Cross Country Bonanza.

Safety in numbers. Our U15 girls team.
“So what do you think about the cop26 talks Toby ? In my opinion they haven’t gone nearly far enough”. Toby Spriggs and Henry Thomas putting the world to rights.
Our 4 top 10 finishers at Warley Woods last Sunday.
Clockwise from top left: Alex Adams, Maisie-Joy Spriggs, Marijke Tear-Verweij and Charly Marshall
This week it’s all about XC.

Last weekend no fewer than 73 club members, young and not so young, competed for the club in both Junior and Senior XC fixtures. Judging by the reports, there were lots of superb performances and more importantly, members and supporters seemed to have really enjoyed themselves.

We also have a plug for the club’s extremely worthwhile fund-raising 100 Club. If you haven’t already, why not join ?

Take care

Best wishes

David Jones
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SUAAC Fundraising 100 Club

Hi. My name is Helen Roach and my daughter, Clea, joined the junior section for the SUAAC around 3 years ago. In those 3 years she’s made lots of new friends, learnt lots about running, jumping and throwing and most importantly had a lot of fun.

I’ve been very aware this has only been possible because of all those who volunteer their time and energy into the club. So when Paul and Carolyne recently approached me to see if I would help on the 100 fund raising club I was more than happy to get involved.

Do get in touch if you’d like to buy a share in the 100 club, all the money goes back into the club, helping to finance such things as the long term refurbishment of the track and the purchase of Track and Field equipment.

To get in touch either email me on

or grab me on Tuesday drop off/pick up (U13) where you’ll normally see me dressed ready for a run around Stratford (see image of me below too so you know what I look like). And if you’d be interested to understand how else you can get involved please please do catch me, Paul, Carolyne or any other volunteer. If everyone involved can support our grass root clubs in some way, no matter how small, it will really make a big difference.

There’s always something that you can help with and as a busy wife and full-time working mum, the 100 club works well for me, and given my own enjoyment of running and most recently some swimming (watch out the triathlon club I’m seriously thinking about joining!), it’s all about putting something in to get a lot more back…


The Stratford upon Avon AC 100 Club raises funds designated specifically for the long term refurbishment of the Track at Stratford School and the purchase of Track & Field equipment for the benefit of Stratford upon Avon AC members.

Monthly draws – 3 prizes per month!

1st prize – £100

2nd prize – £50

3rd prize – £25

Payment by easily set up standing order of only £4 per month per share*.

The draw takes place on the 2nd Tuesday or Wednesday of each month (either at the Junior training night or after the Seniors Wednesday training).

Please email Helen Roach if you would like full details and how to join the 100 Club at:

* Participates must be over 16 years of age

Helen Roach
Our U11’s girls and boys teams.

West Midlands Young Athlete’s Cross Country League

Fixture 2 – Warley Woods.

14th November.

Report – David Jones

It was another life affirming day last Sunday as 48 of our magnificent junior endurance athletes descended on Warley Woods, a venue that is arguably the most popular of junior XC venues, certainly among the spectators who don’t have to run up the hills!

The club finished 4th out of 21 clubs completing and although that was down from 2nd place at the last fixture, a closer look at the results shows that had we been able to field a full team in the U13 girls race we would almost certainly have finished in 3rd place. The fact that we were a runner short was entirely due to a combination of fitness and health issues.

It was another superb performance with the club finishing over 600 points clear of the 5th placed team.

Team manager Jess Sheppard commented “As team manager I can say that it was wonderful to see the team running so well and enjoying the races. It was a busy weekend for many of them who had schools races earlier in the weekend, so their achievements are made even more impressive! I look forward to seeing them race again in December at Wolverhampton”.

The U17 ladies started the day off by finishing in 6th place in what was a really hotly contested group, with just 34 points separating us from the top placed club. Charly Marshall in 7th place was the first of our 4 top 10 finishers on the day.

They were followed by our U11 boys who finished in 7th place. The U17 men finished 3rd, a mere 16 points off the top slot, with Alex Adams recording his 15th consecutive win just a few days after his 16th birthday and despite it being his 3rd race of the weekend. It was another masterclass with Alex winning margin being 49 seconds in a 17 minute race. Very impressive indeed.

Our U11 girls finished in 5th place out of the 20 teams competing, followed by the U15 boys’ who finished in 4th place with some nice bunching, as the individual team members drove each other on. 5 of our team finishing between 21st and 29th place.

The U13 girls finished in 9th place, despite Marijke Tear-Verweij’s performance earning her 4th place and our 2nd top 5 finish of the day. This was due largely to the fact that we were a runner short due to fitness and health issues. However we still finished above half way and hopefully at the next fixture in Wolverhampton we will be able to field a full team.

Our U13 boys finished in a magnificent 2nd place, again driving each other on with just 12 places separating our top 4 runners.

A lack of numbers certainly wasn’t an issue with our U15 girls with a total of 13 competing. They rounded off the day finishing in 3rd place, just 26 points off 2nd place. Maisie-Joy Spriggs was our 3rd top 5 finisher of the day, finishing in 3rd place for the second successive fixture. MJ was closely followed by Niamh Hillard in 6th place, with Maddie Linfoot having risen from her sick bed in the morning to compete.

All in all another wonderful day with 5 of our teams finishing in the top 5.

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

Our support was, as you would expect, superb and it was really nice to see Sam Lambert turning out to support the team on his crutches but with a smile in his face. It was also really special to see John Turner making the trip out to Warley, accompanied by his son Andrew.

The next fixture is on December 5th at Wolverhampton. Bring it on.

Our men’s XC team. Missing in action Mike Sheppard ( presumably holding the camera!) and Dave Wolstencroft.
First home for the club in the ladies and men’s races: Justine Lynch and Matt Burdus-Cook.

Senior XC – Race 1 Report


Report compiled by Tony Jackson


The first fixture of the XC season is always a much-welcomed event – especially this year after what seems like forever because of last year’s competition being cancelled.

The first venue involved a long trek to Betley, Stoke where the all the divisions of the Mens and Ladies leagues competed making for an excellent atmosphere and very competitive racing involving some of the top athletes in the Midlands.

The only downside was that it was very hard to get any idea of your position relative to your own league competitors and it is only later when the Divisional results are produced that relative performances become clear.

The recent weather meant that the conditions underfoot were not too muddy and Emma Bexson’s scouting lap accurately informed everybody that there was long grass everywhere, lots of cow poo and an undulating course where it was important to carry the downhill speed around the cambered bends and back up the impending next hill.

In the ladies fixture the club were well represented with 12 members competing and they set out for 2 laps of the course (total 6.3km / 4mi) in a field of 340 runners.

First home for Stratford was a returning face, Justine Lynch (41st 26:17), putting on a Stratford vest for the first time since her junior days. After the initial shock of how quick the young guns sprint off from the line, Justine settled into a strong pace and finished in an incredible 51st place.

The 2nd Stratford lady was a familiar face to the XC team in Emma Bexson (61st 27:38) who in classic fashion set off at her pace and didn’t budge from it all the way round.

Vicky Sharpe (81st 28:51) and Hannah Osbourne (82nd 28:52) completed the A team as they pushed each other round the course for a close finish.

Jess Sheppard (84th 28:58) making her senior XC debut led home the B team. Unfortunately, Jess suffered a stitch on the second lap but still found the energy to finish strong.

Next was Amy Rowe (124th 32:03), Julia Brookes (131st 32:56) and Susan Hunt (138th 33:27) completed the B team.

Sarah Dichard (141st 33:40) and Philippa Paddock (142nd 33:44) were a mix of returning and first time XC runners. It was brilliant to see how close all these ladies finished and they will be able to push each other in the future.

Emily Adams (154th 36:20) had a strong finish on the final hill (even after morning triathlon club swimming!) as it was her turn to be cheered on loudly from the side lines.

Another returning face to the XC scene was Sue Mothersaw (160th 38:28) who thought she had finished with this madness 30 years ago but has already confirmed her intent for the next race in the season!

The A Team finished 11th (265 pts) and the B Team 10th (477 pts)

Amy Rowe described her first XC experience as potentially incredibly daunting – gathering in a field in the middle of nowhere and talking about ‘spikes’, but the group was so welcoming that she didn’t feel overwhelmed. She was pleased to come somewhere in the middle in the end, with a finish time of 32.03 All in all a brill day out – thanks for the experience team SUA!

Post race was filled with the compulsory cake, tea and an optional fruit salad.

Many of the women stayed to cheer on the men’s team afterwards making for an excellent day out!

The men’s team had 13 runners competing over 3 laps of the course

First back for Stratford was Matt Burdus-Cook, (16th 34 mins 10 secs) Despite feeling pretty fatigued on the way around he led the Stratford team home and can be well pleased with his race.

Second home was Drew Sambridge. (87th 38.21) and he was followed by three runners who were always close to each other during the race. Adam Linforth (99th 38.54), Ben Jordan (101st 39.04) were both making their XC debuts and they were encouraged by the reassuring presence of veteran Wayne Vickers (106th 39.23)

Last home for the A team was Richard Dobedoe (117th 40.05) followed closely by first runner for the B team David Smyth (120th 40.19). David, as usual, probably started a bit too fast but settled into a rhythm quite quickly. Although Richard pulled away half way through lap 1, keeping to a decent and relatively constant pace paid dividends and David was able to reel him back in towards the end finishing only just behind.

John Raby (140th 41.55) was followed by Peter Sugden (141st 42.03) and then another newbie Nick Cooper (151st 43.54) closely followed by stalwart Mike Shephard (162nd 44.46) with Paul Longford (165th45.12) completing the B team.

David Wolstencroft (190th 54.25) brought Stratford home with a strong finish and said afterwards ‘It was really great to savour the buzz and pre and post atmosphere of Cross Country after a long absence, especially having all the ladies and mens divisions together in one place’. There is nothing quite like it!

Despite the best efforts of those who ran the absence of a couple of key runners meant the A team finished a disappointing 14th on the day (526pts)

The B team finished in a solid 7th (879 pts)

Everybody there commented on the excellent camaraderie and support – shouting well needed encouragement at various points around the course.

For the full results please follow the link below:

The next race is at Stratford on 4th December when the Mens and Ladies teams will again be competing together.

We are hoping for an excellent turn out but if you are unable to run, your support on the day would be much appreciated and as the host club marshals and helpers are always needed.

Midland Women’s Cross Country League and Men’s Birmingham Cross Country League

Welcombe Hills – Saturday the 4th December

We are once again hosting the Midland Women’s Cross Country League and the Men’s Birmingham Cross Country League races on the Welcombe Hills. They are on Saturday the 4th December in the afternoon, and we need some volunteers to marshal on the day and also some help setting up the day before, Friday 3rd December.

The time commitment is from 12.30pm to 4.30pm, if you can’t do the whole stretch, but can do an hour or so then step up anyway and just let me know. We will need some tail runners / walkers so maybe that appeals to you as part of your day.

We will also need a few people earlier than that to help do some setting up, so please have a look at your diaries and if you can’t come in the afternoon, then maybe the morning would suit.

It is always a really good day and you will give our teams a great boost with tons of support as they run round. You can bring your kids and dogs, aunts, uncles, grandparents and anyone else lying around the house.

If you are able to help please email at

Please come and support your club.

Sally Bliss

And Finally

Lots more photos from last weekend’s XC action
Olivia Robinson and Abigail Skinner
Taylor Stubbins and Theo Skirvin
Tom Cox and Caleb Spriggs
Gabriel Glaiser and James Day
Milo Cullimore and William Mayes
Zak Lambert and Hugh Markham
Neve Nicholds-Trainor and Annie Silvers
Amelia Peeke and Ava Sheppard
The U15 boys
Seb Hillard
Vicky Sharpe and Jess Sheppard
Emma Bexson and Hannah Osborne
Dave Wolstencroft and David Smythe
Adam Linforth
Ben Jordan and John Raby
Wayne Vickers and Richard Dobedoe
Nick Cooper