And yet more medals.

Double gold medal winner Annabel Stacey

This  past week there was plenty to cheer about at the Midland Counties Indoor Under15, 17, 20 and Senior Championships with several medal winning performances and at the Sheffield Indoor Arena, Imogen Sheppard and Catherine Reynolds continued their preparation for the Universities Champs next month.

Also this week we have a report on on the latest Junior XC league fixture where our junior endurance runners finished in 2nd place out of 22 clubs competing on the day.

Jan Mclure, our latest racewalking star, won a Midland Masters gold medal in the 3rd race of the Midland Area Winter League Series.

We had several junior endurance runners competing in the latest Warwickshire Schools XC fixture, many of who enjoyed considerable success. Following that fixture we were paid a huge compliment by Warwickshire Schools Athletic supremo Gwil Price MBE who said:

“Thank you for encouraging your runners to enter our Championships. As I have said before I am not sure we would have teams if it wasn’t for your ’round the year’ coaching.”

Finally, a rare event indeed, we have a report on the latest of the Winter Series races. many thanks to Rebecca Pridham for this.

Take care.

David Jones

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Freddie Clemons with his bronze medal.
Caitlin Boyle with her silver medal.
Ethan Winning and Seb Hillard
Lucy Lane with her silver medal.
Last weekend at an open meeting in Sheffield, Imogen Sheppard and Catherine Reynolds continued their preparation for the Universities Champs next month

Midland Counties Indoor Under15, 17, 20 and Senior Championships

Report – Paul Bearman

These Championships made a welcome return to the competition calendar in Loughborough University after an absence through and post Covid.

Due to the limitation of the Loughboriugh indoor facility, which is primarily used for training, the competition is restricted to short 60m sprints, jumps and shot with the javelin competition held outdoors in freezing conditions.

Being able to compete indoors was a real treat for the 14 young Stratford athletes who competed and have trained throughout the winter in, at times, the most inclement weather nature was able to throw at them, this meant any technical training has been severely curtailed.

U20 Lucy Lane started the 2-day competition for the Stratford athletes and after finishing 5th in the Long Jump with a new PB of 5.00m she moved onto the 60m hurdles where she finished 2nd in 9.57s in her heat to qualify for the final where she again finished 2nd in 9.88s and this earned her the silver medal.

U20 Freddie Clemons is looking sharper with every race and in the 60m hurdles he finished 3rd in his heat in 8.81s and in the final he powered out of the blocks to again finish 3rd and in a season’s best of 8.59s to earn himself a bronze medal.

In the U17 60m hurdles both Seb Hillard (9.14s) and Ethan Winning (9.25s) had very good runs with both finishing 4th in their heats which qualified them for the two semi-finals. With both of them running in the same race, Seb won in 9.04s and new PB with Ethan finishing 2nd in 9.25s again. After the times from the two semi-finals were ranked both were out of the medal places.

Ruby Edwards was involved in the U17 Long Jump but a slip on the take-off board in her first jump resulted in an awkward take off which left her with an injured quad muscle and unfortunately out of the competition and the Triple Jump the following day.

With virtually no High Jump training possible due to the weather leading up to the championships, the expectations of good performances let alone aspirations of medals was pretty thin, but U20 Caitlin Boyle and U15 Annabel Stacey produced a couple of very nice surprises.

In her first competition as an U20 and despite being a seasoned competitor, Caitlin Boyle started her competition tentatively and with a worry about her hair bobble, but then gradually worked her way through the opening heights to finish on 1.50. After 3 good attempts at 1.55 it was good enough to win the silver medal.

By comparison Annabel is still a High Jump rookie and in her first competition as an U15 she started off very shakily and knocked her opening height of a modest 1.25 off. Her erratic run up was quickly sorted out and then she too moved through the heights and finished on a very respectable 1.40 and won the gold medal on countback with 2 other girls.

The 60m sprints are always very competitive and virtually all seven Stratford 60m sprinters were making the debut indoors on the track with races coming thick and fast.

U15 Scarlett Dawson started the ball rolling with a quick run in her heat in a time of 8.56s and finished 2ndto qualify for the semi-final. In her heat she ran 8.57s finishing 3rd just edging her out of the final.

Annabel Stacey had finished 2nd in her heat in 9.05s to qualify for the semi-final but that clashed with her competing in her main event the High Jump and this caused some controversy for 2 other High Jumpers who had also qualified. They had to dash to the start of the race after being summoned by an official and trotted through the race to meet the obligations of UKA rules and then rushed back to finish their High Jump competition. This obviously didn’t rattle Annabel who went on to the gold medal.

Under 17 Ella Peeke was another debutant and after a very good start she was eventually run down towards the finish by the other runners and finished 5th in 8.73s. 

In her Under 20 heat Megan Thomas finished 3rd in a time of 8.41s but in a bizarre mix up with the results recording system she initially wasn’t showing as a qualifier for the semi-final as one of the fastest losers but later was although by that time she was disappointed to be halfway down the M1 on her way home!

Sam McKenzie was fast out of his blocks in his U17 heat but was just outside of qualifying for the semi final finishing 4th in a time of 7.83s. 

U20 Ronnie Meadows Main has only just started training with the club but he was keen to get involved in a competition as soon as possible and so with limited training he acquitted himself well and finished 3rd in his heat in a time of 8.06s.

Last Stratford athlete on the track was Arthur Mansbridge and in his U15 heat he was the quickest out of the blocks and maintained good form to finish 2nd in a time of 7.88s and qualified to the final.

The final was a terrific race with Arthur in the mix all the way to the line and in a blanket finish he was edged out of the medals into 5th place in a time of 7.83s.

Meanwhile at an Open competition in Sheffield, U15 Alex Wood continued his trek around the country for 200m races to sharpen up for next month’s England Championship and in his heat, he won it and recorded a new PB of 24.23s. In the 60m a race he rarely runs he won his heat in a time of 7.68s another PB. 

Catherine Reynolds and Imogen Sheppard continued their preparation for the Universities Champs next month recording seasons best times 56.98s and 60.01s respectively in their 400m heats.


2nd placed finishers: Robin Gallagher (U11B) and Sam Lambert (U15B)
Finishing 2nd on the day our U17 women’s team. L to R: Bo Algate, Tilly Campbell, Martha Peters, Niamh Hillard, Alice Cottam, Maisie-Joy Spriggs and Abbi Cooper
The final overall result shows us having finished in a magnificent 2 place out of 22 teams competing.

West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League

Fixture 4 – Pingles Stadium – 14th January

Report – Rachel Stevens

There seems to be a theme emerging with the Pingles WMYACCL Race Report and that is one of lateness. Apologies: last year it was the demise of my laptop; this year it was the dreaded lurgy which meant Kipp and I also missed the race. Hopefully, you won’t be able to tell the difference. This also serves as a timely reminder anyone attending to let me know of any race highlights so I can include them in the report. I do rely on hearing all about them. 


It was a beautiful mid-winter’s morning that greeted the SUA Juniors for their fourth league race of the season. A blue sky was punctuated with soft clouds and the sun was doing its best to cast long shadows of our eagerly awaiting athletes onto equally soft ground. Conditions hinted at a touch of relative kindness for the lungs but heaviness for the feet and of course the route is always an unsettling one with its sharp twists and turns, designed to disrupt the rhythm of even the most focussed runner. 


First up were our U17 Ladies with a delighted MJ Spriggs running the race of her season, finishing in a best and splendid third place overall and taking top spot in the team! Next, it was a solid performance by Niamh Hillard in 4th overall. Third in and scoring the remaining points for the team was Abbi Cooper in 23rd. Then it was Bo Algate in 26th – up two places on her season’s best. Thereafter, it was Martha Peters over the line in 37th with Alice Cottam also finishing in a season’s best of 40th. Tilly Campbell ran well to round off the team in 42nd.

With the top three finishers to count, SUA Ladies finished in overall second place for the second consecutive meet – a mere sixteen points behind league leaders Wolverhampton and Bilston AC.

Could they possibly swoop in at the last and steal a win at the final meet? Come on, ladies, show the young’uns how to go for it!!

Next were our U11 Boys’ Team and didn’t they show what progress is, with many winning their own victories by setting new season’s best performances. First home was Robin Gallagher – the epitome of effort and consistency – once again finishing within seconds of his nemesis and the race leader to finish in overall second. Next Stratford boy was newcomer Reuben Joyce, breaking into the Top 20 and improving by an almighty thirty-six places on his debut race to finish in overall 19th! Up 11 places on his previous best was a focussed Dexter Sharpe in overall 39th and not to be outdone was Toby Ledgard up four places to finish in 41st. Next up was debut runner Tobias Freeman who finished in an impressive 47th with Oliver Hollis in 61st and Callum Linforth seeing our young lads safely home in 91st.

Overall, the U11 boys finished in 5th position on the day – their highest placing this season! Well done, boys!

Plagued by winter bugs, our U17 Men then took to circumventing the Pingles Stadium and negotiating the endless chicanes at the far end. Zak Lambert finished in 11th, Will Mayes in 18th and Henry Wheeler in 32nd. James Mayes saw our men safely home in 47th.

Overall, the men finished the day in third place – up a place on their previous race and currently sit in overall third. A good day’s work in trying circumstances.


Next were our U11 girls with Maggie Silvers as first girl home in 18th with Lyla Turner hot on her spikes in 20th but two seconds after. Soon after was Amelie Marshall in 23rd with Emily Lambert in 33rd and Fflur Jones in 49th. Poppy West was in 93rd and Layla Sparrow in 110th. This meant our girls finished the day in overall 5th and are third in the league to date. Well done, girls. 


Perhaps the most exhilarating finish of the day – nay season(!) – was to be seen in our U15 Boys’ team: on turning that final blind corner and being met with the final 70m, Sam Lambert was laser-locked onto his rival in second place who was powering home himself to be fair. In a display of superlative sprinting prowess, Sam reeled him in inch by inch over the eight meters difference to pass his rival on the line. On the actual line!! What a thriller and a season’s best to boot finishing in an awesome 2nd place!

Also, equalling his season’s best was Will Hovell in 12th position with Tom Fisher in 13th and Joel Ledgard in 20th. And it was two more season’s bests with Sam Plumb running strongly in 31st and Logan Greenall up a huge eighteen places in 55th!

Overall, the boys finished the day in second and maintain their lead in the league. With fifty-five points to spare, can they bring home the winners’ shield?

In the U13 girls, it was Portia Nabney who gave a confident performance to finish in overall 22nd place. Next it was Stella Sant in her season’s debut to finish in 30th and Georgia Sharpe in 64th. Improving all round was Rachel Sparrow in 73rd – up an impressive eighteen places and in their first full cohort of the season Jasmine Mothershaw in 86th added to the team’s points such that the team finished the day in eighth place. Overall, they are twelfth position in the league.

Having been hit by illness and injury, our U13 boys could only submit a team of four meaning a hit to the team points. However, there were pleasing performances regardless. After getting stuck before the first bend, Reece Yarnold calmly made his way up the pack to finish in overall 27th place and taking his first top slot for Stratford and in a defiant and dogged performance it was Alistair Durrance finishing as second Stratford boy home and with a huge smile on his face in 44th place – a season’s best for him! Toby Wilkinson ran steadfastly in his first league race of the season to finish in 59th position; and rounding up our U13 boys was Carter McKenzie in 73rd as fourth boy home. Overall, the U13 boys finished in eight place on the day and are currently sixth in the league. 

The last race of the day saw our U15 Girls’ team take to the increasingly slippery chicanes of the lower end. Showing great consistency, it was Lois Ford as first yellow vest in overall 26th position. Next it was Annie Silvers in 28th, with Ava Sheppard equalling her season’s best in 38th. Brooke Rossney finished in 51st, up three places on her season’s best, then it was Bayleigh Stubbins in 52nd and Harriet Black in 61st, also equalling her season’s best. Our U15 girls finished the day in eighth position and are lying ninth in the league.

Pingles, although relatively flat, is a course that belies its difficulty. It not only requires a mad dash to the first dogleg left corner so as not to be caught up in the pack as the course narrows tightly but those pesky undulating chicanes and gate-turns, which are more plentiful the older the racer, mean any ground gained is quickly lost.

It’s a bit of a head-mash is old Pingles where many of our athletes prefer to run inside the stadium rather than around it. That coupled with illness and injury throughout the team made it a tough day at the office. Despite this, the club was an impressive second on the day and is currently sitting in fourth place in the league table – just 299 points behind our third placed rivals, Wolverhampton and Bilston AC.

With the promise of recovery for many and a bolstered team, can we overtake W&B to steal third place? I should say so!

At least, it’s all to play for! Until the 11th February at Aldersley Stadium, Wolverhampton… 

Jan McLure receiving her gold medal from Midland Masters’ president Wendy Kane

Midland Area Winter League Series Racewalk



 Report by Jan McLure

Sunday 14th January saw the 3rd race of the Midland Area Winter League Series Racewalk across distances of 5k + 10k.

It was also declared that the 5k race would also count as a Midland Masters event and therefore participants could gain results in both fields.

Unfortunately, due to a clash of agenda with Cross Country events, Paul Hawkins was unable to compete on Sunday, which just left myself and Gemma Smith to represent Stratford AC at the final Winter Series race.

As it was only the 2nd official Racewalk I have ever entered, I turned up still very nervous about what to expect, the size of the field and ultimately my biggest fear – having to race in shorts in this freezing cold weather! 

I was fortunate to have more experienced racewalker Gemma Smith to guide me in not only getting to the right place but an overview of the course before we started, which was very reassuring.

So, on a cold Sunday morning, racers waiting until the last minute at the start line to ‘de-robe’ and then we were off on our way round a small ‘boomerang shaped’ course covering roads within the Warwick University campus. 

As each lap is only 1k, this does incorporate a couple of very tight turns around cones – which as a race walker – e.g. where you need to keep your legs straight upon landing, is quite difficult!  Hence me trying not to get disqualified and doing my best very rigid ‘spotty dog’ impression (for those of us old enough to remember) whilst navigating the corners. 

Being a 1k looped course, you do pass fellow competitors coming in the opposite direction on each lap, so great for giving encouragement and having 2 Stratford contenders in the field to support each other was also great.

It only being my 2nd race, I was pleased to finish 6th overall from a field of 16 runners in a time of 33 mins 11 secs (15 secs quicker than my 1st race and 1 position higher), with Gemma finishing in 37 mins 40 secs (also quicker than her prior race) and securing 12th place – so a respectable position for us both.

Whilst all 3 Racewalkers from Stratford had only competed in 2 out of the 3 Winter Series races and therefore didn’t pick up any prizes, I was surprised and delighted to pick up for the 5K Midland Masters a medal for 1st female in the W50 category – which was unexpected and enough to spur me on to do more Racewalking competitions in the future.

Thanks to Paul & Gemma for warmly welcoming me to the world of Racewalking, which has given me a new lease of life by competing in a new sport, which I am very much becoming very fond of! 

Anyone wanting to join our group as a Racewalker is most welcome to come to track on a Monday night where we practice, and it would be great to get some more Stratford AC contenders in the field to be up for a chance of a team award!

Warwickshire Schools Cross Country

“Thank you for encouraging your runners to enter our Championships. As I have said before I am not sure we would have teams if it wasn’t for your ’round the year’ coaching.”

The above is a quote from Gwil Price MBE, Warwickshire Schools Athletic’s supremo

Although not a club event, many of our juniors competed in the latest school XC fixture at Princethorpe College in Rugby, with many enjoying considerable success.

There were top 10 finishes for Tom Yates, 5th in U13B. In the U15B Will Hovell was 1st, Joel Ledgard 4th, Arran Cooper 7th and Sam Plumb 10th

The U15G saw Marijke Tear-Verweij finish in 1st place, Lois Ford 6th, Portia Nabney 7th and Stella Sant 9th.

In the U17B, Sam Lambert was 1st, brother Zak 3rd, Will Mayes 6th and Tom Fisher 7th. In the U17 girls Annie Silver was 4th and Bo Algate 6th.

In the U20W Niamh Hillard was 3rd, Maisie-Joy Spriggs 4th and Abbi Cooper 7th


Winter Series

Last Sunday saw the latest of this season’s Winter Series races take place with just over 10% of the 300 finishers being club members.

Andy Lawrence was the overall winner with fellow club members Jamie Hall in 2nd place, Alex Hill 4th – Alex is not currently a member due to his job as a pilot. Matt Burdus-Cook was 6th and 1st M45, David Teasdale 8th and 1st MV35, with Adam Evans in 10th place.

Donna Allen in 26th place was 1st lady home.

Please read Rebecca Pridham’s report below.

The full results are shown below:

Winter Series Race 4

Report – Rebecca Pridham

Rather unusually this is less of a race report and more of a study in being stubborn and great friends in the athletics club.

Being an economical kind of girl, I am ticking off the three most stressful things in a person’s life at the moment, so it has affected my running and training quite significantly.

When not falling down potholes and running away from kittens who think they are velociraptors, I have tried to squeeze in some runs, albeit short and not exactly sweet.

Winter Series Race 4 is the clockwise route, starting through the village then up Campden (aka the longer hill) and back down Larkstoke which rivals the ski jump at the winter Olympics in places for gradient.

My aim was ‘completion without dying’ and judging that I am writing this, was achieved. I am currently running further back in the field and noticed that Ade Mason was making it more challenging by running back through the field at the start (lost key apparently), then minutes later, flying past us again to regain his place near the front. 

Karen Gisbourne, currently in training for a marathon and also recently of the Injured Group, flew past me after a kilometre, so I decided to try and keep her in my sights.

The hill was suitably tough but, channelling my inner race walker, I used my hips and arms and managed a decent enough ascent of the pokey bits of Campden road. Larkstoke descent is a favourite of mine, and I could finally start to catch up with Karen.

Running on your own is pretty naff at times, so trying to catch up with a team mate was my aim. Near the bottom of the hill, I managed to croak out ‘well you took some catching’ (words of a slightly less polite nature!). 

Karen and I were both beaten by the hill and together we cajoled, motivated, yelled at and dragged each other along the slippy road back into Ilmington (“ooh, wheel spin” was a Karen comment at one point!). A hand in hand finish over the line.

Not pretty, not fast, but at least we $£”*@y tried!

Postscript: Hope Ben Kruze is ok. I’s not often I run past him (he was sitting down at the time) and I hope his knees are feeling better soon.