STRATFORD-upon-Avon Athletic Club won a host of medals at the Midland Counties AA under-15 and under-17 Championships held at The Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton.
The Championships offer top class competition just below national level and, despite the blistering heat, Stratford AC’s youngsters came home with a varied selection of medals that underlined the quality in the club’s junior ranks.
And under 13’s duo Scarlett Dawson and Elfirc McKenzie competed in the under-13 Quadrathlon (100m, 600m for Elfric and 800m for Scarlett, Howler and Long Jump).
They both competed consistently throughout their respective competitions with both of them finishing the four events in the gold medal position.
There was also success for Joel Masters, who has burst into the top ranks of UK under-15 sprinters this season, as he continued his superb form with a good win in his 100m heat.
And in a high quality field for the final, that would rival a national championship, he soon took the lead and held it to the line to win gold and equalled his personal best (PB) of 11.41 seconds.
The same scenario was emulated in the 200m as, despite having to manage a niggling knee problem, Joel continued his hot streak by winning double gold in the 200m final in a new PB of 23.1 secs.
Stratford’s under-15 athlete Seb Hillard had his first taste of competition at this level and ended up as a double bronze medallist.
In the long jump he finished with a best jump of 5.16m, a new PB, and in the 80m hurdles he ran a PB of 12.79 secs.
After a mix up with the timetable, Nikola Wodzisz had the disappointment of missing the javelin, where she was favourite for the title, but made up for it by throwing new PBs in the shot put (10.50m) to win gold and in the discus (19.15m) to win silver.
And under-15 athlete Tom Stanton enjoyed his weekend by jumping a new PB of 4.70m in the long jump before then running a PB of 13.73 secs in the 100m and 28.41 secs in the 200m.
After running in the Midland League the day before, Maddie Linfoot competed in the 1500m finishing fifth in a PB equalling time of 5 mins 03.47 secs.
Club coaches could not recall a competition that was held in such oppressive heat and, despite the quantity of their athletes competing being low, the quality was exceptional with medals and especially PB’s aplenty.
And the club also hosted the ‘Summer Six’ event on home turf with prized points up for grabs in the club’s own Grand Prix competition and their reputation at stake in the Warwickshire Road Race League.
The event also marked one of the club’s big annual fundraisers.
A gentle, undulating, course around the Wilmcote countryside, the six-mile race has one noteworthy descent at the one-mile mark, however, is it more notable on the return journey as an uphill slog at mile five.
The winners of the race, in which 192 runners competed, were David Brewis of Sphinx AC with a time of 32 mins 35 secs and first lady finisher was Natalie Bhangal of Leamington C&AC in 38 mins 15 secs.
Leading the way for the home team was Matt Burdus-Cook, earning the silver medal with 33 mins 01 sec on the clock.
Burdus-Cook was pleasantly surprised by the fast paced first half but opted for a comfortably positioned second place.
Next in for the club was Jamie Hall in 34 mins 25 secs taking sixth place, followed by under 20’s runner Alex Pester in 11th place with 35 mins 42 secs and second under-20 finisher
Seth Turner was next to finish in 17th place, crossing the line in 37 mins 51 secs, stripping nearly two minutes off his previous effort in 2019.
Also keen for a course PB and next over the finish line was Max Ross, trimming his 2019 time by three and a half minutes for 21st place in 38 mins 26 secs.
Following closely, having taken a couple of months away from racing, came Andrew Cox, 25th in 39 mins 06 secs, then James Coy nabbing a sub-40 time in 31st place with 39 mins 50 secs.
Elsewhere, Rob Gisbourne was 33rd was was buzzing with his first effort on the course, finishing in 40 mins 29 secs.
Next to finish was Ade Mason, coming home in 41 mins 28 secs with Brian Boyle 92nd in 47 mins 21 secs and was chased in by Susan Hunt in 99th place and first Stratford lady finisher with a time of 48 mins 03 secs whilst David Maundrell was 128th in 52 mins 13 secs.
Having been forced to take an en-route rest, Pip Bell came 144th in 54 mins 59 secs as Lisa Stevens followed in 55 mins 43 secs for 149th place.
Emma Lee came in at 59 mins 27 secs for 164th place together with Karen Gisbourne who finished 165th in 59 mins 28 secs whilst Katheryn Woodcock finished a sub-hour time of 59 mins 49 secs in 167th position.
Long serving club member Allan Coldicott was the next finisher in 177th place in a time of 1:04.06 followed by John Butler in 1:08:45 whilst Rosie Slocombe, the club’s most improved athlete of the year, crossed the line in a time of 1:11.26 in 180th place despite a heavily bandaged finger following a fall at the track the previous week which resulted in a five-hour visit to A and E.
Stratford’s Sarah Bland said: “It was a lovely evening, huge thanks to everyone for getting involved – in the end there were lots of members running and lots marshalling.
“Sally Bliss and Beverly Brigden worked very hard to get the marshals organised, it’s a big job, so thanks are due to both of them.”