CHARLY Marshall claimed a superb silver medal to achieve her highest ever finish in the British Triathlon Super Series in the final race of the season.
The 17-year-old Stratford AC athlete was competing against some of the best triathletes from across Great Britain at Dorney Lake in Eton.
And the race was an eliminator – a new format with each athlete taking part in three full triathlons in the same day.
Marshall finished first in her heat to book a spot in the A final with 50 young female athletes separated into two groups based on their finishing time.
And the teenager then had 90 minutes to recover before taking on the gruelling double-final which consists of back-to-back triathlons with athletes eliminated from race one based on their times and final standings decided from the second final.
Marshall took the brave decision to start the first race without a wetsuit – the only athlete to do so – and without that advantage she finished the swim leg towards the back of the field.
However, she quickly caught up to the main group on the bike leg and qualified a comfortable sixth for the final and decisive race of the season.
And Marshall produced her best swim leg of the season to enter the bike stage as part of a six-strong group who had broken away from the rest of the competition.
The Stratford athlete was then in a four-way tussle at the start of the run leg, after two competitors were left behind, and crossed the line in second place to earn her first ever podium finish in the Super Series.
And the result capped off a hugely promising season for Marshall who began the year 14th in the British rankings and is expected to climb up to seventh when calculations have been finalised.
Several of the club’s athletes took part in the Kenilworth Half Marathon as 16 Stratford AC runners were amongst the 612 overall finishers on the undulating course.
The event organisers marked the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II in appropriate and poignant fashion with black ribbons available to all athletes and a wonderfully observed minutes silence followed by applause immediately ahead of the race start.
And the course starts and finishes on Kenilworth High Street, taking in a short loop through the Castle and grounds before following an out and back course around closed rural Warwickshire lanes.
Stratford’s Kate Wright produced the performance of the day by some distance as she finished as the second lady overall in a time of 1 hour 23 minutes 37 seconds.
This saw her win her age group by almost 18 minutes and was the second fastest time in the UK FV55 category this year and fifth fastest of all time.
The Stratford ladies line up was completed with strong displays from Susan Hunt (320th) and Jacqui Sims (435th) – an impressive trio of results.
With the event forming part of the closely contested Warwickshire Road Race League (WRRL), the men fielded a strong representative contingent of Masters athlete’s who went on to deliver a dominant display of results in their age categories taking home top Masters points for the team.
Stratford AC are currently leading the Men’s Masters event and are in a very tight battle with Leamington AC for second spot in the overall league.
First home for the club was Matt Burdus-Cook in a new personal best (PB) of 1 hr 15 mins 38 secs to finish 10th overall and first in the MV45 category.
He was closely followed by Richard Liggatt who finished in 15th overall just one minute off his HM best in 1:17:53 which he was pleased withhaving attended a wedding the day before.
There were top-50 finishes for Richard Dobedoe, Tim Hutchinson, Max Ross, and Andrew Cox with Ross posting a very impressive 58-second PB.
And James Coy continued his steady return to form by completing the distance in under 90 minutes for the first time in three years.
He was closely followed by Rob Gisbourne who finished in a very impressive 1:30:32 for his first official time over the distance.
Adrian Mason bounced back from injury and ran well in 1:30:32 whilst Peter Sugden finished close behind with a determined final sprint.
James Cussack, Mark Barker and Dave Maundrell completed the men’s line up, with the latter a consistent, ever present and valued Stratford representative at WRRL races.
And Stratford were also represented at the London Mini Marathon Trials for the West Midlands Team.
On the same weekend as the Virgin Money London Marathon, a mini marathon is held over the last three miles of the marathon course and each region of the country sends a team of six boys and girls in the under-13, under-15 and under-17 age groups.
The trials for the West Midlands team were held on the cycle track at Stourport Sports Club over a 2.7-mile course.
And the first four finishers in each race were guaranteed a place in London with two other places available in the teams of six.
There were two races, males all age groups and female all age groups, and following some withdrawals due to injury, eventually a team of just three Stratford under-17 women were the only runners from the club.
However, all three athletes did the club proud as Maisie-Joy Spriggs led the Stratford runners following a congested start where Niamh Hillard fell after being tripped from behind.
Niamh recovered well but was never quite able to close the small gap in front before the third member of the team, Maddie Linfoot, ran a very good tactical race staying just outside the lead group and then finished very strong in a charge for the line.
Remarkably, three women finished with identical times of 8 minutes 31 seconds with Bethan Homer of Birchfield fourth, Linfoot fifth and Spriggs six whilst Hillard was a further 18 seconds back in eighth place.
Linfoot and Spriggs were delighted to gain selection for the West Midlands team whilst Hillard was named as a reserve.
Elsewhere, Stratford’s Fern Hordern finished on the podium with a bronze medal at the 2022 Europe Triathlon Multisport Championships in Bilbaoto earn automatic qualification into next year’s championships.
Competing in the standard distance duathlon, Hordern finished the first 10k run in fifth place before taking to the bike for a hilly 40k course and managed to gain two places to start the final 5k run in third.
She managed to hold that place and completed the event in two hours thirty minutes, just two minutes behind the winner of the 50-54 age group category.