Fat Turkey, Knacker Cracker and Larkstoke !

As fine a bunch of talented young athletes as you’ll see anywhere. Okay, looks can be a little deceiving. Some pretty good coaches as well.

This photo just missed the deadline for last week’s photo special and I thought it was just too good to go to waste.

Happy New Year.

Those of you who were out running over the New Year and who are featured in this week’s newsletter certainly didn’t go for the easy option, with hills seeming to be the order of the day.

We’ve got Jon Mulkeen’s report on the latest Winter Series race, there’s a fabulous report from Lesley Kirk about her run in the
“Toughest race in Britain”

There’s James Cusack competing in the Fat Turkey 10k in Dublin and finally a group of members tackling the Malvern Hills.

Best Wishes

David Jones

From top to bottom. Emma Parkin, Matt Burdus-Cook, Matt and Dan Lynch and age category winner Ivan Sarti.
Photos courtesy of Barry Cornelius.

Tempo Winter Series 2018-19 Race 3.

Report – Jon Mulkeen.

Matt Burdus-Cook was the first of the club’s members to finish the latest Tempo Winter Series race in Ilmington on 30 December.

The Tempo Winter Series comprises five races of 10.13km held once a month between October and February each winter. The picturesque but notoriously challenging course is the same for each race but is run counter clockwise then clockwise on each alternate date.

Burdus-Cook, who was recently named the club’s most improved athlete of 2018, finished fifth overall last weekend in 39:45, his fastest ever time in Ilmington.

It was the first time Burdus-Cook had been Stratford’s top finisher in one of the Winter Series races and he crossed the line one place and eight seconds ahead of club-mate Dan Lynch. Both men ran significantly faster than they did on this same route in the first of the Winter Series races in October.

Both the overall participation number of 285 and the Stratford AC contingent of 28 represented the biggest turnout of the Winter Series so far; an impressive feat given the event’s close proximity to Christmas.

Chris Cond produced his fastest time of the current series to finish 14th in 41:52 and he was followed just nine seconds later by Ivan Sarti, who finished 15th overall and first in the M55 age category.

Malcolm Bowyer placed second in the M55 category and 19th overall in 43:34, almost two minutes faster than his October clocking. Ilmington debutant Jon Mulkeen finished 23rd in 43:57, 42 seconds ahead of Owen Goschen in 32nd place.

David Smyth (55th, 47:09), Ryan Bakewell (59th, 47:22), Joe Lee (62nd, 47:34), Peter Sugden (68th, 48:15) and Damian Wheeler (72nd, 48:51) were the other club members men to finish inside 50 minutes. Alan Dwyer (88th, 50:18), Sam Nicholson (111st, 53:02) and Simon Curran (122nd, 54:15) followed soon after.

Emma Parkin was the club’s first woman past the finish line. The 11th-placed woman overall, her finishing time of 48:59 was her fastest ever performance in Ilmington. Sarah Boundy finished 91st overall and 16th among the women in 50:41, while Rebecca Pridham (117th, 53:35) and Suzi Graham 130th, 54:53) both finished well inside an hour to rank among the top 30 women on the day.

Maggie Macleod (155th, 58:04), Stuart Macleod (220th, 1:05:26) and Claire Eynon (235th, 1:07:35) ran well in what was one of their first appearances for Stratford AC after recently graduating from the ‘couch to 5k’ programme.

Other club members competing in Ilmington were Alice Baxendale (238th, 1:07:49), Louise Stewart (244th, 1:08:56), Paul Nash (269th, 1:17:35), Gemma Smith (271st, 1:18:35), Sheryl Buckland (272nd, 1:18:48) and John Butler (278th, 1:23:08).

Leamington’s Paul Andrew achieved his third consecutive Ilmington victory of the winter, winning in 37:37. Club-mate Natalie Bhangal, making her first ever appearance in a Tempo Winter Series event, was the first woman to finish, clocking 41:45.

Lesley Kirk doing what she does !

New Year’s Day Trionium Knacker Cracker.

Report – Lesley Kirk.

Whilst most sensible people were sleeping off the excesses of the night before, Lesley Kirk, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, was heading off down South early on New Year’s Day to take part in a 10k run at Box Hill in Surrey. Not just any 10k though, as this one is advertised as the toughest in Britain!

Owned by the National Trust and being in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Box Hill is a popular haunt for walkers, bikers & cyclists, all testing themselves on the steep slopes. It is also well known for being part of the 2012 Olympic cycle route.

The Knacker Cracker starts at the top of Box Hill and consists of five testing climbs as the route zig zags its way around the hillside. Despite being classed as a Grade ‘A’ fell run, the emphasis is more on ‘fun’, rather than a serious race, so participants are encouraged to turn up in fancy dress and they didn’t disappoint, with approx. 90% of runners turning out in weird & wonderful outfits!

With the overcast but mild weather, giving way to brief sunshine, the runners set off at 11am down the first steep descent, before turning sharply back uphill and passing across the top, then descending a different part of the hill. This went on again and again, either up steps or through woodland, and also included a series of slippery stepping stones across a stream. The ground consisted of mud on chalk, making conditions very slippery in places.

With it being New Year’s Day, however, there were plenty of spectators, who encouraged everyone to keep going. With very tired legs it became necessary to ‘walk’ most of the ups, until finally the finish line came back into view.

Lesley finished in a time of 1.24.39, in 131st place out of a total of 253 finishers.

First male, in a new course record of 50.15 was Rhys Gillard of Southend AC, whilst first female was Carla Molinaro of Clapham Chasers in 55.51, also a new female course record.
James Cusack – We need a new photo James !!
Fat Turkey 10k run – Dublin.

Report – David Jones.

The Fat Turkey 10km event is to support Suttonians Rugby Football Club (established in 1924) and the IRFU Charitable Trust. The Irish Rugby Football Union Charitable Trust was formed in 1978 to assist severely injured rugby players in their everyday lives and to help restore their confidence and independence.

The course is a challenging but scenic 10k route. Taking part in this year’s race, in between delivering family Christmas presents, was our very own James Cusack.

James finished inside the top 10%, coming 43rd out of 497 runners who completed there race, in a time of 42.47.

He commented that the first half was uphill and the second half downhill. He liked the second half !

The race was won by Ian Conroy in a time of 34.21
Top -The hills are alive with SAC members. A group of club members on the Malvern Hills, enjoying a New Year’s Day run organised by Rob Minton
Bottom – Hannah Osborne makes light work of the hills.