World Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Paula Williams – Javelin
Phil Brennan – 10000m
Paula Williams – Discus
This week pride of place goes to Paula Williams and Phil Brennan who have been busy picking up medals at the World Masters Indoor championships in Poland.

Last Saturday’s parkrun, held in memory of Christine Cooper, was really well supported by club members, many of who were wearing Chris’s favourite colour of yellow. Many thanks to Kate Sergent for organising it and to Bev Brigden for her thoughtful comments when introducing the run.

Talking of parkruns, Saturday sees the culmination of 9 weeks of hard work, in sometimes inclement weather, for our latest group of Couch to 5kers, one of who is my son. Goodness those are words I never thought I would type. Seriously though, I am proud of him and proud of all the other group members who have completed the course.

Welcome to the wonderful world of running and good luck on Saturday.

Two of our juniors’ qualified to compete in this year’s London Mini Marathon and we also have one as first reserve.

Last Saturday was the final race of a long and hard XC season with the National Primary and Year 7 XC Championships and we have a report on that.

Last weekend also saw the Ashby 20 with 6 of our members competing.

I had a senior moment last week by omitting the report on the Banbury 15, so that’s included this week and at least it gives me another excuse to feature a photo of our 3 ladies who competed.

While mentioning omissions from last week, I should mention that Ceri Shephard also competed in the recent European Duathlon Championships near Venice along with John Peacock and Fern Hordern. Ceri finished 4th in her age group and is now looking forward to the World Championships in Ibiza in a few weeks time and has promised to send in a report.

Talking of reports, I know quite a few of you are competing in the Brighton Marathon this weekend, after many weeks of arduous training. The very best of luck to you all and please be sure to send in a report and some photos.

Finally we have the winners of this month’s 100 Club draw.

Take care

Best wishes

David Jones
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Club members’ turned out in force for last week’s parkrun held in memory of much beloved member Christine Cooper, suitably decked out in Chris’s favourite colour of yellow.
The sun even shone.
Remember the sun!
The talented twosome – Phil Brennan and Paula Williams
Phil Brennan in action
The results of the W50 javelin, showing Paula Williams as WORLD CHAMPION
World Masters Indoor Championships

Toruń – Poland

Report – David Jones

The 2023 World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships is the ninth in a series of World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships and it is being staged in Toruń, Poland.

At the time of writing it is fair to say that a couple of our senior members have already taken the Championships by storm with a third member, Paul Hawkins, having flown out to join them on Wednesday.

Paula Williams started proceedings off by winning a bronze medal in the discus on Saturday. Her best throw, which Paula described as rubbish (actually she used a stronger word than that) was 12metres 66cms, sufficient to claim the bronze medal and a mere 15 cms off silver. The gold medal winner was Camille Cayet of France with a throw of 14.22.

On the same day, Phil Brennan narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the 3000m, finishing in 4th place with a time of 15:08.91. The gold medal winner was Jean-Louis Esnault from France with a time of 13:43.17. 

Phil has been plagued by injuries for months and even a couple of weeks ago  wasn’t sure if he would be able to compete.

On Tuesday Paula was crowned World champion in the javelin. I’ll just repeat that – was crowned World Champion. As the results above show, she was behind for the first 3 throws before her 4th throw of 35.25 was sufficient to win her the gold medal. It is worth noting that her final throw would also have won her the gold.

Wednesday saw the indestructible Mr Brennan claiming a stunning silver medal in the 10000m with a time of 52:25, a full 4 minutes ahead of the bronze medal winner.

For most mere mortals running a 3000m and 10000m in 4 days would be more than enough but Phil is made of sterner stuff and is due to run the half marathon on Saturday. He’s going to see how he feels on the day though.

Chairman Paul Hawkins flew out to Poland on Wednesday and is due to compete in the 10000m racewalk on Friday. At the weekend Paula will be competing in the 60m hurdles and is also in with a chance of running in the relay and, as mentioned above, Phil may do the half marathon.

Good luck to all three. They are certainly doing the club proud

The Thoughts of Phil Brennan


4th in 3000 M80 for me, about the best I could expect in any circumstances.

I settled in behind the leading bunch, hoping that I could snap up anyone who dropped off the back. One did but by the time I decided to pass him, the front three were out of contact.

If I had been top fit I might have stayed close enough to disrupt them but I doubt it.

No pain and a great improvement on two weeks ago.

I’m now feeling reasonably confident about the rest of the week.

Best wishes and definite smiley face,


Even for me, it was an epic act of stupidity. I broke my but Being Prepared, I had brought a spare. Unfortunately, they must have been the wrong ones, as the prescription was quite a bit off.

I felt as if I was slightly drunk the whole time and managed to trip over, bang my head and lacerate myself from head to knee just before the start of the 10k.

I escaped from the First Aid tent with four minutes to spare, on the promise that I wasn’t concussed and would come back afterwards.

I might have been lying, as it took me about a mile to remember what sort of pace I should be running at. All of which makes it a bit of a mystery how I managed a marginal SB and a Silver medal.

All the worrying about whether my hamstring would hold up was a waste of time as well.

Needless to say I’m delighted. Whether I run HM depends on how bad the reaction is. I expect to be very sore after this race,.

Press Correspondent

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Sam Swanepoel will be taking over my role as press correspondent with immediate effect.

Please send any reports for possible inclusion in the local media to Sam at

Please also copy me in to ensure the reports aren’t omitted from the newsletter

Joel Ledgard
London Mini Marathon Trial

Report – David Jones

The London Mini Marathon will take place on 22nd April, the day before the full marathon and it will let children and young people experience the thrill of crossing the world-famous finish line on The Mall before receiving their medals. 

The distances will be 2.6K for pupils in Years 5 to 12 and a mile for pupils in reception to Year 7

Last Sunday the West Midlands Region trials for this race took part, with 5 of our junior endurance group competing. 

In the U13 boys race, Joel Ledgard, on the back of a superb XC season, qualified for London by finishing 3rd in a time of 9:02. Arthur Williamson is 1st reserve having finished just 2 seconds behind Joel.

Maisie-Joy Spriggs also qualified, finishing 4th in the U17W race with a time of 9:11.

In the U13 girls race Marijke Tear-Verweij finished in 8th pace with a time of 9:41 and Lois Ford was 12th in 10:06.

Charlie Castle and Toby Ledgard
Stella Sant (1166) with friend Isla.
Kipp Stevens
You wouldn’t guess it was a XC race would you ?

The National Primary and Cross Country Finals

Report – Becks Ledgard, Rachel Stevens, Nicola Sant and David Jones.

These Championships were first held in 2015 at Belvoir Castle,  attracting around 800 entries. By 2019 the event had moved to Prestwold Hall in the heart of the Leicestershire Countryside and touched record entries.

The 2020 edition was heading for even higher numbers but of course we all know what happened then…….

A low key return in 2022 using the Harborough Showground saw the flame reignited for the event. The 2023 edition headed back to Prestwold Hall and took the event back to its pre-pandemic glory with the famous big screen on site and professional multi camera live streaming to inspire the athletes of the future.

For the few of our hardy juniors who made the journey it was the end of a long hard XC season. They can now hang up their XC spikes.

Toby Ledgard and Charlie Castle’s journey to the Year 5 Primary School’s National Cross-Country Championship started way back in October when they ran their first ‘cross-country’ race for school … on the almost entirely concrete Junior parkrun route!!

Fast forward to February and they had both done well enough in a couple more races to be selected to run for South Warwickshire.

When this next race was postponed and then ultimately cancelled both boys were really disappointed. 

To soften the blow, ‘Warwickshire Schools’ decided to select double the amount of children to take to the Nationals than they usually do.

Charlie, who had amazingly come consistently 2nd in every race, was given a place in the ‘A’ team whereas Toby, just beaten into 6th place by someone with a startling sprint finish in the Stratford region race, just missed out. He was so disappointed and even toyed with the idea of entering as an ‘individual’ but was unsure as he wasn’t convinced he deserved it!

However, he had great news just 6 days before the final finding out someone had dropped out and he had a confirmed place on the ‘B’ team.

Race day, with them competing in the U11BY5 race run over 2.3k came and both boys were up for it! 

Toby, a regular this season in the U11 team for the club, was used to running at a variety of different venues but Charlie, who is one of Toby’s training pals at the Tuesday night junior track sessions, was relatively new to cross-country and understandably pretty nervous. Nevertheless he absolutely went for it coming 82nd overall out of 190 runners and 3rd out of the Warwickshire team in a time of 10:03 

Toby also didn’t disappoint, probably benefiting from having watched his brother at the same venue 3weeks earlier, coming home in 112th overall with a time of 10:21. What he was especially pleased with was that he really proved he deserved his place in the squad – only coming in as a replacement at the last minute yet finishing a brilliant 9th out of the 20 Warwickshire athletes selected!

On what was a challenging course, which was very muddy in places with varying weather conditions (standing in sunshine on the start line but crossing the finish line in a thunderstorm) both boys really had fun. 

In the U11GY5 race, also run over 2.3k, Emily Lambert rounded off what has been an excellent first season of XC with a superb run, finishing in 30th place out of 162 runners in a time of 10:47.

In the U11GY6 race, run over 2.7km Isabella Marriott recorded a time of 11:46.

Kipp Stevens ran for Hereford and Worcestershire Year 7 boys team over a distance of 3k. After a terrific start, he held on well to finish in overall 31st/147 – up 45 places from last year in a time of 12:18. He was delighted to be second boy home for his County.

What a difference a year’s training at SUAAC makes!

Stella Sant had a great time in the U13GY7 race over 3k despite the awful weather, with thunder and lightning and really sticky mud.  Lots of the girls in her race finished shoeless!  Stella fell over but got back up and finished 61st out of 139 runners in 13: 52 and had a really fun race apparently!

In the same race Georgia Sharpe also battled through the mud to finish in 15:58

Kate Wright on top of the podium.
I guess the photo sums up the conditions. Grey.
Ashby 20

Report – Sarah Odell

Ashby 20 is advertised as a race designed by runners for runners with an undulating course and the famous Ashby hoody memento. 

It is a very popular race on the run up to a spring marathons and this year six Stratford AC members took on the challenge on a wet and windy morning.

The race starts on the road just outside Hood Park, with a down hill start which only means one thing when it’s a two lap course.

You run through the villages of Springs, Swepstone, Heather and Normanton Le Heath. At around the eight miles you repeat the first lap again, then turn at eighteen miles to run back up hill to the finish in Hood Park.  

Kate Wright was first home for Stratford in her usual fashion of making running look extremely easy. Her tactic was to draft from the wind behind two men who where running at her pace. She came home in 2.15.20 – 5th lady overall and 1st in her age group.

Next home were Emma Bexson and Pete Sugden who had planned to run at eight min mile pace and smashed that target,  coming home in 2.32.36.  I was next to finish.  My pre-race plan was to run my own race and fingers crossed to manage 9 min miles after a busy last 6 weeks with 5 races in my legs. I stuck to my plan and came across the line 3.01.00 happy with my time. 

Next home was Clare Weatherhead who totally smashed her expectations in 3.06.36. This was Clare’s first time running 20 miles let alone race the distance and she has not even got a planned marathon yet, but I don’t think it will be long before she has one booked. 

Next home was Becks Pridham in 3.40.15, an ideal preparation for her summer marathon.  

Ashby is always a great event which sells out quickly and you can understand why.  Entry’s open in the autumn for next year.  
Clare’s Ashby 20

Report – Clare Weatherhead.

Sunday 26th March saw 6 SAC members turn up in the pouring rain and lower temperatures than recently to run 20 miles  a scenic and undulating route around Ashby de la Zouch and the surrounding countryside.

It’s a race that I have wanted to do for a few years, a test of my physical and mental ability and the longest I had run. 

Having been very nervous during the week about how I would fare, once I started running, I settled into my anticipated pace and tried to take in my surroundings.

The rolling hills on the undulating route seemed fine until the second lap when they appeared to have become steeper and longer but there were plenty of encouraging marshals, volunteers and spectators along the route. 

The last 2 miles were hard on tired legs running back up towards the Bath Grounds to the finish against the wind. 

My husband missed me finishing despite being well positioned to take an action photo! Some of the faster SAC members had already finished. I was very pleased with my time of 3:06:36, especially with this being the longest race I had done.

Well done to everyone from SAC who ran. 

At the finish you receive the much sought after hoody (instead of a medal), water, a cheese & tomato bap and a banana.

It was a well organised race which I would recommend. 

100 Club Winners

Huge congratulations to the winners of the SUAAC 100 club this month who were Martyn Crowfoot, Richard Eden and David Smyth. 

For those who have not yet joined, it’s a great way to support the club for just £4 a month with a chance to win £100, £50 or £25.  Please email Helen on for details and joining instructions.

Kind regards,

Helen Roach

(Club volunteer)

Sarah Odell, Kate Sergent and Susan Hunt.
The eagle eyed of you may have noticed that I missed this report from last week’s newsletter despite me saying in the editorial that it was included.

Senior moment.

Anyway better late than never.

Geoff Smith’s Banbury 15.

Organised by Banbury Harriers

Report-Sarah Odell
On a cold Mothering Sunday three of Stratford’s finest Mothers, plus Drew Sambridge gave up their lie in and breakfast in bed to run a hilly 15 miler around the Oxfordshire countryside. 

The race started and finished in the Spiceball Park in Banbury. 

The route took you out of the park and past industrial estates for the first two miles then it was out towards the Bourton’s, Little and Greater. The course is described as undulating and hilly and it certainly lived up to its description. It is five miles out with a five mile loop around Cropredy in the middle, then following the reverse of the first five miles. 

The course was well marshalled with a number of drinks stations.

First home for Stratford AC was Drew Sambridge, who came 19th overall in a amazing time of 1.40.12. Next home was myself in a time of 2.13.06, then close behind was Susan Hunt in 2.13.59. We had both said we would be happy with 9 minute miles before the race and we both achieved just below our target pace. 

Next home was the formidable Kate Sergent in a smashing time of 2.40.43. Kate was using the race as part of her preparation for her upcoming London marathon and she achieved her target marathon mile pace.  

A great local race well organised by running club. Ideal for a spring marathon preparation.