Better late than never.

At the end of the Dress the Santa relay race.
Ready for the start of the mince pie and spoon race. I’m not saying our juniors are super competitive but several of them were searching for the largest spoon, all the better for keeping the mince pie in place.
It was indeed a case of better late than never last Thursday. The annual pre-Christmas Games session for our younger junior endurance runners had been cancelled before Christmas due to an icy track, so it was decided to rebrand the event the New Year Games session.

Bedlam doesn’t even come close to describing the session but I think it’s safe to say that everyone enjoyed themselves.

A special thanks to Niamh Hillard, Maisie-Joy Spriggs and Zak & Sam Lambert for helping out. It would have been even more chaotic without them.
Last Thursday at the track saw our younger junior endurance group enjoy their delayed Christmas Games Session. I think frenetic would be  good way to describe it.

We have an announcement that Brian Gravelsons has taken on the important role of SUAAC T&F Officials Coordinator.

On Sunday 4 of our Senior members competed in the Mornington Chasers Regents Park Winter 10k with the aim of qualifying for an England vest. Phil Brennan, Ben Kruze and Matt Burdus-Cook achieved their aim and Ginny Davis can console herself with the fact that she ran a 10k pb just 4 days after competing in last week’s Shakespeare Race.

Susan Hunt, Sarah Odell, Kate Sergent, Rosie Slocombe and ex member Lisa Dallisson enjoyed running through the mud at the Fladbury Festive 5, while Pip Bell along with Karen and Rob Gisbourne travelled to Shropshire to compete in the Dudmaston DirtRun 10k.

It’s a XC weekend this weekend. The best of luck to our juniors along with our ladies and men’s seniors as they all endeavour to build on their excellent start to the season so far. Also good luck to Alex Adams who will be competing in the latest round of the British Athletic Cross Challenge at Perth in Scotland on Saturday before flying home so that he can run in our XC fixture at Nuneaton on Sunday. I think they call it commitment.

Finally I’m informed by James Thomas that all four of our junior biathletes athletes have qualified for the national finals in their respective age groups (Callum Linforth 41st, Henry Thomas 64th, Josh Harrison 29th and Lucy Thomas 10th). Congratulations to all  of them. The finals are in March so watch this space for further news.

Take care

Best wishes

David Jones 

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SUAAC Track & Field Officials’ Coordinator 

It has been said many times before but it can never be said too often that the competitions we enjoy could not take place without our voluntary officials who give freely of their time to enable them to happen.

Literally without our officials there just would not be any competitions.

I’m therefore delighted to announce that as a club we now have, in Brian Gravelsons, a dedicated T&F officials coordinator and anyone who knows Brain will know that he will do a superb job.
Without who. Some of our voluntary officials who enable many of us to compete at the sport we love.
SUAAC Track & Field Officials’ Coordinator 
The new SUAAC Officials’ Coordinator, Brian Gravelsons, will have overall responsibility to manage the activity and development of track and field Officials’ for the club  i.e. Timekeepers, Starter/Starters Assistant, Field and Track.
As well as Brian being a qualified Level 2 Timekeeper and Vets athlete, his wife Alison is the junior’s Welfare Officer and a coach and his children Charlotte and Harry are long standing athletes and are both qualified coaches, so he is ideally placed to pull all the various aspects of the Officials’ Coordinator role together. 
The following are the main objectives/duties of the Coordinator: 
  • Manage current database/list of officials, keep it up to date and determine who is active each year. 
  • Ensure the club has an adequate number of active officials to draw upon to enable the club to meet its fixture commitments each season. 
  • Develop and communicate an “officials’ pathway” that clearly shows how someone can develop as an official and the support that SUAAC will also provide. 
  • Create or advertise opportunities for the training of officials. 
  • Recruit volunteer officials to be trained at these opportunities. 
  • Be a DBS verifier to ensure officials maintain their status and official accreditation. 
  • Organise the officials: 
    • act as a mentor to ensure the trainee officials are making their way effectively down the “officials’ pathway”. 
    • organise officials for all main track and field events throughout the season. 
    • communicate with officials the meeting dates each season in advance 
    • manage officials to ensure a full team of officials is available 
    • provide a timely list of officials to the respective SUAAC Team Managers or event organiser for each meeting 
Ben Kruze, Matt Burdus-Cook, Phil Brennan and Ginny Davis
Ben Kruze
Mornington Chasers Regents Park Winter 10k series.


Matt and Ben’s Race.

Report – Matt Burdus-Cook

Ben and I both felt the effects of recent illnesses with Ben being on the back of a Flu and sickness bug over Christmas and me being 3-4 weeks post COVID. It was very hard work and we both had to dig very deep to keep going and hold a time and position to qualify for an England vest.  It was the hardest race finish I’ve ever run in the final third, with the wheels were very very close to falling off!  

I’m now  looking forward to rebuilding some fitness before Chester 10k in March.
At the end it was probably a mix of relief and joy to meet the selection criteria again (the vest isn’t certain until the EA e-mail arrives!)

Phil and Ginny both looked very composed and smooth in the finish straight … in fact Ben and I commented that being able to run half as well (in terms of both running style and speed) as Phil at 70, let alone 80 would be an accomplishment to be proud of.

Phil’s Race.

Personally I was a bit disappointed not to go faster. However 52:59 will probably put me at/near top of the rankings when things get going.

Mornington Chasers Regents Park Winter 10k series race was a qualifying race for people trying for selection to the England Masters representative team, hence the presence of four SuAAC members.

Fastish, flattish early morning round three laps of Regents Park. Lots of people, more dogs (and foxes!) than people. Harder than it looked, or I was still tired from Wednesday’s Shakespeare race.
Excellent race results for Ben and Matt: Ben 3rd overall, Matt 7th. The confusing and frankly annoying, bit is that the results aren’t published in the same age categories as the EA 5 year bands. Ben and Matt seem certain that they have qualified in M35/45 categories. I have no idea – I’m no longer sure if I’m counted as M80 or M75+, so ~I’ll have to wait and see.  (Phil later confirmed that he finished 2nd in the M75+ age category and well inside the M75 qualifying standard – so job done)
Raw results:
Ben 2nd overall, second MSen 32:31
Matt 7th Overall, 3rd M40 34:20
PB  153 0verall, 4th M70 52:59
Ginny Davis 162 overall 12th F60 54:46

Ginny’s Race

This was an an audacious endeavour by me to qualify for an England Masters vest, egged on by a friend of some vintage to whom also running has become an obsession. I didn’t qualify unfortunately but nevertheless the weather was fine and that definitely was lucky since rain pelted down upon London for the rest of the day and the course, whilst not as flat as advertised, was tarmac with some welcome downward slopes and was much enlivened by sights of the inmates at the ZSL London Zoo who couldn’t have cared less what we were doing.

Nor could the bloke who hoped to wave me down in order to engage in conversation concerning whether or not this was a Parkrun. 

Nor could the kids or parents who turned up for Sunday football.

Nor the many dogs and owners – none of whom got in the way, apart from one girl with headphones and a phone who clearly had something serious to talk about. 

My highlights of the day were (in order) being greeted as a fellow club-mate by Phil Brennan on arrival, being lapped by Matt and Ben in superb style and all three’s generous welcome as I came in under the PB I had set for myself at the first Shakespeare Race on Wednesday!   

I’m now going to rest for a bit. Oh Goodness -the Not the Roman IX looms. After that I might think about proper training .
Susan Hunt, Sarah Odell and Kate Sergent
Fladbury Festive 5

Report – Sarah Odell
The Fladbury Festive 5 is a lovely local race which always sells out quickly each year. 

I don’t know why is called the Festive 5 though as it’s always in January and nearer 6 miles than 5. 

It is organised by The Friends of Fladbury community group.  It is advertised as 5.5miles and the route takes you from Salters Lane greenhouses along the banks of the river Avon, Lower Moor and Fladbury village and back to the greenhouses. 

The great thing about this race is that it changes every year depending on the levels of rain and weather conditions. 

Within 50 meters of the start we encountered a massive puddle covering the whole path, either you run through it or jump up onto the verge and get brambled.  It’s then onto the road for a short section before you head into the woods onto the side of the Avon. With lots of mud it is a perfect ankle tester. At about 2 miles through a kissing gate with a lovely muddy puddle to splash in, around 3.5 miles you cross a road down the side of the allotments, briefly onto a concrete section then more allotments before turning onto the canal at 5 miles to head for home, back through the puddle. 

A strong group of Stratford ladies plus one ex-member decided to enter. A perfect start to the new year.  Kate Sergent had entered Rosie then she remembered how muddy it gets and decided, as it was Rosie’s first off road adventure, that they would run together.

Rosie being the amazing runner she has developed into, it didn’t faze her at all and loved the experience and wants more. 

Susan Hunt decided to go mud diving about 400 meters from the finish after turning her ankle on the last section, making sure she stopped her Garmin while she was rolling around in the mud. She did say the mud very warm, I’m not sure I believe her!!

It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning having a good laugh, a little run, then amazing cake & coffee what more could you want ?  
Rosie Slocombe and mum Kate. After Monday’s track session I think Rosie should maybe consider changing her surname from Slocombe to Fastcombe.
Rosie’s Race

Report – Rosie Slocombe

Yesterday I completed the Fladbury Festive 5 mile race in Pershore.

Mum persuaded me to give it a go even though I was really unsure because it was off road and would be very muddy.

We both ran together and we both managed to stay upright. 

The atmosphere was great and the marshals were so supportive.

I was so pleased to have done it and will be up for other off road runs now!!
Pip Bell with Rob and Karen Gisbourne
Dudmaston DirtRun 10K

Sunday 8th January 2023

Report – Pip Bell 

Back in November, Karen, Rob Gisbourne and I thought we would look for a trail run event to kick off 2023. We found the Dudmaston DirtRun 10K in Shropshire so we decide to enter and take our SAC vests on tour.
It was a beautiful woodland trail run that took us round a stunning lake, through some mud and up and down multiple hills!
About 150 runners were entered and the January weather was very kind to us all. The run is sponsored by Teme Valley Brewery and the top 5 men and women finishers were rewarded with a bottle of there tasty beer. 

This is where I must mention that Rob finished 4th with a very impressive run. Well done Rob and I hear from Karen that he enjoyed the beer!
Karen and I ran together and had a strong finish to come in 14th and 15th females respectively.
We all thoroughly recommend this event to anyone who loves a “good old trail run”. It’s only an hour away you’ll get a great finisher’s medal, cheery marshals and stunning scenery. What more would you want?
It was business as usual last Sunday morning as many of our young endurance runners trained on a very muddy Welcombe Hills in readiness for this coming weekend’s XC fixture at Pingles in Nuneaton

Pictured here are:

Front row – Maggie Silvers, Emily Lambert, Georgia Sharpe and Rachel Sparrow, with brother Ewan Sparrow and Kipp Stevens on the back row