Elfric McKenzie and Sandy Green at the County Championships last weekend.
Andrew Pozzi in the Olympic 110m hurdles final.
Andrew Pozzi qualified for the final of the 110m hurdles in Tokyo, finishing in 7th place.
After the race he said “I came here wanting to win a medal, I wasn’t moving quite how I wanted. Sadly, in that race I tried to fight it a little bit. It’s a disappointment not to win a medal.
“It’s been a big journey, I’m so grateful for everyone who’s contributed over the last decade. It’s frustrating, it’s not quite where I want to be.
“I’m proud of the progress I’m making, although I’m not happy with the result today I’ll keep building. Thank you to everyone at home.”
Paul Bearman, who was up watching the race at 4am said “As Andrew said in his interview and reflecting afterwards he will be disappointed that he wasn’t amongst the medals and that his time wasn’t a bit quicker but it was probably the best field I’ve ever seen in a hurdles race and as the pressure builds during the race there’s a tendency to push harder and that messes the athletes rhythm.
I’m so chuffed for Andrew that he got to the final and he’s only just turned 29, so next year he has the World’s, Europeans and Commonwealths and then Paris to look forward to…..he’s taken us on a terrific ride over the last 20 years and the ride hasn’t ended yet”
Andrew being interviewed after the final.
Paul Bearman with some of our junior athletes being interviewed by BBC CWR in the lead up to Andrew’s race.
The feature is between 2:42.00 and 2:49.30 on the ‘CWR Breakfast with Phil Upton’ show and is available via BBC Sounds.
Paul commented that “there was a planned 8.20am visit from BBC CWR before Andrew’s race. This was the 3rd Olympics I had been interviewed…..in London I was a roving reporter from the Stadium.
The broadcast was delayed and the excellent interviews with our athletes Annie Silvers, Niamh Hillard, Zach McKenzie and Charlotte and Harry Gravelsons annoyingly seems to have been missed out being broadcast although my “live” bit was broadcast.
The athletes interviews were terrific; confident, eloquent, erudite and full of interesting snippets. I was very proud being able to take a back seat and let them take centre stage representing SUAAC only for it not to be broadcast ….. disappointed!”
Once again there are some stunning performances to report on this week across all disciplines.
At the weekend we managed to retain the Warwickshire Vase at the County Championships for the 5th successive time, with over 80 of our members, across all age ranges, contributing to a comfortable victory.
In Tokyo, Andrew Pozzi qualified for the final of the 110m metres hurdles. A massive achievement.
There were a couple of outstanding performances from triathletes Hannah Osborne and Joe Lee.
Finally there is a superb report from Stuart George on his London Landmarks Half Marathon.
Niamh Hillard (243) and Maisie Joy Spriggs (245)
Warwickshire County Championships. Report – Paul Bearman Over 80 Stratford athletes were signed up to compete in the delayed Warwickshire County Championships in Nuneaton and despite a whole raft of athletes unable to take their place on the start line due to injuries, illness, unavailability, holidays and Covid isolation, the strength in depth across the whole Track and Field athletes meant that Stratford for the 5th year running won the coveted Warwick Vase.
Ray Morgan from the Warwickshire County AA said “ the Warwick Vase is awarded to the leading Club within the old Warwickshire county boundary, taking in Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and is determined by points awarded for positions,. For the 5th year running it has been won by Stratford upon Avon AC. Well done to them and all of the athletes who once again scored a win by a comprehensive margin”.
The award is determined by allocating points to every athlete and the club with the most points wins;
8 points for a win, 7 for second etc. to find the best overall club which then receives the Warwick Vase.
The final results were:
Stratford Upon Avon A.C. 611 Coventry Godiva Harriers 471 Birchfield Harriers 352 Rugby and Northampton A.C. 304 Royal Sutton Coldfield A.C. 225 BRAT Club 207 Leamington C&AC 191 Solihull and Small Heath A.C. 152 Nuneaton Harriers 103
The Stratford medal haul was an astonishing 58 (20 Gold, 24 Silver and 14 Bronze) but it was the 4th to 8th positions for athletes reaching the finals that massively helped the club to what, in the end, was a very comprehensive win by 140 points from second placed Coventry Godiva.
In addition Alex McMillan competing in the Worcestershire champs and winning a gold in the U15 Javelin and bronze in the High Jump, this bought the total SUAAC medal haul to 60.
With so many athletes covering dozens of events it meant that there was a constant swarm of very busy athletes in their yellow club vests competing in all parts of the track virtually non-stop over the 2 days and all the Stratford medallists were spread right across the age groups and events.
Hurdling is an event where the club have a very strong pedigree and won medals in every male age group.
U20M Cole Williams and Senior Ollie Cresswell were pitted against each other in the 110m hurdles, albeit with different height hurdles, and were nip and tuck across the 10 barriers with Cresswell edging the race in a time of 14.46s and Williams 14.67s, both Personal Bests and Gold medal performances. Cresswell’s time sets a new Senior Men’s wind assisted county record.
U17M Freddie Clemons won the 100m Hurdles in 14.61s.
The female events produced Gold medals with U20F 400m hurdler Millie Leighton winning in a time of 67.93s, as did U13F Annie Silvers in a time of 13.47s both massive PBs.
On the track the middle and long distance events proved to be another rich vein of success with Stratford athletes consistently appearing on the podium and picking up important team points.
On top of the podium were Niamh Hillard in the U15F 800m (2:26.12), Maisie Joy Spriggs in the U15 Girls 1500m (4:58.60) Arguably the outstanding performance on the track by a Stratford athlete came from Marijke Tear-Verweij who produced a stunning run to win the U13F 1500m in 5:31.44.
Among some good performances across the sprinters Senior, Imogen Sheppard was the leading sprinter winning Gold in the 200m in a time of 25.80s.
The throwers were focussed on Javelin and Shot with Gold medal winning performances in the U15F Javelin by Nikola Wodzisz (26.05m) and Josh Roberts (45.27m) in the U17Ms.
In the U13M Shot Ethan Winning won with 8.22m, setting a new 3k county record for U13 boys. The previous record of 7.01 was set by Stratford’s Thomas Weaver in 2019.
In the Senior Women Paula Williams won with 11.42m and the throw sets a new Masters Women’s record.
The Long, High and Triple Jump have always been strong events for Stratford and once again they literally rose to the occasion.
In the Long jump U20M Alex Powell (5.64m) and U17M Zach Mckenzie (5.85m) both topped the podium along with U20F Kaili Woodward (4.94m) all striking gold.
Triple Jump can be a difficult event to master but English Schools athletes U20F Millie Leighton (10.83m) and U17M Zach Mckenzie (12.00m) added to their success this season by topping the podium.
In recent years Stratford have built a reputation for producing very good High Jumpers and two senior athletes continue to set the standard with Rory Dwyer producing a championship record equalling jump of 2.10m and after sitting on a PB of 1.70m for 3 years, Emily Madden Forman jumped 1.73 and finally went out at 1.76 to whoops of delight.
We are incredibly proud of the club’s athletes, officials and coaches, not just for winning the Warwick Vase again, but also the huge points tally accumulated across the championships by so many athletes that contributed to the club’s success”.
In their pursuit of the title of Stratford Athletics Club’s fittest family (I hope I’m not starting something and the Adams Family start getting involved…that could be rather spooky), the Lee family had another activity loaded weekend.
Once again, forgetting the shy and retiring Kim, Joe and his kids headed off early Sunday morning to Emberton Country Park near Milton Keynes to compete in the Cowman half Iron distance (70.3) triathlon.
On being left behind, Kim had to do another of her giant bike rides as she rode the 100km from Lower Quinton to Emberton to catch up, support Joe and look after the three boys as Joe completed his 70.3.
Not quite sure who had the shortest straw there!
However, Joe’s performance was simply brilliant. Smashing his PB and his own expectations, Joe stormed around in 4 hours 44 mins and 38 secs. Take time to just read that again! Well done Joe, coming 17th overall and 2nd in your age group. For the record, Joe’s times were;
Swim – 29.48 Bike – 2.33.22 Run – 1.38.10
Kim’s comments were the most apt post race though – why, for the sake of symmetry, couldn’t he have run 6 seconds slower??!!
Despite Joe’s performance, pride of place, Triathlete of the Week and Simon’s Star of The Week (voted for by me and I’m open to bribes!) goes to Hannah Osborne.
Not to be out done by Joe’s heroics, Hannah performed amazingly. Competing in only her third ever triathlon and only her second since 2014, Hannah followed up her Upton Triathlon performance by winning her age group in a time of 5 hours 22 minute and 23 seconds!
Remarkably, Hannah’s ambition was a sub 6 hour performance and she would have been delighted at sub 5.40. So come away with 5.22, and an age group win almost left her speechless ….almost! Her split times were;
Swim – 32.16 Bike – 2.55.05 Run – 1.52.18
Well done Hannah. Most of you will know Hannah for her running performances, but Sunday’s performance shows what a talented triathlete Hannah is and I’m sure that there will be more spectacular performances and victories to come.
London Landmarks Half Marathon
You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone!
Report – Stuart George.
The last 18 months has enabled us to think what we really value as an individual and as a society. Being together not only with friends and family but other people; nameless people, the throng of the crowd and the feeling of being part of something bigger has been missed far more than anyone could have imagined.
For us runners, mass participation races were probably the most important, non important activity that we had missed.
Standing in the middle of 11,000 people you could see the sense of disbelief that we had finally made it, the joy of standing in a mile long queue for a portaloo did nothing to dampen the spirits.
The running community is a strong and supportive one. Within the various lockdowns this spirit has moved online with Instagram being full of running influencers (I hate that term but you get the idea) and it was amazing to see so many people I had followed, through covid times, on socials actually be at the race.
It was clear this was a big event, where mass participation would be reborn into the crazy year of 2021.
The PA worked his magic and was getting everyone into the zone, some great innovations such as the bag drop being on buses, which would move closer to the finishing line as you ran, really helped the day be as smooth as possible.
Due to the proximity of the race to society opening again, the start was split into seven waves. Each with an equally jazzy name. I was sorted into the Lightening wave which was first to go. Anybody who has seen me at track night would and should happily snigger at me being sorted into such a wave, but it made me happy as it was starting at the earliest possible time which was 9:20.
I have become a fan of wave starts in these lockdown races but the thought of starting anything after 9:30 makes me and more importantly my bladder very nervous about getting round the course intact.
The appeal of the London Landmarks marathon is of seeing the famous sights whilst running round a very flat course.
I don’t know if it was due to my 15 years living there or just focussing too much on the race but I honestly couldn’t tell you a single landmark I ran past.
It was a race of immense joy and we were blessed by overcast cool conditions, but thinking ohh look there is St Pauls or is that the sounds of a pearly king or queen I hear? Is just not going to register with me whilst im racing.
The ample crowds however did break through my concentration and hearing people cheer your name really is an incredible hit of adrenaline when you need it most.
Although much more sparse than the London Marathon the crowds lined all 13.1 miles of the course and with the bands that seem to be on every corner the atmosphere was eclectic and electric at the same time.
Mile six had been designated a mile of remembrance for all those we lost during Covid and was meant to be silent. A respectful idea in practice but thankfully crowds were still there to cheer us on, as I know lots of runners were worried about the prospect of silence after almost 10k of effort.
I was slightly worried about my race as a whole due to a) having done less milage since being back at work post furlough and B) sharing a family room with my 3 year old and 10 month old for two nights in a row. Fortunately, it was one of those days where it all came together.
The GPS on the watch went bananas and was unable to give accurate readings but I was running inside my target time of 7:05 minute miles and I was able to keep the same pace for the entirety of the race.
I have had the tendency recently to overestimate my speed and find myself alone at the back of the waves, yet here I managed to be surrounded by people and constantly be moving up the field which really made me feel part of racing in a way none of the covid events had done.
I finished in 1:32:03 which was around a minute faster than I had aimed for; and more importantly my wife wasn’t too tired having the children for the morning, although Harrison did try and join in apparently a few times, nothing a fruity cider in All Bar One couldn’t solve.
A great weekend in the smoke and a wonderfully fun and well organised race. Very speedy and with perfect weather to boot; I would definitely recommend you get in on your calendars for next year.
More photos from last weekend’s County Championships.
Annie and Martha Silvers
On the podium. In 1st place Maisie Joy Spriggs and runner up Niamh Hillard
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