STRATFORD AC’s Rory Dwyer had a hugely successful day at the England Athletics U20 & U23 Championships in Bedford, gaining a personal best in the High Jump and going 2nd on the UK all-time Under 17 rankings.
Rory’s first time clearance of 2.16m was the highest by Under 17 athlete in the last 32 years and was the qualifying height for the World Championships. He will now wait two weeks to see if he is selected to represent Great Britain at the Championships which take place in Oregon in mid-July.
Rory looked relaxed and confident throughout the competition and cleared 2.12m comfortably at the second attempt. After soaring over 2.16m a the first time of asking, he bounced away from the high jump bed before sinking to his knees while he took in his achievement. Rory had three decent but unsuccessful attempts at 2.19m with the crowd offering him plenty of support as his run-up.
Rory is now the best UK High Jumper in his age group by a massive 14cm. The best ever result by a UK Under 17 High Jumper is 2.23m. Paul Bearman, Rory’s coach, ensured the focus was well and truly on the present by scheduling Rory’s next training session for the following day and saying that he would have to re-adjust his targets for the year yet again!
The U20 competition in Bedford was won by 19 year old Chris Kandu (Enfield & Haringey) who jumped a PB height of 2.24cm.
Rory is supported by local Stratford company FPS, one of the UK’s most successful automotive aftermarket parts distribution companies.
THE MASON Trophy Inter-Counties Schools Championship is contested by 10 counties, most of whom are far larger than Warwickshire. To be selected from the various schools in Warwickshire, the athletes needed to either win or be be highly placed in the Warwickshire Schools Championships which took place at Leamington Spa.
The Mason Trophy is another opportunity to gain selection for the English Schools National Championships in July.
Ten Stratford AC athletes were selected for Warwickshire and there were some marvellous performances at the Birmingham’s imposing Alexander Stadium.
In the Junior Girls High Jump, Emily Madden Forman (1st, 1.67m) gained the U15 English Schools Championships (ESAA) qualification height. Apart from being one of the best Under 15 multi-eventers in the country, Emily is also one of the best high jumpers. She showed her continuing improvement up the rankings to 3rd with a PB and a victory.
Daniel Boyd was triumphant in the Junior Boys Long Jump where he achieved a PB and he also ran well to also pick up a PB in the 200m. Both results satisfied the ESAA Championships qualification criteria.
Daniel has been working hard all year to improve his power and speed and his Long Jump performance (1st, 5.91m) and 200m run (7th, 24.0) demonstrated how successful this training has been. His stunning Long Jump distance of 5.91m not only won the event but shot him up the UK Under 15 rankings to 8th. Daniel has been selected to compete in this event at the ESAA Championships.
The ever-consistent Isabelle Cain-Daley competed in the Intermediate Girls High Jump (3rd, 1.70m) and earned a season’s best height and U17 ESAA Championships qualification. Isabelle is now jumping with a high degree of confidence and this is really helping her during competitions. She was just 1cm away from equalling her personal best.
There were two fine results for Jessica Sheppard in the Junior Girls age group. She ran a good race in the 800m (15th, 2.29.0), a distance at which she is becoming more proficient all the time. In the Javelin (11th, 25.50m) Jess threw a PB by 42cm. Since the start of April she has increased her best by a huge 6.80m and surprised many people with her ability.
Fergus Allison, one of the most reliable yet under-stated of Stratford AC’s track stars, ran another fast and fluent 1500m (8th, 4:25.9). Fergus has shown phenomenal consistency of late, with his last nine 1500m times being covered by just 4.45 seconds. He was just 0.05 seconds outside his PB in this event.
Charlotte Rigby gained great experience, representing her Warwickshire for the first time. She was slightly disappointed with her performance in the 75m Hurdles (17th, 13.3) but she was still able to reflect on a well-deserved PB time.
Despite not feeling on top form, Jack Sumners managed to run an ESAA Championships Under 15 qualifying mark in the 80m Hurdles (5th, 11.8), showing his battling spirit as well as his speed and going sub-12 seconds for the fourth time.
Just behind Jack was Warwickshire debutant Oliver Cresswell, who ran ran the hurdles race of his life, achieving a PB and a Under 15 qualifying time (6th, 12.0). He followed up with another impressive PB in the Junior Boys High Jump (6th, 1.65m).
Jonty Thornton is only just getting back into training but an encouraging run in the Intermediate Boys 100m Hurdles (8th, 14.7) gave clear evidence that he is on the right track. Jonty, competing for Worcestershire, lopped a huge 0.2 seconds off his PB.
THE KNOWLE & Dorridge RC ‘Arden 9’ race played host to a small but select band of Stratford AC athletes, who worked hard in warm temperatures and came away with a set of fast times. The course started and finished at Hampton-in-Arden Sports Club and made its way through Catherine-de-Barnes, over the M42, through Barston and finally Hampton-in-Arden itself.
Graham Taylor (31st, 56.24) rates this as one of his favourite races and he always seem to do quite well around this course. Graham ‘thought about taking it a little bit easier because of the heat’ but found that he was running freely and comfortably so went with the flow. He was delighted with his time which was nearly two minutes inside last year’s PB and was also pleased to see that there were free cakes at the finish.
Sarah Wheeler (34th, 56.42) loved every minute of this race enjoying the ‘lovely rural route’ and also that apart from the last mile the course felt more downhill than uphill.
After the opening 500m Sarah was 6th and she would happily have taken that position at the finish line, so to gain three places and come 3rd was fantastic. Sarah has been very focused and incredibly with her training and is now a force to be reckoned with in all of the region’s races from 1500m up to half marathon distance.
Mark Newman (132nd, 1.06.26) ran nine very consistent miles and was pleased with his performance. Mark is not currently as fast as he would like, but he is enjoying his running, and is ‘back on an improvement curve’. His training is starting to go well once again and June should see him go past 100 miles for the first month in a long time.
A solid race was the order of the day for Luke Watkins (162nd, 1.09.08) and that is exactly what this consistent runner delivered.
David Jones (212nd, 1.13.37) found the going tough but he could not grumble about his time, especially with the temperature in the mid-20s. David dug deep physically and mentally while negotiating the hardest part of the course, the climb just one mile from the finish, and he can be pleased with the hunger he showed in the latter part of the race.
Another athlete to rise to the challenge in the hot conditions was Emily Adams (229th, 1.14.56). Emily enjoyed ‘the beautiful course’ and, although she was tired as she approached the finish line, she was happy with the resolve she showed.
There was a well-deserved ovation for the fast-finishing John Butler (343rd, 1.33.12) who once again put in a performance of high quality.
The race winner was Ed Banks of BRAT in 47.32, the first woman to finish was Jane Evans (Unaffiliated) in 54.14.
PHIL Brennan decided to briefly leave the streets of Stratford behind and head to Australia for his latest running adventure.
“I got up at 4am to drive 100k to Brisbane for the Brisbane RRC 10k (which incorporated the Queensland Masters). The race started just before dawn, in foggy conditions by the riverside on the shortest day of the year.
“I was still a bit jet-lagged and out of condition but I still managed a time 46.46 and won the M70 category. I’m claiming massive club Grand Prix points for the ‘furthest away’ trophy!”
THE SPHINX AC 5-Mile race, held in Coventry’s Memorial Park, attracted a dozen dedicated and determined Stratford AC runners. On a warm and sunny evening, Rob Minton led home the male club contingent and Zoe Chandler was first home of the Stratford AC women.
Rob Minton (14th, 29.44) completed a hat-trick of appearances in this race with his third sub-30 minute effort. After finishing 12th and 9th in the past two years, Rob showed he is still in good nick with another solid performance.
Zoe Chandler (20th, 30.08) was also competing in this event for the third time, and she achieved a second consecutive top-20 finish, deservedly collecting the 1st Woman prize.
This was Kate Wright’s (27th, 30.51) first road race since the Bourton 10k in February but it was clear that the training she has been doing in the meantime is doing her the power of good. Kate finished as 2nd Woman.
Graham Taylor (32nd, 31.09) and Mark Newman (142nd, 36.22) continued to demonstrate their versatility over a wide range of distances. Mark reported that he ran each mile progressively faster as the race went on.
Martin Todman (164th, 37.36) is also very capable of running well over anything from 5km up to marathon distance and this performance must rank as one of his best over 5 miles. Hot on Martin’s heels were the indefatigable Emily Adams (176th, 38.02) and Sarah Odell (187th, 38.31).
Ultra-consistent Luke Watkins (210th, 39.36), fleet-footed Michael Oliver (261st, 43.57) and stylish John Butler (301st, 48.56) also ran fabulous races.
Natasha Watkins (306th, 50.35) combined speed with stamina to run a well-judged and positively run race.
Andrew Savery of Leamington Spa C&AC was the race winner in 26.09.