43 Spartans ran Sunday’s cross country and a Spartan won the race! The league fixture was in Cassiobury Park, Watford.
CALLUM STEWART took firm control at the front of the race, striding round the hilly 5.9 miles in a winning 33 minutes 46 seconds.
ANDY PATTERSON and DANNY McALPINE was also in the top ten. Andy sixth with 35:45 and Danny ninth in 35:53. CHRIS WESTCOTT was top twenty, 20th in 37:04. PAUL HEWETT also beat 40 minutes, he was 43rd in 38:37. The eight runner men’s “A” team was completed by MARTIN BLACKBURN (40:35), NICK GILL (42:46) and PAUL SHELLEY (43:22)
SUZY HAWKINS was fastest female for Fairlands and headed up their women’s A team. She was 120th overall (men and women) in 43 minutes 10 seconds. Super veteran YUKO GORDON was next in at 47 minutes 28 seconds and 204th.
An enthusiastic RHIANNON GRIFFIN was third for the “A” team and said: “It’s hard to describe just how awesome that was in words… but I’ll try!!
On Sunday I completed the 5.9mile notoriously difficult Watford cross country. It was close to 6 miles of undulating super steep and long dragging hills, mostly through amazing woodlands, and ending in a mile long uphill to the finish line (which was seriously tough!!).
My time today was 49.35 which I’m so super happy with.
This was the longest and most difficult course that I have raced since being back running over the last few months, so to get a sub 50 on this run is something I’m super proud of!! The run was brilliant as well.
I felt so strong throughout the race -both in my body and with my mental strength pushing through the pain of all those hills and keeping a strong form the whole way round.
I could really feel the benefits of all the training I’ve been doing solo and the weekly weight workouts, training my core, helping me to lift my knees up to keep the relaxed longer stride that helped me power round the course.
This was the first race where instead of having people overtake me the whole way round I actually was the one overtaking others! I just felt so strong going round.
If I wanted to go faster I would relax my shoulders, engage my core and stride out, lifting my knees that bit higher and just hitting the ground that bit harder.
And to my amazement when I did this I just felt like I was flying; overtaking people like I’ve not done since I was running six years ago.
I honestly love cross country so much. Being out in nature. Running in the forests breathing deep rich oxygenated woodland air. Using my agility to skip round sharp corners, over roots and leaping to avoid potholes and mud. It’s so grounding, interesting and fun to run. It’s a beautiful refreshing challenge for me. Pushing myself, telling myself I can do it. Telling myself I believe in myself. Such a meditative experience… Getting a good time is just a bonus.”
Rhiannon was 249th out of about 480 men and women.
The others in the five runner “A” team were ISABEL GREEN, 259th in 50:19 and KELLY EVANS, 297th in 52:04.
The Spartan women kept their noses in front of the men with 23 finishers compared with 20 men. They had A, B, C and D teams.
The “B” team was ALICE POOLE (53:11), KAREN ELLIS (54:52), KELLY McHALE (55:07), ZOE JACKSON (55:10) and JENNY GARRETT (56:22)
Who will win the “Battle of the Sexes” on Therfield Heath in the last league race on Sunday 10th February?
TODD GRAY led in the men’s “B” team with 44:44. Others included DANNY SCANLON (44:58); JAMES McSWEENEY (50:00); JONATHAN JONES (52:01); ED HARE (52:31); GRAHAM BLACKBURN (53:10) and STEVE DOBNER (55:30).
JIM BROWN was lacking a bit of Spartan sparkle on Sunday but despite that and a very slow first 2K managed to complete the men’s “B” team with 58 minutes 14 seconds. He said, “I would like to have been a couple of minutes faster but I had only five runners behind me last week and eighty today so that’s progress.”
Chase The Moon
Chase the Moon was JAMES McSWEENEY’s first race of the year. On Wednesday he was at the Olympic Park for the 10K race which he ran in 47 minutes 26 seconds. James was very pleased with being only 14 seconds off his PB (personal best) on a pretty chilly evening. Lovely flat, well lit course round the Olympic Park taking in the Orbit and the London Stadium.
Country to Capital
On Saturday, JOHN NELMS, THOMAS SAUKA and ADRIAN BUSOLINI took on the 43 mile Country to Capital ultra marathon. The race with over 350 entrants, starts in Wendover on the top of the Chilterns and follows footpaths, bridle ways and country lanes up and down hills for 20 miles before arriving at the grand union canal in Denham, just west of Watford. Then it’s just 23 miles of flat canal tow path running into central London, the finish line being in Little Venice, close to Paddington Station.
The weather was perfect for distance running, cool and overcast and the lack of any recent rain meant the paths were mainly dry and firm.
John finished in 7 hours 30, his best ever on this course in his fifth appearance at this event. Adrian was just behind him at 12th in 7:32:40 and Thomas just over 20 minutes back in 7.53. This is the traditional first ultra of the season and is always on the second weekend of the year. With a generous cut off time of 11 hours and a field of up to 400 runners with a great social feel, it makes a perfect opener to the year.
Biggs in States
Roger Biggs took his stripy Spartan vest to Charleston, South Carolina, on the East Coast of the USA.
With little training over the last two months, Roger traded down from the Marathon to the Half Marathon.
The basically flat course, is run on the peninsula within the Charleston Harbour area, and as such has the sea on both East and West at different times. The temperature started at a little over freezing, and never got above 7 or 8C.
Roger completed the half marathon (13.1 miles) in 2:34:58, to be in 1874th position with a total of 2390 finishers.
Parkrun Highlights Saturday 12 January
From the 35 Fairland Valley Spartans’ who ran in this week’s Parkrun Events, there were two parkrun PB (personal best) times recorded. Both in Stevenage, JAMES McSWEENEY ran his 50th event in a PB time of 23 mins and 02 secs and JONATHAN JONES who finished his PB run in 23 mins and 27 secs. They were joined by top 20 gender finishes for DANNY SCANLON and STUART ARCHER in times of 20 mins 38 and 21 mins and 30 secs, respectively, and LIZ SMITH in 26 mins and 07 secs. In addition, MICHAEL BIRONNEAU finished the Huntingdon course 5th overall in 19 mins and 48 secs, and ANDY JAY was the 20th man to finish at the Teignmouth Promenade in 23 mins and 43 secs.
Landmark runs were spread across this week’s events. In Stevenage, CAREN DOWSETT successfully completed her first ever event in 46 mins and 19 secs, while CLAIRE EMMERSON ran for the 60th time in 28 mins and 38 secs and LEE PICKERSGILL for the 45th in 25 mins and 46 secs. At Clapham Common, DARRYL STEVENS finished his 105th event in 25 mins and 03 secs, and NICOLA HATHERLY ran for the 30th time in 37 mins and 01 secs on the Cassiobury course.
First time visits to new events saw JOHN ROXBOROUGH complete the Wycombe Rye run in 22 mins and 02 secs, while BARRY OSBORNE the 27th male at the Westmill event in 28 mins and 19 secs, and DAVE SMITH the Great Denham run in 29 mins and 23 secs.
Full Spartan results for all parkruns can be found at the end of this release.
This Sunday the Spartans will be represented at the Fred Hughes 10 event in St. Albans. It’s an open race but includes the Hertfordshire County Ten Miles Championships for veteran runners.
|1||CALLUM STEWART||33:46||M||Winner. MA|
Parkruns: Saturday 12th January
|Wycombe Rye||38||37||John ROXBOROUGH||0:22:02|
|26||25||Allan SHARMAN GARCIA||0:21:52|
|50||48||James MCSWEENEY||0:23:02||PB! 50th run|
|409||168||Caren DOWSETT||0:46:19||First ever parkrun!|
|Great Denham||122||88||Dave SMITH||0:29:23|
|Clapham Common||946||600||Darryl STEVENS||0:35:03||105th|
|Teignmouth Promenade||25||20||Andy JAY||0:23:44|