£161,410. Unbelievable.

Former club member Alex Adams, Gracie Edmunds and current club member Taylor Stubbins at Oxford.
We start off this week with the truly inspirational story of 3 teenagers who decided to raise funds for Air Ambulance Services following the tragic accident in April that took the lives of 3 of their friends from Chipping Campden School and left another seriously injured.

Current club member Taylor Stubbins, much missed former member Alex Adams and their friend Gracie Edmunds decided that they would compete in the Oxford Half Marathon to raise these funds. They completed the half marathon last Sunday and both Taylor and Alex have contributed to the report on the run.

Initially they thought they might raise the challenging sum of

At the time of writing they have raised £161,410.


Our press correspondent Sam Swanepoel also ran at Oxford and seems to have thoroughly enjoyed her first half marathon experience. I’m aware that there were other members taking part at Oxford but unfortunately the results don’t have the facility to sort by club and I didn’t fancy scrolling through the 9000+ finishers.

While Sam was competing her first half marathon Mark Barker was taking on his first Ultra. The 53k Ladybower Ultra. Greatly aided by a supply of chocolate brownies he seems to have completed the challenge in fine style. Mark also thinks his legs will be in good enough shape for this weekend’s first Winter Series Race at Illmington. Good luck and well done Mark.

Also at the weekend, club chairman Paul Hawkins competed in a 10k race in the Midland Winter Racewalking League.

There is also a reminder for the upcoming Club Awards Night on 11th November with more details to follow.

Finally the XC season looms, with the first of our juniors’ fixtures taking place at Walsall on Sunday. In preparation for this, many of these juniors were fine tuning their XC skills at the Welcombe Hills last Sunday.

Good luck to those juniors and good luck to those competing at Illmington. Reports will be very gratefully received.

Take care.

David Jones

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Club member Taylor Stubbins, former member Alex Adams and Gracie Edmunds.
Clearly enjoying themselves.
Emotionally and physically drained.

Oxford Half Marathon

Report: Taylor Stubbins, Alex Adams and David Jones.

I’m sure many of you will remember that on the 21st April, 3 students from Chipping Campden School sadly passed away and another was critically injured after a devastating car crash on their way back from school.

A total of four air ambulances attended the scene, two of which were from the Midland Air Ambulance service. 

As a result of this horrendous accident, former club member Alex Adams, current member Taylor Stubbins and friend Gracie Edmunds decided to run the Oxford Half Marathon to raise money for this amazing service and help them in saving lives in and around our community in the future.  

At the time, Alex said  “Us three teenagers will do everything we can to help this service save as many lives as possible, so close communities like ours don’t have to suffer with loss. We hope you can join us in helping out this amazing service”.

The initial target was the ambitious figure of £20,000.

These three duly ran the Oxford Half on Sunday together and at the time of writing their appeal has raised a simply staggering £161,410.

Overwhelmed by this response the trio wanted to recognise the efforts of both the Midland Air Ambulance Service and the Air Ambulance Service, both of who were involved in responding to this tragic incident.  As such they decided that the first £61,000 raised would be given to the Midlands Air Ambulance charity and additional funds are now being split equally between both Air Ambulance Services

A truly inspirational effort by three truly exceptional teenagers.

Current club member Taylor Stubbins made the the following comments after the race  “On Sunday 15th October, Alex, Gracie and I ran the Oxford Half Marathon in aid of the Air Ambulance Charity in memory of 3 friends from Chipping Campden School.  This was my first Half Marathon and my longest run for months due to a stress fracture and sprain in my foot.  I had barely done any training not wanting to break the foot again before the run.

We were lucky with a sunny day and despite being frozen at the start we were in good spirits seeing plenty of spectators lining the streets.  The atmosphere was great and the course was not too hilly but in some places trying to run 3 wide was a little difficult. 

It was a good route for our supporters (of which there were many including school friends, families, and other friends) with plenty of opportunity for us to see them waving flags and making lots of noise as they encouraged us to go on.   

The last 3 miles were the toughest. This was my first run further than 6K since the dodgy foot and the legs were getting tired, emotions were surfacing.  I am pretty sure this is my only run where I didn’t care about time, it was just about supporting Alex and Gracie and us all crossing the finish line together. 

The feeling of crossing the finish line was one of total relief that we had all made it and there was a rush of emotion from everyone.  I feel lucky to have been asked to run with two amazing people and help raise such a lot of money. It is certainly a run I will never forget”

If anyone still wants to donate the GoFundMe is still open https://gofund.me/f5aceea4

As Taylor mentions above, he had not long come back following a stress fracture of the foot but I’m told that he was determined to run even if he had to wear a boot.

Former club member Alex Adams added  “It was an emotional day which had its happy times and sad times. We ran with our hearts for our friends. The first 8 miles was nice and steady and to see so many of our family and friends lining the streets to support was brilliant and spurred us along. The last 5 miles became a little overwhelming knowing we were getting close to finishing what we knew would be a tough run.

The last mile was the most emotional one and the one we found the hardest. We knew we were being cheered on and our friends were there with us every step of the way, so when we finally crossed the line it was time to reflect on everything.

It was tough mentally and physically but we did it together.  Seeing everyone there and the support we got was amazing. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us and donated to this charity”.

The club’s press correspondent Sam Swanepoel at Oxford.
This is fun !

Sam’s Oxford Half

Report – Sam Swanepoel

When I joined the club a couple of years ago, I was asked by someone on one of my social runs what I was training for. I replied with “Nothing, I just want to fit back into some shorts that have got too tight”.

Well fast forward, those shorts are loose and I’ve just finished my first official half marathon!

Inspired by our many members completing halfs/marathons earlier this year, I thought maybe I could train for a half. Despite an injury in spring, I’ve enjoyed the training, managing to smash some PB’s along the way.

Not wanting to miss out, my partner Gary decided to join in and train for his first half. 

Race day was colder than expected, the first cold weekend of autumn left us shivering at 3 degrees in the start pen. I started a bit too fast but soon settled into my pace (the advice everyone in the club gave me). Seeing some friendly SAC faces along the way both on and off the course spurred me, Miranda Maloney in the bus queue, waving to Sandie Owens on the run and being cheered on by Emily Adams and Ian Stevens. I think I spotted Kendra Bell in the crowd after the run. 

My official finish time was 2hrs12mins. We both really enjoyed it, Gary’s even said he’ll join the club.

Right, we’re off to Heathrow to go replenish those calories burned with pizza and hot dogs in Chicago…

Mark Barker – Job done.
Ladybower Ultra 
Report – Mark Barker

12 months ago I took part in one of the most scenic trail half marathons, the  Ladybower in the Peak District.

 They also have an ultra 53k course, I thought back then that if I was ever brave and stupid enough to do an ultra it would have to be Ladybower.  

So 12 months later I was back, brave and stupid!   
The race starts & finishes in the village of Bamford, in the heart of the Peak District National Park.  The Ultra is in 4 parts, starting with Win Hill the biggest climb of the race, then it’s the flattish part of the course with 22km of paths around Ladybower, Derwent and Howden reservoirs, then back to the hills with second biggest climb up to White Tor,  dropping back down before the final big climb up to Stanage Edge, across the moors, with a very welcome 5k downhill to the finish.  
Never having done a race event above a half marathon before, this was going to be a new experience, I had prepared well and had taken on lots of advice from those ultra runners in the club.  The main advice was that I had to treat it as one long picnic with a bit of running in between.  

I’m pretty good at eating and provided I could do the running bit, I knew I would be OK!  
The race started at 6.15am in a very dark field, with the only light coming from around 500 head torches (head torches did prove essential for the pre-race visit to the portaloos)!

 We set off in 3 waves around 7am. It was clear skies, cold but perfect weather for the event.   As we climbed Win Hill the sun was rising over the peak district and the views were stunning.   The first aid station was around 13km in and my first opportunity to try the chocolate brownies! 

Then it was onto the reservoir section, views again were spectacular, whilst a popular tourist area, it was still early so relatively quiet, 2 more aid stations and more brownies and coke!    

At around 35km into the race it was time to start climbing again, walking the hills as they were too steep to run, also this is where I felt at my weakest, I also realised that I am a slow walker on the hills!

 A very rocky downhill section followed, which I enjoyed and picked myself up again.   

The final section of the race was 8km on high ground, across the moors, the terrain was very boggy and rocky, the challenge was trying to keep focussed on where I was running and not looking at the stunning views down in the valley below.   I could see some very dark rain clouds on the other side of the valley, I thought I had missed the rain and then the heavens opened, followed by a brief hail storm! 

I got to the large rocks of Stanage Edge, where there was a marshal pointing me in the direction of the path back to the finish, with the words of encouragement “it is all downhill from here”!   My legs felt  that they belonged to someone else, but thanks to all that food I had consumed my energy levels were good,

I picked up the pace a little and enjoyed the final 5k back to Bamford, finishing at 7:09:49. 
The only part of the day where I felt like giving up, came much later, walking 200 yds from the hotel to the pub for dinner.  The legs had decided enough was enough!
It was the best running event I have done and I also raised £1,500 for Dementia Support.  Thank you to all those of you who had given me so much great advice for my first ultra, it really helped!  
Paul Hawkins racewalked in the 10k at the Midland Winter League. He reports that It was on a hilly course at the Cycle Track and the 10k course was over 11 laps of 855m plus 595m so all very exciting! He walked at a fairly even pace of 12.12 a mile and came in at 75.33 in 8th place. He was happy with a clean race with no warnings or red cards.

Unfortunately Gemma Smith was ill and had to miss the race.
And Finally

Record numbers of our wonderful juniors turned up at the Welcombe Hills last Sunday in readiness for their first West Midlands Young Athlete’s Cross Country League (WMYACCL) fixture this coming Sunday at Walsall.

They’re truly raring to go.