Warm weather, huge crowds and a relaxed atmosphere helped Stratford AC athletes achieve great things in the 2014 edition of the London Marathon.
First to finish for Stratford AC was Chris Bacon (2:45.21). Chris was incredibly disciplined with his training in the build-up to this race and he was rewarded with a spectacular result. He finished 374th and took one minute 47 seconds off his PB (set in the Leicester Marathon in 2012).
Chris started the race with a tight feeling in his left thigh, which unfortunately got steadily worse. He was aiming for 6 minutes per mile in the first half, with a view to dropping off a little in the second half. Frustratingly he had to stop and stretch out his leg at mile 9, 14 and 17 which meant he lost considerable time.
The last few miles proved to be really painful, but knowing how close he was to his 2:45 target kept him going. Chris now has seven sub-3 hour marathons to his name, which is a remarkable achievement.
His next planned event is a 44 mile ultra-marathon in Cornwall, from Lizard Point to Lands End. He is also hoping to have another crack at running inside 2:45 in the Leicester Marathon later this year.
Rich Welburn (3:00.17) has only been a member of the club for a short time but he has already made a big impression with his performances.
This was Rich's fifth marathon and his first experience in London. He started with a target time of 2 hours 59 minutes, planning to go through halfway in 1:28.30 allowing for a small fade towards the end. Rich was 2 seconds off target at the half way point and feeling quite hot in the spring sun.
He took his third and final gel at 18 miles as he noticed his mile times starting to slow. For the last five miles Rich had tunnel vision of the road ahead and was oblivious to the crowds. Only later did he realise that he had run past the London Eye and Buckingham Palace!
By 24 miles hopes of a sub-3 time were slipping away and as he approached the line he saw the clock tick over into 3 hours. Rich was delighted with a seven minute improvement from his most recent race marathon.
Malcolm Bowyer (3:05.13) completed his 19th London Marathon in great style. Malcolm started with Phil Howell and Wayne Vickers and the group ran the first three miles together. Wayne and Phil were clear by the eight mile stage.
Malcolm continued to run at his preferred pace and after working hard in the middle third of the race he started to push on.
At mile 23 he caught Wayne and one mile later he reached, and passed, Phil. Malcolm reported that it was ‘all in all, a good day at the office’ despite feeling for the first time ever that he might not finish.
There have been many memorable battles between Malcolm and Phil Howell (3:05.35) and this proved to be another one for the scrapbook. Phil has been running well recently and he stood on the start line confident of another solid performance.
He settled into a rhythm early on and he showed excellent determination and strength to stick to a fast pace. Phil was justifiably happy to finish one minute 21 seconds inside his 2013 time.
Wayne Vickers (3:07.34) had suffered from a chest infection in the week building up to this race and he deserves a lot of credit for taking part and for recording such a fast time. Wayne managed to stick to his target of between 6.40 and 6.50 per mile until about 17 miles when ‘the wheels came off and they are still sat dumped by the side of the road in Canary Wharf’.
Wayne reported that for the final nine miles he found it really hard going. In fact he struggled so much that he described the last four miles as ‘a crawl’. However, on reflection, Wayne was pleased with how he was running until he was forced to slow his pace.
Rob Ford (3:21.00) only stepped in to run this race with one week’s notice, taking the place of a friend who was unable to make it. Running so well with such short notice shows just how good Rob’s fitness is at the moment. The aim was to work on his pacing ahead of the Worcester Marathon and it proved to be a worthwhile exercise, as Rob has now decided he isn’t suited by anything further than 20 miles.
A fantastic run in the Barcelona Marathon, where she ran 3:02.43, gave clear evidence of Kate Wright’s ability over this distance. Kate’s legs were still feeling the effects of that race during her run in this event and by the 10km point (42.01) she knew that she wouldn’t be in line for another PB time.
Despite having to slow considerably in the second half of the race she still revelled in the atmosphere, along with the rest of the Stratford AC representatives. Kate’s finishing time was 3:31.40.
It was a case of third time lucky for Phil Groom (3:38.01) as he had entered the race in 2012 and 2013 but was forced to withdraw due to injury and illness.
Phil experienced a difficult winter of training so didn’t feel fully prepared or in the shape to run a satisfactory time. However, as he set off Phil decided to be optimistic and he aimed for a time of 3:45.
When he looked at his watch as he crossed the finish line he was really surprised and pleased with his time. As it turned out he only missed a PB by 20 seconds.
Emily Adams (3:44.37) ran another excellent and consistently-paced race to knock more than 18 minutes off her personal best. Emily had a great run until the 14 mile mark where she was unfortunate to suffer a fall. She was able to compose herself and refocus and held her pace well before she had to dig deep with four remaining.
Emily was delighted with her performance and she can now look forward to the Berlin Marathon in September with her confidence sky-high.
Mark Newman (3:51.06) thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and the excitement that accompanied the race itself. Mark’s run was a little down on his PB, but he knew he had given everything he could and was happy with his performance.
Mark’s early mile splits put him on target for a time of three and a half hours, but he sensibly took his foot off the mid-way through the race to ensure he could cover the final 10km a fair pace. Having struggled with a variety of injuries over the winter
Mark feels he probably didn't have enough miles in the bank to achieve a PB. He summed the race up by saying ‘marathons are hard’.
Andy Turner (4:14.31) beat last year’s time by more than three minutes. His build-up this time around was assisted by a solid prep-race in the Ashby 20 four weeks previously and his stamina was never in doubt. Andy is a very versatile runner, equally at home over any distance from 5km through to 26 miles 385 yards.
After a training schedule that was peppered with injury niggles, Maria Haslam (4:21.29) can be very proud of herself for producing a fabulous run on her marathon debut. She appreciated the support she received from her family just before heading over Tower Bridge and ran consistently well throughout the race.
Despite saying she underestimated how tough the final 6 miles would be, Maria showed her commitment and fitness by actually increasing her pace in the closing stages. The relief she felt at seeing the ‘800m to go’ marker quickly ebbed away when the run to the finish line ‘seemed to go on for an eternity!’
Maria admitted she is considering giving this marathon another go, but probably not for a few years.
6th - Fergus Allison, 24th - Oscar Barbour, 31st - Jonathan Furey,
32nd - Murray Jackson
Team – 5th
6th - Tas Pope, 13th - Caroline Furey
14th - Josh Newman
21st - Sarah Wheeler, 23rd - Sarah Bland, 24th - Emma Bexson
41st - Emily Adams, 51st - Lisa Dallison, 54th - Emma Vickers
63rd - Sarah Odell
The Masters 'A' team finished 1st in the Masters competition: Sarah W, Sarah B, Emma B
The Masters 'B' team finished 2nd in the Masters 'B' team competition: 41st - Emily, Lisa, Emma V
25th - Jack McMullen
50th - Rob Minton
65th - Rob Ford
72nd - Wayne Vickers
94th - Malcolm Bowyer
99th - Ivan Sarti
103rd - Mike Sheppard
114th - James Deacon
126th - Mark Newman
136th - James Fidoe
149th - James Coy
151st - Brian Weetman
158th - Brian Gravelsons
160th - Larry Coltman
The Masters 'A' team finished 6th in the Masters competition - Rob M, Wayne, Malcolm, Ivan
The Masters 'B' team finished 5th in the Masters 'B' competition - Mike, James D, Mark, James F
Pictured at the top of the report -
- Agnes receiving her winner's prize for the Under 13 Girls race
- Agnes, Rebecca and Georgina (1st, 2nd, 3rd in the Under 13 Girls race)
- Sarah Bland, Emma Bexson, Sarah Wheeler (Masters Women 1st place)
- Brian Gravelsons, Larry Coltman, Brian Weetman (after competing in the Senior/Masters Men race)
The Power of 10 website run by British Athletics includes personalised results pages for all registered athletes. It also provides rankings per event to show how each athlete's best performances compare with the rest of the UK (overall and by age group).
The attached document lists all Stratford AC members who feature in the top 100 in their age group (and overall where applicable) for 2013. It's inspiring to see just how successful and versatile the club's athletes are.
In the Midland Women’s League, Stratford AC’s Masters Women (35 years old and upwards) won the Masters competition in thrilling fashion, holding off Wolverhampton & Bilston AC by just four points. Great performances in final race at Cheltenham clinched the title for the club.
The Senior Women were 8th on the day and 5th overall, behind four of the biggest clubs in the Midlands; Birmingham University, Birchfield Harriers, Loughborough University and Coventry Godiva Harriers. This was the club’s best ever result and is richly deserved.
The Men's team have also had a very good season in Division Two of the Birmingham Cross Country League. Finishing 10th in such a competitive division is a smashing result.
Andrew Pozzi travelled to Sheffield for the British Athletics European Trials & UK Championships as the 2nd fastest 60m Hurdler in Europe with a time of 7.58 seconds (just 0.01 seconds behind Balazs Baji of Hungary). Hopes were high of a gold medal and another fast time.
In his semi-final, Pozzi cruised to an easy victory in 7.62 seconds, inside the European Championships qualifying time of 7.65, and he was the fastest qualifier for the final. However, he decided not to line-up for the race as a precautionary measure.
The initial news in the stadium and the press was that Pozzi had injured his hamstring, but he said later in the day that this wasn’t the case.
When Pozzi was interviewed after the semi-final race he was looking forward to running a good time in the final and, while he didn’t feel he had run up to his best, he knew what was required to correct the minor errors.
Pozzi was happy with his reaction time out of the blocks but was less pleased with his speed to the first hurdle and it took him longer to get going than he would have liked. By hurdle three he began to gain some momentum and felt that it was another reasonable performance after his 7.58 in Birmingham.
Pozzi’s main aim for the short-term future is to stay healthy, put in some good training and avoid any further injury niggles.
Pozzi is set to take part in the Aviva Grand Prix at the NIA on Saturday 16th February where, all being well, he will line-up for a semi-final and a final. The action will be shown live on BBC One.
Stratford AC's Andrew Pozzi had a sensational 2012 including becoming the UK 110m Hurdles champion and achieving 4th place in the World Indoor Championships in the 60m Hurdles. At the Birmingham Games on Sunday 3rd February he showed the world just what kind of shape he is in with a tremendous demonstration of hurdling speed and technique.
In his heat, Pozzi looked razor-sharp and ran 6.58 seconds, the best time by a European athlete so far this year His time was just 0.02 outside the personal best he set last February when he finished just behind Liu Xiang, the World Indoor Championships silver medallist.
Pozzi wasn’t phased by the incredibly fast start of Jack Meredith a few lanes inside him. By the third hurdle Pozzi’s superior balance and power meant he had drawn level and only needed to stay tidy to gain a victory. He powered clear and gave 100% all the way to the line, putting himself at the top of the European rankings ahead of Konstantin Shabanov of Russia who ran 6.59 seconds in Moscow the same day.
Fortunately, by being so far ahead of his rivals, Pozzi was able to avoid the incident when the athlete in Lane 7 stumbled at the penultimate hurdle, careering head first into the final hurdle in Lane 8. The Lane 8 runner was left without a hurdle to jump and had to run off the track to avoid the stricken faller.
In the Final, Pozzi was once again the winner, but this time he stopped the clock at 7.91 after experiencing cramp. This was his slowest indoor race since the Aviva Grand Prix two years ago but with the earlier race in the bank there was much to be very pleased about.
The next event for Pozzi will be the European Indoor Trials and UK Championships in Sheffield on Saturday 9th February. Following that he is scheduled to appear at the Aviva Grand Prix at the NIA in Birmingham on Saturday 16th February.