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Veterans produce a solid gold display

FIVE veterans from Stratford Athletics Club had a successful day at the Midlands Masters event in Nuneaton, coming away with seven golds and three silver medals between them.

Racewalkers Gemma Smith and Paul Hawkins got the day off to a flying start in the 2000m walk with the former securing gold in the W50 category (14:43.62) with Hawkins taking silver in the M65 category (14:22.35).

In the W60 age category, Elaine Ledden won silver in the 200m with a season's best time of 31.75 and gold in the 400m (1:17.78). In the triple jump she set a new PB of 7.75m.

Paula Williams picked up four golds in the W50 category. In the shot she threw 12.71m, some 4m ahead of her nearest challenger while her 27.09m in the javelin was 9m clear of second place. She also won the 80m hurdles (12.89) and 100m (13.52).

David Jones managed three season's best times in his three races in the M70 category. He was fourth in the 200m (36.03) took silver in the 800m (2:57.92) and gold in the 1500m (6:17.68) - the last race of the day which was run in 30-degree heat.

In the Inter-County School Championships, also in Nuneaton, Stratford AC’s juniors made up the lion’s share of the team representing South Warwickshire.

Athletes finishing first and second qualified for county selection with the Warwickshire and Hereford & Worcestershire teams competing in the inter-county Masons Trophy in Stoke while those from Gloucestershire will head to Exeter for their competition. A total of 14 Stratford athletes were selected for Warwickshire, two for Gloucestershire and one for Hereford & Worcestershire and all will have the chance to reach the demanding qualifying standard for the English Schools (ESAA) championships.

The Stratford contingent also contributed to Warwickshire winning the Mason Trophy, seeing off the challenge of eight other teams.

In the sprints, Megan Thomas finished fifth in the Inter (u17) girls 100m in a time of 13.46s and Scarlett Dawson doubled up in the Junior (U15) 100m with third in 13.65 and fifth in the 200m (28.04).

In the junior boys 80m hurdles Toby Thomas was third in his heat in 13.57 and another heat was won by training partner Ethan Winning representing H&W in 12.23s.

The middle and longer distance runners were in good form especially Annie Silvers who won her junior girls 1500m with a stunning run, improving her PB by ten seconds with a time of 4.53.0 to book her place in Warwickshire’s ESAA Championship team. In the IG 1500m Maisie Joy Spriggs finished first in her heat in 4.56.5 just outside her PB.

Will Hovell ran a PB in the very fast run JB 800m finishing ninth in 2.13.0 and in the IG, Niamh Hillard finished seventh in her heat in 2.29.2.

In sticky conditions the 3000m was never going to feel comfortable but Zac Lambert, running his first IB 3k finished 11th (9.40.9) ahead of Will Mayes who knocked 30 seconds off his PB in 9.43.3. In the IG, Abbi Copper finished seventh in 12.22.5.

In the field events, newcomer Harriet Billyard set a double PB, finishing sixth in the JG high jump with 1.40m and ninth in the long jump with 4.54m.

Seb Hillard jumped 11.38m for fifth in the IB triple jump and his sister Niamh was 11th in the IG long jump with 4.44m. Nikki Wodzisz threw 26.29m in the IG javelin for sixth and 7.99m in the shot for seventh.

Down in Exeter, Joel Masters took part in the Southwest Inter-County Championships and his wins in the IB 100m (10.99s) and 200m (22.49s) secured his place in the Gloucestershire team. Ruby Edwards just missed out though despite finishing second in the IG triple jump – her new PB of 10.43m was just short of the entry standard.

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