That’ll teach me!

A delighted Fern Hordern with the Union Jack
Well that will teach me to go away for a couple of weeks.

Goodness me haven’t you been a busy lot ?

There’s a huge amount to report on this week. 

There are reports on Fern Hordern’s magnificent bronze medal at the 2022 triathlon multisport championships in Bilbao, the London Mini Marathon Trials where 3 of our talented juniors competed, with two having qualified and one on the reserve list. Charly Marshall just goes from strength to strength in the triathlon, finishing with a silver medal in the final race of this year’s British Triathlon Super Series.

Kate Wright, Ben Kruze and Matt Burdus-Cook donned their England vests at Bristol last weekend, all enjoying considerable success. Meanwhile Ben Phyall was in Spain competing in the European Championships for Aquabike and Middle Distance Triathlon.  

There’s a report on the Kenilworth half marathon with lots of our members competing and where Kate Wright recorded the 2nd fastest half marathon time in the UK in her age category and the 5th fastest of all time.

There’s a great report from Kim Lee on the Vitruvian Middle Distance Triathlon plus a report from Paul Hawkins on last weekend’s Midland Road Relays in Sutton Park.

Dan Southam has sent in a report on his recent Great North Run and finally, better late than never, some photos from the Club Champs, concentrating mainly on the races that really mattered ! There’s also the results of the club Champs for those of you who haven’t seen them.


Many thanks to those of you who have sent reports in,  without you there would be no newsletter.

Best of luck to those of you competing in London at the weekend either in the full Marathon, mini-marathon or those of you running a virtual marathon. Good luck also to Emma Bexson who is competing in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii next week. Try not to break anything Emma.

Take care

Best Wishes

David Jones
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Fern Hordern

2022 Europe Triathlon Multisport Championships


Report – Fern Hordern & David Jones

Fern Hordern claimed a magnificent bronze medal in these championships in Bilbao recently

Her overall time of 2:30.40 was just 71 seconds off the Spanish lady in 2nd place and 2 1/2 minutes behind fellow Brit Nicola Audhlam-Gardiner, the overall winner.

Having heard shortly before the event started that the pre-race favourite had withdrawn, Fern felt that she might never have a better chance to claim a podium place and she certainly took advantage of the situation.

Her comments on the race were:

 “ My race was the Standard Distance Duathlon – 10km run, 40km bike, 5km run.

I was very nervous at the start line.  It was probably one of the most scenic city run routes I have ever done because we ran along the river past the Guggenheim museum.  At one point we ran under a giant spider sculpture (I nearly crashed into one of the spider’s legs – in the UK, health and safely protocol would have made the organisers put foam padding around the legs to prevent accidents of this kind!!!)

I finished the first run and ran into a huge transition area in 5th place in my age group (which is 50-54yrs).  Then I got going onto the bike and overtook a couple of women to move up to third.  From there on, the bike course was extremely hilly which didn’t really suit my TT bike and made it difficult to make up any more ground on those ahead of me.  So I just did my best and wanted to hold onto my third position as the race was going better than I had expected.  The views over the city of Bilbao were probably amazing but unfortunately I didn’t have time to look.

I did the second fastest bike time in my section and progressed onto the final run with my legs feeling like wooden skittles but I managed to keep my position for a bronze medal.  I was absolutely thrilled.  I finished in 2: 30. 40, which was just over 2 minutes behind the winner of my age group.  

Note to self – work harder on improving my performance in that first run over the winter months… then see what next year brings because my result automatically qualifies me for the next European Championships in 2023.

I hadn’t really reckoned on getting a medal – so after collecting my bike from transition (miles away from the finish area) I had to rush off to the medal ceremony and promptly got lost in the higgeldy-piggeldy old streets of Bilbao.  I couldn’t ask for directions because I had forgotten the name of the street where I needed to get to– it was like a nightmare which you cannot find your way out of – anyway I found it eventually and luckily the medal ceremony was running late!”

Photo of the team, L-R Niamh Hillard, Maddie Linfoot & Maisie Joy Spriggs

London Mini Marathon Trials for West Midlands Team

Report – Paul Hawkins

On the same weekend as the Virgin Money London Marathon a mini marathon is held over the last three miles of the marathon course and each region of the country sends a team of six boys and girls in the under 13, under 15 and under 17 age groups.  Over the years many of Britain’s leading endurance runners have featured in these races. 

The trials for the West Midlands team were held on Friday at the cycle track at Stourport Sports Club over an undulating course of 2.7 miles, the exact mini marathon distance and some of Stratford AC’s junior endurance runners took the opportunity to race as an ideal transition from track racing to the longer cross country races coming up.

They knew that the first four in each race were guaranteed a place in London with two other places available in the teams of six. There were two races, males all age groups and female all age groups so it was often difficult to keep track of the positions in each of the age group races. Following some withdrawals due to injury eventually a team of three Stratford under 17 women were the only runners from the club but they did the club proud. 

Maisie-Joy Spriggs led the Stratford runners after a congested start where Niamh Hillard fell after being tripped from behind. Niamh recovered well but was never quite able to close the small gap in front. The third member of the team, Maddie Linfoot ran a very good tactical race staying just outside the lead group and then finishing very strong in a charge for the line when three women finished with identical times of 8 minutes 31 seconds with Bethan Homer of Birchfield 4th, Linfoot 5th and Spriggs 6th. Another 18 seconds back was Hillard in 8th place. 

Linfoot and Spriggs were delighted to gain selection for the West Midlands team on Saturday while Hillard was named as a reserve. 

Charly Marshall centre
Charly Marshall

British Triathlon Super Series

Report – Kate Marshall.

Charly Marshall (17) achieved her highest British Triathlon Super Series position finishing with Silver in the final race of this season against Britain’s best.

Steeped in Olympic rowing history, Dorney Lake in Eton was the venue, although instead the sport was Triathlon, with a challenging twist.  This was an eliminator, which is a new format in which each athlete races 3 complete triathlons in the same day.  The early start was delayed by fog; triathletes race in most weather, but not when they can’t see the marker buoys in the lake!

Heats separated the 50 youth female athletes based on pace, into 2 groups for the next phase.  Despite taking it steady, Marshall finished first in her heat to set up a place in the “A” finals.  After around 90 minutes to recover and take on fluid and some nutrition, the gruelling double-final beckoned.  This comprised 2 back-to-back triathlons, with the slower finishers from the first race being eliminated for the 2nd decisive final where the standings were decided. 

Knowing there would not be time to re-don a wetsuit in the 4 minutes between races, Marshall was alone in opting to start the first race non-wetsuit (to get a feel for the conditions for the decisive race).  Without the wetsuit pace advantage, she came out the swim toward the rear but soon caught the main bike pack and comfortably qualified for the decisive final in 6th

A reset of the bike, re-talc of the run shoes, a gel and some water and back in the lake for the big finish!  Marshall’s final swim was the best of her season, coming out at the front to form a lead bike pack of 6 which became 4 when the run progressed, with Marshall finishing a superb 2nd

Marshall was thrilled with her first ever Super Series podium, which has capped off a promising season, building on a British ranking of 14th last year, to an expected 7th this year when all the calculations are finalised. 



Proud to wear the vest. Kate Wright, Ben Kruze and Matt Burdus-Cook our 3 England internationals at Bristol with their respective 1st, 2nd and 3rd international age category awards.
Bristol 10k

Report – David Jones

It was a proud moment for three of our Masters athletes last Sunday as they pulled on their England vests having qualified for an England Athletics Masters place at this year’s Great Bristol Run..

All of them competed magnificently. Ben Kruze finished in 4th place overall with a time of 31.39, missing out on a podium finish by just 4 seconds. This superb performance was despite the fact that Ben has recently struggled with an inflamed tendon at the top of his hamstring meaning he hasn’t been able to race much. However his sensible approach to rehabilitating together with his speed and overall fitness enabled him to overcome this setback.

Matt Burdus-Cook has had another wonderful year of racing and he professed himself delighted at donning the England vest for the 2nd time. He finished in 24th place with a time of 33.30. He commented ” I set out with a PB plan and was ultimately pleased to only miss it by 8 seconds. The course had quite a few tight turns that didn’t suit me, as well as some slightly tougher climbs towards the end which really did me. I left everything on the route! It was a fantastic event”

Matt is now looking forward to his winter training with the aim of getting his PB down to 33 minutes.

Kate Wright really does seem to go from strength to strength and her performance on Sunday emphasised this. She was 1st in her age category by almost 2 minutes, a huge margin. Her time was 37.37. 

Kate said “It was a lovely sunny day with a great buzzing atmosphere. I went with a Dobedoe plan of starting easy and getting faster. It worked at Kenilworth so why not try it again? My aim was 38mins. The gun went off and I felt like I was standing still. Everyone just shot off ! 

I kept telling myself not to panic and stick to plan. It worked. Gradually I started to pass the younger ladies (we all had our ages on our back).

I felt great all the way round and was elated to achieve a time of 37.37 1st in AG .

The race was won by Tom Merson of Exmouth Harriers in a time of 30.51 and 1st lady finisher was Helen Gaunt of Tonbridge AC in 35.41

They’ve all now got until got December to get ready to try and re-qualify for next year!

Ben Phyall – Have bike will travel
European Middle Distance Aquabike Age Group Championships.

Bilbao, Spain.

Report – Ben Phyall.

I  have now learnt that the rain in Spain doesn’t only fall on the plain. It also falls on the 850 participants of the 2022 European champs for Aquabike and Middle Distance Triathlon. This was a welcome return to “normal” racing following the past few years of Covid restrictions and many places had been rolled over to swell Team GB to record numbers, across all the multisport events at this festival.
I was entered into the Aquabike M40 age group and this was a very competitive field.

The swim was a simple up and back down the tidal river running through Bilbao. The start was at a very late (for triathletes) 3.20pm to coincide with the slack high tide. The rain had been pouring steadily all day but gave a brief, ironic, respite for the swim.

My goggles fogged up almost instantly so my sighting was mostly done by feel for the other swimmers feet and elbows, it was rough and tumble all the way despite the rolling start.
The bike section started at such a quick pace right up to the first climb of the day, a 4km, 5% climb up Aretxsbalagana.

Feeling fresh I powered my way up, a decision I would regret 40km later when I ran out of puff going up another brutal 10km long, 2% climb.  Then came the long fast twisty descent back down into Bilbao. The repetition of wide line, straight braking, clip the apex and then back on the power was sublime and lifted my spirits.

The Aquabike finished with very little fanfare at the T2 entry and walk to the gantry, whilst the Middle distance athletes carried on for their 4 lap half marathon plod in the rain before a crowd lined finish.

Fortunately my travelling support crew/family were there to cheer me in. It is impossible to do these crazy things without them.
After making back time and places in the final 10km I finished 11th in my age group and 48/156 men.

The big rivalry was between the largest two teams GB vs Spain and the Spanish took 4 of the top 5 spots in my age group. Local knowledge of the course was the big advantage for sure.

The distances were 1900m swim and 81km bike. My total time was 3:07:39.
Team Stratford

Kenilworth Half Marathon

11th September 2022

Report – Matt-Burdus Cook


The Kenilworth Half Marathon proved to be an ever popular early Autumn event for 16 Stratford Athletes who were amongst 612 finishers on the undulating course.

The event organisers marked the recent passing of the Queen in appropriate and poignant fashion making black ribbons available to all athletes, and with a wonderfully observed minutes silence followed by applause immediately ahead of the race start.

The course starts and finishes on Kenilworth High Street, taking in a short loop through the Castle and grounds before following what is essentially an out and back course around closed  rural Warwickshire lanes. The route isn’t obvious PB territory with around 600 feet of ascent spread across the full route (compare that to around 400 feet in the Stratford Half) however the cooling September conditions and lack of any particularly steep climbs do make a swift race plan possible.

Performance of the day by some measure was by Kate Wright who was 2nd Lady overall winning her age category by nearly 18 minutes. Her time of 1:23:37 was the second fastest in the UK FV55 category this year, and the 5th Fastest of all time. For context, Kate needs to run just 10s per mile faster over the distance to post the all time UK FV55 record … go on Kate we know you can do it!

The Stratford ladies line up was completed with strong displays from Susan Hunt (320th) and Jacqui Sims (435th) completing an impressive trio of results. The out and back nature of the route meant that mutual shouting of Stratford AC to Stratford AC encouragement was a most welcome and motivating moment as we all passed one another along the route.

With the event forming part of the closely contested Warwickshire Road Race League (WRRL), the men fielded a strong representative contingent of Masters athlete’s who went on to deliver a dominant display of results in their age categories taking home top Masters points for the team. Stratford AC are currently leading the Men’s Masters event, and in a very tight battle with Leamington AC for 2nd spot in the overall league.

First home for the club was Matt Burdus-Cook in a new PB of 1:15:38 finishing 10th Overall and 1st in the MV45 Category. Closely following Matt was Richard Liggatt who finished in 15th overall just 1 minute off his HM best in 1:17:53 which he was pleased with following attending a wedding the day before. There were top 50 finishes for Richard Dobedoe, Tim Hutchinson, Max Ross, and Andrew Cox with Max posting a very impressive 58 second PB.

James Coy is showing a steady return to form, completing the distance in under 90 minutes for the first time in 3 years. He was closely followed by Rob Gisbourne finishing in a very impressive 1:30:32 for his first official time over the distance. Adrian Mason is bouncing back well from injury and ran well in 1:30:32 after an unsettling pre-race incident where he was concluded to be partly to blame for blocking portable toilet cubical #3. Peter Sugden finished close behind with a determined finishing sprint. James Cussack, Mark Barker and Dave Maundrell completed the mens line up, with Dave a consistent, ever present and valued Stratford representative at WRRL races.

The Ladies race was won by Kelly Edwards of Leamington AC in 1:21:06, and the Men’s race was won by Patrick Roddy of Thames Hare and Hounds in a course record of 1:07:31. Patrick is listed as a Kenilworth runner in the results, so one for our WRRL team Captain John Raby to investigate in terms of a valid 2ndclaim club (rules is rules).


Team Stratford –  Another day another discipline.
Vicky Sharpe
Joe Lee

Vitruvian – Middle Distance Triathlon

11th September 2022

Report – Kim Lee

Swim 1.2miles (1.9km)

Bike 52 miles (84km)

Run 13.1 miles (21km)

Having completed the Vitruvian twice before, Joe rallied the troops as a great opportunity for their first Middle distance experience.  The troops being Neil Gardiner, our resident World Triathlon Championship qualifier at standard distance triathlon; newcomer Will Dyche, aka Dishy-Will; and the resilient Vicky Sharpe.  Following on from a successful Ironman Vichy in the summer, Carl James managed to secure a last-minute entry to join the gang.


With a misty start, Rutland Water came to life with the first swim wave going off at 6.30am.  Age-group waves followed every 3 minutes after, with the final wave being the females, making Vicky last to go from Stratford.


The swim course involved two laps with an Australian style exit and entry after the first lap.  From the lakeside, this was an opportunity to track the athletes and time each lap.  From a competitor perspective, unfortunately the re-entry turned into something more comparable to bog-snorkelling as the water turned murkier with zero visibility by the time Vicky reached this point.  


Joe recorded a 3-min PB, finally breaking the 40-minute barrier for a Vitruvian swim.  Carl’s strongest discipline shone through as he cruised around in 32 minutes.  Neil, Will and Vicky came through in 42 minutes, 43 minutes, and 44 minutes respectively.  I have a feeling that Vicky would have found a few more seconds to close down the boys if she had known how close these times would be.


With last minute roadworks, the bike course was amended to a 3-lap cycle route, that measured up frustratingly short at 75km.  The three laps resulted in fast times though, as the triathletes became more familiar with the route each lap.  Carl and Neil were neck and neck, which led to a rather serious motorcycle marshal threatening to disqualify them both for chatting on lap 3.  This was made up for by the impressive marshal at one of the feed stations, who spotted Neil drop the drink he had just collected and chased down the road after him to pass him another.  


Everyone enjoyed the fast bike course, with Joe recording the fastest bike time of 2 hours 8 minutes.  Followed by Neil in 2 hours 16 minutes, Carl in 2 hours 23 minutes, Will in 2 hours 27 minutes and Vicky in 2 hours 34 minutes.  


Finally, out on the two-lap run course, which again provided ample opportunity to support the team from the lakeside.  The triathletes could see how each other was getting on, and also gave me updates on how Joe was doing.  They clearly didn’t realise I was far more interested in how they were going; we have seen Joe compete enough times before to know that he was having a very comfortable race.


Joe finished the half marathon in 1 hour 36 minutes, followed by Vicky in 1 hour 43 minutes, with Neil and Will just seconds behind, and Carl finishing in a very respectable 2 hours 5 minutes.  Both Vicky and Will recorded half marathon PBs.  Neil meanwhile produced negative splits, having pin-pointed another athlete to chase down and overtake in the last 5k.


Overall, Joe finished in 4 hours 27 minutes, Neil in 4 hours 45 minutes, Will in 4 hours 58 minutes, Carl in 5 hours and 5 minutes and Vicky in 5 hours 6 minutes.  I would love to see the times if these guys started in the same wave and got to battle it out head-to-head.  


Neil finished 4th in his age group, just 4 minutes away from a podium finish.  We wish him all the best in Abu Dabhi on the 26th November, when he competes in the Age Group World Triathlon Championship Finals at standard distance.


Everyone agreed that the experience was made even better by the wonderful camaraderie of our club mates.  These outstanding results put them in an excellent position to shine next season.


Niamh Hillard, Tilly Campbell and Emma Francioni.
Seth Turner who wasn’t just satisfied with running one leg and Taylor Stubbins
Josh Harrison pushing himself through the pain barrier for the sake of the team.
Ned and Georgie Campbell
Martha Peters.
Martha also ran in Derby on 10th September, the day before the Club Champs in the Inter Counties Match where she was representing Warwickshire. She ran in the 800m, coming second with a time of 2.27. Apparently it was a great event and despite her nerves,  she ran really well.
Maisie-Joy and Caleb Spriggs
Lisa Lambourne and Allan Coldicott
Midland Road Relays

Sutton Park
 24th September 2022.

Report – David Jones

Taking place in one of the largest urban parks in the UK, the recent Midland Road Relays saw no fewer than 9 teams from our club compete, 5 junior teams and 4 senior. This was the first time that Stratford junior teams have taken part in this longstanding event for several years.

Our U17W team of Maisie-Joy Spriggs, Niamh Hillard and Maddie Linfoot finished in a magnificent 5th place with respective times of 14.42, 15.05 and 14.59 for the 3.88k course. Our U17W ‘B’ team of Abbi Cooper (19.25), Tilly Campbell (20.21) and Emma Francioni (17.30) finished in 24th place. Emma was a late replacement for Olivia Robinson who had to withdraw the day before.

 There was also an impressive 11th place finish for our U13B team of Joel Ledgard (14.56), Alfie Musk (16.08) and Arran Cooper (14.50). Alfie stepping in at the last moment to replace the injured Sam Plumb.

Sam and Zak Lambert (13.43 & 13.54) along with Josh Harrison (16.12) helped our U15B team finish in 22nd place. 

Finally for our juniors Martha Peters (17.48), Bo Algate (16.30) and Harriet Black (21.37) bought our U15G team home in 29th place.

We were also able to field two teams in both the Senior Men’s and Senior Women’s competition raced over the longer distances of 5.88k for men and 4.3k for women compared to the shorter lap of 3.88k for all the junior teams, ideal preparation for the upcoming cross country season.

The men’s A team of Ned Campbell (20.12), Seth Turner (22.31), Alex Pester (20.29), Caleb Spriggs (22.57), Taylor Stubbins (21.02) and Rich Shephard (20.20) unfortunately failed to qualify for the England Road Relay Championships on 8th October. Our junior and women’s teams have qualified for this event.

The men’s B team were Nick Campbell (23.41), Damien Wheeler (25.31), Chris Spriggs (25.38), Allan Coldicott (36.57), Peter Sugden (23.15) and running his second leg of the day, less than a minute slower than his 1st leg, was Seth Turner (23.23).

Our women’s A team of Georgie Campbell (15.36), Charly Marshall (16.22) taking a break from triathlons, Sarah Odell (21.17) and Suzie Graham (20.52) finished in 26th place. The B team consisted of Emily Carr (20.56), Becks Pridham (22.41), Susan Hunt (23.13) and Lisa Lambourne (22.47).

Dan Southam

Great North Run

Report – Dan Southam

Conditions were almost perfect in the North East for the 2022 Great North Run. Circa 57,000 people crowded Newcastle as we all headed to the start line. Before the gun went, a minutes silence was observed, followed by a rendition of the National Anthem, a sombre way to start the day but it was impeccably observed by all involved and a fitting tribute. 

We were honoured to have Eilish McColgan fire the starting pistol and the race was off. A very fast opening mile straight down the hill meant people flew off the start line but soon slowed as we meandered towards the Tyne Bridge to be greeted by an incredible atmosphere. Akin to Tower Bridge in London.

Clocking into a rhythm was near impossible on the rolling hills but the crowds were nothing short of spectacular, willing you up the hills and offering ice pops and orange slices along the way. Arguably the best crowd I have run in front of, including 2 London Marathons! 

Managing to get through 10k in 37:10 and feeling surprisingly good, I pushed on through to 10 miles knowing the view of the sea was getting nearer. The roar through South Shields was incredible as you drop down a very steep hill onto the coastal road. Turning left, the crowds grew in size and volume as I managed a fast last mile, crossing the line in 77:42…. Only 42 seconds off a PB which I will definitely take around a tough course! 

A phenomenal race, very well organised, with some of the best crowds you’ll ever see on our shores. One for the diary in 2023! 

Club Championships

I know they seem a long time ago and with me being away there was no report on them. Needless to say they were truly memorable. If only we could have bottled the atmosphere, happiness and all round feeling of goodwill.

Not wishing them to go unacknowledged in the newsletter I though I would just include a selection of photos from the races that really mattered!
The Next Generation?
Without who.

A huge thank you to the many officials and volunteers who made it such a successful day
Club Championships Results
For those of you who haven’t seen them