Author Archive

Some of the members of our successful Midlands League T&F squad
Well that will teach me to have a week off.

Blimey you’ve been a busy lot. You don’t let something like 30 degrees of heat put you off do you ?

Lots to report on this week, with everything from 100m to 100k and from members aged 8 to almost 80.

What a club.

It’s like Mike Sheppard says in his report  – doing what we do as part of this club is why we do athletics.

For me at the moment it is very much a case of the morning after the night before. Last night our club once again rose to the occasion by hosting a Midland Vet’s T&F league fixture, with over 100 athletes from 6 midland clubs competing. More on this next week.

I’d like to finish by saying thank you to Christine Cooper for the tireless work she does in ensuring that our activities are sent to The Stratford Herald every week. The Herald continue to be hugely supportive of our club in both their online snd physical editions but without Christine’s input there would be nothing for them to feature. 
 
Owain Jones takes the plunge in the steeplechase.
Midlands League T&F League – Warwickshire Division.
 
The first two fixtures.

Report – Mike Sheppard

After two years away from league competition Stratford AC’ Senior team has enjoyed a joyous return to competition, performing brilliantly to win the first two league fixtures of the 2021 season.

In the blustery damp of Nuneaton and under hot sun in Leamington, the gold and black tide simply swept away the efforts of local rivals Leamington, Coventry Godiva, Rugby & Northampton and Nuneaton. 

The league is always great fun, bringing together athletes and officials from all parts of the club. Matches feature spirited competition between athletes aged from U17 through to Veteran across the full range of ‘run, jump and throw’ disciplines. Although self-isolations and a late change in date conspired to keep some athletes away, Stratford’s strength-in-depth has been evident with the Club still able to field a powerful all-round squad in both fixtures.
    
There have been many mighty performances, Personal Bests and Seasons Bests – far too many to detail in a short report. But above all, this season has been about renewing the faith. It has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm of the club’s most accomplished seniors as they pull-on the Stratford vest once again. Equally impressive has been the calm maturity and competitiveness shown by our talented cohort of younger athletes as they tackle senior competition for the first time.  And our officials – what a team!

This is why do Athletics!

Club chairman Paul Hawkins added ” Because of my medical issues I’ve not been able to contribute much to this season but I have been able to watch both matches, albeit from a distance. The team spirit from all the Stratford AC athletes has been wonderful as has the quality of the performances. Mike Sheppard has done a fantastic job as team manager. I’ve been so proud of everyone involved with the team including the coaches and officials.”

The third and final match of the season is on 15 August. 

Midlands Track & Field League 20/06//2021
Total Scores

1 Stratford 267
2 Leamington C&AC 258
3 Nuneaton Harriers 190
4 Rugby&N’ton 159
5 Coventry Godiva H 137

Track & Field League 10/07/2021
Total Scores

1 Stratford 296
2 Leamington C&AC 266
3 Rugby&N’ton 215
4 Coventry Godiva H 157
5 Nuneaton Harriers 147
Georgie Campbell on her way to a 1500m  PB time of 4:34.96 in the English Schools Championship in Manchester.

English Schools Championships.

Report – Paul Bearman

Due to the Covid restrictions under which we are all living this year and the fact that the Championship wouldn’t be able to be held the over the normal two days, with the usual 2000 athletes taking part in 300 events, it was decided that this year’s Championship would take place over three days at the Regional Athletics Centre in Manchester, with one age group competing each day.

This year the truncated competition meant that only the top 16 ranked athletes in England were invited to compete to ensure the competition could be completed within the afternoon session and safely within the Covid guidelines. 

After meeting national entry standards, Stratford had 5 athletes selected to compete for Warwickshire, Seniors Ollie Wear (Javelin), Georgie Campbell (1500m) and Millie Leighton (Triple Jump) and Inters Zach McKenzie (Triple Jump) and Josh Roberts (Javelin). Unfortunately Josh had to withdraw because of Covid isolation.

Significantly all the senior Stratford athletes reached their respective finals and all the athletes recorded new Personal Bests which is an achievement in itself against such strong competition.

First up to compete was Millie Leighton. She finished 8th with a best jump of 11.14m which is an outdoor legal PB, so “smiles all round”. 

Ollie Wear declared himself “very happy to reach the final for the first time” after he threw a PB in the javelin of 54.89m to finish 6th.

This was Georgie Campbell’s third and final English Schools and she finished with a best ever position, 8th, and a new PB of 4.34.96. Georgie said “the start was very quick over the first 100m and then I was just trying to keep in touch with the front group without leaving me absolutely dead on the last lap, but I managed to keep an alright pace the whole way round and so I’m very pleased with how it went”. Georgie actually finished with a very good last lap and closed up on Freya Bennett in 6th place but couldn’t quite catch her on the line. 

Intermediate Zach McKenzie was competing in his first national competition. As a first year in the age group he was up against mostly older and more seasoned campaigners but unfazed he just missed out on reaching the final by just the length of his spikes, finishing with a best jump of 12.60m, a new PB.

Dave Wilson with his Outstanding Performance medal.
Elaine Ledden, Paula Williams, Mark Illingworth and David Wilson

England Master AA Inter Area Match


Report – Paula Williams

Four Stratford Athletics athletes selected to represent the Midlands region, helped bring the cup home last Sunday. 

Elaine Ledden, Mark Illingworth, David Wilson and Paula Williams formed part of the formidable team chosen from the entire Midlands area. There were 9 regional teams: Northern, Southern Counties, Eastern, Welsh, Scottish, Midlands, Vets AC, North East and South East. Runners up Eastern Masters with their 543.5 points were still a way behind Midlands Masters with a massive 733 points. 

Elaine competed in the 400m where she ran a personal best, Mark gained points in the shot putt, David took part in both horizontal jumps (long jump and triple jump – where he set a new pb) and Paula took on the shot putt, sprint hurdles, 100m, discuss and triple jump. 

Ledden, Wilson and Williams finished off the successful day in their respective age group relays. 

This was the 5th time the Midlands have won the cup – all 3 titles being retained: Men’s competition, Women’s competition and overall winners. 

 In addition to winning the three cups, David’s performance in the jumps, especially as it was almost a last minute request, was rewarded with an “outstanding performance” medal from the Midland Masters team manager Dr Matthew Long. 

All 4 athletes thoroughly enjoyed the competition and look forward to cementing their status in the team for selection at the Indoor Inter Area competition in the winter. 

Ruben and Benji Fernandez
Cheltenham Midsummer Open
 
Report – Katja Berg
 
Lucy and Ruby Edwards, myself, Ruben and Benji Fernandez, Arthur Mansbridge and Senior member Matt Burdus-Cook attended last week’s Cheltenham Midsummer Open competition.

Both Ruben (U13) and Benji (U11) threw PBs in javelin and it was a first ever time for Benji throwing (with the U13 400g javelin). Their results were:

Ruben 21.89m (PB)
Benji 15.63m (PB)

Ruby ran the 100m in 14.3 and jumped 4.12 in the long jump, with Arthur recording a time of 15.1 in the 100m and had a jump of 3.24 in the long jump.

From the seniors Matt Burdus-Cook comfortably dipped under a 5 minute mile with a time of 4:54.6.

In the second of these Open Meetings the Silver sisters Annie and Martha competed in both the 600m and 200m. Annie’s times were 1:52.6 and 31.2 and Martha’s were 2:10.5 and 32.4.

At the same meeting, Emily field completed the 1500m in 4:51.9
Super 2 – Fixture 2

Report – Paul Bearman
 
On a lovely sunny evening….not so good for the 1500m runners….we saw some keen competition, good fun and a lot of smiles, which is what the Super2 was designed to do.

Please see the results below.

Many thanks to Carolyne for all the background work and for all our officials giving up their Friday evening and the parent helpers to help ….we couldn’t run these events without you.

The 3rd and final Super2 is on 13 August and hopefully by then with schools out, isolating from Covid won’t get in the way of our athletes being able to compete.

SUAAC Junior Super2         16 July 2021   RESULTS  
FEMALE                    
Number Year   Name   1500m 200m LJ HJ SHOT JAVELIN
1 U13 F Eve Cunningham   33.3        
2 U13 F Jessica Hamilton            
3 U13 F Marijke Tear-Verweij            
4 U13 F Harriet Black 6.18.1       4.51  
5 U13 F Emma Francioni 5.46.9         15.20
6 U13 F Martina Grace            
7 U13 F Tessa Parkin            
8 U13 F Amelia  Peeke 6.10.2   1.87      
9 U13 F Ameena  Asad            
10 U13 F Holly  Clifford   32.3 3.28      
11 U13 F Scarlett Dawson   29.6 3.76      
12 U13 F Lois Ford            
13 U13 F Scarlett  Ford            
14 U13 F Charlotte Philcox            
15 U13 F Ava  Sheppard   31.1 3.15      
16 U13 F Martha Silvers   30.6   1.15    
17 U13 F Annie Silvers   30.3   1.15    
18 U13 F Katie Smart            
19 U13 F Ella   Smith            
20 U13 F Laura  Talowska            
21 U13 F Anabell Wynne-Edwards            
22 U13 F Clea Roach         4.03  
23 U13 F Clementine Sims   30.9   1.15    
24 U15 F Abbi Cooper 5.48.9   3.30      
25 U15 F Niamh  Hillard 5.12.5   3.65      
26 U15 F Martha Peters 5.33.0          
27 U15 F Olivia Robinson            
28 U15 F Ellie  Bowen            
29 U15 F Megan  Bowen            
30 U15 F Caitlin Boyle   29.0   1.35    
31 U15 F Ruby Edwards   29.6 4.54      
32 U15 F Antonia Leece            
33 U15 F Ella Peeke   30.7 3.55      
34 U15 F Nikola Wodzisz   33.4       27.77
35 U15WL F Odette Mellon            
36 U16 F Holly  Newton           31.29
37 U16 F Issy Newton         9.03 31.66
38 U17 F Esmay Baughan   30.0 4.35      
39 U17 F Sophie Smart            
40 U20 F Charlotte Gravelsons   29.2        
41 U20 F Catherine Reynolds   27.0 4.44      
   
                   
MALE                    
Number Year   Name   1500m 200m LJ HJ SHOT JAVELIN
42 U13 M Aran  Cooper 5.32.3         14.60
43 U13 M Josh Davies 5.35.3   2.97      
44 U15 M James Day   28.7 4.27      
45 U13 M Benji  Fernandez   33.9 3.31      
46 U13 M Ruben Fernandez   38.0       19.68
47 U13 M Josh  Harrison            
48 U13 M Ben Herbert            
49 U13 M Sam  Lambert 5.26.2   3.50      
50 U13 M Zak Lambert 5.18.4         16.26
51 U13 M Joel Ledgard 5.31.0   3.46      
52 U13 M Joe Lewis            
53 U13 M William Mayes 4.58.7          
54 U13 M Elfric McKenzie   31.4       18.73
55 U13 M Alfie Musk            
56 U13 M Louie Newton   30.8       25.61
57 U13 M Sam  Plumb 5.16.9   3.12      
58 U13 M Ewan  Sparrow   33.9   1.10    
59 U13 M Henry Wheeler 5.08.3          
60 U13 M Ethan Winning   31.8     8.28  
61 U13WL M Keenan Stratford   30.5   1.40    
62 U15 M Oliver Battersby   32.1 3.96      
63 U15 M Luca De Freitas Pires   29.3   1.45    
64 U15 M Tom Francioni 4.48.7          
65 U15 M Seb Hillard            
66 U15 M Jake Richardson   32.7       NT
67 U15 M Theo Skirvin 5.05.4          
68 U15 M Ben Stockhill            
69 U15WL M Milo  Cullimore 4.56.4     1.55    
70 U16 M Otis Tustin            
71 U17 M Joel Watson            
72 U17 M Callum West   27.4 4.72      
73 U20 M Acelin Smith   27.1       50.80
                     
 
Ryan Bakewell
Andy Cox, ex member Matt Sims, Adam Evans and Ryan Bakewell.
Race to the Stones –  100k
 
Report – Ryan Bakewell.
 
We should do things that scare us. At least that’s what we’re told. We should take ourselves out of our comfort zone to absorb the experiences and learn from them. In unrelated matters, I’d seen lots of people run silly distances over the last few years and wondered if they’re just super human or if I could do something like it one day…. So, some time mid Lockdown #1 (or was it #2?!) I signed up to Race to the Stones 100km.

One of the major deciding factors in signing up was that a number of friends from the club had already signed up, so it didn’t feel too mad. That is until I spoke to anyone outside of this small bubble about what I’d be doing. I generally kept it quiet to avoid having to convince someone else I’d be fine (it’s hard enough to convince yourself!).

Training hadn’t really gone to plan. I’d had a go at 50km along the canal which didn’t go so well for me. I’d also done a day where I did 50km as a mix of hilly running and walking which went well and gave me some confidence.

Otherwise I’d kept to a fairly consistent mileage aside from a few niggles. In the weeks and months leading up to the race I’d gone through pull out > just do 50km > defer to next year > pull out > run away and hide and hope it all goes away > lets just try it!  

So on Saturday 10th July, after many shoe purchases, it happened – 100km of trail running fun along the Ridgeway from Lewknor to Avebury stone circle.

It was great to run with Adam, Andy and Matt who ran super strong all the way to the end. I stuck with them to 50km but after that I took it at my own pace – generally taking the walks a little easier and more often.

It was amazing to see my wife and kids at half way and then at 65km – mentally that was a huge boost especially combined with many Freddos, crisps and sweets!

My family did a great job finding me as this isn’t an easy trail route to spectate on. Talking of mental boosts, I never thought I’d think to myself ‘ahhh only one marathon to go’ and genuinely believe it to be a positive thing!

Strange things happen when you’re doing nearly 2.5 marathons in one go. 

I was feeling OK (read: not inured or dead) until 80km ish when on a steep decent my left knee essentially told me no more. Luckily it was fine walking (and running uphill…!) so I focused on getting to the end in one piece before the sun went down. I managed about 40 steps of running before the pain came back so I tried to do 40/40 run/walk – it worked for a bit! Although the last 20km were long and slow it was nice to chat to people and generally compare notes on the state of our feet. 

Coming across the finish line after 14 and something hours felt amazing – I shed a few tears as I saw Lara and the boys at the finish. Lucas ran up to me in his pyjamas (and wellies!) and gave me a big hug – he was mega excited after hours and hours of anticipation. It was time for some chips and a beer! 

Huge congratulations to the other SAC runners – really inspiring stuff (we have some very good ultra runners in this club!).

I very much doubt it’ll be my last ultra, but I’m not desperate to sign up to another just yet. I need to master walking again first!       
Didn’t mommy do well ? Sarah Boundy and Bryce.
Race to the Stones – 50k

Report – Sarah Boundy.
 

The Race to the Stones Day 2 – 50km was my first Ultra. I have previously completed trail half marathons and road marathons; and naively said well it’s only 8km more than a marathon! 

As you can imagine that didn’t translate in reality. The conditions on the day were very good, a beautiful sunny start and then a bit cooler and overcast. The race started well, passing all the incredible runners doing the 2 day 100km race.

After about 15km the field started thinning out and by the second pit stop at 24km it was predominately only 50km runners and the field got very stretched out. 

I felt pretty good all in all, walking up the hills and running everything else. Started to feel a bit tired at the 35km mark, my knee started getting sore at 42km, and then it was a bit of a slower jog into the finish. 

 

But overall I was really pleased with getting the fuelling and hydration right. As other long distance runners know, that can make or break the race!  Also lovely to see I came 9th Female, and 22nd overall. That might be enough to convince me to try another Ultra!  

Charly Marshall

British Triathlon Youth Super Series


Report – Ian Yates (Grandad and Chauffeur)

Stratford’s Charly Marshall is competing in the British Triathlon Youth Super Series.

Last weekend she travelled to County Durham to line up alongside athletes from all over the UK in a multi-event competition at Hetton Country Park.

The magnificent setting and lovely summer day added to the pleasure of the occasion. 

The competition comprised of group heats, followed by finals (350m swim, 7.2k bike, 2k run) and a regional team relay event. The water temperature was above 21 degrees so wetsuits were banned.

Charly put in a strong performance in the first heat completing in 26min 29s. Despite having some issues in transition she made it safely into the “A” final. In the searing early afternoon sun Charly completed the final in 26min 31s: An impressive 12th in the UK in her age category.

With just two further events in the series, competition for points is high. Charly is already looking forward to the next races at Mallory Park.  

Javelin thrower and occasional multi-eventer Peter Coote demonstrated his increasing versatility at the Broughton Castle Cycling Sportive last Sunday. Riding in the 50 miler ( he said it wasactually more like 57 miles!), with over 1250m of climbing, Peter finished 4th and helped his second sport team, the Wellesbourne Wheelers, to win the Presidents Cup for the event.
Joe Lee

Bristol Epic 10k – Tough Runner

11th July 2021

Report – Joe Lee

Really great location just South of Bristol.  Friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with easy and quick registration on arrival.

The rolling start gave me the opportunity to start in the middle and pick off people to overtake during the route.

It was an undulating off-road route through the scenic Ashton Court Estate. My ‘favourite’ part was the unexpected killer hill in the last 2km, just when you thought it was downhill to the finish. My heart rate peaked at 190bpm!

Finishing in just under 45 minutes put me 25th out of almost 1000 entrants. Beaten by the lead female by 1 second.

Originally I signed up to Tough Runner to compete at Padstow Triathlon. Following its cancellation, Tough Runner offered the chance to switch the entry to two run events instead, so my next Tough Runner will be the Swansea Trail Half Marathon in October if anyone would like to join me!

My wife, Kim, used my race as an opportunity for a 120km ride down to Bristol.  Requiring a 5am set-off in order to  relieve me of the kids before the race started.  She couldn’t resist the opportunity for her first ride over Clifton Suspension Bridge.  Let’s see if she fancies the challenge of the hilly 100+ mile ride to Swansea in October!

Brennan’s Out and About!
 
World Masters Virtual 500m Champion no less!

Age Group Year 4 – The Wilderness Years

It’s sometime since we heard the goings on in Brennan World, so hers is his recent self deprecating report.

I’ve had four outings so far this year, and the only people in my age group I’ve beaten are DNS and DNF.

I managed to avoid the extreme conditions at Compton Verney: I experienced them at the Caterham Half Marathon instead.

The race was hosting the British Masters Championships, which with a large entry of 150 comprised half the total field. Most of them, like me, had probably forgotten that their entries had been rolled over from last year. 

I’ll spare you the 30 degrees gory details: suffice to say I started too fast and had a worst ever 2: 09.

Afterwards we stood around and laughed at the course description of “mainly flat”. Four big hills, one so sharp that I had to walk, for the first time in years. On reflection, it was only 3 minutes worse than the same race in the same conditions three years ago.

Beforehand, I thought I would struggle to get in the medals, but thanks to my friends DNF and DNS, I got Silver.

On 27 June I ran 5000 at a BMAF-organised event in Horspath. With nobody else in my age group, I ran a lonely 24:04 on a wet, windy and greasy track.

I also entered the 5000m in a virtual competition which has just published its results. I have to tell you, therefore, that I am the M75 World Masters Virtual Challenge 5000m champion, after a titanic struggle with my old friend DNS.
To say that Ben Kruze is enjoying a fine vein of form would be understating it somewhat. 

He won the Compton Verney half marathon at the weekend in a time of 1:16.32, 19 seconds ahead of the second placed runner. Matt Burdus-Cook (1:19.18) was 3rd and first in his age category, with Kate Wright (1:36.30) finishing as first female. Our other age category winner was Kate Sergent in 2:33.42.

There were 17 club members competing. Unfortunately I haven’t received a report on the race but here is a link to the results.
 

https://www.racetecresults.com/Results.aspx?CId=16418&RId=707&EId=1




 
Like grandfather, like granddaughter. Chairman Paul Hawkins’ granddaughter Abbie competing in her 1st junior parkrun at the weekend. A chip of the old block.
And Finally

Midland Vet’s T&F league fixture.

21st July – Stratford track

There’ll be more on this next week, so I’ll be brief. I thought it was a wonderful night at the track last night when we, as a club, hosted this fixture, with 6 clubs competing on the night.

We managed to more than halve the deficit of 35 points between ourselves and Worcester from the previous fixture – maybe next time.

Andy List and I would like to say a massive thank you to all of our officials and volunteers who gave up their evening to make it happen. You were immense and it absolutely would not have gone ahead without you. Thank you.

Personal highlights for me were seeing the smiling faces of John Turner and Paul Hawkins in attendance.

As I say, more about this next week.

Below is a link to some amazing photos from the event, courtesy of Max Ross.

Many many thanks Max

https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AHZPp8VhBmY1PBs&v=photos&cid=DBF019FEF0440E30&id=DBF019FEF0440E30%2178450&parId=DBF019FEF0440E30%2178485&o=OneUp
Some of the team from Wednesday’s T&F fixture.
Who could resist buying an ice cream form this charming couple. Niamh Hillard and Maisie-Joy Spriggs at last night’s fixture.