Something For Everyone

Kimberley Lee.
I know, I know, I said there would probably be no newsletter again this week but with so much happening it would have only made my job harder next week. Also, it’s great to have had reports submitted to me, which makes my life so much easier.

For the second successive week there’s a wonderful Triathlon report from Simon Taylor and a Junior Tri report from Ali Skirvin.

Matt Burdus-Cook has come up trumps with his report on the Chase the Sun 5k and 10k races at Coventry. We have our very own Babes in the Woods, Kate Sergent and Becks Pridham running at Oversley Woods. There are photos from the England U20 & U23 Championships at Bedford last weekend.

The latest respondent to the Amy and Louise Initiative is Philippa Paddock and there’s a bit of a teaser on a couple of T&F fixtures that have happened during the past week, with full reports to follow.

Both of these fixtures proving once again what a wonderful and family friendly club we are. Everyone is welcome.

Nothing on the Warwickshire, Hereford & Worcestershire and Northampton Schools competition unfortunately but hey, you can’t have everything!

Best Wishes

Take care and stay safe. It hasn’t gone away.

David Jones
Joe Lee makes sure he looks good for the finish line camera.
Triathlon News
Report – Simon Taylor

The weekend saw some fabulous performances in the Outlaw 70.3 Triathlon that took place at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham.

A 70.3 triathlon consists of a 1900m swim, 56 mile bike and a half marathon to finish, acknowledged to be one of the best and most iconic in the British triathlon calendar.

Due to COVID requirements, the athletes had to deal with an unusual 1km long transition.

Four intrepid SAC triathletes took park and performed superbly.

They were led home by Joe Lee in 5.02.56, which included a simply stunning 1.33 half marathon. A time many runners would be proud of. Dave Hudspith was passed late on by Joe, completing the race in 5.04.04. Dave is an athlete of rare talent, who was carrying run Achilles and knee injuries into the race and having not run for nearly a month.

Next in came Carl James. Carl has his usual tremendous swim performance and backed that up with a strong bike ride. A dodgy back hampered his run, but still a great time of 5.34.18.

Fourth member of the group was Sam Wignell. Sam completed the course in 5.42.33, a personal best by over half an hour. Sam has made huge improvements in the last two years and is set to go faster in his next races.

All the athletes made the journey to Nottingham on Saturday as bike racking and transition set up were on the Saturday, with early starts on the Sunday morning.

Joe Lee left with his kids in his VW van on Saturday and only realised that he had left wife Kim at home when he arrived. Kim is so quiet and reserved that it was an easy mistake to make!

Not that little things like this put Kim off. Kim rode to Nottingham, her 4th 100 mile bike ride in 4 weeks (incredible reserves of stamina) and then looked after her and Joe’s children and Sam’s children while they raced. Sam and Joe received the medals, but Kim certainly deserves one too!

Kim then competed for the club’s Vets T&F team at Redditch on Wednesday, running the 3000m and, would you believe, a leg of the 4x400m relay. Is there no end to this lady’s talents ?

Neil Gardiner took part in the Lake 52 Midweek Triathlon at Cotswold Water Park. It was comfortably a personal worst triathlon for Neil. Neil’s swim started well but a puncture on the bike leg meant that he had to walk the final 4k to run transition. By the time Neil had completed the run, the organisers had packed up and gone home! Finishing in over 5 hours and in the dark, Neil consoled himself with steak, chips and a good bottle of red wine when he arrived home at 11pm!

The contrasting styles of Ollie Senior (left) gliding in seemingly effortless fashion to his Coventry Chase the Sun 10k race 5th place and Matt Burdus-Cook, gurning his way to 3rd place in the 5k variant of the event.
Needless to say these are Matt’s self deprecating comments, not the editors !

Chase the Sun Coventry 5k and 10k Race.

Report by Matt Burdus-Cook

The easing of COVID restrictions has seen the welcome return of midweek evening race fixtures, with many of us enjoying the return of face to face club races as well as a number of externally organised races recommencing.

One such event was the Chase the Sun Coventry 5k and 10k event held at Coventry Memorial Park on 16th June.

Two club members, Matt Burdus-Cook and Ollie Senior were each running one of the 2 separate distances on offer.

Matt Burdus-Cook opted for the 5k option as an early outing in his newly acquired MV45 age category in order to see if his maturing legs could cover the distance.

Ollie Senior was making a very welcome return to the club vest, using the 10k race as some speed training as part of his return to racing form from a hip injury.

The race was slightly chaotic logistically with the 5k racers starting in “fastest runner first” waves, but after a similarly structured start by the 10k race, all covering ~1.5 mile laps of the same course. As such there were a large number of convergences of racers running at different speeds.

This logistical oversight did have the upside of Matt and Ollie finding themselves unexpectedly running together for a brief period, taking the opportunity to breathlessly discuss the course profile and respective race tactics (which were to run fast and try and stay with the fast boys and girls!).

Both runners were pleased with their results given the unusually high evening heat and undulations of the course, with Ollie placing 5th in a very fast 37:01 for 10k … look out for an imminent return to club races from Ollie too.

There was some light controversy surrounding Matt’s result, with his initial placing of 2nd, being downgraded to 3rd , reviews of chip timing and photo evidence from the finish line led to several reversals and reinstatements of positions with Matt finally being confirmed as 3rd finisher with a time of 16:33, having learnt a valuable lesson in picking your battles and your race organisers.

The 10k Race was won by Luke Morgan of Kenilworth Runners in 34:17, and the 5k Race was won by Karl Welborn of Birmingham, Running, Athletics & Triathlon Club (BRAT) in 15:54.

Millie Preece, Charly Marshall and Theo Skirvin by the lake at Mallory Park

West Midlands Mini Junior Tri Series

Mallory Park – 19th June

Report – Ali Skirvin

On Saturday 19th June, several of Stratford’s junior triathletes travelled to Mallory Park for the first race in this year’s West Midlands Mini Junior Series. I

t was a warm, cloudy day, with the sun shining through at times and all of the triathletes were looking forwards to being able to compete again.

In the Youth age group (15 & 16 years), Stratford had three triathletes competing. The race started with a 400m swim in the lake and was followed by a 15km bike around the racing circuit and a 3.6km run.

Charly Marshall had an excellent race and was rewarded with a well-deserved 34s win in the superb time of 51:30. Charly was particularly pleased with the run leg of her race (15:40).

Also competing in the girls’ race was Millie Preece. Millie showed great determination during her race after being scratched by the buoy during the swim section and developing blisters on the run. Millie finished in 10th place in the great time of 58:51.

Theo Skirvin was competing in the male race. Theo found the cycle section quite tough but was pleased to finish his race well, with a run time of 14:46. Theo finished in 11th place in the time of 55:32.

Babes in the Woods
Becks Pridham and Kate Sergent.
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Alcester Trail 10k
Report – Becks Pridham.
One of the joys of living near Stratford is the multitude of little races, especially the low key ones.

Alcester Trail 10k (sister race to the Alcester (road) 10k) is an undulating mainly off-road race and very low budget!

No medals, no t-shirts, but a banana and a water bottle for your efforts, however, it is a such a local race, how could you refuse?

The race is run on fields, footpaths, bridleways, gravel trail and a bit of road as you head up from Oversley Green towards Exhall and loop round and back again.

Given that it has been a hectic month for races, with the Hilly 100, Offas, Windmill 10k to name but three, there was an elite showing from Stratford AC with the attendance of Kate Sergent and yours truly. Kate loves a trail run and I enjoyed the race (first run last August) last time and was keen to have another go.

You could say that the race was ‘poo’ but that would be unfair to the beauty of the route and only referred to the field in which we started!

I finished in 56:35 with a smile on my face, shortly followed by stuffing a banana in my mouth from my efforts. Kate came home in 63:28, also beaming with happiness and she declared it ‘a wonderful race, really beautiful, I loved it’.

Final Reminder


31st July & 1st August 2021

The entries on the Entry4 website for the Stratford athletes shows that we have 55 out of a possible 300 or so eligible athletes, which is a good start.

Let’s all get behind this and see if we can at least double the entries as we have had in the past few years

The closing date is next Wednesday 30the June

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.
See below how to enter.

The County Champs 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
England U20 & U23 Championshps.

Bedford – 19th & 20th June
Another week, another race for the indefatigable Imogen Sheppard. This is her competing at the England U20 & U23 Championships at Bedford last weekend, where she ran a time of 58.07 in the 400m. Imy is currently ranked 20th in her age group in this year’s UK rankings
Also competing at Bedford was Jack Sumners. Here he is on his way to 6.87m in the long jump. Jack is currently ranked 5th in the UK in his age group. He was also competing in the 110m hurdles, finishing in a time of 14.89. Jack is currently the 3rd ranked 110m hurdler in his age group and he is also 8th in the overall UK rankings for this year, rankings that are topped by our very own Andrew Pozzi. Pretty impressive !
The Amy and Louise Initiative

A few 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 Philippa Paddock.

Keep them coming.

Philippa Paddock
Running style 3 words:

Steady yet determined!

Most memorable event:

My second ever race back home in North Wales, Nick Beer 10k. Basically an uphill battle on the Gt Orme in Llandudno – a very exposed coastal headland and it was horrendously windy with equally torrential rain.

If that wasn’t bad enough…I went against medical advice (oops) and still gave blood the day before the race…needless to say I wasn’t at my peak and struggled A LOT.

Thank goodness for downhills! I somehow managed to do it with little running experience and only 2 mins slower than my first 10k 🙂

Advice to new athlete/someone returning back:

If you join Strava, then perhaps avoid following every person you know ha ha.

Run for you and be your best; comparing yourself to others can often be unhelpful.

Try to stick to an achievable plan each week to get out/train and don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go to plan/you feel slow etc; remember you’re making the choice to be active and not sit around on your bum, so give yourself a mental high-five/pat on the back instead!

Kit I couldn’t do without:

I’ve just invested in a pair of Goodr sunglasses, brilliant with the current weather and avoiding flies in my eyes running by the canal/river. (Thank you Lara Bakewell for the recommendation!)

Complete the sentence “ I love running because”

Running is my happy place; ‘Leave nothing but footprints’ is a bit of a mantra for me.

T&F back with a bang.

It’s been a long time.

This past week has seen the return of both Midlands League and Midlands Vets T&F fixtures.

Needless to say we had teams competing in both events.

I can vouch for what a wonderful event the Vets fixture was at Redditch on Wednesday. There were several new faces, lots of the usual suspects, sadly some absent friends. There were some spellbinding performances and an unbeatable camaraderie within the team.

It was lovely to see junior club member Toby Spriggs there to cheer us all on. Seeing him rolling down the grassy bank with Kate Sergent was a wonderful sight to behold. Children will always be welcome at Vets T&F fixtures !

Special thanks are due to the officials who took part in both fixtures and it was truly wonderful to see John Turner, stopwatch in hand, on duty at Redditch. We’ve missed you John.

Hopefully we will have reports on both of these events next week subject to official results being available but here are a few photos as a bit of a teaser, with more to follow next week.
These are our two 4 x 400 relay teams in the Midlands T&F fixture

L2R: Imy Sheppard, Jess Sheppard, Emily Field, Daisy Musk, Caleb Spriggs, Joe Mason, Adam Farrow, Matt Burdus-Cook
Members of the Vets T&F team. I toyed with the idea of cropping Paula out of it but she does win us lots of points !
Our men’s 4 x 400m relay squad. L to R : Simon Curran, Wayne Vickers, Dave Battersby and Alastair Webb.
Paula Williams and Rachel Clarke, obviously enjoying being back amongst the vets T&F team.
And Finally
Paula Williams being presented with the much deserved Female Club Athlete of the Year Award for 2020 by club secretary Tony Jackson