Medals in the mud.

The weekend’s winners. Georgie Campbell collects her first Midlands XC title and Phil Brennan picked up gold in his age group in the Midland Masters XC Championships
It has been another busy weekend for the club with the return, after a 12 month’s absence, of the iconic Not the Roman Nine race.

Apart from being a major part of the local road running scene, this event also generates a large amount of money for the club.

Please read Sarah Bland’s note of thanks below.

It was also the Midland XC Championships at the weekend, on an extremely muddy course at Prestwold Hall near Loughborough.

Club runners, across the whole age range, continued the success they have enjoyed all season.

From Paul Hawkins report below you will read that we had 2 outright winners on the day in Georgie Campbell and Phil Brennan and a 2nd place finisher in Alex Adams, despite him being one of the youngest competing in his race. Our other top 10 finisher was Charly Marshall, who continued her successful season.

We have been having some issues with our newsletter subscriber base, so some of you maybe receiving this newsletter for the first time, despite having been members for some time, for which I apologise. If this is the case and you would like to read some back issues of the newsletter, they are available in the News section on the club’s website, where they are posted every week.

Best Wishes

David Jones

Alex Adams picks up another trophy to add to his growing collection
Our mens’ senior XC team. Left to right : Malcolm Bowyer, Tim Hutchinson, David Smyth, James Deacon and John Raby.
The ladies team left to right : Cadie Hibberd, Sophie Dobedoe, Vicky Sharpe, Liuba Pasa and Emma Bexson.
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Midlands Cross Country Championships

Prestwold Hall, Loughborough

25th January 2020

Campbell wins Midlands Cross Country Championships

Report written by Paul Hawkins

The Midlands Cross Country Championships represents a step up in both distance and class for Stratford’s athletes from their normal league fixtures and is a natural progression from the County Championships held at the start of January where Stratford had been so successful.

There were successes for two of Stratford’s winners from the Counties and under 13 champion Niamh Hillard was pleased with her run after being injured for the last two weeks and only deciding to race this event in the morning.

Phil Brennan was Stratford’s other winner in the Masters race.

The course at Prestwold Hall was changed from previous events but was still a true test with plenty of mud for the athletes.

The highlight for Stratford was Georgie Campbell, who continued her good form in the Under 17 women’s race held over a 5k lap.

A group of three soon opened up a lead at the front with Georgie featuring along with regular rival Ella Semple of Birchfield and Kaitlyn Sheppard from Cheltenham. Semple dropped back after 1500m leaving Sheppard and Campbell side by side for much of the race. At the start of the final hill with 300m to go, Campbell made her move and powered away to quickly open up a decisive lead, finally winning by 10 seconds in 16:49 to claim her first Midland cross country title.

Ellen Taylor was the only other Stratford runner in the race and continued her return to form to claim a fine 29th place.

Last season Alex Adams won the U13 boys’ title but has now moved into the under 15 age group where he has continued his success and has been unbeaten this season. Despite being one of the youngest in the 4k race, Adams was confident and full of running and was always in contention as the leading group was gradually whittled down so ultimately it was down to Adams and Daniel Galloway of Telford. Eventually Galloway proved too strong over the final 400m and managed to stretch away but Adams should be delighted with his silver medal in 11:54.

Alex was supported by a strong Stratford team in the age group with Theo Skirvin running well again (63rd, 13:55) closely followed by Adam Taylor (71st, 14:01) with his best run for some time. Taylor Stubbins (76th, 14:10) and Joe Warner (106th, 15:24) are both in the first season and have already become important members of the team who came 11th in these championships.

The final top ten Stratford finisher was Charly Marshall who was the only Stratford U15 girl following injuries. Charly has had a remarkable season in the cross countries both in the league races and the County Champs where she finished second. Running over the same 4k course as the boys, Charly was always near the front of the field and ultimately finished 9th in 14:03 in a blanket finish with three seconds separating three girls.

Stratford fielded strong teams across the age groups with a number of eye-catching performances.

The under 13 girls were the first race of the day racing over a 3k one lap course. Maddie Linfoot led the Stratford team home in 21st (10:52) improving on last years race and was followed by Niamh Hillard (29th, 11:08) returning from injury.

Next for Stratford was another impressive run from U11 Tessa Parkin (39th, 11:19) followed by Caitlin Boyle (63rd, 11:43) and another U11, Annie Silvers (68th, 11:55). Martha Peters (72nd, 12:02) and Tilly Campbell (98th, 12:34) both had good runs to complete the team who just missed out on team medals coming in 4th place.

Tessa and Annie who will both have another two years in this age group will particularly have gained a lot from the experience of racing at this level.

Similarly, in the U13 boys race Max Verstaeten (50th, 10:45) is an U11 who was racing out of his age group and was delighted to be first home for the team. Joe Lewis (67th, 10:59) had his strongest race so far this season and was followed by James Day (75th, 11:07), Seb Hillard (89th, 11:18) and Flynn Dathan (105th, 11:42) to claim a fine 13th placed team.

In the U17 men’s race over 6k, James Mucklow (42nd, 23:42) had a strong even paced run and was closely followed by Ned Campbell (50th, 24:11) who seems to make massive strides forward with each race.

As usual Josh Dobedoe (56th, 24:24) paced the race well, moving through the field in the latter part of the race to clinch a good position. Finishing the team Fin Hutchinson (69th, 28:17) struggled after being ill all week but was determined not to let the team down and was rewarded with a good 6th team place.

Daisy Musk was our only U20 woman and she was delighted to take a top 20 position with a time of 29:14 over the 6k course.

In the senior women’s race Cadie Hibberd exceeded her expectations to come 21st in 32:55 over the 8k race. Cadie ran strongly through the race on a tough muddy course which seemed to suit her.

Sophie Dobedoe (62nd, 36:02) also continued her good season on a course that suited her style while Emma Bexson (83rd, 38:12) battled well with her usual determined approach. Vicky Sharpe (90th, 38:43) is in her first season racing in the Stratford team and has improved with each race. The final Stratford team member was Liuba Pasa (154th, 43:45) who found the clinging mud tough going but did well to help the team to 11th place just missing out on their top ten target.

The Midland Masters Cross Country Championships was incorporated into the event and the older age groups raced over a two lap 8k distance which certainly seemed to suit Phil Brennan who won a superb gold medal in a time of 42:55.

The final race of the day was the senior men’s 12k, run over three laps. Stratford had five athletes racing which disappointingly meant they were unable to complete a team.

The first back for Stratford was Tim Hutchinson finishing 113th in a time of 46:13, followed by John Raby (141st, 48:08) who is in his first year of competing for Stratford. Malcolm Bowyer was 204th, who found it a perfect course with a time of 51.14. This placed Bowyer 4th in his age group in the Masters competition which was incorporated in the main race, sadly just missing out on a medal.

Next home was David Smyth (214th, 51.42) who is deep into high mileage marathon training. Finally, James Deacon (361st, 72:13) who is racing himself back to fitness.

All in all it was an excellent day for the Stratford team who will now focus on their final league races of the season in mid-February, followed by the National Championships at the end of the month.

Helping to make the NTRIX a success.
Not the Roman Nine.

Below is a message from Sarah Bland following yet another successful running of this iconic race.

Hi everyone

A quick but big thank you to everyone who inputted in any way to NTRIX, which was a big success and we have had lots of great feedback, some of it below from emails and messages.

Putting the race on takes about 70 of us for about 3 hours but it will have generated nearly £3000 which comes straight back to all of us, keeping the club able to support all runners of all ages and abilities. In addition, from these entry fees we made a big contribution to Alveston Primary School of over £400 and a smaller one to Stratford Football Club for the use of their parking facilities. So while I know it sometimes seems to be an effort to do these things, they are hugely beneficial so please, please keep putting your hands up when asked for help!

I would just like to thank a few people who did extra essential stuff – Tony Jackson for general sounding board, Jon Mulkeen for designing the buffs, Dave Wolstencroft for leafletting Tiddington residents, Phil M for numbers, Pete Sugden for setting out and managing all the parking, Rob & Hannah for setting the course up and everyone else – you were all brilliant at whatever you were asked to do, thank you.

There were enough buffs for all of you to have one, so if you haven’t please let me know

Paul Bearman – please pass this message and our thanks to the water station teams, ably managed as always by the junior section.

Onto the next one!


A few comments from runners below:

Thank you for a really well organised race. Particular likes…..

– no medals!! Lost count of the number that have gone straight into the bin – just a massive waste of resources; excellent NTRIX buff instead
– age groups in 5-year bands, a rare thing and great for those of us pushing into the second half of the usual 10-year band…
– not having to wait an hour+ for prize giving
Looking forward to next year.
Nice route ,well organised event, Marshall’s were very encouraging ,thank you for a lovely day

Just want to say thank you and how much I enjoyed the race today. It’s so great to have it back again and was very well-organised. The marshals were fab on the route too. Very encouraging.
Seth Turner on his way to being the club’s first finisher in the Not the Roman Nine
Photo courtesy of

Not The Roman Nine.

Report – Phil Brennan.

This historic 12k road race on the outskirts of Stratford is popular with the local running community, as for many it is the first serious challenge of the new year.

This year, as always the club’s renowned team spirit was in evidence, but from a slightly different perspective than usual.

The race is one which is hosted and managed by the club, and a large number of volunteers are needed to fill all the necessary management, admin and marshalling roles which ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for the 350+ competitors.

The senior members’ strength in depth was indicated by the fact that with all the volunteers in place, supported by a contingent of junior members, parents and coaches, eighteen members were free to join in the race itself.

The course starts in Tiddington, and returns there via the Banbury road, a stiff climb up Loxley Hill, then through the village and back on the Wellesbourne road.

A cold windy start and deteriorating conditions did not put off the overall winners: Ben Kruze, Midland Masters AC, was first male in 41:27 with a two minute gap to second place, whereas first female, Leamington AC’s Natalie Bhangal had only six seconds lead in 48:14.

SAC runners were threaded through the remaining places: Seth Turner’s 14th in 48:18 put him 2nd in the M45 category, with Max Ross, (29, 49:57) and Steven Peters, (32, 50:25) in hot pursuit.

Fern Hordern was first SAC female finisher, (59, 53:36, 2nd F45).

The next six home were well under one hour: they were Graham Hill, (61, 53:44), John Bettles, (72, 54:58), Peter Wharton, (81, 55:42) Annie Cox, (92, 56:17), Clare Weatherhead, (97, 56:49), and Damian Wheeler, (118, 58:41) – excellent results for the conditions.

Mark Loosmore, (138, 1:00:15) Ricky Davies, (139, 1:00:16), Tom Horbury, (271, 1:13:29), Clare Eynon, (285, 1:14:58), Pip Abrams, (309, 1:17:52), Jan Turner, (310, 1:18:09)) and Catherine Wiggins, (33, 1:24:08), completed the SAC contingent:

Jan would surely have won a prize but was entered in the under 35 category: a tribute to her sprightly performance, perhaps.

The Banbury 15 is traditionally a popular race with club members. It also forms part of the club’s GP programme. Details are below.

Online entries are through Run Britain. Further information can be found on our website.

Geoff Smith’s Banbury 15


A 15 mile road race starting at 10.30 am

It is important to note that due to the nature of the course all earphones including bone conductive types are not allowed for safety reasons and you will be disqualified if found wearing them, unless medical proof is provided.

Forget monotonous courses, this is seriously rural! 5 mins from M40 J11, venue canalside. 5 mins from Banbury Cross. Picturesque undulations!. Water stations every 5 miles. Special memento for all 15 mile runners.

It’s a Family Affair.

As well as the large number of senior club members who ensured the smooth running of the Not the Roman Nine, as is traditional , the junior section of the club, some of their parent and some of their coaches also rallied round to help out.
More photos from the weekend’s XC activity
The U13 boys on the start line
Georgie Campbell on the final hill, with clear daylight between her and the 2nd placed runner.
Alex Adams sprints for the finishing line.
Theo Skirvin and Taylor Stubbins
Tessa Parkin and Niamh Hillard.
The start of the U17 men’s race, showing Fin Hutchinson, James Mucklow and Josh Dobedoe.
Cadie Hibberd and Joe Warner.