LOCKDOWN certainly has not dampened the competitive spirit of many Stratford Athletic Club members.
International Paula Williams took part in the 2020 Worldwide Virtual Masters Championships in which she competed against athletes from all over the world.
She took part in the 80m hurdles, triple jump, shot put and javelin and, according to the provisional results, enjoyed considerable success in all four events.
She was second in the hurdles in a time of 12.8secs and was also runner-up in the shot with a throw of 11.22m – just 11cm short of her personal best.
Williams was on top of the world in both the triple jump and javelin – finishing in first place in both events by a considerable margin.
She won the triple jump with a jump of 10.10m – some 2.5m ahead of the next placed athlete. In the javelin, her throw of 36.77m was almost 4m ahead of the next placed athlete.
A small group of SAC athletes then made the trip to Nuneaton for a senior competition, with races run in alternate lanes. On the track the club were represented by both the young and older.
Despite having to cope with the unfamiliar challenge of running the whole of the 800m in lanes, David Jones seems to be rolling back the years and he produced a season’s best time of 2:48.96 – just two seconds off his PB set back in 2014.
With another couple of events scheduled this month, he is hoping to retain his current number one UK ranking in his age group for this year.
At the other end of the age spectrum, Georgie Campbell and Emily Field were both running in the 800m and they both found the stagger difficult.
They were both drawn in lane seven so were approximately 70m from the start line at the start of the race.
Campbell ran her usual superb race – finishing in a PB time of 2:18.29 – knocking over a second off her previous best time of 2:20.00.
Field was nervous about having to run the whole race in lanes. She had competed at the same venue a couple of weeks ago in the 400m and was disqualified for stepping on the line – a somewhat harsh decision.
However, she ran a tidy race in 2:22.96 and then ran the 400m in 61.66, just over a second off her PB of 60.2. This was an impressive performance considering she had run in the 800m earlier.
Imogen Sheppard also competed in the 400m, finishing in a time of 58.30, which is a season’s best and just 0.64 off her PB.
Her father and coach Mike Sheppard said: “Imy was happier with this run compared to her first outing. If she had someone to chase down in the last 100 she could have gone quicker I think.”
In the field, Paula Williams returned to Nuneaton to compete in the shot and javelin, both of which were Virtual World Masters events.
In the shot she put in a consistent set of throws to finish with 11:22m – just 11cm behind her PB set in March this year.
In the javelin, she had to adapt to cope with a strong headwind and finished with a best throw of 35.66m – a season’s best.
Peter Coote picked up the javelin for the first time since the British Masters Championships in March and, despite the difficult conditions, threw a season’s best of 29.96m which is a new club record for his age group.
It was another hugely successful month for the club in July’s Warwickshire Road Race League’s Virtual Series run over a distance of one mile.
Club members won eight of the 25 age categories. Ben Kruze was the equal quickest male out of the 141 competitors in a time of 4.22 and Georgie Campbell finished second of 93 in the female category in a time of 5.19.
The club’s men’s team finished in first place and their men’s masters team were second. The ladies were third and the ladies masters team finished runners-up.
Age category winners were as follows: U13G – Maisie-Joy Spriggs; U17W – Georgie Campbell; W55 – Kate Wright; U15B – Alex Adams; M35 – Ben Kruze; M50 – Wayne Vickers; M65 – John Peacock; M75 – Phil Brennan.
It is testament to the strength of the club’s junior endurance runners that, as well as three age category winners, in the U15B category their runners occupied the first three places as winner Alex Adams was joined by Caleb Spriggs and Taylor Stubbins in second and third places respectively.
New member John Peacock scooped the M65 category prize.