Awards Special.

Josh and Ben Harrison
Apologies for the slight delay in sending this week’s newsletter out. It’s been a bit stressful putting it together.

We start with an inspiring and heartwarming story from junior members Josh and Ben Harrison.

There is a detailed report on the recent Senior Members Annual Awards. Many thanks to Sarah Bland for her help with this.

Finally there is yet another initiative from our volunteer Age Group Leaders in their efforts to inspire and put smiles on the faces out our U13’s.

Apologies if this newsletter a little difficult to read. If it is I am a loss to understand why. Technology is not my strong point.

Take care

Best Wishes

David Jones

Josh and Bens Lands End to John o’ Groats Challenge

Junior club members Josh and Ben Harrison are running and cycling the equivalent of from Lands End to John o’ Groats for Multiple Sclerosis Society because It’s a charity close to their families heart.

Josh and Ben’s Story.

During lockdown in January we were thinking about how we can raise money for charity at the same time as continuing our training.

We decided to run or cycle 874 miles, which is the distance to travel by car from Land’s End to John o’ Groats between us!

So far we have run/cycled a total distance of 138 miles. We are tracking our progress, running and cycling around where we live on Strava. We are challenging ourselves to complete the distance before the end of summer.

Thank you very much for supporting us.

Josh (11) and Ben (9) Harrison

Stratford AC Juniors

After the strangest of years in which we have all done things a bit differently, this year’s club awards night was no different.

Whilst some of the awards were not possible to present there has been, throughout the year, a huge number of us out running and cycling and the committee felt it would be absolutely right to recognise this.

So after due consideration we decided to do a zoom presentation for anyone and everyone to join in and in fact many did join in and I have had lots of positive feedback on the format perhaps because it was speedily over inside an hour!

The night was opened by Emily, who paid tribute to all of the members for pulling together and making a difficult year great, with juniors and seniors racing virtually against each other and in local virtual leagues.

Following on from Emily our revered Mayor and club secretary Tony Jackson presented the next two awards:

Chris Claxton Trophy

Cancellation of the Shakespeare Marathon meant we had to revise the criteria for awarding this trophy. Originally the intention was always to encourage greater female participation in the longer distance events.The Committee were therefore unanimous in awarding the trophy to Annie Threadgill for her first ever marathon, at the Isle of Wight Marathon in a time of 5hrs 34m

Female Athlete of the Year

Fern Hordern. Fern was 6th in her age group at the European Duathlon Championships back in the heady days before lockdown!

Daisy Musk – XC Runner of the Year

Vicky Sharpe – second in the Shakespeare League, winner of the most improved runner.

Kate Wright – winner of the Shakespeare League for the nth time, a truly outsnding runner, often beating people 30 years her junior and ranked age graded top in the country

This years winner is Paula Williams

You have already heard all about Paula. In addition to her athletic performance, Paula is a massive driving force for the T & F side of the club, she is always at the track every Monday (and other nights) often with someone under her wing. She always takes a busload of people to matches, she’s brilliant fun to be in a team with. Always the first to thank admin, coaches, officials and fellow team members, she is genuinely a fantastic role model.

And The Winner Is
Paula Williams


Male Athlete of the Year


Matt Burdus Cook – as you will have already heard Matt is the winner of the Shakespeare League, winner of the Tempo Winter Series, and ran very successfully in all the WRRL virtual races.

David Jones – Track & Field Athlete of the Year

Rich Shepherd – Cross Country Athlete of the Year

The 2020 Athlete of the Year goes to Ben Kruze

Ben is a relatively new member but has arrived in the club with a bang. Winning Not the Roman IX and Warwick Half marathon just before he became a member, he then took all the Shakespeare race wins in the races that he did and also in the WRRL virtual races.

Ben also took the Club 10k record to 32.07, one which has stood for a long time. He joined in with all the groups of 6 races when we were allowed such luxuries and ran on the track in the Club Championships, so is making as much of a presence as we can hope for, inspiring the rest of us.

And The Winner Is
Ben Kruze
Shakespeare Competition

Another hugely successful year of competition with virtual races proving very popular.

A record number of members took part with 157 overall and race 6 on its own attracting 122 runners.

In addition the wider range of distances including the Mayors Magic Mile opened up the competition to a broader cross section of runners from the whole club, which necessitated a new 13 – 19 age group.

The virtual races presented new challenges to collating and managing the results so special thanks to the team of Matt B-C,Sarah B, John R, David S and Ryan B for their efforts.

Shakespeare Competition

Overall Winners


3rd Emily Adams
2nd Vicky Sharpe

1st Kate Wright


3rd Ade Mason
2nd Richard Liggatt

1st Matt Burdus-Cook



in February HE BROKE the British indoor record WITH a 19.18m throw AND FINISHED THE SEASON with two British Under-20 records and a place amongst the world’s top junior athletes in the shot put.

HE BECAME the first British Under-20 in history to break the 20m mark with his record throw of 20.26m


  • 7.26 SHOT 3rd in world 2nd in Europe
  • 6kg SHOT 7th in world and 5th in Europe

Lewis’ performances have earned him a PLACE on the British Athletics Futures Academy Programme that ANDREW POZZI WAS A PART OF.

THE PROGRAMME supports athletes who have the potential to win medals at MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS AND ALTHOUGH THERE WERE NO international championship to focus on in 2020, HOPEFULLY, THE European Under-23 Championships in Bergen WILL STILL BE HELD IN THE SUMMER AND JUDGING BY HIS PERFORMANCES IN 2020 LEWIS IS A CONTENDER TO CHALLENGE FOR A medal in the championships.





Andrew is now based in Formia in Italy and coached by Santiago Antunez with what is proving to be a fabulous partnership…..despite a few language issues that Andrew has overcome by learning Italian and Spanish.

With the Olympics held back until hopefully later this year, like everyone, 2020 was a very disjointed and difficult year and the opportunity to race was severely curtailed.

Despite that, after an unbeaten indoor season, Andrew still managed to have 10 races across Europe including the Rome Diamond League and Andrew has described the season as “very productive and very consistent”.

In fact 2020 wasn’t just “very productive and very consistent” it turned out to be a very successful season with Andrew recording seven wins and two second place finishes.

Towards the end of the season Andrew’s times were peppering his personal best and he finished off running a PB equalling time of 13.14 seconds in Monaco which earned him a world ranking 2nd, just a tenth of a second behind Orlando Ortega.


2021 is looking exciting and as Andrew has recently changed his sponsor to PUMA with new go faster spikes he’s planning on at least replicating his 2020 form and so bring on the Olympics and hopefully Andrew will get amongst the medals.

Congratulations Andrew on a fantastic season.

All the nominees had a great season and it was a difficult decision, with all the athletes running different numbers of races. Sophie had a fantastic senior season and ran all the league races, plus the County and Midland champs. Cadie, away at University for most of the season she had two finishes inside the top 21. Emily Field did 2 Midland league races, was 3rd in the Gloucestershire Schools XC and won the junior women category in the Gloucester League.

The female winner for 2020 was Daisy Musk

Daisy ran three of the Midland League races, and then was selected to run for Warwickshire. In the Inter Counties she was 110th. She also came 4th in the County Schools Champs and so was selected for the Warwickshire Schools team in the English Schools where she came 233.

And The Winner Is
Daisy Musk

We had a huge number of men compete for the club in the 2019 – 2020 season, and our A team result was 8th overall, with the B team coming 4th to show the depth we have, with 6 to count in each team in each race. The 2020 winner was Rich Shephard, who had 3 top five finishes, and came an outstanding 4th overall in this incredibly competitive League


And The Winner Is
Rich Shepherd

Andy List presented the awards for Track & Field, the one discipline that managed to pull out some real racing.

The nominees for senior female track and field athlete of the year were: Georgie Campbell, Elaine Leddon and Paula Williams.

As well as taking part in the Club Championships where she was 6th in the open male & female 800m Georgie took part in the night of 1500’s and the Nuneaton open meeting.

Elaine picked up 3rd places in both the 400m and long jump at the England Masters national Inter-Area meeting at Lee valley.

However, Paula’s across the board outstanding performances in 60m, 100m, 60m hurdles, high jump, triple jump, high jump, shot putt and javelin, in which she has a UK number 1 age group ranking earned her the prize this year.

The male nominees were: Peter Coote, Mark Illingworth, David Wilson and David Jones.

Peter achieved great M60 Power of 10 age group rankings in shot putt (15th), discus (9th) and javelin (1st).

Mark recorded more M60 national rankings in 100m (9th), javelin (5th) and shot 23rd).

David Wilson put together a great collection of pb’s in 60m, 100m, 200m, 400m and triple jump.

The award went to David Jones with his outstanding performances both indoors and out, his collection of M70 national rankings were in 100m (5th), 200m (10th), 400m indoors (6th), 400m (7th), 800m indoors (1st), 800m (2nd), 1500m indoors (3rd), 1500m (2nd). He was also British 1500m champion in his age group.

And The Winners Are
Female – Paula Williams
Male – David Jones
Volunteers Mentioned In Despatches

Special mention was made of the following club members who have worked very had to keep the club motivated and inclusive in this very peculiar year.

For his fantastic newsletter

David Jones

Behind the Scenes with virtual races

Sarah Bland

Ryan Bakewell

John Raby

Matt Burdus-Cook

David Smyth

Keeping us stretched and muscled up

Rob Minton

Quizzed and entertained

Jon Mulkeen

The committee felt that there hadn’t been enough triathlon competitions to warrant it being fair to award the normal annual awards, but Rebecca Pridham made special mention of two club members, Simon Taylor & Joe Lee, who have kept us all in multisports.

Simon Taylor got swimming up and going in the short period of time that we were allowed to swim through the summer and drummed up lots of enthusiastic support – a much needed change of discipline.

Joe Lee re-introduced the Sunday bike ride, again when restrictions were lifted in the summer, giving much needed group social training, which proved very popular.

A closely fought battle that recognised the work that has gone on behind the scenes to keep members engaged in a difficult year. Short list was Matt B-C, Sarah B, David J and Jon Mulkeen with the winner being Matt Burdus-Cook.

Matt Burdus-Cook

Most Improved Athlete of the Year.

The Most Improved runner category has been a bit difficult to assess objectively, as we are normally blessed with lots of comparable data from various races and of course park runs.

However it is still one of the most important awards we make in the club and all of this year’s nominees have been inspiring across the board.

The Stratford AC men have truly come into their own this year and we are blessed with strength and depth such that we have never known, making the virtual races very exciting! There are some strong contenders for this award;

Adrian Mason took his previous half marathon pb from just under 90 minutes in 2019, to 83 minutes way back in the heady days of last March before succumbing to injury. Who knows what he might have done given more time but I am pleased to note that he is back on form again.

Adam Evans has had an incredible running journey since first arriving at the club and Rob and I have often marvelled at how someone can change so much. He brought with him a half marathon time of 1.55. Since then he has got faster and faster, gone further and further. Earlier on in the spring he ran a 20 mile race in under 2 hrs 14, which would have put him comfortably under the 3 hr barrier for a marathon. He also completed his first Ultra.

Andy Cox, already a strong runner has pulled himself into the top male runners in the club, from a 41 10k pb, he is now regularly posting 10k times getting closer and closer to 35 minutes, an 18 minute 5k and pulled out an impressive 9.62 miles in the track hour.

John Bettles has also put in a huge amount of hard training which has paid off, bringing his 10k time down by 3 minutes to 44, and bringing him up the order as each virtual race went by.

This years winner had a 2019 half marathon (his only recorded race on P of 10) of 1 hr 31. I know that’s fast to most people, but this year he has got stronger and faster and now boasts a 35 minute 10k, and his outstanding track hour of 9.96 miles would have given him a sub 1.20 half marathon.

The 2020 winner is Richard Liggatt

Jill Wilson gets her nomination for consistently getting out and going further, entertaining us and inspiring us by often being the first to post race results on facebook! She used to find 5k a long way, but this year has delivered in every race and in October ran 10 miles.

Annie Threadgill, in a similar way has been a constantly similing participant in every race she does. But this year, in the most difficult of all years to do it, took on a full marathon and did it! The difficulties with time and freedom and the doubt that the race would actually go ahead must have been very tough, but it happened and she is a deserving candidate.

This yea’rs very deserving ladies winner has taken her 10k race time from close to 50 minutes to an impressive 42 minutes and there is more to come. Her previous half marathon pb was 1 hr 55 minutes, and her October track hour would have translated to somewhere just over 1hr 30.

2020 Most Improved Lady is Vicky Sharpe

And The Winner Is
Vicky Sharpe
And The Winner Is
Richard Liggatt

Under 13 training

Paivi McMillan

During the 2020 and 2021 lock downs weekly or monthly training plans have been shared through WhatsApp and email with our U13s athletes. The aim has been to provide a road map or a framework to keep up with normal routines and staying active as much as possible.

The team factor, training together and socialising are key factors in what we do normally and it creates a buzz and charges the energy levels during normal time, but it’s obviously difficult to replicate that in lockdown. In these strange weeks and months it almost feels like being close to hibernating and preserving energy for life after lockdown.

So now in the middle of the third lockdown and one month in, we felt we could all use an energy booster and the obvious choice was to use the Zoom platform to try to see each other and create the team factor, training together and socialising.

Without too much thinking, the invite went out as we did not want to waste any more weeks and I had a chat with Lucy Edwards about the “what’s, how’s and why’s” to get things going. Skipping ropes seemed to be a great idea for warm ups, however, after some thinking we decided it was best and safer to use imaginary skipping without the ropes, leaving everybody’s plants, chandeliers’ and display cabinets safe in the living rooms.

The session comprised a series of exercises the athletes were familiar with and needed careful planning as the base Zoom provides 35’ish minutes to work with and the aim is to complete the session before Zoom closes the meeting. Important things like getting all the participants in from the waiting room, meet and greet (no hand sanitisers required!), a short look around to see who is joining in are important during first get together. However the coach was aware of the Zoom clock ticking and we needed to press on!

As it was the first time, there were a lot of things to take away from the session like better planning, delegating, demonstrating and communicating. It was a good baseline and start but most importantly it was fantastic to see each other. After the session, when my pulse was not racing anymore, it was clear we should have started this in April last year. However, better now than never. There was such a positive spirit; all the athletes were dedicated, busy doing everything and more weekly sessions are planned.

We had 19 athletes signing in on Tuesday and this is half of our U13s group. We see this as a success and shows the commitment to the club and what we do, especially as some of our athletes adjusted their time tables to get involved. To keep all the athletes and parents updated, the training plan will be shared amongst the team and so we’re hoping the other half of the group will get involved in the sessions in the next few weeks.

In short (and if you only read the two last lines) the pilot was successful and the U13s will do Zoom sessions every Tuesdays at 6pm until we get back to the track and we can get back to normal training together and socialising.


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Stratford upon Avon Athletic Club
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