13 Golds, 6 Silver, 5 Bronze medals. Wow!

Josh Harrison and Theo Skirvin.
Young triathletes Theo Skirvin and Josh Harrison, who were both competing in Leeds at the weekend, see reports below.
Someone commented last week that triathlon articles very rarely feature in the newsletter. There’s a very good reason for this – articles are very rarely submitted and reporting about triathlon events is way above my pay grade.
It’s been another busy week and many thanks to those of you who have submitted items for inclusion in this newsletter.

It was a bumper weekend with The Hilly 100, Tysoe Windmill Run and the Midland Masters T&F championships.

We have a superb report on the Hilly 100 from Stuart George. Very many thanks Stuart.

In the Midland Masters Championship our 9 vets had a truly magical day, winning 24 medals in all, including 13 golds, 6 silvers and 5 bronze.

Also, we had Josh Harrison and Theo Skirvin, a couple of our super talented young triathletes competing in Leeds at the weekend.

I understand that Rachel Pearce qualified for the 2022 World Triathlon Championships in Montreal at the qualifying race at Eton Dorney. Well done Rachel.

There’s a smashing article on Miranda Maloney’s virtual Ultra at the weekend.

I’m personally looking forward to our very own Super 2 competition on Friday night at the track. I understand that there are 75 of our young athletes competing with some 40 people having volunteered to help out and officiate, thus enabling the competition to go ahead. Without such volunteers to support club events they just cannot happen.

I’m moving house on 22nd and not able to move in to our new property until 28th, so the next few weeks are going to be a trifle hectic and, as such, I am unlikely to do a newsletter for the next 2-3 weeks, or if i do, it will be very limited.

Oh well, I’m off to pack some boxes !

Take care.

Best Wishes

David Jones.
Paul Hawkins enjoying a break from hospital stays. Come back soon Paul, the vets T&F team needs you.
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Above and below, members of our sprint group at the Midland Masters T&F competition last weekend where they won 24 medals between them.
Elaine Ledden dips at the finishing line, with Christine Coote not far behind. I’m not sure if Christine is smiling or grimacing !
Midland Masters T&F Championships

The Pingles Stadium – Nuneaton

Full results are shown on the link below

With althetic life starting to return to something closer to normal, Stratford athletes celebrated with a medals blitz at the Midland Masters Championships last Sunday. The 9 athletes from the club picked up a scarcely believable 24 medals in total, including 13 golds, 6 silvers and 5 bronze.

After a difficult 18 months, the emphasis was on enjoying getting back into competition, while accepting that performance standards might have slipped a bit.

Christine and Peter Coote made a welcome return to the track, with Christine winning gold in her age group 100m in club record time. Peter won bronze medals in the 100 and 200m, both in club record times. Christine then went on to win three silver medals in the shot, long jump and javelin, all with club record distances.

Peter picked up three golds and a silver in the shot, hammer, discus, and javelin, giving him a clean sweep of the M65 club throws records.

For Paula Williams the morning started with 2 events at the same time: shot put and hurdles. She managed to get in two attempts at the shot, with a best throw of 11.39m before rushing across to hurdles for her race, recording a time of 12.99s.

It was then back to the shot, getting in one more throw but injuring her elbow. Paula commented that coaches are correct when they say “ the arms drive your legs” and she feels that a steady 100m at 13.75s was proof of that.

It was then the Javelin with a throw of 32.93m. finishing the day with a triple jump of 9.83m. 5 events for Paula and 5 golds. She was more than happy with that.

Phil Brennan found it quite an emotional day, as it was by far the biggest gathering he had attended for a long time and also because it was packed with good friends, most of whom he hadn’t seen for nearly two years.

Having done no speed training of any quality for months, he had no idea what to expect and it was a profound shock to the system having to try really, really hard again.

The outcome for the day was set in the 800m. His game plan for the day was “try and chase after the younger blokes”, and as a result he went through the first lap perilously close to PB, winning the gold medal in a time of 3:16.78

Ninety minutes later, he completed the 1500m in 6:35.68 to win yet another gold medal

All in all, he had a sense that he hadn’t deteriorated as much as Ihe thought he in the last year.

Not having competed since the Inter Area Competition in March 2020, Elaine Ledden was very nervous about these championships as she’d committed herself to a very busy day. However she quickly got back into the swing of things.

Her first event was shot where she felt she achieved a disappointing 5.82.

Elaine’s second event was 100m where she hadn’t expected to do very well but was really pleased, winning a silver medal with a time of 15.64.

It was then the long jump where she won another silver medal. She was a little disappointed with her jump of 3.13m feeling that this reflected lack of practice opportunities.

Lastly was the 400m, running a time of 77.01 and winning the gold medal.

Still recovering from injury, Mark Illingworth was unable to compete in the sprints. However he entered the shot, discus and won gold in the javelin in his age group.

Dave Wilson ran the 100m in a season’s best time of 13.14, winning a bronze medal bronze and in the 200m his time of 27.18 won him another bronze medal.

Dave Battersby ran times of 26.85 in the 200m and 58.4 in the 400m to rank him 21st and 17th respectively in the current UK rankings for his age. Simon Curran ran a PB of 28.42 in the 200m.

It was certainly a very good day at the office for the club’s vets.

Some of the members of our Hilly 100 team last weekend
Report author Stuart George.
Hilly 100
Report – Stuart George

I can honestly say that Sunday was the first day where I didn’t think about the pandemic once and that was down to the Cotswald Hilly 100.

The pre race hype from the few members of the club I had met since joining , due to lockdown not a lack of friendliness , was absolutely justified.

I was ascribed leg 4 for the mixed team and due to Sarah’s inspired use of the WhatsApp group it was clear; from the messages of the more experienced club members that I needed to recce the route prior to the day.

So on Saturday afternoon, nothing like last minute eh, I drove down to the start and followed the 10 mile route. Thankfully it was quite well signposted , however there was definitely a couple of turns I would have been likely to have missed, even with the wonders of modern technology providing me the ability to get the course on my watch.

Driving the course was undoubtedly a great idea; however, it was also the worst race prep I had ever experienced as even by car ten miles is such a long way!! You think how can anyone ever actually run that far?

Considering my weekend slow runs regularly hit a half marathon length, to actually see the distance before you run it was a psychological torture trick, in particular the 15th kilometre which had a climb of 85M. The Hilly 100 was not misnamed.

The day itself was just everything club running should be. Exciting, nervous and a healthy dose of incredulity at how wonderful the support you get can be. We have all heard about Emily’s leg 10 dash; but the energy her, Tim and Sue showed will stay with me forever. I am always a nervous wreck before any race but after 3 steps the nerves disappear; but the pride these three made me feel in taking part cannot be underestimated.

The leg itself went as well as it could, I came in at 73 minutes which was the slower end of my window but with me going back to work in hospitality a few weeks ago, It surpassed what I felt I would have achieve on the lead up to race day.

I was lucky the weather was cool and the water was flowing, I really felt for the later legs who got some silly temperatures but to a person, the team worked incredibly hard and all finished in times to be proud of.

David Jones said to me , when I was complaining about work, “Unfortunately life sometimes get in the way of athletics” the beauty of Sunday was for the entire day nothing could get in the way of the Hilly 100 and Stratford AC’s incredible team.

Ryan Bakewell’s Reflections
Super enjoyable day at the 2021 Hilly 100.

I was back at leg 5 for the second time in my SAC vest. Starting near Chedworth and ending just outside Northleach, it starts with a long downhill section which naturally I attacked way too hard, then spent rest of the run suffering.

The sun was out and it was humid – I felt very hot at 6miles and needed to WhatsApp my support crew for some water.

After the last climb out of Northleach I was very happy to see Seth on the horizon ready to take the batton. I’d parked my car in Chedworth so I found a nice hilly 6.5mi trail route back to the car to cool down (!).

Really pleased to take part and super proud of Lara for getting stuck in and finishing leg 10 for the Mixed team despite lots of self doubt.

Roll on next year where I hope we can get many more people involved in this unique event.

Sophie Dobedoe’s Report
What an amazingly positive day for the club. We are so lucky to be able to run through such beautiful scenery and to not get lost thanks to the absolutely amazing support crew!

I’ve wanted to do this for such a long time and I’m so glad I’ve finally had the chance to. It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done. 1/10 legs done… 9 legs to go!
Tim Hutchinson

It is always good to start leg 1 with the anticipation of great day of racing ahead. With a 7 o’clock start it was still cool providing good running conditions. With leg 1 being relatively flat, it was welcomed after a week with hilly terrain in South Devon.

I was happy being faster than my predicted time, setting a positive start for the legs ahead. It was good to hand over to Matt in the rain, followed by my 8 mile cool down back home.

Another group shot, this time club members who competed in the Tysoe Windmill Race last weekend.
Tysoe Windmill Run
Report – Dave Parkin

For those of you don’t know the Windmill race, it is a community run event in the beautiful village of Tysoe and pretty much does what it says on the tin – out from the village sports fields, offroad up a big hill to the windmill, and, if you’re doing the 5km, straight back down again. For those choosing the 10km, there is a extension out through the Compton Wynates estate – stunning views after you’ve climbed another big hill!

There was a big turnout for Stratford AC and some excellent performances, with Kate Wright winning the women’s 10km in 46:12 and junior Maisie-Joy Spriggs winning the 5km in 21:01.

The Parkin family was out in force, with all four participating (although only three of us are club members and have the yellow vest). First home for Team Parkin was Tessa, winning the U14 5km race in 23:35 – great to have her back racing again after a long lay-off with injury issues. Dave came home 7th in the 10km with a good run in 45:36. It was a tougher day for Emma who found the heat quite a challenge (and missed the final turning in the village, so did an extra 0.5km just for the fun of it…) and finished in 1:01:57.

For full results please follow the link below:

Amy Rowe’s Race Report

Why Tysoe Hard?

When I joined SAC back in 2019, I had only ever taken part in road races, usually sponsored by Nike with DJ MegaM1x in the background. I was invited to a trail run one rainy Saturday morning led by fellow club members – and t’was there that my love for running off road began.

One pandemic, a gruelling course of IVF and one very bonny baby later, I’m back running again and I signed up for my first ever trail race.

The Tysoe Windmill 10K, held Saturday 5th June, saw around 140 runners gather at the Tysoe sports field – with a good bunch of us from Stratford AC.

At 10am the heat was already making me uneasy – I much prefer running in the cold. Then there was the hill. “Yes, there is a bit of a hill,” Suzie confirmed. I was glad of the warning as we set off, making sure I didn’t go at my normal 10K race pace and failing abysmally.

When we started to climb to the windmill – an incline of at least 45 degrees – I regretted everything very keenly. When I finally got to the windmill I noted with some dismay the people who were merrily turning back and down the hill again – these were those sensible runners who signed up for the 5K.

The rest of us pressed on and after that things got hazy. I remember some steps that were difficult to traverse but gave me a much-needed breather. Then legging it across a field with coarse thick grass and deep crusty pits – thankfully no twisting of the ankles here but it was close. Then there was the godless undulating road which leads from Compton Wynyates up to Birch Wood.

As each incline looked to be levelling out, the road curved up again and the sun beat down on my rapidly reddening, sweaty brow.

Lots of bleak thoughts went through my head at this stage: “Why am I wearing such heavy stupid trainers?” “I think I am going to wet myself” and “when is this going to end”.

Happily around 5K, the race turned. I told myself that, just like Daniel Bedingfield, “I gotta get thru dis” and stopped thinking about my pace and started to enjoy the scenery (which, as promised, is incredible).

By this time I saw Suzie and, wanting to show a fellow runner lots of positivity, I said: “This is ******* brutal.”

We dove left and staggered up fields and then through what might have been an orchard. Then, appearing like an oasis in the desert, the windmill was back.

A kind lady lobbed a bottle of water in my direction and I ran back down and into Tysoe village. I made it over the finishing line in 1 hour and 3 minutes. I celebrated with a banana and basked in that lovely after race glow that immediately erases the memory of the sticky bits and makes you want to sign up for another.

What’s next?

Leeds Triathlon

Roundhay Park

Report on Josh Harrison

Last weekend saw the World Triathlon Championship Series land in Leeds for a two-day festival of Triathlon, culminating in Elite Olympic distance races on Sunday afternoon.

On the Saturday several age group races took place utilizing the routes to be used by the elite athletes the next day.

Stratford Upon Avon Triathlon and Athletics Club athlete Josh Harrison joined others from across the UK to compete in the Tri-Star 2 (under13) age group race.

The race began with a 200m open water swim in Waterloo Lake in Roundhay Park before transition into a 5k and quite technical bike leg around the local roads. The race finished with a 1700 m run with some good hilly sections before finishing up a brutal hill 30m before the finish line used by the Elite Athletes the following day.

Josh had a strong race and was placed well out of the swim and after a steady bike leg he finished with a strong run, attacking the final hill to cross the line in 40th place in a time of 35.09.


Theo Skirvin’s Report

Last weekend, I competed in the Leeds Triathlon at Roundhay Park in the youth category (15-16yrs).

Early on Saturday morning, with the sun reflecting off the water, I stood near Waterloo Lake, ready for my first triathlon for nearly two years.

After the virtual duathlon that replaced last year’s event, it felt amazing to be able to finally compete in a real live race.

There were no dives from the pontoon this year. Instead, the race started with a short run down the ramp into Waterloo Lake for the 200m swim. The water was not as cold as I was expecting and I felt strong during my swim.

After exiting the water, there was an uphill run to the transition area. As this was my first ever race using cleats, I was happy to get my cleats on quickly after the bike mount line, ready for the short, steep climb at the start of the 9.5km bike section. The main bike course involved 2 laps with several 180∞ turns.

Then, it was back down to transition to start my favourite discipline, the run. I set off at a good pace and was pleased to pass several competitors who had overtaken me earlier during the bike section. Finally, there was a 270 degree bend onto the steep uphill ramp to the finish line, with a run time of 9:32. I was pleased with my result, finishing in 35th place and am now looking forward to two more triathlon races in June.

Miranda, left, with Jan Turner and Sandie Owens

Miranda’s Virtual Ultra

Miranda Maloney

I decided last year that I wanted to complete an Ultra marathon before I turned 50.

Race to the Tower seemed the ideal one as it finished not far from my home and it meant friends and family could come and support.

Although 54.2 miles seemed a tad daunting and to make sure I didn’t bail, I chose a local charity to raise money for. Cyclists Fighting Cancer.

Obviously COVID had other plans and RTTT has been postponed until next year. However, as I’d raised a fair amount of money by this point, I felt I needed to complete the distance anyway.

So on Friday 4th June, I got up early and ran 3miles by myself until my friend was able to join me for the next 5. She peeled off and I finished 13.1 miles by 9.30am.

Saturday was another early start and 5.2 miles was done by 8am.

I threw changes of clothes, socks, trainers and lots of food and water into the car and drove down to the club car park.

Amazing club runners, Louise, Becks, Sandie and Jan all joined me at 9am along with some other running friends and we did a steady 5 miles. Laps of the rec are very boring!

At 12pm, another Club runner, Lisa met me and we did a few more laps to complete 4miles. I had trotted 2 miles in between time.

3pm was tough as I had no one to run with and I was feeling hungry but sick, tired and a bit emotional. But 6 miles was churned out.

Which meant by the time Jan, Sandie and lovely Kate came at 6pm, we only had 4 miles to do to reach 26.2! I was so grateful to them coming to finish the day with me.

I swiftly put my swim togs on and had a dip in the river. It was bliss!

Sunday, Sandie and I set off to do the last 13.1 miles. It was very slow as my legs were aching. Then the rain came. We met another friend and we even managed to throw in Trinity Mead hill, just for fun!

Anyway. By midday, I had completed 54.2 miles over 3 days rather than the 18-20hrs I had planned. I’ll save that for next year.

Huge thank you to everyone who came to run with me. With more training and definitely learning how to eat whilst running, I’ll be all set for RTTT 2022”

Josh and Ben Harrison
Josh and Ben’s Lands End to John O’Groats Challenge

Almost There!

Over the last few months we have been keeping you up to date with the Lands End to John O Groats challenge undertaken by two of our Junior athletes Josh and Ben Harrison.

They started the challenge on January 1st to run and cycle the driving distance between them in aid of the MS society.

Having now covered 850 of the 874miles and raised £1826 which is double their original target, the pair have just 24 miles left to cover this weekend.

They would like to say a huge thank you to all the club members that have supported and sponsored them.

More details about their challenge can be found at



31st July & 1st August 2021
Pingles Athletics Stadium, Avenue Road,
Nuneaton, CV11 4LX

The Entries Close 30th June 2021 @ 17:00
No late entries will be accepted.

Follow this link to enter.

The County Championships is the main event (apart from the club champs) where the entire club from under 11 upwards is encouraged to compete and support the club, plus it’s a great opportunity for all our athletes to enjoy a good competition as a Stratford team.

Pre 2020 (no championships), for the previous 3 years we have won the top scoring club trophy at the champs and it would be great to retain the trophy but we need as many of our athletes competing to give us a chance of that happening.

All of the information required to enter is below and entries are now open. Although the end of July may seem a long way off, the closing date is the end of June and so allow yourself even more extra time in case you have queries or problems that have to be resolved before the closing date.

Please don’t leave it until the last minute so I suggest enter ASAP so there is no disappointment for the athletes or the club because they won’t accept late entries under any circumstances.

If you have any queries e.g. “what events shall I” do please ask your respective Age Group Leader or coach and we look forward to seeing you at training and at the Championships.

Contacts :
Carolyne Johnston U11s : Paivi McMillan U13s : Mike Sheppard U15s : Paul Bearman U17+ : Paul Hawkins/Mike Sheppard Endurance

Paul Bearman
The Amy and Louise Initiative

A couple of weeks ago, Amy Rowe and Louise Stewart asked the question

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Or, more specifically, into your trainers or spikes ?

We have another reply this week, from Ian Greaves.

Keep them coming.

We want to hear more about what makes you get out there, rain or shine. Whether you’re completing a track session, practicing your jumps or throws, running 5K in 15 mins or just having a meander through the Warwickshire countryside – we’d love to hear about it!

Please spend 5 minutes answering the below questions and we’ll look to publish them in the newsletter.

We’d love it even more if you attached a pic of your efforts too (but not obligatory).

Just reply to this newsletter if you’d like to be included!

Many thanks.

Ian Greaves

Describe your running, sprinting, throwing or jumping style in three words

Not very pretty!

What was your most memorable race or event?

Completing my first marathon, London 2019, the atmosphere was amazing

What advice would you give to a new athlete or someone starting back after a hiatus?

Try to not to compare yourself to others, run to enjoy it and challenge yourself – and running with others really helps

What kit couldn’t you do without?

Aftershokz earphones – when running on my own, the tunes & audio books keep me going

Complete this sentence: I love athletics because…

Lacing up my trainers and just getting out for a run is one of my happy places!

And Finally

More photos of the week’s activities.
Tim Hutchinson in the Hilly 100.
Hannah Osborne and daughter Maisie-Joy at the Tysoe Windmill Run. 14 year old Maisie-Joy won the overall 5k race and Hannah was delighted to be back in the yellow and black vest and well pleased with her 55.32 time, as well she should be.
A few photos from last Sunday morning’s junior endurance group training session, in the rain, at the Welcombe Hills