Those Were The Days.

Remember when we all used to meet up in groups and do stuff !!
Team Stratford at the Teddy Hall Relays
This week we have a belated report on the Teddy Hall Relays. Better late than never.

We also have my first attempt at featuring some historical stuff from the club’s archives and your own archives.

I must admit it’s been something of a challenge, for a new technology dinosaur such as myself, transferring old media to new media but hopefully there’s a few things that will make you smile. There’s a report on the early exploits of Andrew Pozzi, Phil Brennan in his school’s athletic team circa 1957/8 and a copy of a 2004 newsletter, announcing, amongst other things, the birth of Josh Dobedoe.

Paul Hawkins’ tells me he’s been up in his loft and come across newsletters from 1989 – 2009. Think Indiana Jones – Think The Holy Grail. Hopefully I will be able to get hold of these next week.

Please, please, please let me have any of your early athletic memories, early memories of the club etc. This can only work if many of you buy in to it.

Best Wishes and stay well

David Jones

And they’re off !
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Teddy Hall Relays

Report – Phil Marshall.


The Teddy Hall Relays (THR) have been an Oxford University tradition for over 60 years. University teams, faculty teams, the RAF, sometimes Cambridge university, groups of friends with names such as “A Running joke” and “Legs Miserables”, along with local and invited Athletic clubs all make their way to the world famous Iffley Road track on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in March each year.

Iffley Road has it’s place in history as the scene of a momentous event, not only in Athletics but in the world of sport, the achievement of something that commentators and runners alike regarded as beyond human endurance, on 6th of May 1954 Roger Bannister clocked 3mins 59.4s to achieve the first sub-4 minute mile!

The race is very simple, each team runs 4 legs of 4.35 miles each. The route starts with 200mts around the famous track, then goes South down a lane to Donnington Bridge where the runners cross the river and run North up the gravel tow path alongside the River Thames, past the College Boat houses and back into the centre of Oxford. A flight of steps leads up to Christ Church meadow, with a wonderful view of Christ Church College on the left (if you had time to look) A full circuit of Christ Church Meadow is then completed before exiting onto High Street, to make the return back to Iffley road to complete the leg on the other half of the track.

SAC has sent teams down to race in the THR every year since 2006. Sometimes just 2 teams, but this year a fantastic 5 SAC teams competed. (the same number as the RAF entered!)

Our runners were divided into 4 Mixed teams and 1 Ladies team, but as on the day we had just 17 runners, 3 rather quick gentleman (Seth Turner, Wayne Vickers & Richard Dobedoe) were asked if they minded demonstrating their Athletic prowess twice to make up the numbers.

Quickest leg of the day went to Seth Turner in 27m12s, closely followed by Richard Dobedoe in 27m30s and Rachel Pearce in 28m13s.

SAC Teams scored 11th, 15th, 29th and 39th amongst the Mixed Teams and the SAC Ladies only team came in 20th.

The Mens race was won by the RAF, with 2 members of the team completing the 4.35 miles on gravel, uneven pavements and up a staircase, in a pace of just sub 5 minute miles, which even a fast club runner would consider inconceivable. Oxford were second with a far from lethargic average pace from their 4 runners of 5m11s per mile.

A great event held on a sunny afternoon, and hopefully enjoyed by all!

Trips Down Memory Lane
Back row, 3rd from the left our very own Phil Brennan circa 1957/8. His school magazine, while noting that he was the star performer, also recognised him as someone who “gave promise of great things over middle distance.” That was certainly a prescient comment because he did and he is still doing so.
Phil’s early exploits.
Club Newsletter 2008
Courtesy Paul Bearman.

This mentioned some of the early exploits of our very own World Champion – Andrew Pozzi.

I love Paul’s comment “Dare we hope he could be competing at the Olympics in London in 2012 “

Well he did.

Andrew is selected for the Youth Commonwealth Games


Andrew Pozzi has been selected for the Commonwealth Youth Games 2008 to be held in Pune, India between 12th to 18th October. The games are a run up and a trial event to the Commonwealth Games 2010 to be held in Delhi.

Andrew will be the first member of his club to represent his country at a major international event. He will compete as an Under 17 in the Under 20 age group which means he has been selected for the 110m Hurdles, 3’3″ high against the normal Under 17 100m at a height of 3′.

Andrew is 16 and is recognised as one of the UKs outstanding all round athletes and 2008 has been one of success and progress. He is a member of the England Athletics West Midlands regional squad and has represented his county Warwickshire on numerous occasions.

Andrew still competes in multi events although he has specialised this year in the hurdles and has excelled both. In the winter Andrew ran the 3rd fastest time for an Under 17 Indoors went on to set an age group best for the Under 20 height and distance hurdles outdoors

In June Andrew ran the Commonwealth qualifying 4 times and since then he’s been injured with tendonitis in his foot, but despite this he still managed to win a bronze medal in the English Schools championships in July. The injury meant he couldn’t compete in the England Athletics Champs but the selectors have taken the view that as long as he proves his fitness Andrew will be on the plane to India. With Henry Lowry’s Physio skills and a rehab programme that’s been carefully planned (despite Andrew being like a dog on leash wanting to carry on training) he’s back on course.

He has also managed to find time to take his GCSEs and he has recently completed his Level 1 coaching award which in time will enable him to pass on his skills to the younger members of the club.

Andrew’s ambition is to compete on the world stage and with his talent and dedication there’s every reason to hope he will be in the future.

The Pozzi clan, including his Mum Annette and Dad Nick along with his 5 brothers and sisters, are planning to make the trip to India and with Andrew’s ambition to compete this could be an expensive time for the Pozzi’s, Dare we hope he could be competing at the Olympics in London in 2012 which would at least cut down on the travel!

And there’s more.

Under 17s – Three of our U 17 athletes hold eleven new records between them. On the track Nienke Verwer now holds this age group’s record for 400m (61.8s), 800m (2.26.4) and 1500m (4.46.3). No wonder this young lady was chosen to represent Warwickshire in the English Schools competition in Gateshead this year. Andrew Pozzi and Imogen Green have also excelled on the track with Andrew taking the 100m record (11.2s) and both of them setting new standards in the sprint hurdles (Imogen 80mH in 12.4s, Andrew 100mH in 13.0s). Imogen’s talents are not confined to the track as she set new club records for this age group in the long jump (4.78m) and high jump (1.51m).

Not content with the top slot in the 100m hurdles, in which he gained a bronze medal in the final of English Schools competition, Andrew has been thinking ahead to next year when he will compete in the 110m hurdles as an u.20. He set a new club record in this event with a run of 14.8s in April and has broken his own record on four occasions since. His current PB of 14.09s makes him the fastest u.17 and the sixth fastest athlete in the UK in this event and this time also broke the UK record for an Under17 doing the U20 height and distance (see Andrew is selected for the Commonwealth Games).

Both Imogen and Andrew set new records in Midland Schools combined events championships with Imogen scoring 3912 in the heptathlon and Andrew 4592 in the octathlon.

In the field Jenny Carus broke an 8 year old discus record when she threw 23.42m in June and Eleanor Johnston, pictured above, jumped a magnificent 5.00m in the long jump

Somethings never change !!

From the same newsletter.


Just a reminder that Athletics is an all year round sport and as a club we only stop training at Christmas for a short while.

We don’t work to school term timescales, we carry on during the holidays with all age groups but if there are changes to the training programme we’ll let you know.

Sandie Evans, Under 13 Age Group Leader junior section

Somethings Never Change – Part 2

Below is a newsletter from 2004, reporting on, among other things, the Shakespeare Race in Warwick and Malcolm Bowyer training for the London Marathon – Same old same old.

There’s also an interesting announcement of the birth of Richard and Anne Dobedoe’s 4th child. Fast forward 16 years and Josh Dobedoe is now one of the stars of our junior XC team and a track runner par excellent.

Disclaimer – The Brennan mentioned is not Phil Brennan. Just as if Phil would ever collide with a concrete post.

Newsletter – 2004

Courtesy Tony Jackson.

Unfortunately my hosting of the Shakespeare Race coincided with me having a very heavy cold so thanks to Geoff Vance, Chris Claxton and Victoria Johnstone for their help on the night and to the 40 members who turned out.

Highlight of the race was a collision between Brennan and a concrete post that put an end to his chances of winning. Brennan alleges that the post leapt out and attacked him but I’ve seen the post since and can confirm that this was Brennan’s fault entirely.

For Lynn Sherron’s race at the beginning of March we all decamped to Warwick for the evening and despite the rain 32 members turned up. The course was noticeable for the fact that half of it was uphill and the rest was flat – or so Keith Hawkes reckoned. Plentiful food was provided by the New Bowling Green Inn and we should go there again for another attempt at the World Chip Eating Competition.

Apologies for the misprint in the last edition. Miranda has married Roy (and not Rob). Rob is greatly relieved and rumour has it that Roy wasn’t too put out by the news that he might not be the bridegroom after all!

Congratulations to Richard and Anne Dobedoe who are expecting their fourth child later in the year. Apparently Anne was that desperate not to compete in the Ladies T&F Team! Team Captain Yvonne ‘mother of three’ Caswell has since changed her name to ‘mother of only three’!

Yvonne was photographed in the glossy magazine ‘Focus’ this month along with Lesley Kirk and Lisa Payne. Before anybody gets too excited this is the freebie magazine that accompanies the Stratford Herald rather than the Top Shelf magazine of a similar name (or so Keith tells me). Not content with that publicity Yvonne has also been appearing on the ‘catwalk’ modelling for charity. Is there no end to this woman’s talents.

Eleven athletes made their way up to Leeds for the National XC Championships and pride of place goes Neil Hawkins who had an excellent race in the Junior Mens race. With the exception of yours truly all the Senior Men had good runs. It was good to read in the paper that I was recovering from a virus. Its always nice to have a good excuse.

The team finished 90th which was probably as good as we could have expected and was a few places ahead of Kenilworth which is always nice to mention. Unfortunately due to a last minute withdrawal the Ladies didn’t have a full team despite our efforts on the day to recruit an extra member. Lisa started the process by waking up the old lady who lives next door to Lynn before we set out and we were also unsuccessful at the service station and the bus stop outside Safeways in Leeds. Lisa and Lynn both had solid runs but Helen suffered from ‘running too fast syndrome’ and after a lengthy discussion with Adrian and Paul at the end of lap one decided not to continue.

Special mentions also for Claire McMahon who put her training with the club to good effect by finishing 50th in the Ladies race and to Glyn Tromans who won the Mens race. Glyn who many of you will have met at last years awards presentation, stopped to put back on a lost shoe on lap one but when he lost the same shoe on lap three he carried on to the finish barefoot. Makes his excellent performance even more outstanding. Best wishes to Glyn in his attempt to make the team for the Olympic Games this year.

Malcolm Bowyer has suffered a couple of strange injuries in the past few weeks. Firstly whilst cleaning his cross country spikes he managed to tread on them and impaled his heel on one of the spikes. Its his own fault really – if he had run in a few more races during the winter his spikes wouldn’t have been so sharp! He then followed that up by falling off a childs climbing frame and gashing open his head. Fortunately neither injury seriously interrupted his London Marathon training. If anybody has got other strange injury stories to tell please let me know.

After strange injuries comes strange excuses. As a reason for not completing her Monday evening speed session, Lisa Payne came up with the novel excuse that she had to help a frog which was crossing the cycleway!! If anybody has an excuse to match this I’d like to hear it.

Thanks to Lisa for her word search that appeared in the last newsletter. Apparently some people are still struggling to find the missing name so to put you all out of your misery the answer was Jonny Wilkinson. Congratulations to Gary Freeman, who returned the first correct answer.

Now that the cross country season is out of the way its time for road races to take priority for most club members and the year got off to a fantastic start with 25 members taking part in the Bourton 10K. Unfortunately, the number of members competing meant that the newspaper coverage of this race was somewhat truncated. In order to allow more space in the future I’ve agreed to limit my racing! There were several PB’s in the race but the best performance (allegedly) belonged to Michael Oliver. His time of under 40 minutes would have been a fantastic achievement if only he’d remembered that this was a 3 lap course and he had not finished at the end of his second lap!

Congratulations to Lesley Kirk and Pete Hill who have set the standard for the year by already setting Club Records at 20 miles at the recent Gloucester 20. Lets hope there are more records to follow from other club members during the year.

Talking of PB’s can I remind all members that I am trying to collate a record of everybody’s PB’s over the range of distances – typically 800m to the Full Marathon and beyond if you’ve gone further. Details to me please.

The Shakespeare Competition has already stimulated a lot of friendly competition between members but Paul and Keith are starting taking things to extreme. At a recent lunchtime track session they were involved in sprint finishes on the warm up laps with a practice gold medal salute to the non existent crowds to follow.

It was good to read a very positive report on the Not the Roman IX road race in Runners World this month. Accompanying the report was a picture and you might have noticed that 2 members of Leamington C & AC were prominent. Congratulations to Alan Edwards and Malcolm Hazel (long standing friends of mine) on their new found fame.

Talking of Leamington it was disappointing that they were relegated from Division One of the Birmingham XC League. (in this context the definition of disappointing is “great to hear”) With Kenilworth retaining their Division Two status on the last day of the season it means that our two closest rivals ‘geographically’ are now in the Division above us. There is a good chance that they will be too good to be relegated but not good enough to be promoted next year. This gives us a great opportunity if we can get promoted next year to compete in the same division as them in the future.

Its good to know that my newsletter is being read far and wide as this month I received a letter from our Club President John Dell who resides on the island of Menorca. Lack of space prevents me from including all of John’s 6 page letter here but here are some select quotes.

The largest cycling club on the island have the same club colours as Stratford and its great to see the large groups of yellow and black on a Sunday morning

  • the success of the youngsters reminds me of the first time we entered a team in the Warks Sports Hall Athletics. Everyone was nervous and the other children looked six feet tall but I put our best sprinters in the first two races and they both won. Confidence zoomed and we came home with the bronze medals which I made them wear all the way home.

(NB Do we have any athletes still in the club from that first event?)

John also includes a number of quotes that he has picked up over the years.

My favourite is “Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him he will win” Are you reading this Paul!!

Thanks for the letter and cheque John. Please keep in touch.

I’m sure many of you will be interested in reading John’s letter in full so I have put this on the notice board.

Fears grow for missing kit lady Lynne Sherron

Thanks to Lesley for providing the attached picture. Any suggestion that this was the team photo from the last XC race of the season is strongly denied! There is a mystery prize for the best caption to this picture that I hear. (NB definition of mystery is ‘haven’t a clue at the moment and it probably depends on who wins!!’)

It is good to welcome back Nick Dobson to the club after his trip around the world (well almost but not quite) which included a fantastic marathon time of 3hrs 20mins in very unsuitable hot conditions in the XX marathon. Training abroad is never easy to organise so fair play to Nick for his half marathon training run on a local track watched in increasing bewilderment by a group of amused children.

I was amazed to return from my 2 week holiday in Florida to find that Pete Hill had been staying only 3 miles away. With a bit of planning we could have arranged a club run but I have to say that the heat and conditions weren’t really conducive to long runs. Warm weather training is one thing but Hot weather training leaves a lot to be desired! Running whilst on holiday always requires some planning if its not to interfere with everybody else’s plans and fortunately the general guideline is that only 20 minutes running every other day is sufficient to maintain fitness. On that basis I was pleased to fit in 8 runs of over 30 minutes and by running first thing in the morning I was able to avoid the heat which really made life difficult after 9 am. The other plus point is that I was able to get a better understanding of all the attractions and where they were. My running diary now includes such entries as ‘ran along International Drive to Universal Studies’ which will be something to look back in later life.

When we think of who inspires us to run I am sure we would all have Paula Radcliffe near the top of our list. Just to show what can be achieved by such an inspiration it was great to watch the London Marathon and see the performance of Tracy Morris. A fun runner only 18 months ago and aged 36 Tracy, inspired by Paula, took to training seriously and was rewarded with a run that knocked over an hour off her marathon PB. More importantly it also resulted in her being first British Lady to finish and her time was within the Olympic qualifying time! A trip to Athens now seems likely to compete in this years Olympics as a team mate of Paula . For all of the runners in the club who perhaps lack a bit of ambition this is what can be achieved with a bit of effort. (well a lot of effort actually!)