STRATFORD-UPON-AVON Athletics Club’s veterans team capped their most successful season to date by finishing second overall in the Midland Veterans’ League Division South.
After the fourth and final fixture in Worcester, Stratford AC’s women again finished the season in second place overall, while the men’s team eclipsed Bromsgrove and Redditch, overturning last year’s deficit of 52 points to claim second place overall by just seven points.
The magnificent effort has been achieved due to strength in depth, the willingness of team members to compete in events they are unfamiliar with, the consistent performance by a core group who have seen their hard work in training duly rewarded, and superb camaraderie and team spirit.
The team has also been supported by a group of officials, without whom these events would not be able to take place.
Stratford AC rounded off the season in fine style in Worcester, despite the absence of key team members due to holidays.
The women finished second while the men finished third, losing out to Bromsgrove and Redditch by just two points, with just 13 points separating the top three clubs.
Paul Hawkins achieved three PBs, the most notable of which in the 2,000m race walk, winning by 78 seconds. His time of 12 minutes 08.6 seconds was three seconds quicker than his previous best. He was also fourth in the M60 discus and third in M60 hammer, earning a total of 19 points.
There was success all round in the men’s 200m. Phil Brennan (M70) was second, Andy List (M50) fourth and Brian Gravelsons (M40) second, after a dramatic lunge for the line resulted in a nasty fall. Andy Reeves, one of the reasons the men’s team have finished in second place this season, was second in the M35 200m and triple jump.
Robin Kindersley won 16 points in his three M60 events, coming second in 800m, fifth in the 3,000m and fourth in the long jump, his first attempt at this event in many a long year.
Kieran Tursner was rightfully pleased with his runs in the 800m and 3,000m.
Malcolm Bowyer won the M40 2000m race walk by 42 seconds and was third in the M50 3000m. Team coach Tony Humphries added valuable points in the M40 pole vault and discus and Dave Wilson, after a long period of injury, earned points in the M40 shot and had a superb 200m race as a guest.
Kate Sergent had a productive evening, coming third in the W50 2,000m race walk, W60 200m and in her debut at the triple jump, earning 18 points.
Rachel Clark came second in the W40 triple jump and broke the club record for the W50 200m with a time of 32.8secs. Elaine Ledden, making a welcome return after a lengthy period of injury, guested in the W50 200m, recording the same time as Clarkl.
Paula Williams had another successful evening, comfortably winning the W40 200m and coming second in the W35 long jump before running a scorching leg in the 4x100m relay.
Sarah Wheeler, despite being poorly, ran magnificently to finish second in the W35 200m.
Having never raced on a track before, Annie Threadgill had a real baptism of fire. Arriving hoping to guest in an event, she was then thrown in at the deep end and asked to compete in the 800m, performing admirably to finish fifth. She then ran a leg of the 4x100m relay.
Duathlon international Fern Hordern ran two superbly mature races, finishing second in both the W40 800m and 3,000m. Cindy Brittan earned a valuable eight points, finishing fifth in the W60 800m and shot. Gemma Smith was her usual consistent self, finishing third in the W35 race walk.
Emma Bexson stormed to victory by almost 50 seconds in the W35 3,000m and there was a welcome return for Sarah Bland, coming an impressive second in the W50 hammer and sixth in the W35 discus.
With the cup final on 1 September, the club has every reason to feel optimistic.