And yet more medals. Boring I know.

Our 3 World Championship competitors – Paul Hawkins, Paula Williams and Phil Brennan
Another varied week. I like weeks with a bit of variety.

Starting off we have the final report from the World Masters Indoor Championships in Poland, with both Paula Williams and Phil Brennan returning with a full set of medals, gold, silver and bronze. I know the report repeats some of what was written last week but it was written for the local press and it made sense to feature it here. It saved me a bit of time as well!

There’s a superb report  on the Sportshall National Finals held last weekend in Stoke on Trent. I implore you to read it, I certainly learnt lots from it.

We have a wonderful report from Jill Wilson on the London Landmark half marathon at the weekend, where a few of our members competed. Judging from Jill’s report, although it was her 1st half it certainly won’t be her last.

This month’s Shakespeare Race took place in Tiddington on Wednesday night in somewhat damp conditions with 69 members competing.

There’s a reminder from Mike Sheppard about the upcoming Midland T&F league.

We bid a fond farewell to Alex Adams who is departing for pastures new. A sad day but I’m sure you will join me in wishing him all the very best for the future.

There are a few words on last weekend’s Regency 10k and a teaser for next week’s report on the Brighton Marathon.

Finally, many congratulations to those in the latest C25K who completed the parkrun last Saturday, including my son and his partner, he says pinching himself.

Take care

Best wishes

David Jones

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Phil and Paula
Paul Hawkins
The official results of Paula Williams’ silver medal winning performance in the 60m hurdles. A quick glance at the flags from across the world emphasises her achievement on a global level.

World Masters Indoor Championships

Toruń – Poland

Report – David Jones

I realise that part of this report is a repeat of some of what was reported last week but this was written for and sent to the local press and covers the whole of the Championships from the perspective of our 3 members who were competing and includes the additional  medals won by then since last week’s report.

I didn’t rally fancy writing another report. 

Stratford upon Avon Masters athletes helped Great Britain finish 4th in the medal table of 55 competing nations at the 2023 World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in Toruń.

Host nation Poland finished top, followed by Germany, United States and then Great Britain.

Paula Williams started by winning bronze in the shot put. Although not entirely happy with her technique, she felt that if she had thrown what she has been throwing recently the medal could have been silver. Her best throw of 12metres 66cms was sufficient to claim the bronze medal, a mere 15 cms off silver.

She then went on to be crowned World Champion for her age group in the javelin. Trailing for the first 3 throws, her 4th throw of 35.25 was sufficient to win the gold. The weather conditions weren’t ideal. Although the World Indoor Championships, for obvious reasons the javelin competition took place outdoors and the freezing conditions meant that Paula was throwing in the snow with the javelin grips so cold that the ropes were iced up and she couldn’t hold them for long.

It was then the 60m hurdles. Paula felt under pressure as she knew she was in the mix for a medal. The same German who beat her into bronze in the shot put was the favourite. Tatjana Schilling is an outstanding multi event athlete who has also won the pentathlon, high jump and long jump.

After winning her heat, Williams was drawn in the lane next to Schilling in the final. Determined not to feel intimidated and just focus on her race, she ran time of 9.71, just 500ths of a second behind the German’s winning time of 9.66.

Paula commented “To win a medal in each of my events was an amazing experience. One of the highlights was meeting up with my fellow SAC Masters athletes: Phil Brennan and Paul Hawkins. Masters Athletics is great – the competition is rewarding and the social/community aspects are just as important to me”.

Phil Brennan started by narrowly missing out on a bronze medal in the 3000m, finishing in 4th place with a time of 15:08.91. He had been plagued by injuries for several months and just a couple of weeks ago wasn’t sure if he would be able to compete.

Next for him was the gruelling 10k, where he claimed silver medal with a time of 52:25.

For mere mortals running a 3000m and 10k in 4 days would be more than enough but Brennan is made of sterner stuff and he then went on to compete in the half marathon just 4 days after his 10k race.

Half marathon day was cold and wet. His main opposition were two Germans who had declared times around 1:58. His plan was to aim for 1:57. After a mile he found he had drifted up behind Karl Walter Trümper from Germany and decided to follow him. They tucked in behind some competitors from a younger age group to shield them from the headwind. Trümper then started to accelerate leaving Phil behind. He was just wondering what had happened to the other German, Siegfried Kalwert, when he sprinted past him on finishing straight to claim the silver medal by just 13 seconds.

Phil finished with a time of 2:01.00, adding bronze to his earlier silver. He was then part of the GB team who won team gold in the half marathon, so like club mate Paula, he finished with a gold, silver and bronze.

Phil said it was an unforgettable experience to be part of the British team, make new friends and renew old friendships after four years.

For club chairman Paul Hawkins it was a championship of mixed emotions

Competing in the technically challenging 10k road walk he was disqualified at about 7k for a bent knee. He felt ok and was doing a reasonably quick pace but couldn’t lock his knee properly. 

Despite the DQ he was encouraged and feels he is making progress. 

To put his performance into perspective, it is two years since he started chemotherapy for cancer and he most certainly has come a long way in that time. 

Just to be competing at these World Championships is a huge achievement and he is an absolute inspiration.

Paul was really proud to be in the same team as fellow club members and multi medal winners Paula and Phil  but disappointed not to do as well as they did.

A tense moment – awaiting the results
Seb Hillard, Sam McKenzie and Keenan Stratford.
A Rugby member alongside Joel Ledgard, Sam Plumb and Elfric McKenzie
Arthur Mansbridge, Will Hovell, Aran Cooper, Joel Ledgard, Sam Plumb and Elfric McKenzie
The U15 4 x 2 lap relay


Report – Paul Bearman and Carolyne Johnston

Sportshall actually goes back as far as 1976 and the annual regional and national championships were established in1984. Apparently individuals in the club dabbled in it in those early years but there was no county organisation to run it properly.

In 1995, along with the club’s former Chairman Dave Wright, who was also Stratford Councils Sports Development Officer and Zoe and Eddie Parsons from Specialising in Sport, I was asked to get involved with forming the Warwickshire Sportshall League and I became its Chair.

I had no idea what Sporthall Athletics was but soon found out and immediately saw the huge benefits of introducing our young athlete’s to it as a fundamental part of our winter indoor training and competition programme, to compliment cross county (albeit that was still in its infant stages until Paul Hawkins got it properly organised a few years later).

For the uninitiated Sportshall is an indoor form of track and field for young athletes and it could be construed as the junior athletics equivalent of Rugby 7’s or Cricket’s T20… and furious. It provides a safe and warm environment for young athletes to run and use specialist equipment to train during the cold and dark winter months.

The programme focusses on fitness, mobility, flexibility and multi-skill development that in fact helps to provide a grounding for all sports.

It is totally inclusive and, apart from encouraging young people to improve their fitness etc. it also promotes friendship, team spirit and most importantly having lots of fun.

In the early years we took 7 to 10 athletes to the inaugural Warwickshire League matches, including Paul H’s boys Malcolm and Neil and my daughter Lauren and they were regularly “slaughtered” every month by the other bigger teams.

As the club grew over the years so did our team and by introducing the concept into our training and gradually buying/borrowing the specialist equipment so did our success, whereby for the past umpteen years pre Covid Stratford were county champions.

Sportshall UK National Final

Over the years literally 100’s of our young athletes have competed in the Warwickshire league and have represented Warwickshire in the Regional and National championships with a lot of team and individual success. Previous Sportshall U15 champions have included Morgan Lake, Mark Lewis-Francis and Kelly Sotherton and Andrew Pozzi only missed out on being champion by a mere tenth of a second!

Last month, the combined talents of the Under 13 and 15 boys from Rugby & Northampton AC and Stratford AC formed the Warwickshire county team and both won the regional event. At the weekend the teams and their families decamped to Stoke for the National final against other county teams from the length and breadth of the UK which is a big step up in the quality of the opposition.

Carolyne and I were designated as team managers with Carolyne looking after the U13s and me the U15’s ,which is a re run of carrying out those roles many times before.

The Under 15 team competition is an “All-rounder” concept that includes a run, throw and jump and involvement in relays. Stratford athletes in the 7 man squad included Seb Hillard, Sam McKenzie and Keenan Stratford with, I think it’s fair to say, the whole team having mixed fortunes in their individual events but they held their own against some superb and stiff competition and the team finished 6th overall.

Their highlight came in the 4 x 2 lap relay which is a test of pure speed, a very sharp technique on the reversaboards and above all team work. The team only finished 3rd in their heat but still qualified in the top 6 teams.

The final was run at a blistering pace but after a slowish, start with Keenan on the 3rd leg and Sam on the last leg, they reeled the other teams in but were just pipped for first place by a strong Surrey team.

Our Under 13 boys came away adorned with medals of all colours! The team of 10 was made up with 6 of our Stratford boys, Will Hovell, Aran Cooper, Elfric Mckenzie, Arthur Mansbridge, Joel Ledgard, and Sam Plumb along with 4 from Rugby. Between them, they dominated the track events winning medals in all of the relays.

The event kicked off with the Obstacle Relay, an exciting start to the afternoon. Elfric, Joel, Sam & Charlie (Rugby) were keen to show their rivals their competitive spirit and finished overall 2nd with silver medals.

Whilst the girls teams were on the track it was time for the boys to compete in the field. Two boys were selected to compete in each of the events, Standing Long Jump, Standing Triple Jump, Vertical Jump, Speed Bounce and Shot. The results were a mixed bag but Joel’s performance was outstanding in the 15cm high Speed bounce to become the UK champion with an incredible 85 bounces in 30 seconds.

With the exception of the 4 Lap and 8 Lap Paarlauf (a relay for two runners, with one running whilst the other rests and is like a team version of a fartlek session), the relays were heats followed by finals.

The track seemed to be where our strength was as the boys successfully secured their spots in all of the finals with amazing results.  4 x 1 relay – Arthur, Sam, Sonny(R) and Charlie (R) silver medals. 8 lap Paarlauf, a tactical relay which was run well by Will and Aran giving them bronze medal position.

Elfric and Joel stepped up the pace in the 6 lap relay to fight for joint silver medals with the county of Avon. The final event for the U13 boys was the 4 x 2 relay. What a superb race this was, slick baton changes and excellent technique on the reversaboards by Arthur and the 3 rugby boys, giving them a clear win and gold medals to finish their day.

It was a tense time when the final placings were being announced after fighting for every point possible. It was a very commendable and well deserved 2nd place for our Warwickshire boys with Surrey winning the 2023 UK final.

With medals jangling around their necks it was a good way to finish an exciting event and finish the winter competitions with a flourish and something to be very proud of in years to come, representing their county in the 2023 UK Sportshall final.

Jill Wilson.
Rightfully proud of her well earned medal
Kate Sergent with Chelsea pensioner. Kate’s on the left !
Lisa Stevens also with a Chelsea pensioner.
Nic Reynolds looking pretty please with herself
London Landmarks Half Marathon

Report – Jill Wilson


This was my first half ever and three other the club members also  ran it. 

It’s all Bev Brigden’s fault!

She told me in 2020, a couple of years after my C25K and shortly after a WRRL virtual 10 mile race that if I could do 10 miles then I should do a half marathon next.

That was the plan for 2021 but it’s taken until now for this to happen for various reasons.

I was lucky enough to be offered a charity place in the fifth  London Landmarks Half Marathon, which took place last Sunday 2 April. 

Lisa Stevens, Kate Sergent, Nic Reynolds and me (all running for different charities) joined 17244 other runners.

We didn’t see each other, although Kate ran with my husband Graham (not a club member) for a few miles at the start.

It was the perfect day – a cool (some would say cold) start but the sun came out and London was breathtakingly beautiful in the spring sunshine.

It was the perfect course for folks like me who don’t like hills!

The route took in – well – lots of landmarks, starting off from Pall Mall, into Trafalgar Square and finishing on Whitehall just by Downing Street.

Highlights along the way for me were passing St Paul’s Cathedral (where I was overtaken by someone dressed as a golden retriever), Bow Bells (ringing of course), the Guildhall, the Bank of England and reaching the Tower before running back along the embankment and over Westminster Bridge twice. 

The atmosphere and support was fantastic – from live bands and choirs to cheer teams from over 400 charities. 

I was unsure about doing the distance as my two 10 mile ‘long’ training runs were pretty disastrous and demoralising but I got into a steady pace a couple of km in and just kept going and was thrilled to finish in a time of 2:37:09. 

Lisa, in her first half marathon in nine years, did a PB of 2:04:17. Kate finished in 2:18:11 and Nic in just over 3 hours.

It was intended to be my first and only half – but having completed it – I loved it and hope it won’t be my last – I want to do it again – such a fabulous event in every respect! Highly recommended

Couch to 5K

Below is a photo of our latest couch to 5k group, together  with support crew after graduating at last Saturday’s parkrun.

A huge well done to them all.

Team captain Martyn Sergent is looking proud as punch in the centre of the front row.

Jan Turner, one of the other regular helpers, was otherwise engaged preparing for the Brighton Marathon the following day, her second, having only completed the C25K group herself a few years ago.

It just goes to show you what you can achieve.
Racewalkers Gemma Smith and Paul Hawkins setting off
The early group getting ready to start. Finger on the watch Pip!
The later group listening intently to the race briefing. Not.
April Shakespeare Race


Wednesday 5th April

On an exceedingly damp night we invaded Tiddinton, with 69  members competing in this month’s Shakespeare Race.

As the link below shows, the latest Jamie Hall/Matt Burdus-Cook battle was narrowly won by Jamie in a time of 30.41, just 3 seconds ahead of Matt.

In the battle of the Hutchinson’s, U20 Fin, on his Easter break from Plymouth Uni, finished in 5th place with a time of 33.29 just 22 seconds ahead of his father Tim.

Kate Wright was first female finisher in 9th place with a time of 34:00.

2nd female finisher and 1st junior was the ever impressive Maisie-Joy Spriggs in 16th place with a time of 36:39. Her margin of victory over her father was somewhat greater than Fin’s over Tim (sorry Chris).

 However, one father who did manage to claim victory was 23rd placed Graham Black (39:12) who recorded an 81 second victory over the returning Cameron Black (26th – 40:33).

Many congratulations to all who competed in the wet conditions.

For the full set of results follow the link below.
Stan and Martha Peters.
Is that what they call a forced smile Martha ?

Nuneaton Season Opener

Report – David Jones

A handful of our members, across multiple age groups from U13 to V50, competed in this event last weekend.

Brian Graveslons, the V50, has been training hard after a lengthy absence from competitive athletics following surgery. He certainly had a busy competition with a 100m run in a time of 15.04. This was his first competitive race at this distance since 2021 when he was fractionally quicker with a time of 14.43. In the javelin Brian threw 21.70, 5cms further than his throw for the club in a Midlands League T&F fixture last July. The former was with a lighter javelin that V50’s throw and is a personal best for Brian at this 700g weight. Finally he must have been delighted to be on the start line  of the 400m with U23 daughter and fellow club member Charlotte. In what appears to have been his first competitive race at this distance since 2016, he recorded a time of 1:13.21 against Charlotte’s time of 1:07.69.


U20 Noah Balchin ran the 400m in 55.93, as did U17 Ella Peeke with a time of 1:10.38. Ella’s sister U15 Amelia stepped up to the 3000m for the first time and completed this challenging distance in 12:34.66.


Siblings Stanley and Martha Peters competed in 75m hurdles and 800m respectively. U13 Stanley ran a PB of 16.12 and U17 Martha recorded a time of 2:33.28.

After a decent warm up Martha was called over with the other athletes as there was 9 heats for the 800m. Victoria Peters commented that, The Pingles being the Pingles, it was cold. It  does appear to have its own climate and always seem colder!. Martha was in heat 5 so she’d got a bit cold by this time. She ran a good race and was holding position 2/3 all the way until the last 300m where she was taken by a number of athletes dropping to 6th place over all. Time was 2.33.20 which is no PB. It was an average race to start the season off.

Stan was in the 75m hurdles. He’d been off go karting with the ‘ladz’ last night so when he woke up in the morning his back was stiff and covered in bruises! 

It turned out he was the only entry for the U13M so he got put into the U15G race. This all was a bit bewildering to him along with his aching back. He hurdled well clearing all hurdles. His time was slow though 16.12. He was disappointed. Again though, a start to the season. Every race is worth it I reckon!

There are some hurdles results shown as pending in the official results, so apologies for anyone I might have missed.


Midlands Track & Field League

A message from Mike Sheppard


Hello everyone – April is here so it’s time to think about this year’s Midlands Track & Field league!

This is the main league competition that Stratford AC contests for the Senior age group.

Everyone from U17s upwards is eligible to take part, with 2-3 athletes competing for points across the full range of track and field disciplines for both men and women.

These matches are conducted in great spirit and are always a fun day out with fellow athletes, officials & coaches from all parts of the club. Last year our team members were aged between 15 and 73, so this really is a league for all ages. 

For every match we have 86 scoring slots to fill and we also have to provide at least 6 officials. We therefore need a big squad and, with matches invariably decided by a handful of points, every performance counts.

The 2022 season was incredibly close but in the end we missed promotion by the narrowest of margins. This means we remain in Division 3 this year, where our rivals will be Abingdon & Witney; Bromsgrove & Redditch; City of Stoke; Leamington; Leicester Coritanian, and Newport Harriers.

There are five matches this year, dates as below. Please note some are on Saturdays and some are on Sundays: 

20 May (Saturday) – Leamington

18 June (Sunday) –  Nuneaton (Technical Events only)

9 July (Sunday) – Newport

19 August (Saturday) – Stoke

9 Sept (Saturday) – Abingdon

Four of the dates are regular divisional fixtures where all events will be contested but 18 June will be pan-divisional “technical events” day featuring 8 disciplines only (Hammer, High Jump, Triple Jump, Pole Vault, 400m; 100/110m Hurdles; 400m Hurdles & 3000m steeplechase). 

All five matches will contribute points to the overall league competition.

At this stage, I simply want to establish whether you are likely to be fit, available and keen to compete for the club on some/all of these 5 dates. 

Some of the dates are still a way off of course but please let me have your best view of availability at this stage, particularly for 20 May. Please also let me know if there are particular events you would prefer to contest.

Example response:

20 May Yes – LJ, TJ, Relay

18 June Yes  – TJ. HJ

9 July No

19 Aug Yes

9 Sep Yes

Mobile: 01234 567890

More information and detailed timetables for all of the matches can be found on the league website at

I look forward to hearing from you.  


Mike Sheppard

07973 781340

Alex Adams – man and boy.

I was sad to hear that Alex Adams has decided to leave the club in a move that he believes will further his athletic career.

Alex leaves having said how grateful he is for all that the club has done for him to date, especially singling out coach Paul Hawkins.

I’m sure you will join me in wishing all the very best to this talented athlete and graduate of the SAC school of excellence.

Paul Hawkins, club chairman and long time coach of Alex had the following to say:

“I’m disappointed that Alex has chosen to move on but I wish him all the best in his athletics career and I’ll follow his progress with interest. I have already said the same to Alex and also that he will always be welcome at Stratford.”
 Regency 10k

It was the Regency 10k last weekend with the ever improving Max Ross finishing in 20th place with a time of 38:23.

The results of the other runners listed as Stratford AC members are shown in the illustration below.

The race was won by Frazer Knowles from local club Leamington C&C in 32:40. First female finisher was 9th placed Alice Belcher from Wellingborough AC in a time of 36:05.

1548 runners completed the race.
Brighton Marathon

I’m aware that several of our members’ competed in last weekend’s Brighton Marathon.
One of those participants, Jan Turner, has promised a report for next week.

As a taster, here is a photo of Miranda Maloney and Jan proudly displaying their finishers medals
And Finally

A few more photos from April’s Shakespeare Race
Kate Wright appearing to float over the ground and being pursued by Max Ross
Maisie-Joy Spriggs in full flight
Emma Vickers being followed by Chris Bloomfield
Is it a man, is it a bird, is it Superman, no it’s Graham Black.