Rising to the Challenges.

Millie Leighton doing her drills after her morning run and before schooling – dedication or what ? I’m sure that puts lots of us to shame.
It’s a glorious sunny day as I put the finishing touches to this week’s newsletter, my wife has just taken the scissors to my hair and there does seem as though there is some light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel and maybe, just maybe we’ll be enjoying each others company again before too long.

This week there’s a bit of a mixed bag with an article by Dave Battersby on the Juniors’ Half Term Challenge, there’s also an interesting article on hurdling from Paul Bearman.

We have a smashing report on The Pridham’s/Osborne/Spriggs Magic Mile and finally a short piece on Andrew Pozzi’s participation in the 60m hurdles final in Madrid earlier in the week, a race that saw Colin Jackson’s 27 year old world record broken.

Try and enjoy the sunshine.

Take care.

David Jones.
Alex McMillan and Charlotte Gravelsons – two of our juniors who took part in the Half Term Challenge.
Half Term Challenge

Report – Dave Battersby.

Given the recent stay at home half term, the coaching team decided to set a half term challenge for junior members.

This was focussed on trying to set some achievable yet mixed goals for the week and we asked the athletes to do at least 5 miles of training in 5 different sessions.

This was to include an event that was not running, a session of speed training and a longer run of at least 2 miles.

This also gave the athletes the opportunity to try entering their sessions on Strava, which I am not sure is entirely a good thing given
the addictive hold the app has over some of our senior members!

Athletes to complete the challenge were:

– Ruby Edwards – with lots of hill walking and some Strong Yoga (Which sound like something we should all do more of)

– Alex Mcmillan – covering 54 km on his bike.

– Joshua Roberts – who threw some rowing in as his alternative to running.

– Sam Plumb – mixing in a couple of virtual cycling sessions on Peleton into the mix with lots of cross country running and hills with
puppy Maisie too.

– Charlotte Gravelsons – who threw in some Pylometrics – that should help with the hurdles later in the year.

– Oliver Battersby – who mixed up his athletics and his scouts by recording a local “virtual” treasure hunt as one of his activities.

– Micha Hall – with a good 5 k run.

Please do get back to me on dave_stratfordac53@yahoo.com if I have
missed anybody off the list, there was some slight confusion with respect to e-mails.

All the athletes also recorded some great faster sessions including hill reps and sprints, it should put them in good stead moving

Well done to all who got involved, there were some impressive performances and some interesting alternative activities too, and
thank you to the parents for supporting,
Ruby Edwards, ably supported by her younger sister Martha
Seb Hillard


Report – Paul Bearman

Hurdling is primarily a speed and very technical event that needs to combine more attributes than any other event i.e. speed, flexibility, suppleness, speed endurance, technique, coordination, rhythm, strength, concentration and bravery.

The sprint distances relate to specific ages and gender and go up to 300m (female) and 400m (male).

Developing good Hurdling technique comes from a solid base of combining excellent sprinting/running, strength and conditioning.

Without this base, trying to develop a good skilled hurdler can result in disappointment and with not fulfilling an athlete’s potential.

The stresses and strains that hurdling can put on a young body can also result in causing injury and can sometimes put a “young athlete off” which is why we take things steadily and cautiously.

There are in the main 4 parts to a hurdles race :

1. The start and approach to the first hurdle

2. Going over the hurdles

3. Running between the hurdles

4. Sprinting off the last hurdle to the finish.

A part of the Hurdlers training includes “Walkover” drills, which are basic hurdling drills with the specific aim:

  • to improve an athletes mobility, particularly through the hip area
  • to develop and improve co-ordination
  • to break down some of the specific movements involved in hurdling.

The drills are used for conditioning sprinters and are taught from the outset of learning how to hurdle, to help condition a young athlete, before taking on the tricky technical parts of hurdling.

Many years ago I was introduced to “Walkovers” when I/we started taking hurdling more seriously and they have formed a fundamental part of my training programmes for sprinters and jumpers alike.

The success of our hurdlers over the last few years have benefitted from “Walkovers”.

Andrew Pozzi was one of the first to benefit and as can be seen from the picture below, taken last week in Italy, he’s still using them.

Recently, with the knowledge that at some time this year there was a good chance of some competition it was important that, on top of all the other home training programmes that I sent out, the hurdlers started to get some technical training in if possible.

After I spoke to the High School, Sandy Green managed to get some hurdles and other equipment out of the lock ups at the track and some of the hurdlers got in touch with Sandy and he dropped some of the equipment, including hurdles, off to some very grateful athletes.

Finding a safe and suitable location isn’t that easy but by being innovative and creative with equipment, to create defined spacing and obstacles e.g. hurdles, clothing, towels, toys, flower pots etc. it can be done.

In the pictures, Seb Hillard and Ruby Edwards….always supported by younger sister Martha…are seen replicating Andrew’s training outside their houses, watched over by their Mum’s.

I’ve been impressed and encouraged that so many have been continuing a training regime which means that if we do get any meaningful competition this summer, their basic conditioning will be ready for a relatively short burst of specific technical training to be able to compete competently but also very importantly safely.

Andrew Pozzi was one of the first to benefit from Walkovers and, as can be seen from the picture below, taken last week in Italy, he’s still using them.
Georgia and Kate Pridham, Toby, Hannah, Caleb and Maisie-Joy and Becks Pridham aka The Magnificent Seven.
The Magnificent Seven

Report – Becks Pridham.

Lockdown has been tough for children and Hannah and I have five of them between us.

Getting them away from their screens and getting exercise can be a tough call sometimes.

Fortunately, we are in a bubble and at weekends we combine forces to extricate the children from their beds and screens to get out and get some fresh air.

The Magic Mile has been an ideal excuse to encourage some running from our young athletes.

Georgia is predominantly a swimmer but has enjoyed some cycling during Lockdown 3. Kate and Maisie-Joy, both Tuesday and endurance regulars, encourage each other along by chatting non-stop during their runs. They genuinely do not seem to stop talking.

Then there’s Caleb, a fast runner (and a fast talker!) and Toby, who has been doing a daily mile.

Hannah and I encourage each other to get out and get the children out.

We decided to tackle the Magic Mile as a group, on a stretch of road just north of Pebworth (which is local to us).

Given that it was ‘just a mile’ we wanted all of us to attempt the run, in whatever time, whatever effort and we would stagger the starts to give everyone some competition and encouragement.

After a pre-race briefing given by me on the dangers of cars coming out of junctions, Georgia set off first (given her minimal recent running), followed shortly by Toby and then Kate.

A longer gap then I set off with Hannah giving me about 30 seconds head start.

Caleb gave MJ a brief gap before starting his effort too.

The route was running east to west along the road (not our initial plan, but the wind changed our minds!).

From my midway starting point, I could see Toby trying to track Georgia down and Kate steadily making her way along the road.

As with every mile you run, the run seems to be further than you think, with the ‘beep’ from the watch seemingly never coming!

Toby did a magnificent run, being the first to reach the sign post marking the end point. He was awesome, completing his run in 7.50.

Georgia, who keeps her steady running power seemingly a secret, churned out a cracking time of 08:40 (which given that she hasn’t run in ages, was simply fabulous!).

Kate, who prefers a longer plod (which she proceeded to do the next day with MJ!), drew a very respectable ‘line in the sand’ of 9:11. The time is now on her whiteboard in her room so she can try and improve on it in later weeks.

MJ practically collapsed on the grass verge after a sprint finish battle with Caleb, scoring an incredible 5:53. Even Caleb was momentarily speechless after his awesome time of 5.07.

Hannah was delighted to knock off over 30 seconds from her previous Magic Mile, powering out a superb 6:52 and even I managed to push my legs to achieve a mile PB of 7:32.

The cool down afterwards saw Georgia and Caleb chatting about Minecraft, Toby and MJ going to say hello to the alpacas (at the half way point) and Hannah, me and Kate taking it easy.

All of us ran, some for a PB, some for fresh air and all of us for fun.

Bring on next month’s effort!
The result of the 60m hurdles final in Madrid on Wednesday. A race that saw Colin Jackson’s 27 year old World record broken by the American Grant Holloway, with our very own Andrew Pozzi finishing in 2nd place
Andrew Pozzi
Report – Paul Bearman

At the outset of the year Andrew Pozzi’s initial intention was to build steadily towards the Olympics in Tokyo but also with an eye on potentially competing in the European Championships in March.

With training going well and after an encouraging winning run in Luxembourg, Andrew was duly selected to compete for GB at the championships and so he headed off to Madrid to pit himself against world leader Grant Holloway, as a part of his build up to the championships.

A good run in the heat saw Andrew safely through to the final but ominously, in the other heat, Holloway’s time of 7.32 equalled his PB and was just outside the world record.

The final was an incredible race with Holloway was first out of the blocks and he fulfilled all the pre-meeting predictions that the world record was on the cards and he duly consigned Colin Jackson’s long-standing 60m hurdles record to history with a run of 7.29s. Jackson’s record had stood for 27 years, having been set in March 1994

The 23-year-old world champion had also recorded the second-fastest time in history in Lievin on 9 February.

He won the race by 0.22s with our very own world indoor champion Andrew finishing second in 7.51s, a seasons best and an excellent time that moved him to equal third on the 2021 world rankings.

Andrew can now go back to training in Italy knowing that he is in good shape for the European champs in Poland.