THE STRATFORD Summer Six road race – organised by Stratford Athletic Club – attracted a high quality field of 279 to negotiate its attractive course around the undulating environs of Wilmcote and home runners Kate Wright (27th, 36.51) and Sarah Wheeler (33rd, 37.13) finished as 2nd Woman and 3rd Woman respectively.
Kate was delighted with her performance and surprised with her time (17 seconds faster than in 2013). Together with a cracking run in the Sphinx 5 ten days previously, Kate has once shown that she is a force to be reckoned with over shorter distances as well as at half-marathons and beyond.
Sarah set off slightly faster than she had planned but this didn’t stop her running a tremendous race. She pushed a worried Kate all the way in the hotly contested battle to be the highest placed Stratford AC athlete. Sarah’s mile splits (6.04 6.08, 6.06, 6.15, 6.13, 6.16) were consistent by most runners’ standards but for Sarah they were wildly up and down!
The first of the club’s men across the finish line was the determined James Coy (55th, 39.19) who worked hard throughout the race. James was followed soon after by the speedy Paul Jefferies (85th, 41.58) who showed that his commitment to interval training is paying handsome dividends.
Lesley Kirk (137th, 46.19) ran a relaxed but also very fast race and it was great to see her in such good form over a distance which for her could be seen as being on the short side.
The exuberant Richard Hartwell (190th, 51.35) and ebullient Malcolm Alcock (226th, 54.50) made the course look easy and thoroughly enjoyed their race experience.
The race was won by Andrew Peat of Birchfield Harriers in 31.18. The first woman to finish was Amy Whitehead of Notts AC. Amy broke the course record by two minutes 32 seconds, finishing 9th with a time of 33.39.
THREE of Stratford AC’s finest young athletes continued the club’s tradition going of producing high quality multi-eventers by performing superbly in the ESAA Midland Schools Combined Events Championships at Sutton-in-Ashfield.
Emily Madden Forman went into the Junior Girls Pentathlon as the Warwickshire County Champion and finished the event as the Midlands Champion.
In appalling wet, windy and cold conditions Emily did extremely well to produce very good performances in the 75m Hurdles, the High Jump and the Long Jump – each being a very high-scoring points event for her. The surprises came in the Shot, where she threw a PB of 8.23 and in the 800m where she produced a lifetime best of 2.31.2.
In the 800m, Emily knew what she had to do to clinch the Midlands title and decided to kick for home with 300m remaining. She broke the spirit of the rest of the field instantly and stretched clear, showing her ability to read a race even while in front.
Emily’s overall score of 3016 was also a PB, a remarkable achievement. Her performances were – High Jump 1.59m, Long Jump 5.00m, Shot 8.23m, 75m Hurdles 12.3, 800m 2.31.2.
Afterwards Emily said she was “really pleased to have won and to have done so well in all the events, especially in the (weather) conditions”.
Emily will have another Combined Events competition to look forward to when she appears at the England Championships, before representing Warwickshire in the English Schools Championships in September.
This event was Charlotte Rigby’s debut representing Warwickshire in a Combined Events competition. She ran 13.6 in her 75m Hurdles race, just outside her PB, which put her into a very pleasing 16th position. She gained PBs in the Shot (6.86m) and in the High Jump (1.32m) where athletes had to contend with a very wet run-up area.
As Charlotte’s High Jump went well, and she was still competing late on, she was put into the 2nd group for the Long Jump. She jumped 4.06m and then only had around 15 minutes rest before her 800m.
Going into the 800m Charlotte was in 18th place. After a gruelling day in awful conditions, she had to really dig deep and her time of 3.05.1 gave her 24th place. Charlotte was the 3rd scoring Warwickshire athlete which meant she helped the team finish in 3rd place.
In the Junior Boys Pentathlon, James Gionis was another making his Warwickshire Combined Events debut and finished in 13th place with 1859 points, which is an improvement of over 200 points on his previous best.
The cold conditions were not conducive to great performances but in the High Jump, his favourite event, he equalled his PB of 1.65m. He just failed on his attempts at 1.68m. James is rapidly learning the skills required to run a fast hurdles race and he stopped the clock at 14.6 seconds.
After trying a new run-up and being “blown all over the place”, his opening two jumps in the Long Jump were fouls. James sensibly made sure of a “safe jump” of 4.77m in the final round to ensure he picked up some points.
James’ best distance in the Shot (6.95m) was not as good as he hoped and so he went into the 800m in 8th place. As with Emily and Charlotte, James is mainly a sprinter/jumper and so the 800m can be a considerable challenge. Despite this James ran 2.33.5 which is 20 seconds faster than his previous run over this distance.
Larry revels in north east experience
LARRY Coltman had a fantastic time running in the Blaydon Race which entailed running from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Blaydon along with 4,000 other entrants.
Larry reported there were great conditions for the race and a nice tailwind from the Tyne at 4 miles came in very handy.
His chip time was 46.14 and his gun time was 49.47. He came 1,736th with a pace of 8.35 minutes per mile. Larry misjudged the finish as he thought the race distance was 6 miles but it turned out to be 5.7 miles.
He only realised where he was when he coasted around the final bend and saw the inflatable arch just ahead. He went on to catch lots of other runners in an impressive 200m sprint finish.
Larry believes the race goodie bag was the best he has come across and he was especially fond of the ham sandwich he consumed on the bus back to ‘the Toon’.
The race was won by Peter Emase of Kenya in a time of 26.34.