STRATFORD AC’s Charly Marshall began the triathlon season with a win in Stratford.
Marshall was the first female home in the Stratford Sprint Triathlon in a time of 58 minutes 30 seconds to achieve a new personal best over the distance.
She finished more than two minutes ahead of second place and will now hope to impress in the first British Triathlon Youth Super Series event in Llanelli, Wales this weekend.
Further afield, Fern Hordern competed in the Middle Distance Duathlon World Championships in Viborg, Denmark.
The event entails a 10km run, a 60km bike ride followed by another 10km run and Hordern qualified for the race back in 2019 before Covid intervened.
Hordern impressed to come home sixth in her age group (50-54 years) in what was just her second race over the distance.
Closer to home, more than 60 of Stratford’s junior athletes made the short trip to Coventry in the first Heart of England Division 1 league meeting since 2019.
And Stratford produced a superb effort to finish second behind Rugby and Northampton AC despite some gaps in their team sheets.
Under-15 team manager Mike Sheppard said: “It was disappointing that that we couldn’t fill all of the events with athletes unavailable for various reasons but the upside is that it opened up opportunities for others and we saw some excellent individual performances with loads of PB’s set.
“Particularly pleasing was seeing the middle distance athletes performing so strongly and new faces on their league debut combining with established performers and all doing their bit, sometimes competing in unfamiliar events for the team, to secure a very strong second place.
“This is a tough division against seven other big and very well organised clubs but we picked up good points across the team and it also shows the terrific spirit we have in the club.
“With every point counting we are also very grateful for our Officials also doing their bit to add points to the team score.”
Stratford’s best performing team on the day were the under-17/20 females as Maisie Joy Spriggs, Maddie Linfoot, Olivia Robinson, Niamh Hillard, Tilly Campbell, Lucy Lane, Megan Thomas, Caitlin Boyle, Holly Newton and Issy Newton completely dominated their age group.
And Lucy Lane (1.60) and Caitlin Boyle (1.45) excelled in the high jump to win the A and B events respectively with the latter improving her PB by 10 centimetres.
Stratford’s under-15 girls team had a good blend of talent across the events and finished second in their age group with Laura Talowska, Eloise Collins-Bliss, Tessa Parkin, Charlotte Skinner, Nikki Wodzisz, Ella Smith, Ella Peeke, Annie Silvers, Ruby Edwards all making a positive impact in their events.
The standout performances came from Martina Grace in the 1500m (5.21.76) who led from gun to tape and newcomer Charlotte (6.05.89) in the B race who finished second.
And Nikki impressed in the field events, winning the shot put with a throw of 7.94 metres with Tessa second (6.10m) in the B event.
The under-13 girls team of Ava Sheppard, Holly Clifford, Lois Ford, Luiza Talowska, Marijke Tear-Verweij, Martha Silvers, Rachel Sparrow, Scarlett Dawson and Stella Sant featured several athletes who had recently moved up from the under-11’s as they finished second by just two points in a strong all round performance.
Marijke (5.34.09) and Rachel (6.26.42) helped pile up the points in the middle distance races with the former winning the A race and the latter second in the B race.
One of the best individual performances across all the age groups came from Scarlett as she secured a hat-trick of wins in the 100m (13.7s), 200m (28.5s) and long jump (4.13m) in her first year as an under-13 athlete.
Her sprint times have now propelled her into the top 20 in the UK rankings.
The cumulative points scored by Stratford across the three girls’ age groups meant they finished 35 points ahead of Rugby and Northampton.
In the under-13 boys team. a spirited performance from Sam Plumb, Aran Cooper, Joel Ledgard, Arthur Mansbridge, Will Howell, Max Hutchings and Alex Wood secured a second place finish in their age group.
Aran epitomised the club’s philosophy of combining track and field events at a young age by winning the 1500m (5.05.76) and placing second in the high jump (1.25m).
This was supported by Sam’s fifth place in the A 800m (2.39.35) and seond in the B High Jump (1.15m) whilst Joel finished first in the B 800m (2.32.75), fifth in the 200m (30.22) and second in the B long jump (3.98m).
Stratford’s under-15 boys team was made up of 13 athletes: Alex McMillan, James Day, Josh Harrison, Keenan Stratford, Luca De Freitas Pires, Lucas Welzel, Sam Lambert, Sam McKenzie, Seb Hillard, Will Marriot, William Mayes, Zak Lambert and Jake Richardson.
Jake (1.50m) and Lucas (1.35m) impressed on debut in the high jump as did Seb in the 80m hurdles (13.2 secs), knocking half a second off his PB, whilst also throwing a PB of over five metres in the javelin with Alex winning the B event with a throw of 27.25m.
Stratford suffered from the unavailability of some of the club’s key under-17 athletes as Ben Stockhill, Caleb Spriggs, Ned Campbell and Taylor Stubbins were drafted in from the middle distance group and coupled with under-17’s Utkarsh Rawat, Alex Adams and Otis Tustin.
The team put up a good fight in their respective events but with only half of the events covered, and Tustin the only available athlete to compete in the field events, they were forced to settle for fifth place.
Despite a depleted under-17/20 team, the cumulative points scored across the three male age groups were enough to finish second overall.
Full results are available at: http://www.hofe-league.org.uk/index.php/division-1/results