Alex Adams on top of the podium with the rest of the England Inter Boys team
Alex holding the flag with the successful England team.
Pride of place once again this week goes to Alex Adams who made his England debut in Wales at the weekend and I was extremely fortunate to be there.
At the end of a long hard XC season we had 9 competitors in the National Primary Schools XC Final for school years 5,6&7.
Putting the XC season behind them and embarking on a road race were Maisie-Joy Spriggs and Maddie Linfoot, who did both themselves and the club proud by finishing 4th and 6th respectively in what was billed as the Midland Athletics Young Athletes 5k Champioships that ended up being just 3.8k!. Not running at that event but as someone who has battled it out with both M-J and Maddie all season, Niamh Hillard gives us her views on the past season.
There is a welcome report from newish club member Dan Southam on his PB run in the Cambridge half, where fellow club member Richard Liggatt finished just 7 seconds ahead of him
Ben Kruze and Matt Burdus-Cook have been doing what they do – breaking club records, this time in the Dorney Lake half marathon.
There is an important reminder from Hannah Osborne on the upcoming Hilly 100, one of the most important and eagerly awaited races in the club calendar. It ain’t an easy race though. I remember running it a few weeks after a marathon and The Hilly was way way tougher.
Enjoy the rest of your week.
Alex on Saturday and in his first race for the club at Hatton Country Park in October 2014. Big oak trees from little acorns grow!
SIAB Schools International Cross Country Championships
Report – David Jones.
Last Saturday, for the countries top school athletes, all roads led to Pembrey Park in Wales.
Amongst those athletes was our very own Alex Adams making his international debut.
Alex had qualified to represent his country by finishing 4th in the previous week’s English Schools Cross Country Championships, with first 8 finishers being selected to represent their country.
On a glorious sunny day on the coast these championships provided top class competition for the stars of the future with teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales competing.
It may have been a glorious sunny day for the spectators but for the competitors the heat was most certainly not welcome, with them all taking on water prior to their races. As well as the heat, the runners had to contend with an extremely challenging course, with steep inclines and running on sand, something which many of them, Alex included, were not used to.
England dominated this event as they took the six team events and 11 of the 12 available individual medals plus all four individual titles and with 10 gold medals to compete for, they achieved a complete sweep by winning all 10.
There were individual medals for both Junior and Inter boys and girls plus team medals for those categories, as well as a couple of mixed relays at the end of the programme.
Alex came back with a team gold medal in the Inter Boys race, finishing the 6k course in the top half, in 15th place, with a time of 22.04.
His comments after the race were “It was a hot race and a horrible course with both hard ground and sandy hills. I felt I ran ok but I was disappointed with my end result. None the less I was there for the experience and what an experience it was. The England team was great and the boys all got on very well. Not only the England boys but the Irish as well and to be able to keep in contact with them will be brilliant. Taking team gold topped the day, bringing home an INTERNATIONAL medal!! To be walking round as and INTERNATIONAL ATHLETE is absolutely insane. This is just the beginning, bigger and better things to come”
Needless to say everyone at the club are immensely proud of Alex who joined the club as an 8 year old and who just seems to improve with each passing year.
The Hilly 100
The Hilly 100 takes place on Sunday 15th May and I’m trying to get some teams together for SAC. If you’d like to run and be a part of a fun day get in touch now!
It’s one of the great days in our running calendar and if you haven’t yet joined in and been a part of a Hilly 100 day this could be the year.
In brief, as the name suggests, there are just a few undulations on the course! About 45 teams take part each year from a number of local clubs. The race consists of 10 individual legs of (roughly) 10 miles each, starting at the American Fountain in Stratford early in the morning, completing a 100 mile route around the Cotswolds and finishing back at the sports club, where everyone gathers for food, beer and prize giving.
Lois Ford and Marijke Tear-Verweij. Lois had a great start but unfortunately took a tumble half way round. She strained her hamstring so decided to pull up and not finish the race. She was heartbroken.
National Primary Schools Cross Country Final For School Years 5/6/7
Saturday 26th March 2022
Report – David Jones
The National Primary and Year 7 Cross Country Finals were held last weekend for pupils in Primary School Year’s 5/6 and Year 7 in Secondary Schools.
The event, which is supported by England Athletics, took place on Saturday at Market Harborough. Our club were well represented with 9 members competing.
In the 2.7k Year 6 boys race Harrison Gedden finished in 117th place with a time of 10.45. In the Year 6 girls race over the same distance Stella Sant finished in 104th place with a time of11.36, just 8 seconds behind her, in 115th place, was Rachel Sparrow with a time of 11.44. Rachel commented that she planned to stay close to Stella as she knew how well she had been running of late.
In the 3k year 7 girls race Marijke Tear-Verweij, one of the stars of the last XC season, finished in a highly creditable 45th place out of a field of 118, recording a time of 11.55.
We had 5 runners in the 3k Year 7 boys race. First to finish was Arran Cooper in a time of 11.00. Arran has enjoyed a superb second half of the season. In 53rd place was Arthur Williamson with a time of 11.08 and I look forward to seeing Arthur compete for us in XC next season. The next 3 finishers have all been both consistent and absolute stalwarts in our XC team this season. They all finished the season off strongly and I’m sure they will be looking forward to the upcoming track season. Joel Ledgard led the trio home, finishing in 56th place with a time of 11.11, followed by Sam Plumb ( 81st – 11.29) and Alfie Musk (108th – 12.07).
M-J and Maddie at Sutton Park last Saturday
MIDLAND ATHLETICS YOUNG ATHLETES 5km CHAMPIONSIPS
Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, March 26
Report – David Jones
Two of our most successful Junior XC runners from this past season, Maisie-Joy Spriggs and Maddie Linfoot, competed in these Championships last Saturday.
Unfortunately due to an error by the Clerk of the Course the course was incorrectly marked out for some of the races resulting in competitors running just 3.8k as opposed to the full 5k, this led to the organisers having to issue n apology at the end of the competition.
One of the races affected was the U15 girls race that M-J and Maddie competed in, meaning that they both finished with something left in the tank, thinking they were going to run the full distance.
Despite this they once again ran superbly, as has been the case all season. M-J finished in 4th place, missing out on a 3rd place finish by 8 seconds with her time of 14.36. Maddie was just 13 seconds behind her in 6th place with a time of 14.36.
The race was won by Alice Fearne of Wreake and Soar Valley in a time of 13.44.
Below are M-J’s and Maddie’s thoughts on both the race and also their XC season. Although not running at Sutton Park we also have Niamh Hillard’s thoughts on her successful season. These 3 young ladies have been remarkably consistent throughout a long and hard season.
Maisie -Joy Spriggs
The Midlands race was meant to be 5k but was shortened at the last minute to 3.8k and I wasn’t aware of the change.
I thought I ran well but I felt like I could have done slightly better as I was saving myself a bit for the final mile but I got to the finish much sooner than I was expecting,
I was still happy with my race as it felt good since it was my first road race of the season and it had a few hills as well. I also managed to finish 4th in a time of 14:36.
Overall I think I had a very good XC season and have improved a lot since we were last able to race XC and I am very happy with the positions that I got during the many races of the season.
I felt strong on Saturday and definitely felt like I could have pushed on so the surprise definitely came when the race finished earlier than expected.
I really enjoyed the course, even with it definitely not being flat. I am very happy with my finishing place of 6th (14.49) especially as it was a Midlands competition. The race left me looking forward to the road races this season and I’m excited to do more in the coming months.
Overall I’ve been fairly happy with my cross country season as it was purely based on improving every race and even though I’ve not got the positions I want to achieve yet, I feel I’m in a good place for next year’s season and also this year’s track season.
Niamh Hillard leading the pack.
Niamh wasn’t competing on Saturday but she has been kind enough to let me have her thoughts on her successful XC season.
“It’s been wonderful to get back to cross country again, having not run competitively since the last cross country race in the UK in March 2020.
This cross country season has helped me to get back to my best and by the end feeling very eager to return to it next season.
My highlights are 4th place overall in the West Midlands and 87th in the National’s which I am very proud of.
Overall this cross country season has been a great return to racing and I am sure I will keep my form in the upcoming track season. All this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for my amazing coaches and teammates”.
Cambridge Half Marathon
Report – Dan Southam
A bright, crisp morning in Cambridge saw thousands of runners line up to tackle the Cambridge Half Marathon. Promising a flat and fast route, conditions were almost perfect for PB hunters, bar a cold breeze!
From the gun, crowds of runners sprawled out over the first 2-3 miles, providing slightly cramped conditions and a challenge to get into my goal race pace. Once the crowds spread it was time to stretch the legs and enjoy the scenery through one of Britain’s most beautiful cities!
The route took us through the stunning grounds of Cambridge University and over the river, before heading out into the countryside where the crowds thinned and the battle with the mind began.
A couple of short hills did little to disrupt my rhythm and as the crowds began to come back into sight, the stiff headwind made for a challenging finish.
Pushing hard through the city centre over the cobble stones and onto the final straight, I managed to finish in a new PB of 1:17:01 (damn those 2 seconds!) and funnily enough I was just 7 seconds behind Rich Liggatt….. Neither of us had any idea each of us were racing and we never saw each other across the whole route!
All in all a superb race that’s well organised over a fast course. One to add to the calendar for 2023 PB hunters!
Ben Kruze and Matt Burdus-Cook have been doing what they do – breaking club records! They went down to Dorney Lake Half Marathon a couple of weekends ago (12th March) and though it was windy they both managed to better the club records.
Ben finished the race in 1st place, some 6 minutes ahead of the 2nd placed finisher with a time of 69:39, this places him just outside the top 20 in the current UK rankings for his age group.
Matt bettered his M45 record by 3 seconds running, proving that every second counts. His time of 76:29 meant he finished in 3rd place overall, just 38 seconds behind the 2nd placed runner and 1st in his age category.
Alex’s Barmy Army!
Ingerland, Ingerland, Ingerland.
Grandfather, brother, fellow club member Taylor Stubbins, mom, yours truly, granny and club chairman Paul Hawkins. Talk about a motley crew!
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