On Monday I wasn’t really sure what would be in this week’s newsletter. It seemed like it might be a quiet week, then within a matter of hours I received 3 reports on 3 completely different events in which 3 of our super talented members had excelled.
So this week we have those reports, firstly on a Triathlon Super Series Grand Final in which Charly Marshall achieved her goal of finishing in the top ten rankings. Her performance in the individual race also secured her a place in the West Midlands A team for the National Final Youth and Junior Mixed Relays the next day.
We then have a report on a 35 mile trail run starting in Switzerland and finishing in France completed by Adam Evans, helped greatly by some chicken noodle soup!
Then there is further confirmation that we have a new star in the firmament with Joel Masters finishing on the podium at the England Athletics U15/U17 Championships in Bedford.
Triathlon, Ultra Mountain Trail and 100m – they say variety is the spice of life and as these reports show, there is no shortage ofvariety at Stratford Upon Avon Athletic Club!
Finally there is a short report on the Kidderminster & Stourport AC Open Meeting and reminders about the upcoming Club Championships and the start of the next Couch to 5k group.
This was the race that I had been targeting my training towards all summer, the Super Series Grand Final. Going into this weekend I was overall ranked 11th in the Super Series, however with one more race this season in Eton Dorney with only 10 places available, I knew I had to improve my ranking, and push myself into the top 10.
This was my last chance. As it was the Grand Final, there were extra points up for grabs with each position. After a long season of hard work and positioning well in my last Super Series race at Mallory Park, I was feeling positive going into my longest triathlon ever.
We were fortunate to have lovely warm weather, with the sun shining over the sea at Roker Beach, Sunderland. Saturday morning kicked off with an amazing start for the West Midlands IRC team, made up of 4 females and males from each TS2 (11-12yo) and TS3 (13-14yo). However, before I knew it, it was my turn.
We were called down to the beach for our race briefing and race start. Tensions were high for me and many others, with the challenging conditions of the course and knowing that everybody was going to put their all into this race: everyone was looking to improve their overall position.
I was very pleased with my swim and running beach start, as earlier this season I had difficulty in Llanelli with beach starts but I managed to nail it this time. The wind had picked up, so the water felt very choppy. Sighting was even more important to stay on course as the waves were throwing us in all directions. I came out the swim in a strong position ready for the bike.
The bike was long and technical with fast slalom descents followed by sharp turns and hairpin bends. For the first two of five laps I managed to get myself in a bike pack with 3 seniors, this was hard work to stick with but was good experience for next year. I did get dropped from this pack and had to work on my own in windy conditions. This was gruelling and took a lot of unnecessary effort for another one and a half laps. I then got caught by the pack behind, which I knew was inevitable as soon as I got dropped, as packs move a lot faster than individual riders. It was somewhat a relief when I did get caught, as I got to work in a pack and ease off the effort on the bike, so my legs were as fresh as they could be for the run. However, getting caught meant that I had a hard run ahead of me if I still hoped to push my ranking up.
Getting into transition, I knew I had to keep it short and efficient to give myself the best chance of catching and making leads on my competition.
The run had a steep hill at the beginning of each 2.5k lap, but the rest was fairly flat, or gently descending around the docks. I put in everything I had left into the run, knowing I was nearly finished and caught a few places and made up some of the gaps.
Overall, I finished 6th in the youth B category of the British Triathlon Super Series Grand Final and am so pleased with my overall performance, coming ahead of competitors that have beaten me many times this season. This result has pushed me into the top ten rankings and secured me a place at Eton Dorney. My performance in the individual race also secured me place in the West Midlands A team for the National Final Youth and Junior Mixed Relays on Sunday.
Sunday was another day full of excitement at Roker Beach, with the mixed Tri-Star relays kicking off in the morning and dolphins being spotted in the bay.
Josh Harrison of Stratford Athletics Club and Triathlon Club took part in the mixed Tri Star Relay at the Inter Regional Championships. This was also his first race at a national level triathlon competition and he did Stratford proud with his strong performance in the 3rd leg, maintaining the position of the team. The relay team placed well, and well above their seeded position.
Later in the day was the British Triathlon National Final Youth and Junior Mixed Relay. After a hard day of racing the day before, completing these short and sharp relay legs was challenging for everybody. The distances were a 300m swim, a 5k bike and a 1.4k run. I was the 4th leg of the West Midlands relay team. Our relay team did well, overall placing 8th of 24 teams.
Adam and Bryce Evans. I’m assured Bryce didn’t compete.
Sarah Boundy with Adam and Bryce.
Well done Daddy – What kept you ?
Okay I admit it looks pretty spectacular but I think I’ll stick to the track.
Ultra Trail Mont Blanc
Report – Adam Evans
On Thursday the 25th I ran the OCC race of the UTMB (Ultra Trail Mont Blanc) week.
The race started in Orseries Switzerland then 56km (35 miles) and 3500m (11,500 ft) of vertical gain later I finished in Chamonix France. The race itself was absolutely epic. One of the most beautiful places in the world.
I’d say the first 25km went really well. The next 8 we’re torture as I battled cramping in both legs. Once I reached the 20 mile checkpoint I was considering dropping out of the race as I was in so much pain.
Before pulling the pin I gave myself 30mins to consume as much food as possible before making a decision. I ended up having 2 lots of chicken noodle soup, dark chocolate, can of coke, sugar cubes and lots of watermelon. That chicken noodle soup ended up being a life saver as it managed to get me through the rest race (who would have thought!). Also knowing I’d be seeing Sarah and Bryce at the next 2 checkpoints helped.
In the end I finished in 11 hours and 40 seconds. Not the goal time but I’m just super proud to have finished. So that’s me done racing until the arrival of our baby boy
Joel Masters looking pretty pleased with himself. As well he might.
England Athletics U15/U17 Championships
Report – Paul Bearman
The England Athletics U15/17 Championships held in Bedford had an added international flavour about them with a huge contingent of top class athletes from the Athletics Ireland development academy competing against the best young athletes in the UK.
With only one Stratford athlete fit and able to compete this year it was left to Joel Masters to pit himself against the UK’s best and judging from the early rounds, the U15s 100m would be very competitive but also very open for the medals.
In June in the South West Schools T&F Championships, Joel ran his first competitive 100m in a time of 11.89s using a standing start! After joining the club in July he has had a meteoric rise to prominence and with only 8 further races before these EA championships, he has won silver in the English Schools Championships 100m and then became double Midland champion for 100m & 200m.
As a relative newcomer to national competition Joel flies under the rankings radar but after a scintillating run in his heat he made everyone sit up and take notice by finishing marginally second in his heat and finished second fastest with a new PB time of 11.22s, that’s an incredible 0.67s faster than his run in June.
The long wait until the final, nearly 5 hours after his heat, was about staying focussed and after an indifferent start, Joel was playing catch up for most of the race and so it was all about holding his form and with a strong burst to the line he finished 4th in a blanket finish in a slightly faster time of 11.21s and outside of the medals….or so he thought!
The race was actually won by one of the Irish athletes but they can’t be included in the EA champs and so with Joel feeling dejected to finish 4th his face lit up when he was called to the presentation area to be awarded the bronze medal.
Afterwards Joel celebrated with a well earned burger and declared “I’m looking forward to training in the winter to improve and come back next year and try to do even better”.
Debutant Mark Reynolds alongside seasoned competitors Elaine Ledden and Brian Gravelsons
Kidderminster & Stourport AC Mike Lambert Open
Report – David Jones
We had several members competing at this local event last weekend.
U13 Sam Plumb ran a time of 2:43.5 in the 800m and cleared 1.15 in the high jump.
U15 Ella Smith ran a PB time of 28.00 in the 200m and also jumped 4.01 in the long jump.
U15 Nicola Wodzisz threw 9.01 in the shot put and 27.84 in the javelin to finish in first place in her heat.
U15 Martha Peters ran her 800m in 2:33.8. She didn’t get a PB which she was disappointed about. However her time was more than acceptable! It was a tough event for her as they mixed up the races so she was running in a mixed age and gender race.I’m sure she was saving herself for the Club Champs!
M55 Mark Reynolds, making his debut in a Stratford vest, should be well pleased with his 2nd place finish in his 100m race. He finished with a time of 13.7 and was only being beaten by an U15! Well done Mark.
V60 athlete and club Athlete of the Year Elaine Ledden ran a PB time of 15.1 in the 100m which moves her up to 4th in the UK rankings for her age group. She also has a 4th place ranking in 200m and at this event she ran 31.9. Elaine was also delighted with her PB jump of 3.68 in the long jump.
Finally, M50 Brian Gravelsons threw a season’s best 18.14 in the discus and a PB of 20.06 in the javelin.
Deadline for entries 4th September.
It’s the final countdown to our club’s Track and Field Championships. Held at Stratford High’s track on 11th Sept. For senior members, as well as competing in the main Championships, it is a great opportunity to score points in the Shakespeare League with the reintroduction of the 5000m race. You will also be supporting the club at the most important event of the club calendar.
This is open to all members – both seniors and juniors!
You need to sign up by 4th Sept.
Details have now been updated on the website and linked here, so get your skates on!
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