In seventh heaven.

That’s what we like to see.
A clean sweep in the U13’s 75m hurdles.
L to R: Kipp Stevens, Billy Sheppard and Stanley Peters
Our U11’s girls Quadkids team.

 Maggie Silvers, Emily Lambert, Mia Williams, Martha Rose Edwards, Elsie Pipitone, Alice Mcintosh, Jemima Elsworth, Lilli-May Hutchings, Alina Karashaeva, Layla-Rose Sparrow.
(not necessarily in order – sorry!)

It’s enough to make you proud. We were proud.
Kipp Stevens.
Okay mum and dad, a medal’s all very well and good but how about a 99 – I think I’ve earned one.
He certainly had!
Blimey this is turning in to a full time job!

What a sensational week.


At the Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton last weekend the club managed to win the Warwickshire County Championships and with it the Warwick Vase for an unprecedented 7th time in a row.

We had some 120 of our mainly junior members competing and turning the venue into a glorious sea of yellow and black vests.

At the end of the championships we emerged as comfortable winners securing 640 points against 2nd placed Rugby and Northampton’s 499.

The meeting organiser Ray Morgan of WCAA said, “ Stratford won it for the first time in 2016 and have retained it since then.The Club has retained it again with a terrific points total of 640 to win with 141 points more than their nearest rivals Rugby & Northampton. Well done to all of the Stratford athletes and their coaches and thank you to all the club Officials who helped over the two days”.

Our Vets team kicked off the season with a second place finish at Worcester, being beaten only by existing champions Worcester.

Needless to say neither of these events could have gone ahead without the help and support of our volunteer officials, for which many thanks are due.

Meanwhile in Bristol it was another story of success for our club members.

Recent member Rabia Abdul-Hakim finished in a magnificent 2nd place in the visually impaired 10k Challenge, guide by her daughter and fellow member Maliha. Also in Bristol, Ben Kruze and Matt Burdus-Cook won their respective age groups thus qualifying to represent England again and Phil Brennan, in the half marathon, also qualified to represent England again. Well done to all of you.

Our club members success has not been restricted to the UK. Over in America, Jack Sumners has won his first MVC (Missouri Valley Conference) title by triumphing in the 110m hurdles. Well done Jack.

For those members who fancy something a wee bit hillier than the running track, we had 11 members competing in the Tempo Trail Half Marathon, with Max Ross finishing in 2nd place. An additional 5 members took part in the 10k version.

Adam Linforth was victorious in the Sprint Aquathlon At The Lake 62 Spring Event at the Cotswold Water Park. His report tends to suggest that the water was a little bit chilly.

Finally in the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon, Abby Stewart was competing, having said she’d never run another marathon again. Many of us have been there Abby! and the ever improving Fin Hutchinson was helping a university buddy comfortable exceed her expectations in the Plymouth half.

Just a final thank you to all of you who have submitted reports and photos. I couldn’t do this without your help and support.


Take care

Best wishes

David Jones

In Seventh Heaven

Warwick Vase retained

Report – Paul Bearman

The Warwickshire County Championships are very early into the Track & Field season but 120 Stratford upon Avon AC athletes, across the age groups but mostly juniors, descended on the Pingles track in Nuneaton to again be crowned best overall club within the old Warwickshire county boundary, including Birmingham, Rugby, Solihull and Coventry.

Points are allocated to performances in finals, 8 for a win, 7 for second etc. to find the best overall club which then receives the Warwick Vase.

The meeting organiser Ray Morgan of WCAA said after another very successful championships, “the Warwick Vase is awarded to the WCAA club which scores the most points over the two days of the County Champs. Stratford won it for the first time in 2016 and have retained it since then”.

“The Club has retained it again with a terrific points total of 640 to win with 141 points more than their nearest rivals Rugby & Northampton. Well done to all of the Stratford athletes and their coaches and thankyou to all the club Officials who helped over the two days”.

Tomasz Schafernaker the BBC Weatherman promised us sunny weather and 20 degrees on the first day of the Championships but instead we got a cold, breezy day until the sun finally came out in the late afternoon by which time the track and field had already been swamped by the bright, sunny yellow vests of dozens of Stratford’s finest…..a sight that warmed the cockles of my heart that continued into day 2 when the sun shone all day.

To win the Warwick Vase once in 2016 was a long held target but to win it 7 times on the bounce shows what a great club we have and it couldn’t happen without the volunteer coaches who support our athletes’ week in week out. Proud, happy days.

In addition to the steady flow of our athletes standing on the podium to receive their medals, as always it was the 4th to 8th positions for athletes reaching the finals that massively helped the club to what in the end was a very comprehensive win.

A huge thanks also to our Officials who were on their feet and on the go over the weekend.

More next week when we’ve had time to trawl through the results


On top of the pile – again.

I’m away for a few days from Wednesday next week so I would like to send the newsletter out on Tuesday.

I know there’s lots happening in the next few days – just for a change – so if you could let me have any reports by, ideally Monday, but early Tuesday morning at the latest I would really appreciate it
Elaine Ledden and Paula Williams. There were others in their races honest but they were just nowhere near as quick as these two.
Racewalkers ready for the off
David Jones and Simon Curran on their way to 2nd place finishes
Dave Battersby and debutant Kelly Milner
Kim Lee, certainly not jet lagged from her trip to Ibiza and Clare Goodwin

Midlands Vets T&F League

Fixture 1 – Worcester 

Wednesday 10th May


Report – David Jones

This season’s Vets league got underway in pleasant conditions at the Nunnery Wood Sports Complex. 

Our Vets team got off to a flying start with our 100m sprinters, who enjoyed three 1st place finishes, two placed 2nd and 5 placed 3rd, meaning our sprinters contributed over 25% of our total points tally on the night.

There were wins for Mark Illingworth (15.0), Elaine Ledden (15.5) both winning by almost a second and Paula Williams (14.0), winning by 1.6 seconds.  The second place finishers were David Jones (17.8) and Simon Curran (13.9), although Simon ran the same time as the athlete adjudged winner of his race. Kate Sergent, (23.6) Kelly Milner (15.6), both having run the London Marathon a couple of weeks previous and Kelly making her debut, Clare Goodwin  (17.7) and Dave Battersby (13.3) finished in 3rd place. Dave emulated that position in his 400m race (58.9). Alistair Webb (13.7) picked up a valuable 4 points in his 100m.

Our race walkers had another successful night with a 2nd place finish for Paul Hawkins (14:01.0), 3rd place finishes for Kate Sergent (14.26. 0) and Gemma Smith (14.18.7), with Peter Sugden (15.18) picking up a valuable 4 points for finishing 5th. Peter would possibly be the first to admit that racewalking is not exactly playing to his strength and he went on to finish 3rd in his 400m (64.8) race, a distance that saw Elaine Ledden (79.2) destroy the field in her race, winning by a margin of 9.4 seconds. 

Kim Lee having only returned form the World Triathlon Championships in Ibiza a couple of days earlier, finished 4th in her 400m (88.2) and 3rd (6:57.2) in the mile. Richard Gubby, the senior members Most Improved Athlete of the Year was also making his Vets T&F debut, finishing 6th in the 400m (63.8).

In the M35 mile Ben Kruze (4:35.7) looked to have a race on his hands for the first 3 laps. It turned out that was not the case. Having run nip and tuck with the runner from Halesowen for the first 1200m, he finished with an astonishing turn of speed over the last couple of hundred metres to win by a comfortable margin of almost 6 seconds. Matt Burdus-Cook (4:57.0) also won his M40 mile race by 6 seconds. Clare Goodwin (6:44.6) finished 2nd in her mile race, with team captain Hannah Osbourne (6:56.7) finishing in 4th in her W35 category. Ian Hill, the final debutant of the night, managed 4th place in both the M60 mile (7:40.9) and long jump (3.33m).

The 4×200 m relays saw our ladies finish in 2nd place and our men 3rd.

In the field events there were victories for Paula Williams in long jump (4.40m) and high jump, (1.25), 2nd place finishes for Andy List (1.30) and Dave Battersby (1.45) in the high jump and 3rd place finishes for Elaine Ledden (1.10), also in the high jump, Mark Illingworth (21.17) in the discus and David Jones  (2.37) in the long jump. Mark was 7th in the hammer (13.32)

There were 4th place finishes for Elaine Ledden (11.53) in the discus, Liz Crabtree, making a welcome return, in the hammer (16.13) and Kate Sergent (1.41)in the long jump.

The final results for the night placed us 2nd overall with 242.5 points, just 20.5 points behind Worcester but over 60 points clear of 3rd placed Bromsgrove and Redditch. Our men’s team finished on 117.5 points, 9.5 behind Worcester and our ladies were also 2nd with 125 points, 11 behind Worcester.

Huge thanks are due to our officials on the night, without who we could well have suffered points deduction and without who the fixture could not have gone ahead.

The next fixture is on 14th June and we will be hosting it at the Stratford track. Why not come along and support us if you’re not competing ?

Bristol 10k and Half Marathon
Rabia Abdul-Hakim (right) alongside her guide and daughter Maliha Abdul-Hakim.
Visually impaired runners and guides out in force at Bristol

Rabia’s Visually Impaired 10k Challenge

Report – Rabia Abdul-Hakim

The third annual Visually Impaired (VI) 10k Challenge – the UK’s first dedicated race for blind and partially sighted runners – took place at the  AJ Bell Great Bristol Run on 14th May.

I decided to participate with Maliha as my guide runner. This was especially significant as Maliha is my only child, out of six, who is currently diagnosed with the same eye condition that I have, though her condition is not advanced.

I was 28 years old when I was diagnosed with Keratoconus – a genetic condition that affects the cornea causing severe blurred vision and sensitivity to light and glare and by 2015, I was using a white cane.

Though I later had bilateral corneal transplants, I was only able to recover some of my vision.

But I was determined to maintain my fitness. So last year, Maliha and I started running, participating in several races and marathons, including Shakespeare, Dubai and the London Marathon.

And last Sunday’s VI 10k Challenge in Bristol did not disappoint. 

The cool, spring air was buzzing with excitement as we were directed to the front of the start area with thousands of runners corralled behind us.

For the first time, I experienced how the elites must feel – the rush of adrenaline as the gun went off and we were the first out. 

The crowds screamed our names as we streamed through Bristol city centre with our feet slamming to the beat of drummers lining the streets. 

As race marshals bellowed instructions to guide runners, I stayed focused – eyes forward, listening intently to Maliha as she simultaneously warned me about the terrain underfoot and coached me on my pace. 

I was hoping to place in the VI top three female category, but I was struggling by the time we reached the 8km mark. 

My mind was racing. My fuelling must be off. Maybe I’m dehydrated. 

All the while we could hear another VI female and her guide right behind us, calling out commands, “Come on Jacqui, lift your feet up!”

Right then, Maliha ripped open a gel with her teeth. “Take this! Now, come on. You’ve got this, Mummy!” she said, egging me on. 

I gulped the gel down, thinking, Dig deep. Finish strong.

As the finish line loomed in front of us, the crowd cheered to blaring music, but I could still hear my other two daughters screaming from behind the barriers, “Come on, Mommy!”

I was so proud to be 2nd female in the VI 10k Challenge with 57:22 – a PB of 2 minutes. 

But do you know the best thing about that day?

It was knowing that I was inspiring my children, and other people, to think beyond “normal” possibilities and to triumph regardless of what life throws at you. 

Medals are great, but having mental toughness to overcome adversity is priceless!

Ben Kruze
Matt Burdus-Cook.
They both seemed to be enjoying themselves
Ben and Matt’s 10k
Great Bristol Run 10k – Sunday 14th May
Report – Matt Burdus-Cook

The 2022 Great Bristol run was the selected event for last year’s England Athletics Masters representative race, and this year, with the event returning to it’s usual spring calendar slot, it was the host event for the first qualifying events of the year for the 2024 representative race.

Having left qualification for 2023 down to the wire with challenging post injury and covid runs at the final qualifying fixture at Regents Park in London, Ben Kruze and Matt Burdus-Cook elected to start their selection efforts early. 

Despite both runners feeling a little under-raced and not at their fullest fitness level, they elected to take the trip South as both had enjoyed the event and course last year.

In order to qualify for the representative race, runners must meet a qualification standard time (this is 33:45 for MV35 Ben, and 35:45 for MV45 Matt) and finish in the top 3 for your age group at a qualification event, of which there are 4 or 5 each year.

Both runners finished top of their age categories, with Ben finishing 4th Overall in 31:59, and Matt 17th in 34:04 with both securing their England vests for the representative 10k in 2024.

The race was won by Chris Thompson in a time of 29:45, and the first lady across the line was Gemma Steel finishing in 34:09 just behind Matt (I thought the cheers for my 17th place were a little over the top until I realised that the 1st lady was right behind me!).

Over 12,000 runners took part across the 10k, half marathon, family fun run and annual visually impaired runners 10k challenge. Despite finish times for both Ben and Matt being 30s adrift of their autumn efforts on the same course, both were very pleased with their respective race efforts, and delighted to have met the 10k qualification standards for another year.

Phil Brennan runs underneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
He tells me he ran under it twice and didn’t notice it.
Too focussed Phil I guess. 
Phil’s Half Marathon

Report – Phil Brennan

I’m beginning to think that Half marathons and me should agree to disagree.

I started the Bristol Half Marathon (one of the biggest events I’ve done in recent years) reasonably hopeful of a SB but slightly concerned that I have a history of not doing well in the early season heat.

It also might not have been a brilliant idea to have a covid vaccination 24 hours earlier.

And so it came to pass. After two miles, I was looking for the shady side of the road. At the turn point, a combination of heat and humidity, blisters and strange pains brought me to a stop. I decide to jog to the finish, fully in the expectation of having to quit for assistance.

The last three miles, twisting and turning in no more than half a square mile in the city centre, would have been more of a nightmare except for the amazing enthusiasm of the spectators.

I had stopped so often, I had no idea of time. At 2hr 13, I was unsurprised to be 2nd of 2 M80s. What was surprising and if I had checked beforehand I could have saved myself a lot of grief, was that I was 17minutes inside the EA masters qualifying time and provisionally on my way to another vest.

But hang on a minute, that means I’ve got to do another one at some time. I really didn’t think this through.
Jack Summer in the US of A after winning his first MVC (Missouri Valley Conference) title in his 110m hurdles event.
Many congratulations Jack.
Team Stratford at Ilmington.
And they’re off in a puff of smoke!
Joe Lee.
I’m sure this is the right way but there don’t seem to be any other runners.
Max Ross on his way to a superb 2nd place finish
Tempo Trail Half Marathon and 10k

14th May 2023

Report – Max Ross

11 Stratford AC runners joined the start line for the HM distance trail race, on a foggy morning that soon cleared to glorious sunshine.

Starting at the Ilmington Sports Club and meandering towards Mickleton, the runners were sent on their way with an epic smoke-bombed starters horn!

The utterly beautiful route was minimally signed, so runners had to rely on map skills or mapping devices on their wrists.

Winner Adam Notley of Spa Striders completed in 1h 47m 23s having taken more than his fair share of wrong turns as front runner, followed promptly by Max Ross in 1:47:25 and Ian Stevens for third place in 1:48:35.

Next in came Joe Lee in 4th place with 1:49:52 then Peter Sugden 1:55:35 and 6th place. First Lady Emma Bexson came 7th with 1:56:16 followed by Rob Gisbourne in 1:56:46. Taking 12th spot was Damian Wheeler in 2:03:45, 13th was Ash Habel in 2:04.34 and 14th was John Bettles 2:08:05. Mark Barker came 17th in 2:12:37 and Daniel Hodgkin was 52nd with 2:54:49.

In the 10k race, Suzi Graham was 2nd lady finisher and 13th overall in 1:08.41 followed closely by Chris Bloomfield in 14th place with a time of 1:09.14. Next, in 16th place, was the ever smiling Becks Pridham in 1:12.20 followed by Pip Bell in 32nd place and Miranda Maloney in 49th place with times of 1:21.59 and 1:48.27 respectively.

Adam Linforth proudly displays his winners medal

Lake 62 Spring Aquathlon.


Report – Adam Linforth

On Saturday 13th May, I travelled down to the beautiful Cotswold Water Park to compete in the Sprint Aquathlon At The Lake 62 Spring Event. The event consisted of Triathlon, Aquabike, Duathalon. The Aquathlon I competed in was held over a 750m swim and a 6k run.


The morning was a little overcast but not too cold for the first event in open water of the season. Wave 1 duly set off with those athletes in the triathlon events, to be followed by all other events setting off in wave 2, 15 minutes later.

The nerves of people were evident on the start line and as we entered the water we were met with a chilly 16 degree lake.  I set off, but was unable to get in to my rhythm for the first 150 meters as I just couldn’t catch my breath due to the temperature of the water.

In order just to get round I did my best head up swimming until I could swim properly. Sure enough I reached the first buoy and I could finally swim properly, so I made a start on reeling people back in and made my way to the exit of the lake in a time of 11:42.

Somehow I managed to press all the wrong buttons on my Garmin too and only registered a 6 yard swim! A quick dash in to transition and with no bike, helmet etc to worry about it was then off out on to the run.


I was on to my favourite part, which consisted of 4 laps (6k) of the stunning lake on a cross country course. It took about a lap for my feet to feel back to normal and actually be able to even feel them again. Not knowing who was ahead of me from the swim I set about chasing people down I could see ahead of me. Some of these were from other events and also after the first lap were on different laps to me, but gave me something to aim for and keep me motivated.

I crossed the line in 24:12 for the run and a total time of 38:02, not knowing what position I had finished in. Paranoid I hadn’t completed enough laps I quickly checked Strava to confirm I had run the 4 laps required. Phew. The next person came in nearly 5 minutes behind me, confirming I had finished in first place.. Not bad for a Saturday mornings work.. 


The event was organised by LPS Events and they hold a series throughout the season with popular mid week evening events too at Duathalon, Triathlon, Aquabike and Aquathlon taking place.

Quite handy being so close to home and definitely one to be recommended, albeit when the water is a bit warmer!

Abby Stewart
Leeds Marathon
Report – Abby Stewart

Last weekend was the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon for MND.

It was my second marathon (after 4 years ago I swore never ever again). I entered it mainly as my friends husband died of MND 20 years ago and she was running it despite only completing radiotherapy 2 weeks ago. There were therefore no excuses for me.

On the morning of the marathon I was nervous but excited. I made my way to Headingley Stadium (the home of Leeds Rhinos –  Rob’s former team) and was in awe. 

We waited and the marathon was delayed by 15-20 minutes (there were definitely a few organisational issues that they could do with ironing out for next year) but the biggest cheer went up when Kevin Sinfield appeared who was going to be pushing Rob Burrow in a wheelchair around the marathon.

My “no rain dance” had clearly worked however someone must have done a sun dance because it was hot even at 9.15. The marathon started in waves and finally the last and slowest wave (the one I was in) went at 09.45.

I was going to be running the whole marathon on my own so I was nervous BUT the atmosphere from the beginning was unreal. In the previous races I have done I have never experienced an atmosphere like it. The support both in and out of the city was amazing. Leeds came out to support their own in Rob and Kev and the 12000 runners.

The route involved the city and then out in to the countryside. Even on steep country lanes in the middle of nowhere people were out with sweets and, very much appreciated, hosepipe water sprayers. 

Thankfully there were no laps (I really hate laps) but there were two out and back pieces.

Now back to the steep roads -I knew Leeds was hilly but I did not expect the sheer number of hills (at mile 7 I asked my dad when I saw him with jelly babies if there was likely to be any flat bits soon) AND I can’t not mention the brutal hill at mile 18-20 -literally one long long hill at Otley. Beautiful views but brutal. I didn’t see one person run that hill -but then I was with the slower people.

This marathon made the Warwick half look downhill!!

My fastest miles ironically were mile 24-26.2 which actually were, finally, downhill for much of it!!! And the support for those last 2 miles was loud!! Coming back into Headingley stadium and crossing that finish line was an emotional moment for me. I did it -not fast but I did it -and surprisingly enough I would consider doing another marathon this time.

On Sunday they confirmed the Rob Burrow marathon would be back next year and I would highly recommend taking part in it -particularly if you like a hilly challenge! 
Fin Hutchinson
Plymouth Half Marathon
Report – Fin Hutchinson

The Plymouth Half is part of Plymouth Ocean City Running festival, with 5k, 10k, half marathon and ‘kids challenge’.

Being on the doorstep at uni and being the end of the year there was a good group of us from the uni athletics club participating.

After completing MK half 2 weeks ago, it wasn’t going to be a race effort so I offered to pace a friend to her first half. She wanted to aim for 1.30, but after a great race we came in at 1.27.57.

I was really happy to have done it quite comfortably. Nevertheless I do have slightly tired legs the finishing hill up  Plymouths Hoe was a killer.
And Finally

A few more photos from our hugely successful weekend at the Warwickshire County Championships
Siblings Seb and Niamh Hillard
Niamh Hillard, Martina Grace, Bo Agate and Maisie Joy-Spriggs
Seb Hillard
Ruby Edwards winning gold in the triple jump
Nikola Wodzisz
Martha Rose Edwards flies through the air with the greatest of ease.
Issy Newton
Holly Newton