Couch to 42.2k.

You would not believe that these two ladies have just run 26.2 miles each. Aren’t you supposed to look just a little bit exhausted ?
Jan Turner and Sandie Owens.
Pride of place this week must surely go to Jan Turner. She completed the club’s Couch to 5k course just a few years ago in her 70s and never having run before. On Sunday she completed the Manchester Marathon. Couch to 42.2k. Life begins at 70. Truly inspirational.

We had several club members competing in Manchester and lots competing in the Alcester 10k. Please read Stuart’s comprehensive reports on both events. Drew Sambridge attempted the world’s toughest mountain race, if I’m not mistaken just a week after completing the London Marathon. I found his report both interesting and informative.

Miranda Maloney has sent in her report on her London Marathon. She certainly seems to have enjoyed it.

There’s a short triathlon piece from Simon Taylor including mention of 3 of our triathletes out in Majorca getting ready to compete in Ironman Majorca.

Finally there are a couple of photos from Wednesday night’s track hour with a link to the results.

Enjoy the rest of your week and take care.

Best Wishes

David Jones

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The 5 Musketeers – Simon Bolton, Ade Mason, Adam Evans, Seth Turner and Stu George.
Road Race Round Up ( plus the world’s toughest mountain race! )

Stuart George
Ben Kruze on his way to winning the race and setting a new course record.
From left to right: Alex Adams, Ben Kruze, Richard Liggatt and Matt Burdus-Cook.
Alex Adams and Kate Sergent.
Kate Wright
Hannah Osborne
John Peacock.

Happy October.


Wow what a month this is for Road Racing!!

This week the majority of the reports focus is on the local Alcester 10K and the much delayed and anticipated Manchester Marathon, which had a huge SAC participation.

Drew Sambridge also has a wonderful report from the (not technically road race ) Dragons Back race. His adventures will always deserve a place in the newsletter and we thank him for his frank and raw race report.

One of my favourite moments in sport has been catching my Dad out in cricket in not one but two competitive games. Now that I’m a bit older and a touch less competitive I would love nothing more to race alongside him. So it’s a real joy to start with the reflections of Kate Sergent and her lovely daughter Rosie

Alcester 10K

Starting back in 2014 the Alcester 10k is a rolling route that starts and ends in the local picturesque village

Kate Sergent & Rosie

Rosie is one of our members who suffers from learning difficulties and, like a lot of us, has struggled in parts of lockdown but she has been an avid Monday track star and she has a running coach once a week.

Kate followed her London Marathon exploits with a great 57.01 but Rosie stole the show as we can see from her report

Rosie’s Story:

I entered Alcester 10k as I now live in Alcester and I wanted another challenge after completing Stratford 10k.

I really enjoyed it and thought I did well until I got stitch at mile 5 but Emily and Alex helped me keep going by shouting encouragement. Karl and Karen and Mum were at the finish cheering me on!!

I was really pleased to do 1.13.08, which was 9 minutes faster than the Stratford Big 10k. I have already entered the Stratford half marathon in April.

What a great race by Rosie 9 minute gain on Stratford WOW!

Emma Parkin’s Story

Alcester felt like a race of two halves for me. The first 5k felt good and within my comfort zone.

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces at the start and then enjoy the scenic and relatively flat road route until the halfway point. From then on my legs seemed to have other ideas, so much so that I even walked a bit and made the most of one of the water stations, though I did decline the cider.

I’ve just not been able to train the distance as much as I would have liked, but we all know how life gets in the way. Thankfully, there was lots of very vocal Stratford AC support that really made a huge difference.

My comment to husband Dave with 1k to go is not really repeatable in a family newsletter but I somehow made it over the finish line in 48:10, 26th female and 9th in my category.

Hannah Osborne’s Story

It was great to be back racing in a big local race- Alcester 10k. It was my fastest 10k in 6 years! I finished in 44:10 and was pleased with a solid strong run. Great to be with so many fellow SAC runners and the support on the course from the club was just so special.

How great to hear that the support really drove on the SAC members. I can almost hear Emily screaming them on now

Our very own Ben Kruze was overall winner in a course record time of 31.55. Alex Adams (33.57 – 1st in category) and Matt Burdus-Cook (34.22) with 5th and 6thplaces. Hugely remarkable times. Richard Liggatt (35.59) as always impressed, and Kate Wright(39.04) finished 1st in her category too.

There were plenty of other SAC stories in the day, one of the nicest club members Peter Sugden with a great 16th place in his category is a stand out.

M60 John Peacock was 7th in his age category in 45.06 despite hiss recent achilles problem

Alan Coldicott also did stellar work in the M60 (1:03.55) category and a few more doing their utmost to represent our great club.

For the full results please follow this link:


Manchester Marathon

To say I was excited was an understatement, I had competed at Dorney Lake back in April, only 2 days after mass races could start again, so to take part in a real marathon with massive crowds through an iconic city such as Manchester was something I needed in my soul.

Now my race didn’t go exactly to plan and I blew up massively at mile 14 and had the hardest 12 miles you could imagine. 100 yards from the end cramp in my hamstring meant I walked home in 3:29. Which, although 15 mins behind my PB I wasn’t too upset with.

You will see from below that we had some SAC members who nailed it but the organisation of the day itself definitely contributed to mine and others struggles.

Like many races at the moment we started in waves , Red A in which the 5 SAC musketeers, (Me Stu George, Ade Mason, Seth Turner, Adam Evans and Simon Bolton) all started was due to start at 10:35, it didn’t until about 10:50.

I’m sympathetic to the fact they did the Half marathon earlier but this just messed up my nutrition. I doff my cap to those who nailed it but that late in then day was just not good for me. However it was still an incredible day full of the yellow and black of SAC. The people of Manchester made up for the lack of music en route , it was particularly galling at the end to not have any food presented for the runners at all. But wow a fully lined set of streets and people literally crying out for you, a stranger, to succeed – inject that into my veins every day of the week!

I think Seth’s mom, Jan Turner’s story takes some beating. Joining the club via the Couch to 5k group a few years ago, aged 70, having never run before and on Sunday she completed the Manchester Marathon. A truly remarkable story and I think testament to the club’s C25K initiative.

Here are her thoughts:

I ran a bit slower than I hoped but as I had no Garmin (due to mistake on my part re charging !), I just ran without worrying about pace and enjoyed it. Beautiful sunshine and perfect temperature, super support. No walking except to drink water etc. I didn’t feel at any point that I wouldn’t make it. Seth’s youngest, my grandson, has just started Uni in Manchester and he ran my final km sprint with me. So all in all a super experience !

Ade Mason’s Story:

What a day! To say I’m delighted is an understatement. I went into Manchester off the back of some great season’s results and PB’s and with everything looking good on paper, but anything can happen on race day especially with a Marathon.

The race started and everything felt good. The weather was kind, albeit quite warm with the sunshine. The training seemed to be paying off and I felt strong right through to mile 22 where my calves decided to cramp up (possibly due to the heat, as I wasn’t alone with this problem).

With time on my side, I backed off the pace ever so slightly to try and manage it. I then ran the last four miles with my head, taking on water and trying to avoid the cramping. Just dropping 30secs-1min/mile seemed to help matters and I still crossed the line in under 3hrs, with a massive 1hr PB from 2019, in a time of 2:57:05 (running slightly long @ 26.54mi according to Strava!).

I was over the moon but it didn’t quite sink in until the following day. It feels very special to be part of the Sub 3hr club and hopefully achieving a GFA place for London 2023.

Big congratulations to all the SAC runners at MCR who all achieved excellent times, bagging a handful of PB’s.

We cant wait to see Ade take on London if he gets that deserved GFA spot

Sandie Owens’ Story

C25k to the streets of Manchester

Three years after completing C25K with the wonderful volunteers from our club, I did something I never imagined I would ever do. Finished a marathon!

With my amazing running buddy, Jan Turner, we trained hard and before we knew it, we were on the start line, ready to go, on an unusually warm and sunny Manchester morning.

The support from the crowds was fantastic with strangers shouting our names and handing us jelly babies to keep us going.

It was tough for the final couple of miles but crossing the line was just the best feeling.

I managed 5.09 and Jan came in at an impressive 5.47.

See you next year Manchester. Maybe… ?

So Ade lead the way, but some great performances by one of the other nicest people you will meet at SAC Seth Turner just above 3 hrs and Adam Evans with a tasty 3:05

Myself and Simon’s race mirrored each other with a real hard second half and Peter Wharton conquered the northern metropolis with a great 26.2 effort

The Dragons Back Race

Drew Sambridge

From Conwy Castle to Cardiff Castle – a legendary multi-stage, ultra running journey down the spine of Wales. This is the world’s toughest mountain race.


The average daily distance is 63km – that’s >1.5 marathons a day!


That’s almost twice the height of Everest.

Things did not go to plan which I’m disappointed/frustrated about, but I do think if I’d have tried to push on to complete day two, I’d have had a proper health issue. The following summarises the bit of the race/event I experienced

Pre-race / Registration

For me this was smooth sailing. I was concerned that they’d be really pedantic and picky over things like ensuring gloves were thermal enough (as the website made a point of this) and the insulted jacket needed to be >300g in weight. The inspector I had saw I had Rab and Inov8 clothing, checked for tapered seams and then over the other mandatory kit; there was no checking the number of blisters/first aid items, just that they were there. I think other people may have had a more thorough inspection but I was fine. Also, my bags were well under the weight limit, so no unpacking for last minute fiddling/ditching stuff, like a lot of other people had to.

Day 1

The race started well and things felt comfortable and I was making good progress. We spent the first part of the race going above and below the low mist line, so that helped with hydration and cooling.

There was a genuine mistake by someone [else] but annoyingly at the water stop, my electrolyte tablet and Tailwind sachet got ruined and it wasn’t until near the end of the day 1 that I got another tablet from someone else. I think this did affect my performance in the second half of the race though as I could feel camps as I went up Crib Goch.

The climb/route we had to take up Tryfan might have been the hardest climb I’ve ever had to do and you could see this breaking people’s spirits.

Even after Snowdon Summit, there was just no real runnable terrain and the lack of being able to find any running rhythm was also mentally really hard – at best.

The long day exposed in the sun, plus the brutal climbs definitely took an effect.

Two contenders to win the event dropped out and I saw the air ambulance coming in for former Wainwrights record holder, Steve Birkinshaw who [apparently] had heart issues due to the heat.

I know I’m not great at fuelling during races so my tactic coming into the event was to take advantage of the food in the overnight camps.

Unfortunately the meal on day 1 was quite a dry, hot curry and rice and myself, along with a few others just couldn’t manage to eat this, so had to pick at other bits. Otherwise the camp was fine, the 8 man tents were big enough but I do recommend an inflatable mattress and ear-plugs

Day 2

This day was definitely impacted by the previous one in the sun plus limited dinner and maybe some over compensating on the salt/electrolyte tablets.

Glossing over the details, I was still struggling [at best] to eat and as soon as the sun really came out, with no shelter on offer, I knew I was losing more fluids that I was able to take on, plus I was not really enjoying the experience as there was far more bouldering/scrambling than running – which to be fair probably would have differed later into the event

Also thinking Day 3 would be at least as hot as Day 2, I’d mentally checked out by then. On day 1 I think I’d realised this event isn’t one where you can really run it as a race and enjoy that aspect similar to Fell races, it really is just managing against the conditions.

Annoyingly I was far enough in advance of the checkpoint time and no blisters or other foot pains/issues but physically my body temperature was just too hot to want to continue

Well over 50% of the competitors were using poles to run with and if I ever contemplate anything like this again, I’d definitely practice with and look to invest in these.

It feels like a missed opportunity but it just wasn’t to be.


Miranda Maloney
Better late than never.

Miranda Maloney’s report on her London Marathon.

It’s taken me 8 years of applying via the ballot to finally get in. You’d think I would have been more excited or nervous on the day but nope.

My friend actually asked if I was dead inside as I had no real feelings about it all.

I had told myself I was having a fun day out in London so many times, that I think I had finally come to believe that’s all I was there for!

The bag drop and bib pick up on Saturday were ok. I didn’t have to wait too long but the queue as we came out were hours long!

Race day…up, breakfast, dressed and train to Greenwich. All very smooth. My friend was in a different wave to me so we said goodbye and I wandered off to my start zone.

I remember passing Mile 1 because everyone cheered. I slowed right down (not that I was going fast in the first place) at Mile 9 for a boogie with a samba band.

Mile 13 had me longing for a cup of tea and I held out until Mile 15 when I nipped into a shop and a lovely young man paid for my brew. It was the best cuppa and certainly refreshed me for the next few miles.

I fell apart at Mile 21 and sobbed on a poor unsuspecting lady. Do not underestimate the emotional toll of running that far knowing that there is NO ONE in the crowd for you. My family hadn’t come to watch and although I was aware that there were Stratfordians in the crowd, no one was specifically there for me and foolishly I didn’t have my name on me – I’d assumed they’d print it on the bib but they didn’t. So it was quite lonely, even being surrounded by runners.

Pity party over, I carried on and came across the finish line saying “Is that it, am I done?”

I got my bag, found my friend and caught the train home….utterly spent but happy.

For me, I loved running through streets of London that you would never venture to. Yes, it was great running past the famous landmarks but I enjoyed the ‘real London’ more.

And yes, I have entered the ballot again. And wondering which other marathons I could enter.
A bit of triathlon news.

Simon Taylor
Winter Training – er no!

Emily Adams and Hannah Osborne in Majorca as support crew to our triathletes. That’s their story anyway. Hannah told me the was looking forward to getting lots of reading done. Hmmm.

The final local triathlon took place last weekend at Southam. The Southam sprint triathlon is (in pre COVID times anyway) held in April and September each year and everyone who does it really enjoys it. Only one SAC athlete took part this year, that athlete being Ben Phyall. Ben did brilliantly, coming second overall.

3 intrepid triathletes have ventured to Majorca for Ironman Majorca. Emma Bexson, John Divine and Dave Hudspith (in his first ever IM distance triathlon) are all competing. They will be ablely (and loudly) supported supported by Hannah Bexson, Hannah Osborne, Emily Adams (SAC’s Patsy, bottle of Bolly in hand) and Emily’s mum!

Emily and Hannah have been in hard ‘supporter’ training since arriving – see the attached pic!

Look out for Hannah’s brilliant on-the-ground race report next week.
And Finally
The return of the Track Hour.

In pretty much perfect conditions and having missed a year, Wednesday saw the last Shakespeare Race of the year take place at the track. The competition started virtually at the beginning of the year and thankfully finished with some real live races.

I certainly enjoyed the track hour but it is a bit disheartening when you get lapped on your 3rd lap. Thank you Mr B-C.

A huge thank you to Sarah Bland and her few helpers who made the night’s race perfect with 69 club members taking part.

For the full set of results please follow the link below :

Listening to the pre-race briefing.
And we’re off.