Junior XC and lots more

Above – Imogen Sheppard and Georgie Campbell.
Below – Alex Adams on his way to victory.

This week there is a report on the West Midland Junior Cross Country League Fixture, where once again over 60 of our junior members truly did do the club proud.

There’s Emma, Emily and Rebecca running the Malaga marathon, Ruth Claderbank breaking the W65 club record for a 10 mile race and Jon Mulkeen running another PB

There’s also another reminder about the club’s Christmas Run and news about a local Christmas Tree Festival featuring our very own club Christmas tree, plus there’s lots of wonderful photos of our junior XC runners, mostly courtesy of Mike Sheppard.

Best Wishes


Clockwise from top left. Maxime Verstraeten, Flynn Dathan, Ellie Deaner and Abbi Wootton

West Midlands Junior Cross Country League.

Report – Dave Parkin.

A foot of overnight snow saw this fixture cancelled last year. Considerably more benign conditions in Perry Park greeted the athletes on Sunday but recent heavy rain had been enough to make some sections of the course quite tricky.

On a relatively short, flat course and despite many member of the team having raced at the Schools Inter Counties just 24 hours prior – Stratford AC had their best result of the season so far, placing third out of 20 clubs on the day and strengthening their hold on third place in the league.

The U17 women had another strong team performance, with Georgie Campbell again battling at the front before being pipped at the post in a hard fought sprint finish (2nd, 16:38).

Imogen Sheppard had another fine performance (11th, 18:05) in a consistent season. Unfortunately, Daisy Musk had to withdraw while in a promising position, which on another day would have posed problems for the team but Abi Wootton, in her first outing of the season, ran a strong race to take the third scoring position (13th, 18:18). Daisy Nicolle (30th, 20:04) and Charlotte Gravelsons (36th, 21:12) made up the team.

The U11 boys had a tougher outing, with rapidly improving Maxime Verstraeten (22nd, 6:42) first finisher for the team, closely followed by James Day (27th, 6:46). The next three finishers for the club all finished within two seconds of each other, scrapping hard even up the sharp climb to the finish.

Flynn Dathan (32nd, 6:51) just edged out Seb Hillard (33rd, 6:51) and Joe Lewis (34th, 6:52). Oliver Hemming (44th, 7:00) and Alex McMillan (73rd, 7:19) both improved on their previous outing, and the remaining team members were Harry Francioni (96th, 7:47) and Ewan Lindsey (100th, 7:53).

In the U17 men’s race, Owain Jones (30th, 18:47), Will Crowfoot (40th, 19:25) and Tom Crowfoot (42nd, 19:34) worked hard and took the scoring positions. Owain had made a last-minute decision to compete, having been suffering from a bronchial virus leading up to the race. Completing the team were Josh Angus (52nd, 21:00) who ran with obvious commitment and Oliver Adams (56th, 21:47) who looked like he was feeling fitter than in his previous race.

A fast start in the U11 girls’ race saw the Stratford team having to make up ground throughout the race.

Tessa Parkin and Annie Silvers pushed each other on as they made their way through the field, with Parkin (2nd, 6:47) outsprinting several rivals on the final climb. Silvers (8th, 6:53) ran a great race and was delighted to secure her first top-10 finish.

Ruby Edwards (30th, 7:29) made a huge improvement to achieve her best-ever result and was chased all the way by Martha Peters (33rd, 7:35) and Harriet Black (36th, 7:38).

An excellent team performance saw them joined in the top 50 by Olivia Hawkyard (43rd, 7:44), Ella Peeke (45th, 7:48) and Marijke Tear-Verweij (48th, 7:51), all of which were solid improvements on previous performances. Martha Bullock (86th, 8:27) and Eleanor McElvogue (104th, 8:47), in her first race, both competed hard for the team.

The U15 boys were down on numbers due to the schools’ county match the previous day but were led home by a great run from Cameron Thomas (25th, 12:41) to achieve his highest place finish.

Louis Kendrick (31st, 12:57) was back on form and was followed by Caleb Spriggs (41st, 13:15), who appears to like having a finish-line tussle with teammates, Tom Francioni (42nd, 13:19) and Joel Watson (43rd, 13:21). Harry Gravelsons (53rd, 14:18) was just outside the scoring positions, but ran well to achieve his best finish of the season.

The U13 girls deserve the accolade of team performance of the day, with great improvements from many of the athletes.

Maddie Linfoot (11th, 10:46) was back on top form and achieved her best finish in this age group, up from 27th in the previous race. Leah Bowen (15th, 10:54) also brought her A-game with her and Niamh Hillard (26th, 11:11) was pleased with her race which involved a hard-fought battle with Molly Bullock (31st, 11:19).

Abbi Cooper (54th, 11:51) and Caitlin Boyle (58th, 11:56) demonstrated ultimate consistency with the same finishing positions as the previous race.

Lucy Thomas (64th, 12:08), Maisie-Joy Spriggs (68th, 12:13), Tilly Campbell (91st, 13:02) and Katie Pridham (103rd, 13:45) all improved their placings from the last race, and Emma Francioni (85th, 12:49) can be pleased with her first race of the season.

Alex Adams (1st, 9:06) stretched out an early lead in the U13 boys’ race to eventually win by a comfortable 20-second margin, his mum’s cheering from Malaga clearly helping him set the pace.

Adam Taylor (14th, 10:04) is having a great season and improved again and Oscar Fines-Allin (23rd, 10:23) had another consistently strong performance.

Theo Skirvin (63rd, 11:27) had a tough outing, dropping down the field a little from his previous race, he was closely followed by Angus Lindsay (72nd, 11:51) and Ed Twyman (87th, 12:51)who was recovering from a recent bout of ill health

The last race of the day was, as ever, the U15 girls and was a fabulous spectacle of racing, with Stratford’s first two runners, Ellie Deaner and Ellen Taylor, exchanging places half a dozen times over the two-lap course. At the end, it was Taylor (27th, 13:59) who held on to outsprint Deaner (28th, 14:00), but credit should go to both for pushing each other so hard.

Gigi Thomas (41st, 14:49) and Charlotte Marshall (54th, 15:54) both ran well, but the final words should be reserved for Aimee Harridge (77th, 19:38). Harridge, who looked like she would rather have been anywhere else than a cross-country race, stuck at it, and despite finishing well down the field, earned an incredibly valuable 124 points for the team, without which Stratford wouldn’t have achieved their third-place finish overall.

As ever, thanks go to the coaches, parents and supporters who made the participation of more than 60 junior athletes from Stratford possible.

The next race in the league is at Abington Park, Northampton, on 13 January.

Top – Emily Adams and Emma Bexson
Bottom – Rebecca Wass dressed as Wonder Woman !

Malaga Marathon.

Report – David Jones

Three of the club’s most experienced distance runners – Emma Bexson, Emily Adams and Rebecca Wass – competed in the Malaga Marathon on 9 December.

Considered by many to be one of the best marathons in Spain, the route is relatively flat and straight and passes through the historic city centre as well as the port and promenade.

Emma, an international triathlete, was the first club member to finish, clocking 3:32:09 to place 731st overall and a laudable 15th in her age category. She commented that the wheels came off for her between miles 10 and 15 due to a severe pain in her leg, which seriously distracted her and caused her to struggle in the second half of the race.

Emily, holder of a prestigious Six Star Finishers Medal for having competed in all six of the World Marathon Majors series, completed the course in 3:37:35, just two minutes and 45 seconds shy of the PB she set in Manchester last year but 37 minutes quicker than her time at the Boston Marathon earlier this year.

“It was a nice flattish course,” said Emily, who placed 842nd overall and 24th in her age category. “I got into a good rhythm until 20 miles when the wheels started to come off but support from club member Karl Harris, together with numerous gels, got me over the finishing line. I was really chuffed with my time, which was my second best marathon time and it was a lovely route.”

Rebecca, who ran in a Wonder Woman costume, finished in a PB of 4:41:19, placing 2116th overall.

The race was won by Ethiopia’s Lemi Dumecha Beyi in 2:11:05 and the first woman to finish was Alemu Meseret Abebayehu in 2:32:17. 2407 runners completed the race.

Ruth Calderbank

Sneyd Striders 10 mile Pudding Run.

Report – David Jones & Jon Mulkeen.

Ruth Calderbank smashed the W65 10 mile club record when finishing first in her category at the Sneyd Christmas Pudding Run in Bloxwich on Sunday 9 December.

Organised by Sneyd Striders in Walsall, the race consists of two laps of a flat and fast five-mile course.

Ruth finished in 1:30:53, taking more than five minutes off the previous W65 club record.

Ruth, competing in her longest race for almost two-and-a-half years, finished 242nd overall in a field of almost 400 runners and was the 55th woman past the finish line.

Ady Whitwam won the race in 54:39 while Sarah Mackness was the top woman, clocking 1:02:09.
Jon Mulkeen

Telford 10k.

Report – David Jones.

The Telford 10k’s reputation as one of the fastest courses in the UK for the distance proved to be accurate as it helped club member Jon Mulkeen to smash his PB by almost two minutes.
He crossed the line in 40:02, agonisingly close to a sub-40-minute clocking but more than enough to achieve his 15th PB of the year.

Jon finished 15th out of 800 runners in the mass race and 441st out of 1250 runners when combined with the other waves.

New Zealand’s Callan Moody won the race in 29:31 while Emily Hosker-Thornhill was the first woman to finish, clocking 32:52.
This wonderful club Christmas tree has been assembled by Kate Sergent. It will be on display at the Christmas Tree Festival in the United Reformed Church in Rother Street this Friday and Saturday, the 14th and 15th December, between 9.30am and 3pm.

Why not pop in and see it, along with many other trees from other local organisations.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available.

Senior Members’ Christmas Social Run.

Kate Sergent and I will be organising this year’s Christmas Run.

All members, new and old, will be really welcome

It will be on 23rd of December from my house.

103 Albany Road
Stratford upon Avon
CV37 6PQ

We are planning 3 runs

5k,10k and 10 mile off-road

Martyn and Tim Hutchinson will be planning the routes.

The 10 mile and 10k runs will be mainly off-road with a short road section.
This will be followed by

A couple of Kate’s wonderful chunky soups
Lots of bread and cheese.
A hot non-alcoholic punch.

Contributions of food will be welcomed.

There will be the opportunity to make a voluntary donation to

Epilepsy Action.

We are hoping to have a group photo at 9.30, so if you could arrive at 9.15, ready to go off on your run just after the photo, that would be perfect

You won’t be able to park in Albany Road, as parking is restricted to 1 hour.

You could park at the club, which is just a 5 minute warm up jog to Albany Road, or you can park in either Morrisons car park free for 3 hours, or the Rother Street car park, which is £1 per hour. Both of these options are just a 5 minute walk away.

Fancy dress is optional

Children and partners are welcome

It would be really helpful if we could get an idea of how many will be coming along. If you are planning to join us, could you please let us know.

Kate – 07977 446773

David – 07540 841877
Lots more photos from the West Midlands Junior Cross Country League fixture.
Many thanks to Mike Sheppard for the majority of them.

Owain Jones sprints for the line despite a bronchial virus that almost prevented him from running.

Louis Kendrick and Theo Skirvin.

Ned and Tilly Campbell

U 15 girls team – Aimee Harridge, Gigi Thomas, Ellen Taylor, Ellie Deaner and Charlotte Marshall

Harry and Charlotte Gravelsons.

Maisy-Joy and Caleb Spriggs.

Ellen and Adam Taylor.

Tessa Parkin.

Maddie Linfoot and Martha Peters.

Cameron and Gigi Thomas

Leah Bowen and Ruby Edwards.

Annie Silvers and Eleanor McElvogue

James Day and Ollie Hemming.

Joe Louis and Harry Francioni.

Ed Twyman and Angus Lindsay.

Daisy Nicolle and Molly Bullock.

Ollie Adams and Josh Angus.

And Finally

Those of a nervous disposition please look away now.

Girls just want to have fun !!

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