The long and short of it.

Adam Evans with Bryce after his Ultra. Adam’s that is, not Bryce’s ?
Well maybe the rain brings out the best in you. It has certainly been a busy week.

This week we have reports on distances from 100 metres to 50k plus some cycling, swimming and jumping.

We have an actual real live marathon, with 4 members competing on the Isle of Wight, in what is apparently the longest running marathon in the UK. Who knew ?

Several of you braved appalling conditions to compete in the virtual London marathon, many of who have sent fabulous reports of their exploits. While running they were also raising thousands of pounds for various charities.

For three members, 26.2 miles just isn’t long enough, so we have reports on a couple of extremely challenging Ultras.

Also, for many of you, it’s not enough just to run, you have to swim and cycle as well. Sally Bliss has provided a report on the Stratford upon Avon Triathlon and Warwickshire Triathlon.

There is also a report on the End of Season T&F Open competition at the Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton and finally we have the results of last month’s Magic Mile.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Take care

Best Wishes

David Jones
Annie Threadgill with her medal
Cara Reynolds and Emily Adams.
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Isle of Wight Marathon.

Host club Ryde Harriers first staged the IOW Marathon in 1957, 24 years before the London Marathon came on the scene, making it the longest running marathon in the UK and the 25th oldest in the world.

This year they were keen to keep the unbroken sequence intact but with COVID 19 guidelines strictly adhered to.

With all of the Covid-19 restrictions in place it was a very different race this year with the start having to be socially distanced.

Having jumped through a variety of health and safety hoops to make it happen, organisers of the 64th Isle of Wight Marathon were delighted it went ahead as planned, with a new course record to show for it, despite the appalling weather.

Four of our members were among the 172 finishers. Cara Reynolds and Emily Adams ran together with both recording a time of 3:51.41, finishing in 56th and 57th place respectively. They were the 8th and 9th females to finish and 3rd and 4th in their age category. Karl Harris finished in a time of 4:37.14 and was placed 134th and 14th in his age category, while Annie Threadgill recorded a time of 5:34.13, finishing in 164th place and 10th in her age category.

The race was won by Ross Skelton in 2:28.30 and the first female finisher, in 13th place overall, was Sarah Hill with a time of 3:10.26.

Below are Annie and Emily’s thoughts on the race

Annie’s Race :

Myself and friend Kate decided to do the marathon back in January, a challenge that I had been training for 4 years. I got up to 18 mile runs and found myself pregnant!

So I though I would have another go. We decided to raise money for the Cotswold Olimpick games, which is an annual event we are both very much involved with. It is a tradition that has been going for 409 years and is held annually in Chipping Campden on the last weekend in May. It is a non- profit organisation that relies on fund raising and ticket sales. It is famous for shin kicking and the torch lit parade and a band on the Square after the parade.

We raised over £2700.

Then the training began in July with weekly long runs starting at 8 miles and building up to two a week, to peak at 22 miles !

Kate got an ankle injury during the 22 miler so she had a couple of weeks off, I did the rest alone, which was challenging. A lot of podcasts were listened to ! I also did a 6 miler every week with Pip, which was so much fun, we found loads of great pathways.

The actual day loomed and the weather was horrendous, the portaloo even rocked at the start !

We got through it though. It was an amazing race, very hilly at the end and amazing support from fellow club members Emily, Karl, Cara and Karen.

It was tough and I felt it at mile 21 to 25, mostly due to hills and the fact that the whole of me was sooooo wet!

Luckily the Stratford folk waited for me at the end and I got slightly emotional! I finished the day with a beer and a very nice bottle of Puligny Montrache, courtesy of my husband

We have a boat in Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight and have been going there for 7 years. We went sailing on it the day after the marathon just because we thought it was apt in 30 mph winds. We slept very well after !

Emily’s Story.

So, apparently going in a circle, there’s more uphill than down!

It was a tough race. Weather conditions were less than ideal. I think the only word we could use was brutal!

The sociallly distanced start worked well – apart from the traffic not being stopped at the beginning!

Once we got out in course, Karl was too bothered about securing a good pub lunch and much kudos rather than running. Hence he was left behind at 13 miles.

Cara and me were too busy talking to notice that we’d dropped Karl. Cara actually researched the Isle of Wight and was dishing facts about the island throughout the run.

At times we were running in a river with sideways rain

Karl suffered friction burns on his arms which may recover by bonfire night and his shoes might have dried out by then too.

We were all so pleased reach 24 mile where we then had a 1.3 mile uphill climb to go, just what we needed but the conversation kept flowing and we managed to reach the top.

‘Wood’ is an appropriate material for a medal after one of the hardest marathons we have run.

Finally Cara, Karl and myself were together again at the finish line, welcomed home by our great supporter Karen Harris.

Virtual London Marathon.

Below are some of the stories, in their own words, from club members who competed in the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday, in pretty awful conditions.

Between them they raised several thousand pounds for various charities.

Many thanks to them for sending in these reports
Kate Sergent.

Kate Sergent’s Story.

My favourite route for long runs has to be along the canal towpath, so this was the route I decided to follow for my virtual London Marathon.

Having grown up in Birmingham I decided to go back to my roots and start from close to my old Birmingham home and then run to my current home in Stratford.

I planned it quite well knowing certain mileage points where friends could give me a drink and a shout!

My husband Martyn drove me to the start and stayed to see me off!

I was so chuffed when Sarah Odell said she would run with me and it really helped, as the conditions, especially in the first half, were pretty treacherous!

It felt more like a cross country run with floods and mud galore.

Friends were on the path at miles 10 and 17. At mile 18 my son, who had driven through floods from London, ran the last 8 miles and it was such a boost.

It was wonderful to be joined by my close friend David Jones at mile 20. He never runs further than 3 or 4 miles these days since becoming a world ranking athlete but he made an exception for me!!!

Sue Mothershaw joined up next and the Peter and Christine Coote were cheering me at various points along the way.

I absolutely loved every minute and it made me realise what a great club we are part of!!

Finally I was joined by Christine Cooper for last stretch.

I was pleased with my official time 5.06.08 as I know it would have been better in better conditions!

It was a great experience and a big thank you for all the support.

I was running to raise money for the Stratford Food Bank and I have currently raised well over £1000

Nick Campbell with run buddy Richard Dobedoe.
Nick Campbell’s Story.
It was my first attempt at a marathon and it certainly turned into an epic day out.

I met Richard Dobedoe in Stratford as he’d kindly offered to accompany me for the first part.

We ran to Luddington and back, before heading towards Wootton Wawen via Wilmcote, Aston Cantlow and Shelfield.

All was going well (apart from the rain) until we reached Aston Cantlow where the stream had burst its banks and flooded the lane for a considerable distance.

With no way of avoiding it we waded through and pressed on.

Richard was now up for carrying on to the finish and we met up with John, a friend and Massey Runner, before calling in at home for a quick drink and flapjack stop.

Georgie and Ned joined us for the last eight miles. It should have been seven but at some point I’d paused my watch and not noticed for about a mile and as I’d failed to use the official app, I needed to complete the full distance on Strava. This led to us completing 27.3 miles in total which I suspect I may not have heard the last of!

All in all it was a a very enjoyable day. Not the quickest time ( 4:12.27) but I was pleased to have finished a hilly route in testing conditions and I can take some confidence into the real event next October or whenever it may be.

A massive thanks to Richard, John, Aline and the kids for the great support.
Andy Cox and his run buddy Seth Turner.
Andrew Cox’s Story.

This year I completed the VMLM2020 under very different circumstances and in particularly tricky conditions.

I started running for charities after losing my Mum to Cancer and today would have been her 73rd birthday, so this gave the race a real sense of occasion.

My race commenced at 8:30, having delayed the start by 30 minutes due to the weather conditions. As I started the run, with my usual anxieties, I suddenly thought it was over a year (Berlin19 – 3:04:00) since I had raced a Marathon distance.

I planned a two circuit loop starting in Welford to include Milcote, Long Marston and Pebworth.

Upon reaching Broad Marston, I was confronted by flooding by the bridge, so I aborted my original plan and turned around following the same route back to Welford.

The first 13.1 miles was run on my own in just under 1:28, followed by my support group who kept me hydrated.

On the second half I was very kindly joined by fellow SAC member, Seth Turner, who kept me bang on pace for my initial GFA target of 3:07:20.

Seth managed to keep me on a 1:30 half pace with his words of encouragement and support. At 5K out I realised I had a shot at a sub 3hr time. As each kilometre passed we kept ticking them off one by one, digging deep, I managed to finish in the Village in a huge PB of 2:58:53.
Nic Reynolds
Nic Reynolds’ Story.

I wasn’t running but I walked my route out and back along the canal towpath raising money for Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.

I had a great day despite the weather.

I set out just after 7am and it rained for most of the day apart from a brief spell of sunshine around midday.

I finished in 7:38:11, not a personal best in terms of marathons but I had fun and was grateful to the friends who joined me for parts of the route. Photo was as the app told me I’d finished my 26.2 ?

I’ve just checked my Just Giving page and the total stands at £532, so many thanks to all who have contributed to that.
Ian Greaves and son Edward.
Ian Greaves’ Story.

So, after all of the disappointments of cancelled and deferred races, the virtual London Marathon arrived at the weekend, accompanied by Storm Alex.

Race day began with driving rain and swirling winds, not ideal, but it was race day nonetheless!

The virtual race gives runners the opportunity to choose their own routes and I opted to travel to Draycote Water, near Rugby, for a few reasons. Primarily because it is pretty flat (!), but also it is somewhere I don’t run often, so a change of scenery and the idea of loops of the same course appealed to me for this race.

There were quite a few other marathoners who chose the same route an, amazingly I even bumped into Batman and Wonder Woman on one lap (not literally!)

Whilst running without the crowds was always going to be harder in the latter stages of the marathon, a virtual race presents the opportunity to get your family involved!

My 11 year old son, Edward, cycled the full 26.2 miles with me and my wife Ju the last 12. They were there to tell me I could do it when my legs were giving me other signals!

I was delighted to complete the marathon in 4:02, my marathon PB by a full 31 minutes…..!

Obviously, all the virtual Shakespeare races throughout our COVID-affected year have provided fantastic preparation!

It was great to catch up with all of the other SUAAC marathon runners results post-race on Strava.
Lara Bakewell and her father.
Ryan Bakewell opted to keep his injury recovery on track, which he says took a lot of will power, instead he supported Lara and her Dad, who walked it together. He said that they did a great job in the rain being out for so long.
Below are the results for club members from the London Marathon website. Omitted from this list, because they weren’t entered as SAC members, are Nick Campbell and Nic Reynolds, who’s reports and times are above.

Sam Wignell commented that he managed to get it done in a time of 4hrs 10mins. He set off along the canal, which turned out to be a tad muddy and wet…:) which probably took its toll on his legs for the last 10km.

He professed himself super chuffed to get the first one done if a little tender still.
Paul Longford’s time.
Ultra Marathons.

For some members, 26.2 miles just ain’t far enough. Three such completed Ultras at the weekend.
Tara Lambert and Louise Stewart.
Black Country Ultra
Report – Louise Stewart.

On a filthy Sunday morning, Tara Lambert and I lined up in a very socially distanced start for the Black Country ultra, or as it’s also known, the Dirt Run.

It was a very small field of around 40 runners, many of who were using this as an opportunity to complete their various virtual marathons.

Although I’ve run this distance before during the course of the year, this was my first official ultra.

I’ve been doing a lot of training with Tara and it’s been very helpful to run with someone as experienced as she is with doing ultras.

The weather was grim at first but the rain slowed down and by the afternoon the sun was out.

The terrain was mostly off road, on old railway lines and canal tow paths. Some better scenery than I expected, given the location but certainly not a course to run at night!

Given the amount of rain over the last couple of days, I knew it would be wet.

The Netherton tunnel is, at 2.7km, one of the longest in England and it seemed as though there was around 2.6km of puddles!

This was nothing compared to miles 24-30 which were through lots of mud and flooded track, finally I knew why the event has its name!

I was reasonably pleased to come in at 6:36, with Tara coming in at a very respectable 6:02.

It has been a real learning experience for me and I now appreciate several aspects of racing an ultra that you don’t really experience when just doing it as a run.

So, onwards and upwards to the next challenge!
The Chiltern Ridge 50k

Report – Adam Evans.

Last Saturday I ran my first ever Ultra marathon, the Chiltern Ridge 50km.

When we arrived at the starting area I though ‘oh geez we are in for a long day here’.

It was raining nonstop and we had a large gathering of fog over the area but once we set off, none of that mattered.

All I could think about was how lucky I was to be running an actual race in 2020. It’s been a long year and finally I get a chance to see how my training has gone.

The first 10 miles absolutely flew by. I was chatting with a fellow runner during that part and I was just enjoying the beautiful scenery along the Ridgeway. It just reminded me of one of Chris and Jean’s Saturday runs, where you just enjoy being out there and having a good chat.

The next 6 miles were quite hilly. A bit of run walking was involved. That section reminded me of Offa’s Dyke where the good hill climbers overtook the flat ground bullies and then you swap places again once the ground levelled off.

The next 10 miles were quite flat. There where some small hills along the way but nothing too daunting.

The last 5 miles though were a little tough due to the fatigue built up over the last 26 miles but I found the rhythm of walking for a few mins, followed by a jog worked really well.

All in all, I’m super proud to finish my first 50k in 4 hours and 51mins. I managed to sneak into the Top 10 which is great.

If anyone is looking to make the jump into Ultra Running, I’d highly recommend it.
From the top : Vicky Sharpe, Phillipa Sian and Catherine Wiggins.

Stratford upon Avon Triathlon and Warwickshire Triathlon

Report – Sally Bliss.

There was a good turnout from the Stratford Triathlon Club for the Stratford upon Avon Triathlon and Warwickshire Triathlon Event held at the Leisure Centre on Sunday 4th October in horrendous weather conditions, especially for the cycle ride.

Victoria Sharpe raced later in the day and was lucky to miss most of the rain and was the 1st lady home for the Tri club finishing 12thh in the Female Sprint Triathlon in a brilliant time of 01:09:31 (Swim 00:09:23 T1 00:01:55 Cycle 00:36:01 T2 00:01:48 Run 00:24:11).

Vicky commented “I took park in Stratford Sprint Triathlon at the leisure centre and was one of the lucky few who raced in drizzle rather than torrential rain! All 3 disciplines went well and I beat my time from last May (on the same course)! I was pleased to have thrown trail shoes into my car at the last minute. It was a muddy run but great fun! I finished in 1:09.31”

Caroline Gionis was off early in the morning so had to contend with the worst of the weather but finished in 43rd place in a time of 01:10:26 (Swim 00:08:24 T1 00:02:47 Cycle 00:37:06 T2 00:01:33 Run 00:26:36)

Philippa Sian, in only her second Triathlon, finished in 55th place and said she was annoyed with herself for faffing about in transition as she actually shaved 7 minutes off her combined times for the 3 disciplines from last year to finish in a time of 01:21:29 ( Swim 00:09:41 T1 00:03:21 Cycle 00:38:33 T2 00:02:05 Run 00:27:49)

It was Catherine Wiggins’ first ever Sprint triathlon and she finished in 113th place. Despite the weather she thoroughly enjoyed the well organised event. Catherine was still full of running as she crossed the finish line with a smile on her face in a time of 01:40:27 (Swim 00:22:01 T1 00:01:55 Cycle 00:41:54 T2 00:03:45 Run 00:35:10)

James Purdy who finished in 47 place in the Men’s Sprint, racing in torrential rain in a time of 01:06:53 (Swim 00:07:46 T1 00:01:25 Cycle 00:33:17 T2 00:01:08 Run 00:23:17)

Paul Nash came home in 164th place in a time of 01:20:55 (Swim 00:08:15 T1 00:03:53 Cycle 00:32:36 T2 00:02:04 Run 00:34:07)

The Male Sprint distance was won by Jake Fisher from Derby in a time of 00:56:02

The Female Sprint distance was won by Rosie Fisher from Team Cherwell in a time of 00:57:08

Seb Hillard dips for the line at the end of his 100m race.
Simon Curran at the start of his 100m race.
Top : Seb Hillard and below – me, finishing our 100m races
Seb and Niamh Hillard taking on some well earned calories
End of Season T&F Open Competition.

The Pingles Stadium – 4th October.
Report – David Jones.

11 club members, 9 juniors and 2 masters, took part in what was billed as an End of Season T&F competition at The Pingles Stadium last Sunday, in pretty wet conditions.

In the 100 metres, Seb Hillard ran a time of 14.26 seconds, Seb also jumped 4.53 metres in the long jump just a few centimetres shy of his PB. Simon Curran ran 13.89 and I ran a club record and PB time of 17.18 in my first 100m race for over 6 years. This ranks me 5th in my age group in this year’s UK rankings but as there are only 5 athletes listed, another way of putting it is that I’m in last place !

There were some wonderful results for our junior members in the 800m, with the highlights being the performances of Caleb and Maisie Joy Spriggs, both of who ran PBs.

Caleb’s time of 2:04.97 was almost a 2 second improvement on his previous best time. He has knocked 12 seconds off where he was this time last year. Maisie-Joy’s 2:34.71 improved her PB time by some 4 seconds. She also competed in the 200 metres, knocking a second off her previous best time by running 29.74.

Niamh Hillard was just a quarter of a second off her PB time in the 800m, finishing in 2:37.31.

Yellow and black vests dominated the start line in heat 3, with 3 of us lined up.

U13s Josh Harrison and Annie Silvers were competing in only their 2nd official 800m races and I was competing in my umpteenth.

Josh ran a good race in the wet conditions, recording a time of 2:54.08 and Annie was just 0.65 of a second off her PB in running a superb race to record a time of 2:47.15. I ran 2:51.54 – memo to self – maybe it’s not such a good idea to run an 800m an hour after a 100m race.

In the 600 metres races the much improved Sam Plumb recorded a time of 1:58.78 and Marijke Tear-Verweij ran 2:09.41.

In the 1500m races our sole representative was Alex Adams, the countries 10th ranked 1500m runner this year in his age group. He ran a magnificent time of 4:15.65. This was a little over 2 seconds off his PB but in his defence he has raced a lot of late.
September’s Magic Mile.

With so much else going on just 15 members competed in September’s Magic Mile, the highlight being arguably, 10 year old Sam Plumb’s 3rd place finish with a sub 6 minute time of 5:59.

Very well done Sam.

For the full results please follow this link.