Over Five Hundred Complete a Chilly Stevenage Half * County Medals for Spartans!


Three times Olympian and British Record Holder for the women’s javelin GOLDIE SAYERS presented the awards at the Stevenage Half Marathon which was organised by Fairlands Valley Spartans on Sunday.  More than five hundred runners, including 32 Spartans, overcame cold and breezy conditions, with rain for the later finishers.  Dozens more Spartans volunteered to marshal and help in other ways to make sure the event was a success.

Spartan GRANT RAMSAY won a BRONZE medal in the Hertfordshire County Championships having sped round the undulating two lap course in 1 hour 17 minutes 35 seconds.  He was also fifth overall out of 514 and third veteran (40 plus).

The second Spartan to finish ran a new PB (personal best).  He was MIKE GREEN, 30th overall in 1:27:45.

MARK COLLINS, third Spartan, was running his first ever half marathon.  He finished 59th overall in a brilliant 1 hour 33 minutes 45 seconds.  He says it was a killer but very happy with his time and will build on it for the 2017 London Marathon.

Fourth Spartan RICHARD SPRINGALL was also a half marathon first timer and was very pleased with his time of 1 hour 33 minutes 45 seconds.  He was 66th.  Grant, Mike, Richard and TIM SABAN; 1:36:36 won the BRONZE medals in the County championship team competition.

The fastest female from Fairlands was ISABEL GREEN with 1:44:42. She was sixth in her category.  She led in the SILVER medal winning team in the county championships which included CAROL PAUL who beat two hours with 1:57:49 and JULIE SHADBOLT on 2:01:43.  Women’s teams consisted of three runners.

CHRIS HOLLAND beat his previous personal best (PB) by 3 minutes 14 seconds which was set in the same event four years ago when he finished in 1:45:08.  MARTIN DUDLEY slashed 5:28 of his PB with 1:45:22 adding to his 5K and 10K PBs this year.

JIM BROWN was delighted to be wearing number 70 as the New Town celebrated its 70th birthday and finished in 1 hour 48 minutes 1 seconds – 10 minutes 31 seconds faster than 2015.  He was seventh in his category.

Improving by a massive 30 minutes and achieving a top half placing KARL SHREEVE ran a new personal best of 1:52:28.

CAROLINE CROFT set a new personal best of 2 hours 5 minutes 48 seconds.  THERESA KEAST was seventh in the veteran women (55 plus) category with 2:26:43.

SHELLEY DUNNE, CAREN THAIN and new member KELLY CHAPMAN all overcame horrible conditions towards the end of their races to complete their first half in 2:41:22; 3:03:45 and 3 hours 3 minutes 48 seconds respectively.

The race was won by TOM WATKINS from Newbury in 1:13:16 while the winning woman was CHRISTABEL CLAPPISON, unattached, in 1:34:26.


All the Spartan times.

Pos Name Chip Time Category Cat Pos Comments
5 GRANT RAMSAY 01:17:35 M40 3 Bronze individual and team.
30 MIKE GREEN 01:27:45 Senior PB.  Bronze team.
59 MARK COLLINS 01:33:45 Senior 33 First Half.
66 RICHARD SPRINGALL 01:34:30 Senior 36 First Half.  Bronze team.
75 TIM SABAN 01:36:36 M40 27
108 ANDREW JORDAN 01:39:32 Senior 54
149 ISABEL GREEN 01:44:42 W35 6 County silver team.
156 CHRIS HOLLAND 01:45:08 Senior 68 PB (3:14)
169 MARTIN DUDLEY 01:45:22 M50 19 PB (5:28)
173 BARRY BAILEY 01:47:03 M50 20
191 JIM BROWN 01:48:01 M60 7 10:31 faster than 2015
219 ROBERT EVANS 01:50:32 M40 63
239 ANDY JAY 01:52:23 M50 37
242 KARL SHREEVE 01:52:28 M40 65 PB (30:00)
243 TIM ROBINSON 01:51:57 M40 66
292 CAROL PAUL 01:57:49 W45 12 County silver team.
299 JAMES KILROY 01:58:23 Senior 113
308 STUART HAYCROFT 01:58:09 Senior 116
309 GREG KELLY 01:58:08 M40 80
331 JULIE SHADBOLT 02:01:43 W45 14 County silver team.
350 ROB SHAW 02:03:36 M60 15
356 CAROLINE CROFT 02:05:48 W45 16 PB (personal best)
357 SUE HAMER 02:05:32 W45 17
375 ROGER BIGGS 02:06:34 M60 17
395 WENDY THARANI 02:10:40 W35 43
447 LUCY WALSH 02:19:20 Lady 37
452 PAUL HOLGATE 02:19:50 M50 56
476 THERESA KEAST 02:26:43 W55 7
497 SHELLEY DUNNE 02:41:22 Lady 44 First Half Marathon
504 IAN ALEXANDER 02:56:28 M50 66
511 KELLY CHAPMAN 03:03:48 W35 75 New member.  First Half.
512 CAREN THAIN 03:03:45 W45 34 First Half Marathon


This was the 30th Stevenage Half and was a 70th Anniversary event for Stevenage New Town.

The race started from Ridlins Athletics Track and followed a two lap course up Gresley Way and Six Hills Way into Fairlands Valley Park passing the lakes then down the length of the park past the showground then along Broadhall Way and back onto Gresley Way.  The first lap was slightly shorter than the second which had an extra loop at the north end of the park.  Almost all the race was on cycleways and footpaths.

A big thank you to all the volunteer helpers.


Parkrun Report

With the Stevenage half marathon on Sunday this was a quiet week for Spartans at parkruns with the Stevenage event cancelled due to Bonfire Night preparations in Fairlands Valley Park.

DAVE SMITH went to Luton Wardown and was 31st in 24:29, while GRAHAM HILL ran at Milton Keynes and finished in 33:28. DARREN EMMERSON finished 24th in 21:44 at Ellenbrook Fields, while CAROLE SHELDRICK was 29th woman at Panshanger in 28:25.

In London, JOHN ROXBOROUGH was 13th in 21:21 at Gladstone, while finally DARRYL STEVENS ran at Brockenhurst, crossing the line in 38:08.


New York, New York

Not all Spartans were in Stevenage.  Two were running the New York Marathon where conditions were very different.  DAVID RIDDELL finished in 3:08:53.  MARK CHEADLE had been hoping for sub 4 hours and still cut his personal best (PB) by 20 minutes with 4:15:20.  He was very pleased as it was very busy, mostly uphill and way too hot and sunny.  Mark says the last seven miles were very tough, deceptively uphill but he managed to run all the way round albeit slowly by the end.  Overall impression was an amazing event and the support so loud you literally couldn’t hear yourself think.  The weather was very warm for marathon running, 15 plus degrees with very strong sun.


Coming Events

Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks including cross country league.  The opportunities include:

  • 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.
  • Watford Half Marathon on Sunday 5th February.
  • Finchley 20 on Sunday 11th March.


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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