Seb & Co.

Far left: Gwil Price the Warwickshire Schools athletics supremo and Seb Hillard (No. 22).

Seb Hillard achieved PBs galore competing in the Octathlon at the weekend, while sister Niamh was also picking up a couple at Alexander Stadium competing in the UK Youth Development League fixture. She ran 5:00.32 in the 1500m and  4.60m in the long jump. She also ran a leg the 4 x 400m relay. Niamh loved the experience of competing in such an iconic stadium.
A great weekend for The Hillards.

Will Hovell (No.24) was another of our juniors athletes who had a hugely successful weekend in a multi event competition, taking part in the pentathlon in Derby.
It was a truly memorable weekend for two of our many talented junior athletes with Seb Hillard and Will Hovell enjoying great success competing in an Octathon and Pentathlon respectively.

In Leamington, club member Andy Lawrence beat his namesake Andrew Lawrence in to 2nd place in his inaugural half marathon. I was convinced it was typo when I first looked at the results. Well done Andy.

A handful of us,  both young and not so young competed at the Nuneaton Summer Open in searing heat last weekend, while Kate Sergent took on the wonderfully named Umborne Ug 10k in Devon.

For those of you taking part in Robin Langhorn’s Carriages and Canals event on Saturday – Enjoy. Next Wednesday sees the 3rd of this season’s Vet’s T&F league fixtures take place at Redditch. Good luck, indeed good luck you all of you competing anywhere.

Take care

Best wishes

David Jones
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Seb in the 1500m
Seb’s performances – definitely one for the scrapbook.

English Schools (ESAA) Midland Combined Events Championships

Report – Paul Bearman

Combined Events is the backbone of the SUAAC juniors training programme whereby every youngster from the Under11s through to the Under15s get to try all the runs, hurdles, jumps and throws events while they’re growing and then the option to specialise in a favoured event comes later.

In the past we’ve produced some outstanding junior combined eventers including Andrew Pozzi, UK U15 silver medallist and Imogen Green ESAA Senior champion and this year 2 more, U17 Seb Hillard and U15 Will Hovell, stepped onto the CE conveyor belt. 

Both are in their first year of their respective age groups and after finishing high up in the rankings in the Warwickshire Schools’ Championships, they moved onto Derby at the weekend after winning their place to represent the Warwickshire team in the English Schools (ESAA) Midland Combined Events Championships.

In “incredibly hot” energy sapping conditions, Will competed in the 5 event Pentathlon over one day and Seb in the 8 events Octathlon over 2 days and both surpassed their expectations by producing outstanding performances across the gruelling schedule and helped the Warwickshire to finish 2ndoverall.

Throughout the weekend I was coaching from afar and passing on advice and I asked them to summarise their performances in their own words….. Seb first.



  • Long Jump – 5.32 PB. Good start to the competition
  • Discus -19.70 PB. Room for improvement but not too bad after just 1 training session.
  • Javelin -32.64 PB. Very happy with this performance as it put me in 4th after the event.
  • 400m -59.04 PB. Hard end to the day in the heat but broke 60 seconds for the first time.



  • 100m Hurdles-15.48 PB. Very pleased as it is the first clean hurdles race since my knee injury.
  • High jump -1.50. Slightly disappointed but knew everyone has a bad event.
  • Shot -7.61 PB. Thrilled because it was more than I expected.
  • 1500m – 4.54 PB. Great end to the weekend.

5th place overall with 3461 points and just13 points off 4th. A 631point improvement from the qualifying in May.

Let me give some perspective to this performance as described by Gwil Price the Warwickshire Schools athletics supremo….

“In many ways Seb’s 7 PB performances are quite stunning for a young developing athlete who is only just out of the Junior age group.

I must highlight his ability to focus on producing his very best (and better it of course!) in such a competitive environment. This, of course, comes from high levels of commitment and ‘’fight’ to go with his innate ability as an all-round athlete.

It is the first time I have had the pleasure of watching him compete and I was mightily impressed throughout both days. Finishing the event with a fantastic run in the 1500m must make him eager to don his spikes again as quickly as possible!

Seb, your position and score clearly says you were brilliant throughout” … 



  • Hurdles (new pb 13.40) It went well after a bad start. The starter was very quick from set to go and I wasn’t ready. Once I got into my stride it felt good.
  • Shot (no pb only 7.80 or 7.90! I didn’t throw the best in the first 2 throws because I was looking down, so I changed it to look up and improved by a metre – so if I started with looking up it could have gone better
  • Long Jump (new pb 4.74)I  didn’t jump as well as I have in training but didn’t do badly.
  • High Jump (no pb only 1.38) I didn’t feel very springy. I had only really had one good jump but according to my teammates my technique looked better and I was more aggressive with my take off drive and it was better technique when I clenched my bum which tucked it in.
  • 800 (no pb ran 2.17) I felt like it went well and I won the race. I didn’t run as fast as I could have on my 1st lap either (67secs) but it was really hot. For some reason I kept looking behind me and I need to stop doing that.

I came 6th so I hope I’ve done enough to get to the ESAA finals in September.

Last word from Gwil….

“Finally, thank you both for representing WSAA so well and please take this forward to future competition! You are great lads and fine ambassadors for your school and club. A pleasure to spend time with you both. Feel proud of your achievements as everyone else certainly feels proud of you!”

1st place Andy Lawrence and 2nd place Andrew Lawrence 
For the provisional results please follow this link.

Leamington Half Marathon.

Report   – Andy Lawrence

After a last-minute entry on Thursday night, I found myself on the start line of the Leamington Half Marathon on a scorching Sunday morning.

I have been struggling with a few niggles here and there since London Marathon so this race was a bit of a dive into the unknown with not knowing where I was fitness wise.

The air horn blew and we were off!

A Spa Striders runner took us out early and I hung back in 3rd place to see how the early uphill climbs would fare. After 2km myself and another chap had joined the Spa Striders runner up at the front and we were a pack of 3.

With the early climbs out the way, I felt a bit more confident to put the hammer down and try and break away slowly.

About 8km in I had a glance over my shoulder to see I was being stalked by a guy in blue (little did I know at this point, that his name was also ‘Andy Lawrence).

The hills kept on coming and the sun was beating down. I took another glance over my shoulder at 14km and the guy in blue was still there about 100 metres behind. I was confident I was being gained on and I was starting to feel the heat.

I was wasting so much energy on worrying where the guy behind me was that I had to have a talk with myself and say ‘look, as long as I don’t completely crash, he’ll have to work to overtake me’. I conjured up a plan to keep my remaining kilometres under 3:40- if I did that then I should be okay.

A few more climbs came and went. A few kilometres were over 3:40… a few were under. We got on the road back into Leamington and at the 19km mark I took one final glance over my shoulder…. No sign of the guy in blue. I had shaken him and now it was about bringing it home. 

I rounded the corner into Pump Room Gardens with the crowd cheering and lifted my arms as I crossed the line.

My first Half Marathon win and it’s definitely fuelled the fire for more. 

Well done to everyone who got it done in the heat!

Kate Wright
Kate commented on the race “I thought it was great. The only complaint I had was it was way too hot. I felt a bit fatigued from racing twice in the week leading up to Sunday so it was never going to be fast but it was brutal.
I did quite a bit of walking around the water stops. The support all round the course was fantastic and the course itself was lovely and undulating .
I will definitely do it again if they sort out the weather!!
I was 1st W60 in a very slow time of 1.31.
Ginny’s Leamington Half

Report – Ginny Davis

I  wasn’t particularly worried in the build up to this race. I’d done the distance not so long ago in Birmingham. I ran Compton Verney last year in similar heat.  Someone told me it’s hilly. I thought I’d got that covered too with the Hilly 100 and Tysoe Windmill.

I rested for a couple of days pre race, had a gentle leg massage, drank loads of water, carb loaded the night before. On the day I had a bit of breakfast, more water and a gel at the start. 

 Everything should have been fine.

It WAS hot and it WAS hilly but I plodded on, until suddenly I was hungry, so I ate some bread and marmite. I gobbled too much of it at once so I decided to stop and walk for a bit.

And that was that. I’d just about covered 10k and although I could walk I just couldn’t sustain a running pace. Every time I tried to start up again the legs were telling me that that was absolutely not happening and the will to force them wasn’t there. 

So far not so good.
I’d accidentally entered my husband Bill’s name on registration instead of my own. He was my emergency contact. So Bill Davis was a female and had DNF’d his first race. Tempting though it was to leave it at that, I went to the organisers to correct it.  

“Are you Kate Wright?” They asked me, twice. Kate Wright, we’ve never met but imagine if I’d have said yes.  I’d have been on the podium!  

What a glorious ending to an inglorious race that would have been.

James’s Race
Report – James Morrison 

We arrived at the race event in plenty of time, got parked up and met with Marc Dwyer from Myton Hospice, who we were running for.

We then did our warm up and headed to the pens. It then seemed that within seconds we were running. Due to this we ended up in the 2:25:00 time slot which was not what we had planned.

On the hills my hips started to play up. I can have a bad day and for some of the hills I had to walk. I wasn’t going to get a great time anyway. By mile 4 we had overtaken the 1:45:00 pacer, she then overtook us when I stopped for a toilet break but not long after we caught up with her again.

At this point I thought were doing amazingly well so we eased back as we felt we were going to hit the 1:45:00 mark. We then got to one of the hills which slowed us down considerably and in the end we finished in 02:03:25. Not what we wanted to see at all. 

When we went to get our medals, I struggled to find the right line. I thought it was poorly marked out where to get them from. 

Unfortunately, personally, I found the overall organisation somewhat lacking.

I thought the number of toilets were not adequate for the just under 1400 finishers. When the race started people were still waiting to use the toilet and considering how hot it was on the day, I didn’t think the water stations were well enough stocked.

All in all not a good day.

Me alongside Ruby and Martha Edwards

Nuneaton Open Summer Special

Report – David Jones

A handful of members competed in the searing heat at this event on 24th June

Our 100m sprinters got the day off to a flying start with U15 Arthur Mansbridge winning his race in a PB time of 12.56 and beating a senior runner in to 2nd place. Sporting a sharp haircut and a bit more wind enabled Brian Gravelsons to wipe 0.5 seconds from his time the previous week. He finished in 4th place in his heat in a time of 14.30 seconds.

The 200 metres saw a scintillating race, with U15 club members  Ella Smith (26.84) and Scarlett Dawson (27.46) finishing in 1st and 3rd place respectively. Ella’s time was a PB.

U17 Ruby Edwards and sister Martha were in fine form in the long jump with Ruby jumping 4.67m and Martha recording a big PB of 3.50, her previous best being 3.30.

I found myself in an 800m race alongside 4 U13’s, 2 U15’s and an U17! Well it was an Open event I guess.

I was happy to record another season’s best with a time of 2:56.98. I had also entered the 1500m but when I went for my warm-up  my legs were screaming NO. This together with the heat made me decide to bail from the 1500m.

A jubilant Kate Sergent
A glorious view.

Umborne Ug 10k

Report – Kate Sergent

Whilst on holiday at our caravan in East Devon I decided to enter this 10k that Axe Valley Runners had advertised at Seaton parkrun. 

I love taking part in different events and thought a trail run on a Saturday evening in beautiful countryside would be fabulous.

When I arrived at the village hall I was surrounded by club runners, mainly from a club trip from Teignmouth who had arrived on a big coach that had blocked the country lane causing the race to be delayed by 20 minutes!

It was definitely a club event and I wish I’d had my SAC vest with me!!

I prepared well by doing Seaton parkrun in the morning ( to me compulsory when I am at the caravan) 

After running round the village for 1 mile the course went out along fields and up to the Widworthy country estate up and up and up through woodlands.

It was a stunning evening and the views were amazing but it was tough with 700 feet ascent!!

It certainly took me well out of my comfort zone but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The support was amazing at the finish and Axe Valley runners made a big fuss about the fact they had a SAC member running far from home. 

It took me 1.17.24 but at least I was 1st in my age group!!

And Finally
Sunday morning on the Welcombe hills.
The lower picture shows some our junior athletes treating multiple stings with dock leaves having run through the undergrowth!
They didn’t really moan.
Actually that’s a fib!
A few photos from last week’s Shakespeare Race
And they’re off
Jamie Hall leads Matt Burdus-Cook.
Maisie-Joy Spriggs who was 2nd female and 1st junior finisher.
Visually impaired runner James Morrison with guide Kathryn Woodcock.