When it rains, it pours.

Mike Sheppard, our Midland League T&F team manager explains that his picture, which appears to have be taken through a net curtain, is actually Brian Gravelsons standing at the 100m start on what was, until that moment, a hot & sunny June afternoon in Nuneaton.
What great photo of Brian Gravelsons on the start line of his 100m race. One for the end of year round-up

Lots to report on again this week.

Wednesday night saw 52 runners compete in this month’s Shakespeare Race in extremely warm and muggy conditions at Halford.

There’s a report on a successful Inter Schools Championship for several of our juniors.

As promised last week, there is a full report on the 2nd vets T&F fixture hosted by the club at the Stratford Track. Last week when discussing the results of this event, in an effort to emphasise the provisional nature of the results, I mentioned a couple of instances where I knew the results to be inaccurate and incomplete. One of these was in my own 3000m race where I knew my position and time to be incorrect. This comment was in no way meant to undermine or criticise the track officials on the night, for who I have repeatedly stated my admiration. I apologise profusely for any hurt or misunderstanding this may have caused. The 3000m race results were incorrect but this was due to the fault of another club who had submitted the wrong competitor information.

We have a couple of new correspondents this week with in-form runner Jamie Hall submitting a report on the Arden 9 and Sam Wilks reporting on the Offa’s Dyke 15. Sam – I want some of your daughters energy bars, they sound wonderful. Thank you both.

A small but perfectly formed team represented the club at the Technical Events Midlands League T&F fixture in Nuneaton, with all 4 team members achieving PBs – you can’t ask for better than that.

There are the results of this month’s 100 Club draw and a couple of dates for your diary with the Club Champs and Vets T&F Final confirmed. I’m counting the days.

Take care

Best Wishes

David Jones
Maisie-Joy Spriggs, Rosie Slocombe and Miranda Maloney at the June Shakespeare Race.
June Shakespeare Race

This month’s race took place over a new 5.5 mile course at Halford, in hot and muggy conditions,  courtesy of race organisers Angela and Stuart McClean.

I personally found it quite a challenge – understatement – but everyone else I spoke to after the race raved about the course, so what do I know?

 I thought the food afterwards was pretty imaginative and enjoyable though.

The provisional results are listed below.

They show a narrow victory of just 4 seconds for Jamie Hall (26.29) over Matt Burdus-Cook (26.33).  Kate Wright (30.18) in 8th place was once again first lady finisher. U20 Fin Hutchinson (31.16) made the top 10 finishing in 10th place and Maisie-Joy Springs (32.43) was second placed lady and first junior in 15the place.

52 runners completed the race.


A huge congratulations to the winners of the SUAAC 100 club this month who were:

Mike Barrie

Nancy Sheppard

Danny Nussbaum. 

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 club100_suaac@outlook.com for details and joining instructions.

Helen Roach

Joel Masters and Ruby Edwards
Annie Silvers at the front
Ruby Edwards
Despite having two no jumps at the start of her competition, Ruby held her nerve and won silver.

Inter County Schools Championships

Report – Paul Bearman

The lion’s share of the South Warks team representing South Warwickshire senior schools who competed in the county schools championships held in Nuneaton, was made up of primarily Stratford AC juniors.

With athletes finishing in first and second places in their respective county champs they had put themselves in the frame for selection for the full Warwickshire and Hereford & Worcestershire teams in the prestigious Inter County Masons Trophy in Stoke and for the Gloucester athletes they had the same opportunity in the Southwest school competition in Exeter. 

Ultimately 14 Stratford athletes were selected for Warwickshire, 2 for Gloucestershire and 1 for Hereford & Worcestershire teams, which gave them another chance to reach the demanding qualifying standard for the English Schools (ESAA) championships.

The inter county Masons Trophy attracts both big and small counties across the Midlands and is a big step up in the quality of opposition.

Against the other 8 counties and with every point counting the Stratford contingent contributed to Warwickshire winning the Mason Trophy for the first time in a few years.

In the sprints, Megan Thomas finished 5th in the Inter (U17) girls 100m in a time of 13.46s and Scarlett Dawson doubled up in the Junior (U15) 100m with 3rd in 13.65s and 5th in the 200m in a time of 28.04s.

In the junior boys (JB) 80m hurdles Toby Thomas was 3rd in his heat in 13.57s and in another heat his training partner Ethan Winning representing H&W was 1st in his heat with a time of 12.23s, agonisingly just .1sec outside the ESAA entry standard but was within a whisker of selection to the ESAA champs.

The middle and longer distance runners were in good form especially Annie Silvers who won her junior girls (JG) 1500m with a stunning run, finishing with a 10 second PB in a time of 4.53.0 and she booked her place in the Warwickshire team for the ESAA championships at the end of the month. In the Intermediate Girls (IG) 1500m Maisie Joy Spriggs finished first in her heat in 4.56.5 just outside her PB.

Will Hovell ran a PB in the very fast run JB, 800m finishing 9th in 2.13.0 and in the IG girls Niamh Hillard finished 7th in her heat in 2.29.2.

In sticky conditions the 3000m was never going to feel comfortable but in the IB, in his first 3000m, Zac Lambert finished in 11th (9.40.9) and close behind was Will Mayes who knocked an incredible 30 seconds off his previous best, finishing with 9.43.3. In the IG Abbi Copper finished 7 in 12.22.5.

In the field events newcomer Harriet Billyard jumped a double PB in the JG, High Jump finishing 6th with 1.40m and 9th in the Long Jump with4.54m.

Seb Hillard jumped 11.38m finishing 5th in the IB Triple Jump and his sister Niamh finished 11th in the IG Long Jump with 4.44m.

Inter girl Nikki Wodzisz threw 26.29m in the Javelin (6th) and 7.99m in the Shot (7th).

Meanwhile in sunny Exeter, at the Southwest inter county championships,  Joel Masters was doing what he does best and won both the IB 100m (10.99s) and 200m (22.49s) and booked his place in the Gloucester team for the ESAA champs. 

Despite finishing 2nd in the IG Triple Jump and winning the silver medal, jumping a PB of 10.43m but marginally short of the entry standard, disappointingly Ruby Edwards just missed selection.

Away from the inter counties and competing in the Heart of England league, Poppy Fox Rowe ran the ESAA entry time for the 200m of 25.7s and has also been selected for the Warwickshire ESAA team in the senior girls 200m.

The ESAA champs is one of the main T&F targets for our junior athletes and so many have made serious progress towards achieving the stringent standards this year so congratulations to Annie, Poppy and Joel for their selection to the ESAA champs but particularly disappointing for Ethan and Ruby who so very nearly made it.

Clare Goodwin making it look easy.
Adam Linforth after executing the perfect high jump !!
Neck and neck – Donna Allen and Emma Bexson
Ali Get Your Gun!
Alison Gravelsons’ fires off the starter pistol
Vets T&F

Stratford Track – 14th June

Report – David Jones

It was another wonderful night of T&F on Wednesday 14th at the Stratford Track where we hosted the 2nd of this season’s Midland Vets T&F league fixture, with 8 teams competing on the night.

Once again we were greatly aided by a first class team of volunteer officials and helpers and as I’ve said on numerous occasions, without whom these fixtures just would not go ahead. Sincere thanks to one and all.

There was  superb victory for our ladies over the usually all conquering Worcester ladies team, winning by a margin of 6 points – 149 v 143. Our men’s team were 3rd on the night, behind Worcester and the ever improving Bromsgrove and Redditch team. Worcester secured 142 points, B&R 138 and we got 126. This meant we finished in 2nd place with 275 points. 1st placed Worcester were on 285 and 3rd placed B&R on 216.

As always, the track events started with the sprints. For this fixture the distance was 100m.

In the M60, after a bit of arm twisting from Team Manager Hannah Osborne  who it has to be said did quite a bit of arm twisting to ensure we had someone competing in every event – no mean feat)  Andy List competed following the withdrawal through injury of Ian Hill. Andy is himself recovering from injury and said he’d just jog it. Hmmm, that was never going to happen and he finished in 3rd place with a time of 16.1. I also managed 3rd place in my M70 race with a time of 17.9. The race was won by Peter Mould of B&R in 13.6 seconds, a time that ranks him not only number 1 in the UK for this year but also number 7 on the all-time list in his  age category. I had barely left the start line as he was crossing the finishing line. Simon Curran (13.6), Dave Battersby (13.8) and Drew Sambridge (13.7) finished 3rd, 4th and 3rd respectively in their M50, M40 and M35 races. 

For our ladies, Elaine Ledden (15.6) finished 2nd in the W60, as did Kate Sergent (23.2) in W70. Paula Williams  (14.1) triumphed in the W50 category with Suzie Graham (18.1) and Kim Lee (18.4) finishing in 4th and 2nd place respectively in their W40 and W35 races.

In the 800m there were superb victories in both the M35 and W50 races. Ben Kruze’s time in M35 was 2:04.2, showing remarkable consistency with his 2 previous time for Vets 800m races which were 2:04.5 and 2:04.1. It also places him in the top 20 of this year’s rankings. In what was arguably our best performance of the night, Clare Goodwin stormed to victory in her 800m race by 15 seconds. Her time of 3:03.6 puts her in 15th place on the current UK W50 rankings.

The 800m also saw Dave Battersby (2:53.8) and Pete Sugden (2:25.2) finish in 5th and 6th place in their respective M40/M50 races. In the ladies 800m races, Kim Lee (3:10.9) and Emma Bexson (2:51.4) both finished in 3rd place in their W35/W40 races.

The  racewalk events saw racewalk debutant Chris Spriggs (11:37.5) finish in a highly creditable 3rd place in the M35 age category, with Pete Sugden (12:55.9) finishing 5th in the M50’s. Gemma Smith (11:26.00) secured 2nd place in the W35’s with Kate Sergent (11:36.00) coming 5th in the W50  category.

The men’s 3000m races saw 2nd place finishes for both Ben Kruze M35 (9:04.00) and M40 Matt Burdus-Cook (9:40.3). Speaking to Ben after the race, he was frustrated that he’d left his attempt to reel in the eventual winner a little too late, losing out by just 0.8 of a second. I managed 3rd place (14:47.1) in my first 3000m race for 4 years in the M60 category. 

In the ladies W35 3000m race, Donna Allen (11:51), making her Stratford T&F debut, ran a superb race to finish 2nd. Emma Bexson (12:11) was 3rd in W40 and crossing the finishing line to arguably the biggest cheer of the night was Bev Bridgen (16:10) having bravely agreed to race at the last moment.

In the 800m/400m/200m/200m medley relays our teams both finished in 2nd place. The men with a time of 4:07.2 and ladies 5:15.0.

In the field events Simon Curran threw 17.81m in the M35 javelin with, with Paula Williams winning her W50 javelin competition with a throw of 31m. Paula also had victories in W35 long jump (4.49m), W50 triple jump (9.25m) and W35 shot (10.47). Staying with the ladies, Elaine Ledden was 2nd in W60 long jump (3.53m) and 3rd in W35 javelin (14.89), with Liz Crabtree finishing in a superb 2nd place in W50 shot (8.54m) and Kate Sergent finishing in 4th place in W70 shot (3.28m).

In the men’s shot put, Adam Linforth was 5th in M50 (7.23m) and I managed 4th in M70 (5.81m). Adam also enjoyed a very successful M50 high jump competition, clearing 1.35m to claim 2nd place. Alistair Webb enjoyed success in M35 long jump (4.82), finishing in 2nd place just 5cms off the 1st placed finisher. He also secured 3rd place in M35 shot (6.88m). 

Versatile John Boxall was 4th in M60 long jump (2.56m) and 2nd in M60 javelin (20.89m)

Team Stratford at the Arden 9
2nd placed finisher Jamie Hall

Arden 9  

Report – Jamie Hall

Another Sunday, another Warwickshire Road League race. I missed the race last year, so it was my first-time running Arden 9 and the first time I’d ever ran a 9-mile race. 

Before lining up at the start I wasn’t sure how to best pace it. I couldn’t decide whether to go out close to 10k race pace and hang on, or to go closer to half marathon pace and finish strong. I also knew that I would be running without the SAC crew I’d been running with in the previous WRRL fixtures. Plus, I didn’t have Matt to hold my hand this week. So, I planned to go out more conservative and see how long that lasted.


At the start of the race, I went out with the front pack and quickly a Solihull runner ran off into the distance leaving the rest of us to fight for the remaining places. The first 3 miles was predominately uphill and surprisingly I felt strong and made my way to the front of the pack. At the next downhill section, I picked up the pace and soon realised I had opened a little gap and after that there was no going back and I had to commit to a surge. So, the conservative approach lasted 17 minutes and 23 seconds!


Luckily, the gap seemed to be growing but I had gone very early in the race and I still had 6 miles to go, so nothing was guaranteed.

The rest of the race became a time trial in the hot weather and with the occasional look over the shoulder to ensure 3rd place was not catching me up. Fortunately, the course provided some nice houses and views to keep my mind busy.


The final climb in the last mile was brutal but I managed to hold on and finish 31 seconds ahead of 3rdplace with a time of 50:57. I was delighted to finish 2nd and to achieve my first podium finish at a WRRL fixture. 


Well done to all of the SAC runners for racing well in the heat and with yet another solid turnout. We think we may have finished 2nd in the Men’s team but will have to wait for the official results.

For the full results please follow this link:


Father and son – Tim and Fin Hutchinson
Tim’s Arden 9 
Report – Tim Hutchinson
The Arden 9 is a gently undulating 9 mile road race through mostly lanes from Hampton in Arden.

It’s a nice route but one of a few that I can never remember fully, this maybe because it always seems to be too hot on the day.

I’m not a fan!

It’s a nice friendly race that’s part of the WRRL so it’s a must do race.

Sure enough as in the past it was a warm day. We set off downhill at a pace much quicker than my planned 6.10 – 6.20 pace, however it felt ok (ish).

The first drink station was at 3 miles, where I had to actually stop to drink properly it was that warm. From this point on I made a semi conscious decision to back off a bit. I did the same stop and drink properly at the next drink station for fear of shrivelling up but I did manage to maintain my adjusted pace and even managed to pick up a few places in the last few miles.

Not my fastest at this race but not my slowest either so I was pretty happy with just inside 57 minutes in the heat.

Happy that the June bottle neck of races is done now though and I’m looking forward to XC season starting.
Mark Illingworth shows us how to hammer throw.
An exultant Brian Gravelsons after his 100m in the rain.
Alison Gravelsons and Graham Thompson
Dressed in white – a couple of our volunteer officials ensuring that things run smoothly. 
Olivia Robinson showing perfect form.
U23 Nick Butler on his way to a triple jump PB of 13.69m, moving him up to 15th in the UK rankings for his age group.
The Midlands League Technical Events
Report – Mike Sheppard
This match was a new innovation for 2023 being a single technical events match across all divisions and consisting of the following events: 

Sprint hurdles; 400m hurdles,  3000m, Steeplechase, 400m,  High Jump,  Pole Vault, Triple Jump and Hammer plus non-scoring 100m and Shot Put

In the end only 4 Stratford athletes were competing on the day but every one delivered a PB performance:

Brian Gravelsons – Hammer 15.18
Mark Illingworth – Hammer 12.68
Nick Butler – Triple Jump 13.69
Olivia Robinson – 400m 65.96

Along with Graham Thompson & Alison Gravelsons, Brian & Mark were also officiating, keeping the show on the road as the four SUAAC officials 

And then it rained.

Very hard indeed.

We don’t yet have any team results – I think it will take a while.

We had a tiny team but so did a few other clubs in our division.
Offa’s Dyke 15

Report – Sam Wilks
My first Offa’s Dyke…and it won’t be the last!
This is a race I have wanted to do for years but calendar clashes and ‘niggles’ have kept me away.

I feared the same may happen again this year after pulling out of Worcester Half Marathon last month due to a minor injury created through work and not even running…doubly annoying!

A couple of trips to Andrew Holbrook at Tudor Physio, some exercises and a few weeks later I was running pain free. One problem leading up to the race is I had not been able to do a long run for almost 6 weeks, so I rolled the dice and put in 12 miles off road on Wednesday leading up to the race and was relieved to find that the injury didn’t flare up.
After being told that I couldn’t camp on my chosen site if I turned up after 8pm?!…I decided that I would drive over in the morning.

The day started with what was quite a cool and rainy affair and having not packed any warm clothes I was starting to feel under prepared!

I needn’t have worried as after a very well organised bus trip from the finish to the start, the day very quickly warmed up.

The rain disappeared and was replaced by warm sunshine. The sunscreen was applied, a final decision on shoes made and a good supply of water and fuel packed… I was ready for the challenge ahead!

The area in which the race finds itself is such a beautiful part of the world, one of the main reasons I had wanted to do the run. I took in the scenery and exchanged pleasantries with fellow runners along the route and in the first few miles didn’t feel too much like hard work. 
Seth Turner had passed me early on the route on a rare decline and tells me “the gains are on the downs”…noted, cheers Seth!

With Seth ahead of me I decided to use him as my barometer of pace and effort but ended up going past him on an incline…(well actually the first 13 miles are pretty much incline!)…At this point I thought “Sam you are an idiot and you’ll regret it later, take it easy” …a voice I am useless at listening too and rarely do but for the most part I did hold a lot back on this one with Matt Burdus-Cook’s pre-race words also ringing in my ears “you can’t bully this race” and I respected that.

The marshals were in good number and voice and I was really glad to hear, like myself, the thanks they were getting on what turned out to be a very warm day.

The route is unforgiving but the friendly faces and words of encouragement really help providing the important little boosts as you go round.

I was pleased I decided to keep my water back until after the last water station, instead using only the water provided along the way. Boy did I need water in the last few miles!!

I also had my secret weapon…my daughters homemade energy bites, which I can genuinely say saved my race. I started to really feel drained circa mile 8 and by mile 9 I was eating the first of these energy packed morsels…only small in size but with peanut butter, dark chocolate, oats and maple syrup in the mix, they really packed a punch and the next few miles felt a lot better than they threatened to!

At mile 12 I had devoured the next of my energy bites and I had moved on to my own water and was now praying for the sight of a descent.

The descent arrived shortly thereafter but before I began, I did make sure to take a good look at what lay before me, the panoramic view of stunning countryside which stretched as far as the eye could see. The climb all of a sudden felt all the more worth it. I then put my head down and legged it! 
If I am honest I think that is what ‘did for my legs’ as the descent seemed never-ending (roughly 2 miles I think) and for me felt much more brutal than the climb!

With a grimace and one shoe now un-laced, attempting to trip me up, the finish came into sight. Drew Sambridge had been chasing me down, so I decided to take on what was supposed to resemble a sprint, unfortunately it looked more like Forest Gump in callipers. The cramp had shot me in both calves and I almost had to salmon dive the finish.

The relief of getting over the line was replaced by a real sense of satisfaction after a good hard run completed.

My time was 2.07, 16
th place my finish and the bit I like to look at occasionally for an ego boost, 6th in my age group!

Offa’s Dyke ticked off the list but I will be back again, those hills are addictive stuff and I loved every minute of it.

For the full results please follow the link below:

Save the Dates

Following confirmation that the Vets T&F Cup Final will be on Saturday 16th September, the Club Championships will be held on Sunday 10th September.
With the Tempo Events organised Stratford Big 10k being held on Sunday 3rd September it means that for the first time for a few years there is no clash of dates.
And Finally

A selection of photos from the week’s activities
Butter wouldn’t melt!

Our U13 boys relay team at last weekend’s 2nd Heart of England fixture at Rugby

L to R : Josh Elsworth, Carter McKenzie, Kipp Stevens and Billy Sheppard
Photos from the Vets T&F fixture at the Stratford Track
So that’s how you’re supposed to do it ?
Paula Williams showing poise and concentration
L to R: Bev Brigden on her way to finishing her 3000m race to the biggest cheer of the night. Racewalkers Kate Sergent and Gemma Smith.
Matt Burdus-Cook relay baton in hand
The Workers
Toby Spriggs, results runner (Hannah tells me he was enjoying himself he was just a tad bored) and Maisie-Joy Spriggs serving the refreshments.
Drew Sambridge in his 100m race
Pete Sugden and Ben Kruze
The men’s 3000m race.
A few more Arden 9 photos
Kate Wright
Max and Susie Ross
A triumphant Rob Gisbourne
Richard Dobedoe who professed himself unhappy with his race. He thought the reason may have been over training, over heating or over the hill.
It certainly isn’t the latter Richard
Emma Parkin and Susan Hunt