Following on from last month’s success in their first WMYACC fixture for 18 months and in preparation for this Sunday’s 2nd fixture at Warley Woods, our junior endurance group were again out in force on Sunday morning at the Welcombe Hills, with some 40 of them turning up for training in somewhat better conditions than the previous week.
It’s been a week of three halves. We have several reports on the tremendous success of our members in the Broadway half, not forgetting Stuart Griffiths and Susan Hunt who completed the full marathon.
Graham Hill shares his thoughts on his Ironbridge half marathon and finally we have delayed mention of triathlete John Devine’s Coventry half marathon in the pouring rain a couple of weeks ago.
We also have a recruitment drive for our successful Vets T&F team from Dave Wilson and Hannah Osborne, our new team managers. If you’re 35 and over why not get in touch with them. You will not regret it and it’s loads of fun. Trust me!
Good luck to all of you who are competing for the club in this weekend’s XC fixtures, with the junior’s embarking on their second fixture of the season and the senior’s their first for many a long day.
Stars of Broadway.
The 10 club members who competed in last weekend’s Broadway half marathon. We shouldn’t forget Stuart Griffiths and Susan Hunt who went the whole 26.2 miles competing in the full marathon
Hannah Osborne with Spa Striders’ Claire Davidson who was the eventual winner of the ladies race. Claire just edged out Hannah in a classic tussle that saw the lead change several times.
Broadway Full and Half Marathon
It was a tremendous day for our 2 members who competed in the full and 10 members who competed in the half marathon at Broadway last Sunday. 5 of the first 9 finishers in the half marathon were club members, including Ben Kruze who set a new course record, some 6 minutes quicker than the previous record. Yes 6 minutes and to top it all he won by just a second in a sprint finish.
He obviously benefitted from the relays he competed in for our Vets T&F team earlier in the year!
Below are some of the athletes’ stories from the race.
‘Broadway Half Marathon has always been talked about in high regard due to the incredible setting and inevitable challenges any trail race brings, especially those where very large hills are involved. The weather and conditions were as good as anyone could ask for, which made the day even more enjoyable for all.
There was a strong Stratford turnout and like many recent races, the buzz was back as mass starts have again become the norm. The course is a mixture of gravel trails, fields and country lanes, each just as challenging. A common phrase which couldn’t be more untrue, in the case of this race, is ‘a sting in the tail’. Over 220 feet of ascent in the first 3K sets you up for a pretty gruelling challenge throughout.
Stratford put up a great showing with 5 members finishing in the top 9 and Hannah Osborne finishing 2nd in the female race only a minute behind the winning lady.
From a personal perspective, this was my second attempt at trail racing. The first left a sour taste after taking a wrong turn causing a rather large detour, a fate, I am afraid to say, that was suffered by a few during this race too. Fortunately for me, I could settle into a rhythm working alongside a regular competitor on the road racing scene as it became clear from an early stage that this would end up being a tight finish. This proved to be the case when, after navigating the many humps, hollows, woodlands and stiles, we approached the finished straight side by side. I am now very grateful for the invite to delve into the world of track running this year as fortunately my final sprint led to a one second victory and first place.
Having only been a member of Stratford athletics club for just over a year now, it still amazes me how supportive all are of one another and it makes events like these incredibly rewarding for runners of all ages and abilities who take part. Onwards and upwards for the SAC team!’
Richard Liggatt’s Story
It’s great to get on the podium. This is the 4th time I’ve run this race and I’ve improved my finishing position each time. Knowing the route can be a big advantage and it certainly helped me out this year. I was trying to save energy for the slippery section towards the end but it was much drier this year than previously so I was able to significantly improve my time.
We had a strong team of entrants this year with some fantastic results from fellow Stratford runners.
Matt Burdus-Cook’s Story
The ever popular Broadway Marathon and Half marathon made a welcome return to the trail running Calendar on Sunday 7th November, with 2 brave Stratford Athletic Club members taking on the full 26.5 mile distance and 10 favouring the shorter, but no less daunting 13.2 mile variant.
I can add very little from a personal perspective as it was a bit of a poor showing from me after I ran an extra km due to getting lost and, if anything, the event affirms why I am best sticking to running in circles (or at least on routes with more marshals and / or bigger direction arrows). A good training run for me but a total mess with respect to following the race route!! I did drag the 4th placed runner off course with me, which may have helped Richard’s overall campaign but that shouldn’t take anything away from his well deserved third place … I expect to be finishing behind him for the foreseeable future.
Both routes are predominantly run on technical trails and offer significant climbing and descending, starting with a continuous climb of over 1 mile at an average gradient of over 11% from the town of Broadway to the picturesque tower (albeit slightly less picturesque this year as shrouded in scaffold).
Susan Hunt and Stuart Griffiths were 2 of 89 competitors taking on the full Marathon. Stuart crossed the line in 05:13:00 and Susan finished in a very respectable 05:29:55. The First lady finisher was Alison Carr of Pershore Plumb Plodders finishing in 04:09:39. First in the mens’ event was Daniel Weller (club unknown) finishing in 03:15:37.
The Podiums of both the ladies and men’s half marathon events were heavily occupied by Stratford AC runners, with Hannah Osbourne racing to a magnificent 2nd place in the ladies event in a time of 01:57:51, showing her continued strong form across a wide range of distances and disciplines. The ladies race was won by Claire Davidson of Spa Striders in 01:56:48.
Ben Kruze added to his growing list of event wins for the season, taking 1st place in the mens Half Marathon event in a thrilling sprint finish in a time of 01:28:35, taking over 6 minutes off the previous course record. Richard Liggatt showed his continuing improving form and breadth of running skill taking 3rd place in a time of 01:38:11. Stratford runners were a common sight as the top ten finishers arrived back, with myself in 4th place, Jamie Chorley (7th) and Seth Turner (9th) adding to the club success on the day. In fact all 10 half marathon runners were comfortably in the top third of the field of 131 runners, with Adrian Mason (15th), Peter Sugden (22nd), John Raby (28th) and Richard Dobedoe (39th) completing a strong showing for the club.
Hannah Osborne’s Story
Sunday saw the Broadway Half & Full Marathon take place on a dry and bright Autumn day. I had run this race before in 2014 in 2:03:38 and 4th woman and knew what a tough course it was and a difficult one to pace well.
It was great to see so many friendly faces from SAC at the start. We got the team together and had a group photo, the only woman among the yellow army of men! I was dressed for a summers day in vest and shorts, whilst many others had layers along with hats and gloves.
There was banter as to who would be up the hill 1st and when I’d be overtaken or caught later, then all of a sudden we were off!
It’s a sprint down the high street in Broadway before you take a sharp turn down a narrow path to the fields that lead to the route up to the tower.
I knew I was strong on the hills but I needed to pace it – it’s a long steep climb. I jogged/walked and kept going. Once at the top I was told I was 1st lady, I asked again as I didn’t think that was possible, however the next 2 marshals told me the same. Oh dear, had I really gone off too quick!!
At 4 miles, during a descent through the trees, Claire from Spa Striders, a previous winner, shouts out, “go Hannah – keep with me on the downhills and I’ll try to keep with you on the ups”. Very true it was, at 5 miles I went past her on the next big climb and stayed ahead till we came out on the road at 8 miles.
We kept each other going for a while but with her running 6:25 min miles on the flat in trail shoes, I wouldn’t keep up, so I went at my own pace. Getting closer and then further apart with each incline/descent.
From 10 miles it was as a fellow runner who shouted “a Parkrun to go!” Desperate to hang onto what I thought/hoped was 2nd place (or at least top 3) and on for sub 2 hours, I actually had a little cry and then made myself keep going.
The last mile of trail has so much mud, I couldn’t waste time, so I went straight through it. Then it was road for the last ½ mile to the finish.
Seeing the yellow vests standing there and cheering me in was incredible. I was very emotional.
Finish time: 1:57:51, 2nd place (1 min behind 1st)
Almost 6 mins quicker than 7 years ago. Absolutely chuffed! Proud of me and my journey to get here, grateful to friends and SAC family who have supported and encouraged me along the way and on Sunday. Thank you.
Vets Track and Field
Out with the old – In with the new.
Vets Team Management
Hello fellow Stratford AC Athletes
I want to introduce Hannah Osborne and myself as the new Vets Track and Field Team Managers for the club.
Following another amazingly successful outdoor season for the team, we have some big shoes to fill, thank you David Jones and Andy List.
Over the past two seasons, Stratford have finished 3rd out of 15 clubs in the ‘A’ Cup Final for the Midlands, which is a huge achievement when you consider some of the clubs we are up against.
We are very keen to recruit more athletes to the team and we know there is plenty of talent within the other sections of the club. So, if you are an endurance athlete who fancies testing your performance on the track or a parent of one of the younger athletes who wants to reignite your past track and field days, or even if you have never competed at track and field but just fancy having a go. (Many a talent has been discovered at this stage in life). Please get in touch.
The only qualification you need is to be 35 or over! Maybe you’re about to turn 35 this year and want to find out just how fast you are, or how far you can throw or jump, this is the time!
I cannot emphasise enough the great atmosphere when competing at these fixtures, the people you meet and the satisfaction of achieving a personal best time or distance. It has to be experienced!
If you are interested please get in touch with Hannah or myself, or simply come down to the Stratford track on a Monday (6.30PM to 8.30PM) or Thursday (6.45PM to 7.45PM) and speak to any of the team.
Apologies for the lateness of John Devine’s comments on his Coventry half marathon a couple of week’s ago in atrocious conditions.
The report got lost in the ether somehow!
“Only two weeks had passed since Ironman Mallorca and now my first official half marathon in Coventry.
It was cold and windy with torrential rain.
I felt good and wanted to see what I could do. I was very happy with my performance taking seven minutes off my PB with the time 1.36.27, Pace 4.35 per km.”
Graham Hill ready for the off.
Ironbridge Half Marathon
Report – Graham Hill
Another Sunday and another postponed Half Marathon from 2019. This time a trip into Shropshire for the Telford Harriers’ organised Ironbridge Half Marathon.
The Ironbridge Half Marathon starts in the arena in Telford Town Park, running through the Town Park and down the Silkin Way, running past Blists Hill Museum and Coalport China Museum into the Severn Gorge. The route then follows the old Severn Valley Railway line past Maws craft centre and the Tile Works/Museum before arriving at the world’s famous and first Iron Bridge.
After crossing the Iron Bridge the route continues through Coalbrookdale and Rough Park before heading back along the Silkin Way and back to the finish line back at the Telford Town Park.
It was a fresh Sunday morning, arriving in good time for a warm up for the 10am start. The start was delayed for 15 mins, not sure why but, unofficially it looked like it was to allow the long line of people queing for the toilets to reduce !!.
The support along the route was amazing, as the routes’ are also used by other users taking a Sunday stroll or walking their dogs, so there were people all along the route giving the required support to those that needed it.
With a mixture of paths, old railways lines, trails and roads, the route had some variation, which helped along the way back to the finish line to collect the various sustainably sourced running top, medal and other goodies.
I was pleased with my finishing time of 1h 43mins and finishing 112 out of and 15th in my category.
If you fancy a pleasant Half Marathon with a few steady hills but having the chance to race over the famous Iron Bridge, then put this in your calendar.
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