STRATFORD Athletic Club runners made a strong start to this season’s Midlands Veterans League campaign on a cold and rainy night in Stourport, writes Peter Coote.
With five athletes making their debut, Stratford AC put in a good all-round team performance to record one of their highest points aggregates, despite some events being cancelled because of the appalling conditions.
The evening started well in the 100m as Paula Williams led the way with victory in her age group and Kate Sergent, Peter Coote, Brian Gravelsons and Andy List secured strong second places.
Then, in the 400m, John Boxall put in an impressive debut performance and Gravelsons, despite his legs melting beneath him in the last 50m, ran a new personal best.
In the 1,500m – a traditionally strong event for Stratford – Anna Watson, Fern Hordern, Jo Young and Andy Smith debuted with strong performances alongside David Jones and David Smyth.
In the 2,000m walk, Sergent walked away with first place in her age group, while Paul Hawkins crushed his previous PB to come a close second in his and Malcolm Bowyer and Emma Bexson contributed valuable points.
On an evening when leaping into wet sand was anything but a pleasure, Cindy Brittan set a new PB in the long jump and Tony Humphries returned to the pole vault after a gap of 30 years to leap into second place.
Debuting in the hammer, Smyth set three successive PBs to gain valuable points, while Paula Williams and Christine Coote put in strong performances in the shot put.
In rapidly dropping temperatures, while most sensible people were in the warm watching television, the relay teams of List/Smith/Boxall/Smyth and Williams/Bexson/Watson/Hordern put in robust performances in the 4x200m relay to round off a successful and strangely enjoyable evening for Stratford.