Bostin’ in Boston.

Adam Evans in Boston
It is well and truly Spring Marathon season. After Brighton a couple of weeks ago, it was Boston, Manchester and Newport last weekend.

In Boston, Adam Evans completed the 4th of the World Marathon Majors with just Tokyo and London to go.

At Manchester we had 3 ladies embarking on their first marathon, with all of them performing magnificently. Brian Boyle, our sole male representative, ran a PB, beating his previous best time achieved at London some 6 years ago.

While many of our members have, or will be competing in their first marathon, spare a thought for Susan Hunt who ran her 38th, yes 38th, at Newport last weekend in what was her fastest time for 6 years.

Apparently Susan is thinking maybe 50 marathons might be a decent target !

A few members went for a slightly shorter race, competing in the Leicester 10k.

I’m aware that there was an Open T&F event at Rugby last weekend with a dozen of our juniors competing. Unfortunately the official results are all over the place, with some not yet posted and some of those that are posted differing considerably from the results recorded by our members who competed. Maybe we’ll have something on that nest week.

There are a few important notices this week. The closing date for entries to this year’s Warwickshire T&F Championships is this Saturday. Please be sure to enter. Last year we had 90 athletes competing, enabling us to be crowned County Champions for the 6th successive year. It would be a magnificent achievement if we could be in 7th heaven this year. It is vitally important to get as many members competing as possible because literally every point counts.

There is an announcement that Karen Gisbourne has offered to be our road race report coordinator. Many thanks Karen. Please please please send any reports you have to her, starting with lots of London reports.

It has been a very impressive start to Sam Swanepoel’s tenure  as press correspondent as the images from last week’s local press show.

We also have the results of this month’s 100 Club. If you’re not a member why not join up and give yourself a chance of winning some cash.

Finally, good luck to the 20+ of you who are running the London Marathon or Mini Marathon this weekend and at the risk of being boring, please send your reports or comments to Karen.

Take care

Best Wishes

David Jones

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Boston Marathon 2023

Report – Adam Evans

Last year at Manchester Marathon I ran the qualifying time (2:59) to get into my dream race ‘Boston Marathon’.

It has been a 7 year journey to get there, so I was beyond excited to finally race it.

Boston is a point to point race. You start in a small town called Hopkinton and you finish in Boston. The first 13 miles of the race is on wide open roads through lovely scenic areas (very downhill). After that you start getting into suburbia. The first big milestone is Wellesley College. The people there were so supportive. It’s extremely loud (even by American standards ?). 

At mile 18 you’re at the start of the 3 Newton Hills. The last one being the infamous Heartbreak Hill. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t too bad. It’s similar to Maidenhead Road.

Around mile 24 you go past Fenway Park where the Boston Red Sox play. 

The last part of the race you turn right onto Hereford Street, then left onto Bolyston, then straight to the finish. During this part of the race it was lashing it down with rain. 

I finished in 3:07:54. I’m pretty happy with that after an injury riddled build up.

So that’s number 4 of the World Majors done. I have Tokyo and London (9th time’s a charm for the ballot ?) to go! 


I’m aware that we have over 20 members competing in either the London Marathon or London Mini Marathon this weekend.

It would be really good if we could get a report in next week’s local press.

The deadlines to achieve this are pretty tight though.

We need to let The Herald know first thing Monday morning that we will be submitting a report and then the report has to be with them by Tuesday morning at the latest.

If you are competing, could you please send any comments and photos to

Can you please send photos taken by friends or family, because official photos are unlikely to be cleared for publication in the press.

Karen has very kindly agreed to collate your comments, with the aim of getting the report to The Herald on time.

Karen is also taking over as our road race reports coordinator, so if you have any reports in the future please send them to her

Good luck to you all


This months winners of the SUAAC 100 club are:

Richard Eden

Michael Byng 

Nancy Sheppard  

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.

Brian Boyle with Mahatma Gandhi!
Pip Bell
She really does look as though she enjoyed herself.
Ginny Davis
Ginny Davis
Manchester Marathon

Brian’s Race
Report – Brian Boyle

16 weeks training plan seemed to have been too long, I’d been ready for a month!

But on Sunday we found ourselves on the dual carriageway between the two Old Traffords (Cricket & Football). 

I was aiming to PB (spoiler: I got it).
From the start I was behind the 3:30 pacer but after a couple of miles the swarm of other runners surrounding him was just too annoying so I latched onto Chorlton runners, who have the reverse colours of the mighty Stratford.
All went well until Altrincham at 16 miles, the town centre was a sharp incline through twisty paths and my legs weren’t up to the job, I had been running at 3:22 pace, so serves me right for getting carried away. 

The last 8 miles were a battle and as you take the last turn, the 800m final straight seems like 8,000m. 

As I crossed the line the realisation that I’d taken 29 seconds off my best was a huge surprise, I thought I’d lost too much time. 3h 35: 04.

It is a quick course but has a surprise waiting for first timers to the course. 

Pip’s Race
Report – Pip Bell

I have always been in awe of anyone who has run a marathon. I really never thought that I would actually ever run one but last Sunday I did just that in the amazing city of Manchester.

After a long winter of training in all kinds of weather and overcoming 2 illnesses in March that made me taper far too early, I found myself on the start line. 

What an event! The crowds were fantastic and they helped me smile pretty much all the way round. The weather was perfect and whilst I was running I tried to remember the advice that so many people had given me.

Don’t go out too fast
Trust in your training.
Don’t quit.
Don’t die.
Smile and enjoy it!!!

I did all of those things and I can honestly say that I enjoyed almost every mile (22-24 miles were tough!).

In my wildest dreams I had hoped I would be able to finish in 4.30 but I finished in 4:23.09 and I am literally still buzzing and smiling from it all.

I know that I could not have done that without the amazing support of my SAC friends. It has literally taken a village to get me to the finish line in that time. They know who they are and I am forever grateful for their fantastic support. 

So, if you are contemplating running your first marathon, just do it!! I was inspired by Jan Turner’s story and maybe, just maybe, I can inspire someone else…….

I can finally say that I am a Marathon Runner!!!!!
Ginny’s Race

Report – Ginny Davis

The human body is not designed to run a marathon… No, but some human minds are suckers for a challenge and mine is one of them. 

So, having completed the Warwick Half in February I told a friend that I couldn’t have run another step. Casually she told me that I could if I decided to. That was the trigger and I gave 24k a try next time out and did it.

She’s right, I thought. Nothing should stop me being able to run a marathon, I thought. I also thought that since my mum and husband were both a bit poorly, it might be nice to go for a long run from time to time.

In some ways I was right that running marathon is possible but quite a lot of things got in the way. Fuel, distance and mental resolve being the main contenders.

Anyway, it was chilly in Manchester on 16th April and there was a long wait for the start but off we went in a puff of gun smoke and the first 30k were reasonable enough. 

I followed David Jones’s advice not to weave and tried to keep my pace slow. The city centre was definitely the best section: massive crowds and everyone was cheering.  Then out of town to Altrincham via Sale and Timperley. 

It was interesting to watch other runners since I’m a lonely long distancer by nature. I listened to music in the quiet sections and to the crowds when they were there.  

It was fun to see the silver band, an adorably huge troupe of tiny children and funny placards cropping up again as their holders trammed their way along the course. “Don’t go there, it’s a trap” made me smile. 

It was also wonderful to see my family. It was surprising to see a girl from my village dressed as a fairy or a zebra or something.

I’d listened to a couple of really helpful motivational audiobooks in training.  “How to Run a Marathon” by Vassos Alexander and “It Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. The latter helped particularly when it got tough, which it did at 30k.  By then I couldn’t face another gel. I tried some snacks and sweets from an onlooker but neither a pretzel nor a strawberry string was enough to get me much further.

So I plodded on, getting slower and slower. Goggins advises runners to draw on previous successes when the going gets tough. I couldn’t bring any to mind but the hill in Altrincham was hard. Most walked it. I ran and was helped by somehow finding the funny side of trotting up a hill. 

Running to the top was the success I drew on later – telling myself that there’d have been no point doing that if I was going to give up and that this was my one and only chance to do a marathon with no regrets. So I carried on. The 4:30 pacer overtook me. I tried to keep up but couldn’t.

Around 24m there were some sad sights – a girl wrapped in blankets sitting on the kerb, a man throwing up but also a man urging his teammate on, fantastically well. 

The last mile felt interminable. People kept telling us we were nearly there, but it wasn’t near enough and when we rounded the final bend the finish line was on the horizon.  

I badly wanted to stop but there were so many onlookers it didn’t feel appropriate.

So I crossed the line. A man with a microphone asked how I felt. “Tired”. And then an angel appeared in the form of a colleague from Warwick Medical School who was volunteering for St John Ambulance. I had no idea. I fell into him and he let me sit on a chair and brought water and then I suddenly remembered I had a medal to collect.

My family and friends were amazing and they are what I look back on for having made this a good experience.  I have impressed my son and his mates and that’s worth a medal in itself. 

I have so many other people to thank. David Jones features high as the club member who gave me really great support and useful advice (sorry I just couldn’t give up alcohol for 2 weeks in advance, David .. and beetroot juice is disgusting!).

I thank the friend who set me off on this venture, other club members who’d run Brighton and gave welcome support and encouragement and everyone who donated to my Justgiving page and helped raise over £2k for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

PS Mum and husband are doing OK now.

Kate Barney also competed at Manchester in what appears to have been her first marathon. She finished in a time of 4:23.02, just 7 seconds ahead of Pip. She was in the top half of the senior females, finishing 985th out of 2049. Pip was 66th out of 223 FV55s. Ginny Davis was 7th in her age category.

Susan Hunt
Newport Marathon
Report – Susan Hunt

I hadn’t originally planned a Spring road marathon but since FOMO had driven me to join in with everyone else’s long marathon training runs, I thought I may as well do one too.
Not Manchester (I’ve never forgiven them for declaring the 2015 course short, thereby robbing me of my sub 3:40 PB), not Shakespeare (the one that would have given me the longest lie-in was sadly cancelled); but Newport.

It would be my 38th marathon.
The perfect choice: low key (small entry = short loo queue), close enough to drive to (albeit with a 9:00am start), cheap (£36 bargain) and – importantly – in Wales so it would definitely be raining (I’m not good in the heat).
There are 56 places in the world called Newport – 14 of which are in the UK, including 2 in Wales.  Luckily the organisers had provided a postcode for the park and ride so, as I headed off at 5:00am on Sunday, I was confident that my SATNAV would take me to the right Newport.
In just 90 minutes, I arrived at the International Convention Centre (posh loos, open café) and boarded a bus to the city centre marathon ‘village’. 

With over an hour to spare, I found a University building 100m from the start line (more posh loos, another open café), where I settled into an armchair and (suddenly overcome with weariness after my early alarm call) dozed until we were called to the start.
Conditions were perfect (cool and, of course, rain).  The near pancake-flat course meandered through quiet lanes and the occasional village.  The support was not so much roaring crowds as “one man and his dog”, which suited me just fine.
My ambitious but hopefully achievable goal was 4:05.   Officially Good For Age.  My planned (risky) strategy was to run the first half a bit faster than the required average pace and then ease back, safe in the knowledge that I’d banked some extra time should I need to stop and cry towards the end. 
I ran the first half in 1:59:07 and then slowed by 20 secs per mile. 

The act of slowing down had a magical calming effect and on I trundled, passing (according to post-race results scrutiny) at least 153 runners.  For the last 2 miles my calves twitched menacingly and one foot weirdly pulled itself inwards as if by a piece of elastic but mercifully the threatening cramp held off.
Within seconds of me wobbling across the finish line, my phone buzzed with a text saying “Llongyfarchiadau! You finished the Newport Wales Marathon in 4:02:54”.   
Hooray! My time may have been some way off my best; but it was my fastest marathon for 6 years and 20 minutes quicker than my Autumn marathons at Loch Ness and La Rochelle. 

Finally – signs of life in the old dog!  All I had to do now was drive home without falling asleep.  
Happily, I was too excited to sleep and arrived home exactly 12 hours after I had departed for my International Marathon adventure.  

Leicester 10k

Report – Becks Pridham

I fancied doing a ‘flat and fast 10k’ as it is described by the Tempo Events team. It is indeed a very flat race, with the only undulations consisting of entering and leaving the canal towpath and stepping up and down the occasional kerb.

Set in a surprisingly pretty park in the centre of Leicester, there were a few Stratford runners who fancied their chances at a speedy run.

Due to the very tight running circuit, there were two waves of runners, the sub 45 group starting at 9.00 and the (much larger) over 45 minute group starting at 10.00. This does enable the fun of cheering on the faster runners in your club and hopefully inspiring those in the later wave to go that little bit faster.

Alex Pester brought the Stratford contingent home in third place (34:13 chip time). He was pleased with his finishing position but was a bit disappointed by his time. The tight bends were clearly more challenging for the faster runners.

Rob Gisbourne achieved his goal of a sub-40 minute 10k in 39:31 (25th male, 4th MV45), and the joy of crossing the line past the big timing board stating this fact was clear to everyone!

Karl Harris made an amazing road race comeback following injury to storm home in 46:02 in 99th male (17th MV45). Maybe Karl can splash out on a new pair of trainers given that his racing pair had ‘additional ventilation’ in them.

Becks Pridham made a great return to form, coming close to her all time 10k pb and achieving her fastest 10k since 2016, finishing in 51:17 26th female(4th FV45).

Emma Lee was not feeling confident about her race but surely the results speak for themselves with her strong finish time of 57:04 60th female (22nd FV45).

Finally, John Butler brought the team home in a strong 01:15;06 352th male (2nd MV75). As ever, John was smiling and clearly enjoying the amazing crowd support at the race.

Local Press Coverage

As the photos below show from last week’s local press, Sam Swanepoel, our new Press Correspondent has certainly hit the ground running.

Well done Sam
The Stratford Herald
The Stratford Observer