Double Gold for Team GB

Phil Brennan far right with gold medal.
This week Phil Brennan has being doing what Phil Brennan does, winning gold medal while competing for Team GB.This time he was on the idyllic island of Pro Santo and this after having battled against the type of problems that would just make 99% of us say, enough is enough. Not Phil. He is made of sterner stuff.

The club were well represented in the first of this season’s Warwickshire Road Race League Fixture (WRRL) at Ryton Pools Country Park.

Rising star Josh Harrison finished on top of the podium in the Kenilworth Junior Aquathlon after a busy couple of weeks competing. Fellow club member Toby Wilkinson finished in a strong 4th place in the TS3 race (12-14).

Miranda Maloney stepped up to compete in her first half triathlon at Nottingham, putting in a really strong performance.

It was the first of this season’s Midland League T&F fixtures at Leaminghton last Saturday, a meeting that we as a club hosted. Having been promoted to Division 2 the team put in an incredibly strong performance to finish in 3rd place overall. Hosting an event such as this entails a considerable amount of effort, organisation and hard work so a massive vote of thanks and well done to all of the athletes, coaches, officials and other volunteers who made it all happen.

Three club members competed in the Draycote Water Running Festival last weekend, Jill Wilson in the 10k and recent C25K graduates Lizzy Perry-Natrins and Lisa Parkhill in the 5k.

An extremely damp Wednesday night saw 53 members complete the course in this month’s Shakespeare Race with just 4 seconds separating the first 3 finishers.

And still we wait…… the final overall results from the recent Warwickshire County Championships still aren’t available. There will be a report when this happens but in the meantime there are a few more photos from this memorable meeting.

Good luck to our teams in this weekend’s Hilly 100. We are the current holders of the winners’ trophy so no pressure.

Take care

David Jones
View this email in your browser
Phil Brennan right with Team GB buddies.
The European Masters Road Running and Walking Championships

Porto Santo near Madeira

Report – Phil Brennan

For reasons I won’t dwell on, I was more or less ordered recently to take a short holiday break.

So it was that I found myself on the little island of Porto Santo near Madeira for a week of sea and sun. By sheer coincidence (!), The European Masters Road Running and Walking championships were taking place there and obviously in a fit of absent-mindedness at some point I had entered them.

The format – 10k race on the Friday, half marathon on the Sunday, with a short cross country relay in between, is daunting enough for the fittest and not everyone attempts all three.

You would think that anyone not fully fit who tried it was several sandwiches short in the picnic department and you would be correct. But hey, we’re runners: no challenge is too stupid, is it? More importantly, I expected it to be the well-supported, cheerful festival of running it turned out to be.

Both the road races were out-and backs along the coast road, undulating for the 10k, with the added bit for the half marathon arrow-straight, losing all perception of distance.

The weather cycled rapidly from cool and breezy to blazing hot in both races.

I was nervous and grumpy before the 10k: my only previous outing for six months had been 61 minutes in the April Leicester 10k. I thought I could better that but not by much. As it turned out I was wrong, coming last of 6 in the age category and beginning to think the whole idea was a mistake.

I felt much happier the next day for the 3 x 2k relay, a twisty, sandy course on scrubland near the beach.

Just as well: my team-mates put me in the lead on the last leg: I took off like a stampeding horse (relatively speaking) and just as panicky, expecting every minute to get run down but survived I for us to take the M80 title.

Yes it was worth coming.

My only target in the half marathon was to finish inside the cut-off time of 3 hours. In the event, despite being comfortably last male in the race and not really knowing much about it from about 10k on, I did a bit better than that.

I got massive encouragement from the Brits and spectators and the team were overjoyed that I finished, as we claimed our second M80 team gold medal.

I’m now going to attempt to eat my own weight and enjoy the beach for a couple of days while I plot my next adventure.

Things can only get better, maybe.
Team Stratford

Spa Striders ‘Ryton 5’

Thursday 16 May

Report – Kevin Zwolinski

The Warwickshire Road Race League (WRRL) is officially underway and the first event of 8 or so in the Series took place last week with a 7.30 evening start in really good running conditions. 

This was an off-road event despite the League name.  It was a busy event, always a sell out apparently and I can see why.

Ryton Pools Country Park is mostly flat, no traffic and a good surface to run on, the sort of place your dog would like you to take him/ her….!   

This was my first Ryton 5.

The race includes one big loop around the lakes followed by two smaller loops.  Up near Coventry there seems to be a lot of running clubs, all represented at the race in large numbers which created a good atmosphere in very pleasant surroundings.

What’s not to like?

Finding the Yellow  and black vests was pretty straightforward, getting the group together for a pre-start photo wasn’t so easy.  We had 23 in team Stratford, with healthy banter in abundance.

It was a narrow tricksy start on the paths which were quite muddy in places, so to avoid a trip was seen as a good idea.   As usual, the throbbing masses spread out fairly quickly, well they did at my end of the pack anyway and I believe we had a ‘clean start’.  

Because there were three laps, you knew that you would be overtaken at some stage, and it really does help when these faster bodies just give you a little encouragement as they whizz past.  “Come on Stratford” or variations on that theme is really appreciated and Thank You.

Fast forward to the results, and 5 Clubs were represented amongst the first 5 places across approx. 90s.  Jamie Hall put Stratford in that group, with Richard Liggatt, Adrian Mason, and the irrepressible Kate Wright (1st Lady) all putting in great performances on the night. 

An interesting group of Yellow shirts followed with 4 runners making it 8 in the top 50, with Max Ross, Rob Gisbourne and Richard Gubby all in a line separated by 11 seconds, the group were a small distance behind Andrew Cox.

A shout out to Lisa Lambourn who had a really strong finish (that means she came flying past me!), sorry but I didn’t see many others, however I know you all had a good race and enjoyed it. 

I would definitely do this one again, although I may not have admitted that at the finish…

Round 2 is mostly off-road at Coventry Memorial Park on the evening of 5 June.

The victorious Josh Harrison

Kenilworth Junior Aquathlon

14 days, 4 races, 3 podiums, but saving the best until last. 


Report   – Richard Harrison

Stratford upon Avon junior triathlete Josh Harrison ended a busy two weeks of racing with a win at the Kenilworth Junior Aquathlon on Sunday 19th June.

After finishing 3rd in the Shrewsbury (Darwin’s Challenge) Aquathlon on the Mayday bank holiday and two races over 1500m the next weekend (with a PB in one and a 2nd place finish in the other) Josh went into the Kenilworth race with confidence high.


The day was very hot and with a start time for the youth category (15-17) of 2pm the race was always going to be a warm one.

Josh came out of the 300m swim in second place and headed out onto the run course 30 seconds down on the lead athlete, a gap that he closed 1000m into the 3.2k run. After catching and passing the race leader Josh extended his lead to win in 17 mins 43 seconds with the second-place athlete finishing in 19 mins 10 seconds. 


Stratford upon Avon was also represented by Toby Wilkinson in the TS3 race (12-14) who after swimming well had a strong run crossing the line in a very well-earned 4th place.


Both junior athletes put in great performances against athletes from clubs across the region in running conditions that can only be described as sunny but brutal.

Miranda Maloney
Outlaw Half Triathlon
Report – Miranda Maloney

Getting up at 4am on a Sunday can only mean one thing: race day.

Last weekend saw me driving up to Nottingham to take part in the Outlaw Half Triathlon.

I arrived Saturday morning to go and get my race pack and rack my bike once I’d stuck all my stickers on.

I’d heard that the volunteers at Outlaw events were all very friendly and helpful and that was certainly true. Even more so when a volunteer is someone you know! Hugs were had and she helped calm my nerves. I watched some of the Sprint triathletes finishing their race and got a bit choked imagining myself on that orange carpet. 

I caught up with some lovely ladies that I had met last year at Cowman, so I wasn’t totally alone for the weekend. The race brief was good; they gave us an overview of the swim section, bike route and how many laps of the lake was required. Heavy emphasis on penalties especially for littering and also drafting and riding dangerously. 

An early dinner, a fitful nights sleep brings me to sitting in my car at 5am, eating breakfast and watching the sun come up. We’d been warned that the traffic could be a nightmare, hence the 4am start. 

I laid my kit out next to my bike and took a moment to see how everyone else had done theirs. Some were like mine, some just lobbed in an Ikea bag.

It was quite chilly, so I was grateful for the wetsuit. The walk to the swim start was quite a way but it was good to chat to others and keep reassuring ourselves we’d be fine!

They started us in waves of different coloured hats, and we went in 2 at a time, with about 6 seconds between each pair. The water was a beautiful temperature and the swim went really well. It did seem a very long way as it was a straight out and halfway back, especially when you’re used to swimming lengths or even smaller loops in open water. At least sighting was easy, I just followed the masses ahead of me. 

Once out of the lake, it was a long run/walk back to transition. Wetsuit off, helmet on, cycling gear on, banana scoffed, water gulped and run the bike out of T1.
I don’t actually remember much of the 56-mile ride. There were some single-track lanes with grass in the middle hiding potholes; there was a scary right-hand turn at a rather busy roundabout. Lots of ‘slow down, sharp turn ahead’ signs and some very beautiful countryside.
The feed station was at Long Bennington where I used to live in a previous life. I had enough water and snacks with me so didn’t need to stop. (Thank you, Wayne Vickers, for the top tip of SWIM- EAT- RUN!)

Back into Holme Pierrepont Country Park and down some gnarly track with speed bumps and more potholes there were nicely spray painted.

Rack the bike, helmet off, trainers on, quick pitstop and out for the run.

It was brutally hot by this point, so I knew my run was going to much more shuffle/walk than usual. Luckily there was water every 1.5 miles or so. I think many of us wanted to jump back in the lake.
Anyway, everyone was great, cheering us on, lots of music and great commentary and encouragement from one particular lady with a microphone. I honestly thought I was last at one point, and I was ok with that, figuring I’d get a huge cheer when I finished. I wasn’t last. 
3 laps of the lake proved to be hard going when there was no shade and I walked a lot of the 13.1 miles, saving enough for a powerwalk for the last 2 miles and a run down that orange carpet. 

I’d worried for weeks that I wouldn’t make the cutoffs but I had been reassured by others that Outlaw is there to see you finish, not pull you off the course. I made all the cutoffs with time to spare and finished my first Half distance in 8:18:07.  ( 9 hours was the cutoff.) 

I would like to say a HUGE thank you to many who have helped me get here but mainly Simon Taylor for taking the time to send me training plans and checking on my progress; to Carl James and Joe Lee and Simon for their patience with me during the Saturday morning swim sessions. Less than 2 years ago, I couldn’t swim 50m without stopping for breath. 

Thank you, Cara Reynolds, Kimberley Lee and Sarah Odell, for all the great advice. To Sandie Owens and Jan Turner for the love and support when I had many wobbles, and the Snails for their encouragement. 

Would I do another? Absolutely!  A grand day out. 

Midland League Track & Field


Report – Paul Hawkins

It was a great day at the Midland League in Leamington where we hosted the first league fixture of the season.

Having been promoted to Division 2 last season, we more than held our own by finishing in a superb 3rd place overall with home club Leamington being victorious on the day

The breakdown of the overall results are shown above and the final standings were:

Leamington 623 points
Bristol & West AC 544
Stratford 502
Cannock & Stafford 456
Newport AC 362
Tamworth 352
Birchfield Harriers 277

There were some fantastic performances from all of our team and it was really good to see so many juniors coming through as well as some more mature athletes debuting such as Stuart George and James Cottriall  in the 5000m.

So thanks and well done to all the athletes, coaches, officials and other volunteers who made it all happen.

Hopefully we may have a fuller report at a later date.

For the full results please follow the link below:

Adam Linforth and Joel Milner make light work of the steeplechase – sort of
Couple of Campbells. Nick throwing the hammer and Ned clearing the hurdles
Left: Otis Tustin and right Maisie Joy-Spriggs and Olivia Robinson
Niamh Hillard flies through the air with the greater of ease.
Imy Sheppard and James Day
Draycote Water Running Festival
Jill Wilson – this is so much fun.

Draycote Water Running Festival 10k

Report – Jill Wilson

It was one of Draycote Water’s many 10k events last Saturday, alongside a half marathon and a 5k.

Soon after arriving I bumped into Lizzy Perry-Natrins and Lisa Parkhill – two of last autumn’s C25K graduates, both there for the 5k and shortly after my start I was spurred on by a shout of ‘come on Stratford’ – from our own Steven Batsford flying past at the end of the first lap of his half. 

What fun! A

Zumba warm up and a bright, warm day thankfully overcast. There were not many club vests of any variety in evidence – maybe because it’s described as ‘Running Festival’.

The 10k is a lovely course – a short out and back along the reservoir wall, then a full lap of the scenic reservoir. Complete with the promised undulations!

There were pacers – a first for me. I went for 60 minutes (my best previous 10k time is 64 mins) and it got me off to a great start. Sadly he did disappear into the distance (those pesky undulations) so I didn’t manage under the hour but it was still a PB by a couple of minutes so I was chuffed.

Also I was delighted to not be  in my usual position of ‘bringing up the rear’ – despite there being only a handful of older runners than me – finishing a solid 242/365 – I’ll take that.

Even better I was first in my age group – by virtue of just being there!

Apparently I even get a prize ????????????‍♀️????! Made my day ????.

A well-organised friendly event. I’m glad I went. 

 Lizzy Perry-Natrins, Lisa Parkhill and Jill Wilson

Draycote Water Running Festival 5k

Sat. 18th May

Report – Lizzy Perry-Natrins

I wasn’t planning to write a race report because I didn’t think anybody would be that interested in two fairly new club members running a 5k at Draycote Water Running Festival, but then we bumped into Jill Wilson who pointed out that if I enjoy reading other peoples’ reports then maybe somebody might enjoy reading mine.

Draycote is an impressive venue, which I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with.

The registration, etc went smoothly and the organisers were approachable and friendly. We had a very respectable start time of 10.55am for the 5k, with Jill setting off 10 minutes prior in the 10k.

A half marathon had kicked off much earlier and we enjoyed cheering them on before our race started and afterwards too…I’m not sure I will ever be able to run that distance, or for that length of time. 

This was my fifth 5k run (I only do 5k at the moment as a recent couch to 5k grad who never ran for more than a bus before October last year).

My times have been consistently between 34 and 35 minutes which I was hoping to improve on. It wasn’t as warm as I’d feared and the route was mostly flat, with the few ups and downs not being too steep or too long.

I tried not to start too fast and watched Lisa steadily pull away from me; after the first kilometre, she was out of sight. I stuck to my plan though and despite falling victim to the race photographer twice, agonising over then choosing to overtake a little girl who was running her heart out and attempting (and abandoning) a drink from a water station (is there a knack..??), I finished with a time of 32:07! Yay.

Lisa finished in an impressive 30:03 and we were first and second ladies in our age group (most people did the 10k). We collected medals, biscuits, corn snacks and water and propped ourselves up along the home straight to cheer Jill home. 

I can honestly say that I really enjoyed this race, which probably means I could and should have upped my game…will do next time!

Not too much between them. Jamie Hall, Richard Liggatt and Matt Burdus-Cook.
May Shakespeare Race

The Newbold Nobbler

Wednesday night was this month’s Shakespear race with just over 50 members completing the course in somewhat damp conditions !

Just 4 seconds separating the first 3 records. Jamie Hall triumphing in 35.49, Matt Burdus-Cook was in 2nd place in 35.52 and just a second behind was Richard Liggatt in 35.43.

Kat Wright was first lady finisher in 7th place overall with a time of 37.41. 2nd placed lady runner was junior Maisie-Joy Spriggs finished in 17th  place in 41.46. 3rd placed lady was Bronwen Marshall in 25th place overall with a time of 46.01.

For the full results please follow this link:
Getting ready for the off.
Not exactly my idea of fun. Takes all sorts I guess.
Mother and daughter Hannah and MJ
Kate Wright seemingly tiptoeing round the course.
Obviously enjoying herself – Rosie Slocombe
Husband and wife Emma and Dave Parkin
Many a true word spoken in jest. Becks Pridham and Hannah Osborne
County Championships

Unfortunately some two weeks after the competition we are still awaiting the final overall results together with a few individual results.
There will be a report on this event but until that comes along a few more photos below from this memorable meeting
U11G : Elsa Scott, Matilda Hutchings, Megan White, Sara Clewer, Lydia McLeod, Eliza McLeod (U13) Elsie Pipitone, Poppy West and Layla Sparrow.
Missing Fflur Jones – see below.
Flur Jones
U20 Men 100m: Charlie Willcox, Joel Watson, Otis Tustin and Leo Lesatele.
L to R: Tobias Freeman, Jacob Thomas and Henry Cotton.
We had a clean sweep in the U20 long jump. 1st Leo Lesatele, 2nd Otis Tustin, 3rd Harry Hibbbert.
Luca De Freitas Pires with his bronze medal for U17’s high jump
Ava Sheppard took bronze in girls U15 75m hurdles and brother Billy took gold in U13 70m hurdles  and also bronze with a PB in the long jump (4.29)!.

A good day for Team Sheppard!!
Some of our U13 girls getting some shade and having a giggle while waiting their turn in the long jump.