37 years of hurt. It’s come home!

Hilly 100 runners.
Our men’s A team won. Our first victory for 37 years
So another busy week then.

What’s new?

With 120 mainly juniors having competed for the club the previous weekend at the County Championships, we had 34 seniors compete in the Ryton 5 last Thursday including 5 top 10 finishers. At Leamington there were just 22 club members across a variety of age groups competing in the Midland League T&F and despite the smallness of the squad we managed to secure 2nd place, losing out only to host club Leamington.

Then on Sunday we had 50 competing in the Hilly 100, 49 seniors and one junior – Maisie-Joy Spriggs. They were helped by a huge support crew and expertly managed by Hannah Osbourne, resulting in our first victory at this event for 37 years. Quite a few of the runners not having been born when we last won it.

As you can see from those numbers, for the most part, we really do get excellent numbers out  for team events.

In individual events, last weekend saw a handful of our members competing at Worcester in the full, half marathon and 10k.

Our visually impaired runners also had a successful weekend, competing both in the Birmingham Festival of Running half marathon and The Deddington Four Farms Challenge.

So yes, another busy week. Don’t you guys and gals ever take a week off ?

Take care

Best wishes

David Jones 
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The outstanding individual performance came from Under 15 Annie Silvers who won Gold with superbly judged runs in both the 800 and 1500m and the Silver in the 75m Hurdles. 

2023 we retain the Warwick Vase

Report – Paul Bearman.

The Warwickshire County Championships is 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”.

On the first day of the championships started off 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 continued into day 2 when the sun shone all day.

All the Stratford medallists and finalists were spread right across the age groups and events; sprints, middle and long distance and the jumps and throws, which meant that there was a constant stream of athletes competing in all parts of the track virtually non-stop over the 2 days. 

An impressive haul of 51 medals, 10 Gold , 26 silver and 15 bronze medals saw a steady flow of Stratford’s athletes standing on the podium to receive their medals but as always it was the 4th to 8thpositions for athletes reaching the finals that massively helped the club to what in the end was a very comprehensive win. 

The middle and longer distance races proved to be a rich vein of success and many of them of them have started the T&F season where they left off in the winter. 

The outstanding individual performance came from Under 15 Annie Silvers who won Gold with superbly judged runs in both the 800 and 1500m and the Silver in the 75m Hurdles.

Welcome points came from Vicky Sharpe in winning the gruelling Senior 2000m Steeplechase

The Under 13 boys hurdles produced a rare 1,2,3 with Billy Sheppard winning Gold just pipping team mate Kipp Stevens on the line with Stan Peters in the Bronze position. Kipp then went on to win Gold in the 1500m.

Over the last few years field events have become a rich source of success for Stratford and this was epitomised by the impressive medal haul across many of the events.

The Triple Jump produced 2 Gold medallists with Ruby Edwards winning the Under 17 title with a best jump of 9.97m and she also won Bronze in the Long Jump (4.77m). Elfric Mckenzie won the U15 Triple Jump with a best jump of 10.33m and U13 Henry Sims won Gold in the Long Jump with a best of 3.95m.

There were medallists across the throwing events with Gold medal performances from Issy Newton in the U20 Shot (7.99m) and Paula Williams in the Senior Shot (11.18m).

Thirteen of Stratford’s new generation of young athletes competed in a Quadkids multi event competition of 75m. 600m, Howler and Long Jump at the Warwickshire County Championships and showed the future is in good hands with all of them competing in this type of competition for the first time.
Full results can be found on 


Head Track & Field coach Paul Bearman said “we are thrilled to win the Warwick Vase again and to win it for the first time in 2016 was a long held target but to win it 7 times on the bounce shows what a great club we have. The coaching team are incredibly proud of the club’s athletes but it’s a team effort and it couldn’t happen for the athletes, who have all contributed to the club’s success, without the volunteer coaches unstinting support week in week out all year. A huge thanks also to our Officials who were on their feet and on the go over the weekend. Very proud, happy days”.

Quadkids points tallies.
The Final Scores
Hilly 100

37 years of hurt

It’s come home!

The Hilly 100 was first run in 1986. There were just 2 teams entered – The Leopards and The Tigers – both from SAC, so guess what,  we won!

Longstanding club member Allan Coldicott helped set up that first race, alongside John Dell who was chairman at the time. 

Allan has run the race on some 20 occasions and has run every leg.

Who would have thought that we would have had to wait another 37 years before recording a second victory but on Sunday our men’s A team won the race in a time of 10hrs 19 minutes, compared to the winning time of 11hrs 5 in 1986, thus ensuring  a 4 minute margin of victory over Kenilworth, despite a wait of several minutes at a level crossing.

This victory was achieved under the superb team management of Hannah Osborne supported by a large support crew.

As well as winning the race, I strongly suspect that with an  age range of 65 years between our youngest team member, Maisie-Joy Spriggs and oldest, Phil Brennan, we would have also comfortably won an award for the club with the largest age range of team members. 

16 year old Maisie-Joy ran the first leg, having got up at 4am, recording a superb time of 1:09.30 before returning home to revise for her GCSEs.

Mightily impressive.

3 team members had also competed for our Midland League T&F team in Leamington just 24 hours earlier, with Vicky Sharpe having competed in 7 events: 400m, 100m and 400m hurdles, 2000m steeplechase, long jump, triple jump and javelin and Emma Bexson, who ran 2 legs of The Hilly, competing in 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, 1500m, 5000m and 200m steeplechase. I’m told Emma cycled home after her two Hilly legs!

Words fail.

Ned Campbell also competed at Leamington, having had his arm twisted by Hannah at the County Champs the previous week to run in the Hilly.

Vicky and Ned also ran the Ryton 5 the previous Thursday. 3 events in 4 days. Impressive or what ?

At last  – the trophy after a 37 year wait
A record of our last victory in 1986

Hot Hilly 100 – Mixed Team B Report 

Report – Emma Lee

I was really thankful that I was given leg 1, not so much for the 3.45am wake up call but knowing I was going to avoid the heat. The support at the start was so lovely, lots of members of SAC getting up at such a ridiculous hour to cheer us off.  

I’d say leg 1 was the easiest route (same again next year please) and being close to Stratford meant I didn’t need to worry about following directions on my watch or look for stickers and arrows. It was head down and make sure I got in within in predicted time. Being my first Hilly 100 race I wasn’t nervous at all…….. 

Not being a fan of solo running I meant a lovely lady from a rival team and we supported each other from start to finish, some say (Bev) we didn’t shut up for the entire 10 miles! The support from our own Karen Gisbourne and the rival teams was all gratefully appreciated even though it was whispering as to not upset the locals.  

I completed my leg with 8 minutes to spare I handed over to Allan Coldicott (the man I believe to have started Hilly 100 some 37 years ago) to complete leg 2. After a rather public change of clothes in Karen’s car we sped off to catch Allan and start to support as many SAC runners as possible.  

We followed, cheered, clapped and sang (?) to lots of SAC members along the route ensuring they were lubricated, fed, safe and cool wherever possible. I am not sure what the rival teams made of us as no one else wore wigs, silly sunglasses and blasted music as we passed them.   

At the start of leg 6 we had a warning light come on in the car. Thanks to google and our mechanical expertise?? we achieved a temporary fix but decided it was probably best to call it a day and head back towards Stratford. I wouldn’t recommend calling either Karen or I if you break down in the future! 

Fantastic effort by all, especially with 20C+ degree heat!

Tim’s Hilly

Report – Tim Hutchinson

To say I was a bit nervous today is an understatement..Not sure why as hey it’s just a run but then again it’s a run that could mean the first SAC hilly 100 race win for 37 years! So after a morning working and trying to not injure myself (something I’m pretty good at) and caffeine consumption, whilst my phone pinged constantly with the updates of the amazing times being posted by team A, the afternoon found me waiting on the 90 mile mark for the moment when Richard Dobedoe came around the corner into sight and my legs began. The next hour or so was kind of a bit of a blur really, not due to speed but I don’t think I’ve been so focused on a race before (sorry Wayne and Emma and any one else cheering, I didn’t mean to ignore you ! ).

The final straight down the club carpark and the cheering brought me home. I was so chuffed to have been part of the SAC machine today. Awesome effort by all.
Ginny’s Hilly
Report – Ginny Davis

Things never turn out as I expect.  I was rather dreading this, not being a fan of hills but it was a lovely day for a run so I arrived at my handover in good spirits and then fretted for about an hour about whether I had the right amount of fuel etc.  

No portaloo. I’d have thought that the heriditary peer whose grounds we gathered outside might have provided one. Lesson learned I imagine! 

Mine was the home run via Alderminster, Loxley and The Croft School.  A variation on Not the Roman IX with a few more ascents and descents thrown in.

Not going to lie .. the first 50m weren’t what I’d call flat. Then the first rise out of Alderminister was a killer. Thanks to Graham Hill and Pip Bell doing awesome times in their legs I’d set off before the others waiting at the handover. I expected them all to overtake me there and then but a quick look over my shoulder reassured me that they were not in sight.

Then a beep of a car horn and Chris and Pip and a lovely encouraging young man whose name I didn’t know drove cheerfully by offering all kinds of goodies.   

By the time I got to the base of Loxley Hill I’d decided I didn’t mind hills too much.  I’d forgotten that Loxley Hill is actually two hills but with two Roman’s behind me I know they’re not too bad.  However I’ve never enjoyed the slog up to The Croft School and it didn’t help to be run onto the verge by an oncoming vehicle. Probably I should have stopped. 

The lane to the Banbury Road began to feel like hard work which was ominous since it’s downhill but when I got to the main road I heard myself think that I really didn’t want to stop running because I was loving it so much.

It wasn’t long before I was negotiating the  Sunday afternoon strollers in and out of Stratford  – families who take up the whole pavement and don’t look where they are going. Thank you SDC for the bus lane.

The finish was lovely. I literally sprinted (probably looked like a hurried trot) to cheers and yet again was reminded that team support is heart-filling. 

Bev’s Hilly

Report – Bev Brigden

On paper the Hilly 100 seems straightforward but the reality is that it must be a huge organisational task which is executed brilliantly in the super efficient hands of Hannah and her team of willing helpers.

Thank you for making such a memorable day for us all.

There are also not many teenagers I know who would get up at 4.00 am to run 10 miles, returning home to revise for GCSEs – well done Masie -Joy, like mother like daughter.

I am a big fan of leg one (perhaps not wise to promote), I can walk to the start and it’s a novelty to run at  5.00am. I can get home via the Greenway, avoiding all the logistics, (Becks did stop to check I wasn’t lost when she saw me going in the opposite direction). The hills are gentle slopes in comparison, which is great as I am rubbish on hills. It’s almost a straight line so hard to get lost.

You start with a group so get a bit of the race buzz feeling. The absolute joy is seeing the awakening of morning, the cool air filled with bird song and on this occasion the happy chatter and laughter of Emma Lee.

Finally, arriving earlier than expected at handover and catching David Smyth sprinting out of the bushes so he could receive the  baton made me smile. Absolutely brilliant way to start the day and to be part of a wonderful team.

Mixed Race
1. Sphinx 11hrs 42 mins
2. Northbrook. 11hrs 52 mins
3. North Cotswold Tri 11hrs 57 mins

Mixed B Race
1. Northbrook. 12hrs 51 mins
2. Kenilworth. 12hrs 52 mins

Ladies Race
1. Spa Striders. 12hrs 34 mins
2. Kenilworth. 12hrs 49 mins
3. Stratford. 13hrs 09 mins

Mens Race
1. Stratford. 10hrs 19 mins
2. Kenilworth. 10hrs 23 mins
3. Leamington. 11hrs 03 mins
The Results
James Day on his way to a PB in the 800m
Emma Bexson in one of her 6 events on the day.
Brian Gravelsons helping everything run smoothly
Joe Mason seemingly floating on air
Imy Sheppard flying through the air.
Koda Spriggs making it look easy. It ain’t!
Paula Williams about to launch the discus, watched over by Sandy Green
Paul Hawkins launches the javelin

Midland League Division 3

Fixture 1



Report – David Jones

Closure of the M40 caused an hour’s delay to the start of this the first Midlands League T&F fixture of the season.

A small but perfectly formed team of Stratford members had their work cut out in glorious weather at the Leamington track.

Just 22 club menders competed in 64 events/races. As the Americans say – do the math.

Despite this the team achieved a remarkable result by finishing in 2nd place on the day.

Team manager Mike Sheppard commented  “We just pipped Leicester to finish second overall behind the hosts, Leamington.

Officials Points are still to be added, but we are advised that all teams provided their full complement so this should not impact the finishing positions.

This is an astonishing result given the small size of our squad and the number of events where our athletes were competing with little or no practice in the disciplines concerned.

 Every point really does count in these fixtures!

The results:

Leamington C&AC                589

Stratford                                487

Leicester Corinthian AC        483

Newport Harriers                   405

Abingdon and Whitney         370

Bromsgrove & Redditch AC  268

City of Stoke AC                   182


Team Stratford
Ben Kruze – the race winner
Kate Wright – 2nd lady finisher.
Vicky Sharpe and Susan Hunt
Lindsey Anderson and Kate Sergent
The Top 10 finishers

Ryton 5

Report  – David Jones

Senior club members were out in force for last Thursday’s Ryton 5 race, with 34 competing, over 10% of the total number of competitors

As can be seen from the graphic above, we had 5 of the top 10 finishers with Ben Kruze winning in a time of 26.21, a comfortable 46 second margin over the 2nd placed finisher.

Jamie Hall finished 4th with a time of 27.28, followed by Matt Burdus-Cook (6th – 27.56). Matt was also 1st M45. He was followed just 5 seconds later by Richard Liggatt (7th-28.01). Completing our top 10 finishers was Ned Campbell (9th – 28.28). Ned was 2nd M20 to finish.

Other finishers for the club were;

Tim Hutchinson (33rd – 30.54)

Kate Wright (34th – 30.57). Kate was 2nd lady finisher.

Richard Dobedoe (39th – 31.36). Richard was 1st M55

Max Ross (42nd – 31.48)

Peter Sugden (48th – 32.12)

Richard Gubby (52nd – 32.28)

Drew Sambridge (53rd – 32.35)

Seth Turner (60th – 33.06)

John Raby (63rd – 33.26)

Wayne Vickers (64th – 33.29)

Nick Campbell (78th – 33.59)

Ted Burch (87th – 34.23)

Graham Hill (90th – 34.27)

Vicky Sharpe (115th – 36-18)

Suzie Ross (126th – 36.48)

Emma Vickers (144th – 37.52)

Kate Barney (175th – 39.40)

Yumiko Turney (186th – 40.38)

Susan Hunt (197th – 41.13)

Lisa Lambourn (218th – 42.36)

Becks Pridham (224th – 43>00

Pip Bell (228th – 43.13)

Emily Adams (237th – 43.43)

Dave Maundrell (250th – 45.20)

Lisa Stevens (254th – 45.32)

Emma Lee (256th – 45.49)

Kate Sergent (269th – 48.29)

Lindsey Anderson (270th – 49.00)

John Butler (296th – 58.40)

306 runners complete the race.

Emily’s Race

Report – Emily Adams

A beautiful, warm and sunny evening saw some 30 SAC runners enter the WRRL Ryton 5. 

It was my first race back in over a year so it was great to see so many SAC runners turn up for my return to racing!

It was an undulating, pretty course of one large and two small laps around the pool. The start was crowded and very dusty. Following a fast start to get out of the dust, it quickly became apparent I was not going to keep up the pace of my 8-minute first mile. I continued to push around the course gradually reducing my pace but constantly being spurred on by my fellow club runners as they passed by me. 

After crossing the line and taking a moment to recover, I realised it was great to be back and I had actually enjoyed the race. 

There were some great results from club members with numerous top 10 finishers and an overall win for Ben Kruze. In typical SAC style, the support, team spirit and camaraderie was second to none as usual. 

Big thanks for the warm welcome back and the support crew of Jo Hutchinson.

Clare Goodwin with Emma and Dave Parkin
Dave and Emma. All smiles.
Worcester Marathon

Report – Emma Parkin

Well, I can tell you for a fact that Sunday was a seriously hot day for a marathon! I had been hoping for a classic British day of cloud and rain but no such luck for Worcester Marathon.

I set out with the goal of trying to break the 4-hour mark and things were looking pretty good for most of the race despite the heat. But at mile 26, my legs had other ideas and completely went from under me. Huge thanks to my trusty sidekick, Dave, who was there to catch me (twice!) and help me over the finish line. He was such a huge support over the entire distance, even though he was carrying a bit of an injury himself. 

My gun time of 4:01:53 did give me a win in my age category and a marathon PB! Dave and I crossing the line together.

I am hugely proud of what I achieved today and over all these months of training. I think it’s time for a bit of a running break now!

Thanks to Tempo Events for putting on such a great event – brilliant marshalling, support and organisation throughout. If only you could just figure out how to make it a bit cooler!
Worcester Half Marathon

Report – Clare Goodwin

Whilst all eyes were on the Hilly 100 there were some club members running at Worcester.  The weather was unbelievably hot and none of us had trained for this heat. 

The Stratford yellow vest worked its magic and I instantly spotted Emma and David Parkin.  They came over and we took a team photo.  

Both races set off together. The route was very rural through pretty lanes but quite hilly in parts. On mile 7- I began to feel a bit weary from the sun.  A quick drink revived me.  

At mile 9 the Parkin duo overtook me giving words of encouragement as they passed.  I was quite surprised that they hadn’t overtook me earlier.  At mile 11, I was on the countdown to finish. 
I was so relieved to see the finish in sight across the rugby field. 

I crossed the line in 1:56:30 and I was overjoyed to be 3rd in my age group.  Corrie Strickland came in at 2:10:47. She really enjoyed her run and had fun. Kath Pester finished in 2:39.05. 

Whilst in the marathon Emma and David Parkin came in together at 4:02:16.   Emma was 8th lady back and 1st in her age group.  

David Fathers ran his first marathon in 4:56:26. So hats off to him for surviving the heat and the hills.

In the 10k, John Butler finished in 1:20.44.
At the Birmingham Running Festival in Sutton Park last weekend, Maliha Abdul-Hakim was first lady finisher and 13th overall in the half marathon, with a time of 1:35.14. Her mother Rabia completed this challenging course in 2:10.36.
Rabia is visually impaired and Maliha is currently diagnosed with the same eye condition though her condition is not advanced.
James with guide. I reckon we’ve earned this.
James Morrison
 The Deddington Four Farms Challenge.

Report – James Morrison

Some of you will know me from parkrun and others from the club as the Male V.I. runner.  This week I took on the Deddington Four Farms Challenge.
The start of this race was more like a village fete than a race event. You went around the playing field before heading out onto the road for about 500 meters, you then entered the farm grounds. At this POINT I was at the 7 minutes per mile speed and was doing really well for third place but my guide was then taken ill after having coffee just 30 minutes before the run, as a result, we slowly started to lose speed.

It’s the first time this guide has struggled with me and it’s the same guide I normally do my high speed runs with, Brighton half 1:40:00,  so it was not a great race in that respect but we had fun and got through it.
With the rain we’ve had recently the ground was quite wet underfoot and at one point all I could think was that we were going to do a Vicar of Dibley, where I would just disappear down one of the puddles and never be seen again   –  they really were that large.
The rest of the ground was quite dry with plenty of hills, which suited us better, until the last 500 meters where we met the hill,

I did wonder why there was not so many 10K runners on this route but that there was so many 5k and kids doing 3K. I realised why, because not only had we just run 9k but we now had this massive hill to deal with. My guide heard me say a few choice words and thought something was up with me and asked what was wrong. I pointed to the hill we were just about to go up. He was too busy looking for possible falls but then looked right ahead and saw this mountain right in front of us. With my legs already tired and my guide being ill and knowing we were not that far away from the finish but that we had this hill to get up we decided to walk. We had to walk 3 times in the race due to my guide being really ill.

We reckon it took us about 1 hour to get around which as my guide’s know is not normally what we would do but we did have fun and will return again next year to take it on properly.

If hills and trails are your thing then I highly recommend adding this race to your calendar next year.

The lager went down a bit too well after that race

Charities that benefited from the race were: 

Deddington Primary School PTA (Registered Charity Number 1052715),
Deddington PFSU (Registered Charity Number PFSU-1100275) Deddington Fire Station on behalf of the Firefighters Charity (Registered Charity Number 1093387)