Blimey what a week!

Rich Shephard having just broken the club record for the marathon. Well done Rich.
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Blimey, that will teach me. After enjoying the fact that it was a fairly quiet newsletter week last week it’s back with a bang this week, with lots and lots of stuff to report on.

The London marathon takes pride of place this week, with many superb performances from club members, including Rich Shephard’s new club record and lots of money raised for worthwhile causes.

We have a new national champion to report on, with Fern Hordern finishing on top of the podium and claiming both gold medal and national title at the Oulton Park European Duathlon Qualifier. Many congratulations Fern.

There’s a really important notice from Carolyne Johnston and Michelle Bartlett concerning the junior track sessions. All parents please read it. It concerns the safety and wellbeing of your children and it is also a plea from the many volunteers who take these sessions.

We’ve got informative Triathlon and Road race round ups from Simon Taylor and Stuart George. Thank you guys. There’s a report on Maddie Linfoot and Alex Adams representing the West Midlands at the London Mini Marathon.

The latest of the club’s Couch to 5k courses started on Monday and very well attended it was too.

There’a few appointments to make you aware of and finally Peter Coote’s latest round up of club records, which is very apt in the week when both the parkrun and marathon club records were broken. Many thanks Peter.

Good luck to those of you who are competing in the Alcester 10k and Manchester marathon at the weekend. It’s flat ! Indeed, good luck to any of you who are competing anywhere.

Best wishes.

Take care

David Jones
Kate Sergent after her London Marathon success.

Virgin London Marathon 2021.

Report – David Jones

It was back with a bang. The actual real live Virgin London Marathon and, as has been the case in the past, we were really well represented. I’ve found 16 members who competed. If I’ve missed you, I’m sorry. Drop me a line and I can maybe do an update next week.

Pride of place must go to Rich Shephard who beat the 7 year old club record held by Chris Bacon by 4 minutes. His time of 2:38.45 placed him inside the top 1% of finishers on Sunday. He finished 331st out of some 36,000 finishers. Rich was also 71st in his age category. An immense achievement.

Rich commented “ I must say that I do feel like a bit of a fraud, as there’s no way that I deserve to be running a time like that this year. I knew I’d started a bit keen and kept thinking I must slow down a bit and I didn’t. Then at halfway I started expecting it to catch up with me at any minute…. Fortunately this wasn’t until around 24miles.

Well done to everyone else who ran. It was great to be back racing again and WHAT AN EVENT”


Just as impressive in its way was Kate Sergent’s time of 4:46.14. Kate finished 63rd in her age category despite being at the top end of that category. Her time was quicker than the times she ran at York and Brighton in 2019 but probably most impressive of all, was the fact that she was 4 minutes quicker than when she ran London in 2011 – 10 years ago. She’s like a fine wine. She just gets better. She also managed to squeeze in two weddings at the weekend. Young at heart !

See Kate’s story below.

Andy Cox was one of three of our club members to run under the 3 hour mark. His time of 2:52.35 was a 12 minute PB. Ollie Senior ran what I think was his first marathon, recording another sub 3 hour time of 2:56.27.

Drew Sambridge just failed to dip under 3 hours but his time of 3:02.53 was still a 5 minute PB.

Joe Lee knocked 13 minutes off his previous PB by running a time of 3:24.40. Is there no end to this man’s talents ? Triathlons – marathons – 1500m track races – relays, the list is endless. As you might expect, if Joe Lee is running a marathon, Kim Lee will also be running a marathon. Not to be outdone by hubby, Kim also ran a 13 minute PB with a time of 4:14.38.

Adam Linforth said he managed to haul himself around in 3:25.26 and that he was pleased with that for his first marathon, As well he might be.

Nick Campbell (3:30.07) admitted to feeling a little emotional at the end, which took him by surprise but he thought it was a brilliant experience. He should be overjoyed with his time. Read his story of the whole experience below.

Emily Orton reaped the benefit of her hard training by recording a time of 3:42.42. Just a minute behind Emily, from the splits it looks as though John Raby struggled a bit in the second half of the race, completing the course in 3:43.43. I’m sure Cara Reynolds will have been frustrated at just missing out on a sub 4 hours time, as she completed the race in 4:00.02.

Lisa Lambourn (5:15.11) and Lindsey Anderson (5:27.52) managed to raise a whopping £9000 between them for The Shipston Nursing Home and Meningitis Research respectively.. Please read their reasons for running for these extremely worthwhile causes below.

Finally Miranda Maloney (5:50.42) and Nic Reynolds (6:27.44) both had a whale of a time and thoroughly enjoyed the day. See Nic’s report below.

Lindsey Anderson.

Lindsey Anderson’s Story:

Running is a fairly new sport to me; I started at the beginning of 2020 by joining some friends who were training for the 2020 London Marathon. I ran with them and completed a half marathon in early March 2020. Although meeting up for runs has been a bit on and off over the last year due to Covid, we have managed to keep running and my friends asked why didn’t I try for a place on the London Marathon taking place in October 2021. I decided a Charity place was the way to go. It would give me a massive incentive to keep training and also not only give me the euphoria of having completed 26.2 miles but of having raised a substantial amount of money for a charity that needs funds now more than ever.

Shipston Home Nursing care for people with illnesses that do not respond to curative treatment. Their nursing service operates 24hrs a day, 365 days a year and their care is free of charge to patients and families. They operate through a team of fantastic Registered General Nurses (RGN’s) and Health Care Assistants (HCA’s) who always go the extra mile. Their approach is sensitive and caring and they aim to provide support for the whole family to help them through very difficult times.

Lisa Lambourn

Lisa Lambourn’s Story:

I ran the London Marathon in October 2021 in aid of Meningitis Research Foundation because I want to help them achieve their goal of defeating meningitis and septicaemia wherever they exist. My family have been personally affected by both meningitis and septicaemia and globally 5 million people are affected by meningitis every year.

Originally I was due to run the marathon in April 2020 but this was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In October 2020 I took part in the Virtual London Marathon and completed 26.2 miles in the Stratford area.

Kate Sergent’s medal haul.
Kate Sergent’s Story:
My marathon day was all I wanted it to be and more.

Having secured a Good For Age entry for 2020 I had to requalify to keep my place which I had managed to do in York 2019.

Once again his year’s race was one of the World Abbotts Majors, for which I received an additional medal.

I ran London 10 years ago with a SAC club ballot place but really hadn’t enjoyed the experience, mainly due to the 28 degree heat, so this time I was determined to relish the day.

I had an early wave start and having had a laugh with Cara Reynolds in the start pen I was off!

I felt I had a huge smile on my face from the outset as the crowds were amazing and shouting my name from start to finish.

I took in all the famous landmarks, with my highlight being Tower Bridge at mile 12 where I cried with emotion.

Despite having really practiced my pacing it all went a bit awry as I went off too fast and by mile 16 I was slowing right down but the crowds constantly lifted me and the sight of the Houses of Parliament was enough to know that it was not long until the Palace and that finish line!

I was thrilled to be 4 minutes quicker than 10 years ago and well within my requalifying time. I did 4.46.14.
Nick Campbell.

Nick Campbell’s Story:

London 2021 was my first marathon attempt having previously covered the distance in the virtual event last year.

The training had gone pretty well and I’d managed to get my long runs in and arrive at the start carrying only a couple of niggles which seems to be par for the course.

I obtained my place through the general ballot for 2019, but had to defer that year due to injury and following the cancellation of last year’s event it meant that Sunday had been three years in planning.

When the offer dropped through the letterbox back in 2018 my fitness regime consisted of Parkrun and a couple of miles around the block on a Thursday evening while the kids were training at the track.

I joined the club so I could attend the Monday track sessions and also started running longer distances with other members and parents.

Initially the goal in the back of my mind had been four hours, but as my running improved and with advice and encouragement from Sarah Bland, Rich Dobedoe and others I thought I could be a bit more ambitious.

I was quite nervous at the start and having stood in what may have been a world record queue for the urinal I retied my shoelaces at least five times before getting them just right. Once we started moving however, the nerves disappeared and I enjoyed every minute.

Keeping the pace at around seven minutes fifty seconds per mile, the first sixteen miles were a breeze and the support all along the route was amazing. I knew having my name on the vest meant people would call it out, but still couldn’t quite believe it and kept looking around to see who Nick was!

It was great to chat with Kate Sergent, and Rich Shephard (who both had an amazing) shouted hello as we passed in opposite directions.

The legs started to get tired from the sixteen-mile mark and I also realised that unless you keep to the blue line on the road you end up running further than needs be. At twenty-two miles I felt a few twinges of cramp so backed off the pace slightly and luckily it didn’t worsen.

It was great to see the family who were on the Embankment and following a brief pause just after twenty-five miles to help a distressed competitor, I crossed the line in an official time of three hours, thirty minutes and seven seconds.

The last mile was a blur as I tried to get to the finish in sub three thirty but with a few hundred metres to go realised I wasn’t quite going to make it.

I don’t mind admitting that I felt a little emotional at the end which took me by surprise but it was a brilliant experience, I learnt a lot and overall, I’m really happy with how it went.

Nic Reynolds’ Story:

For various reasons training had not really happened (Stratford Big 10k in September had been my longest run in 18 months!) but as I had decided this was definitely the last time I’d enter a marathon I decided to just make the most of it, enjoy the experience and also raise a little money for CALM, a mental health charity. I knew that I could walk 26.2 miles if all else failed!

Thankfully after the Saturday downpours the weather was mostly kind on the day and I amazed myself by managing to run the first 7 miles before switching to a run/walk strategy.

At 13 miles a first time marathoner who was struggling asked if she could walk with me and the decision was soon made to switch to walking to ensure she made it to the end and at 25 miles we scooped up another struggling first timer and the party at the back made it to the Mall!

Time irrelevant, enjoyment factor set at 11, and around £400 raised for CALM – job done, sticking to less demanding distances in the future!

Fern Hordern on top of the podium.
National Champion.

Oulton Park Duathlon European Duathlon Qualifier

Report – Fern Holden


I went to Oulton Park (Cheshire) to do my first duathlon of the year. Up until now I have been hampered by a broken hand which has taken months to return to some kind of working order.

The good thing about this race is that it was on a race track which means smooth tarmac (and less jolting on the injured hand).

Actually now I think about it, I was supposed to be in Denmark this weekend to do the World Middle Distance Duathlon championships – but surprise, surprise, it was cancelled months ago.

So I entered this race instead. Everyone is sectioned into age groups – my age group being 50-55 years.

Standard distance is 10k run, 40k bike, 5k run – and I finished in 2 hours and 16 minutes – which wasn’t too bad considering it was my first duathlon in 18 months.

Some work is needed on the new drinking system which I had rigged up on my bike – the straw was too short and it meant that I had no energy drink at all during the race…what a numptee.

I went to check the results before heading home and discovered that I had won my age group – a total shock- but I suppose it was just down the luck of who turns up on the day and I have had my share of bad luck in past races – so I will take this piece of luck and enjoy.

I also discovered that the race had been nominated as the national championships – so I won a gold medal and age group national title – no one was more surprised than me!


Junior Track Training Sessions

Recently, for junior sessions at the track on both Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the weather has probably been as bad as we we have experienced in a very long time.

Most children came prepared but a lot didn’t!

Please can you ensure that your child is suitably dressed with layers and a waterproof otherwise please do not send them to train.

We are sorry if you feel that is blunt but we cannot be responsible for your child being dry and warm in severe conditions. We have no shelter and it is unlikely we will be training in the Sportshall any time soon with the way the Coronavirus infections have stepped up in schools.

Even on the finest of evenings the weather can soon change. The track is exposed and can be very windy and cold. Your child should have a bag with a warm top, waterproof and a drink every week!

Please can you make sure your child has been to the toilet before they come as we do not have enough coaches to accompany them unless it is an emergency. We cannot allow them to leave the group to go alone.

Please can we also stress that you must not drop your child off early and you should bring them to the meeting point by the Sportshall to be registered.

You should ensure there is an adult coach there to accept them before you leave. If you are not able to do this because you are pushed for time, then again, please do not bring them. We are not responsible for your child until they have been registered for the session.

At pick up we will not release any child to a parent unless they are within the gated area. There are too many cars moving at the time we finish, plus the evenings will be getting darker and we must ensure the safety for everyone.

We cannot stress how important all of the above is. We are all volunteers and would like all children to come along, be safe at all times and have fun whatever the weather.

Kind regards,

Carolyne Johnston and Michelle Bartlett

Triathlon Round Up

Simon Taylor
Camilla racked and ready.
A 5am start saw Neil Gardiner and Camilla Cresswell head to Neil’s homeland to compete in the Bristol Triathlon.

Parking stress was mitigated by a few slightly illegal driving maneuvers and Neil managed to use his Somerset charm to park in a car park just 50 metres from transition. The grins on Neil and Camilla’s faces widened even more as they realised that no queues for the post-race portaloo too.

The Bristol Triathlon was just Camilla’s second ever triathlon and she was defending an unbeaten age group record. She was one of the first swimmers diving into Cumberland Basin at just after 8am, despite swallowing several pints of the local water, Camilla swam brilliantly and put herself in contention for age group honours again.

Neil on the other hand started last-but-one swimmer of the day, over an hour later. Neil, proving that showing off is never a great idea, did his best Tom Daleyesque dive to impress the locals and banks of spectators, only to lose his goggles and have to do a bit of breaststroking to recover his composure.

However, Neil ended up swimming through people at the speed ,knowing that every person he passed was a position higher up in the overall standings.

Both had exceptional bike rides – with both riding so quickly that suggested both had sampled Neil’s homebrew in transition one and were desperate to get back to transition two.

Quick runs from both meant that Neil came in 33rd overall and 5th in his age group. Camilla again showed herself to be a huge talent with 9th female and 3rd in her age group. A total of over 450 athletes competed in a highly recommended event on closed roads.

Post race McDonald’s was the order of the day, with Camilla experiencing it’s delights for the first time in 15 years! Neil clearly exerted influence over post-race recovery strategy!

Also taking place on Sunday was the Warwickshire Triathlon. 5 SAC triathletes took part, all acquitted themselves amazingly well.

Taking pride of place and showing what an amazingly talented triathlete she is, was Charly Marshall. Charly is just 16 and won the overall women’s event. Dominating from the start, Charly finished in a time which gave her 6th place overall. A stunning performance.

Showing that the Saturday morning swim sessions really do work, Dave Teasdale also performed brilliantly by finishing third overall and winning his age group.

Following not far behind Dave and not letting beating a Welsh sporting legend go to his head, James Purdy finished in 16th place and 4th in the same age group as Dave.

Globe-trotting triathlete Paul Nash had the strange experience of competing in the UK for the first time in a long time. Not only that, but on local roads too. After surviving several months working in Scotland and sampling as much local whiskey as possible, Paul was chuffed at his performance.

Giving her all as always and showing that hours of solid training really do pay dividends, Caroline Gionis came 2nd in her age group and 20th female overall. Caroline was delighted with her performance, which will give her confidence and motivation to work hard over the winter and come out with a vengeance next season.

For most, last weekend was the final triathlon of the season – although the Southam Triathlon is this coming weekend and a number of SAC athletes will be competing in Ironman Majorca on 16th October. After a short break, all will be getting back into a solid winter block of training and cross country racing to start 2022’s season with a bang.
Road Race Round Up

Stuart George

There has never been a race calendar like it!!

The 18 month freeze Covid has had on mass participant races has meant that all of the World Major Marathons are being contested over a 2 month period. This has seen a trickle down effect to all levels of racing.

Unfortunately for me this has coincided with a new job role which has kept me away from here for the last few weeks.

So there is lots to catch up on before I head to my next race the Manchester Marathon which takes place this Sunday. Interestingly I was due to do the Brighton Marathon in April but that moved to close to Manchester.

So over to the amazing members of SAC and there amazing and varied races…

And of course the obligatory Ade Mason Pb ?

Ade Mason

Jaguar Land Rover COVID-19 Memorial Shield

Sunday 19th September

Report – Ade Mason


This was a little 5k “work” event that Richard Liggatt and I took part in

It was the inaugural JLR COVID-19 Memorial Shield consisting of 5k around our Fen End Proving Ground.

Uncertain about who would turn up considering we are a big Midlands employer with a good athletics club catchment area from Stratford, Leamington, Northbrook etc. Richard and I were hoping to have a good shot at it, both representing SAC in a field of ~200 runners.

We broke away in a strong group of three, until the last half mile where Richard and I were left battling it out for a 1-2 finish.

I crossed the line in 1st place after a short sprint finish to claim my first ever race win and a PB time of 16:49 (over 50 secs off my previous 5K PB this year). Richard finished a very close 2nd, 10secs behind with a time of 16:59.

I’ve no idea where that came from but I was very happy with the result and my recent improvement in form.

A Couple of Kates.

Chedworth 10 Miler

12th September

Report – Kate Wright


The two Kates – Wright and Sergent were offered entries to Chedworth 10 and decided why not!

The course description of challenging and undulating was as usual slightly worrying.

The first challenge for us both was shoes. Trail or road?. After much debate and discussion with Marshall’s we opted for trail. “2 kates in Inov8’s”

It turns out that was one of our better decisions.

Second challenge was the never ending hills and uneven ground.

By the time I got a mile into the race my heart rate was through the roof.

The 3rd challenge was the water crossing at mile six. It looked like Kate S tried to swim across. For me it was a welcome chill to my twisted ankle from mile five, where I lost a place and became third woman.

Overall it’s a beautiful part of the country with amazing scenery (so Kate S told me) I was too busy looking at the ground to notice. It’s a tough race which reduced me to a walk on a few occasions.

Kate S on the other hand showed her amazing strength and determination and sailed round feeling good all the way, finishing in under 1.59. I finished in 1.19.

The overall winner who was also the First Lady finished in 1.11!! We were both old enough to be her granny however!

Alex Adams (2nd left) with the West Midlands team.
London Mini Marathon
Maddie Linfoot and Alex Adams were both selected to represent the West Midlands at last Sunday’s London Mini Marathon.

Both expressed disappointment that the course had been shortened and was run over just 2.6 miles.
Alex said ” After seeing the results it’s pretty poor. Not a great race but then it wasn’t the right distance. I looked up the winner Nick Griggs and he’s an Irish international who ran at the U20 world champs in Tallin I think, so he’s pretty good. Henry Dover came second which was a surprise and made my performance seem even worse. But one more road race and then my favourite time of the year Cross Country!!”

Maddie completed the race in 9.55. The winner was Zoe Gilbody from the West Midlands and her time was 8.21. Alex ran 7.46 and the winner of his race was Nick Griggs from Northern Ireland in a time of 7.21
Some of the latest C25K group who took part in Wednesday evening’s session
Couch to 5k

It’s back, the legendary SAC C25K course.

It kicked off on Monday evening at the track, where Martyn Sergent and Chris Bloomfield, helped by several other volunteers, took the latest group through their paces. Chris of course is a graduate of the C25K himself.

There were something like 30 new attendees, with both Martyn and Chris being delighted with the response. Chris commented “I think we got overwhelmed with the number of both volunteers and participants!”

Martyn added
“It was a great first session and it was also great to see some of our own club members who have been injured or with other reasons for not having run for a while actually taking part in the course!”

There have been a few new appointments within the club and these are outlined by Paul Bearman and Paul Hawkins below

I’m pleased to say that Dave Wilson and Hannah Osborne are taking over as Vets T&F Team Managers…..huge thanks to David and Andy for their sterling work, especially in raising the profile of the Vets and getting the team set up for the future.

Paul Bearman
Club Records

Compiled by Peter Coote.

Please find below the latest club record update for this year.

Given the difficult last 18 months it shows some amazing achievements by club members.

Highlights include:
– Ben Kruze and Matt Burdus-Cook leading the way with 8 M35 and 9 M45 new records respectively on the road and the track, with 6 of Ben’s performances being new open club records.

– Competition in probably the most competed race by club members, the Park Run, is heating up, with a number of age group records, and Alex Adams and then Ben both setting a new open records this year.

– Jan Turner is celebrating being 75 years young with club records in distances ranging from 100m to 10k, with hopefully more to come. She is also achieving the unique feat of holding every recorded club record in her new age group!

To be added to the list is Rich Shephard’s remarkable new marathon club record of 2:38.45, achieved at last weekend’s London Marathon.

There are still a few age group records without an owner, which I look forward to being filled.