Harry Gravelsons showing fine early season form.
Photo courtesy Bill Hollingshead
Well it’s been another week of increased activity in the sunshine.

This week’s newsletter includes no less than 4 reports submitted by members. My cup runneth over. Many thanks to Clare Enyon, Brian Gravelsons, Becks Pridham and Kim Lee.

First off is a moving submission from Clare, reminding us once again of the benefits to both our mental and physical wellbeing of, in her case running. It is also a reminder of the benefits we derive from being a member of our club, benefits that are particularly relevant when the going gets tough. It makes us aware of the importance and value of the relationships we have with our fellow club members and of how the overwhelming number of them are so very supportive of each other.

I chatted with George Fox-Rowe at the track on Monday and he remarked on how wonderful it was to be back at the track, not only for the physical benefits but for the chance to re-engage with his mates and to resume the banter. I couldn’t agree more.

Thank you Clare.

There is a report on the Birchfield Young Athletes Open Meeting held at The Pingles Stadium last Sunday. Once again there were PBs a plenty, as many of our juniors start the season off strongly despite restricted track access over the winter. One of these athletes showing tremendous early season form is Harry Gravelsons, who continued this fine form at Kettering on Sunday.

We have a superb report from Becks Pridham on the latest Winter Series race followed by Kim Lee’s report on her own Unofficial Broadway Towers Middle Distance Triathlon. It wore me out just reading it. Triathletes – how do they do that ? I guess the cakes help.

Finally Imy Sheppard dusted her spikes off with a 200m race in the first of this year’s Birmingham University Open events.

Phew, a busy week. Thank you for the reports. Keep ’em coming.

Take care.

Best wishes

David Jones.
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Clare Enyon.

Clare’s Story

Just to reinforce once again how important running and running with this club can be to both your physical and mental wellbeing, Clare Enyon has shared her story of how it’s helped her deal with unfathomable problems.


“David asked if someone competing in the Winter Series could let him have a report.  I’ve been touched my so many of your stories over the last 12 months that this prompted me to share my story.

My first Winter series was 2018/19 (the brown hoody year) after completing a rival couch to 5k.  Considering it was my first running event I was quite happy with my fastest time of 1:05.

The following year took a big dip as I was learning to cope with my mum having dementia and then finding out that she had cancer.

Whilst feeling physically and mentally exhausted I still managed to complete my 2nd Winter Series (the purple hoody year) but my times were really poor. 1:09 (final race) and 1:11 on the really icy one – those who entered will remember sliding down the hill.

In Feb/March 2020 I had to care for my mum while my dad was recovering from surgery, so I stopped running.  After being able to re-unite my parents at the beginning of lock down I started running again. 

On my first run I struggled to even make it to the end of the road.

 After gradually building up to 5k the ‘going out once a day for exercise’ rule motivated me into running more, determined to get back to doing a 10k.

My mum sadly lost her battle to cancer in July 2020.  Since then running has helped me so much for my own wellbeing and for me to keep in touch with friends who have been so supportive.

Running has almost become an addiction and with having to spend Christmas alone I managed to run nearly every day.  Even the snow and ice didn’t put me off. I thought it would be good preparation for Ilmington in January/Feb.

Entering my 3rd Winter Series kept me motivated over winter although I don’t think any of us thought the 2nd race would be after a 6 month gap. 

For my October race I was pleased with my time of 1:05:34, but I’m still in shock over my time for Race 2 in April 1:00:29 (5 minutes faster).

The obsessive winter running definitely paid off. Just need to see if I can sustain this for the remaining races”
 

And Clare just keeps getting quicker. In last Sunday’s Winter Series race she comfortably dipped under the 1 hour mark, competing the course in 58.27, over 7 minutes quicker than in October which is one hell of a feat. Well done Clare and thank you so much for sharing your story with us

 
Martha Peters on her way to a PB
Birchfield Young Athletes Open Meeting.

The Pingles Stadium

Sunday 18th April

Report – David Jones
 

It was yet another successful Sunday for our junior athletes at The Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton at the weekend. 

We had 10 competing and 6 of those either ran PBs or were competing at the distance for the first time.

In the 800m Sam Plumb lowered his PB from the week before, down from 2:37.61 to 2:37.28. Arran Cooper got his 800m racing off to a flying start with a time of 2:47.06. Martha Peters, who professed herself nervous before the start of her race, lowered her PB by almost 4 seconds to 2:36.56. Poppy Fox-Rowe ran a time of 2:28.29 and a rejuvenated Ellie Deaner smashed her PB by 10 seconds, in running the wonderful time of 2:30.57.

In the 1500m Taylor Stubbins and Alex Adams resumed their battle for supremacy, this week Taylor had the edge, competing the race in 4:20.28, edging out Alex who ran 4:22.74,  a second quicker than the previous week. They finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in the quickest heat of the day.

Also in the 1500m, Abbi Cooper knocked 4 seconds off her previous best with a time of 5:37.42. Maddie Linfoot ran 5:22.73 and Charly Marshall knocked 6 seconds off her previous PB achieved just 7 days previous. Her new PB now stands at 5:04.17.

All in all another wonderful day for our talented juniors

Hurry Up Harry.

Harry Hits Top Early Season Form


Report – Brian Gravelsons.

Harry has been working hard all through the lockdowns to improve his speed, strength and endurance in order to better his 400m time. 

This intense training has enabled him to compete effectively in early season races. His improved speed was proved in the 100m at Nuneaton last week and so Harry was looking forward with much anticipation to his first 400m of the season at the Kettering Town April Open.

A beautiful sunny day, warm with a cool, weak breeze created ideal conditions, so all was looking good.

Having prepared for an 8th lane draw in the fast last heat, Harry was not too disappointed with a few no shows on the day leading to the last two heats being combined and he was allocated his favourite lane 6.

He made a good start, getting into his rhythm early and was able to keep the top seeds in his sights, all of whom had personal best times many seconds faster than Harry’s 56.7s. At 200m Harry was roughly around 26s, nailing the improved speed: now the time for the strength and endurance. The last 200m was tough, but the leaders where not pulling away, and although the lactic was burning, Harry had the endurance to hold on for a time of 54.40s and so knocking off a whole 2.3s from last season.

Harry finished 5th in his heat, the race was won by Evan Blackman, U23 from Corby, in a time of 50.08s. 

It is just the start of the season, fingers crossed 2021 continues to go well through spring and summer.

The ubiquitous John Butler. A Winter Series race without John just wouldn’t be a Winter Series race would it ?
Photo courtesy Barry Cornelius.
Matt Burdus-Cook and Andy Cox ready for the off last Sunday
Winter Series Race 3
 
Report – Becks Pridham
 

Race 3, coming hot on the heels of race 2, which only took place a fortnight previous, saw another day of socially distanced racing take place in the Ilmington hills.

Beautiful sunshine and increasing warmth once the morning frost had gone, meant a lovely morning of racing. 

Once again we were split into groups of 5/6 people, setting off at intervals of 5 minutes (you could start together or stagger the starts).

Stratford had 18 members of the club competing throughout the morning, 6 of who finished in the top 15. Highlights of the results include Matt Burdus-Cook coming home in first place in a spectacular time of 36:26 (I did remark during my own race, that Matt would have finished by the time I was running into the village!). Andrew Cox coming home next for Stratford in 40:21 (fifth position overall), but first in his M45 age category, closely followed by Ade Mason in 41:22 (sixth position). The trio of Mark Hateley, Ryan Bakewell and James Coy took 13th, 14th and 15th positions respectively, all finishing within 30 seconds of each other. I imagine that was a battle worth seeing for those who had the earlier slots.

Next home was John Peacock (46:18, 23rd)  comfortably winning his M65 age group by some 13 minutes. Next was Joe Lee (47:14 25th) who is doing some impressive training hours at the moment and the results are clearly starting to show. John Bettles (47:48) and Graham Hill (48:01) completed the group of faster Stratford athletes. 

I was delighted to be first Stratford lady home in 57:11 (15th female), an improvement on the time for race 2 by about a minute. Myself and Simon Curran (57:37, 56th male) have an unofficial competition going on between them but have decided to run together at the next race to improve their times! 

Clare Eynon continuing to improve her time  (58:27, 21st female) and Lara Bakewell (58:29, 22nd female) both had excellent races, with them both achieving their fastest times on the course. Lara just pipped Richard Hartwell by 8 seconds (58.37, 58th male). Kim Lee taking it steady at 59:37, having completed a high volume training week previously, including her unofficial triathlon. Kim is one to watch in forthcoming races.

Endurance runner Louise Stewart was just over the hour (1:00.53) and she has been known to rattle around the course much faster but she is in training for longer races at the moment and is keeping her powder dry so to speak and her legs fresh for training. 

Club stalwart John Butler bringing home the club in 1:23.01 and coming first in his M75 age category.  I passed John going up Larkstoke, and we shared a few words.  Interestingly, there was a young lady, Rosie Sabin, who was running to raise money for charity. She was running in full police riot gear with medical pack and helmet (and boots!). Usually Rosie is a fast finisher (around 50 minutes) but she took 1:43.25 in the heat of Sunday, but then she was carrying an additional 15kg of kit.

John said to me, as we were going up the hill “hi Becky, at least I have the medic behind me if I need it”.  John, you didn’t need it, you were amazing and completed it with a smile on your face.

For the full results please follow the link below

https://www.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=16418&RId=690

Photos of Kim Lee’s Unofficial Broadway Tower Middle Distance Triathlon

The Unofficial Broadway Tower Middle Distance Triathlon

By Team Lee Epic Events!

1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run

14th April 2021

Report – Kim Lee

What do you do when you fancy having a go at a half ironman triathlon but events are on hold?! Create your own!  

One of my favourite locations is Broadway Tower (without the crowds), so this was an easy choice of location.  However, being rather landlocked, I opted for Stratford Leisure Centre for the swim.  

My start time was 6am.  Great conditions, pool was calm and still.  Back home for breakfast and out on the bike by 8am.  The self-planned route took me on one anti-clockwise loop up to Broadway Tower, via Chipping Campden and back through Snowshill, Broadway and Welford.  The run started at the tower for a very scenic half marathon trail run home.

Easily the most enjoyable triathlon I’ve done. 

Great routes, ideal conditions, scrambled eggs on toast in transition 1, baking fairy cakes with my eldest in transition 2, a super-leisurely cross-country trek home and no pressure on timing. 

So, will ‘leisure’ triathlons catch on?! Probably not!

Six months earlier, my husband Joe, completed the Outlaw X Middle Distance triathlon, cheered on by myself and two oldest sons.  A great event, which Outlaw ran very successfully given the current restrictions.  Joe was under pressure to get around the course quickly, as I was heavily pregnant with our third son, Dexter, who arrived safely by c-section the next day.  I was delighted with my efforts to tick off my second middle distance triathlon, especially so soon after having Dexter.

So, what’s next? The London Marathon!

Just as our youngest turns 1, I’ll be running the London Marathon, raising money for Cyclists Fighting Cancer.  This inspirational charity helps children living with cancer to regain their physical fitness, strength, mental wellness and confidence by giving them specially adapted bikes and trikes, plus all the support they may need in their journey back to being active.  

If you would like to sponsor me, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kimberley-lee1

Club member and University of Birmingham student Imy Sheppard got her season off to a satisfactory start on a cool evening and following a winter of restricted track access. She recorded a time of 26.22 in the 200m at the opening Birmingham Uni T&F Series of the season on Wednesday,
Imy will be competing in the 400m at The Pingles Stadium on 1st May.
Photo courtesy of Jon Mulkeen
Vet’s T&F fixture update.

We are still awaiting confirmation from Stratford School that we will be able to host our league fixture there in the forthcoming season.

The proposed date is now 21st July and not as previously notified 7th July.

The other fixtures are

23rd June – Redditch
11th August – Redditch
Cup Final – 5th September – Nuneaton.
 
And Finally

A couple of photos taken on Thursday evening, showing junior T&F athletes and junior endurance runners enjoying the glorious weather as they slowly start the process of getting back to full fitness in readiness for the season ahead.