Bits and Bobs.

It’s not all plain selling when it comes to Sunday morning training sessions on the Welcombe Hills.
A few bovine obstacles en route
Photo courtesy of Emily Adams
A mixed bag again this week.

There is news of some superb performances from members of our junior endurance group in the 1 mile time trials held at our track last night, together with news from Jack Sumners, who is now back in America and Andrew Pozzi who is due to compete in a world class field at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco later today.

George Fox-Rowe and Harry Gravelsons delivered PB performances at the weekend in an U15 & U17 event at The Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton.

There’s my lockdown story plus a note on this year’s virtual London Marathon.

Finally a couple of photos of aspiring racewalkers, or maybe not.

There’s just a few hours left before cut-off in this month’s virtual Shakespeare races, so if you haven’t done it, you haven’t got long left.

Take care

Best Wishes

David Jones.

Ellen Taylor and Taylor Stubbins.
A tale of two Taylors !
Magic Milers.
Thursday night was a night of 1 Mile Time Trails for some of the older group of junior endurance runners at their regular Thursday night training session at the Stratford School Track.

Blimey, didn’t they do well ?

At the time of writing, juniors are dominating the top of this month’s vMagic Mile race with just a few hours left in the competition.

Paul Hawkins’ commented

“There were some tremendous runs in tonight’s Time Trial, well done to all who took part. Unfortunately they won’t count for any official rankings or Power of 10 but the times are accurate and they have all set down a good marker.”

“Race” 1

1. Taylor Stubbins 4.57.7
2. Ned Campbell 5.30.4
3. Joel Watson 5.35.6
4. Josh Dobedoe 5.36.0
5. Adam Taylor 5.40.2
6. Ben Stockhill 5.40.6
7. Joe Warner 5.58.7
8. Seb Hillard 6.01.9

“Race” 2

1. Ellen Taylor 5.37.2
2. Olivia Robinson 5.39.7
3. Niamh Hillard 5.57.7
4. Maddie Linfoot 6.01.6
5. Tessa Parkin 6.02.3
6. Daisy Musk 6.06.9
7. Abi Cooper 6.18.3
8. Abbie Skinner 6.20.5
9. Martha Peters 6.21.1
10. Caitlin Boyle 6.22.2
News From Home and Abroad.

The latest news of a couple of our International athletes.
Jack Sumners’ flies through the air with the greatest of ease.
After Coronavirus broke out I was able to make it home after a few travel false starts.

During most of the lockdown I was luckily given permission to use the school fields at Thomas Jolyffe, my old primary school and I was able to hop over the back fence of my house to train.

With this I was able to complete various different sessions based around circuits and some speed work as well as the occasional long jump session. I had to take off a long way before the normal take off board because it’s only designed for primary school children and I was jumping out of the pit!

Fortunately we were eventually able to get back on to a track at Leamington and get back to the real work with hopes of competing at the British championships.

After some good sessions back on the track with Paul Bearman I was feeling back to where I wanted to be and it was around this time that I got the invite to compete at the British Championships for the hurdles.

Unfortunately the timing didn’t work out and I will not be able to compete as I took the opportunity to make the trip back to the U.S.

However, the few weeks I had back training with our training group, with the support and commitment made by Paul, Carolyne, Sandy, as well as all the other coaches, gave not just me but everyone at the club the chance to get back doing what they love.

I’m sure you’ll be kept in touch with all the new things I’m experiencing as I keep Paul up to date.

All the best


Andrew Pozzi

Paul Bearman’s comments.

We really enjoy having the Uni athletes back during the holidays but this summer has obviously been very different.

I still coach (when schools are open) at Thomas Jolyffe and I was grateful that they agreed to allow Jack to train on their field, as we needed to keep him training in case the British Champs were held.

Jack’s ranking qualified him for both the Long Jump and Hurdles and the initial invite from UKA was for the Long Jump, however, as Jack and I are a part of the EA Talent programme he would have had the chance to hurdle too.

I would have been happy for Jack to Long Jump but with very limited training, 10 hurdles would have been a stretch and could have possibly ended up with him getting injured and so him going back to the US took the risk away.

Hopefully the US Coronavirus situation improves significantly and Jack will get the chance to train safely and then compete in the New Year.

Meanwhile in Europe….Andrew Pozzi maintained his world number one status and remained unbeaten with a scintillating run in the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland.

Pozzi clocked 13.25secs in his heat, before running another world lead of 13.17secs in the final, just .03 of a second outside his PB of 13.14secs for his second quickest ever wind legal time.

This was his sixth consecutive race win so far this season.

On Friday he races in the Diamond League meeting in Monaco in a world class field that includes Grant Holloway, Orlando Ortega and Wilhelm Belocian and it will be real test how things are going.

In a text Andrew said that he felt that “things are starting to click finally and we’ll see how it goes in Monaco on Friday”.

BBC Sport will show live action from the Monaco Diamond League from 7pm on Friday on the BBC iPlayer, Red Button and BBC Sport website. There will also be highlights on Saturday on BBC1 from 12pm.

George Fox-Rowe and Harry Gravelsons.
Nuneaton U15 & U17 Open

A couple of our juniors’ competed at The Pingles Stadium last weekend with both of them achieving PBs

George Fox-Rowe was rewarded for all of his hard work in training with a PB of 61.75 in the U17 400m hurdles. He also achieved a SB of 11.65 in the triple jump, just 18 cms off his PB.

Harry Gravelsons’ was also rewarded for his continued hard work in training with a PB of 12.86 in the U17 100m. He also won his heat.
My trusty treadmill.

146 Days

My life under lockdown

David Jones.


Little did I know as I completed my successful 1500m race at the British Masters Indoor T&F Championships in London on 7th March, that it would be 146 days before I would race again.

During lockdown many newsletter subscribers have been generous enough to share their thoughts on athletics under lockdown, so I thought it was probably time to share mine.

There have been disappointments during lockdown but there have also been many red letter days that have made me realise how fortunate and privileged I am to be a member of such a wonderful club as ours.

I had trained during the wet and windy winter months with a view to competing in the indoor season, which runs from January to March and then to hopefully make my GB debut at the European Masters Indoor Championships in Portugal in mid March.

Without a doubt my biggest lockdown disappointment, from an athletics perspective, has been the postponement of the European Championships in Portugal. Entry fees had been paid, accommodation and flights booked and Team GB kit acquired (it is currently languishing in the bottom of my wardrobe )

The Championships are due to be held at the beginning of January but I’m not holding my breath.

I have been far luckier than most members in that I was able to achieve some of my goals for this year by competing in 5 indoor meetings at the start of the year, exceeding my expectations in what is my first year in a new age category

A hint of what was to come was the weekend of 14th/15th March with rumours circulating that people of my age would be quarantined for up to 12 weeks.

Lying in bed on the night of the 15th, I despaired at the thought of not being able to run for such a lengthy period of time. I then had something of a light bulb moment. I’d get a treadmill. I was then able to come to a domestic agreement (!) that the kitchen table could be removed, temporarily, to accommodate a treadmill.

Which one to buy was the next dilemma. A website search told me that I could spend anything from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds. It was then suggested to me that I look on eBay.

I was fortunate to find the exact model I wanted for £220 and, another stroke of luck, it was being sold by someone in Solihull.

Wayne Vickers very kindly offered to collect it for me. This was on 21st March. Arrangements were made for us to collect it on 25th March. Then on 23rd March lockdown happened. Wayne wouldn’t be allowed to collect it for me. I’d ordered and paid for it and I couldn’t get hold of it. Fortunately I was able to get a local man with a van to collect it for me and, just as importantly, with the help of his son, he carried it into my kitchen. They are heavy, very heavy.

Then came the first of the aforementioned red letter days.

At the end of March an email from Sarah Bland announcing a Virtual Shakespeare Race. Wow, what a great idea and haven’t we embraced this superb idea over the last 5 months ?

Initially Sarah and Matt Burdus-Cook pulled this whole thing together, supported in later months by David Smyth and Ryan Bakewell. Subsequent months have seen cycling time trials and Magic Miles added to the itinerary.

Following a serious knee injury a couple of years ago, I was advised to run on level surfaces whenever possible. It is for this reason that I have tended to concentrate on track running of late. Much joy then when the vShakespeare race rules allowed me to submit times achieved on a treadmill.

A problem with running on a treadmill is that it gives you a false sense of your own abilities. It also means you post times quicker than you would be able to achieve when running on any other surface.

This became really embarrassing for me when I achieved a scarily quick time in an early mile race. Now I’m back to running on the track my times have slowed considerably.

An unforeseen advantage of me running on the treadmill is that I have been able to replicate some of Sarah and Rob’s Monday night interval sessions. A great plus.

The next red letter day was when I was told by Paula Williams that the newly laid track at The Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton was opening for privately booked sessions at £3 for 75 minutes. So on 9th June off I toddled to Nuneaton, excited beyond words. I have trained there every week since.

A massive day was 21st June when members of our junior endurance group were able to resume their Sunday morning training on the Welcombe Hills.

Strictly adhering to social distancing rules and a ratio of 5 athletes per coach, this fabulous group of enthusiastic youngsters turned up in great numbers. By the second weekend, 60 of them advised Paul Hawkins that they wanted to take part and with a great deal of work and juggling on his part, together with some coaches agreeing to take two different groups out, an hour apart, pretty much all of those who wanted to take part were able to.

I love being part of these sessions but I must admit that trying to keep up with a couple of groups of speedy youngsters in 2 x 1 hour sessions on the Welcombe Hills has proved to be something of a challenge for my ageing legs.

The commitment shown by this group is reflected in the tremendous performances of many of them in the various vShakepseare Races and also the Warwickshire Road Race League Virtual races under the auspices of team manager John Raby. Their performances in last night’s 1 mile time trials is further testament to their ability

In the first week of July, Paul Bearman was able to come to an agreement that allowed selected members of his group, together with a few of our masters athletes, me included, to use the Leamington track. It was great to be back training with my fellow T&Fers.

On the 7th July another red letter day with coaching sessions for some of our junior endurance runners taking place on the cricket field at the Sports Club.

Again this was in groups of 5 athletes to one coach and I found it both hugely enjoyable and rewarding. I have really enjoyed helping to coach youngsters in these smaller groups of 5. I have found that you get to know the athletes better and build up a relationship with them, which isn’t always possible in the larger groups.

After 2 or 3 weeks training on the cricket pitch and following successful negotiations between Paul Bearman and representatives of Stratford School, we were able to resume training the juniors at the Stratford School track.

Initially sessions took place on the field adjacent to the track and again they have been extremely enjoyable.

It was then the turn of the seniors and masters to resume training as a group on the track

After an initial week at the Sports club with Rob, training resumed on Monday evenings with Sarah and Rob being able to revert to their normal interval sessions. A group of our masters athletes were also able to resume training.

It was really wonderful to be back training on our own track again alongside lots of familiar faces.

I’ve listed above several of the highlights of my lockdown as a member of the club, I am also aware that, as an unrepentant social media agnostic, I have missed out on other initiatives, organised by club members for the benefit of other club members. My loss I guess.

Finally, it was back to racing on 2nd August.

The event was at The Pingles Stadium over 800m. It was run in lanes 1,3,5 and 7 and you had to keep in your lane all of the way round. This was seriously weird and meant that as I was running in lane 5, I was a good 50 metres from the start at the beginning of the race.

Anyone who knows me will know that my Garmin was probably attached to my umbilical cord when I was born. I need to know what my time is at 200, 400 and 600m. Running in lanes, with a big stagger, made this impossible.

Still I managed and was overjoyed to be a few seconds quicker over than I was when I went into lockdown. All hail vShakespeare races and my treadmill.

I suspect that from all the physical activity many of you have taken part in during lockdown that I will not be the only club member who is a bit quicker than they were at the start of lockdown.

I’m sure that for all of us it has been a really weird and challenging time but that being a member of our club has helped greatly with our mental and physical wellbeing.

However as things gradually start to get back to normal, it is really important to realise that this is not over, it has not gone away and we must all continue to be vigilant.

Take care.

Best Wishes

David Jones

Virgin Virtual London Marathon.

I’ve received this note from Nick Campbell which may be of interest to some of you.
This year’s London Marathon is now a virtual event and for a £20 entry fee you will get a finishers medal and a t-shirt.

It is initially open to those who already had a place in the actual event, but from the 26th August it will be open to others (see last paragraph below).

I’m not sure how many places are available, I guess it depends on how many finishers medals they have.

It appears it will also count towards a good for age entry to next year’s event for the speedier club members!



Dear Runner

After last week’s sad news that the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will not take place in the way that it has since 1981, we are determined that the spirit of the London Marathon will live on at the virtual event on Sunday 4 October. And we want you to be part of it!

For the first time ever, you’re invited to run the London Marathon your way, joining up to 45,000 runners up and down the country – and across the world – in the virtual 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, The 40th Race.

Take on the 26.2-mile challenge from your home. You’ll have 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds to complete it and you can choose if you run , walk or jog – with your loved ones and your community supporting you, joining thousands of runners in a celebration of everything the London Marathon embodies – fun, fundraising, fancy-dress and amazing community spirit!

How do I enter?

As you already had a place in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, you can confirm your place in the virtual event via this personalised link, which will take you to your registration page.

The entry fee is £20 for a UK runner (or £20 plus £5 overseas postage and packaging charge for international runners) and we are developing an app with our partner TCS that will enable you to log your 26.2 miles and earn your unique medal and New Balance finisher T-shirt.

Please note even if you take up your place in The 40th race, you will still be able to defer your place to a future London Marathon – in 2021, 2022 or 2023 (whether or not you take part in the virtual event). Please look at ourFAQs page and we will email you further details on Tuesday 1 September.

Sunday 4 October

The virtual 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will take place on Sunday 4 October and you’ll have 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds (from 00:00 to 23:59:59 BST) to complete the 26.2 miles, making the event the most inclusive London Marathon ever.

Get creative!

Taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon, your way, also means you can be creative with the challenge that lies ahead!

You could get dropped 26.2 miles from your home and run back, where a hero’s welcome is sure to await you.

Or why not complete each mile with a different running buddy, sharing the challenge with the friends and family who have supported you through your training so far?

You could get together with a group of friends to walk the 26.2 miles together, or have fun creating a unique course that visits the homes of friends and family and ask them to set up drinks stations for you outside their houses so you can refuel and catch up over an energy bar.

Good for Age, Championship and London Classics eligibility

If you complete The 40th Race, your result may be eligible for you to apply for a Good for Age or Championship place in the 2021 London Marathon and for the London Classics medal. (Please note that you will be asked to provide supplementary evidence if you apply for a Good for Age or Championship place.)

Your exclusive entry window

Your exclusive entry window is open until 17:00 on Monday 17 August so please confirm that you’d like to take part as soon as possible. Entries will open to the general public on Wednesday 26 August – so if you have friends or family who would like to take on the challenge with you, please let them know!

We really hope you’ll take on the unique opportunity to complete the London Marathon your way. See you on Sunday 4 October!

Best wishes

The Virgin Money London Marathon Team

And Finally.

A few of our junior endurance runners tried their hand at a spot of racewalking after Sunday’s training session on the Welcombe Hills. The things some people will do to curry favour with the club chairman !
Adam Taylor, Ned Campbell and Alex Adams.
Both feet off the ground Adam – sorry but that’s a dq
I think I’d stick to running Ned.