Bog Snorkelling anyone ?

A few of the members of our Vets T&F team on Sunday after a long and tiring day at the Cup Final in Nuneaton.
In case you need reminding it’s The Big One on Sunday.

Yes the Club Champs and with some 230 members due to compete it promises to be a magnificent day.

230 members. Blimey that’s a lot !

If you’re not one of those competing why not pop along and enjoy the spectacle ? You won’t regret it.

Last weekend saw the finale of our Vets T&F season with the end of season Cup Final in Nuneaton. As well as a report on that we have a round up of the league season from Team Captain Hannah Osborne, together the final individual points totals for the season.

There’s a report from Richard Gubby on his superb performance at the Stratford Big 10k where he knocked a couple of minutes off last year’s time and a few words from me on that race.

We also have a report on what was apparently the Bog Snorkelling World Championships with club members Lisa Stevens and Miranda Maloney competing. I had to Google it to make sure it wasn’t a scam!

Adrian Mason has sent us his report on the Cheltenham Half Marathon and finally there is a link to Wednesday night’s Shakespeare Race results.

I’m off to Bonny Scotland on Monday for a couple of weeks so no newsletter for a while. I’m packing my waterproofs!

Take care

Best wishes

David Jones



Sunday 11th September 2022
Registration starts 9.00am
First Events at 10.00am
The Championships are run in accordance with UKA rules

A message from Paul Bearman

This is the first year post covid and as a fully integrated club (One Club One Vision) that we have been able to run the Club Championships with a full programme of activities.  Our objective was to ensure there is something for everyone included in the programme. We have reinstated the Shakespeare 5000m and there are the very competitive Fun Novelty events at the end

The support from our officials, coaches and parents to run the event has been heartening, showing that the typical SUAAC spirit of supporting the event post Covid is still embedded in the club.

We have a record number of entries, with over 200 and  nearly 30 seniors competing, which is over a third of all our club members. 

A number of folks will be competing for the first time and so hopefully the weather is kind and we all have a brilliant, enjoyable day.

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Elaine Ledden’s much deserved trophy, having been named Athlete of the Season in the Midland Vets League. This can be added to her award as the club’s Athlete of the Year and Club T&F athlete of the year.
You’re going to need a bigger trophy cabinet Elaine!
And here she is. Elaine Ledden about to triumph in last Sunday’s 100m race at the Vets Cup Final despite dropping down an age group.
Richard Dobedoe turns the clock back as he starts his first 100m sprint since his schooldays.
Dave Battersby in the relay
Yours truly, far left, at the start of the 100m race.
Vets Track and Field Season Round Up and Cup Final Report
As the Vets Track & Field season ends for 2022, I would like to say a huge well done and thank you to those who have supported me in my role as Vets T&F Manager this year.

It’s been a steep learning curve for me but I’m in awe of the club and its members who are so diverse, support each other and give stuff a go.

We have again shown our strength as a club and as individuals – with many records broken as individuals as well as club records.
It’s been inspiring seeing our steadfast T&F athletes smash out another season of awesome performances, mostly due to their hard work, focus and discipline all year (especially the base work in the off season).

Seeing club members coming back to T&F after many a year has been wonderful, as well as new club members trying it out for the first time since school PE days and loving the variety as well as rediscovering hidden talents.

In summary, our Vets T&F Teams finished a solid 2nd place in the South Midlands League (for the men and women) in 2022. The league matches run once a month from April to September (normally Wednesday evenings) 
If anyone is interested in knowing more about Track & Field, the Vets team is managed by me, everyone over 35 years old is welcome! Under 35? You get to be in the young/senior Midlands League team managed by Mike Sheppard.
Anyone from the club is welcome to come along and train for track/sprint/racewalking work as well as field (throwing and jumping) events at the Stratford School track on:
Monday 6:30-8:00pm
Thursday 6:45-8pm
Drop me a message if you want to come and we can make sure someone is on hand to meet you.
Hannah Osborne
07786 563029
Final league positions for the 2022 season.
Men and Ladies league positions

Midland Vets League T&F Cup Final

Pingles Stadium

4th September 2022


Report – David Jones.

Our Vets T&F team completed their season at the traditional end of season Cup Final at the Pingles Stadium last Sunday.

Following what had been a very successful league season under the stewardship of Hannah Osborne, we once again finished in the runners up slot in the league. 

The much forecast rain held off for a programme of 68 events over 6 hours of competition.

Ultimately it was a disappointing day for the club who struggled due to the absence of several key team members and a clash of events.

These absences resulted in only 21 out of 34 of the ladies events being contested by us. The men’s team fairing somewhat better with 32 out of 34 events being contested. The absences were also reflected in the points scored by the teams, with the men scoring 139 points against the ladies tally of 95.

Having enjoyed podium finishes in the last year or two the club had to settle for 5th place out of the 15 clubs competing on the day, with the ladies finishing in 7th place and the men in 5th.

The undoubted highlight of the day was Elaine Ledden’s three 1st place finishes, the club’s only wins of the day. Elaine was victorious in the 100m, despite dropping down an age group to W50 (15.10 seconds), the W60  triple jump (7.31m) and she decimated the rest of the field in W50 400m (74.28) winning by a margin of almost 7 seconds.

Elaine’s overall performances this season was rewarded at the end of the day when she was announced as the league’s Female Athlete of the Season. A much deserved accolade and having picked up the club’s award for Athlete of the Year and T&F Athlete of the Year for 2021, it’s been a hugely successful year for this hard working, committed and talented athlete.

Elaine was one of the busiest team members on Sunday competing in 6 events, a similar number to Christine Coote. Christine competed in W60 100m (17.66), W60 hammer (12.31m), W60 shot (6.00), W50 discus (11.46) and W40 triple jump (6.03m) as well as running a leg of 4x100m relay, indeed with the exception of Emma Bexson (W35 shot – 4.30) and Kate Sergent (W70 shot – 3.08), Elaine and Christine competed in all of the other ladies field events in which we took part. Emma Bexson competed despite having done a 100 mile time trial on her bike earlier in the day!

There was success for our lady racewalkers with Gemma Smith finishing in 4th place (14:51.58) in the W40 category and Kate Sergent 2nd (14:24.5) in the W60 category. Kate also finished in 3rd place in M70 100m (26.82). Paul Hawkins (13.47.04) also competed in M60 racewalk.  

Sarah Wheeler has made a welcome return to the team this season and she had a tiring day, dropping down a couple of age categories to compete in both W35 3000m (13:11.4) and W35 1500m (6:17.66). Sarah also ran a leg of the 4 x 100m relay. 

Sharon Samuel is a recent recruit for the club after a couple of years break from running, having previously competed for Bromsgrove & Redditch. She dropped down an age group to record a time of 14.98 in W40 100m. She also ran a leg of the 4 x 100m relay.

The Lee family, Joe and Kim have proved themselves versatile and always ready to answer the call this season and on Sunday Kim, competing in the W35 category, ran 87.6 in 400m and 39.73 in 200m. Joe ran 11:27.91 in M40 3000m plus a leg of 4 x 400m relay.

Peter Sugden started his day dashing between the 200m hurdle (33.56) start line and his annual pole vault competition (1.6m), finishing in 3rd and 2nd place respectively. He also ran in M50 200m (30.02) as well as a leg of the 4 x 400m relay along with Joe Lee, Andy List and Drew Sambridge. Andy and Drew also ran in the 4 x 100m relay along with Dave Battersby and Mark Reynolds.

Drew Sambridge also had a busy day, as well as his relays, he competed in M35 events of 200m (2:22.97), 1500m (5:06.37) and triple jump (9.39m).

Despite still suffering the effects of long Covid after 7 months, John Peacock was able to compete in M60 800m (3:02.10) and 1500m (6:15.23). 

Recently recruited sprinter Mark Reynolds made his team debut by running 13.43 in M40 100m and jumping 4.40m in M35 long jump. Richard Dobedoe rolled back the years to compete in his first sprint since his schooldays, recording a time of 15.34 in M50 100m. He then ran M50 3000m in 11:07.05. 

Andy List and Dave Battersby ran M60 and M40 200ms recording times of 70.70 and 61.73 respectively. Andy also ran M60 100m in 14.15, while Dave ran M35 200m in 27.53. He also grabbed 2nd place in M35 high jump with a jump of 1.40.

I was delighted to get 2nd place in M70 high jump, soaring through the air to record a jump of 99 cms ! I also threw the shot put 5.41m and ran times of 17.12 in M70 100m and 36.14 in the 200m at the end of a long and tiring day. My 100m time shaved a fraction off my existing club record.

In the field events Mark Illingworth threw 17.64m in the M60 hammer and 6.85m in M60 shot. 

Brian Gravelsons’ found the time ,despite his officiating duties, to record a throw of 20.88 in the javelin.

Finally the versatile John Boxall competed in 4 field events, throwing 7.49 and 19.64 in M40 shot and discus and jumping 7.91m in M50 triple jump.

Following this weekend’s Club Championships the Vets T&F season draws to a close with winter training to look forward to.

If you are interested in taking part there are training sessions at the track on Monday and Thursday evenings. Why not give it a try it is great fun. Like Richard Dobedoe on Sunday, you might not have competed since schooldays, no worries, you don’t have to excel, you just gave to be keen and enthusiastic. As Sunday’s performance shows, in T&F it is just as important that we have a competitor in most of the events as it is in having winners. Every point counts.

Finally a massive vote of thanks is due to our officials and their helpers on the day. Without their unselfish sacrifice this event would not have been able to go ahead and we would not have been allowed to compete in all events.

Vets T& F

Individual points tally for the season

41 members competed for us,16 female and 26 male.

5 members competed in all 5 fixtures. David Jones, Peter Sugden, Mark Illingworth, Elaine Ledden and Gemma Smith.

Points scored by each team member, excluding relays, are as follows.


Elaine Ledden  95 points

Paula Williams 79

Kate Sergent 66

Christine Coote 64

Hannah Osborne 56

Emma Bexson 38

Gemma Smith 31

Liz Manzella 28

Kim Lee 24

Clare Goodwin 21

Sarah Wheeler 11

Rebecca Pridham 8

Philippa Paddock 3

Pip Bell 5

Bev Bridgen 5

Sharon Samuel 4


David Jones 73 points

Peter Sugden 51

Dave Battersby 50

Mark Illingworth 46

Dave Wilson 43

Andy List 42

Matt Burdus-Cook 36

Paul Hawkins 29

John Peacock 26

Ben Kruze 24

Drew Sambridge 22

John Boxall 19

Brian Gravelsons 15

Malcolm Bowyer 14

Dan Hutchins 14

Max Ross 12

Simon Curran 9

John Devine 9

Adam Linforth 9

Richard Dobedoe 8

Richard Liggatt 8

Jim McMorran 8

Alistair Webb 8

Mark Reynolds 7

Phil Brennan 6

Joe Lee 2


Some of the Stratford guys before the race. Pretty impressive footwear gentlemen!
Pip Bell, Lisa Stevens and Isabel Colilns
Stratford Big 10k
Report – David Jones

There were over 40 club members competing in last Sunday’s Stratford Big 10k out of the almost 750 who completed the course.

The race was won by William Fuller in a net time of 33.04, 7 seconds ahead of the 2nd placed runner. First lady finisher was Natalie Banghal (39.18) from Leamington C and AC in 26th place.

We had 4 finishers in the Top 10, with Richard Liggatt in 4th place (34.23), Matt Burdus-Cook (34.33) 5th, Alex Hill (34.39) 6th and Jamie Hall (35.22) 7th. Under 20 Alex Pester (36.14) was just 5 seconds outside the Top 10.

Hannah Percy (47.52) in 141st place was our first lady finisher, edging out Kim Lee (47.55) by just 3 seconds.

There were age category wins for Matt Burdus-Cook (M45) and Phil Brennan (53.48 – M75 ) 53.48. Sarah you’re going to have to introduce a new age category for Phil as he’s 80 in a few weeks time. No, I can’t believe it either.

For the full results follow this link

And for our club members results follow this link:

Richard Gubby. The smile says it all!
My Big 10k

Report – Richard Gubby

Sunday 4th September was Stratford’s Big 10k race and for me personally a big day.

This was one of the first races I attended after joining Stratford AC last year and anyone else that was there back in 2021 will remember how sunny and hot it was. The Greenway resembled a Saharan dustbowl…so imagine my relief to look out of the bedroom window in the morning to see it had rained overnight!

The perfect conditions had been delivered to us – warm but not hot, dry but not dusty, a breeze that was largely favourable…all the things you would want to help towards a fast time.
I had been talking at the various Monday night track sessions and Wednesday social runs about wanting to break 40 minutes for the first time. My training had been going well – as ever due to the expert guidance of Sarah Bland and the massive support and encouragement of the other Stratford AC members…some of who had told me in no uncertain terms that I would be running the 10km in c. 38:40 (despite me having never been previously under 40:30!).
The normal nerves at the start line were definitely there but what I noticed more this year was the camaraderie between all the Stratford AC runners, together in our yellow and black tops, encouraging each other before the starter’s horn went off. What a great sense of collective support!
The race itself went by in a bit of a blur. A monumental thank you to Seth Turner for running with me for the first half of the race – setting me off at a quick but not ridiculous pace. That familiar turn on to the Greenway and the halfway point felt good – certainly less dusty and hot compared to last year! The Greenway itself is always more of a mental challenge than physical, with it’s long, straight, non-changing terrain and not a lot to look at other than the back of the runner in front!

As ever – as we approached Stratford Town Centre the amount of support on the road increased and a great atmosphere was evident along the home straight to the bandstand.

Such a fantastic way to finish an iconic race.
For me…well the time was a PB – 38:49 – I was (and still am) absolutely shocked and would not have not got here without the huge support and guidance from everyone at the athletics club.

What I’ve loved in my year here is how much everyone wants each other to succeed – whatever success means for that individual. Long may that continue!
Congratulations to everyone at the club on achieving a fantastic set of results. What a great day!
Lisa and Miranda looking pretty pristine after the excitement of their Bog Snorkelling!
 Bog Snorkelling World Championships

Report – Lisa Stevens

My good friend Miranda Maloney mentioned she’d like to try Bog Snorkelling. Fast forward 2 years and last Sunday found us both in mid Wales competing in the annual championships as part of the World Alternative Games.

Training had consisted of swimming in the Avon even through the winter months in swimming costumes and woolly hats, braving snow, ice, rain and some dodgy field run offs and sewage overflows.

Surprisingly we were both in rude health when we arrived only to find the sponsors were the food brand “Rude Health” which seemed fitting.

Bog Snorkelling rules are:
1. You must swim 2 lengths of the bog (each length is 55 yards)
2. No recognised swimming strokes so only doggie paddle arms and kicking legs
3. You must keep your face in the bog only looking up for directions
4. You must wear mask, snorkel and fins
5. The first lap must be completed in under 2 minutes to prevent disqualification 

I completed the bog in 3 minutes 15 seconds with Miranda in 3 minutes 35 seconds, so we both received the coveted medals.

We were very surprised to see our faces in both the National press and in Ghana, India and Thai newspapers the next day!

So would we swim in a freezing cold bog, with zero visibility, full of weeds, frogs, newts and eels again? Hell yes! Outfit planning has already started and we’re back in the river…
Cheltenham Half Marathon

Report – Adrian Mason

Despite my current fitness and carrying a niggle, I wasn’t going to miss my hometown half last Sunday.  Starting and finishing from the iconic Cheltenham Racecourse, the race takes a very picturesque route through the Spa town, finishing up with a challenging 2 mile loop around the racecourse (minus any hedges/fences).  I was never intending to break any records here, but tried to enjoy the event, finishing in 01:38:03.  This year, there was an eco-friendly spin on the race rewards, with a rather nice wooden medal and a tree planted in your name instead of a t-shirt.  All in all, a pleasant trot!
September Shakespeare Race 1.

Wednesday saw the first of two September Shakespeare races, with another one to follow at the Club Champs on Sunday.

Finishing in 1st place was the in form Richard Liggatt (30.45) just 2 seconds ahead of the 2nd placed Matt Burdus-Cook. First lady finisher, almost inevitably was Kate Wright (31.29) in a superb 3rd place. 1st female junior to finish was Maisie-Joy Spriggs (33.54) in 11th place and 1st male junior was Fin Hutchinson (39.29) in 33rd place just a second ahead of Josh Dobedoe. 57 runners completed the race.

For the full results please follow this link: