THE ‘COVENTRY Runner’ Not the Roman IX road race is the premier event organised by Stratford Athletic Club and this year it attracted 683 competitors, whilst the club itself was represented by 18 runners at Tiddington.
Conditions were favourable for some fast times and there were good performances across the Stratford contingent, with two of the club’s participants attaining impressive top ten finishes.
Richard Shephard (5th, 42.54) seamlessly transferred his excellent cross-country form to the road and was first home for Stratford. Richard was closely followed by the in-form Neil Wicks (8th, 43.50).
The fastest time achieved by one of the club’s women came from the consistent Penny Stainthorp (220th, 55.42). Her impressive performance ensured she finished 1st in the F50 age group. Phil Brennan achieved 2nd place in the M70 standings to his understandable delight.
Both the men’s team and women’s team finished 5th.
Race distance – 12km. Club results: Richard Shephard – 5th, 42.54; Neil Wicks – 8th, 43.50; James Cusack – 68th, 49.25; David Smyth – 72nd, 49.36; Ivan Sarti – 95th, 51.29; Simon Penson – 105th, 51.53; Andy Smith – 165th, 54.26; Paul Jefferies – 170th, 54.35; Neil Gardiner – 182nd, 54.59; Penny Stainthorp – 220th, 55.42; Phil Brennan – 239th, 57.26; Laura Mann – 248th, 57.36; Yvonne Caswell – 254th, 57.43; Anthony Howell – 283rd, 59.09; Debbie Edkins – 542nd, 1:10.49; Leighanne Early – 550th, 1:11.30; Suzanne Jones – 571st, 1:12.35; Kate Sergent – 582nd, 1:13.13.
THE PENULTIMATE fixture of the season in the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross-Country League season took place at a cold but bright Burbage Common in Hinckley and underfoot conditions ranged from heavy to firm and the course provided a stern test for all competitors.
Stratford AC finished 5th on the day and the club is now 5th in the overall league table, just behind Royal Sutton Coldfield AC. The season draws to a close at Perry Park in Birmingham on February 15.
Louis Kendrick was unlucky not to finish higher than 4th in the Under 11 Boys race. Louis was mis-directed during the race and had to double-back to rejoin the field. He battled on well and was just three seconds behind the leader at the finish.
Alex Adams (6th) ran another excellent race and earned his best result of the season. There was also a promising debut from Angus Tombs (92nd) who was still full of running in the home straight.
For the Under 11 Girls, Ellen Taylor (14th) worked hard all the way round the one-mile course. Evie Lowe (26th) and Millie Perkins (26th) showed good speed to pick up places in the closing stages.
The first three Stratford runners in the Under 13 Boys race were covered by just four seconds and each performed superbly.
Adam Pomeroy (23rd) started very quickly and stuck to his task in determined fashion. Archie Musk (25th) also asserted himself from the gun and thoroughly enjoyed his race. Another consistent run from Dion Love (27th) demonstrated his ability to adapt his style to suit the conditions.
Debutant Henry Tombs (45th) did some of his best work in the final 100m and he pleased team management with his confident display.
At the halfway stage of the Under 13 Girls race, Imogen Sheppard (5th) led the field and was running smoothly. Imogen dug deep in the last kilometre to stay in the leading group and hold her form.
Just seven seconds away was Olivia Hall (8th). Olivia ran a well-paced race and this was possibly her best performance of the winter.
In the Under 15 Boys race there was little to separate Seb Hopper (25th) and George Vahey (27th) for much of the 3.2km distance. Seb just managed to hold George off and it will be fascinating to see if the positions are the same the next time the pair meet.
Matthew Vickers (66th), cheered on by Stratford AC supporters, found a stunning sprint finish.
A quartet of positive performances combined to make a great team effort by the Under 15 Girls.
Jessica Sheppard (30th) showed her competitive edge with a battling run. Edie Hutchinson (38th) is improving at a fast pace and is proving to be a very versatile athlete.
Eugenia Bessey (49th) and Hannah Bexson (65th), in common with the rest of the squad, maintained their pace when rival athletes were tiring. Both girls have been really committed this season and they can be proud of their continued high level of form.
For the Under 17 Men, Oscar Barbour (16th) has been gaining confidence in his ability throughout the winter and he gave further evidence of his increased self-assurance here. Oscar judged his pace well early on and he maintained his focus and rhythm marvellously.
As seems to have been the case so often of late, Sam Weaving (30th) took his performance level up a notch. He is fast becoming a very accomplished runner and his club-mates hope he can continue this rapid progress.
Fergus Allison (31st) and Matt Bayliss (41st) earned lots of plaudits for the way in which they got stuck in to this course and gave everything they had for the team.
Full results: Under 11 Boys – 1,600m: Louis Kendrick – 4th, 6.31; Alex Adams – 6th, 6.36; Spencer Corder – 20th, 6.56; Jack Hemming – 21st, 6.57; Adam Taylor – 77th, 7.42; Oliver Wild – 80th, 7.47; Harry Gravelsons – 91st, 8.12; Angus Tombs – 92nd, 8.16; Team 4th (3rd for the season).
Under 11 Girls – 1,600m: Ellen Taylor – 14th, 7.23; Evie Lowe – 26th, 7.41; Millie Perkins – 28th, 7.43; Ellie Deaner – 51st, 8.06; Faye Gourlay – 89th, 8.41; Sophie Ross – 114th, 9.32; Team 6th (4th for the season).
Under 13 Boys – 2,500m: Adam Pomeroy – 23rd, 12.10; Archie Musk – 25th, 12.12; Dion Love – 27th, 12.14; Adam Bayliss – 33rd, 12.21; Owain Jones – 41st, 12.35; Rowan Love – 43rd, 12.37; Henry Tombs – 45th, 12.37; James Bexson – 54th, 13.01; Matthew Ross -87th, 14.35; Josh Waters – 104th, 17.01; Team 3rd (3rd for the season).
Under 13 Girls – 2,500m: Imogen Sheppard – 5th, 12.10; Olivia Hall – 8th, 12.17; Georgie Campbell – 14th, 12.36; Ellie Bryan – 42nd, 13.27; Daisy Musk – 44th, 13.27; Isla Jackson – 57th, 13.45; Ellen Vahey – 63rd, 13.51; Charlotte Gravelsons – 79th, 14.17; Poppy Butler – 86th, 14.36; Charlotte Johnson – 118th, 16.38; Natasha Arthur – 127th, 18.42; Team 3rd (2nd for the season).
Under 15 Boys – 3,200m: Seb Hopper – 25th, 13.24; George Vahey – 27th, 13.27; Matthew Vickers – 66th, 17.15; Team 10th (9th for the season).
Under 15 Girls – 3,200m: Jessica Sheppard – 30th, 14.59; Edie Hutchinson – 38th, 15.20; Eugenia Bessey -49th, 16.01; Hannah Bexson – 65th, 17.21; Team 8th (9th for the season).
Under 17 Men – 4,800m: Oscar Barbour – 16th, 18.59; Sam Weaving – 30th, 20.39; Fergus Allison – 31st, 20.43; Matt Bayliss – 41st, 22.52; Team 8th (7th for the season).
Ellie Deaner in the Under 11 Girls race at Burbage Common. Picture courtesy of Mike Sheppard.
Sam Weaving in the Under 17 Men’s race at Burbage Common. Picture courtesy of Mike Sheppard.
Henry Tombs in the Under 13 Boys race. (s)
Penny Stainthorp was the first Stratford AC female runner to finish the Not the Roman IX and she was also the first F50 across the line. Picture by Barry Cornelius (www.oxonraces.com).
Richard Shephard, pictured at 8.5km, was the first Stratford AC runner to finish the Not the Roman IX. Picture by Barry Cornelius (www.oxonraces.com).