British Champion – Again.

Andrew Pozzi with his gold medal
Another busy week in the life of our wonderful club.

In Birmingham at the UK Athletics Senior Indoor Championship our 3 time Olympian Andrew Pozzi reclaimed his national title. Andrew was accompanied by fellow club members Emily Madden Forman and Rory Dwyer at this prestigious event.

Meanwhile in London, 20 club members, young and not so young, did the club proud at the National XC Championships.

Closer to home, in the Bourton 10k, Kate Wright joined fellow club members Ben Kruze and Matt Burdus-Cook in securing an England age group place. Kate’s performance also ranks her at number 1 in her age group in the UK’s current ranking for 10k.

In the British Biathlon Championships talented junior member Lucy Thomas achieved her best ever biathlon points score.

In half marathons at Wokingham and Leicester senior members Adam Evans, Seth Turner and Drew Sambridge all ran PBs.

Taking on the Belvoir Challenge were Tara Lambert and Louise Stewart.

There is a detailed note on the  Stratford Town Trust. This outlines the excellent work the Trust does, how it has supported our club in the past and explains how you can put yourself forward as a possible trustee.

Enjoy the rest of your week and good luck if you are competing at the weekend

Take care

Best wishes

David Jones.
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Andrew in action
Happy to be wearing the vest.
Our other two competitors at the UK Athletics Senior Indoor Championships : Emily Madden Forman and Rory Dwyer, both photographed at BUCS the previous week.
2022 UK Athletics Senior Indoor Championships.
Report – Paul Bearman

The UK’s top track and field athletes were at the NIA in Birmingham at the weekend for the 2022 UK Athletics senior Indoor Championships that also doubled up as trials for the World championships to be held in Belgrade in March. 

To be invited to compete the athletes have to be in the top echelon of the national rankings and 3 Stratford upon Avon AC athletes fell into that bracket.
Andrew Pozzi was one of the star athletes to compete at the championships and, although he had already qualified for the World Champs he was keen to keep racing to get into a competition rhythm in the run up to Belgrade.
Andrew blasted out of the blocks in his heat to cruise through to the line in a comfortable time of 7.89s.
In the final he was flanked by David King, who has recently been running PBs and Cameron Fillery who were the athletes who were likely to provide Andrew with a challenge; but it didn’t work out that way.
The slightest of twitches in the starting blocks by King set off the false start buzzer and he was disqualified leaving Andrew to run a clean and efficient race, even with the pressure of the pack behind breathing down his neck.
After the false start, Andrew adopted a more cautious approach from the blocks that mean his winning time to win the gold medal in 7.67s was slightly below what he was hoping for but he got what he went to Birmingham which was to regain his British title.
Proudly wearing his Stratford vest Andrew said afterwards “I’m always happy competing in Birmingham, especially as I’ve been competing here since I was a boy with Stratford. I’m happy to win another British championship and now I’m off to Madrid for the next Grand Prix race and things are coming together for the World champs next month” 

Rory Dwyer lined up in the men’s High Jump with hope of a medal after his silver at the University Championships a week earlier but, in what can only be described as a low key competition, it didn’t go to plan for any of the competitors.
Kelechi Aguocha and UK leader David Smith could not be separated at 2.13m and shared the men’s high jump gold medal. Three athletes all shared bronze, having cleared 2.09m leaving a “disappointed” Rory who had also cleared 2.09m, just out of the medals in 6th place on countback. 

Emily Madden Forman, fresh from her High Jump bronze medal performance in the university championships, made her debut at this level of competition and after clearing the opening height of 1.64m, with nerves jangling, Emily failed at the next height and finished in 9th place. Emily said afterwards “it was a good experience to be invited to the championships with all the other jumpers and although I’m disappointed with my performance I’m excited to get back to training and I’m looking forward to the outdoor season”.
Becks and Bex – Our ladies team at the National XC Championships
Ned Campbell and Alex Pester, our U20 men’s team.

National Cross Country Championships 2022
 Parliament Hill, London.

Report – Paul Hawkins

The 2022 National Cross Country Championships took place at Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath, London and, surprisingly, the weather was good without any of the recent storms although there was certainly plenty of mud from the recent rains which made the course a good challenge for the 8,000 runners who had travelled from across the country spread across the ten races.

The course included the infamous Kite Hill on Hampstead Heath, the highest point in London. The Stratford team were fewer in numbers than in some years mostly due to Covid and some injuries, while many of the leading seniors chose to aim for fast times in road races this weekend.

The club still had a fine day with the highlight being a top twenty place from Alex Adams in the under 17 men’s race despite him being amongst the youngest in the race.

After recent successes Adams was confident going into the race and was in a top three position for the first half of the 6k course but the thick mud took its toll and he slipped to finish 18th in 22.45.

Team mate Taylor Stubbins had only just recovered from illness and ran well mid-way in the pack finishing in 168th position with a time of 25.48.

Georgie Campbell has had an inconsistent season marred by Covid but enjoyed a successful first season in this age group and ran well to finish 35th (27.48) in a good quality field and will be happy with the performance.

Also, in 35th was the ever-improving Maisie-Joy Spriggs (27.48) in the Under 15 girls race with Niamh Hillard (89, 19.07) next home for the team closely followed by Maddie Linfoot (111th, 19.23) and then to complete the team Tilly Campbell (342, 25.08. Unfortunately, Caitlin Boyle did not finish due to breathing difficulties.

The Under 15 Girls finished 20th team, improving from 24th at the 2020 event when they were in the Under 13 competition. 

Before this the Under 13 girls race featured Marijke Tear-Verweij in her first race at this level. Marijke was probably the smallest girl in the race but had a tremendous run in the 3k of mud and was 135th out of 393 runners and said afterwards “Such a big race, so much fun. I smiled all the way round, and I felt proud to be running for my club in the biggest race of the year.”

Next up were the under 13 boys and following late withdrawals there were just the two Stratford runners racing on the 3k course and both performed well with Sam Plumb (221, 14.27) on the comeback trail after a bad bout of Covid and Joel Ledgard (265, 14.50) close for most of the race. Unfortunately, Joel lost his shoe in the mud early in the race which cost him valuable time.

Joel’s mum said “I just wanted to say a massive thank you for facilitating today. Joel (and the whole family in fact) loved it.  We were so gripped we stopped for all of the races after Joel’s and shouted for many Stratford runners who I’m sure had absolutely no idea who we were! If you could organise weather like that for every cross country event, that’d be great!

Despite the shoe incident, Joel loved the course and the mud!  He will use the event as a learning curve and make sure shoes are done up tighter (or taped on) in future!! Don’t think having to stop, pick up the shoe, take off gloves to get shoe back on, then run the rest of the race with lace untied did much for his time or placing but he thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience!

Thank you once again – Becks Ledgard, Joel and the whole family.”

 The Under 15 boys team was the same as last season’s U13 boys and consisted of a reversal of the previous result Joe Lewis (392, 20.42) just behind Seb Hillard (331, 18:56)

The under 20 men’s team ran over a long 10k course and the two Stratford athletes should both be happy with their runs finishing very close together although not running that close during the race. Ned Campbell 144th (40.25) improved by over 70 places from his last run in the Under 17 Nationals while Alex Pester is in his first full cross country season coming 153rd in 40.42. 

In the Senior Women’s 8k race with over 1,000 runners, both Stratford runners had reasons to be happy with their races. Emma Bexson was well up the field in 253rd in 37.35. Rebecca Pridham (816, 49.57) has just returned from major health issues and said at the finish “My thoughts apart from focusing like crazy on the surface 2-3 metres in front of me for 8km. wasn’t focused on time today, it was about pacing and holding form throughout. The Nationals were the focus of my post op training, and I am pleased with progress. Looking forward to next season now. Thank you to all those who raced and supported and cheered (especially anyone who cheered me on waaaay back in the womens race, it honestly helped!).”

The final race was the senior men competed over a 12k course of four long laps. With over 2000 men racing the course was congested at the start but everyone coped well with it, although the men probably had the worst of the mud. Two of the three Stratford runners were making their debuts at the Nationals and first back was Phil Reading (1060, 60.17) in his first cross country season followed by fellow debutant Owen Lewis (1651, 79.39) see comments below and National regular Dave Wolstencroft (2020, 84.09), see below also)

All in all, an excellent day for the Club with wonderful team spirit shown by the support all round the course for each race. For many of the juniors they will now be going on to the Inter Counties Championship and English Schools Championships later in March. 

Owen Lewis: “With my son competing in the U15s, I was persuaded to enter the 12K Seniors as my second cross-county race in 30 years. Quite an experience, especially the mass charge up the hill from the start. By this stage in the day, large sections of the course were knee deep in slick mud. Somehow I managed to stay upright throughout, and tried to stay honest to the route while others ran outside the barriers to find solid ground.  Recovering from a foot injury since November, I took it fairly easy, helped by bottlenecks at several points on the first lap which slowed everyone to a walk.  One advantage of being so slow was seeing the fastest runners come past at lightning speed on their final lap, including the eventual winner Mahamed Mahamed and Olympic medal-winning triathlete Alex Yeo who finished third.”

Dave Wolstencroft: “The atmosphere was exhilarating with thousands of representatives from running clubs up and down the country getting together in such an iconic area of heathland with the  fantastic view of the whole of London so close and, perfect weather to boot. There was great marshal and onlooker support. The course was challenging with the mass start of over 3000 being channeled into a gap 30 ft wide at the top of a hill, was difficult to get a good start if you are not good at sprinting up hills from the off, there was a wait at the top to get through. The hills were long with a good measure of short steep hills for good measure. The wading mud was challenging at times, especially on the downward bend stretches although it was by no means not the most difficult I have experienced. There were grassy parts of the muddy parts to aim for but then you were not taking the most direct route. I did not fall over at least. One steep section was barely walkable on the last lap. Watching the best cross country runners in the country lap you was inspiring! They seem to glide across the mud as they hustle past-and not sink into it like I do! Some quite long sections were really narrow with only room for two lines, one for the lappers and one for those being lapped! The 12k distance was tough, that extra 3k took its toil and my lack of stamina fitness was quite apparent to me. It was a shame that there were only two senior men running. My time accordingly to my watch was 1.24:03. Take from this what you want, if anything. It was just quite nice to think it all over!.

Stratford Town Trust

Tony Jackson

As a club we have good reason to be thankful for the Town Trust (e.g. the Pavilion and contributions to theTrack) and the Trust continues to do excellent work in the Town as a grant making charity. Typically it gives out around £2 million each year to a wide range of local groups and charities. 

The Trust are just about to open the process for the election of 5 member nominated Trustees – and to give as much publicity to this process – both to encourage members to put themselves forward and to promote a general increase in membership – they are contacting all local groups / Sports Clubs etc looking for those groups to promote to their members.

I became a trustee c6 years ago and was elected as the Chair of the Board of Trustees last November. As such I am obviously keen to promote to our members.

Whilst there is no guarantee on future financial contributions to SUAAC I would like to think we are all supportive of the work the Trust does for the local community and as such I would encourage everybody to become a member of the Trust. 

Membership is free but limited to Over 18’s who reside in the Town of Stratford upon Avon – just follow this link 

If you are interested in becoming a Trustee further information and details on putting your name forward can be found below / here 

Join us as a trustee

Stratford Town Trust is a grant making charity that gives out around £2 million each year to a wide range of local groups and charities.

We are looking for five  trustees elected by our membership to help us to deliver our vision of creating a vibrant and connected community. The term runs for four years from May 2022.

As a trustee you will be in good hands; the Trust is run by a small team of dedicated staff governed by eleven trustees, all of whom must be members.  They comprise five trustees elected by the membership; three trustees nominated by Stratford Town Council; and three trustees co-opted to join the board to provide additional specific skills.

Our trustees play a central role in supporting the Town Trust team and ensuring that we operate to the highest standards of charity governance.

Why should I become a trustee? The last two years have demonstrated  the value of a strong and connected community. You will be joining the Board at an exciting time as Stratford Town Trust is changing the way it thinks; how it connects with the community; and how it can make the biggest impact from its valuable assets. Our Strategic Plan sets out our ambitions to 2025 for the next five years and states our commitment to supporting young people and those in our community who are vulnerable or isolated

Being a trustee is rewarding,  you will be able share your skills and make a positive contribution; you will be at the heart of a historic charity that typically distributes almost £2m each year to charities and good causes; and you will guide the organisation as part of a team who are passionate about their local community.

What if I don’t have any experience of being on a board?  You don’t need to have previous experience as a trustee to add value. We value your personal knowledge, experiences, and passion, and we will make sure that you have all the necessary help and support to fulfil your role. We would love to hear from people who would help broaden the diversity of the Board and are really looking for people who, come from any walk of life; are great communicators with integrity and a strong commitment to making change happen; have a strong empathy with the local community and bring a range of real-world experience. 

What’s involved? Trustees usually serve for a period of four years from appointment.  As a trustee you will be expected to attend around 13 meetings in a year. These comprise six board meetings and one off-site strategy day each year,  and around 6 committee meetings. You will also have the opportunity to visit or meet some of the groups and charities that we support. 

I’m interested, what next? If you are already a member, you will automatically receive a nomination form and all instructions in the post.  If you are not a member then join at or get in touch for an informal chat at


British Biathlon Championships

Lucy Thomas did fantastically well at the Briitish Biathlon Championships. She was up againt some very strong athletes but ran 1600m in windy conditions to place 5th in the run. She then placed 9th in the swim in a fairly closely matched field which scored enough points to keep her in 5th place over all.

Lucy’s points haul of 2111 was her best ever Biathlon score.

Kate Wright who secured an England age group place at the Bourton 10k last weekend. Kate is now the UK’s top ranked 10k runner in her age group. Ben Kruze is ranked 6th and Matt Burdus-Cook ranked 10th in their respective age groups and both have also qualified for an England age group place.

Bourton 10k

Report – Matt Burdus-Cook

Having received confirmation earlier in the week that the qualification race in Chessington two weeks earlier had secured an England age group place for both Ben Kruze and I, we were both able to approach the Bourton 10k feeling a little less pressure. 

From the start of the race I was lucky to find myself in a large group of similarly paced runners for the first 2 miles and positioned myself towards the back of the pack to avoid the headwind. 

I knew that the course had PB potential, so pushed on in the second half of the race which paid dividends as I was able to make up more places than I lost whilst building my pace and I finished in 12th place with a PB time of 33.21. 

It was fantastic to see that Kate Wright, finishing 1st in her age group with a time of 38.31, also qualified for an England age group place. Not only did she qualify but her time ranks her No 1 in the UK for her age group over this distance. As Kate herself said “ there’s life in the old legs yet”

Ben took a well deserved podium place, finishing in 2nd place with a time of 31.31. 

There were also strong runs from Peter Sugden (41.40) and Sarah Wheeler (45.19).

All in all  it was a good day for the club.


Adam Evans and Seth Turner
Wokingham Half Marathon
Report – Seth Turner
With unfinished business after both just missing beating 3 hours at the Manchester Marathon last year, Adam Evans and myself have been training hard to improve out times and break the mythical barrier this spring.

As a test of our progress we both wanted to race a half marathon 4-5 weeks before our forthcoming spring Marathons (Manchester and Paris), at the start of April.

I think it was Matt Burdus-Cook who suggested Wokingham as a good option and grateful we are as it proved to be a cracking race.

The Wokingham HM has been running since 1984, is known as a fast and popular race and this year was being used for UK Masters qualification which meant an especially strong and competitive field.

We drove down early on Sunday in what looked to be ideal running conditions with clear blue sky, cool temperatures and very little wind.

With around 3500 runners the start was very busy but brilliantly well organised and soon enough the town’s Mayor was sounding the start and we were off.

We set off together initially through the attractive town centre then off into the local countryside. After the first 1km or so Adam (who has been running super-strongly recently), eased ahead while I sat with the 1.25 pacers hoping to stick with them through to the finish.

As the fairly level route went along some pretty tree-lined roads and through a couple of attractive Berkshire villages, with the local support cheering us on and the beautiful sunshine I felt strong and inspired and pushed ahead of the pace team hoping I wouldn’t regret it at the end.

With a good number of runners around keeping each other going I stayed on pace til around 10-11 miles where there was a bit of a climb and a headwind, but knowing the last mile or two was a slight downhill I dug in and picked the pace back up.

Coming into the last 2-300 yards and knowing I was close to getting under my target time I threw myself into a last sprint finish and was really happy to come in with a new PB of 1.23.55.

Adam was waiting for me at the finish cheering and grinning like a madman having smashed his own target and recorded a super-impressive 1.19.11 finish time.

Our positions of 185th and 332nd show how deep the field was, these times would have put us both in the top 25 in the last Shakespeare Half Marathon!

Mission accomplished and a solid morning’s work for both of us we drove home feeling very pleased with ourselves.

I would recommend this race to anyone as its very well organised (they have 40 years of practice!), offers an attractive flat and fast course with excellent PB potential, they have pacers for all major time goals and there is a strong and competitive field of runners to keep you pushing for whatever goal you are chasing.

For Adam and I it’s into a last few weeks training now ready for the big one but we go into it feeling strong, positive and ready to smash it, bring it on!
Tara Lambert and Louise Stewart
Belvoir Challenge

Report – Louise Stewart

Saturday 26th Feb saw the return of the Belvoir challenge.

Well known for the equal quantities of cake and mud, this was an opportunity I couldn’t resist, having heard about it from Club colleagues in previous years. 

The plan was to do the long route however due to some personal issues I sadly had to change to the shorter route; very disappointing personally but I can’t thank Tara enough for supporting me and picking up the pieces.

A salient reminder that despite all the training, sometimes your mind will triumph over your body. 

In the end 15 miles of mud was quite sufficient and meant we had time for a leisurely pub lunch afterwards.

There was some amazing running, with the first long route finishers coming back within 3-4 hours; truly brilliant given the stiles and mud.

This is definitely a good run, well organised and with great views and probably the best stocked aid stations I have ever seen, a carb lover’s dream. However don’t underestimate it, it’s not called a challenge for nothing!
Drew Sambridge
Leicester Half Marathon.

In his own words, building off the back of a couple of decent enough 10ks at the Tempo Events Winter Series and Shakespeare races, Drew Sambridge wanted to test himself at the half marathon distance. 

The Leicester half marathon, which he says was actually more like Loughborough than Leicester, primarily used the outer ring of an old airfield but was surprisingly rutted and uneven in places, as well as gravelly underfoot.
Despite this his run more or less went to plan and he was pleased that his final quarter was quicker than the middle section of it. 

Drew’s final chip time of 1:22:15 was a definite PB and 45 secs ahead of the target he’d set himself.
He added that it wasn’t a course he’d run again as it was quite boring aesthetically and not always great underfoot, but nevertheless he was pleased with both the result and his performance.

Also competing from the club was Neil Gardiner and in the words of  out triathlete correspondent Simon Taylor: 

‘Like a bumblebee emerging from hibernation, GB Triathlete Neil Gardiner emerged blinking into the sunlight on Sunday to compete in the Leicester Half Marathon. 

 A winter spent peering through the curtains, shaking his head and heading to the garage to race on Swift was finally ended as the Neil got a good dose of Vitamin D, buzzing around in a time of 1.39.08. A impressive start to the year.

And Finally
More photos from The National Cross Country Championships in London last weekend.
Marijke Tear-Verweij
Sam Plumb
Joel Ledgard
Maisie-Joy Spriggs
Niamh Hillard
Maddie Linfoot
Tilly Campbell
Caitlin Boyle
Seb Hillard
Joe Lewis
Alex Adams
Taylor Stubbins
Georgie Campbell
Emma Bexson
Becks Pridham
Phil Reading
Owen Lewis
Dave Wolstencroft
U15 girls warm up. Maddie, M-J, Caitlin and Tilly.
Perfect XC conditions!