It’s been a busy week.

 
Some magnificent photos from last weekend’s Cheltenham Restart Open, courtesy of Mike Sheppard.

From the top : Ruby Edwards on her way to a PB of 4.37m in the long jump. Ruby was delighted, having been jumping over 4m at the track and at school, that she was finally able to manage it in a competition!

Millie Leighton and Charlotte Gravelsons battle it out in the 400m hurdles. They both finished with identical times of 70.2 seconds, PBs for both of them.

Luca De Freitas Pires straining every sinew in his 100m.
Putting together this week’s newsletter has reminded me of all the stuff, as a club, we do. It has also reminded me that training and competition is actually happening to a considerable degree. Much joy.

I am acutely aware of the fact that, of late, the newsletter seems very T&F orientated.

I think it’s probably fair to say that for members of the senior section, road running is the majority activity.  It would be wonderful to receive some reports on these type of races.

I know that at the weekend there is our own prestigious Hilly 100 and also the Tysoe Windmill Run and I’m really hoping that members taking part will feel able to submit reports that could be included in the newsletter and possibly submitted to the local press for inclusion.

This week The Herald have once again supported us by featuring a report on the last of The Winter Series races, alongside a lovely photo of the series winner Matt Burdus-Cook and his 8 year old son Noah.

From comments I have received, I do know that senior section members like to hear about what the junior section are up to and vice versa.

I am indebted to Paul Bearman for his detailed report on last weekend’s T&F fixtures at The Pingles and Cheltenham. I know it’s The Masters T&F Championships at the weekend and, again, I’m hopeful someone will be able to submit a report on them.

Elsewhere in the report we have details of the Warwickshire County T&F Championships, 11 year old Sam Plumb’s first official 1500m race and a very impressive one it was. We had a couple of our Masters sprinters competing with 200 others at Wednesday nights Night of 100m event.

There are details of the upcoming internal SUAAC Super 2 events to be held at the track for the under 13,15 and 17+ groups. We have a reminder that club members competing should be wearing a club vest and there are details of how to purchase them.

We’ve had the first of what I hope will be many responses to the “getting to know you” initiative featured in last week’s newsletter.

Almost inevitably there is news of yet another PB by Cadie Hibberd. I’m selling my treadmill in aid of club funds and we have a few more photos from this past week’s activities.

Phew !

Good luck to those of you who are competing at the weekend and please, please, please send me your reports.

Take care.

Best Wishes

David Jones
 
WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY 
TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2021


31st July & 1st August 2021 
Pingles Athletics Stadium, Avenue Road, 
Nuneaton, CV11 4LX 
   
The Entries Close 30th June 2021 @ 17:00   
No late entries will be accepted. 
 
See below how to enter. 

https://entry4sports.co.uk/#/
 
The County Champs is the main event (apart from the club champs) where the entire club, from under 11 upwards is encouraged to compete and support the club plus it is a great opportunity for all our athletes to enjoy a good competition as a Stratford team. 

Prior to 2020, when there were no championships, for the previous 3 years we have won the top scoring club trophy at these Championships and it would be great to retain the trophy but to do so we need as many of our athletes competing to give us a chance of that happening. 
 
All of the information required to enter is below and entries are now open.

Although the end of July may seem a long way off, the closing date is 30th June and so allow yourself even more extra time in case you have queries or problems that have to be resolved before the closing date. 
 
Please don’t leave it until the last minute. I suggest you enter ASAP so there is no disappointment for the athletes or the club, because they will not accept late entries under any circumstances. 
 
If you have any queries e.g. “what events shall I do” please ask your respective Age Group Leader or club coaches and we look forward to seeing you at training and at the Championships. 
  
Contacts :  
Carolyne Johnston U11s : Paivi McMillan U13s : Mike Sheppard U15s : Paul Bearman U17+ : Paul Hawkins/Mike Sheppard Endurance

Paul Bearman 
 
Club members wearing the unfamiliar colours of Rugby and Northampton at the Youth Development League meeting last weekend..
Top: Catherine Reynolds and Kaili Woodward 
Middle: Georgie Campbell and Freddie Clemons.
Bottom: Cole Williams
 
Youth Development League Upper Midlands &  Cheltenham Restart Open.
 
Reports – Paul Bearman
 
The Youth Development League (YDL) is a part of the national league programme and for many reasons Stratford normally doesn’t take part but for several years we have “loaned” some of our upper age groups (U17/20s) athletes to Rugby & Northampton AC as 2nd claim athletes and this gives our athletes other opportunities to compete.
 
Due to Covid, the normal divisions have been put into local areas to minimise travel and the timetable has been carved up for the first two matches, so that some events are alternated between males and females but nevertheless it was great to get out to a track and for most of the 8 Stratford athletes competing it was their first chance to compete for at least 12 months, albeit in the unfamiliar blue and black R&N vests. 

Without a proper winter’s preparation and only 7 weeks of training since lockdown, it was always going to be interesting to see how everyone performed, particularly when the focus in training has had been to simply get the athletes fit, mobile and back into some sort of shape to be able to be able to compete.
 
A huge disappointment was for hurdlers Under 20 Cole Williams and Under 17 Freddie Clemons having to run their races on their own with no other competitors but nevertheless, running solo into a headwind and over 10 hurdles for the first time this year proved that they have a very strong base to work from. With no speed training going into the races Freddie ran 14.5s, just .4 outside his PB and Cole ran 15.7s just .6s outside his PB. He also ran 11.9s in the 100m, winning his heat. 

Under 20 Alex Powell finished 5th in his heat of the 100m in 12.6s and was disappointed that in the long jump, the run up he had worked hard on in training let him down and he only managed 1 legal jump of 5.48m, giving him 3rdplace.
 
After winning the U20 Triple Jump with 9.76m, Kaili Woodward returned to compete in a High Jump competition for the first time in two years and, after only 2 training sessions, jumped superbly to win with a best of 1.60m, just 6cm off her PB.
 
Catherine Reynolds made her debut in the U20 400m and finished in an encouraging time of 59.8s. Afterwards she said her “legs felt like jelly”, which isn’t surprising without the essential benefit of a winter of endurance training. However, immediately afterwards she set off for a family break and she texted that “Colin the Caterpillar chocolate cake had replenished her jelly legs”. 

Another debutant over 200m was U20 Noah McDonald finishing 5th in his heat with 24.2 and U17 Caitlin Buckley had a good run winning her heat in 28.00s.
 
The organisers decided to include 3000m races to conclude the programme and Georgie Campbell and Taylor Stubbins ran brilliantly to give Paul Hawkins a welcome boost while he is out of action. 

Georgie looked like she really meant business and pounded round the track relentlessly as she ran away from the other competitors and finished in a time of 10:24.4 

Taylor was making his debut over 3000m and with no tactical experience over the distance he effectively ran 2 back to back 1500m and over the last 3 laps he reminded me of a big game fisherman as he reeled the Birchfield athlete in and literally ran away from him and finished in a time of 09:17.9. 

Afterwards Carolyne Johnston and reflected that it was an absolute treat to be back trackside and enjoying seeing some of our athletes competing and watching their encouraging performances. 
 
Meanwhile the day before in Gloucestershire 7 more junior Stratford athletes competed in the Cheltenham Restart Open

Under 20s Millie Leighton and Charlotte Gravelsons had their first run of the season in the 400m Hurdles and paced each other around the track, both finishing with personal bests of 70.2s. Afterwards both of them said encouragingly “there’s more to come”.  Millie also had a single jump in the Triple Jump of 10.55m. 

Under 23 Imogen Sheppard is at Uni in Birmingham and is showing promising early season form and she was just two tenths outside her PB in the 400m with 57.5s and for some added speed work she ran 13.1s in the 100m. 

Under 15 Ruby Edwards jumped over 50cm more for a new PB of 4.47m in the Long Jump but was disappointed not to be able to run the hurdles after the schedule was delayed and it clashed with the Long Jump. Unfortunately, U17 Charlie Whorrad fouled all his jumps and didn’t get a legal jump.
 
Caitlin Boyle had a good day finishing with two PBs in the U15 800m (02:37.6) and High Jump (1.35) and Luca De Freitas Pires finished 2nd in his heat also recording a PB in the U15 100m with a time of 14.1s. 
 
On reflection and talking to the athletes, I can’t help thinking that with such a disjointed 18 months and only 7 weeks training since lockdown the athletes have hit the ground running and are working hard with the Age Group coaching teams and are producing performances that are surprising but very encouraging. 
11 year old Sam Plumb competed in his first official 1500m race at the weekend at the Kettering Open. His time of 5:23.58 places him just inside the top 100 in his age group in the UK but he’s actually 16th for athletes in the first year of that age group. Well done Sam.
Dave Wilson and Simon Curran were among 200 athletes who took part in the Night of 100 metres at The Pingles Stadium on Wednesday night. Both just missing out on PB’s with times of 13.19 and 13.58 respectively. Dave commented that it was a perfect warm evening to run 100m against some tough competition. It was also great to get another opportunity to race and see what shape we are in for the Midland Masters at the weekend.

They are currently placed 10th and 16th in the UK rankings for their age.

Stratford upon Avon AC – Super 2 (or1)

To Athletes & Parents

Due to the limited number of competitive opportunities this year for our athletes due to Covid, the Age Group Leaders have decided to run our own internal events.

Match 1 – 11th June

Match 2 – 16th July

Match 3 – 13th August

We appreciate competition can create some anxiety but after our recent return to training, these events will give the young athletes, who, for whatever reason don’t enter Open competitions or compete in league matches, the opportunity to run, jump and throw to give them a time, distance or height to measure their own personal achievements and try a different event.

These events also give all of our young athletes the chance to be with and have some fun with their training groups with no pressure and no expectations.

 

Parents/Guardians: To run these events takes a considerable amount of time and effort behind the scenes and we will be asking our volunteer coaches and officials to give up another evening to support your children. Therefore, the first event on 11 June will be a test, insofar as if the event isn’t widely supported beyond the athletes who normally compete, we won’t run the other two scheduled events. We are hoping to encourage all of our athletes to get involved, to dip their toes in the water and give themselves a sense of what they can achieve.

The early support from our officials and coaches to support this competition has been terrific…..all we need now is the support from our athletes to compete

Your support to encourage them to get involved would be appreciated.

For full details and entry form please ask your Age Group Leaders or Coaches. Entries will close on 8th June
 

These events are for  for the under 13,15 and 17+ groups. The U11s will be running something similar over the summer during training.

 

Dates for the diary: Hopefully the events will be widely supported, culminating with the Club Champs on 12 September, where we expect everyone to be involved.

Stratford are the reigning County Champions and we are hoping to continue that success this year at the Warwickshire County Championships on 31 July & 1 August and we encourage all club members to compete.

More of these events will be sent out in due course.

SUAAC Age Group Leaders

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Club Vests and Crop Tops
 
With the sun shining and events starting up again can we please remind athletes that they need to be wearing a Stratford Athletics vest or crop top to compete and represent our lovely Club. 

These are available in the shop section of the website www.stratfordac.co.uk 

Vests are £16
Crop tops are £20
The Amy and Louise Initiative

Last week Amy Rowe and Louise Stewart asked the question 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
 

Or, more specifically, into your trainers or spikes ?

Well we have the first 3 responses below. Please keep them coming.

We want to hear more about what makes you get out there, rain or shine. Whether you’re completing a track session, practicing your jumps or throws, running 5K in 15 mins or just having a meander through the Warwickshire countryside – we’d love to hear about it! 

Please spend 5 minutes answering the below questions and we’ll look to publish them in the newsletter. 

We’d love it even more if you attached a pic of your efforts too (but not obligatory).

Just reply to this newsletter if you’d like to be included! 

Many thanks.

 
    1.Describe your running, sprinting, throwing or jumping style in three words

    2.What was your most memorable race or event?

    3.What advice would you give to a new athlete or someone starting back after a hiatus?

    4.What kit couldn’t you do without?

    5.Complete this sentence: I love athletics because…
Peter Sugden

1. Occasionally I surprise

2. There are many to choose from – racing David Smyth to the finish of the Two Castles (I’m not sure he was as aware of the race as me), or any time I’ve run the Summer 6 race – but here goes.. In 2019 I joined the Vets track and field team. My first evening was a bit mixed.

We did well as a team. It was my first 400m and high jump competition in about 35 years. I finished 3rd in the 400m, with a mixture of relief and pride, followed by a failure to jump the high jump on legs that had turned to jelly moments earlier on the finish straight of the 400m.

Our next meeting was at Redditch, where I ran a guest leg in the 200m (and learned I’m not really a sprinter). I then ran the anchor leg of the 4×400 mixed over 50s relay.

I was handed the baton in first place, just, by Elaine Ledden, who had run a brilliant leg. I just had to stay in front!  I could hear the Worcester athlete just behind me on the first bend. Coach Minton had taught me at the previous meeting that 400m running is about being able to run each 100m slightly quicker than the previous one. I tried not to panic but ran my own race. On the back straight I was being caught. At 200m I pushed harder and at 300m I gave everything I had to the finish.

The roar of about 30 fellow SAC team members as I crossed the finish line in first place was amazing. The sense of accomplishment was immense. The team spirit intoxicating.

3. Be patient – strength and fitness take time to build up. Remember it’s about you and how you are performing relative to you. Mostly, we do it for fun!

4. My gloves in the winter. Like a number of fellow runners, I seem to suffer with Raynaud’s when it’s cold

5. I love athletics because it puts a smile on my face

 
Sarah Odell far right in this group shot behind photographer Susan Hunt on a club run at the Welcombe Hills on Wednesday.
L to R: Lesley Kirk, Phil Marshall, Lisa Dallisson, Kate Sergent, Sarah and Susan
Sarah Odell

1/ Wonky & lopsided  
2/ Race to the stones, I cried when crossing the finish line
3/ Start slow and be patient
4/ Good quality sports bra
5/ Even when life is pants, exercise makes it feel better.
 
 
Louise Stewart
  1. .Describe your running, sprinting, throwing or jumping style in three words RUNNING; SLOW & STEADY WITH LOTS OF TIME FOR SCENIC PICTURES AND SNACKS. NEVER FORGET THE TALE OF THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE!

 

  1.  What was your most memorable race or event?   SO MANY! OFFA’S DYKE 2019 FELT LIKE MY FIRST REAL RACE EVEN THOUGH I WAS OFFICIALLY THE BACK MARKER RATHER THAN A COMPETITOR. I LOVED IT SO MUCH I GOT A TATTOO OF THE ROUTE PROFILE. ALSO MY FIRST (& ONLY!) SUB 2 HALF MARATHON, I RAN MY GUTS OUT AND AS I CAME INTO THE FINISH LINE I’M SURE I HEARD SOMEONE SHOUTING MY NAME. I DON’T KNOW IF THAT WAS FOR ME OR WHO IT WAS BUT IT DEFINITELY CARRIED ME OVER THE LINE.

3 .What advice would you give to a new athlete or someone starting back after a hiatus? TAKE IT STEADY, REST IS AS IMPORTANT AS TRAINING AND DON’T FEEL PRESSURISED BY OTHERS

4 .What kit couldn’t you do without?  MY CUSTOM ORTHOTICS. A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO I RUPTURED MY PLANTAR FASCIA AND COULDN’T RUN FOR NEARLY 6 MONTHS. NOW I DON’T WEAR ANY SHOES WITHOUT THEM AND I CAN BORE FOR ENGLAND ABOUT SIGNS, SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS, MANAGEMENT,  TREATMENT AND REHAB OF PF.

5 .Complete this sentence: I love athletics because… WHEN I FIRST STARTED RUNNING, SOMEONE AT BRUETON PARKRUN ONCE TOLD ME THAT RUNNING WAS OBVIOUSLY NOT THE RIGHT THING FOR ME AND I SHOULDN’T DO IT. NOW EVERY TIME I GO OUT AND RUN, I MENTALLY STICK MY FINGERS UP AT HIM AND THINK ‘STUFF YOU’.

Things just wouldn’t seem right without a weekly PB from Cadie Hibberd. This week she ran in the BMC 3000m and recorded a PB time of 11:07.61, a 9 second improvement on her previous best time.
And Finally.

I bought this JTX Sprint 5 treadmill just before the start of lockdown 1 last year. It cost me £220 from eBay and it’s arguably the best £220 I’ve ever spent. It was pretty much a life saver for me during the times the track and my gym were closed.

I’m about to move house for the first time in 33 years and unfortunately the treadmill won’t be moving with me.

I’m not going to make a habit of selling things via the newsletter but I am looking to sell this for £120 with the proceeds going to club funds.

There are 3 currently available on eBay for between £450 and £625.

If you are interested please email me.

You will need to collect it and it is heavy !
And Finally Finally
More photos from some of this week’s activities
Some of the junior endurance group training on Thursday evening
Millie Leighton at Cheltenham last weekend
Imy Sheppard, also at Cheltenham