The track – latest update and it’s good news.

Ruby and Lucy Edwards
This week we start off with the news that the track at Stratford School will re-open for some of our athletes w/c 20th July. Please read Paul Bearman’s update below for a more detailed explanation.

Following that there is news of the several virtual competitions that many of you have been embracing, plus there’s also a report on a real live event. You know, where you actually compete in real time against other competitors as opposed to uploading or emailing your performances. Here’s hoping it’s the first of many more to come.

Last week saw the culmination of the latest vShakespeare 10k race and 10 mile bike TT. It was also the end of July’s Magic Mile, with 3 of the top 5 places being occupied by junior members and the first placed lady being 17 year old Georgie Campbell.

All we’ve got to do now is hang on to them for the next 20 years and we’ll have a world beating Vets team !

At The Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton, 5 of our members competed in the aforementioned actual competition.

There’s also a report on the English Schools Virtual T&F Championships, where 9 of our younger members competed. In the England Athletics Virtual 5k we had 13 members taking part, with Georgie Campbell finishing in 2nd place in the ladies race out of 587 competitors. Our men’s A team finished a very creditable 38th out of over 300 competing teams.

Finally, a few of our volunteer coaches and officials have submitted articles.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the club’s volunteers. We are a successful club, time and again punching way above our weight and we are a successful club not only because we have a membership of committed and hard working athletes but because we also have a group of committed and hard working coaches who give freely of their time.

The two go hand in glove.

However, as Paul Bearman’s article goes on to state, as a club we need more volunteers. I can attest to the fact that it is a hugely rewarding experience. I have been fortunate enough to be involved with our junior endurance group for a few years and I can, hand on heart, say that Thursday nights at the track (Tuesdays on the sport field at the moment ) and Junior XC races are off the scale when it comes to enjoyment.

Why not put your name forward ?

You will not regret it.

So there you have it, another busy week in the life of our wonderful club.

Take care

David Jones.


SUAAC Training Resumption – Summer Holidays


After being given the good news that we can resume training at the track by Stratford School w/c 20 July, there are a few different things we have to adhere to, that will make things work for both the school and SUAAC.

I have been waiting for England Athletics to revise their guidelines based on last week’s announcements, however, as yet nothing has been posted on their website so we need to press on to inform everyone what is happening.

At this point in time the resumption is for the 6 weeks school holiday only and separate discussions will be required after the school returns in September with a full complement of pupils.

This time, hopefully brief, is needed to allow the school time to review their protocols, logistics and risk assessment and the same for us if necessary.

I need to stress we not in normal times and the respective junior Age Group Leaders (AGLs) will be in contact with their groups to explain how they are approaching the return to training.

Again I need to stress that it won’t necessarily be everyone, as we have to strictly adhere to the 1:5 coach to athlete bubbles and as such, we can’t accommodate everyone initially.

Equally there won’t be a return to the normal senior activity at the track and that will be explained separately.

Based on our experience from the last 3 weeks training at Leamington (not U11s) and the Sports club cricket ground, we have proved beyond reasonable doubt that our protocols are robust and so, therefore, we can start next Tuesday 21st July following the current protocols, including the Risk Assessment and site plan.

These will be continually reviewed to ensure we continue to protect all SUAAC members, their families and the wider community as best we can.

The AGLs will explain for example, the restrictions to the access and egress to and from the track which will follow the site plan and protocols that we have agreed with the school.

The consensus from athletes and coaches is that everyone is looking to get back to our home track and enjoying our sport once more and thus getting back to something like normality, although we realise we are still far away from that.

Paul Bearman

The ever improving Caleb Spriggs who was 1st in the M Junior age category in the vShakespeare 10k.
July Shakespeare Race & Bike TT Results.

Report – David Smyth
Here are the results for July. A big well done to everyone for their efforts this month. As we gradually return to some kind of normality, it has been great to see the focus and effort you have still put into these events, despite the awful weather in early July.

As usual a big shout out to Matt Burdus-Cook, Sarah Bland, Ryan Bakewell and John Raby who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get these results captured, assessed and presented!!

Onto the podium positions.

The Shakespeare 10k race – 66 entrants

Once again it’s great to see the virtual race is still appealing to many club members, even if we can’t wait to get back to ‘normal’ racing again!!

There were some great performances and a few PBs were logged, so it shows there has been some real progress in people’s fitness and speed over the lockdown period.

Ladies Race

🥇 – Kate Wright 40:15
🥈 – Sarah Wheeler 44:08
🥉 – Vicky Sharpe 45:40

Men’s Race

🥇 – Matt Burdus-Cook 34:29
🥈 – Richard Liggatt 35:27
🥉 – Wayne Vickers 37:53

Age category winners were as follows:

F Sen – Vicky Sharpe
F35 – Phillipa Padock
F40 – Tara Lambert
F45 – Sarah Wheeler
F50 – Caroline Gionis
F55 – Kate Wright
F60 – Sally Bliss
F65 – Kate Sergent
F70 – Jan Turner

M Jun – Caleb Spriggs
M Sen – Richard Liggatt
M40 – Matt Burdus-Cook
M45 – Andrew Cox
M50 – Wayne Vickers
M55 – Martyn Sergent
M60 – Phil Marshall
M65 – John Peacock
M70 – David Jones
M75 – John Butler

10m Bike TT – 24 entrants

The slightly further distance and very changeable weather in early July may have had an impact on numbers this month but the TT is still popular and as competitive as ever!

Ladies TT

🥇 – Caroline Gionis 27:47
🥈 – Becky Loftus 31:37
🥉 – Philippa Paddock 32:52

Men’s TT

🥇 – Matt Lyness 23:24
🥈 – Joe Lee 23:26
🥉 – Andrew Cox 27:58

Full results are shown here.

Well done everyone and good luck with the next racing instalment that will be heading your way soon, in the form of the WRRL 1m sprint!!

If you have not run and/or uploaded your time, you have until the end of July.

So, until August – Happy Running & Riding everyone!!
Matt Burdus-Cook, the 2nd placed runner in the Magic Mile.
Magic Mile

Report – John Raby.

SAC Magic Mile submissions for July are now closed.

Well done to everyone one who competed. We had 67 entries in total. It would be fantastic to see these submitted to the WRRL as well. I’ll do a separate update to that as we’ve still another two weeks on that.

Overall Results
🥇 – 
Georgie Campbell
🥈 – 
Kate Wright
🥉 – 
Vicky Sharpe

Alex Adams 

🥈 – 
Matt Burdus-Cook
🥉 – 
Richard Liggatt

The age category winners were the same as for the 10k race with the exception of Alex Adams winning the M Jun category. He was too young to compete in the 10k and Allan Coldicott winning the M60 category. It was a similar story in the ladies race, with the exception of Jill Wilson winning the F60 and Cindy Brittan the F70 categories

Full results are here

Well done to absolutely everyone. Brilliant results and as mentioned before the future looks bright seeing so many juniors smashing it. 💪

Big thank you to 

David Smyth, Matt Burdus-Cook, Sarah Bland and Ryan Bakewell

 A lot of work and many hours are put in putting this all together. In the background they are putting all the data together, which isn’t as simple as it seems. Without these guys and gal we wouldn’t be able to put these Virtual Races together in such a professional format.
Imy Sheppard and David Wilson taking part in a real live race. Remember those ?

England Athletics Pilot Event

Report – David Jones.

Actual competition resumed at The Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton where an England Athletics pilot event took place and featured a limited number of events, with a limit to the number of competitors in the 100m and 400m races, with runners occupying alternate lanes.

5 club members competed and their performances were testament to the hard training they have been putting in recently despite the severe restrictions in place.

In the 100m there was a PB for Mark Illingworth (14.22) and David Wilson was just two hundredths of a second off a PB, in recording a time of 13.22. Dave then went on to run a PB of 64.60 in the 400m. 

Paula Williams ran a season’s best time of 13.39 in the 100m and then recorded a throw of 10.67m in the shot.

Imogen Sheppard won her heat in the 100m in a season’s best time of 12.98, she also achieved a season’s best time in the 400m of 60.02.

Emily Field ran her 2nd best time of 60.72 in the 400m but was somewhat harshly disqualified for running 4 steps on the line.

Alex Adams was the comfortable winner of the vEnglish School 1500m, competing in the junior boys category.
English Schools Virtual Track and Field Championships.

Report – David Jones
This virtual competition ran from 5th to 11th July, with entries for individual athletes being made online by teachers, coaches, or parents.

Athletes could register their performance for ONE event, where the performance was achieved during this week, if a later performance was achieved during the week, that could be entered again and the best performance during the week was registered.

Performances could be done at school, club, or elsewhere but needed to be ratified by a responsible adult.
Nine club members competed across various disciplines.

Our sole field event competitor was Tom Weaver in the javelin. Tim was ranked 15th in the UK last year in his age category and was throwing a 600g javelin for the first time in competition, it was also the first time he had thrown a 600g since February. This being the case he should be more than happy with his throw of 33.59m.

On the track we had 8 of our younger members competing in the 1500m.

In the junior boys category, Alex Adams finished in 1st place overall out of 26 competitors with a time of 4.15.1. This was an almost 6 second improvement on his official PB. He comfortably beat the 2nd placed competitor by 16 seconds. Adam Taylor also competed in this category, finishing with a time of 5.25.

In the Intermediate Boys category, Taylor Stubbins ran a time of 4.35.7, closely followed by Caleb Spriggs in 4.38.4, with Ned Campbell recording a time of 5.16.5.

In the Intermediate Girls category Ellen Taylor ran 5.32.1 and in the Senior Girls category, Georgie Campbell finished in 2nd place overall with a time of 4.42, half a second inside her official PB. Abbie Wootton ran 5.29.9.
Georgie Campbell who finished in 2nd place out of 587 ladies competing in the England Athletics Virtual 5k national championships
Fin Hutchinson who broke through the 20 minute barrier for the first time while competing in the England Athletics Virtual 5k National Championships.
England Athletics – Virtual 5k.

About the Virtual 5K Road Running Championships 2020

Report – David Jones

With the original 5k Championships cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, England Athletics launched a free-to-enter virtual version of the race for 2020, thus enabling runners nationwide to compete at a time when many road race events are on-hold.

As well as creating an exciting platform for performance focused runners to challenge for the national 5k title, the fact that there was no minimum entry standard meant the Championships also provided a fantastic opportunity for many runners to gain their first experience in national competition.

The Championships offered plenty of chances for glory – with medals being awarded to runners finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall in both women’s and men’s categories, plus there were further possibilities to grab a podium spot in a Club competition and also to win medals in the Age Category competitions.

The Club competition, across both women’s and men’s categories, required three runners to score, with the final results decided by the accumulated time of the fastest three runners for each club. 

With the minimum entry age for the Championships set at 16, the Age Category competition across both women’s and men’s categories incorporated: U17, U20, U23, SEN, V35, V40, V45, V50, V55, V60, V65, V70, V75, V80, V85 and V90.

13 of our club members competed in this competition, with the highlight being Georgie Campbell’s performance. Her time of 17.41 meant she finished in 2nd place out of 587 in this national competition.

Our men’s A team finished a very creditable 38th out of over 300 competing teams.

The individual performances were as follows:

Ben Kruze 15.19
Matt Burdus-Cook 16.38
Andrew Cox 17.49
Ryan Bakewell 18.19
Seth Turner 18.22
Jamie Chorley 18.52
James Cusack 18.59
David Smyth 19.04
Fin Hutchinson 19.39. Fin was delighted to achieve his first sub 20 minute 5k having previously run two at 20.00 dead.
Tim Hutchinson 19.43 – Tim paced Fin, thus helping him to achieve his goal.
John Peacock 22.33
Lara Bakewell 30.33

Our Coaches and Officials – without whom…..

Below are a few articles that have been submitted by some of the club’s volunteer coaches and officials.

As a club we are fortunate to have quite a number of people who give freely of their time to help our members improve their physical and mental wellbeing, achieve their goals and meet like minded individuals while having lots of fun along the way.

However, as Paul Bearman’s letter below states, the club are always on the look out for more coaches and officials.

Please give Paul’s letter a good read and if you feel you can put something back into a club that has given you so much then get in touch with him. 
Martha Edwards
Lucy Edwards.

Being a Coaching Assistant at Stratford has been one of my most rewarding experiences in recent years.

Over the last three months I’ve really missed the children, their endless enthusiasm and chatter! It’s been lovely being back at the track (although it’s Leamington not Stratford)with the u13s and I can’t wait for Tuesday evenings on our home turf! 

Lockdown for our family has involved a wide variety of exercise and a good amount of online learning courtesy of England Athletics.

The first few weeks of we concentrated on circuit training in the garden. The lawn suffered greatly with competitive children running laps, followed by an excited Labrador.

Lots of skipping, plyos, med ball work and 30/20/10 worked well for my u11 and u13 as I could easily adjust training levels.

As the weeks went on we ventured past the front door and ran all the local footpaths and lanes. We are very lucky to have open fields and challenging hills on our doorstep. We try to run the ‘Three hills’ (Bakers, Coleman’s and Meon) at least once a week…. I say run! Ruby leaves me for dust and I stop with the excuse of photographing views and catch my breath!

In my case running in the fresh air at the top of a hill with a stunning view has always been the tonic I’ve needed to get through tough times and during lockdown especially.

We have also developed a love for Yoga Strong. The dynamic stretches and positions are brilliant for core strength.

However the best activities that have made us laugh whilst also keeping us fit and competitive have been the home pentathlons! Toilet roll high jump, rolled sock shot putt, toilet roll burpees….although I think Paivi has had enough of me sending her video clips of loo roll exercises now though!

We are looking forward to relegating the Andrex to its designated job and getting back to proper training with friends.
John Turner

John Turner.

A few days ago David asked if I would write a few words on why I officiate. He sort of mentioned that a fee might be involved. I did not then realise that I had to pay David a fee to get my name in print.

He suggested a few headings for the article so I might as well follow these.

1.  Why do I officiate ?

For this we have to go back about 20 years in the Club’s history.  Then the senior section had just Paul Hawkins as the qualified time keeper.  In the early 2000s we had as timekeeper my good friend Mick Warner, Spikes dad.

Talking of Mick he was the chap who, off his own bat, decided to run with new people on Club nights.  He thought it not right that new slower runners should have to run on their own in the dark.  This then was the beginning of the chaperone system we have today.

Sometime around 2005 Mick and Shirley left to live in South Wales so we had no regular timekeeper.  Paul H put out an appeal for somebody to help out. So I said that I would do it.

Having done the initial course, in the same year I went from what was then called an Ancillary Official to a Level 1 and then Level 2.  This was made possible by going to as many T&F meetings meetings as possible and by becoming teachers pet !

So in 2007 I was a qualified timekeeper able to earn points for the club at League events.

What about Endurance events?  i.e. road and cross country.  I could act as a timekeeper but not as any other sort of endurance official.  At that time there were no qualified officials as we know them today at endurance races.  UK Athletics was only just getting their backsides in to gear.  Some would say that we are still waiting for that to happen !

During the early 2000s the SAC committee suggested that we ought to have an open Summer race.  We already had The Roman Nine race in the winter, The Hilly 100 and a Fun Run for children in the summer.  So a couple of us sorted out a course in Wilmcote, negotiated with Mary Arden’s house and The Stratford Summer Six was born.

Why am I telling you this?  Quite simply UKA decided that there should be a graded qualification for endurance officials and those of us who had been Race Directors or who had been involved with endurance events, should suggest what level we should be awarded !  

Tony Jackson and myself decided to go for the top level —-  they could always offer a lower level and this is what they did.  We were both given Level 3, the top level being 5.

Since then I have attended many courses including last year becoming a qualified Race Referee responsible for up to 2000 runners. This role is somewhat duplicated by the Race Adjudicator system but both have similar functions.

Over the years I have been privileged to officiate at International Cross Country, British T&F Championships and events all over the Midlands.  My main loyalty has of course always been to SAC over all other requests to officiate.

2. What do I get from officiating ?

Quite simply I get to see some fabulous athletics and in timekeeping probably from the best position on the track.
BUT the biggest pleasure I get is watching our own juniors achieving, as they grow up wether that be on the track or cross country.  

At SAC we are so fortunate to have so many dedicated coaches and helpers to enable this to happen.  In the past I have emailed Paul B.  to keep the production line going !

3.  What have I missed during Lockdown ?

Of course I miss being at competitions. I miss the camaraderie that exists between officials, the joking and the fun.

At lower level competitions keep your eyes on the timekeepers stand between events, they are usually laughing.

I do not miss getting up early in the morning to get to some distant event.

I do miss the cup of tea and the bacon sandwich that are essential when I arrive at a venue.  Paul H will verify that !

4.  Hopes Post Lockdown.

Obviously I would hope that athletics can return soon, however in the short term things are going to be very different. How can athletes in longer races maintain a social distance ?  How can officials do the same eg on the timekeepers stand ?

The testing for Covid 19 for everyone involved before an event might be answer but at what cost ?

I am sure that the Athletics authorities are reviewing the situation constantly.

Vaccines may be the answer but how long will we have to wait for them.

Virtual Racing ?  Our wonderful people at SAC have shown that this is possible but on a       
grand scale this is so open to cheating.

I hope that I am wrong but I feel that the near and mid future for athletics does not look      
Emma Sparrow

 I have been doing lots of webinars on the different athletic sports.  I have done a few webinars on Officials and gadgets and I was hoping to have finished my level 2 in track this year but unfortunately that won’t happen. 

I have been trying to do the paper side, like answering the questions we have to do. I have missed the getting out there and coaching part. I did have to renew my DBS so ended up doing the safe guarding course.

I did do a course on mental health awareness for sport and physical activity.

I haven’t really done much other than taking the kids running every day to keep up their fitness levels. We have also been doing a bit of athletics in the garden.
Charlotte Gravelsons.
Charlotte Gravelsons.
1. I’ve missed everything about coaching with the U11s, in particular just being around such lovely young athletes and volunteers.

2. I’m looking forward to returning and helping bring back that sense of community we’ve missed from being away for so long.

3. Currently, I am taking two online courses through England Athletics. These are titled: Mental Wellbeing in Sport and Physical Activity, and Preventing Bullying in Sport. 
Brian Gravelsons
Brian Gravelsons.

What (if anything) have you missed during the lockdown

  • Timekeeping with my friends!  Yes, I have been able to time Charlotte, Harry and my own endeavours, but there is nothing like the banter us timekeepers command on those steps, not to mention the sweets.
  • I think I have particularly missed being able to subject my fellow officials with my very bad jokes :() 

What (if anything) are you looking forward to, hopes and plans when we return to training

  • I am really looking forward to being able to simply take part in a full day’s competition in the sunshine. 

What (if anything) you’ve done to develop/learn re coaching/officiating e.g. webinars, online learning, helping your/others kids in the park/garden etc

  • I have not done much despite the amazing amount of resources that were made available. I have though enjoyed learning from others, seeing how coaching plans can be easily and effectively put together.

Coaching and Officiating

Paul Bearman.

As with all clubs in all sports SUAAC totally relies on volunteer support and as the club continues to grow and expand we need a constant flow of new volunteers to support the club’s activities. In the junior part of the club we work to a strict coach : athlete ratio primarily for welfare, safety and quality reasons for the children. 

As we attempt to return to training at our track, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the limitations we have of accommodating all our young athletes while we are using the Leamington track, as we have to stick to the 1 coach to 5 athlete ratio. In addition, due to the non-existence of competitions, we haven’t been able to train anymore officials and without them we aren’t able to meet our commitments when we do compete in the Track and Field leagues.

Becoming a volunteer coach or official is a great fun way of becoming involved in the club and the community.  Whether you are a parent or family member wanting to get more involved with your children’s sport or an older athlete looking for a new dimension to your role in the sport, or have been inspired by seeing how other people have made a difference to young people’s lives, coaching and officiating has plenty to offer. 

There’s a whole host of motivations why people become a coach or officiate in athletics like giving something back to the community or the sport they and their children enjoy, the camaraderie and making new friends, to experiencing the sport from a different angle rather than just watching from the side lines.

We prefer to recruit our coaches and officials via members’ families or their associates, as the chances are we will already know them.

If your child or family member is involved with SUAAC or even if the last time you wore a pair of trainers was in your school PE lesson, you could become a valued athletics coach or official for the club. Incidentally the majority of people who get involved with the club have no particular knowledge or experience of athletics. 

England Athletics are looking at how they will deliver the courses in the coming months and all you would be required to do is go on a 1 or 2 day course and obtain a DBS for child protection. The club pays for all of this so there are no out of pocket expenses and coaches get a significantly reduced membership rate for their children.

Why Coach?

As a first step into helping at the club there is the Coaching Assistant qualification:

  • Who could go on this course? Anyone aged 16 or over, who is interested in taking the first step into a coaching pathway and wants to understand the fundamental technical principles of coaching.
  • How many days will it take? Two days (normally delivered over the course of one weekend) with no assessment.
  • What will I learn? The technical coaching knowledge to underpin running, jumping and throwing activities. You’ll then learn how to apply these principles into a number of fun and exciting practical examples. 
  • What will I be able to do? By attending the Coaching Assistant course, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to deliver effective and engaging club sessions initially and be insured to assist working with a more experienced coach using session plans.

After the CA course the world of athletics coaching opens up as much or as little as you want it to. 

For details of coaching qualifications see

Why I became a coach………

Rob Forman …….”All 3 of my children have been involved in the club and Emily the eldest, started aged 10 and has gone on to win medals in national championships and represented English Schools in an international. 

I have a very busy, intense working life but I still find a couple of hours a week to forget the day to day hassles and try to help other children achieve their potential.

There’s great camaraderie between the coaches and as a volunteer it’s giving something back to the community. I’d definitely recommend making the time and get involved for yourself and to help others”.

Why Officiate?

There is a range of specialty officials categories i.e. track, field, starter and timekeeping and like all other sports, athletics competition simply wouldn’t exist without qualified officials.

From the club’s point of view we have commitments to the leagues we are involved with and our officials earn points every bit as much as one of our competitive athletes in league matches. We have actually lost matches in the past because of not fully meeting our officiating commitments.

Why I became an official………

Brian & Alison Gravelsons …….”Officiating is fun. Great people enjoying their time together on a summer’s day or evening. We get a lot out of knowing that we are making a huge difference not just for our children but for many others too and every athlete benefits from good officiating. Indeed, junior athletics simply would not be able to function without willing volunteers.

Everyone is busy but I think that if we do not make the time and volunteer to help out in some way and for some of the time, then we can’t really expect there ever to be training, leagues and other events that our children can take part in and enjoy”.   

Louise Leighton…… “When the club asked me if I would consider being an official, my answer was a definite yes.  Mostly because I struggle with the word ‘no’ but when I gave it some further thought, I figured it was a great way to give something back to the club by volunteering a bit of time. 

Plus it was an opportunity to learn some of the technical jargon that has baffled me for years so I could get involved in conversations about athletics instead of being totally clueless”.  

So if you’re interested or want to know more please help our club and contact me

07767 343925

or any Age Group Leader and don’t forget the club pays for the course so you’re not out of pocket.

Thanks for reading this and hopefully you’re inspired to get involved with us and support our athletes and the future of our club.

Paul Bearman


100 Club Winners.

Dear all

I hope everyone is well and is enjoying more outside time and being able to meet up with others while following the government guidelines.

Our 100 club still continues and the draw was made on line by 3 of our coaches.

Julys winner’s are 

1st prize of £100 Carolyne Johnston
2nd prize of  £50 Marion Jones
3rd prize of £25 Richard Eden

A huge congratulations to you all.

Don’t forget you can join the 100 club at any time just email on for more details. All of the proceeds minus the winnings are used to support the club.

Please stay safe and look after each other.

Jo Hutchinson
And Finally.

A couple of photos of some of our Vet’s getting out and about.
Peter Coote and his time trial bike, complete with saddlebag for snack halfway

Peter commented “I am really enjoying the mixture of exercise that I am doing at the moment, including quite a bit of fartlek when I am running.  I’m not convinced that I will every really enjoy running more than 5k, although I have run 10k in this month’s virtual Shakespeare race. Apart from continuing to throw the javelin, I am not sure where I will focus my competitive energies in the future.”
Mark Illingworth, David Wilson and Paula Williams at The Pingles stadium. Proud to be wearing the vest and competing again.