389 runners in 97 teams raced round Fairlands Valley Park on Thursday evening in the fantastic Relays in the Park running event organised by Fairlands Valley Spartans.

Each runner had to race three kilometres with five in each men’s team and three for a women’s team.  Luton Athletic Club won the women’s race in 33:00 with an average lap time of exactly eleven minutes while Bedford and County won the men’s event in 44 minutes 44 seconds, that’s an amazing average of 8:57, under nine minutes, or way under five minute miles, for each of their runners.

Fairlands Valley Spartans fielded six male teams, five female teams and provided dozens of helpers including IAN ALEXANDER, Race Director; BARRY KING, Chief Marshal; marshals; timekeepers; lead and sweep cyclists.

The fastest individual runners were BEN ALCOCK, 8:44; JACK GOODWIN, 8:47 and JAMES BELLWARD, 8:58.  All from Bedford and County so no surprise there.  The quickest three women were ROSIE KEANE, Luton AC 9:55; CHARLOTTE DAVIES, Ware Joggers, 10:44 and LUCY WATERLOW, St Albans Striders 11:04.

The fastest three for Fairlands Valley Spartans were CALLUM STEWART, 14th in 9:26; CRAIG HALSEY, 20th in 9:35 and SIMON JACKSON, 30th in 9:58.  ALISON WOOD was fifth out of the 143 women in 11:26; ANN TRYSSESOONE, 27th in 12:44 and JULIE SIMMONS, 60th in 14:05.

Everyone enjoyed a great sunny summer’s evening in the park which was great for runners, volunteers and spectators.


Monica Becomes National Champion

The British Masters Athletics Federation held National Multi-event and Long distance track championships at Birmingham over last weekend and the Spartans had one of the largest teams.

In the Heptathlon for Women over 50, Monica Brown ran personal bests in the 80m Hurdles and 200m and together with good performances in the shot putt and high jump, she led the competition at the end of the first day with a points total of 2891.  The second day saw a personal best in the javelin, and her Long Jump and 800m performances were good enough to end the competition with a final points tally of 4464 to take the Gold Medal as National Champion.

Tessa Stephenson completed her first ever heptathlon in the category for Women over 55.  Season’s bests in the High Jump, 200m and long jump meant she finished with a total of 3401 points taking the Silver Medal.

Grant Ramsay competed in the track 10,000m.  Still coming back after injury, Grant finished fourth in his race for men over 40 in a season’s best time of 35 minutes 48 seconds.


Emma Cracks 10K at Grimsby

EMMA POULTER ran her first 10K in the Great Grimsby event at the weekend.

This was also the first ever Grimsby 10k.  Emma said she had no idea how she’d get on…but started out with the 12 min mile pacers and managed to run on ahead for a while.  Around the 6K mark she started to flag and was overtaken by them.  It was pretty much a flat route all on road with the last 100 metres or so to the finish on grass.  She finished in 1 hour 14 minutes 47 seconds.



Jackie Downes & Tricia Hopper ran the Wimbledon Common trail half marathon together on Saturday in a time of 2.14:30. The course was undulating with a womble out cheering everyone on.


Spartans Help Riders

Many Spartans were helping behind the finish line at RideLondon.


Parkrun Report

At Stevenage parkrun KEITH COUGHLIN was second male to finish in a course personal best (PB) of 18:11.  JOHN HARRIS also obtained a new course PB finishing 7th in 19:11.  JOHN NELMS (11th in 20:15), KIERAN FEETHAM (13th in 20:42) and THOMAS SAUKA (15th in 21:02) were the next Spartans home.

For the women CLAIRE PULLEN was second finisher in 22:17, CAROL PAUL 10th in 25:32 and CAROLE SHELDRICK 18th in a new course PB of 26:45. NIKKI WILBY was 23rd in her first parkrun in 27:20 and HEATHER MALONEY 44th in 30:00.

There additionally were new course PBs for CHRIS HOLLAND (25:39), ANDREW SMITH (26:28) and TRACY STILES (30:32).  The remaining Spartans in action at Stevenage were MARK BEASLEY (21:39), LIAM ERRINGTON (21:52), JOE McCAFFERY (22:13), DARREN EMMERSON (23:43), JON SYPULA (24:26), KEN JUDE (25:02), JAN FRY (31:11), HANNAH SYPULA (39:10), CAREN THAIN (39:11) and CLAIRE COX (39:11).

In other local parkruns DAVE SMITH finished 16th at Harlow in 22:20 while JAMES SOUTH was 24th at Gunpowder Park in 22:56.

Further afield DARYL STEVENS ran at Bournemouth in 38:30 and ROGER HARDMAN clocked 26:37 at Newcastle.

Coming Events

Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks including the:


  • EMAC (Veterans Track & Field) event in Stevenage on Wednesday 3rd August.
  • Harlow 10 on Sunday 4th September.
  • Herts 5K senior championships on Wednesday 7th September.
  • Herts 5K veteran championships on Wednesday 21st September.
  • FVS Handicap 5 / 10 in Stevenage on Sunday 25th September.
  • Standalone 10K including County Vets Championships on Sunday 2nd October.
  • Open 5K race in Hatfield on Wednesday 5th October.
  • Peterborough Half Marathon on Sunday 9th October.
  • Abingdon Marathon on Sunday 23rd October.
  • Stevenage Half Marathon, a Stevenage 70 event, on Sunday 6th November.
  • St Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 20th November.
  • County Five Miles Open Championship in Hatfield on 27th November.
  • Spartans Christmas Social on Saturday 10th December.
  • Boxing Day Five in Witham on Monday 26th December.


Join The Spartans

Live in or near Stevenage?  Like running?  Fairlands Valley Spartans is your local running club and is on the up!  The club was voted the UK’s Best Running Club in 2010.  It now has hundreds of members and encourages participation by all.  The Spartans have a varied training programme to suit those who want to run 5 kilometres through to full marathons.

The Spartans weekday training sessions are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  Go along to the new sports centre at Marriotts School – a Sports College, Telford Avenue, Stevenage (SG2 8UT) at 7p.m.  Up to five running groups go out on training nights – there will be one to suit you!

The Spartan Starter group starts from Marriotts at 7.30p.m. every Monday (except public holidays) and 7p.m. every Thursday.

Most long Sunday morning training sessions start 9a.m. sharp.  Spartan track training sessions are held at Ridlins Athletics Track, Woodcock Road, Stevenage most Saturdays from 9.15a.m.  There are events to enter every Sunday.  Newcomers are very welcome – those who have not yet done very much running might prefer to start with a Thursday, Saturday or Monday session.

Try a few sessions before joining.  Membership is only £37 per year, £25 without UKA affiliation.  Concessions are available.  Membership forms are available on the Spartans website  Please ask if you would like a paper copy.  You can also join online.

If you want to know more about the Spartans please contact Jim Brown (0793 968 7509), Andy Neatham 0777 197 5499 and 01438 816889; or Karen Palmer (07734678566) or visit their website

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