Spartans One, Two At Hatfield


It was first AND second and four in the top ten for Fairlands Valley Spartans at the final Hatfield 5K race of the series.  The Spartan top four were all under 17 minutes with ANDREW PATTERSON beating that target for the first time.

Series winner CRAIG HALSEY confirmed his achievement by winning the third race in just 16 minutes 23 seconds.  GRANT RAMSAY was pushing him all the way to the line and was just five seconds behind and first veteran in 16:28.  Not far behind SIMON JACKSON was sixth and third veteran in 16:47 and Andrew Patterson ninth in 16:56.

STEFFAN FORD was 17:54 (27th); ANDY JAY (88th) and KEN JUDE (106th) ran year’s bests – Andy finishing in 22:41 and Ken in 23:17.  JIM BROWN (117th) has been spookily consistent in his last three 5Ks with the official results all showing 23:48!

VISHAL SHAH was 127th in 24:20 with HAZEL CLARK 128th in 24:23.  In addition ROGER BIGGS was 158th in 26:53; PAUL HOLGATE 163rd in 27:21 and SHARON CROWLEY 163rd in 27:21.

Position Name Time Comments
1. CRAIG HALSEY 16:23 Series Winner
2. GRANT RAMSAY 16:28 First Veteran
6. SIMON JACKSON 16:47 Third Veteran
27. STEFFAN FORD 17:54
88 ANDY JAY 22:41 Year’s Best
106 KEN JUDE 23:17 Year’s Best
117 JIM BROWN 23:48
127 VISHAL SHAH 24:20
128 HAZEL CLARK (F) 24:23
158 ROGER BIGGS 26:53
163 PAUL HOLGATE 27:21
175 SHARON CROWLEY (F) 28:59


Great Eastern Run, Peterborough

The Great Eastern Run is a fantastic well supported half marathon with lots of runners but not so many as to cause serious congestion on the wide traffic free course.  About as flat as you could hope for over 13.1 miles with conditions near to perfect GRANT RAMSAY ran his fastest half for three years and was 30th out of the 4,247 runners in a fantastic 1 hour 14 minutes 24 seconds.  Also beating eighty minutes CRAIG HALSEY was 87th in 1:19:54.

BRIAN WHITE startled many younger runners by winning the veteran (60 plus) race in a sub 1:30 time of 1 hour 28 minutes 46 seconds.  He was 283rd overall.

Altogether there were twenty Spartans.  Just outside the top ten per cent STUART HAYCROFT improved by ten minutes with 1:33:31, he was 436th and Fairlands fastest female SUZY HAWKINS cut her personal best to 1:33:59 for 455th.

DAVID RIDDELL was 701st in 1:39:37 and THOMAS SAUKA 743rd in 1:40:17.  ISABEL GREEN (849th) set a new personal best of 1:42:24 and ANDY PRIOR cut his PB by three and a half minutes to 1:44:22.

JIM BROWN reduced his season’s best by 7 minutes 19 seconds to 1:47:16.  NICOLA TOUT did well in her first half marathon and finished with 1:52:20 and TRICIA HOPPER crossed the line with 1:54:02.  Then came WENDY THARANI in 2:01:15; VISHY MAN in 2:02:45; JULIE SHADBOLT in a new personal best of 2:04:27; JENNY GARRETT in 2:07:31; JACKIE DOWNES in 2:07:56; NICK WITCOMBE in 2:13:36; PAUL HOLGATE in 2:14:21 and STEVE DOBNER in 2:33:48.

Position First Name Last Name Time Comments
30 GRANT RAMSAY 01:14:24 Best Half for 3 years
87 CRAIG HALSEY 01:19:54
283 BRIAN WHITE 01:28:46 1st V60
436 STUART HAYCROFT 01:33:31 PB (10:00)
455 SUZY HAWKINS 01:33:59 PB
701 DAVID RIDDELL 01:39:37
743 THOMAS SAUKA 01:40:17
849 ISABEL GREEN 01:42:24 PB
1000 ANDY PRIOR 01:44:22 PB (3.5 minutes)
1206 JIM BROWN 01:47:16 SB (7:19)
1536 NICOLA TOUT 01:52:20 New
1706 TRICIA HOPPER 01:54:02
2303 WENDY THARANI 02:01:15
2137 VISHY MAN 02:02:45
2448 JULIE SHADBOLT 02:04:27 PB
2668 JENNY GARRETT 02:07:31
2698 JACKIE DOWNES 02:07:56
3018 NICK WITCOMBE 02:13:36
3057 PAUL HOLGATE 02:14:21
3790 STEVEN DOBNER 02:33:48


Royal Parks

Three Spartans were among the 16,000 at the Royal Parks Half Marathon which finished in Hyde Park.  PAUL MAGUIRE finished in 1:46:42; ANDREA WESTCOTT in 2:04:06 and IAN ALEXANDER improved his 13.1 time by 5 minutes 52 seconds to finish in 2:43:01.



ROGER BIGGS added another Country to his marathon collection with a visit to the Romanian Capital, Bucharest.  After two days of rain, the forecast sun arrived, and the runners had a glorious day on the streets of Bucharest.  The marathon course started in the front of the parliament building, a fairly flat affair, but with runners going in all directions and numerous out and back sections.

Roger could not say he had a good day, and finally came through the finish line in 5:17:35.


Herts 10K

JOHN ROXBURGH ran the Herts 10k on Sunday finishing with a chip time of 45:15.


Gravesend 5K

A bit of a trek but the Gravesend 5K on Thursday evening went well for DAVID BOWKER who finished ninth in 19 minutes 58 seconds.

He says the race was advertised as “floodlit,” the start / finish area was, but the hairpin bends at the bottom of the hill had just a car’s headlights and at the top there was nothing.  All good fun and he says he’ll go back and do the 10K next time.

On Sunday Dave went to Wimbledon Common for the BMAF inter area cross country challenge.  With only two from the Eastern area there was no team but he finished 17th overall, eighth vetera (55 plus) in 32 minutes 15 seconds on a 4.5 mile course.


Hoohah Batty

OLWEN BATTY ran the 10 mile Wimpole Estate Hoohah race in 1:33:20.  She was 12th female overall and 6th senior female.


Bournemouth Marathon

Recently TIM ROBINSON ran the fourth Bournemouth marathon.  The course is fairly downhill at the start and despite a minor hill at 5miles, and a sharp hill at 12miles, Tim made the half way point in 2:01. The next section was along the sea front with a slight incline up to Boscombe Pier, but by now the midday sun was out in full force and the pace was slowing.  There was some relief as the return back along the sea front was back down the incline but short lived as at 18miles the course climbed steeply back up to the top of the cliffs and the pace again took a big hit.  Once on the top of the cliffs the course heads inland and into the shade of gardens and the pace picked up again as the course meandered back down to sea level.  The final 5 miles out and back along the promenade again in the full force of the sun were tough and made harder by more steep climbs at 21miles and 23miles. A final sprint saw a finish time of 4:28:08.


Parkrun Report

On a drizzly morning in Fairlands Valley which was perfect for running twenty-two Spartans were in action at Stevenage parkrun, with a further half a dozen supporting on volunteering duties.

DAVE SMITH was first Spartan over the line, finishing 8th in a time of 20 mins 57 secs for a new course PB (personal best). MARK BEASLEY was 11th in 21:28, DARREN EMMERSON who continues in fine form was 15th in 21:53 and MARTIN DUDLEY 22nd in 22:06 (course PB).

MICHELLE REEVES was first woman to finish in 21:04. CLAIRE COX was 4th in 23:33, close followed in 5th by VERITY FISHER in 23:47 (course PB). JULIE SIMMONS was 7th in 24:13.

There were also new course PBs for CLIVE CANNON (24:05), ANDREW SMITH (24:13), LEE PICKERSGILL (24:20), LIZ CARVELL (28:05) and SIMON JACKSON (39:38 accompanying his son). The other Spartans in action at Stevenage were LIAM ERRINGTON (22:34), DANIEL SUTTON (23:23), CHRIS HOLLAND (23:48), CALLUM BEASLEY (24:06), THOMAS SAUKA (25:02), CAROL PAUL (25:26), HANNAH SYPULA (30:15), JOHN WALSH (30:23) and KELLY McHALE (34:55).

Elsewhere, ANDY JAY preferred his usual run around Panshanger, finishing 80th in 26:34. JOHN ROXBOROUGH went to Hackney Marshes and finished 34th in 20:19. Further afield LUCY FIELD finished 25th at Oxford in 26:37 while up the road at Banbury HAZEL SMITH was 16th in 25:48.


Stevenage RAISES £3,443.04 FOR SPORT RELIEF

Earlier this year, the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile in Stevenage saw local people running one, three or six miles in aid of Sport Relief. The money has been counted up and the people of Stevenage raised a total of £3,0443.04.

This year’s Sport Relief was a record breaking year with the campaign raising a total of £72.5 million. The money raised will help disadvantaged people living incredibly tough lives, across the UK and the world’s poorest communities.

James Kilroy of Fairlands Valley Spartans said “The people of Stevenage did us proud and we are delighted with the total amount of money we have raised this year. It’s brilliant to have been part of such a successful Sport Relief year and know that we are helping to make a difference to people’s lives.”

Jess Kirke, Events Manager at Comic Relief said, “We want to say a huge thank you to all of our local mile organisers. They work tirelessly to organise successful events up and down the country and we are truly grateful for all their efforts and hard work – Sport Relief wouldn’t be the event it is without them.”


Coming Events

Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks including the Hertfordshire 10K championships.  The opportunities include:


  • Abingdon Marathon on Sunday 23rd October.
  • First Cross Country League Race in Cheshunt on Sunday 23rd October.
  • Stevenage Half Marathon, a Stevenage 70 event, on Sunday 6th November.
  • Second Cross Country League Race on Sunday 13th November (new date).
  • 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.
  • Third Cross Country League Race on Sunday 18th December.
  • Boxing Day Five in Witham on Monday 26th December.
  • Serpentine New Year 10K in Hyde Park on 1st January.


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

Leave a Reply