Track Hour triumph for Josh.

The start of this year’s track hour Shakespeare Race
The week started off with the final and my favourite Shakespeare Race of the year – the track hour.

52 senior members took part, clocking up over 400 miles between them. The race was won by Josh Newman who completed just over 41 laps (16.68k) in the allotted hour at an average pace of 5.47 per mile. He was closely followed by Matt Burdus-Cook, who also completed 41 laps (16.53k)

The full results are here :

There was lots of activity at the weekend, with James Coy, Cara Reynolds, Richard Hartwell and Victoria Jeffs completing the Loch Ness marathon and Ian Greaves, Rachel Green and Kim Lee running the Chester Marathon.

There were some fabulous performances from our junior tri club members in the Warwickshire Junior Triathlon and a big thank you to Georgia Pridham for her superb report of this event.

We had 19 members taking part in the local Alcester 10k and 4 competing in the final race of this season’s Warwickshire Road Race League – the Rugby 10.

Lesley Kirk did what she does and decided to spend the last day of her holiday running a marathon in the 55 mph winds of Storm Lorenzo, on Day 1 of the Atlantic Coast Challenge. Go figure!

Finally, word reaches me that Phil Brennan has been selected to represent England as a member of England Masters XC team on 19th November. Congratulations Phil.

Best Wishes

David Jones
Cara Reynolds and Victoria Jeffs.
Loch Ness Marathon.

Report – Phil Brennan.

Four club members competed in the Loch Ness Marathon, possibility one of the most spectacular in the world.

After some solid training James Coy had a fine run. He found the conditions horrible to start with but they improved in the later stages and he was pleased to finish just outside the top 300 in a time of 3:32:43.

Cara Reynolds who was close behind in 3:43:54, had a great run and commented “I thought it was truly beautiful, I just ran how I felt as I had no idea how my foot tendonitis would cope. I definitely ran from my heart and head as my wee body hurt. My aspirational goal prior to injury was 3.45, so to run 3.43 I am super chuffed and wee bit surprised!!” The Scottish westher was fun!!”

Richard Hartwell, 5:17:51, and Victoria Jeffs, 5:56:29, both did well to overcome a distance they are not greatly familiar with.

Ian Greaves.
Chester Marathon.

Report – Phil Brennan and Ian Greaves.

Chester has recently been voted the UK’s best small Marathon (less than 5000 entrants), but despite it’s size, it is extremely well organised, and follows quite an interesting course, out of Chester, briefly into Wales, and back.

The start and finish had to be moved from the waterlogged racecourse, with the final 400 metres running adjacent to the riverside.

The weather was kind to the runners, with sunny intervals, despite the forecast of persistent heavy rain!!

Going from zero to two marathons in a little over five months was the challenge club member Ian Greaves had set himself set himself, with Chester following on from London in April.

His preparation for this race wasn’t quite as smooth as it was for London and the capital’s marathon does spoil you with support around the entire course, making the latter miles in Chester seem more of a hard slog for him.

However, he managed to cross the line in 4 hrs 52.51. He commented that this wasn’t a serious threat to the course record but he was glad to have another marathon under his belt.

Rachael Green, 4:21:07 and Kim Lee, 4:27:05 also completed the race and as they are far from the club’s most experienced at this distance, they certainly deserve full credit.

Katie Pridham.

Warwickshire Junior Triathlon.

Report – Georgia Pridham


Stratford Triathlon Club hosted their annual Junior Triathlon at a new venue – Moreton Fire College. Even though the weather was appalling, particularly with a strong headwind on the bike section, the attitude of the competitors was amazing and it was great to see everyone race well especially those from the host club.


In the youngest age group, Tristar 1, Harry Francioni (3rd male; 17:46) led the STC athletes followed by Joshua Harrison (13th male; 21:00) and Logan Greenall (23rd male; 23:16).

In Tristar 2, the next age group featured Juliette Marshall (13th female; 30:15), Kate Pridham (15th female; 31:20) and Emma Francioni (16th female; 31:38) who all performed well.

In Tristar 3, Theo Skirvin was 3rd male in 34:33.

The highlight of the day was a win from Charly Marshall (32:29) who was 1st female followed in second place by Molly Bullock in second place in 33:38 with Georgia Pridham racing well to claim 8th female in 40:00.

The Youth category suffered from the worst conditions of the day which didn’t stop James Mucklow continuing his strong season with a second place (42:18) followed by Josh Angus (4th male; 46:58) and Tom Francioni (5th male; 48:32).

Ellie Deaner is finding a good vein of form as the season draws to a close and was pleased to gain a second place in 42:05 and was followed by Helena West (3rd female; 48:47) despite the wind and rain.

For the majority of the team this would be their last triathlon of the season as they turn to their winter training with the fun of cross country racing to keep the competitive juices flowing.

Kate Sergent, Ruth Calderbank and Louise Stewart.
Alcester 10k.

Report – Phil Brennan.

Starting and finishing in the High Street with a traffic-free course through the lanes and villages around Alcester, this event always attracts a strong Stratford AC representation. This fifth year of the event was no exception. Even the weather played its part, with the forecast rain failing to materialise, and conditions remaining sunny and warm.

Every age and ability was represented in SAC’s 19 finishers, from John Raby, a magnificent 8th and close to his best in 39:04, to Richard Hadley, 909th, in 1:22:36, claiming the rearguard position from John Butler, 871st, 1:16:02.

Darren Nash, 14th, 39.52, Mark Hateley, 35th, 42:07 and John Bettles, 73rd, 45.09 were followed in by Lynne Hinson 94th. Her 46:57 put her third in the F45 category despite being her first outing for several months, and kept her ahead of Damian Wheeler, 97th, 47:04.

Tony Tomecek had to put up with Phil Brennan snapping at his heels in the later stages but held him off to finish 146th, 49:09. Brennan’s 153rd, 49:30, was second in the M65 category.

Five further runners came in under the hour: Andrew Madden, 53:28, and Stuart Macleod, 54:14, were followed in by the tireless Louise Stewart, 54:27, “taking it easy” after the hard mid-week track hour and a harder trail race on the horizon.

Kate Sergent, 398th, 57:17, looked in good form ahead of her international marathon later this month. She edged out Ruth Calderbank, 418th, 57:44, taking the F65 top spot with Ruth 2nd F65.

10k specialist Clare Eynon was just under the hour with 59:54.

Mark Bailey and Robert Dunnett had a mutual aid pact which saw them finish together in 1:12:31 and 1:12:32 respectively, with John Butler and Richard Hadley a little behind. Having avoided the cider stall at half way, it was time to try the (non-alcoholic) beer in the High Street.

Wayne Vickers was race adjudicator and, as such, was running without a number. He crossed the line in 38:20 and was sixth overall, winning his age group by about two minutes. Wayne said it was possibly his best ever race result……or would have been if it had counted!!!

The race was won by Ben Kruze in a time of 33.44 and the first female finisher was Jo Fleming, in 24th place with a time of 40.33. 958 competitors completed the course.

Lesley Kirk.
The Atlantic Coast Challenge

Report – Lesley Kirk.
This is a three day marathon event, that takes place along the rugged South West Coast path in Cornwall. Competitors can choose to walk, run or crawl over one, two or three days. Starting from Trevose Head, near Padstow and eventually finishing at Land’s End, competitors test themselves to the limit with both the distance and the worst the Atlantic weather can throw at them. This is countered however, by the stunning scenery, beaches and views along the coastline.

Lesley Kirk, having twice completed the full distance over the previous two years, decided that she would give this year a miss. However, once realising that the holiday she had booked nearby happened to coincide with Day 1 of the Challenge, she couldn’t resist running a marathon on the last day of her holiday!

Unfortunately, Day 1 happened to coincide with the arrival of Storm Lorenzo! So, with a yellow weather warning in place, competitors were bussed out to the start, the doors were opened, and everyone suddenly found themselves exposed to the fierce wind, with stormy seas breaking over the coastline. Once the dibbers were dibbed however, runners headed off along the coast path in a westerly direction, forcing themselves forward and trying to stay upright. Thankfully, the 55 mph winds were blowing inshore, so less chance of anyone going over the edge!

The route passed through several stunning coves, as well as along the tops of cliffs with dramatic drops into the ocean. Once runners had navigated the tricky route through Newquay, there was then the daunting prospect of crossing The Gannel Estuary.

In the previous two years, runners had been lucky, in that the tide had been out, but not this year! The tide was full in, so crossing the metre wide wooden-slatted bridge meant first locating it beneath the water! With only a marker locating each end and no handrail, first finding it, then crossing in high winds, with the water at almost waist deep, made for a very frightening experience. It could have been even worse however, as unbeknown to Lesley and other runners at the time, a walker had sadly drowned in the estuary only a couple of hours before.

Finally, after miles of undulating coastline, the beautiful golden beach at Perranporth came into view. Having been sandblasted by the wind crossing the dunes, it was a relief to eventually run the last couple of miles on the flat. There was a final sting in the tail however, as the finish point was located at the far end of the beach at the top of a hill!

Lesley finished in 83rd place, out of the 186 finishers on Day 1, in a time of 5.34.32. This was 8 mins slower than the year before, but considering the conditions, she was very pleased with her time.

She hopes to be back next year for the full three days, when hopefully, the tide will be out!!
Pete Sugden.
Rugby 10.

Report – Pete Sugden.

This year’s race, as well as being the final race of this season’s Warwickshire Road Race League was also included in the 2019 Northants Road Race League.

Consequently, the field was bigger than recent years with almost 300 entrants.

Falling on the same day as the slightly more local to Stratford Alcester 10k race, meant only four intrepid Stratford AC runners were at the start.

I was still nursing sore hamstrings, so set out at a steady pace, conscious of the challenging climb between 5 and 7 miles, Hillmorton to Barby. At 7 miles, as we turned the corner on to the aptly named Ridgeway, Luke Watkins caught me and pulled ahead by about 20 m.

I kept Luke in sight for the next 2 miles along the ridgeway and down the hill into Kilsby. As we started the last mile of the race and began to climb back up to the finish in Barby, I threw caution to the noticeable wind and pushed for the finish.

I finished in 01:16:14, a couple of minutes behind last years time, but I was pleased all the same. Luke was the second Stratford runner to finish just three places behind in 01:16:53. This was Luke’s best time on this course since 2015.

Dave Maundrell finished with a time of 01:32:27 and Pip Abrams finished with a time of 01:43:33.

The race was won by Ian Allen of Spa Striders in a time of 54:49. The first female finisher was Polly Keen of Nuneaton Harriers in a time of 01:02:30. There were 296 finishers.
And Finally

Rehydrating after the Alcester 10k !
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