23rd Sep, 2020

Promising signs for Stratford Athletic Club

Liam Moakes 16th Jul, 2020

THERE are plenty of indications Stratford Athletic Club is edging its way back to something like normality while strictly following both government and England Athletics guidelines.

Actual competition resumed at The Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton, where an England Athletics pilot event took place featuring a limited number of events and a limit to the number of competitors in the 100m and 400m races as athletes occupied alternate lanes.

Five SAC members competed and their performances were testament to the hard training they have been putting in recently despite the severe restrictions in place.

In the 100m there was a personal best (PB) for Mark Illingworth (14.22) and David Wilson was just two hundredths of a second off a PB in recording a time of 13.22. Wilson then went on to run a PB of 64.60 in the 400m.

Paula Williams ran a season’s best time of 13.39 in the 100m and then recorded a throw of 10.67m in the shot put.

Imogen Sheppard won her heat in the 100m in a season’s best time of 12.98. Sheppard also achieved a season’s best time in the 400m in a time of 60.02.

Emily Field ran her second best time of 60.72 in the 400m but was somewhat harshly disqualified for running four steps on the line.

The last few Sundays have seen some 60 of the club’s young endurance runners taking part in socially-distanced coaching sessions on the Welcombe Hills, with each group of five athletes being accompanied by a coach and the groups setting off at ten-minute intervals.

While the track at Stratford School remains closed, Monday evenings have seen groups of junior track and field athletes resuming training at the Leamington track, where they have been joined by members of the club’s veterans track and field team.

Last Tuesday a group of junior endurance athletes trained on the sports field at the sports club and on Wednesdays junior members – across all disciplines – have also been taking advantage of the facilities at the Leamington track.

Individual members have also taken part in paid-for sessions at tracks in both Redditch and Nuneaton.

On the competitive front, this year’s Warwickshire Road Race League (WRRL) competition has, like all athletic competitions, been decimated due to the pandemic.

It has instead reverted to a virtual league, with competitors uploading their individual performances to the league website.

In the June competitIon the race was held over a five-mile distance with some 230 local athletes competing and SAC runners enjoyed a series of stunning successes as they dominated the competition.

Club members won both female and male individual races comfortably, with Georgie Campbell being 56 seconds clear of the second-placed runner and Ben Kruze winning his race by 23 seconds.

Their men’s A team were overall winners – comfortably beating second-placed Kenilworth A by 73 points – and their B and C teams finished in third and fifth place respectively. In the men’s masters team category, all five of the club’s teams finished in the top 11.

The ladies team won the overall ladies’ title and their ladies masters team finished in second place, just 11 points behind Kenilworth, thus narrowly preventing the club from making a clean sweep of all individual and team prizes.

In the men’s race they had seven of the 11 age category winners: U15 – Caleb Spriggs; U17 – Fin Hutchinson; M35 – Ben Kruze; M40 – Rich Shepherd; M50 – Wayne Vickers; M55 – Richard Dobedoe; M75 – Phil Brennan.

In the ladies’ race they had three age category winners: U17 – Georgie Campbell; W55 – Kate Wright; W65 – Ruth Calderbank.

For the July competition, the race is over a mile distance and the early indications are the club will have another successful race with members currently occupying six of the top ten places in the ladies’ race and five of the top ten in the men’s race.

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