All Time Best & World Champ.

Kate Wright who obliterated the F60 British all-time marathon record at Milton Keynes on May Day
John Peacock (centre) who won a gold medal at the World Triathlon/Duathlon Championships in Ibiza, to go with the gold he won at the European Championships in March.
Emily Madden Forman, who is currently ranked 4th best overall female high jumper in the UK, stands on top of the podium at the BUCS games in Manchester last weekend.
This week’s Stratford Herald reports on the achievements of Kate and John at the weekend, as well as our other members competing in Milton Keynes and Ibiza. 
Goodness me what a week. It was a week when once again we proved that as a club we punch way way above our weight.

We punch above our weight in terms of national and international achievement and across a range of ages groups.

This week we had 70 year old duathlete John Peacock winning a gold medal at the World Triathlon/Duathlon Championships in Ibiza.

Closer to home Kate Wright, having just reached the age of 60 – no I don’t believe it either –  smashed the British All-time Marathon record for her age group by a scarcely believable 8 minutes.  

In Manchester at the BUCS (British University & College Sports) Championships,  Emily Madden Forman, currently  the 4th ranked  female high jumper in the country, finished on top of the podium.

Then we have something that almost passed me by. At the Brewer Memorial Games in Gloucester on Monday, Paula Williams and Elaine Ledden enjoyed great success but Paula, in a typical  dismissive fashion merely commented “we have stuff to work on.” Still, I thought I”d have look at the results. Apart from Elaine achieving season’s bests in all 3 of her events.

Paula’s javelin throw of 36.56m was the 2nd furthest throw IN THE WORLD this year in her age group. In that age group she is currently ranked 2nd in both the world rankings and on the UK all time list. She also sits on top of the world rankings in the shot put. Oh, she’s also 3rd in 60m hurdles and 10th in 60m indoors.

As well as John and Kate’s individual success, we also had 5 other members at Milton Keynes, with Tim and Fin Hutchinson crossing the line together after outstanding runs in the half marathon.  Tim finished 1st in his age category by almost 3 minutes and Fin knocked over 9 minutes of his PB.

Clare Weatherhead, running her first marathon and Graham Hill also crossed the line together. Richard Dobedoe was first in his age category in the half marathon by almost 7 minutes.

In Ibiza, Rich and Ceri Shephard finished 5th and 6th respectively in the sprint duathlon with Fern Hordern finishing in 14th place in the standard distance duathlon, all in their respective age groups.

Meanwhile in Manchester at the BUCS Championship, as well as Emily Madden Forman finishing on top of the podium, we had a record 8 other club members competing, with nearly all of them having started at the club in the Under 11s and who have progressed through the age groups. We must be doing something right.

What was I saying earlier about punching above our weight?

Finally on Wednesday, in perfect conditions, 60 members took part in this month’s Shakespeare Race, over a challenging 6 mile course at Hampton Lucy.

Take care

Best Wishes

David Jones

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Richard Dobedoe, Fin Hutchinson, Kate wright, Tim Hutchinson, Clare Weatherhead and Graham Hill.

Milton Keynes Marathon and Half Marathon.


It was a remarkable day for a few of our members at Milton Keynes on May Day.

Kate Wright, competing in the full marathon, smashed the all-time British record in her F60 age category. Her time of 3:03.14 was over 8 minutes quicker than the previous all-time record of 3:11.47, a record that was set in February of this year, the previous record having stood for over 5 years. Kate’s time was also the fastest time this year in her age category by just over 25 minutes, that’s virtually a minute a mile.

Kate commented that she had  sworn she’d never do another marathon back in 2017 but that Milton Keynes held fond memories for her as it’s where that she first broke 3hrs and won the race.

She was there to try and get the V60 UK all-time record and also to qualify for England Masters Marathon in October, which she did comfortably although she was frustrated at missing the 3 hour mark.

Two other members competed in the full marathon, Clare Weatherhead and Graham Hill finishing with identical times of 4:18.15.

The club had 2 age category winners in the half marathon with Richard  Dobedoe successful in his V55 category, finishing in a time of 1:26.29 to finish in 19th place.

Father and son duo Tim and Fin Hutchinson finished with identical times of 1:23.25. For Fin, who celebrated his 20th birthday just the day before, this represented a huge almost 9 minute improvement on his previous best time for a half marathon in last year’s Stratford half. Tim won his V50 age category by almost 3 minutes. Their plan was to run the first 10 miles together and then see how it went. In the end they ran the whole race together and it was a particularly poignant moment for Tim when his son grabbed his hand and they crossed the finish line together, finishing in 11th and 12th place.

Kate Wright

Kate Wright’s race in her own words

I swore I’d never do another marathon back in 2017. I then had an Achilles problem so thought I’d never be able to, even if I wanted to. However Milton Keynes marathon holds fond memories for me as it’s where I first Broke 3hrs and won the race.
Fast forward to 2023. The route is a bit gravely, up and down and round and round which doesn’t make for easy running. At 13 miles we say goodbye to the half marathon runners and set out to do another lap. The temptation to follow the half was massive for me.
But I was here to try and get the V60 U.K. record which stood at 3.11 and also to qualify for England Masters marathon in October.

All was good up until 16 miles when I really needed to stop for a drink out of a cup!! Never easy while running. From then on my pace started to drop. It was a mental battle for the remaining miles.
I frustratingly missed the magic 3 hrs and came in 3.03.14 second lady and clinched the U.K. AG record by 8 mins. NEVER AGAIN!

Father and son Tim and Fin Hutchinson

Tim Hutchinson’s race in his own words

Richard Dobedoe and I had a plan to get back at somewhere around 1.22 – 1.23.
Fin joined us with this plan and the deal was that we would run together until 10 miles and then see what happens.

Conditions were good although a touch warm when the sun came out.
We started out strong, slightly too quick but ok. At around 6 miles Richard had dropped off slightly but Fin and I kept on the pace until 10 miles when Fin started to tire but we managed to stick together and get the job done.

30 seconds down on the target but a fantastic pb for Fin and a proud proud moment for me, especially when Fin grabbed my hand coming into the finish which we crossed together.

A good day in the office

Fin’s Race in his own words

I had been training for the Stratford Half from around Christmas time, mainly consisting of upping my milage. I hadn’t done as much specific training as planned but with the usual XC season always taking over and uni work, it just didn’t happen.

However, after Stratford being sadly cancelled, I chose to join my Dad and Richard Dobedoe’s decision of running Milton Keynes half.

The plan was to go for 1.22.30 (Richards running math’s based target).

With running the course blind and some questionable ‘U’ turns, 90⁰ bends and a killer finishing hill, we fell off by an annoying 30sec, just missing the 1.22 bracket.

Yet, with achieving the joint time with my Dad, as we crossed the line together, of 1.23.25 it was a 9½min P.B from 1 year ago, placing us joint 11th out of 1465 and myself, 6th in age category.

So overall I was really pleased. My next short term goal is to get rid of my rather achy quads and my next half aim is to try and get under 1.20.

Clare Weatherhead’s race in her own words

MK Marathon weekend was attended by 6 SAC members. Tim, Fin & Richard for the half marathon and Kate, Graham & I for the marathon.

Amazingly we all just bumped in to each other and managed a group SAC photo before the start.
After a surprisingly successful Ashby 20 race this was my first marathon distance and Graham Hill very kindly offered to join me.
Having never attempted the distance but heard lots of stories and advice I was still very nervous on the morning. I had quietly booked the race only a month before but as word got out on the morning of the race I received several encouraging messages from fellow SAC members & friends.

No pressure now then!

The route leaves Campbell park and takes you out on park paths around lakes and countryside before back in to Campbell Park. 
Graham and I settled in to a planned pace and enjoyed the supporters along the route. Jo H, Emily A, Gary & Eleanor were vocal supporters at various points and gave a much appreciated boost.

The second lap started at 14 miles. At about 17 miles there appeared to me to be some increasing undulations in the route as my legs started to feel the distance. The pace dropped to accommodate the tired legs as finishing in one piece was a priority.
The last 6 miles I broke down in to 2 park runs which seemed to work well, although the last mile was tough especially with an unkind uphill finish.

We crossed the finish line together in 4:18:16. Not bad for a first timer!

Thanks to Graham for his company and encouragement in that last mile.

There were great results too for the other SAC runners in their age group’s & positions.

The event was organised, enjoyable & I would recommend it.

John Peacock

World Triathlon Duathlon Championships – Ibiza

The first multi-sport world titles of 2023 have been up for grabs at the World Triathlon Duathlon Championships in Ibiza.

The duathlon events got proceedings underway with Saturday’s elite and age-group sprints. 

It was a 5k run, 20k bike and 2.5k run that awaited the elites. Uphill out of town then snaking around Santa Eulalia harbour on foot before a 3-lap bike, up-and-back ride with a rolling incline and a flat final run to the tape.

Club member John Peacock, having won a gold medal at the European Triathlon and Duathlon Championships near Venice in March, triumphed yet again by winning gold in the M70-74 age group Sprint Duathlon.

It was a particularly tactical race and John had a good first run, finishing just behind two of the favourites despite having a fall at the water stop.

He was basically drafting, as he saw no point in getting out of transition early in a draft legal race.

He had a good transition and was just in front of the Canadian, Ralph Dider Feurer who then quickly passed him.

Rodríguez García from Spain, who was favourite to win, was slow out of transition and didn’t perform well afterwards. 

John drafted the Canadian most of the way up the hill on the out leg  despite being shouted at to take my turn.. At the top he tried to speed away with a gap developing at one point but this was soon closed down by Feurer. 

The final stretch of the bike was tricky so John took it carefully, allowing Feurer to get away from him. He was then hampered in transition, allowing a 15 second gap to develop. 

At this point he had settled for silver and didn’t want to risk blowing up when the Canadian inexplicably went the wrong way by going up the finish chute rather than doing the last lap. 

He was still going the wrong way when John went past, finishing the race totally exhausted to win by 45 seconds.

 John said “I offered my deepest sympathies to him afterwards as a good sportsman would but did hang on to my gold medal” 

 Peacock’s time for the 4.8k run was 20.38, 3rd quickest, followed by the 2nd quickest time on the bike of 34.04 and finishing with the fastest of the 2.8k runs – 12.35

The next 4 finishers were separated by just 8 secs with Feurer, who should have won, in 4th place.

Husband and wife Rich and Ceri Shephard were also competing, returning to Ibiza and read Ceri’s full report below

In the 50-54 AG standard distance, the club’s Fern Hordern finished in 14th place. The distances for these races were 9.8k run, 39.6k bike and 5.2k run. Her splits were 45.18, 1:15.36 and 26.28.

Rich and Ceri Shephard
Ceri and Rich’s World Duathlon

Report – Ceri Shephard

We returned to Ibiza in April 2023 following racing here in the Europeans 2018.  

The weather was amazing and it is a great location for the multi-sport championships.  

I had decided to try and qualify for Championships in 2023 and managed to qualify for both Euros & Worlds.  I have little time to train, and it normally involves a lot of early mornings before our young children wake up and I stick to running and cycling as I don’t have time to swim as well.

I was late to start racing, more of a ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ whim but since then I have got the bug,

Rich normally prefers a triathlon and longer distance but due to buying our project home he has been doing more DIY than training, hence him coming to qualifiers with me and ending up qualifying himself.

 Unfortunately our races were 6 minutes apart on race day so we had to persuade the rest of the family to join us to ensure we had childcare!  

The races were based in Santa Eulalia del Rio a lovely little seaside town.  The run started in the middle of town and then wound round the port and onto the promenade. It was flat but winding and extremely busy so we both found it hard to settle into a pace.  

Sprint duathlon is largely now draft legal so relies on getting in a good group in the bike. Rich managed the fastest bike split of his category and mainly towed the leading group round, I had a lucky start with an American athlete who was especially strong so it was hard work to keep the wheel. We collected a train of Mexican & Brazilian riders however and unfortunately got caught by some men in an older category who came past but not far enough, so I had to drop back as I was concerned about getting penalised, because you’re not allowed to draft riders of the opposite sex.

 However, we both had a decent bike split and returned to transition unscathed (there are a few crashes in draft legal racing these days so it’s always a relief!) to start the second run.
I think we both agreed the 2nd run was extremely hard, the bike had been unforgiving on the quads and the sun was getting stronger.  Rich knew he was with the leaders, I knew I was placed fairly well from those overtaken on the bike but it’s hard to keep the pace on tired legs.

Thankfully the finish straight appeared before the cramp and we were both relieved to cross the line.

Rich was placed 5th in AG and I was 6th. I have to say it was probably the toughest race I’ve ever done but I guess that’s what should be expected at the Worlds!  

We both managed top 3 Brits in AG so have pre-qualified for World Champs in Australia 2024!
Thankfully we have a few days in Ibiza to recover before returning to the UK and imminent qualifiers for next years Europeans! 

 Acelin Smith, Alex Powell, Nick Butler, Millie Leighton and Catherine Reynolds
Emily Madden Forman
Georgie Campbell alongside club member and Birmingham Uni team captain Imogen Sheppard
Carolyne Johnston and Paula Bearman “enjoying” the Manchester weather.
Occasionally I get a photo that I feel we should offer a prize for the best caption.
I think this is one such.
British University & College Sports Championships
Report – Paul Bearman

The British University & College Sports (BUCS) Outdoor Championships were held over 3 days in Manchester and after a brief sunny period on the first morning the competition was held in very challenging cold, windy and showery weather conditions.
BUCS is a very high level competition that attracts numerous young British track and field stars, many with international pedigrees. This year a record 9 Stratford athletes representing 7 different universities competed, with 6 of them competing in these championships for the first time.
Overall, there was a mixed bag of performances with the conditions hardly conducive to good performances, epitomised by the fluctuating changes in Manchester’s weather.
In appalling conditions Emily Madden Forman (Manchester Met) had to hang around in the qualifying round of the High Jump while others tried to reach the qualifying standard for the final and after 30 minutes trying to stay warm and dry with just one jump she qualified for the final.
In the final in better conditions i.e. it wasn’t raining, Emily started her competition at a modest 1.66 opening height and then worked her way through the heights until she was the last women standing and after clearing 1.75 she took the honours to win the gold medal.
Catherine Reynolds (Sheffield), competing for the first time at BUCS surprised all of us watching by executing her plan to “sensibly” run in her 400m heat and with a composed run she qualified 2nd to reach the semi-final in 57.57s.
The semi-finals are where the real shake ups happen and races are considerably harder to judge with much faster athletes in the race but again a perfectly controlled run saw Catherine qualify for the final as 4th fastest overall in the 3 semis in 56.59s just outside her PB.
The final was up against some seasoned junior internationals and so the plan for the final was simply “eyeballs out” and after her best run ever by far an ecstatic Catherine came home in 5thplace and ran a massive PB of 55.91s, breaking the 56 second barrier for the first time.
Imogen Sheppard (Birmingham) is also their team Manager and with a team filled with internationals she was drafted into the heats of the 4x400m relay and they comfortably qualified for the final. In the final they finished 2nd behind the dominant Loughborough team and as member of the squad Imogen went home with a silver medal and in the knowledge that her Uni had finished 2nd in the team event behind Loughborough.
Georgie Campbell (Birmingham) was drafted into their team just 2 days before the event and with a typically dogged run in the 1500m, 4.43.18, she reached the semi-final where she finished 9th and 17th overall on times and well inside the top half of original starters in the heats.
Will Humphreys (Plymouth) has just returned to the club and he ran the 200m in 24.27s which was well inside his PB.
The horizontal jumpers had a mixed weekend and with Nick Butler (Sheffield) hitting the take-off board consistently in the Triple Jump he bounced his way to a massive new PB of 13.23m to finish 14th overall, only 10 centimetres from reaching the final.
However, in the Long Jump, with a fluctuating tail wind, his run up was out of kilter and he managed one jump of 5.46m. Just behind him was Alex Powell (Sheffield Hallam) who is just coming back to competition after injury and he finished with a best jump of 5.30m.
Millie Leighton (Loughborough) jumped well in her Triple Jump heat and finished with 11.32m in a cluster of athletes who jumped similar distances and so Millie finished just outside the qualifying positions for the final.
Acelin Smith (Cardiff Met) competed in the Javelin in a high class field and finished “disappointed” in 14th place with a best throw of 51.29m. 
Despite the inclement weather, that included a cloud burst that caused floods,  Carolyne and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing our 9 athletes competing in some high class competition. BUCS is certainly a big step up in class for many with the event having junior and full international athletes competing throughout. 
What also pleased us was that we had runners, jumpers and a thrower competing and that nearly all of them started in the Under 11s and have progressed through the age groups and are still competing despite all the distractions of Uni life. It made us feel very proud of all of them even though we only just managed to avoid hypothermia and ending up as drowned rats!
Paula Williams and Elaine Ledden
Brewer Memorial Games

Paula Williams and Elaine Ledden competed in multiple events at the Brewer Memorial games in Gloucester on May Day.

Elaine achieved season’s best performances in all 3 of her events. She ran the 100m and 200m in 15.98 and 32.36 respectively and threw 6.58m in the shot put.

Paula threw 13.05 in the shot  and ran a season’s best time of 13.71 in 100m. Her time of 13.37 in the 80m hurdles was a PB, as was her javelin throw of 36.56. This throw was 15.84m further than the 2nd placed thrower in her age group this year and puts her in 2nd place on both the all-time list and the current world rankings.

Paula’s comment after the games was “we have stuff to work on”

Where that leaves us mere mortals I’m not quite sure.
May’s Shakespeare Race
Jamie Hall
Matt Burdus-Cook
Maisie-Joy Spriggs
Jan Turner being pursued by Rosie Slocombe
On Wednesday, 60 members competed in this month’s Shakespeare Race in ideal conditions over a challenging course at Hampton Lucy.

As the link to the provisional results below shows, Jamie Hall (35.56) edged out Matt Burdus-Cook (36.15) by 19 seconds. First female was 16 year old Maisie-Joy Spriggs (42.25). Indeed MJ was the only female in the top 25 finishers.

And Finally
It just wouldn’t feel right without a photo of Sunday’s junior endurance group training on the Welcombe Hills.