Pancake tossing anyone ?

Silver medal winner Alex Wood
This week’s newsletter starts off with a report on last weekend’s England Athletics U15,17 & 20 Championships in Sheffield with Alex Wood returning home with a much deserved silver medal.

It was the final round of XC league fixtures last weekend and we have a report on our men’s team, with reports on our ladies and juniors hopefully next week.

There’s a few photos from the junior’s XC fixture with more to follow next week.

We also have some smashing photos of some of our talented juniors enjoying that much loved discipline – pancake tossing.

Good luck to those of us who are competing at the British Masters Championships in London this weekend, Indeed good luck to any of you competing anywhere.

Take care.

David Jones
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Alex proudly showing off his silver medal
Ruby Edwards in full flight
And a rueful smile when she discovered she was millimetres over the line and, as such, red flagged.
Danny Tolhurst

Paul Bearman reports that it was good to see Danny Tolhurst in Sheffield. As many of you will know Danny is a long term club member and one of our coaches and officials. He was on duty for England Athletics with a combination of roles, including arriving at 7.15am to set up registration areas, managing the reception area for a couple of hours, interviewing athletes for social media, taking photos and recording videos, helping to coordinate the medal presentations, and then after all that packing everything up at 7.00pm to head home!

England Athletics Under 15, 17 and 20 indoor championships – 2024


Report – Paul Bearman

The England Athletics Open Under 15, 17 and 20 indoor championships held at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport played hosts to the cream of the UK’s young athletics talent at the indoor national championship over two days.

Despite training going well in the winter it can’t compare to the intensity of competing on the national stage, although the weather has played havoc leading up to the championships thus limiting technical training in particular.

Meeting the qualifying standards is a feat on its own and U15 Alex Wood, who has reinvented himself in the longer 300m sprint this winter, had a tough task on his hands going into the competition as the 2nd fastest of the competitors on paper around one and half times of the 200m track.

Alex stepped into the bright lights of the arena that he familiarised himself with by travelling up and down the M1 with his dad to compete indoors in Open competitions on the undulating track with 2 tight bends and short straights and it paid dividends this weekend, although running in Opens can’t compare to the pressure of competing at this level.  

The 300m start is on the banks on the bend and from lane 5 Alex had an impressive start to the competition winning his heat from gun to tape in 37.89s a new PB to qualify for the final.

The final on the following day had Alex in lane 6 with his main rival Sam Steadman from Colchester AC on his inside. We hatched the race plan that Alex would go off fast to try to get to the break point on the back strait first and he was neck and neck with Steadman who just edged in front and held that position until the finish with Alex finishing with a brilliant hard won silver medal in 37.72s another PB.

In an event stacked with seasoned top-class hurdlers, U20 Freddie Clemons, who is at university in Sheffield, has been slowly improving in his previous races this winter and he produced a season’s best of 8.54s finishing 6th in his heat and marginally just outside his PB but came away with a lot more confidence looking forward to the upcoming University championships.

Ruby Edwards was thrilled to qualify for the championships, but things didn’t go according to plan in her U17 Triple Jump and she bowed out of the competition with 3 no jumps. She said afterwards, “the venue and the atmosphere were great, but my competition didn’t work out this time. Three no jumps meant that I didn’t progress to the next round and I’m gutted because my second jump was just millimetres over. It’s back to training and I’m looking forward to the outdoor season now and hopeful that I have more luck”.

Alex’s silver medal was the obvious highlight from our athletes but from my perspective, with a very strong array of UK talent competing, all 3 of them coming away from the national championships with more experience and confidence is a major plus point. Roll on the BUCS champs next week with several of our Uni athletes competing.


Team Stratford pictured with Team Manager Malcolm Bowyer
Ned Campbell our top performing junior male for the season. Ned finished the season as 5th placed junior male overall. Tom Cox was 9th. Ned was also 21st overall senior male out of 342 who competed throughout the season
Left : Our top performing Masters male XC runner this season was Sam Wilks. Sam finished the season as 10th best Masters runner in the league.

Right :Tim Hutchinson finished the season as 7th placed M50 overall out of 63 who competed.

Birmingham & District Invitation Cross Country League

Report – Malcolm Bowyer and David Jones

The final league fixture of the Birmingham & District Invitation Cross Country League season was held at Top Barn Farm, Worcester. It was a warm sunny winter’s day after the previous days’ downpour.

It was a four lap course which was based around a boating lake and was mainly flat.

Going into the race, Stratford upon Avon Athletic Club were 4th overall in division 2 and were hoping for promotion into division 1. Unfortunately they had only eleven runners and they needed twelve to score maximum points.  

The club’s runners’ who did race didn’t disappoint and gave their all.

There were 198 runners competing and Alex Adams from Bromsgrove and Redditch finished first in a time of 33.22. 

Junior male Ned Campbell in 31st place was the first Stratford runner home in a time of 36.30. Campbell finished the season as 5th overall best Junior male in the league.

Tom Southall 40th was second for Stratford with a time of 36.54 followed just one second later by Sam Wilks 41st –  36.55. Wilks also finished 10th senior for the season out of 196 runners who competed in this category. These first three runners battled it out throughout the whole race and all have had a great season competing against each other. 

Junior male Tom Cox was 49th –  37.31and he finished as 9th overall Junior male for the season. Cox was followed by David Teasdale 80th – 39.18 and Tim Hutchinson 108th – 41.22 , all of who worked hard to keep them in the A team for Stratford. The A team consists of the 1st 6 runners from a club to finish. Hutchinson was 17th MV50 runner overall for the season.

Next it was Sam Mercer 114th –  41.46  and Huw Crosweller 115th –  41.48 who battled it out to the finish line with Mercer just pipping Crosweller. 

The last three Stratford runners were Steve Batsford 131th –  43.55, who finished the season as 9th in his M50 category,Rob Gisbourne 148th –  44.35, and finally Mike Sheppard 163rd 45.55, all working hard and never giving up .

This rounded off a great season for Stratford in Division 2. The club finished 10th overall on the day.

For the season as a whole, the senior A team finished 5th in the league and the Senior B team 7th. The Masters A team came 6th out of 12 teams on the day and 4th for the season as a whole with the Masters B team finishing for the season.

West Midland Young Athlete’s Cross country League (WMYACCL)

Below are a few photos from last Sunday’s final  WMYAAC league fixture. More to follow next week together with a full report
Our all conquering U15 boys team who finished in 1st place for the season as a whole seen here with coaches.
They finished the season 60 points ahead of home team Wolverhampton and Bilston AC. 4678 points v 4618 and you could probably have heard their cheers in Stratford when the results were announced.
L to R. Nick Hillard, David Jones, Josh Davies, Will Hovell, Sam Lambert, Sam Plumb, Aran Cooper, Joel Ledgard, Tom Fisher, Tim Hutchinson and Paul Hawkins.
Our U17 ladies seen here celebrating with coaches Paul Hawkins and myself. They finished in 2nd place overall in the league
for the season as a whole and were just 37 points behind the victorious home team Wolverhampton & Bilston AC. 2881 points v 2918.
L to R: Maisie-Joy Spriggs, Alice Cottam, Tilly Campbell, Niamh Hillard, Abbi Cooper, Martha Peters and Emma Francioni
Robin Gallagher on his way to victory in the U11 boys race. In his debut season Robin finished in 2nd place overall out of 161 who competed. He was just 3 points behind the eventual winner.
Pancake tossing anyone ?

Not only do our young athletes train hard they also play hard. These photos show some of our U11s enjoying a pancake tossing competition at Tuesday’s Sportshall session.
Who knows, it may become an Olympic sport and these talented youngsters would then be very well placed
And the winner was….Alice McIntosh
Martha Edwards and Toby Ledgard
Rufus Mansbridge and Poppy West
Elsa Scott