2022 End of Year Review
This is the original draft of our End of Year Review before it was submitted to The Stratford Herald. At over 1200 words it had to be edited down to 750 before submission. It was then printed in last week’s Herald.
2022 was the first year since 2019 that SAC were able to complete a full year of sporting activity and they most certainly rose to the challenge in both terms of team competitions and individual performances with many members being recognised at international level.
In the Warwickshire Track & Field County Championships the club, with 90 athletes competing, were crowned County Champions for an unprecedented 6th year in a row and on the way winning 19 golds, 12 silvers and 18 bronze medals. In December the club’s Cross Country squad were also crowned County Champions, for the very first time, thus completing an unprecedented double success for the club.
There was also plenty of international recognition and success for individual members. Andrew Pozzi, the club’s 3 time Olympian claimed another national title at the UKA Senior Championships in Birmingham wearing his Stratford vest and Birmingham was also the setting for his biggest success of the year, winning bronze medal in the hugely successful Commonwealth Games. Such is the popularity of this local hero that his lap of honour took forever, with so many of his friends, family and fellow club members eager to pass on their congratulations to him.
At the other end of the international spectrum in terms of age and experience, Alex Adams, at the age of just 16, qualified to represent his country by finishing in 4th place at the England Schools XC Championships in Kent. Alex made his international debut in March, in Wales.
Also earning England international vests were Matt Burdus-Cook and Ben Kruze who made their debuts at the England v Wales International Road Championships in Tenby in June, with Ben finishing 1st in his age category and Matt 3rd in his. They then went on to represent their country again at the Bristol 10k in September where they were also joined by the club’s Kate Wright. Kate had another superb year having UK age category rankings in parkrun, 5 mile, 10k and half marathon of 1st, 1st, 3rd and 2nd respectively.
In Track & Field the British University & College Sports Championships (BUCS) kicked the season off
- Emily Madden Forman won High Jump bronze medal.
- Rory Dwyer won the High Jump silver medal
Lewis Byng added the England Athletic Senior shot put title to his U23 title and away from the shot put circle he also broke the World Deadlift record by lifting a huge 411kgs. Also topping the world rankings in her age group in August was Paula Williams in the shot put. Paula had yet another superlative year winning 2 golds and 3 silvers at the British Masters Athletic T&F Championships in March, where she helped Midland Masters triumph in the English Masters Inter-Area Championships, she won 7 golds in the Midlands T&F Championships and 5 golds and a silver at the British Masters T&F Championships
Commonwealth Games Volunteering Birmingham 2022 volunteers
Emma Sparrow Medal Ceremonies Team
Michael Lane Athlete Services
Mandy Newton Production Runner
Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn bowls
Lynne Sumners Event Services at Leamington for the.
Paul Hawkins also did himself and the club proud by being selected to take part in the Queen’s Baton relay for the Commonwealth Games.
England Athletics Under 15, 17 and 20 indoor championships – 2022
Zach McKenzie won the U17 Triple Jump bronze medal
U20 Welsh international
Millie Leighton (Triple Jump), George Fox Rowe (High Jump) represented England Midlands
Over 90 junior T&F athletes competed in the Heart of England League and won the Championship
The club’s Vets T&F team finished 2nd in the Midlands Vets League South Division and at the Cup Final Elaine Ledden was named Female Athlete of the Year in South Division.
Their Midlands League T&F team had a nail biting end to the season. Going in to the final fixture at Solihull needing to finish in 2nd place in the league to gain promotion, they finished the day in equal 2nd place with the same number of league points as Cheltenham but ultimately lost out on match points. The nearest analogy I can make is goal difference in football.
It was also a successful year individually for several of the club’s triathletes. Fern Hordern had an inspiring year claiming a bronze medals in both the European Triathlon Multi Sports Championship in Bilbao and the Standard Distance World Duathlon Championships in Romania. Emma Bexson qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii finishing 12th in her age category out of 208 starters, she also competed in Ironman Lanzarote, finishing 2nd in her age category. Rachel Pearce finished in the top 10 in the World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Toronto. Neil Gardiner qualified to compete in the Triathlon Standard Distance World Championships in Abu Dhabi with Ben Phyall competing in the European Aquabike Middle Distance Championships in Bilbao and Paul Faithfull in an Ironman 70.3 World Championship Race in Utah.
It was also a very special year for the club’s rising Triathlon star 17 year old Charly Marshall. Charly was the overall 1st lady finisher in the Stratford Triathlon and achieved her ambition of a top 10 ranking in the triathlon Super Series. We will be hearing a lot more of her in the future.
There was success also for a couple of juniors in the Midland Schools Modern Biathlon with Lucy Thomas and Callum Linforth both finishing on top of the podium,
The club’s junior XC team, competing in the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League finished 4th out of 21 teams in the 21/22 season but with a couple of fixtures of the current season left they are hopeful of going one better and finishing in 3rd place.
Arguably the two highlights of the club’s calendar, where all age groups can come together are the Club Championships and The Annual Awards. In September in excess of 200 members competed in the club Champs and in November over 300 people crammed in to the main Hall at Stratford School for the Annual Awards where Andrew Pozzi was on hand to present many of the awards. The male and female junior athletes of the year were Alex Adams and Catherine Reynolds with their senior equivalents being Matt Burdus-Cook and Emma Bexson
The club’s free to enter Couch to 5k programme continued, with 2 groups finished the 9 week course by graduating at the local parkrun.
In early December the club took over the running of the local parkrun using the opportunity to recruit new members.
Competing in marathon’s overseas were Dan Southam and Andy Cox in Chicago, Susan Hunt in La Rochelle, Kate Sergent comfortably won her age group in Belfast. Closer to home Maisie-Joy Spriggs and Maddie Linfoot qualified to compete in the London Mini Marathon and 4 members competed in both the Snowden and Manchester Marathon and Sandie Evans ran the Brighton marathon. Almost 40 members competed in the local Stratford half or full marathon with some 40 also competing in the club organised Hilly 100.
When it comes to endurance events, Kim and Joe Lee cycled the 874 mile/1406k from John O’Groats to Lands End and Adam Evans ran the 35 mile Ultra trail Mont Blanc, starting in Switzerland and finishing in France.
Early December saw the club host both Ladies and Mens Senior Cross Country League fixtures on the Welcombe Hills.