More photos from last year’s Club Championships including a couple of possible stars of the future.
The Big One
Many of you will have watched and enjoyed last week’s World Athletic Championships in Budapest but really, in all honesty, they were a mere curtain raiser for the most important meet of the year – our very own Club Championships to be held at the Stratford Track on 10th September.
To me this is so much more than just another T&F meeting. It is, along with the annual Awards night, an opportunity to see exactly what sort of a club I am part of. The age range, the skills across all disciplines, the camaraderie, the pure pleasure it gives to so many and the boost it gives to both our mental and physical well being.
It’s a chance to compete and also to see athletes of all ages compete in a truly wonderful atmosphere and with smiles on their faces.
I also think, in a way, that by taking part or attending, it’s a way of acknowledging and of saying thank you to the many many coaches across all age groups who help us to improve as athletes, help us achieve our goals, help us forge friendships with like minded individuals and help put smiles on our faces.
I also think it’s away of saying to all of the volunteer coaches and officials “we don’t take you for granted and we really do appreciate what you do for us”.
And it’s free for goodness sake. What’s not to like ?
If you haven’t already entered why not give it a go. You absolutely will not regret it and the day will put smiles on your faces.
The deadline for entry is 4th September.
Did I mention the smiles on the faces?
The Club Championships
A Final Reminder
The deadline for entry is 4th September.
STRATFORD UPON AVON AC
2023 TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
on Sunday 10th September 2023
Registration starts at 9.15am: First events at 10am
The Club Championships is licensed by UKA and led by our volunteer trained officials, supported by the club coaches and parents, which means results can be submitted to the Power of10 where the results will be posted.
The Championship are run on a Multi Event basis; however, athletes can choose to compete in a single event and just the points from that single event will still be included in the championship.
Junior athletes (U11, 13 ,15, 17 & 20) can only do a maximum of 5 events.
Senior competitors i.e. Under 20 plus can compete in as many events as they wish, and we are pleased to be running the 5000m which is a race that will be included in the Shakespeare Race Series.
To be included in the Club Championship competition, Junior athletes (U11, 13 ,15, 17 & 20) need to compete in 2 events i.e., 1 Track and 1 Field.
Separate from the main competition, Junior competitors are allowed to compete in the other Track or Field events in the programme to either set a Seasons/Personal Best or try for a new one. Competing for PBs will be limited to 3 events.
Please note Under 13s and 15s can only compete in either the 800m or the1500m not both. U11s can’t compete in either.
Points are allocated to the 2 nominated track & field Championship events to make up an individual athletes score in their respective age/gender group (see points scoring tables attached).
Relays will be organised on the day.
For the Championship and depending on the respective age group all athletes choose:
One track i.e.75/150/100/200/300/400/600/800/1500/sprint hurdles/5000
One field i.e. LJ/TJ/HJ/SP/DT/Hammer/JT/Howler
Outline Timetable:- 10.00-12.30 male track, female field : 1.00-3.30 female track, male field
The deadline is 4th September at the latest (no manual forms will be accepted) Please keep a copy of your events for your reference.
The field events will run concurrently and be open for a specific allotted timeframe so that athletes can focus on the track but then go to their field event. If events clash the Track events take priority over Field events and the Championship events take priority over Personal Best events. Athletes will be able to go back to their field event after the track event within the allotted timescale.
Athletes can wear spikes and should wear a club vest or club T shirt but if not, athletes should wear an appropriate plain white or yellow T shirt (not football shirts etc). You can purchase club kit from https://www.stratfordac.co.uk/shop/but please don’t leave it until the last minute.
Parents/Carers: The Club Championships is a collective effort between everyone (not just the regular volunteers) involved in the club and the success of the event for the athletes relies on people helping on the day.
For the younger juniors a parent/carer will be required to accompany their child and be responsible for them during the competition and to get them to their respective events.
As in previous year’s there will be fun Novelty Events for everyone at the end of the event and we will be having a Tombola.
If you have any queries, please contact your respective Age Group Leader or coach.
Below are couple of nice items about our volunteer officials who are rightly recognised by external organisers for the invaluable and vital work they do in enabling the competitions we all love to go ahead.
I’ve received this note from Hannah Osborne concerning 3 of our juniors who stepped up to the plate and helped officiate at the Vets T&F fixture we hosted at the track in June
“I would just like to extend a big thank you to 3 of our junior athletes: Ewan Sparrow, Harry Gravelsons & Seb Hillard who volunteered to help out when Stratford AC hosted the VETS T&F fixture in June. Volunteers and officials are such a crucial part of the success of our club and if it’s 1 event a year or 3 or 7… a parent, junior or competitor/athlete can help at, it’s a huge help!”
Thanks to these 3 juniors helping out, the club this week were given £20 per helper. Thank you (and parents)!
Hannah added “At the league AGM last year there was lots of talk about the lack of officials and helpers and how we should be encouraging juniors to help too… Midland Masters suggested it be just for home matches only and if the host club could provide up to 3 juniors to help on the night they’d be given £20 for each one. I made sure we got our juniors involved and emailed the league about it and they sent the £60 over to the club account straight away.
In the Midland League T&F clubs are rewarded for supplying officials and penalised if they don’t. In the last fixture we were awarded 20 bonus points for supplying a full compliment of officials with one club being deducted 15 points for not doing so and with final positions very often hingeing on just a few points either way those bonus points can be vital.
How can you help ?
If you’re interested in helping out and could do a 2 hour training session to be an official, please do speak to a member of the coaching team or contact Brian Gravelsons at: firstname.lastname@example.org
SportsAid and the Cotswold Athletes Support Scheme (CASS) These two organisations are working together for the benefit of emerging, talented young sports people. It’s a partnership focussed on ‘encouraging, enabling and empowering the next generation of athletes to achieve their ambitions in sport and life.’ SportsAid has helped thousands of British athletes to reach their personal best, many of whom are household names such as Kelly Holmes, Christine Ohuruohgu MBE and Dina Asher-Smith.
CASS & Friends is a registered charity and offers financial support to young and aspiring athletes with their training, attending competitions, buying equipment and obtaining specialist advice on subjects such as setting goals, beliefs, values, affirmations, energy balance, motivation and worries (lifestyle, recovery, nutrition, stress from social media etc etc)
The scheme is open to talented young people aged between 12-18 living in Gloucestershire or Worcestershire and attending state schools. Working with their club’s and coaches, the objective is to help and support athletes to reach their highest potential in life and develop skills they can transfer from their sport into their life and how they can develop a strong self-confidence coming from high levels of self-esteem and self-belief.
To date SUAAC athlete Ruby Edwards has been funded and supported by CASS.
CASS have organised a fundraising Party Night on 23rd September and if you’re interested in supporting the charity by sponsoring one of the on the night activities or going to the Party Night, please see the poster below.
A library photo of Charly Marshall.
A Stranger in a Strange Land
Report – Paul Hawkins
On Monday I felt like the proverbial Stranger in a Strange Land as I ventured into the world of triathlon. Way back I did two or three short Tri’s very badly and felt very uncomfortable and that was pretty much it. Respect to all the triathletes but it’s not for me!
I’ve coached Charly Marshall for a while now, no I’m not going to say how long and it’s been great to see her progress as an athlete and as a person and I’ve obviously seen her compete many times but usually at cross country or on the track but not her chosen discipline of triathlon. I’ve certainly not contributed to the swimming or biking but maybe helped a little with the running.
So I thought I should get to one of her triathlons this season and so went to Eton Dorney on Bank Holiday Monday thanks to lifts from various members of the Marshall Family, thanks John for getting me there and Kate for returning me home in time to do some of my own training. One of the downsides of still not being able to drive following my illness a couple of years ago. (DVLA – I am ok, honest!)
The event was the Dorney Super Series where Charly was competing in the junior women’s competition. Ok, this is where it gets weird to a simple runner/walker. I’m used to going to an event and doing a race. Simple. Or if it’s one of our T&F teams maybe a few events for points for the team. But not here. Charly had to race four “Sprint” triathlons of swim 350m, bike 4.8k and run 1.6k. Not content with that they mixed up the order for each of the four races so it went the usual swim-bike-run then run-bike-swim then finished off with bike-swim-run in a pursuit race with starts based on the previous race results.
Overall despite some setbacks along the way, including broken goggles at the start of a swim leg, Charly finished in 10th place which disappointed her although I thought she’d had a good day before her final two races of the season which are Bled in Slovenia next week in the European Junior Cup and then the Super Series final at Mallory Park.
All in all a good day in Tri-Land and I even had a chat with Oscar Barbour, once of this Parish but now a Tri coach in the BTF performance centre at Cardiff.
Paul Faithfull and Adam Linforth
2023 Europe Triathlon Multisport Championships Menen
25-27 August 2023
Reports – Adam Linforth and Paul Faithfull
Paul Faithfull and Adam Linforth took part in the EU Championships in Menen last weekend racing for Team GB Age Group in the city of Menen, Belgium. The weekend consisted of Aquathlon on Friday and then Middle Distance Triathlon and Aquabike on Sunday. As to be expected of Belgium both run and bike routes were pretty flat and fast. The weather however was quite changeable and not always pleasant for the supporters..
First up was the Aquathlon on Friday afternoon which consisted of 249 athletes from Team GB ranging in age from 16 to 84 including an elite field of men and women. This was my first time competing for GB Age Group and the family had come along to support ( I think encouraged by the prospect of Belgian Chocolate and waffles).
The swim was a 1000m out and back river swim starting in the water rather than diving in. I had taken the decision to go without wetsuit as the temperatures were so hot at 21.7 degrees and only 0.3 degrees off being declared a non wetsuit race. Sadly this didn’t pay off as the temperatures dropped immediately before the race and the heavens opened as we stood on the bridge ready to get in the water, I very nearly darted back to get my wetsuit, but was committed at this point. Nonetheless the race started and the water was extremely choppy and tough to get going, but once in my rhythm I settled in to a pace which was slower than I would have liked and expected, but got me round. Frustratingly I had someone drafting me the whole way who constantly was tapping my feet, which was somewhat off putting! I finished the swim in 18:38, bit slower than expected and behind the main pack with it all to do on the run.
Then it was out to transition and off on the run. At this point the family were stood cheering and were joined by Paul Faithfull and his family who had set out from France at 5am to get there in time to see me compete. The course was 2 and a half laps around the Menen streets and by this time the rain had eased on the supporters for Team GB who were fantastic and clearly outnumbered all other nations in volume as well as sheer numbers.
On the run I managed to reel in about 8 to 10 athletes in my age group and the age group above, who had all started at the same time. Being only 5k the run went by quickly and soon enough I was running down the blue carpet to the finish to complete the run in 20:37. Again slower than I had expected, but I had made it and was extremely proud to represent GB.
I finished 17th in my age group and 9th placed GB athlete in a total time of 40:28. A solid but not spectacular start to my GB Age Group journey, so a bit of work to do for next year, but there’s definitely a lot more to come from me… here’s to next year..
Build up to the race hadn’t been ideal after a mountain bike accident a week prior, but a few bruises wouldn’t be a problem…
The middle distance triathlon (1.9km Swim – 90km Bike – 21km Run) was on the Sunday and on a different stretch of river to the Aquathon which had been very green the day before (see exhibit A!), but magically cleaned up for race day. A rolling start saw us jump line astern into the river from a pontoon. A choppy swim (my first in a river) mainly due to the sheer number of people in the water was a challenge to get into a rhythm but after a short queue for the steps out I left the water after 32:58, a respectable time given the conditions. Thankfully I don’t really use my legs in the swim (and had on a wetsuit) as a tightness in my hip exposed itself from the off (the accident coming back to haunt me?).
The bike was expected to be fast as the course is essentially flat, but strong winds, some shocking road surfaces even Oxfordshire would blush at, and some challenging tight turns meant it was not an easy ride. I goaded on a few fellow Brits who were considerably younger (probably half my age) to not be beaten by ‘an old man’ and then gritted my teeth and dug in to post a PB time of 2:22, coming off the bike barely able to move my legs or shoulder for pain. My previous races have been marked out for terrible transition times so I was determined not to repeat such fiascos and got shoes on, a quick stretch and out in a respectable 3 and a half minutes.
Again the half marathon was flat, but this meant relentless, with no chance to rest. 3 x 7km laps, with a long straight stretch into an industrial area with no supporters and into the wind which seemed destined to sap the will power. By the 3rd lap I was muttering to myself about how good I felt and trying to smile (grimace, but it does work!) and whilst feeling utterly beaten, I was lifted by the crowds to manage a Morecamb and Wise-esque leap over the finishing line in 1:34. Overall in age group I finished 7th/34, 4th Brit out of 20 and 6 mins quicker than my previous 70.3 best time. It was great to see fellow club members Paul Nash and Ben Phyall before and after the race respectively who had both competed in the AquaBike, “Swim – Bike – Rest” ????. Now time for me to take a rest!
Senior and Vets T&F round up
With the T&F League drawing to a close it has been another successful year for our various teams.
For our Seniors there is one league fixture remaining in the Midland League and a for our Vets there is the Cup final, so still lots to play for.
I thought this would be an appropriate time to give a brief update on both teams.
Midland League T&F
Ruby Edwards passes the baton to Georgie Campbell.
Paula Williams flys through the air with the greatest of ease. Best not to mention what happened at the final hurdle Paula!
Imy Sheppard shot putter par excellence.
Mark Reynolds – A study in technique and concentration
Ned Campbell – someone else who flew through the air with the greatest of ease.
Above are the results from the last Midlands League T&F fixture at Stoke and they show the difference just a few points can make. Had we gained just 5 more points and finished above Newport it would have left us needing to just finish ahead of them in the final fixture to secure promotion. As it is we have our work cut out in the final fixture to achieve this. Team Manager Mike Sheppard’s however remains optimistic and hopeful as his comments below illustrate.
“After another sterling SUAAC effort in Stoke, promotion to Division 2 remains a possibility. However, following final adjustments to the scores in the last match, we ended up 4th on the day by a frustratingly tiny margin. This means that we have to win in Abingdon to give ourselves a decent chance of finishing in one of the two promotion spots. We are well capable of doing this if we can field a strong team”.
The Midlands League T&F Division 3 table with one more fixture to go. It shows that we have a bit of a mountain to climb at the final fixture in Abingdon on 9th September.
Vets T&F league.
Team Manager Hannah Osborne has put together these statistics showing the 34 brave souls who have competed for our vets the season. Our second place finish in the league means that once again we have qualified for the A Cup Final in Nuneaton on 16th September.
Mark Illingworth is in a fine vein of form as the T&F season draws to a close and he is nothing if not consistent. His last 3 times for the 200m have been 31.1, 31.13 and 31.1. His season’s best in the 100m last Friday when he competed in Edgar Nicholls Open at the Abbey Stadium Redditch was 14.54, this he lowered to 14.53, while I was managing a DNF in my 800m. It’s a long story.
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