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Hatfield 5 Wins

Fairlands Valley Spartans came home with GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE from the Hertfordshire County Five Mile Championships for veterans which were incorporated in the Hatfield Five on Sunday morning.

GEORGIE HOOPER (35:32 – a personal best PB by 11 minutes 39 seconds!); MARIE COLUCCI (37:18 – a season’s best SB by 3:01) and YUKO GORDON (37:42) won BRONZE in the women’s team competition.

Yuko took individual SILVER in the championship for women aged 65 plus.

The GOLD medal went to JIM BROWN who won the county championship for men aged 70 plus with exactly two minutes to spare in a year’s best (YB) time of 42 minutes 39 seconds.

Good fast five-mile races are pretty rare, and 22 Spartans took the opportunity.  There were some outstanding performances in the open race as well as the county event.  Every single Spartan that ran achieved a milestone.  NICK GILL was fastest from Fairlands, 53rd out of the 655 finishers in 30 minutes 50 seconds – an outstanding personal best by 16 minutes 21 seconds.

SAM SIMMONS improved his PB by 4:13 to 33:40. PETE SMITH took 3:05 off his SB to 35:12.  SUSAN McANENY reduced her PB by five seconds to 39:27 and NICK KLEANTHOUS by 58 seconds to 42:19.  NICOLA ANDERSSON sliced 1:17 off her life-time best with 43:38 and PENNY SCHENKEL improved her SB by 1:42 to 45:14.

MATT TUTTON took 37 seconds off his PB with 46:46 and JANE WADEY ran the PB bell with her new personal best of 52 minutes 26 seconds.  An improvement of 1:48.

SHARON CROWLEY took her season’s best down by 52 seconds to 55:03 and BRIAN WHITE, JONATHAN JONES and DZENANA TOPIC ran their best five-mile times this year with 36:51; 56:55 and 57:40.

Three Spartans were running their first ever five-mile races – MIKE JEFFS in 35:32; MARCUS RIDLEY in 37:34 and HARRIET SMITH 38:59.

MARK GOODWIN equalled his five-mile time with 37:34 and DANNY SCANLON was in the top 100 with a year’s best time of 32:49.

Bests At Bass Belle Ten

Another ten Spartans were at the Bass Belle Ten, a partly off-road event based in Bassingbourn.

STEVEN DOBNER said “Rain greeted us but luckily had passed through before the start.  After setting an unofficial PB in last week’s half marathon in Gosport I had a time to aim at and felt comfortable throughout.  Starting quickly to find some space and to try to get the best of the tricky 1.5miles muddy and slippery off-road section in road shoes, we settled into our rhythm ticking off the kilometers and judging the effort.  The little hill proved less of an obstacle this year and I was very happy to come home in a time of 1:15:05, knocking 5 minutes 31 off my previous best 10-mile race.”  

DAVE PATTMAN also came home with a new personal best of 1:15:41 shaving 2 minutes off his PB.  MO WARRILOW said she enjoyed the run, finished with a smile on her face and beat 90 minutes by 22 seconds.”

PAUL and ALISON SHELLEY ran Bass Belle again and said as always it was well organised and well supported.  The 1:5 mile off road section was a bit tricky but otherwise a nice route.  It was great to see so many Spartans.

Paul was 27th 1:11:35 – 27th overall.  Alison finished in 1:27:41.

The other Spartans were MATT CLARKE 1:25:11; MICHAEL O’KEEFE 1:35:00 in his first ten-mile race; FIONA CLARKE 1:37:39; CHLOE CHAPMAN 1:37:53 and MONICA SMITHSON 1:51:24.


Runners were so lucky with the conditions again for the Serpentine Last Friday of the Month 5K in Hyde Park, London.  It was sunny, mild and with a light breeze for the lunch-time event.  JIM BROWN ran his best 5K of the year with 26 minutes 8 seconds and second in his age category.


TRACY PEZ (and her dog) enjoyed a Canicross event at Grafham Water which they completed in 1 hour 21 minutes 7 seconds.

Parkrun Highlights 26th November 2022 – Penny in the Cape

Numbers were back over 300 for the 266th Stevenage with 314 completing the 5K Saturday morning run in Fairlands Valley Park.  24 were Spartans.

In Stevenage PENNY SCHENKEL ran her 50th parkrun in the red celebration cape with a time of 30 minutes 49 seconds.  MATTHEW NEWTON ran new PB of 20:14. ADRIAN BUSOLINI was 3rd overall in 18:15 and GRANT RAMSAY 4th in 18:58.

Elsewhere DARRYL STEVENS continues his tour of many different parkruns.  He was a first timer at Eastville, Bristol and finished in 39:30.  MATT and FIONA CLARKE were first timers at Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire with 31:07 and 31:11.

JULIET FULLWOOD was a first timer at Alexandra, Moss Side in Manchester on her first parkrun.  She was fourth women in 21:59.

22 Spartans at the Hatfield Five:

PositionNameNet TimeOpen CategoryCat PosGenderGen PosComments
53Nick GILL30:50Senior24Male49PB (16:21)
86Danny SCANLON32:49M4030Male75YB (year best)
106Sam SIMMONS33:40Senior37Male92PB (4:13)
138Peter SMITH35:12M608Male120SB (3:05)
152Mike JEFFS35:32Senior50Male133First 5 miles
153Georgie HOOPER35:32Senior4Female19Team Bronze.  PB (11:39)
181Brian WHITE36:51M6014Male151YB
205Marie COLUCCI37:18W4010Female33Team Bronze.  SB (3:01)
210Yuko GORDON37:42W701Female35County Silver.  Team Bronze.  YB.
211Marcus RIDLEY37:34Senior61Male175First five miles
213Mark GOODWIN37:34M6017Male177SB (equal)
242Harriet SMITH38:59Senior12Female41First five miles
266Susan MCANENY39:27W4017Female54PB (0:05)
317Nick KLEANTHOUS42:19M6024Male230PB (0:58)
334Jim BROWN42:39M703Male239County Gold.  YB
354Nicola ANDERSSON43:38W5027Female105PB (1:17)
414Penny SCHENKEL45:14W5036Female137SB (1:42)
448Matt TUTTON46:46Senior80Male287PB (0:37)
551Jane WADEY52:26W5065Female227PB (1:48)
587Sharon CROWLEY55:03W6031Female257SB (0:52)
596Jonathan Clive JONES56:55M5095Male331YB
604Dzenana TOPIC57:40W5084Female271YB

PB = personal best (lifetime); SB = season’s best; YB = year’s best.  655 finishers.

10 Spartans at the Bass Belle:

27PAUL SHELLEY1:11:35“SB” (2:50)61
52STEVEN DOBNER1:15:04“PB” (5:30)19
56DAVE PATTMAN1:15:41“PB” (1:50)20
126MATT CLARKE1:25:11“YB”448
140ALISON SHELLEY1:27:41“SB”62
164MO WARRILOW1:29:38“SB” (6:15)84
206MICHAEL O’KEEFE1:35:00First 10 miles418
235FIONA CLARKE1:37:39“YB”447
236CHLOE CHAPMAN1:37:53“PB” (6:19)49
313MONICA SMITHSON1:51:24“SB”172

356 finishers

24 Spartans at the Stevenage parkruns on Saturday 26th November:

Position  Gender Position  parkrunner  Run Time   
33Adrian BUSOLINI00:18:15Top ten
44Grant RAMSAY00:18:58Top ten
1110Matthew NEWTON00:20:14 
3229Paul SHELLEY00:22:08 
5447Martin DUDLEY00:23:58 
8912Gail MACKIE00:25:43 
9075Toby ECCLESHALL00:25:44 
9578Neal MUGGLETON00:26:08 
9981Michael O’KEEFE00:26:15 
10082Steven DOBNER00:26:16 
10817Mo WARRILLOW00:26:41 
10987David PATTMAN00:26:42 
134107Thomas SAUKA00:27:47 
161121Nick KLEANTHOUS00:29:03 
16233Alison SHELLEY00:29:05 
16939Chloe CHAPMAN00:29:12 
170123Sam SIMMONS00:29:13 
17943Nicola ANDERSSON00:29:41 
194139Jim BROWN00:30:48 
19547Penny SCHENKEL00:30:4950th parkrun in the cape
20353Nikki Katherine NATION00:31:08 
23471Sheryl HANN00:33:42 
257163Stephen SMITHSON00:34:55 
26484Samantha SUTTON00:35:56 

314 finishers.

Club Events Race Results Races Racing


It was seriously hot, an estimated 30 degrees at the finish line, for the St. Albans Summer 10K but Danny SCANLON ran it in a quick 42 minutes 57 seconds for 39th place overall.   At Saturday’s parkrun Jim BROWN was nervous about the heat but come Sunday he won his age category by more than thirteen minutes with 56:38.  Michael O’KEEFE was close to his personal best with 58:22.

Parkrun Highlights Saturday 13th August

The summer holiday period saw thirty two Fairlands Valley Spartan members travelled to 10 different parkrun venues across the country.

Simon JACKSON took first place at Stevenage and was the fastest Spartan this week finishing in 17:13. Jonathan PARR took first place at Hunstanton promenade finishing at 17:59 and Susan MCANENY was the fastest female Spartan with a time of 26:46, 8th female at Stevenage.

Other top ten finishers are Adrian DONNELLY at Malahide (6th, 19:20), John HARRIS at Letchworth (5th, 20:40), Claire PULLEN at Stevenage (9th female, 26:46).

Cathy CRAIG travelled to Blandford park run and achieved a new seasons best in 25C heat of 30:40.

Position  Gender Position  Parkrunner  Run Time  
Stevenage parkrun (21 FVS)   
11Simon JACKSON17:13
1111Paul SHELLEY20:56
1212Tony RANDFIELD20:58
2525Thomas SAUKA22:34
4341Toby ECCLESHALL23:57
4644Martin DUDLEY24:04:00
5147Matt CLARKE24:40:00
738Susan MCANENY26:46:00
749Claire PULLEN26:46:00
8012Alison SHELLEY26:58:00
8113Gail MACKIE27:02:00
8515Ashley SCHOENWETTER27:14:00
8818Fiona CLARKE27:23:00
9172Mark BEASLEY27:54:00
10784Jim BROWN29:01:00
11025Debbie BLANTERN29:15:00
11588Steven DOBNER29:35:00
144103Tony ARGYROU32:50:00
14638Jane WADEY33:04:00
15441Hilary DAVIES34:23:00
180117Roger BIGGS48:12:00
Bedford parkrun   
15036Chloe CHAPMAN30:20:00
151111Sam SIMMONS30:22:00
Malahide parkrun   
65Adrian DONNELLY19:20
Blandford parkrun   
9923Catherine CRAIG30:40:00
Burnham and Highbridge parkrun   
214139Darryl STEVENS38:23:00
Rutland Water parkrun   
10883Chris HOLLAND29:55:00
Letchworth parkrun   
55John HARRIS20:40
Hunstanton Promenade parkrun   
11Jonathan PARR17:58
Oriam parkrun   
1313Grant RAMSAY20:31
10027Nikki Katherine NATION31:22:00
Henlow Bridge Lakes parkrun   
4336Michael O’KEEFE28:22:00

Recovery after a race

The following comments are written in relation to recovering from a marathon race.  However, the general principles apply to any race distance.  Basically the longer the race the longer you need to recover.  A rough guide often quoted is 1 day per mile.  So to FULLY recover from a marathon it takes around 26 days, for a half marathon 13/14 days and so on.  You will of course be back in training long before that.  Fully recovered means back to your racing best.

Remember we are not all the same.  Some of us have memories of coming down stairs on our backside the next day after a marathon because it was the only way we could get down stairs! Other people are walking and even jogging gently the next day. Some of us can remember both.  You will even hear tales of runners who ran a PB a week after their marathon.  We are definitely not all the same. An example of a schedule for recovery from a marathon over a 4 week period is shown in the link below.

The time to start GENTLY stretching is immediately after your marathon finishes. This is true of any race finish.  Those of us who have actually run marathons know how difficult this is. However, difficult as it may be, try to GENTLY stretch as soon as your mind will allow.  Note as soon as your mind will allow.  Your body will probably object but it will be worth the effort.  Keep stretching as often as possible during the next 10 – 14 days.

Whether you are male or female the same applies, do not be macho. You are not trying to prove you are the toughest/hardest runner in the club, or the stupidest. You are, presumably, trying to recover from the marathon and get back to racing and running as well as you can as soon as you can.  As I have said already some members will be back to racing and training flat out within a few days.  Let them, it is their body, you look after your own body, no one else will.  Remember you only get one body, treat it like a friend, not something to be punished.

Gradually build up your running mileages over the recovery phase (i.e. 4 weeks for a marathon, 2 weeks for a half marathon and so on).  Start on race week + 1 by incorporating walking as well as running.  This is particularly true of those who have just raced a marathon.  Active recovery is the key. If at any time during the recovery phase you are feeling particularly tired or have any sort of grumbles in your legs etc, listen to your body and take a rest day!



Calculators Calculators


Race time predictor

The following link takes you to the RunnersWorld calculator that predicts your race time from another recent race time at a different distance.  For example, if you are racing a 10K and have recently run a 5K race you can use the 5K time as a means of predicting your 10K time.

Training pace calculator

The following RunnersWorld calculator provides you with a range of training paces from a recent race time.

As a general guide, you can quickly calculate paces for workouts and races from your 5K race time.

Long intervals (e.g. Tuesday) — run at 5K pace

Tempo runs (e.g. Tuesday or Thursday continuous) – 5k pace + (30-45 seconds per mile)

Short intervals  (e.g.  Saturday track) — 5K pace — (10-15 seconds per mile)

Long runs (e.g. Sundays) — 5K pace+(45 seconds — 1:45 minutes per mile)

Easy runs — 5K pace + 1-2 minutes per mile

10K race — 5K pace + (15-20 seconds per mile)

Half marathon — 5K pace +(45 seconds to one minute per mile)

Marathon — Double your half marathon and add 10-20 minutes


Race Preparation

Race Preparation

As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail!!!

Nothing is truer with racing. Here’s the ideal approach:

The day before the race

1. The most important thing to remember is to relax.

2. Prepare all your race kit .If you have your number already, pin it to the front of your race T-shirt. Double-check the start time and travel directions.

3. Decide on a race plan. If you’re aiming for a specific time, work out your target mile splits for the race. Choose even splits or a slightly faster second half. Copy the splits upside down onto your number, or keep the plan with your kit and copy it onto your forearm when you arrive at the race.

4. Drink plenty (but steer clear of alcohol). (You can use the urine test! It should be almost clear if you are properly hydrated). Have two glasses of water when you get up, and carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go. Have a tried-and tested pre-run supper, and if it’s a long race (half-marathon or more), take special care to eat plenty of low-fat, high-carbohydrate food during the day, such as bread and pasta. But don’t get bloated.

5. Don’t plan a day of hectic shopping, gardening, or anything else that will keep you on your feet for most of the day. Just relax.

On the morning of the race

1. Start with a shower to wake you up.

2. Drink 500-750ml of water to replace any fluids you have lost overnight.

3. Make sure you have breakfast. Your body will have burnt 400-600 calories overnight. These need to be replaced with easily digested foods (porridge, bread and honey or jam). Avoid anything greasy, heavy or that you know from experience leaves you bloated.

4. Head to the race. Aim to arrive 60 minutes before the start — just remember to factor in plenty of time if there may be parking difficulties or you have to collect your race number. This will give you time to use the loo, get changed, drop off your kit bag, find the start line, and warm up.

5. About 25 minutes before the race starts, do an easy jog to warm up. Try to remember that your warm-up should be inversely proportional to the race distance i.e. if you are racing a 5K then a 2 min jog is not enough whereas racing a half marathon may only require a light jog to the start as you can use the opening of the race to ease up to your race pace.

In the race

1. Don’t go off too fast. If you’ve made a pace chart of your mile splits, make sure that you follow it.

2. If things start to go wrong, don’t worry — just ease down and assess how you actually feel.

3. Walk through the drinks stations to ensure that you hydrate properly. For races over 10 miles, consider taking energy gels to restock your energy reserves (but practice using them in training first).

4. Enjoy the work. This will sound strange, but even if you’re having a slow race, have fun. There will always be more races on other days.

5. Only speed up in the last mile (1-2km) for a 5K, two miles (3km) for a 10K, and three miles for a half-marathon.


Race Tactics

Race Tactics

Some race tactics can be prepared well in advance but often you will need to respond to situations as they unfold, such as a competitor making an unexpected surge. You can practice stressful tactical moves in training workouts and mentally rehearse tactical possibilities so that you are more prepared for various situations that can arise in races. Here are a series of additional tactical points to consider in your racing and preparations:

One option is to pace to run your best time and be confident this will be good enough to beat your main competitors. This won’t exactly pit you in racing duels but can be the most effective way to compete for many of us;

Take the lead from the start, whether leading the entire race or just the set of competitors you are pitting yourself against. You can push for the first part of a race, say the first mile, before easing into a pace you can handle to protect the lead you have established. This tactic can undermine your competitors confidence and boost your own. This tactic is not without risk because it demands that you can break away and maintain that lead without faltering during the remainder of the race. You can adapt this tactic by forging ahead early on in a race but without pushing ‘all out’ and aim to wear down your competitors over a longer period of the race.

You can run with your competitors and look to push on ahead of them at a key part of the race. This could be at a particularly challenging point, for example on a hill, where the sight of you passing them and holding a lead can be a psychological killer blow. You need to practice putting in these surges as part of your training. The best opportunities for this are either in interval sessions or on fartlek runs. Start the session using a fast but controlled pace and somewhere in the middle of the session put in a faster interval. You can then finish the session pushing through with the remaining reps, feeling tired, to mimic the finishing conditions of a race.

Responding to a surge — if your competitor puts in a surge during a race then you will need to be ready to respond. Try mentally tossing out a line to them and gradually pull them back into contact. Resist the temptation to go all out by responding immediately and don’t panic or give up. Try and remain calm and consider how you will respond by gradually increasing your pace and drawing them back in.

Remember to adjust your tactics for different race distances. The tactics you use in a 5K race will not necessarily service you well in a half marathon. In a 5K race you need to be in contact with your competitors from the start whereas a half marathon distance gives you longer to respond to gaps that emerge between yourself and your competitors.

Don’t let others psych you out! Focus on yourself and what you need to do rather than letting others get into your head! Remember, you run the race with your legs and not your mouth!

Try running as part of a pack in the race. You can use other runners in this way to hold or push your pace, use them as a wind break or help you up hills.

Use runners as tow ropes — drop in behind someone who passes you and stay with the pace as long as possible. If you have to let go, take a break and then try to hook up with another runner.

Set passing goals – set yourself small goals of passing runners as the race progresses. See how many runners you can catch over the second half of a race, for example. You can play games with yourself by keeping a mental score – +1 for each runner you pass and -1 for each runner that overtakes you. By setting yourself scoring targets in final sections of races you can also help this to hold your concentration on the race and get the best out of your performance

Don’t get bogged down with the ‘pecking order syndrome’. If you analyse your competition and work out that you should be placed behind certain runners than that is what is likely to happen. Challenge the pecking order — dare yourself to move up to a new level!

Experience of racing will give you a greater understanding of what works for you in different situations. Practice different situations in training so that you are better prepared but don’t forget — don’t leave your race in the training session! (i.e. don’t over cook your training so that you are spent for that big race coming up).