Rain, train, compete, repeat.

Nikki Wodzisz, very happy after her PB in the javelin.
He flies through the air with the greatest of ease.
Seb Hillard on his way to a PB in the long jump.
Oh dear. Rain, rain and more rain. However, the terrible weather conditions certainly haven’t put a dampener on the performance of so many of our members on the track or in various throwing and jumping events this week.

Many members took part in another hugely successful T&F competition at the weekend, this time in Northampton. There were lots more PBs and I am indebted to Paul Bearman for his detailed report.

Three of our young ladies competed at events in Yeovil and Birmingham with great success.

There’s a fabulous article from Hannah Osbourne that ties in her son and club member Toby’s 10th birthday with the Shakespeare Marathon of 10 years ago, the day he was born. A few familiar names and current members were taking part, recording considerably quicker times than it took Toby to finally arrive.

Finally there’s a photo from Thursday night’s track session, held in the most appalling of weather conditions but this didn’t prevent something like 100 of our younger members taking part.

It takes more than a spot of rain ( deluge ) to dampen their enthusiasm.

Next Wednesday we have a real live Shakespeare Race to look forward to. Yippee.

Take care.

Best Wishes

David Jones
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Alex Wood who recorded PBs in both the 100 and 200m.
Annie Silvers who ran PBs in both the 200 and 800m.
Alex Adams continued his scintillating early season form with a time of 16:22.1 in his inaugural official 5000m race


Report – Paul Bearman.

It’s fair to say that Track and Field athletes prefer warm, dry conditions to compete in but under thick grey skies, incessant rain, high winds and temperatures more reminiscent of the cross country season, the John Love Memorial competition staged by our close partners Rugby & Northampton AC, held in Northampton didn’t prove to be a barrier for some impressive performances of an intrepid band of young Stratford AC athletes and one not so young.

The weather wasn’t exactly conducive for high quality throwing but some of Sandy Green’s Javelin squad showed that, even though for some moving up an age group and using a heavier javelin, their limited early season training has been paying dividends with personal and season’s bests coming thick and fast throughout the competition.

Nikola Wodzisz and Alex McMillan have moved up to the under 15s and their respective throws of 26.17m and 25.29m gave them new PBs. They were followed by under 20 Acelin Smith (47.97m) and first year u17 Josh Roberts (45.57m) who had every reason to be pleased with their opening competition of the year.

Holly and Issy Newton are showing what promising throwers they are as a sisterly double act, throwing seasons bests of 30.42m and 20.85m respectively.

This was U13 Ruben Fernandez competition debut and although he struggled with his run up he persisted and eventually threw 11.77m. Undeterred he was practising the following day in his back garden with mum and U13 coach Katja ,determined to be ready for his next competition. He also ran a season’s best of 35.8s in the 200m and jumped a PB of 3.31m in the Long Jump.

After a long layoff from throwing evergreen veteran athlete Peter Coote returned to the runway with a best throw of 24.00m.

Afterwards a soaked Sandy, who had travelled to Northampton to officiate, declared himself “very happy with way all of the throwers performed especially in the appalling conditions”.

Several of the junior endurance runners had already competed and even through Paul Hawkins was laid up in hospital he got a running commentary how they were performing.

Amongst some excellent running perhaps the pick of the performances came from U17 Alex Adams, who was the youngest in the 5000m race, running against mainly senior men. Alex tracked the leader for several laps before surging past him in the home straight with an impressive turn of speed in a PB time of 16:22.1. There was no existing club record for his age group in this distance but his time was over a minute quicker than the club’s U20 record. It is also a time that places him 20th in the current UK rankings for an U20, despite him being only 15. Alex must feel that the overall club record of 15.59, set 25 years ago is something he can aspire to in the future.

Being buffeted by the high winds at different times of the races takes its toll but the 800m runners showed their grit and were rewarded with good performances.

U13s Aran Cooper 2:47.9 and Sam Plumb 2:40.6 were just a smidgens outside their PBs but conversely Annie Silvers time of 2:40.0 was just inside her PB as was her 200m time of 30.2s.

The u15 girls Niamh Hillard (2:29.0) Abbi Cooper (2:47.6) both ran big PBs and Caitlin Boyle (2:41.2) ran a seasons best, again just outside her PB. Caitlin also jumped 1.30m in the high jump.

Things didn’t go to plan for U17 Poppy Fox-Rowe in the 800m (2:34.0) and in the 300m (46.2) and she was disappointed with her runs but with her talent she will bounce back.

Debutant U13 Josh Harrison ran 6:02.9 for PB in the 1500m and u17 Olivia Robinson, is returning from injury and her time of 5.12.0 showed she’s on her way back to full competitive fitness.

After just a month of training some sprinters took to the track and disappointingly the times for the 100 and 200m races were all declared as “windy” but nevertheless there were encouraging signs that the compressed training programmes since the return from lockdown were going in the right direction.

U13 Alex Wood had a really good day with new PBs in both the 100m (14.00s) and the 200m (29.3s).

Multi eventer Seb Hillard has just moved up to the u15s and his time of 13.4 in the 100m and his long jump (4.69m) were both PBs. When U17 Charlie Whorrod isn’t throwing a rugby ball around he shows his all-round ability in T&F and his time of 11.8s in the 100m was good indicator that there is more to come.

New to the u20s are Catherine Reynolds and Harry Gravelsons and their 200m times of 26.3s and 24.1s respectively may have been adjudged as being windy abut they are both good benchmarks to start the season. Catherine’s 42.8s in the 300m equalled her PB.

U11 Benji Fernandez was busy boy and finished the day with 3 PBs of 11.7s in the 75m, 2:07.7 in the 600m and 3.51m in the Long Jump.

Toby Spriggs joins the Thursday evening endurance group with a smile on his face.
Proud to wear the yellow and black!

10 years ago on this day

Report – Hannah Osborne

Let’s start with 2 years ago….9th May 2019, Toby Spriggs was finally able to take part in his 1st session with the Stratford Athletics Club Thursday evening endurance group.. He was on countdown from when he was 5: ”when can I run on the track?” “I’d be fast like them”

Starting on the 9th May he was the newest/youngest member of the club, aged 8 years and 1 day. He had been a regular on the sidelines at the track and many SAC events as supporter of his brother, sister and mum and now he could finally use the time to get involved rather than watch!

Forward on 2 years to this past weekend and Toby turned 10. Toby was born on 8th May 2011, the same day as the Stratford upon Avon Half & Full Marathon.

Maybe Toby saw his future in the club and held out for this day. Being 2 weeks “overdue” and taking 34 hours to arrive… it was a marathon to start with, including blue flashing lights to the finish.

He was called our Marathon Baby from the start and the keepsake that we kept about the day was from the local papers, with reports of the marathon.

Not being a club member at the time or knowing anyone in the club, finding and re-reading the paper this weekend brought lots of smiles.

In it we have Emily Adams, a club staple, completing her 1st ever marathon in 4:25, she then went on from Stratford to complete her Marathon Majors and a total of 13 marathons over the past 10 years. We also have Allan Coldicott running the marathon in the same SAC vest which he wore for his 1st ever marathon in 1983 (the year I was born, eek).

Consistent club and marathon runner Wayne Vickers completed this marathon in an impressive 3:06. Tim Owrid just failed to break the 4 hour barrier with a time of 4:00.53 and Chris Seeney just failed to break the 5 hour barrier with a time of 5:00.03

Not forgetting club chairman Paul Hawkins, who was still a very competitive runner and ran the full marathon in 3:40.47 having run the London Marathon just 3 weeks earlier. Showing remarkable consistency he ran that in 3:40.36. Paul now admits that he hadn’t fully recovered from this effort. Unbeknown to many members but before his knee pain and subsequent operations, Paul had run many marathons with a PB of 2:53 – a hugely impressive time and one that shows the quality of athlete and experience the club has in its chairman.

Since knee issues and operations, Paul has switched to race walking and he continues to race and compete with the focus and determination he showed in his ‘running’ career.

A great day for Toby to be born, maybe one day he’ll even run the Stratford Marathon in a SAC vest himself!

Three of our talented young female athletes have been out and about these past few days, doing themselves proud on the track.
From top to bottom. At the weekend Caddie Hibberd was competing in the Yeovil distance, steeplechase and jumps Open where she ran a 3 second PB in the 3000m, recording a time of 11:16.9 to finish 3rd in her heat.

On Wednesday in the latest of the University of Birmingham T&F Series, Imy Sheppard ran a season’s best time of 58.00 in the 400m, while Georgie Campbell ran 4:45.59 in the 1500m to get her T&F season off to a promising start
100 Club


1st prize of £100 Carolyne Johnston
2nd prize of £50 Kath Lowe
3rd prize of £25 Hazel Farrow

Please remember to let me know of any changes, for example to your email address, so that I can contact you. You may miss out on your on your winnings !
You can join the 100 club at any time just email me on jo100club@gmail.com for more details.

Continue to stay safe and enjoy being able to get out and about more as lockdown eases
Take care

Jo Hutchinson
And Finally

It should come as no surprise that our T&F athletes have got off to such a flying start this season when you consider both their commitment and hard work.

This was perfectly illustrated on Thursday evening at the track. There must have been close to 100 youngsters ( and a fair few coaches! ) who turned up in the most atrocious weather conditions to take part in the various sessions on offer.

No pain, no gain!