The Best Ever ?

Our victorious U17 men’s team from last Sunday’s WMYACCL fixture, wining by just 2 points. 582 versus the 580 of Royal Sutton Coldfield.
L to R – Caleb Spriggs, Alex Adams, Tom Cox, Ben Stockhill and Taylor Stubbins.
This week’s newsletter is almost exclusively about last weekend’s XC fixtures that saw 93 members, young and not so young, competing.

There was a hugely successful effort from our men’s team, who finished 3rd overall. Club historians (!) are currently scouring the record books in the belief that this may well be our best ever performance. A measure of the team’s success is the fact that in the 1st fixture, in November, the club finished in 14th and last place with a total of 526 points, last weekend they were in 3rd place with 192 points, just 2 points off a second place finish. Superb.

Hopefully there will be a report on our ladies’ efforts next week.

After another successful fixture, our juniors will go in to the final league fixture on 20th February in 4th place in a league of 21 clubs, with a 3rd place finish a possibility.

Elsewhere we had 6 of our T&F athletes, again young and not so young, competing in a Loughborough Indoor event, an event that saw the welcome return to indoor athletics of Andy List after a 3 year break. Andy announced his return with a club record in the 60m. Well done and welcome back Andy.

Take care.

Best wishes

David Jones.
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100 Club
Huge congratulations to the winners of the SUAAC 100 club this month who are:

Richard Eden – £100
Laura Hendy – £50
Carolyne Johnston £25

For those who have not yet joined, it is a great way to support the club. For just £4 a month you have the chance to win £100, £50 or £25.

Please email Helen on for details and joining instructions.
Our first finisher at the men’s senior XC, Rich Shephard.
Ned Campbell finished 2nd junior in the men’s seniors XC.
Our first female finisher was Georgie Campbell.

Birmingham & District Invitation Cross Country League

2021-2022 Season
Division 2
Race 3
15/01/2022 at Burton Dassett
Hosted by Spa Striders

Report Tony Jackson

The third race of the season saw the team make the short trip to the Burton Dassett Hills where Spa Striders were excellent hosts.

The pleasant weather ensured a lovely venue for XC with good conditions underfoot and featuring lots of ups and downs for the runners and good viewing points for the spectators.

Stratford were well represented with 29 members making it to the start line and this ensured an excellent team spirit with many involved in their own personal battle in inter-club competitive rivalry.

Rich Shephard (12th 35 mins 25 secs) again led the team home and it is becoming difficult to find the words to describe his consistent excellence.

Behind him there was a tremendous tussle between Matt Burdus-Cook (20th 36:08) and Ned Campbell (21st 36:16). Ned was 2nd placed junior, 3 seconds ahead of the 3rd placed runner in that category. He showed increased confidence in his second outing in Senior company and a very positive start saw him leading Matt in the early stages. Matt finally got on terms and they continued their battle right up to the finish line where Matt’s strength saw him just hold on.

Richard Liggatt (33rd 36:53) has a languid style which is deceptively effective and he will be very pleased with his performance. He was followed by Alex Pester (45th 37:27) 6th Jnr who, like Ned, also benefitted from the experience of the previous race by turning in a much improved performance and an excllent position in the top 50.

Jamie Hall (61st 38:19) is quickly establishing himself as an A team regular and he had another very solid run as he completed the scorers for the A Team.

The first four scorers for the B team were separated by small margins with Dan Southam (72nd 38:50) leading the way ahead of Adam Linforth (75th 38:55), Ben Jordan (78th 39:01) and Drew Sambridge (80th39:37). There is no doubt that their close proximity throughout the race was inspirational in spurring them on.

It was good to see Tim Hutchinson (97th 39:57) break into the top 100 as he turned the tables on Josh Dobedoe (109th 41:04).

A number of runners were very close behind showing the clubs strength in depth with David Parkin (113th41:15) just holding off Phil Reading (117th 41:23), Sam Wilks (122nd 41:42) and Wayne Vickers (123rd41:44)

Dave Teasdale (130th 41:59) was next back, ahead of Joe Lee (140th 42:28) with the ever-reliable Peter Sugden (150th 43:05) just out staying Nick Cooper (151st 43:09) and Max Ross (157th 43:25)

Dave Battersby (170th 44:12) is probably more at home on the track but he can be well pleased with his run finishing ahead of John Raby (180th 45:04) and Ben Phyall (187th 46:01)

Nick (Dad of Ned) Campbell (201st 47:05) was followed by James Cusack (205th 47:38) who smiled his way around in his own inimitable style

Damien Wheeler (210th 48:28), Paul Longford (221st 50:10) and the ever enthusiastic Dave Wolstencroft (227th 55:30) were the final runners home.

The race winner was Ian Allen from host club Spa Striders in a time of 32:33

The A team points total of 192 gave them 3rd position on the day and has had historians trying to check records to see if this was the club’s best ever result. We are now 8th after 3 races

The B team scored 520 pts and were 3rd on the today (ahead of Kenilworth ☺ ) and are also 3rd overall after 3 races, which is a great position to be in with one race left.

The team’s remarkable turnaround in performances is highlighted by the huge improvement since the first race when the A team finished in 14th and last place. To put it in perspective, the B team’s 520 pts total is lower than the A teams score in that first race.

Midland Women’s Cross Country League

Division 1
Burton Dassett
15 Jan 22

Unfortunately we don’t have a report on our ladies XC league fixture yet but for the full set of results please follow this link:
Alex Adams on his way to his 22nd successive victory, over a 5 year period, in a West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League fixture.
Our U15 girls team.
Our U11 girls team.
U11 boys team.
U13 boys team

West Midland Young Athletes’ Cross-Country League 2021/22

Walsall Arboretum

16th January 2022

Report – David Parkin

The 4th race of the 21/22 season saw athletes travel to a new venue at Walsall Arboretum on a bright sunny morning to find a well laid-out course that was beyond flat – barely a foot of elevation gain around the whole course. This left some bemoaning the lack of hills, but, as conditions deteriorated during the day, there was more than enough mud to guarantee that true cross-country feeling.

The race of the day for Stratford was the U17M, which saw a 1-2 finish for Alex Adams (1st, 15.55) and Taylor Stubbins (2nd, 16:27). Alex, as ever, led from the start, but the chasing pack at least kept him in sight for much of the race. Stubbins fought hard amongst the small group of chasers, eventually breaking 5 seconds clear in the final lap to earn a very well-deserved 2nd place.

Ben Stockhill (18th, 17:52) made a welcome return to the team and helped the team to 1st place. Caleb Spriggs (29th, 18:44) and Tom Cox (30th, 18:45) ran neck and neck throughout the race before Spriggs managed a last ditch overtake in the finish straight.

This victory confirmed Adams’ league title with a race to spare, leaving him unbeaten in 22 races over 5 years since the 2016/17 season. A remarkable feat.

In the U17W, Charlotte Marshall (4th, 15:54) ran a fine race to secure her highest place of the season, moving up the field in the second half of the race. Olivia Robinson (10th, 17:05) couldn’t quite sustain her early pace, but will still be pleased with her first top 10 finish this year, and Abigail Skinner (41st, 20:43) ran well to complete a strong team performance.

In the short, fast and furious U11B race, Stratford were led home by Harrison Geden (25th, 06:38), closely followed by the sprinting Toby Spriggs (36th, 06:59) who went round the outside to get past a few more runners in the finish straight. Henry Sims (56th, 07:17), Callum Linforth, making his debut (57th, 07:19) and Henry Thomas (59th, 07:21) were well bunched in the middle of the field and Toby Wilkinson (78th, 07:48) and Ben Harrison (93rd, 08:29) made up the remainder of the team.

Stella Sant (14th, 06:54) continued her strong season with her highest place finish of the season in the U13G, holding off a strong challenge at the line. Jasmine Mothershaw (46th, 07:28), Rachel Sparrow (47th, 07:29) and Georgia Sharpe (55th, 07:36) ran well together to finish in the middle of the pack.

The U15B had an excellent team performance with 5 finishers in the top 40, finishing 2nd overall. Milo Cullimore (12th, 11:42) continued his excellent first season with the club with his highest finish position after a particularly fast second lap. Henry Wheeler (18th, 11:48), also finishing strongly, led home a closely bunched group of James Day (30th, 12:07), Zak Lambert (33rd, 12:14) and William Mayes (34th, 12:16). Hugh Markham (53rd, 13:00), Seb Hillard (66th, 13:18) and Joe Lewis, making a welcome return to the team (73rd, 14:17) completed the team.

Marijke Tear-Verweij (26th, 11:02), who has been one of this year’s standout performers for Stratford, unfortunately fell at the start of the U13G race. Quickly back up on her feet, she rapidly made up some lost ground, but was unable to connect with the leading group. Lois Ford (39th, 11:34) was in third place going into the first corner, but was unable to maintain her quick start and had a difficult second lap but kept just ahead of Ava Sheppard (42nd, 11:40). Tessa Parkin (47th, 11:50) and Amelia Peeke (53rd, 11:58) battled it out together, with Parkin just getting ahead in the final quarter of a mile.

In the U13B race, Aran Cooper (13th, 09:48) had a phenomenally fast start and was up to third on the first lap. While he couldn’t quite keep up the pace on the second lap, he remained determined and dug out a fast finish to continue an excellent season. Joel Ledgard (18th, 09:56) and Sam Plumb (20th, 10:11) were next home, with Plumb taking an aggressive line and a fast sprint at the finish to pick up an extra place. Alfie Musk (24th, 10:23) was on form and had his highest finish of the season. Arthur Mansbridge (56th, 11:45) held off a strong challenge at the finish and Ewan Sparrow (71st, 12:56) completed the team.

True to tradition, early sunshine had turned to drizzle by the time of the U15G race, and the course that had been so pristine early on had become steadily muddier. This didn’t deter a strong Stratford team, with Maisie-Joy Spriggs (2nd, 12:17), Niamh Hillard (5th, 12:36) and Maddie Linfoot (8th, 12:52) in second, third and fourth place on the first lap. Spriggs had another great race and has now secured her second place in the league with a race to spare. Hillard matched her position from the previous race with another strong run, closely chased throughout by Linfoot. Lucy Thomas (31st, 13:56) and Martha Peters (36th, 14:10) will both be pleased with their races and completed the scoring positions, giving Stratford 3rd place overall. Alice Cottam (45th, 14:21), Abbie Cooper (46th, 14:21), Caitlin Boyle (49th, 14:36), Charlotte Skinner (51st, 14:37) and Emily Cottam (55th, 14:44) gave a strong Stratford flavour to the middle of the race, and the team was made up by Hannah Wilkinson (65th, 15:42) and Ella Peeke (68th, 15:52).

The Stratford team finished 4th overall on the day with 6017 points, just 82 points off 3rd place and are in a strong 4th place in the league of 21 clubs. A 3rd place finish is within grasp in the final race of the season at Nuneaton on 20th February. The club have an overall score of 23996 points, just 218 points behind 3rd placed Wolverhampton.

As ever, a huge well done to all athletes, coaches, parents and supporters for a great Stratford team effort. And, perhaps most importantly, welcome back to the world of junior cross-country for club chairman Paul Hawkins after a long absence.

For the full results please follow the link below:

Cole Williams
Loughborough Indoor Open

Saturday 15th January

Report – David Jones
After a 3 year gap there was a welcome and successful return to the indoor arena for club Masters athlete Andy List.

In his first 60m heat Andy ran a time of 9.43, then with the pressure off he improved on this in the final, with a time of 8.73 to claim a new club record. This time wasn’t a million miles from his PB of 8.73, achieved almost exactly 3 years ago. Welcome back Andy.

The other club members competing at Loughborough were Birmingham University student Imogen Sheppard, Lucy Lane, Nic Butler along with Paula and Cole Williams.

Imy, running in the 60 metres, ran a season’s best time of 8.32 against her PB of 8.14. Competing at the same distance, Cole ran a PB time of 7.25, equalling his previous best time from 2020. In the 60m hurdles he ran a PB of 8.12.

U17 Lucy Lane ran PB times in both the 60m and 60m hurdles, 8.37 and 9.72 respectively. U23 Nic Butler, competing in the TJ, jumped 12.58m against a PB of 13.25.

Paula Williams was disappointed with her time of 10.32 in the 60m hurdles after a poor start but was happier with her 60m race, finishing with a time of 8.74 against a PB of 8.24.
More XC photos.
Taylor Stubbins on his way to a 2nd place finish.
Rachel Sparrow and Jasmine Mothershaw sprint for the finishing line.
Georgia Sharpe and Stella Sant
Harrison Gedden and Toby Spriggs.
Henry Sims and Toby Wilkinson.
Jess Sheppard and Cadie Hibberd.
Emma Bexson and Vicky Sharpe.
Kim Lee and Susan Hunt
Emma Vickers and Kate Sergent.
Sarah Dichard and Pip Bell
Miranda Maloney and Emma Parkin.
And Finally

Life’s too short for me to caption all of our senior men from the weekend’s XC race. Apologies guys but you know who you are and well done.