Variety, Spice, Life – It’s all here.

Sue Mothershaw with John Butler
Very occasionally I receive a report that makes me put everything else in to perspective, that makes me realise the extreme difficulties some members have to cope with and that makes me realise how, in some small way, being a member of this club can help them cope. 

This is one such report.

Sue Mothershaw – My Race.

Bourton 10k.
Many of you will know that I had breast cancer surgery back in May and I have continued to run, albeit very slowly but with such joy and great company.  Some people think that running during treatment is crazy but actually it’s the best thing I could have done. SUAAC, Parkrun and 5Kyourway have been an amazing support for me and I will be forever grateful.
Thank you. 
Nurses often tell me that I will get chronic fatigue and progressively more tired and I ignore that! So, to celebrate the last of my chemotherapy coming soon I ran Bourton 10k.  
It was very tough after 5K and 15 minutes slower than last time in 2011! However, I did it in 69:36 with the encouragement of runners around me. I want to say that if you are unsure of entering your first race or are worried about being slow then “just go for it!!” 
Thanks, Mr Butler for your company at Bourton and to everyone for your kind words over the past few months. 
Happy running.
Sue x
Lots to report on this week.

We start off with a few heartfelt words from Sue Mothershaw on her battle with cancer and her determination to carry on running despite this. Thank you Sue, you are an inspiration.

It was the British Universities & College Sports Championships (BUCS) in Sheffield last weekend with Emily Madden Forman being crowned high jump champion.

We had 9 senior members competing in the Bourton 10k with several recording PBs.

I was one of five club Vets who were selected to compete for Midland Masters in the Inter Area Challenge at Lee Valley Stadium last weekend, with the team finishing 2nd out of 9 teams.

There’s the usual erudite report from Rachel Stevens on our juniors who competed at the National XC Championships at Bolesworth Castle near Chester.

We have a few words on Wednesday’s super night of mile races at the Stratford track and finally not one but two reports on the final race of the Winter Series. Many thanks to both MJ and Lisa Stevens for these reports. Indeed many thanks for all of this week’s reports.

Take care

Best wishes

David Jones
Emily Madden Forman on top of the podium having been crowned high jump champion.
Emily Madden Forman looks as though she got in to the habit of winning medals early on. A habit that thankfully continues.
Paul Bearman, Carolyne Johnston, Charlotte Gravelsons, Imogen Sheppard and Catherine Reynolds.
British University & College Sports Championships 2023

Report – Paul Bearman.

The British University & College Sports Championships (BUCS) are the breeding ground for many British track and field stars and the championship combines good club standard athletes with established junior and senior internationals’ which makes the event so special.
Universities from the length and breadth of the UK descend on The English Institute of Sport inn Sheffield who host the championships, with the athletes wearing the unfamiliar colours of their respective universities as opposed to their clubs but wearing them with the same commitment and passion.
Away from the familiar surroundings of their home environment, this year the new breed included 3 Stratford AC athletes competing and continuing their athletic careers that started in their primary school days, through secondary and now in the last phase of their education journey.
Nick Butler is in his 2nd year at Sheffield Uni and his weekend started with the heats of the Triple Jump. After 2 no jumps he got a safe jump in, 12.73m to finish 6th in his pool but when the 2 pools were added together he missed the final by one place.
Undeterred, the next day he went into the Long Jump with a smile and low expectations and after 2 no jumps he finished with an indoor PB of 6.02m and out of the qualifiers.
A first timer competing at BUCS was Catherine Reynolds, who also studies at Sheffield Uni and was competing in the 400m on her home track.
With only the first 2 over the line in each heat guaranteed a place in the semi-final she ran in the 10th and final heat and it ended up as a superb exhibition run from gun to tape winning in 58.04s.
The semi-final was when the big guns really stepped their game up with only the winner guaranteed a place in the final along with 2 fastest runners up. Catherine held onto the coat tails of junior international Orla Brennan, Birmingham Uni, for the first lap who then surged away leaving Catherine in 2nd spot but was pulled round to a new indoor PB of 56.95s which wasn’t quite good enough to qualify for the final. 
Taking the positives out of it Catherine said” I’m happy with what I’ve run in my first year and I’ve still got another 3 years to do better”.
Emily Madden Forman has previously competed for Liverpool John Moores Uni and is now doing her Masters at Manchester Met. As the 4th ranked High Jumper in the UK Emily went into the pool jump off as favourite and with just one modest jump of 1.64m it was enough to make the final.
She then went into the final very nervous but with the knowledge that assuming she controlled her nerves and jumped to her best a medal was on the cards.
 Emily moved through the opening heights seamlessly, jumping each one first time until there were only 2 left in the competition. She jumped 1.78 at the first attempt and as her competitor Claire McGarvey from Glasgow Uni failed with her 3 attempts Emily was crowned champion.
A thrilled Emily said “this might be last BUCs and so I’m really happy to be going out on the high”… pun intended!
One disappointing note is that Imogen Sheppard, who is Birmingham Unis athletics captain, couldn’t compete in their team due to the fierce competition in the 400m at her Uni and so was hoping to be wearing their Rory the Lion Mascot outfit in the legendary mascot race. Sadly due to her needing time to finish a report for her studies she missed out but with a bit more planning of her schedule hopefully we will see her in the outfit….if not on the track…next year.
Carolyne and I have been going to BUCS for years to support our club athletes and enjoy the event. From my point of view I love the English Schools and BUCS in equal measure and over the years it’s wonderful to see our athletes, most of whom started in the under 11s with Carolyne, go through childhood and into adulthood still competing and enjoying their athletics.
That’s what it’s all about watching the kids grow, succeed in their lives and building lasting friendships….Happy days.
Kate Wright – photo from the last of this season’s Winter Series races.
Kate’s Bourton 10k.

Bourton 10k is usually one of the first races of the year for me. A nice fast out and back to assess how unfit I am. However it was my 3rd 10k this year and with the help of my very bouncy Nike alphaflys, I was hoping for a good one.

This course is always bonkers for the first 2 laps of the town with everyone going off way too fast, including me! However I did manage to maintain a pretty good pace until the turn point halfway when the head wind hit.

From then on it was tough. I knew at that point I was 5th lady. I could see the yellow vests of the speedy Stratford men ahead but couldn’t get close. With a lot of digging deep I finished in 37.56 ( 35 secs faster than last year). 1st in AG and 5th lady overall.
Hi guys, does anyone have 40p for the loo ?
The boys are back in town! Some of Stratford’s finest.
Bourton 10k Race
Report – Matt Burdus-Cook.

9 Stratford AC Athletes headed to the ever popular Bourton Roadrunners 10k event last Sunday; many with hopes of fast times and PBs on this self proclaimed and proven rapid course.

Although the event did not sell out it’s 600 places almost immediately as usual, it still proved ever popular, with over 200 runners on a waitlist.

Several Athletes were successful in claiming significant PBs and age group wins with conditions being optimally cool (once you got going) with the wind not being especially problematic on any major sections of the course.

The route involves 2 short laps of Bourton village centre before an out and back format on mostly flat rural lanes.

The event is one of the few remaining road races outside of smaller club run road league events that orders and records results using gun-time vs chip times. The result of this is moderate chaos at the start line and mild disappointment with the published finish time, although chip times are what make the “official” England Athletics archives.

First finisher for the club was Matt Burdus-Cook in 15th Position with a time of 34:02 winning his MV45 age category. Next was Jamie Hall in 34:18 taking over a minute off his PB time, closely followed by Richard Liggatt in 34:19 which was a more modest but no less impressive 10s PB improvement.

Significant PBs were also recorded by 55th placed David Teasdale in 37:14 and 64th placed Drew Sambridge in 37:43, who sandwiched a marathon training run and returning to form Adrian Mason finishing in 37:33.

Kate Wright was first lady home for the club in 38:02, winning her age group by well over 4 minutes. I am told Kate moves age categories soon, and her current form places her with potential to compete with world best times, showing that her inspirational talent continues to go from strength to strength.

Completing the Stratford ladies line up was Sue Mothershaw finishing in 1:10:07.

No race really feels complete without the participation of the ever consistent and present John Butler who finished in 598th position in a time of 1:12:10.

Despite the 40p charge for the public toilets in the village centre not offering the value and user experience that one might expect, on balance, a splendid time in the Cotswolds was had by all of us.

The course isn’t quite as flat as everyone says it is and it does come up a little bit longer on our GPS watches than a 10k should, but overall the early spring fixture will remain a firm favourite for 10k road race fans for a long time to come. 
Dave Wilson, Elaine Ledden, Paul Hawkins, David Jones and Paula Williams.

Inter Area T&F Challenge

Lee Valley Indoor Stadium

Sunday 26th February 2023

Report: David Jones

Five of our Vets athletes’ were selected to represent Midland Masters in this annual fixture.

There were 9 teams taking part, consisting of Scottish and Welsh teams plus Eastern Masters, Southern Counties, Northern Masters, South West Vets, North East Vets, The Veterans Athletic Club and Midland Masters.

The Midland Masters’ ladies team won the ladies trophy having been in front for most of the day. In the end the result was closer than it had been, with them edging ahead of Eastern Masters by 225 points to 220.

The men’s team were 2nd throughout the day and that’s the position they finished in, with 283.5 points versus Eastern Masters 317.

The overall Championship went to Eastern Masters, who accumulated 537 compared to the 508.5 of 2nd placed Midland Masters.

It was a highly credible performance by the Midland team in finishing in 2nd place out of the 9 competing teams.

It will come as no surprise to you that the leading athlete of the day was our very own Paula Williams who competed in 6 individual events, winning them all. Paula was also part of the W50 4 x 200 relay team who finished in 2nd place. Her performances on the day were:

W50 60m –  1st place –  8.62 seconds

W50 60m hurdles –  1st place –  9.79. This was a Championship record.

W50 high jump – 1st place –  1.24 metres

W50 long jump –  1st place –  4.20 metres

W50 triple jump –  1st place –  9.43 metres

W50 shot put –  1st place –  12.04 metres ( the second placed competitor threw 8.96m ). This was another championship record.

Paula contributed over 25% of the Midland’s team’s total points.

Elaine Ledden finished in 6th place in the 400m with a time of 76.79. Never again she said after competing a distance she doesn’t really enjoy, especially on an indoor track. Mind you, she said the same thing last year.

Another of our athletes who struggled with the multiple and tight bends of the 200m indoor track was Paul Hawkins, who unfortunately received 3 red cards in his racewalk and was subsequently DQd. He was another athlete who said never again at this event and I suspect that may well be the case.

Dave Wilson was part of the M50 4 x 200m relay team who finished in 2nd place. He also came 7th in the M50 long jump with a jump of 4.48m.

I think I was selected less on ability but more to do with the fact that I’ll pretty much give anything a go. I finished my first ever 60m race in 5th place with a time of 10.97, having 24 hours earlier been at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham for the World Indoor Tour Final and seen 3 disqualifications in the men’s 60m final, which added somewhat to my nervousness. I can now say that I have run competitively in every standard distance from 60m to a marathon. I also came 4th in 200m in 37.55 and was part of the M70 4 X 200m relay team who came 2nd.

Niamh Hillard and Olivia Robinson
Maisie-Joy Spriggs and Tilly Campbell
Stella Sant and Marijke Tear-Verweij
Alex Adams
Joel Ledgard and Jaicob Ford
Charlotte Skinner
This is so much fun!
Arthur Mansbridge and Kipp Stevens
Bo Algate

English Cross Country Association National Championships

Bolesworth Castle. 

Report – Rachel Stevens

It was a new venue for this year’s Saucony Cross Country Championships: the beautiful Bolesworth Castle, Cheshire. The sandstone mansion and 6000 acre estate provided a grand Victorian backdrop, that was complemented by hints of Spring for what is perceived by many of our youngsters as the least pressurised and, thus, most enjoyable Cross Country race of the year.

Not so enjoyable, however, was the total gridlock on the final mile of the journey which saw many an anxious athlete bail from their car in the hope they would still make their race. On the plus side, there was the benefit of a relatively decent view of the racing for those abandoned drivers still stuck on the A41.

Despite the promise of hills to the rear of the mansion, the course ran largely flat and fast, albeit with some challenging dips in part.

The first up to test it were our U17 Ladies on their 5k route. In one of our larger teams of the day, we had a pleasing three athletes within the top 100: Maisie-Joy Spriggs (84th/21:09) strode home as first Stratford lady; then it was the close pairing of Olivia Robinson (98th/21:22) and Niamh Hillard (99th/21:23). Also running well were Lucy Thomas (168th/24:17), Abigail Skinner (168th/26:32) and Tilly Campbell (195th/27:28). Thanks to all their efforts, the girls finished a highly commendable 11th in the team rankings.

Despite having no entrants in the U15 boys’ race, it was encouraging to discover the eventual National Champion was the familiar face of West Midlands League runner, Owen Ulfig. This gives an insight into the standard of competition our U15 boys were up against in their league races.

In the 3km race of the U13 girls, we had two runners: Marijke Tear-Verweij (75th/12:32) ran reliably strongly and was another runner to place well inside the ‘top 100’, with Stella Slant in a steadfast 215th(14:18) who completed our U13 girls’ team.

Next to race over 6k was our U17 Men’s team. After careful strategising, Alex Adams (6th/21:15) had hopes of finishing within the ‘top 5’. All was going to plan on the first lap and he was comfortably in fourth but when the pace increased at the start of the second lap, Alex decided to stay with the leaders. Coupled with a course that ran quicker and was more challenging than anticipated, he found himself with less energy than usual towards the end and finished in overall sixth place.

Nevertheless, it was a good learning experience and a worthwhile stepping-stone for the forthcoming Inter Counties. Thereafter was the solid and dependable running of Jaicob Ford (192nd/25:36) who completed the Stratford U17 Men’s contingent. 

Or so we thought… 

…until the eagle-eyes of Nik and Tilly Campbell spotted two unexpected U17 Stratford entrants: Will Hovell and Kipp Stevens, more typically found on the U13s circuit. After the tailenders of the U17 Men were out of view on their second lap, Will and Kipp asked an official where they ought to line up for their U13’s race which was next up. In a moment of inexplicable human error, the official told them the U13s race had already started and that the runners were some 400 yards ahead.  In no position to argue and after being bundled through the start-gate, the boys frantically set about chasing down the pack.

It was only after a mad 2k’s running were they pulled up and told they were in the wrong race. Not only that, but they would have to get a shift on if they had any hope of re-joining the start-line for their actual U13s race.

After an almighty effort, they made it with seconds to spare only to have to race again. If things couldn’t get any worse, poor Will was then knocked to the ground and trampled on, and with that his race was over.

With relative fortuitousness, young Kipp Stevens found the energy to race on racking up 6km instead of the planned 3km; however, the ordeal took its toll, and he finished in 235th (12:58).

At least there was some consolatory kudos for the duo having passed a good number of the U17 Men before being pulled up.

No doubt as the years pass and this anecdote is told and retold, there will be the inevitable stretching of the truth and they will have come ‘that close to medalling!’

In less dramatic fashion and adopting the more conventional ‘one race’ approach were our two other U13 runners. Joel Ledgard (11:23) ran with great confidence and finished with a terrific 65th place and Arthur Mansbridge (258th/13:24) also ran solidly to complete our juniors’ efforts. 

The club also had several runners competing in the senior men’s and ladies races.

March 1 Mile Shakespeare Race

Pictured below are the 7 waves that took part in Wednesday night’s successful series of mile races at the Stratford track.
March 1 Mile Shakespeare Race

72 runners took part in Wednesday night’s mile races at the Stratford track.

Many were competing in their first ever track race, a few were revisiting the wonderful world of track racing after a lengthy absence.

Everyone I saw had a splendid time

There were many truly excellent performances and the usual wonderful SAC camaraderie prevailed.

Once again several of our junior endurance runners excelled, with U17 Maisie-Joy Spriggs finishing as 1st female in 11th place and a time of 05:26. Three of the club’s successful U13 XC team, although U15’s for track running, continued their success with Joel Ledgard finishing 12th, just losing out in a sprint finish with Maisie-Joy with a time of 05:27, which was the same time as Will Hovell, who surely would have gone quicker had he been in a faster heat, as he was running solo for most of his race. The 3rd of the triumvirate was Aran Cooper (16th/05:37). U15 Marijka Tear-Verwij was 24th in 5:45. U17’s Bo Algate and Abbi Cooper were 31st and 34th respectively with times of 6:05 and 6:09 and the youngest runner of the night, U13 Toby Spriggs ran superbly to finish in 37th place with a time of 6:27

The night culminated in what was a perfect finale with Jamie Hall and Matt Burdus-Cook battling it out, both finishing with the same time of 04:50. Jamie getting the nod after a photo finish.

Matt wasn’t fazed as the gap between him and the leaders grew to some 20-30 metres during the middle of the race with Max Ross having set off at lightning speed for the first couple of laps.

 In the latter stages a battle took place between Matt, Jamie and guest runner Mike Cowley from Run Alcester. Matt made a move  about 250 metres out with the lead changing a few times over the final 200m. Jamie took the lead with 60 metres to go but he left a gap in the inside lane for Matt to make one final final effort at catching him.

All in all the perfect end to a perfect night of running.

Huge thanks are due to Sarah for the super efficient timing and to the rest of the officials who made the night run so smoothly.

Please follow the link below for the full set of result
Team Stratford
Maisie-Joy Spriggs.

That’s how she runs so quick – she floats.

MJ has had a remarkable series of Winter Races this season and commented “Now I’m old enough I have really enjoyed taking part in the whole series this year and winning the series was a massive achievement, especially against some much more experienced runners’

And so say all of us
Dave Teasdale
Winter Series Race 5
Report – Maisie-Joy Spriggs

The final winter series race was run in almost perfect conditions, with everyone ready to run to get their hoodies and bacon rolls in the warm pavilion after.

It saw 32 Stratford athletes taking part out of a total 262 finishers.

First to finish on the day was David Teasdale (7th) in a time of 00:39:44, closely followed by fellow runner Drew Sambridge (9th) in 00:39:49.

Third Stratford athlete and also another amazing win for the ladies was Kate Wright (12th) in 00:41:02. Ade Mason and Max Ross were on Kate’s tail, finishing respectively in 13th and 14th with only 9 seconds between them.

Next in 16th place was Sam Wilks (00:41:44). Noah Balchin was next to finish (00:42:21) followed by Maisie-Joy Spriggs, first female senior from the club and 3rd lady in (00:42:57), James Coy (00:43:16), Will Dyche (00:45:46), Koda Spriggs (00:46:05), with Fern Horden finishing first in her age category (00:49:05).

Then it was Suzie Ross (00:49:05), Emily Carr (00:50:12), Chris Bloomfield (00:51:14), Mark Barker (00:52:26), John Bettles (00:53:16), who finished at the same time as his son just placing top 100.

Then Yumiko Turner finished in 00:54:15, followed by Suzi Graham (00:55:05), Pip Bell (00:55:19), Stuart Evans (00:55:35), Becks Pridham (00:56:44), Daniel Hodgkin (00:58:41) with Karen Gisbourne chasing him in 00:59:09 getting under the 1 hour mark as did Richard Hartwell (00:59:27) and Kevin Zwolinski (00:59:38), Simon Curran (00:59:50).

Then it was Lisa Lambourne (01:00:11), Clare Eynon (01:09:35), Lindsey Anderson (01:12:19), and Jill Wilson (01:19:05).

The on the day prize winners for age categories were David Teasdale 1st MV35, Max Ross 3rd MV35, Ade Mason 1st MV45, Kevin Zwolinski 2nd MV65, Maisie-Joy Spriggs 2nd F senior, Suzie Ross 2nd FV35, Fern Hordern 1st FV45 and Kate Wright 1st FV55.

Gender prize winners were Kate Wright 1st female and Maisie-Joy Spriggs 3rd female.

Series winners were David Teasdale who each race has improved on his previous race with his quickest time in race 5 taking off 2 minutes from race 1 and finally getting that sub-40 he had his eye on.

Ade Mason also won his age category. Maisie-Joy Spriggs won the overall female and Fern Horden won her age category across the series.
Race report by Lisa Stevens Tempo Winter Series Race 5.

The Difference between Running Friends and Non-running Friends 

I asked a non-running friend if they’d run 2.5k for an uncooked sausage-they said no. 

I asked if they’d run 10k for 4 uncooked sausages and they got up and left…

I posed the same question to my SAC running friends-would you run 10k for 4 sausages? 

“Hell yes! Can we do it 5 times though the winter and get a hoodie? And could there be a really big hill?”  

And so the final Tempo Winter series Race 5 took place with over 30 runners and a number of club members in volunteer positions.

The day started unseasonably mild-no ice, wind or rain which posed some confusion amongst members-shorts? Vests?   Hats?  Gloves?  Would it be cold at the top of the mountain  Larkstoke?? All seemed to be resolved by the start.

David Teasdale was first club runner over the line in position 7 with a magnificent time of 39.44 coming first in his age category, followed by Drew Sambridge (9th, 39.49)

Next was Kate Wright running strong in 41.02 as first female and first in her age category. Ade Mason was just behind (41.08) first in his age category swiftly followed by Max Ross (41.17) and Sam Wilks (41.44).

Next, all looking strong , were Noah Balchin (42.21) followed by Maisie-Joy Spriggs  (42.57) James Coy (43.16) William Dyche (45.46) Koda Spriggs (46.05).

Fern Horden ran a great race (49.05) coming first in her age category with Suzie Ross just seconds behind running 49.10. Next were Emily Carr (50.12) with Chris Bloomfield (51.14) Mark Barker (52.26) and John Bettles (53.16) all  recording great times. Then it was down to 3 of the club ladies Yumiko Turner (54.15) Suzi Graham (55.05) and Pip Bell running a Winter series PB in 55.19 (despite some very tired marathon training in her legs!)

Stuart Evans (55.35) was followed by Rebecca Pridam with a beaming smile (56.44) . Next in was Daniel Hodgkin (58.41) then Karen Gisbourne (a Winter series newbie and running strong) recorded 59.09 quickly followed by Richard Hartwell (59.27) Kevin Zwolinski (59.38) and Simon Curran (59.50) all smashing the elusive hour mark.

Lisa Lambourne came in at 1.00.11 (those pesky seconds!) –another member marathon training and running well. Hot on her tail was Emma Lee (1.01.18) running well in her first Winter Series . With huge smiles and cheery waves next in were Clare Eynon (1.09.35), Lindsay Anderson (1.12.19) and Jill Wilson (1.19.05)

Well done everyone-enjoy the sausages and wear those hoodies with pride!

And Finally
More photos from last weekend’s BUCS Championships in Sheffield
Catherine Reynolds
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Charlotte Gravelsons and Alex Powell
Charlotte, Catherine and Nick Butler.
Charlotte, Imy Sheppard and Catherine.
And Finally Finally


The eagle eyed Mike Sheppard has said that last week’s statement that at the recent UK Athletics Senior Indoor Championships, the final of the 60m hurdles was won in a new stadium record of 7.62 held by Colin Jackson for 29 years.

Mike clarified his assertion by saying King’s 7.62 would not have made the final in the World Indoors in that stadium in 2018 (won by Mr Pozzi in 7.46), and of course Jackson went even quicker than that in the 90s!

Thanks for pointing that out Mike