed it quite meticulously. My CT5K friend Angela was following it too. We both felt that the plan was safe and achievable.
As the lockdown started, we were both determined to carry on. Angela achieved her Half Marathon a week before me on a very hilly Loxely area route. I reckoned on 2,1/2 hours as a target for me.
I ran a route, devised by Seth, from home (Welford ) to Dorsington, Pebworth, Broad Marston, then on to the Greenway and back for a final mile around Welford village.
The first 10k, starting at 8.30 was relatively cool and extremely pleasant. Seth and his dad Rich joined me at almost halfway at the Broad Marston Bridge as my cycle support team.
I was glad of their encouragement on the seemingly endless Greenway where there is less distraction and I did my best to keep up the steady pace as the sun began to be felt.
My motivation for home increased as my legs tired for the final slight incline back into Welford. The last two kilometres felt as hard as the final lap of my first Parkrun in November 2018. But I did it in 2 Hours 24 minutes and 40 seconds and I am proud of myself!
Thanks a million Stratford Athletics Club !
Track and Field Update.
Following previous statements where all athletics activities were suspended until 31 May, England Athletics has confirmed that the suspension period relating specifically to athletics competition has been extended until at least 30 June 2020. This includes the postponement of EA’s U20/U23 Track & Field Championships scheduled to take place on 6-7 June 2020 in Bedford. England Athletics is hoping that competition at all levels can take place in some form, if permitted, later in the year
EA are continuing to review the wider suspension of all other athletics activity outside of competition, currently set to end on 31 May 2020. They are waiting for a further announcement from the UK government in relation to the nationwide coronavirus lockdown period, expected during week commencing 4 May, before further reviewing and updating on the current suspension period covering all other athletics activity.
With all competition now suspended until at least July, our athletes are doing what they can with varying degrees of success with the space and facilities available to them.
Lewishas set up a homemade weights room in his family conservatory and is renting a huge amount of weights equipment to keep his training up despite the competition season being in limbo. He’s just dead lifted 322kg which is the equivalent of about two and half times his own body weight!! You can see him lift it on https://www.instagram.com/lewis_byng/
Lewis is taking part in a Virtual Shot Put Competition on May 2nd that has attracted over 120 entries from across the world. To add spice to the event the organisers have created a Best of Britain Senior V Juniors Competition.
The Best Seniors (Scott Lincoln and Sophie McKinna) and Juniors (Lewis Byng and Serena Vincent) have teamed up to go head to head on the day from where they live/train, which in Lewis’ case is in the field near his house on Trinity Mead.
Andrew came back to the UK after his Italian base was closed which meant that there was little point staying there when the Olympics was postponed until 20221. You can see him in the weights room on https://www.instagram.com/apozzi93/ with not quite so much weight on the bar as Lewis but looking impressive nonetheless.
Jack is back home from Uni in Iowa after his very successful indoor first season as a senior. He finished the UK rankings with a joint 9th best time in the 60m hurdles and the 8th best Long Jump of a British athlete
After some negotiation with Thomas Jolyffe Primary school, where Jack was a pupil and I still coach, I was able to agree some time for him to hop over his back fence to use their field and long jump pit to keep his training up. Currently it’s just general fitness but will he will be moving on to faster and more technical sessions in the hope the British championships are still held before he returns to the US. If they aren’t on he will continue to maintain the fundamentals of his events and build for the indoor season.
Virtual Saunton 2020 Challenge.
Report – Paul Bearman
For the past 15 years we have taken a group of the older juniors “Not So Warm Weather Training” at Easter to Saunton Sands in Devon….but not this year for obvious reasons.
During the lockdown a whole raft of exercises for the juniors have been compiled that they “pick n mix” from to vary their individual programmes depending on their space and facilities but it’s obviously not the same as the camaraderie and fun of being together.
Saunton is a mixture of hard graft in the dunes and on the beach with all manner of activities and social interaction in the down time and so not being able to go led to a lot of grumpy, disappointed athletes and coaches.
In its place we devised the virtual Saunton 2020 Challenge, which is based on some of the activities that they would have been doing at Saunton, albeit on different surfaces to the sand.
The 3 teams had already been set up and so the series of activities to maintain, speed, agility, flexibility and mobility in a set daily programme needed to be completed over the Saunton week.
Points were awarded and at the end of the week we had the virtual victorious team and the individual King and Queen of the Dunes”.
Tim brushing his teeth on the go.
Maybe the crumpet and jam at 15 miles wasn’t such a good idea after all.
My Back Yard Ultra.
Report – Tim Hutchinson.
So where to begin? I’m not sure at what point I had the idea to run an ultra in the back garden. I think it was when I saw the guy in Worcester (I think) run a marathon in his tiny garden.
Usually I’d be entered in a spring marathon, however I hadn’t actually got around to entering one this year and failed to get a London place, fortuitous really as they were all cancelled in the end so there’s some more money towards running shoes to spend!
So having done a fair bit of training mileage wise and thinking about the Escape from Meriden 24 hour race in the Autumn, attempting something over a marathon seemed obvious.
I guess I could have gone out on the roads and run the distance but why not just stick to the back garden, after all there’s good facilities to hand – the kitchen, garden hose, proper toilet (although the stairs to get to them at 27 miles were an effort!).
I finally decided on Saturday that the next day should be the day to give it a go. So after a quick tidy up in the garden and moving of patio furniture, I measured the straightest line I could. We’ve got a reasonably long garden being in a terraced house but with various plants and hedges I could only get a 25 metre straight line, nice and flat with just a single small step from the patio to the lawn.
With an old football and a wobbly slab marking each end of the course, my course setting was done! Next was the feed station, this consisted of a drinks bottle and some electrolyte tablets, a jar of peanut butter, another of Nutella and a few gels. That should do I thought, with the fridge and cupboards to hand. So with my prep done I set the alarm for 0630 hrs, thinking I’ll get going by 0700.
The alarm went off and as I often find, I woke to thinking “what on earth are you doing?”
After kicking myself out of bed and having had a cup of tea, setting a pile of running kit to change into as the day warmed up and walking to the start I set out on the course.
I’d calculated that to get the planned thirty miles in, I needed to do 965.60 laps of 50 metres, I struggle with counting on the track doing 3000m so the chance of counting that many laps was a none starter.
I thought I’ll have a piece of chalk and put a mark for every 10 laps that’ll be easy, luckily Fin suggested there was probably an app I could download. So after looking for a decent one that was sorted.
Well this worked great for the first while but as hands got sweaty and the phone slid around the table there was a fair bit of toing and froing to tap in missed laps. After an hour or so the rest of the family started to get up and come down for breakfast and so a fairly steady stream of screen tappers, almost like a relay was formed.
I was fairly amazed to find that in this first hour I had only covered 5.4 miles, I had planned on steady but I was starting to think this is going to take a while, I hadn’t really thought how long it might take other than most of the morning.
Ha how wrong was I ? although the course was flat and straight with a 180 degree turn at each end it was impossible to get any sort of speed or rhythm going. The other issue was that if I pushed too hard then the lawn, which isn’t exactly a finely manicured piece of turf was going to suffer big time!
There were already darker patches appearing where my natural stride length repeatedly put my feet. I deliberately wore some quite worn shoes to stop ripping the turf too much. This is a good reason to keep all those old pairs of shoes I keep telling Jo!!
The day started to warm up and by 1000 hrs and I had changed my top three times already, it was a chilly 7 degrees when I had started and was now, well I’m not sure what temperature it was to be honest but it was warm in the sunshine!
Russ my next door neighbour had been shouting occasional support and had now put a speaker in his window with the likes of Kate Bush ‘running up that hill’ and Jon and Vangelis ‘chariots of fire’ playing, which helped a lot and gave running up and down the garden some great atmosphere!
Anyone that has run a marathon will definitely know how time can start to enter a different dimension as you start to zone out a bit.
To be honest by 1130 hrs I had no real clue as to what time it was, however somewhere in this parallel dimension I came up with the great Idea that 965 laps on the counter would look messy, why not round it up to 1000 laps. Yeah, go on I thought make it a nice round 50 kilometres! It’s only an extra 35 laps afterall.
These extra laps were really quite tough, the constant turning at each end was really starting to hurt and somehow the little step on and off the lawn had grown at least two fold in height. However one thing that made them easier was fact that for the last 7 miles I was joined by Fin. Not only was it great to have his company but also having someone to chat with was a help. Fin did a great job of pacing and giving encouragement, at times it was like synchronised running as we changed direction of the turns and sometimes even did figures of 8! That was exciting!
Much like any long run in the latter miles when you start thinking when will this be over, what was I thinking starting this etc etc. 990 laps suddenly came round and therefore the final 500 metres.
The idea of a sprint finish was totally off the cards but I did feel the same excitement you get at the end of any big challenge. The 50k, 1000 laps or 2000x 25m shuttles took was done in a time of 5:41:26 with a total of 35 minutes of stops at the aid station or climbing the stairs to the bathroom!
Big thanks to my 5 supporters Jo, Fin, Edie, Matt (Edie’s boyfriend) and Russ next door but one neighbour for their support, cheering, entertainment, feed station restocking (not sure I’ll go for crumpets and jam at 15 miles again though), hosepipe holding and pacing (Fin).
A small group of spectators but they really made the difference. So for the next big challenge 100k back yard ultra? Luckily I don’t think the lawn will take it……. so that’s a non starter. Maybe a big roller ride of some epic distance, hmm now there’s a thought!
Kate Sergent on the towpath.
My Sunday Half Marathon.
Report – Kate Sergent.
Having secured my good for age place in the London marathon I was disappointed not to be doing it, so for the week leading up to it I set myself a target of running every day for 4 miles then doing a half marathon on the day.
I set off at 9am and decided on my favourite out and back run along the canal.
I just wanted to relax and enjoy the route and the beautiful surroundings. It was hot and sunny and I decided I was lucky not to be in London as it would have been a repeat of when I ran London in 2011 and I nearly expired with the heat!
This run was on my own! I could go at a lovely slow steady pace and I could see no one! It was bliss!
Running for the sheer joy of running.
I will look forward to October but we should cherish just being able to be out doing what we love doing!!
Junior Section Newsletter
The club were voted West Midlands Region Junior Club of the Year and were pipped to the UK National title by Slough.
Year ending 31st October 1989
£39.45 for a chip fryer ! Splashing the cash. That’s about £100 in today’s money, which seems pretty reasonable
A young Emily Adams back in the day. She’s promised to ask Cindy for her 20 week scan for the next newsletter !
Emily picking up her trophy, which she still has, after winning her primary school fun run. It was presented to her by Olympic Marathon runner Sally Ellis.
Emily leading the field. I was going to comment on her mouth being wide open but I’m far too polite. Also, with her team mates, her hair having grown somewhat.