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Cole Williams, Paul Bearman and Freddie Clemons
It’s been another one of those successful weeks in the life this great club of ours.

Pride of place goes to Freddie Clemons and Cole Williams for their performances at the England Athletics under 15 and 17 Championships, winning gold and bronze medals respectively.

There were also superb performances from our 5 other club members who had successfully qualified to compete in these prestigious championships

Okay, I know I’m totally, 100% biased but there was also a superb effort by our Vets T&F team in the Vets T&F Cup Final in Nottingham. 17 teams from the greater Midlands area were competing on the day and we finished in a magnificent 3rd place.

Once again, sincere thanks are due to our officials on the day – John and Andrew Turner, Tony Jackson and Sandy Green.

Senior club members were out in force at the Kenilworth half marathon with PBs galore recorded on the day.

Tri club member Ellie Deaner distinguished herself in her first adult senior sprint distance Tri, although due to the poor quality of the water the Tri became a duathlon !

Senior members Lynne Hinson and Adrian Mason competed in the Cotswold Trail Half marathon, both saying it was the toughest race they had yet competed in.

Cadie Hibberd ran a PB in the Cardiff University 10k and Tomos Horbury also ran a PB in the Kew and Richmond 10k.

Finally, in Dartmouth, father and son Tim and Fin Hutchinson ran the Dartmouth Road Race Regatta together.

Apologies but there won’t be a newsletter for the next couple of weeks as I am off on holiday.

Good luck to all of you competing at the weekend. I know many of you will be running the Stratford Big 10K and many more will be competing in the highlight of the club calendar, the Club Championships, at the High School on Sunday.

Best Wishes

David Jones

Freddie with his lucky Andrew Pozzi spikes. Cole looks on admiringly.
The England Athletics under 15 and 17 Championships.

Report – Paul Bearman. 

Held at the Bedford International Stadium, these are effectively the UK championships with the best young athletes from right across the while of the UK competing. 

7 Stratford athletes met the qualifying standards required to be able to compete at this level, which is a test in itself.

On day one and in his first season of Triple Jumping, U17 Nick Butler lined up for his first taste of competition at this level. His opening jump of 12.74m was his 2nd best ever and despite 2 more jumps spot on the board, he couldn’t improve and finished 13th but was only one of his shoe lengths from getting through to the final.

Georgie Campbell has had a superb but very long and tiring season and she lined up in the U17 1500m in blustery conditions that buffeted the athletes in the back straight. Georgie stayed in the leading pack up to the final lap but when some athletes started to stretch away her “legs went to jelly” as she typically pushed herself towards the line and finished 12th in 4:48.05 

Joshua Roberts was making his debut in the national championships in the U15 javelin and was in brilliant form. Roberts qualified for the final after peppering the late 40m mark in his earlier throws, taking him into the bronze medal position. Despite throwing over 50m for the first time with a lifetime best of 50.10 he was nudged into 4th place but it was a great performance, especially as he is a first year in his age group and was up against older athletes.

On day two Ollie Wear lined up in the U17 Javelin. Ollie, like Roberts had had a disappointing English Schools championships but they put that behind them and  both proved to themselves that they are top throwers.

Inspired by Roberts’ performance the previous day, Wear had a marginal no throw in the first round but on his 3rd throw he launched the javelin out to 52.40m, just below his PB. Such is the competition at this level with the top 3 throwing over 60m Wear’s best throw still wasn’t good enough to make the top 8 final and he finished in 12th place

Over the years hurdling has become SUAAC’s most successful event in championships and 2019 has again given the club more success with Freddie Clemons winning the U15 title and Cole Williams winning bronze in the U17s.

Undoubtedly the SUAAC performance of the day was by Clemons who had a comfortable win in his heat (11.17s) and in the final he again showed his strength and class, particularly in the middle and final part of the race, by again powering through the field to win in 10.93s just outside his PB.

In his debut season as a hurdler Harry Sugden finished 6th in his heat in 14.77s and Williams, who has had disappointments in the indoor and ESAA championships this year lined up with a steely focus to put those disappointments behind him and  he won his heat in 13.30s.

Joe Harding from Basildon was the clear favourite for the final and although they had a plus 3.1 tail wind Harding’s incredible winning time of 12.48s was a UK and Championship best performance. This meant the other athletes were running for the silver and bronze medals.

Williams lined up in a final full of the top UK U17 hurdlers and with the determination to make sure he was in the mix at the finish, he blasted out of the blocks and his smooth, sharp hurdling throughout the race saw him dip over the line to take the bronze medal in 12.98s and new PB.

We’ve been coming to these championships for many years but it’s been great to see our new generation of athletes mixing and competing so well against the best in the country and doing their club and coaches proud.

Clockwise from the top. Team members at the end of a long hard but successful day. Rich Shephard pushes for home 450m out in his 3000m race. Paul and I discuss tactics –  possibly ! The record breaking mens 4 x 400m relay team of Dave Wilson, Pete Sugden, Drew Sambridge and Matt Burdus-Cook. The women’s 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m squad of Elaine Ledden, Emma Bexson, Yvonne Gajny and Paula Williams and John Turner enjoying the adulation.

Midland Vets T&F Cup Final.

Report -Andy Reeves & David Jones

Robert Burns once said that “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”

Well initailly they certainly did go awry for our Vets T&F team in Nottingham on Saturday, as they prepared to compete  in the Midland Vets T&F “A” Cup Final.

 

With the team’s declaration sheet seemingly finalised on Friday evening, disaster struck when Hannah Osborne had an horrific fall at home, necessitating an ambulance being called to admit her to Warwick Hospital.

It says all you need to know about Hannah that at 3.45am, in hospital, in excruciating pain and on morphine, she still found the time to send a 5 paragraph email apologising for the fact that she was going to have to let the team down as she wouldn’t be able to make the final. 

Hannah, along with partner Rob Minton have been responsible for 15% of the team’s points this season and they were due to compete in 10 events on the day. A big hole to fill.

The rest of the team were sent emails at 6am on Saturday, explaining the situation and being advised that some of them would be asked to compete in events they hadn’t been expecting to compete in.

As you would expect of this group of athletes, all of those asked accepted the challenge with relish.

As the competition got underway, things didn’t get much better, with multi eventer Roger Milbourn sustaining a groin injury and our star sprinter Andy Reeves also sustaining an injury

But the team more than rose to the challenge. Examples of members being prepared to “take one for the team” included 76 year old Phil Brennan running a leg of the 4 x 100m relay and Liuba Pasa running the W35 800m. It would be indelicate of me to mention Liuba’s age but I hope she wouldn’t mind me saying that running with 35 year olds was somewhat outside of her comfort zone.

From there on in it was a story of a wonderful team spirit, magical camaraderie and glorious success. The team did what they do. They hunkered down and between them delivered a staggering 16 club records in the 64 events they competed in, that’s 25% of our events resulting in club records.

The roll of honour consists of literally every one of the 22 team members.

I’ve already mentioned Phil and Liuba’s heroics, the walking wounded who went above and beyond were Andy Reeves, Christine Coote who until a few days before hadn’t thought she would be able to compete due to whiplash sustained while high jumping and Yvonne, Gajny, who despite hamstring problems accepted the challenge of competing in several races when she had originally planned to compete in just a couple of field events. 

Both Roger Milbourn and Pete Sugden were competing in several events that were totally new to them and even I had a go at the triple jump for the first time in my life, having had 40 minutes of coaching the previous Thursday from Paula Williams and Paul Bearman. 

Rich Shephard and Emma Bexson also took on extra events despite being only a week away from major triathlon competitions.

Jan Turner discovered a talent for long jump to add to her sprinting prowess. Kate Sergent, Paul Hawkins and Malcolm Bowyer continued their season long accumulation of vital points in the racewalking. 

Drew Sambridge, who has been a major sprint find this year, had previously been in our men’s relay 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m teams who set club records earlier in the season and he continued this record breaking run with a leg of the 4 x 400m relay.

Matt Burdus-Cook arrived thinking he had just got the 1500m to contend with but ended up doing the 200m and a leg of the 4 x 400 as well.

Elaine Ledden and Dave Wilson have been stalwarts of the team all season and on Saturday they added another couple of club records to their tally. 

Septuagenarians John Turner competed in the long jump and John Butler made the 150 mile round trip to compete in the M70 shot.

Finally, what more can I say about Paula Williams and Peter Coote. They did what they always do, they won loads of points for the team, something they have been doing year in, year out since the Vets team started out 6 years ago.

Their consistency year on year is something to behold. It’s remarkable to think that between them they have accumulated 20% of our team’s total over those 6 years. Awesome.

Of the 17 teams competing on the day, both of our mens and ladies teams finished in 3rd place as did the combined team.

This was a tremendous result when you think that the likes of Birchfield Harriers, Royal Sutton Coldfield and the host club Nottingham didn’t even qualify for the A final.

Teams that did make the A final and that we finished above included Leamington, Bromsgrove and Redditch, Cannock & Staffs and Telford. 

I think it’s fair to say that once again we punched well above our weight.

Finally, once again sincere thanks are due to our officials on the day – John Turner, Andrew Turner, Tony Jackson and Sandy Green. Many, many thanks gentlemen.
 

Individual performances on the day were as follows :

Cub records in bold.

Men’s Team

Andrew Reeves – 200m Hurdles (30.62), 100m (16.26), High Jump (1.55m) 

Richard Shephard – 800m (2:11.95), 3000m (9:35.27)

Peter Sugden – 800m (2:26.34), Pole Vault (2.00m), Hammer (13.46m)

David Jones – 3000m (13:02.45), 200m (37.1), Triple Jump (6.56m)

David Wilson – 100m (13.61), Long Jump (4.52m), Triple Jump (8.63m)

Peter Coote – 100 (16.52), Shot Putt (8.17m), High Jump (0.90m), Javelin (27.94m), Discus (22.70m)

Drew Sambridge – 400m (1:00.14), 

Philip Brennan – 400m (1:23.23), 200m (38.43)

Matt Burdus-Cook – 1500m (4:36.12), 200m (28.38) 

Malcolm Bowyer – 1500m (5:45.80), 2km Walk (12:51.19)

Paul Hawkins – 2km Walk (12:15.44)

Roger Milbourn – Hammer (19.70m), Pole Vault (1.90m), Shot Putt (8.74m), Discus (22.09m)

John Butler – Shot Putt (4.33m)

John Turner – Long Jump (1.88m)

4x100m Relay – Sugden, Wilson, Sambridge, Brennan (59.01)

4x400m Relay – Burdus-Cook, Wilson, Sambridge, Sugden (4:12.39)

Ladies Team

Paula Williams – 200m Hurdles (33.45), 100m (14.29), Javelin (33.75m), Triple Jump (9.45m), Shot Putt (10.36m)

Liuba Pasa – 800m (3:09.51), 3000m (13:20.96)

Kate Sergent – 800m (3:58.90), 1500m (8:01.15) 2km Walk (14:30.73), 200m (?)

Elaine Ledden – 100m (16.04), 400m (1:19.22), Hammer (12.96m) Long Jump (3.15m), Triple Jump (6.63m)

Christine Coote – 100m (17.44), Shot Putt (6.54m), Discus (13.67m)

Jan Turner – 100m (23.84), Shot Putt (3.50m), Long Jump (2.05m)

Emma Bexson – 3000m (12:22.55), 400m (1:26.74)

Yvonne Gajny – 1500m (7:09.78), Hammer (9.14m), High Jump (1.05)

4x100m Relay – Williams, Ledden, Gajny, Bexson (1:10.34)

4x400m Relay – Ledden, Bexson, Gajny, Williams (6:20.19)

 

 

 

Kenilworth Half Marathon group photo
Kenilworth Half Marathon

Report – David Jones.
 

For the 20th anniversary running of this ever popular and extremely well organised local half marathon there was a new course for competitors to experience.

This year the race started and finished in Kenilworth town centre and also passed through the grounds of Kenilworth Castle.

The organisers, who state that this is “The Half Marathon for Runners organised by Runners” also promised that this new two lap course was faster than the previous one

Every runner was rewarded with 2 tickets for WASPS first game of the season, a large 20th anniversary medal, a stunning black and gold long sleeved technical shirt plus a goody bag.

This event has always been well supported by club members  and this year proved no exception with some 15 taking part.

The first of these to finish, in a 100 second PB of 1:27.02 was Adam Evans, finishing in 68th place overall.  Adam was understandably immensely proud of his achievement, commenting “ I was fortunate enough to run in a pack consisting of fellow club members Tim Hutchinson and Ryan Bakewell and we pushed each other on along the course.

I really enjoyed the new course layout. I was a bit concerned about running 2 laps but after the first lap you knew what to expect so you could push a little harder on the second. Highly recommend the Kenilworth half as it’s such a pretty course “ 

Adam was followed just over a minute later by Tm Hutchinson (90th – 1:28.25) who should be well pleased with his time, having just returned from a period of injury and having competed in the Dartmouth 10k just 24 hours previously.

Tim was followed just 9 seconds later by relative newcomer Jordan Metcalfe (92nd –  1:28.34). Jordan’s only other half marathon was at Coventry earlier in the year where he recorded a time of 1:45.08, so this was a huge improvement of over 16 minutes and you get the feeling there is more to come from this ever improving runner.

Next was Ryan Bakewell (100th – 1:29.08)) who also ran a massive lifetime best, over 12 minutes quicker than his previous best time for this distance. It was then the turn of James Cusack (1:30.34) who was followed by the first of a succession of four Stratford females to finish. Clare Weatherhead who finished with a time of 1:46.06, was followed Annie Cox (1:48.49) who was just over a minute quicker than in her only other previous half marathon at this race in 2017.

Next was marathon specialist Emily Adams, who was running her first half marathon since competing in this race 3 years ago. Her time of 1:49.42 was almost 2 minutes quicker than in that race. Emily was delighted with her time, commenting that she was really chuffed with her time and that due of her lack of preparation she was just targetting a time of sub 2 hours.

Emily was followed by Rachael Green, showing remarkable consistency, her time of 1:56.03 being just a second quicker than her time in the Coventry half in March.

Then it was the turn of Mike Barrie (1:57.03) who was running his first half marathon for 3 years. He was followed by Dave Maundrell who is in a fine vein of form, which is supported by the fact that his time of 1:57.25 was a minute quicker than his last half marathon, which was also at this venue 3 years ago.

Another person who has had a great year of running is Bev Brigden, here comfortably dipping under the 2 hour mark with a time of 1:58.12. 

Bev commented “The weather could not have been better, cool and dry and there was a lively buzz in the town for the start and finish and a great turn out of supporters along the course. The course did a bit of turning back on itself, so there were a couple of times when you could see the speedy Stratford front runners and give them a wave, even though I must have been a good 40 minutes behind. There was a brass band in a random lay-by to keep us going. I enjoyed it ,the undulating course was not too painful and there was a nice goody bag with snacks, bottle and protein drink, tickets to a Wasps match in October, big medal and a long sleeve top . Whats not to like!  Well done Kenilworth for working towards a plastic free event.”

Anthony Brain is a member who has only recently completed the club’s successful Couch to 5k programme, so to then go out and run a 2:03.22 half marathon is an exceptional performance. 

It was then the turn of the club’s experienced international marathon runner Kate Sergent. Kate is only 7 weeks away from her next international appearance, when she will be representing her country at the York marathon on October 20th. She was pleased with her time of 2:14.08. Kate was followed by the final Stratford runner to finish, Tash Watkins in a time of 2:41.27.

There were 1308 finishers. The race was won by David Hudson in a time of 1:09.29. the first female finisher was Kelly Edwards, in 36th place, with a time of 1:22.17

Ellie Deaner
Phoenix Triathlon

Report – Kathryn Deaner & David Jones
 

The Phoenix Tri is organised by Evesham Vale Triathletes at Ragley Hall. It is part of the West Midlands Youth series (15-16 year olds) and consists of an adult sprint distance. 

However, two days before the event, it was announced that it couldn’t be a triathlon anymore as the water in the lake hadn’t met H&S standards, so it would be a duathlon instead, consisting of a 2.5k run, 23k bike and 5k run. 

It was the first time that Stratford Tri Club member Ellie Deaner had participated in this longer distance.

She felt strong on the first run (12.20) even though the course was quite hilly, the bike (51.39) went well (her first on open roads) but she got stitch at the start of the second run (27.30). However she pushed through and finished in a time of 1: 32.19. Ellie finished 1st in her category,16 minutes ahead of her closest rival and she 2nd female overall, a mere 49 seconds behind the 1st placed female.

This was good practice ,in preparation for next weekend’s British Triathlon ‘Big Weekend’. This is the biggest weekend in the Triathlon calendar, held at Mallory Park, in which Ellie and several other SUA Tri club juniors have been selected to take part for the West Midlands team. 

Adrian Mason and Lynne Hinson
Cotswold Trail Half Marathon

Report – David Jones.
 

This race is brand new for 2019, and took place at Sudeley Castle. The route comprised some famous landmarks, including the Cotswold Way, Gloucestershire Way and the Winchcombe Way.

Two of the competitors taking part in this gruelling race were club members Lynne Hinson and Adrian Mason. Both of them saying that it was the toughest race they have ever competed in and that it seemed to consist of hills, hills and more hills. However they were both delighted with their performances.

Adrian, who is just returning to running after a nasty back injury finished in 86th place and a time of 1:59.29, with Lynne just 94 seconds behind (94th – 2:01.04) finishing 2nd in her age category. This was even more impressive considering she couldn’t get her watch to work, so she had no idea what pace she was running at.

The race was won by Christopher Perkins in 1:24.37 and the first female finisher, in 20th place was Emma Dalton with a time of 1:43.56. 799 runners completed the course.

University of Cardiff 10k

Report – David Jones.
 

6138 runners completed this major 10k and among these was SUAAC’s Cadie Hibberd. Her superb time of 41.04 was almost 4 minutes quicker than she ran in this race last year and it was also a 91 second PB. 

The race was won by Jake Smith in a time of 29.30 and the first female finisher was Charlotte Arter in 26th place with a time of 32.45.

Father and son, Tim and Fin Hutchinson.
 Dartmouth Road Race Regatta

Report – David Jones

Father and son Tim and Fin Hutchinson competed in this race last last weekend. Running together, they finished in joint 50th place, both recording a time of 41.32.

Fin was pleased with his time, in this his first ever road race. He finished 4th in his age category despite the hilly course and the fact that he still building up his fitness after a lengthy period one injury. 

Tomos Horbury
Kew and Richmond 10k

Report – Tomos Horbury
 

It’s 5am and the alarm is ringing…this is far too early to be getting up for a run!

I headed for London for what was billed as a 10k to beat all other 10k’s a flat course on paths “with the possibility of PB’s all round…” yeah, that was a load rubbish!!

We register, get our numbers and shocked the organisers when we had to say, no we are from Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire…not Stratford, east London! “Why have you come so far?” They say, “the medal, the bling, it looks amazing and I want one for my collection” 

We are at the start and surrounded by a group of runners who wouldn’t look out of place in a starting line of super elite runners. 

I’m in real trouble here of coming last…so we set off, we head to the River Thames, turning left and heading for old deer park, this is where I suddenly understand that the course description is very much open to poetic interpretation, yes it’s flat so far, but this is not a path I was expecting to be running on…it’s more loose rock and shale than the perfect path of happiness I was expecting…

There was also a drop to one side straight into the Thames, one wrong step to the right and splash…your going to be dropping 20ft into the drink…I move to the left to be greated by a drop of 10ft into the stinking, stale water that lay beneath…it looked like they had been filming scenes from “what lies beneath” in that water and at one point I swear I caught a glimpse of a crocodile just waiting to pick of the slow runner at the back…not today Mr Crocodile…not today!!

We continue down the towpath for 4km, avoiding puddles and cyclists and the odd dog poo and stinging nettles, we turn into old deer park which at the bottom was covered in a thin layer of water and climb to the top to run through a game of cricket, I caught the ball…your out! I stop for a cucumber sandwich and a cup of tea!

Back down and onto the tow path that takes us back to the start. It’s getting warmer, the people are out in force and now we have to avoid not only the drops, the dog poo, stinging nettles but the locals out enjoying a walk a cycle ride. Did I mention the path isn’t big enough to swing a cat let alone accommodate a race and all the locals!! 

We head past Kew Gardens and back to the start finish line where the competitors that had already finished were there cheering you on, that was really nice!

Boom across the line in 58.51 and 105th place…it’s a PB!! Not sure where that has come from, but I’m going to take it!!

Will I be back next year…nope! I have the medal, it’s ticked off my running bucket list, time to head for the next one…Stratford Big 10k, at least I don’t have to get out of bed at 5am for that one!!

The race was won by Adam Blackburne in a time of 37.04. 173 runners completed the course

And Finally
Some more excellent photos from the Vets T&F Cup Final courtesy of Matt Burdus-Cook and a few taken by Malcolm Bowyer
The ups and downs of being an official !
Above  – John and Andrew Turner shake a leg with the ladies.
Below – John is one of the timekeepers caught in a short sharp shower
Pete, Drew and Phil – He wants me to compete in what !
Paula – 400 metres, you have to be joking.
Paula and Yvonne carrying the baton
“I think that might be a club record”
Dave Wilson, Pete Sugden, Drew Sambridge and Matt Burdus-Cook look at their splits after the 4 x 400 relay
Racewalkers Paul Hawkins, Malcolm Bowyer and Kate Sergent
Dave Wilson and Drew Sambridge in the relay
Some of them got past me later on.
Left: Paul and Malcom ” I’m pretty sure we didn’t get DQ’d”
Right: Drew and Matt ” that was quick “
Pete Sugden and Elaine Ledden in the relay
Malcolm and Matt going through the pain barrier
Emma Bexson showing wonderful form.