England call up for Masters

Joel Masters in his England top and vest

As Paul Bearman reports below “Joel’s performances over the season to date caught the eye of the England selectors and he has been selected to run the 200m and relay (possibly the 100m), at the U18 Welsh International. Harry King the England sprints coach said to me “it’s nice to give young talent like Joel a chance to compete at international level”.

Pride of place this week goes to our 15 year old sprinter Joel Masters who this week was selected to represent England at U18 level. Paul Bearman says that in his experience it is highly unusual for a 15 year old to be selected for an U18 international fixture.

 A very proud moment.

Paul adds that Lucy Edwards spotted Joel at the Gloucester schools as a raw talent 18 months ago. He didn’t even know how to do a crouch start let alone use blocks. I had 3 weeks to get him ready for the ESAA champs using blocks and he won the silver….he’s a quick learner and trains hard.
This is just the first rung on the ladder…..lottsa work needed to realise his long term development and potential which is what UKA/EA look for 

Joel is currently the quickest 100 metre runner in the UK in the 1st year of the U17 age group and 6th overall.  In the 200m he is 1st equal in the first year of that age group and 10th overall.

A remarkable achievement.

Joel again. At the recent Midland Counties U15&U17 AA Championships he won gold in both 100 & 200ms with Maisie-Joy Spriggs claiming gold in the 1500m. We have a full report on the Championships from Paul Bearman.

Our Midlands League T&F team made the lengthy trip to Stoke last Saturday and hopefully we will have more on that next week.

It was an extremely successful and well organised Summer Six at Wilmcote last Friday, with our club runners claiming 5 of the top 10 slots and Andy Lawrence being the overall winner. Maisie-Joy Spriggs was 3rd female finisher and 1st U20 female.

Rebecca Pridham has stepped up to the plate and offered to organise our senior teams in next month’s Road Relays at Sutton  Park. Please get in touch with her if you want to take part in this superb event where we have a long and proud history.

John Butler has been doing what John Butler does, racing far an wide.

Take care.

David Jones.
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Joel Masters on top of the podium
A focussed Maisie-Joy Spriggs in the Summer Six.

At the The Midland Counties AA U15 and U17 Championships in extremely difficult conditions, in the blustery wind, she ran a superbly judged race in the 1500m to win gold with a time of 4.57.74. 
The Midland Counties AA U15 and U17 Championships

Report – Paul Bearman

Held at at the Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton, this is a top-class competition just below national level and covers a huge geographical area including Nottinghamshire in the north, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire in the east, Avon in the south and Shropshire in the west, with 5 other big counties in between.
In very blustery conditions with occasional heavy showers the Stratford ACs youngsters who took part came home with a varied selection of medals and a plethora of Personal Bests.
In his first competition at this level, under 13 Carter McKenzie took part in the 4 event Quadrathlon finishing 10th with 176 points. Annabel Stacey won the bronze medal with 242 points after a solid 3 events and a huge PB of 4.29m that shot her to the top of the Midlands U13 rankings and up into 3rd place overall for the bronze medal.
In the U15 girls Clea Roach had a busy weekend finishing with 2 PBs in the 100m (14.79s) and the 200m (31.22s) and finished off with 3.74m in the Long Jump.
After returning from 2 weeks holiday the day before, the Silvers sisters did surprisingly well with Martha running 30.43s in the 200m and then joining Annie in the 75m Hurdles heats. Martha was timed at 14.27s and Annie qualified for the final running 12.45s and then finishing 7th in the final with 12.68. Annie also ran the 1500m finishing 5th in a time of 5.23.63.
Scarlett Dawson doubled up in the short sprints and qualified for the 100m final with a new PB of 13.06 and finished 5th in the final with 13.15s. In the 200m heats she finished 4th and just missed qualifying for the final but ran another PB 26.98s dipping under the 27s barrier for the first time.
Eve Cunningham was running for the first time in this level of competition and in her 200m heat she ran a PB of 30.48s.
Ella Smith has been steadily improving over 200m this season and she qualified for the final after running a PB of 26.63s in her heat and then finishing 5th in the final in 26.68s.
In the U15 boys, in his fist run for 6 weeks after injury and a holiday, in his 80m hurdles heat Ethan Winning had a sluggish start and after stretching for the first hurdle he had a reoccurrence of his previous injury but still managed to put a good race together and finished 4th in a time of 12.61s.
Multi eventer Will Hovell had a busy but “mixed” weekend. In his 80m Hurdles heat he finished 6th in a time of 13.69s and in the 800m final, after falling on the first lap, he got back on his feet and continued to the finish in 7th in a time of 2.21.90.
Will’s High Jump was a “disaster” when he arrived late to the start of the competition which was already underway and with no warm up and the bar already above his PB he “no heighted”! He redeemed himself with a fine long jump competition and finished with a PB of 4.99m.
The U17 girls had a very good weekend with all 4 Stratford athletes going home with medals.
Leading the medal rush was Maisie Joy Spriggs who, in extremely difficult conditions in the blustery wind, ran a superbly judged race in the 1500m and won gold in a time of 4.57.74. She was followed home by Niamh Hillard with a very strong finish in the bronze medal position in a time of 5.02.28.
Caitlin Boyle got the worst of the weather when a fierce squall came over during the High Jump that temporarily stopped the event, but Caitlin returned and jumped into the silver medal position with 1.50m.
Nikola Wodzisz won the silver medal in the hammer, a first for a Stratford athlete at this level, with a PB of 21.90m and finished 4th in the javelin with 27.84m.
Seb Hillard had his first taste of competition at this level as an U17 and ended up as a double silver medallist. In the Triple Jump he finished with a best jump of 11.80m, a new PB, and in the 100m Hurdles he ran a PB of 15.73s.
Joel Masters burst into the top ranks of junior sprinters last season and he has continued his superb form this season with a good win in his 200m heat (22.09s) and winning gold in the final in a very fast 21.90s.
In his 100m heat he was easing up at the finish but still ran 10.93s to leave his rivals in his wake and in the final, he emulated this, but with no easing up, and finished with the gold medal in a time of 10.79s.
Joel’s performances over the season to date have caught the eye of the England selectors and he has been selected to run the 200m and relay (possibly the 100m), at the U20 Welsh International this weekend. 
This is considered to be a “great fixture in the domestic competition calendar” and provides an international opportunity for young English athletes.
England have selected strong U18 and U20 teams and even though Joel is only in his first year as an U17, Harry King the England sprints coach said to me “it’s nice to give young talent like Joel a chance to compete at international level”.
This is the first rung on the international ladder, and I’m really pleased he is now on England and UKAs radar and has been selected to compete in such a prestigious event. I’m absolutely sure and confident Joel is going to do really well even against older competition and do himself justice.

Members of our Midlands T&F team who made the lengthy trip to Stoke last Saturday for their penultimate fixture of the season. Hopefully we will have more on this next week.
Maisie-Joy’s week in her own words

 Report – Maisie-Joy Spriggs

The Midland Counties AA U15 and U17 Championships

I raced in the Midlands Counties Championship recently, competing in the 1500m. Leading up to the race I was nervous as I knew I would be up against some other quick people.

I had originally hoped for a pb but the conditions weren’t great as it was very windy. However I was over the moon to have won the race and leave with the title of Midlands Champion.

Summer Six

This was my first race in this year’s Warwickshire Road Race League and I have to admit that before the race I didn’t look at the course so I had no idea where I was going or what to expect.

I wasn’t bothered about my position as long as I knew I had had a good run.

Once I’d started and I knew I was third lady I didn’t want to lose that position, so when the lady that my mum had told me about came up next to me I knew I would have to stick with her.

From roughly 2 miles onwards we ran side by side and I could tell she was trying to lose me as she kept speeding up then slowing down again,  so I used her tactics against her and sped up more than her and didn’t slow when she slowed. Eventually just before the bottom of the hill back up to the finish she started to drop away and I finished as third lady and first junior female in a time of 37.11 and overall position of 30th
Summer Six

Report – David Jones

It was a hugely successful Summer Six last Friday in terms of  organisation, member involvement, participants and the performance of our own members.

The race was won by our very own Andy Lawrence in a time of 32.20, almost a minute ahead of Jamie Hall in 33.23. 25 seconds behind Jamie was Matt-Burdus Cook in 4th place in 33.48. Richard Liggatt was 6th in 34.07 and our 5th runner in the top 10 was Ned  Campbell in 9th place having overtaken 4 runners on The Hill, thus putting his Sunday morning training on the Wycombe Hills to good use. Ned was also 1st U20 finisher.

Maisie-Joy Spriggs is in a fine vein of form as we approach the XC season. In this race she was 1st Female U20, 3rd female and in 30th position overall with a time of 37.11.

Both Ned and MJ were just over 7 minutes ahead of the 2nd placed finishers in their U20 age category.

First female finisher was Amy Fuller from Tynebridge Harriers in a time of 35.35.

308 runners finished the race, 39 of who were Stratford club members.

For a full list of results, follow the link below:

And they’re off.
James’s Summer Six

Report – James Morrison

The race was really well organised and it was easy to collect the numbers. There was a queue for the toilet but it moved along very fast. 

It was great to see so many runners and different clubs taking part 

When we lined up at the start I realised just how amazing this event was going to be seeing all the fast runners setting off towards the Mary Arden pub.

Kathryn and I set off at a comfortable pace although I was tired, not just a little bit but a lot. I felt that with having such a busy week I had not set myself up for this race properly.

When we got to the downhill Kathryn told me this is the hill we have to come back up.I was thinking or secretly hoping that  she was going to walk that on the way back!

Things were going great until about mile 2. I needed the toilet. I have learned that even if I don’t need the toilet it is best to go before a race because being  attached to a female guide can prove problematic in that situation. I decided to grin and bear it and fortunately we made it back.

We eventually got to the hill and as we were going up it Kathryn said we’ll walk at the 40mph sign but when we got to the sign she decided that we were near the top so we might as well keep going. We then got to the farm entrance Kathryn decided we could sprint and I’m glad  she did because the need for the toilet disappeared until we got our drinks. That’s a lesson learned and a rookie mistake for me. 

I’d like to thank the youngster that was giving out water as that was a nice thing to do. I don’t know who she was but the minute she saw me cross the finish line she got me water right away which was very welcome and gratefully received.

My thoughts as a V.I. runner is that it was a course that is good for all abilities even If you need to walk the hill. After the race I realised just how dark it’s starting to get.  Where did our summer go?  

Race winner Andy Lawrence approaches the finish line.
Ginny’s Summer Six.
Report – Ginny Davis

I hadn’t raced since the Leamington Half of which I only managed half. I’d been told me this was a lovely race so I entered.  

The whole of race day was focused on the race – when to eat and what, when to walk and where. By 6pm I was pumped with adrenaline. 

Mary Arden’s House’s car park was a burst of colour. I sought the yellow and blacks and enjoyed the pre-race chatter. Striders and Kenilworth Runners were out in force. All the usual suspects as intimidating as ever.

The first to greet me was Jane Kidd of Kenilworth Runners. She is one of the fastest runners in the country in the F65+ age category and regularly runs 10k in sub 45 mins.

As usual, imposter syndrome took me by the hand as we walked to the start and guided me to the back with the slower runners. 

Kevin Zwolinski had described the route which he knew well having laid it out. Not for nothing is he named St Kevin in my book (so-called for having encouraged me up Alveston Hill during Not the Roman IX way back when it was cold). So we left Wilmcote with a steady uphill for about a mile – uphill enough for it to seem further and be a relief when it flattened. Then I happily careered down the following steep incline, blissfully ignorant that that was the so-called cheeky little hill at the end mentioned in the race blurb.  Lisa Stevens was not far ahead and I decided to try catch her up.

We meandered around pretty lanes to the encouraging cries of marshalls, came upon a water station (very lovely), and Lisa remained strongly ahead. 

After a while my playlist ran out, the skies darkened, heavens opened and I decided it was time for the beer promised at the finish.

I’d lost sight of Lisa who was storming towards a PB.  I did encounter David Maundrell though. He and I had had a bit of a mini head to head at the Sphinx 5k so I debated whether it was worth overtaking him since I’d done that in Coventry only for him to sprint past me on the home straight. Then came the cheeky little hill and my only rival was the desire to walk or preferably sit down. I won that battle and ran to the top, but honestly, you wouldn’t have called it running.

Then came the downhill home stretch. There were a few bends and I longed for sight of the finish.

Back at Base Camp I was surprised to be handed the first in category envelope. What could possibly have befallen Jane Kidd, I wondered and looked about for an ambulance.  Turned out nothing at all.  She’d come home in just over 43 minutes but her entry details weren’t accurate.

By now the rain was heavy and the skies were black but my long suffering husband and dog were waiting patiently. I’m not sure there were any other supporters at all. I’m very lucky.

Huge thanks to Sarah for organising such a great race. I enjoyed it.

Road Relays.

Runners needed!

In addition to the juniors we now have senior teams to be entered for the Road Relays.

We need 4 women and 6 men per team. We can have multiple teams. 

Midland Road Running Relays.

Saturday 23 September (Men 1.20pm, women at 1.30pm) – timings approximate.

Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, B73 6BU

For the Senior Men’s & Master’s 6-Stage, Senior Women’s and Master’s 4-Stage 

Women 4 legs of 4.33km.

Men 6 legs of 5.88km

There are separate teams available for those in senior category and those in Masters (ie over 35 years).

If we can field more than one team that would be excellent.


We have to register the teams by end of the month, so please reply if you are interested contacting (Rebecca.pridham@gmail.com)

Many thanks

Rebecca Pridham

No it’s not Tom Cruise it’s John Butler who has been doing what he does, racing far and wide.

He recently ran the Bugatti 10k at Prescott near Cheltenham. The course started with a sharp descent followed by an equally sharp incline before settling into a largely rolling first third. The middle section was very flat (with a water station at approx. 6k) before the course starts to undulate again towards a largely inclining final kilometre. His time was 1:18.37.

He followed this with the Lightning Bolt 10k at Langley Burrell, Chippenham. 

The course is fast and flat, officially measured and chip timed – great for those seeking a PB! and with an elevation of just 14 metres, it is now regarded as one of the fastest 10km races in the UK. John’s time was 1:12:57.

He then rounded off a busy period of racing by competing in the Summer Six finishing in a time of 1:19.32.

Keep it up John.

More photos from The Midland Counties AA U15 and U17 Championships
Maisie-Joy Spriggs and Niamh Hillard. Gold and Bronze medal winners in 1500m
Silver medal winner Caitlin Boyle.
Annabel Stacey.
Bronze medal winner in the Quadrathlon.
Siblings Niamh and Seb Hillard.
Coach Paul Bearman and Seb Hillard. Their annual photo apparently.

I think that’s enough Hillard photos for one week!