There are lots of competitions coming up so it’s a good time to think about club kit.
Vests and crop tops are available to buy through the website and if collection from Summit is a problem then let Lucy know and she’ll bring them to the track on a Tuesday or Thursday or arrange for them to be there on Mondays
Just email email@example.com
Stratford runners were out in force last weekend at the popular and well supported Manchester Marathon, known for its fast course and friendly atmosphere.
Conditions on the day were very good, albeit a little on the chilly side at the start and no less than 6 club members were present on the start line along with 24,000 other racers.
Though he felt the route was not quite as flat as advertised first home for SAC was speedy new member Dan Southam in a superb time of 2.44.06 clearly showing his talent and that he is one to watch going forward.
Next to finish were club training mates Drew Sambridge and Adam Evans both digging deep to record well-earned personal best’s and finish under the mythical 3 hour mark in 2.56.48 and 2.59.17 respectivly.
Adam has shown his class in recent months with ever improving race times and even with illness interrupting the last few weeks of his training he showed real determination to achieve his goal on the day, setting him up well to start training for his next challenge in the UTMB (Ultra Trail Mont Blanc) in the Summer.
Adam’s comments after the race were “I’m not sure where to start with this write up. The last 3 years I’ve been working quite hard at my running. I had this crazy goal of running a sub 3 marathon. I knew I had work ethic to get me there, but mentally you always have doubts you’ll ever achieve it.
On Sunday, it all finally came together and I finished the Manchester Marathon in 2:59:17. To make it even better a few of my fellow club mates also ran Sub 3 on the same day (Seth, Drew).
It makes me extremely proud to know that after all these years we’ve finally achieved this goal. We’ve worked so hard to get here and hopefully we can smash some more goals together.
Manchester itself is a great place to run a marathon. It’s a super flat course (though at mile 20 the little undulations feel like mountains). The conditions where almost perfect. There was hardly any wind, temperature was nice and cool. The crowd support was awesome. They really help you get through the race.
There were plenty of aid stations along the way with SIS Gels and water.
If anyone is thinking about racing Manchester, I’d highly recommend it.
The next big race for me is Ultra Trail Mont Blanc OCC in August. So I better start hitting the hills!”
Ever the dark horse Drew Sambridge didn’t even make a final decision to race until the day of the event, driving up from Stratford to Manchester at 5am to make the start at literally the last minute, so his superb time, following his recent half marathon PB in Leicester, further underlines his abilities.
James Coy also gave a strong showing and recorded a new PB with a sub 3.30 time of 3.26.34 in only his second marathon. He commented that though the last 3 miles were really tough the amazing support and crowds fired him on and he was really happy with his finish time.
Following his strong showing at the Forest of Dean Half Marathon only 2 weeks before and helped by the perfect temperature and lack of wind there was another personal best for Wellesbourne’s Graham Hill finishing in 3.49.49.
Finally club stalwart and super-supportive champion of the club’s couch to 5k group Chris Bloomfield in a great sub 5 hour time of 4.54.11.
Racing at the same time and representing SAC on the other side of the English Channel in the Paris Marathon on Sunday was Seth Turner who also recorded a sub 3 hour time of 2.55.31.
Commenting after the event he said what a beautiful course it was and how much he enjoyed the particularly Gallic atmosphere of the event.
Having trained with clubmates Adam and Drew for many months in the lead up he was particularly pleased that all 3 achieved their aims together albeit in different countries!
All the runners did themselves proud and I am confident they felt the club’s inclusive and supportive membership helped immensely with their months of hard training and motivation to achieve their best in this most respected of road race distance events.
My Manchester Marathon
Report – Graham Hill
I postponed my entry for the Manchester Marathon from October 2021 as I was not fit enough or ready at that time. Come April 2022 and I expect I was even worst than back in 2021 but the plan was to take it easy and look to drop just under the 4 hour mark.
With a couple of nights in Manchester, the time had come to join the Metrolink down to Old Trafford to take my starting slot with the other runners hoping to finish between 3:45 – 4:00.
The weather forecast looked prefect being slightly chilly first thing in the morning, but no rain or wind forecast. The Adidas Manchester Marathon is one of the UK’s premier running events, famous for its fast, flat and friendly route, so ideal conditions for people shooting for those PB’s.
So 9:55 and we are off around Old Trafford before heading into the City Centre. Upon reaching the City Centre we all head back out of the city southwards running through Stretford, Sale, Timperley, Altringham. With Altringham being around 16 miles we head back running through Baguley, Sale Moor to route back towards Old Trafford and the finish line.
The support around the entire route was amazing and with music, cheering along the whole 26.2 miles.
I started a little quick but soon settled into my pace. Everything was going well until around the 21 mile mark when my right knee was giving me problems. It made the last 5 miles harder going as I feeling good apart from the knee.
Coming into the last 2 miles, I knew I could keep going to the end and with a support and cheering, I pushed on. So into the last km and the last turn, the finish line was in the distance. With a quick check on my watch and my time, I knew I had a chance to break my PB from Birmingham in 2017, so with a last effort pushed for that finish line.
To finish the with a PB of 03:49:49 was much, much more than I had hoped, so was extremely pleased finishing 5593 and 414 in MV50 category.
If you are looking for a well supported and PB Marathon race, then Manchester is worth putting on your list.
Tara and Cara
A day out on the Coventry Way.
Report – Tara Lambert
The Coventry way is a 40ish miles trail route through the Warwickshire villages and countryside that surrounds Coventry.
It’s a low-key friendly event that is open to walkers and you start any time between 5am and 9am!
I am a veteran of this challenge event – with this time being my 5th race.
Cara Reynolds, who has been training with me for a few months, decided to do this as her first. I encouraged her to do it, then immediately (and privately) regretted it thinking it was too much of a jump from a marathon and that she would absolutely hate me by the end. But how wrong was I?!
It was a very cold start at 7.30am, frost on the fields which I have never seen before. We started without ceremony, the first task being to walk up some steep steps.
A lot of running and other stuff happened then (which I will get to), and we completed it together in an official time of 8h 15m, which is an excellent time for 40 miles, especially for a first 40 miler and it was my second-best time on the course. My first 40 miler took me about 11 hours!
Ultra-running isn’t really about the running though, it’s about adventures, navigation, trying not to fall in the canal, wondering if you need a wee or a poo, trying not to get caught having one, eating, and chatting. Let’s just say the trail-talk gets more x-rated the further into the day you get.
I dropped the f-bomb first on seeing the devastation caused by HS2 construction close to the route. There was about a 4-mile diversion off the Kenilworth greenway because of the work and the landscape is dramatically altered with trees ripped up.
Then my knee started suddenly hurting which was obviously a cause for more swearing interspersed with prayers for a quick recovery.
I made Cara go on for a bit with my friend Amy so I could walk, jog and sulk and consider my options. I caught them up at mile 19 and decided that as I couldn’t see bone poking out I was fine to continue and I bought some painkillers in Brinklow.
We trotted on, grabbing some food at each aid station and leaving with it rather than hanging around.
From mile 30, I was expecting Cara to be grumpy and really slow down – I pretty much walked the last 10 miles on my first but no, she was incredibly cheerful – wanting to press ahead and singing and chatting.
Conversational highlights included whether it was ‘stiles’ or ‘styles’ that we climbed over, who was behind that ‘shuffling’ song, female rap artists and how rude their lyrics are and something about spelling that I really can’t share on a family newsletter.
We pressed on past some of the ‘features’ of the route – the battery chicken sheds, the sewage works, the Bedworth water tower and some underpasses full of graffiti and litter.
The last few miles through Fillongley and Corley are fairly pleasant though, with some nice woodland to run through. The last mile is downhill on tarmac, so we gave it some legs for a sub-9 min mile finish.
It came in at 40.86 miles so after we checked in to get our finish time, Cara insisted on jogging down the road to round it off to 41. I have literally never done that before in 7 years of ultra-running.
That is all.
We had an amazing day on the trail – not perfect, but still a blessed and rich experience – I would strongly recommend anyone thinking about it to have a go. When things don’t go to plan and you feel sick or get blisters, it can be absolutely heart-breaking.
My good friend and club member – Louise Stewart, had to pull out at mile 16 in Bubbenhall. She calmly got herself together, got an uber back to her car and drove home to regroup and consider things over a strong drink. A situation I have been in many times.
We were super proud at the end of our achievements – Cara’s last words, which I wholeheartedly endorse, are her recommendations to succeed in ultra-running: 1: wear toe socks, 2: do yoga for core and glute strength. 3: (the most important) exercise your sense of humour, as if that fails you then you are going down fast!
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