Club Spartan in the spotlight

Spartan in the Spotlight – Meet Rhiannon



Hello and welcome to the next in our series of Spartan in the Spotlight. Today we meet Rhiannon Griffin, another award winner from the FVS Presentation night in January. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the lady who has been in the local media many times in the last year.

Name: Rhiannon Griffin.

Occupation: Full-time Mother to my 21month old.

When did you join FVS ? End of May 2012.

Why did you join the FVS ?
Why did you join the FVS ? My main reason for joining was to get myself back to being active again from 
having a baby and to help shift the baby weight. I used to go running with the buggy twice a week at 
a club called "Buggycise". We all used to run round Fairlands lakes with our buggys then stop at stations
to do lunges, press ups, sprints and tummy exercises. During the sprints I was always the fastest and 
one of the ladies, who was a Spartan (ahem Sam Franklin), suggested I give Spartans a try as I had a 
bit of a natural speed and nack for running. I joined in with the Stater group and loved it. I then 
progressed fairly rapidly through the groups and I'm now in group 4 and being coached by Richard Bate to 
help me reach even higher :)
As a running club, what does FVS mean to you and provide you with ? 

In my world of running FVS will always represent my Home. It's where I've started and where I've 
grown. Its full of so many friendly faces and already so many good memories.  

Whats been your racing highlight to date, since joining the Spartans and why?
The 5k I did last Septmeber was awesome. Beautifully hot day and i got a a sub 20min time on my second 
ever time running a 5k. Got second lady and ladies team winner in the county race and came away with 
a few little trophies and a medal and then my picture was in the paper a few days later as well:)

Which race has been the best you have taken part in and why ?
Oh wow well... I did the County indoor championships last weekend and that was immense, a real taste 
for how my Summer of track racing will be. I loved the Herts County-Cross country Championships in 
Broxbourne because the course was so ridiculously tough and muddy, I fell over so many times it was 
hilarious and 
great fun. I did the 18mile off road challenge last year too and that was great getting out running 
for hours in the fields and woods. I did the new years eve Ely 10k and that was sooo hard! it was 
basically just running into the strongest head wind for the duration and it just made me laugh. I just 
love racing actually. 

What is your favourite running distance(s) ?
I love Short distance and I love track running. My most enjoyable distance to run is probably 150-300m 
(not that I race that distance), although I'm in training to specialise in 800m. I'm still yet to 
actually run 1500m and who knows what I'll end up liking most. I've done a lot of longer distance stuff 
(ie: 10k, 5k) and cross-county over the winter to build up my strength. And whilst I've enjoyed it, it 
has all been to help me with the track racing. I'm still in my 1st years training and this summer will 
help me determine where my strengths in running lay and clarify which distance is my forte.  

What are your running goals for the future, either short term, medium or long term goals?

Short term: I want to sub 2:30 800m. Middle term: i would love to make the top 200 or even 100 female 
800m runner in England. Long Term: I'm just going to persevere and see where these little legs will take me.

What other Sports and hobbies do you have in your spare time ? 

I do Pilates once a week now to compliment my Running. I Cycle to and from all my training sessions. And 
once a week I push a very heavy buggy full of shopping back from Tesco haha. Not to mention at lease 15 
mins of each day are dedicated to dancing around the room with 2 stones worth of cute blonde girl. 

Then finally (I have started,  so I will finish)  whats the most interesting fact about you, that 
your friends at the running club would not be aware of ? 

Ermm... I was a county gymnast when I was about 18 (but don't ask me to do a back flip because I'd 
probably seriously hurt myself ), and I'm also a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate (although I 
haven't actually done any karate since I was about 19!!)

Oh yeah, and if it wasn't for getting pregnant with Molly I'd probably just be another girl working in 
Costa right now...

Thanks Rhiannon for answering all of these,   very insightful and interesting stuff.  On behalf of 
FVS then we need to thank your daughter for getting you into running in the first place  !!  
Good luck with your goals.

Tune in again here soon for the next in the series of SITP,  which next time will be featuring 
Mr Andy Prior.

Club Spartan in the spotlight

Spartans in the Spotlight, Meet Ann Tryssesoone



Next in the very popular series taking an in depth look at our fantastic running club members,  is Ann Tryssesoone who has been a member with us for over 10 years now,  loves the mud and recently celebrated a very well deserved Most Improved female award at FVS Presentation night in January.

So a huge congrats to Anne and thanks for the following interview:


Veterinary Surgeon: qualified in Belgium in 1990 and shipped over here the same year

When did you join the FVS ?

Gosh… many moons ago but if I remember correctly it must be a decade ago

Why did you join the FVS ?

Got a bit tipsy on a New Years party and boosted to a friend that I am getting fit and wouldn’t mind doing a marathon. I had never run in my life!!! She – a regular runner – informed me of the distance involved. I gulped and agreed to run a half together. Got the shoes and started to run: 1min on – 1min off. It turned out to be 15 seconds run and 2 hours recovery as my lungs were burning. I sort of gave up but didn’t tell my friend. She didn’t mention the half for a whole year then she informed me that she had entered us both for the Silverstone half a marathon. I ran it and kept running ever since.

As a running club, what does FVS mean to you and provide you with ?

FVS stood for Friends, Variety in training and being Slow. Now I have changed the s for Speed (sort of – in my mind)  but still enjoy the friendship and running in a group.

What’s been your racing highlight to date, since joining the Spartans and why.

There has been many highlights to date however receiving the “most improved female runner of 2012” award has got to be it. The award was totally unexpected but proves that consistency pays off.

Which race has been the best you have taken part in and why ?

It has to be my 1st half a marathon at Silverstone: I didn’t think I could run the distance.

What is your favourite running distance(s) ?

I enjoy muddy and hilly cross country races and half marathons.

What are your running goals for the future, either short term, medium or long term goals.

My main goal is to remain fit and injury free. I have been plagued by shin splint for a long time therefore very weary of anything over half a marathon. I hope to run a few half’s at the end of the year.

What other Sports and hobbies do you have in your spare time ?

Time permitting I like gardening, photography and love painting (canvas). I also enjoy travelling.

What’s the most interesting fact about you, that your friends at the running club would not be aware of ?

When I was young and beautiful (in my late teens) my brother and I competed in Latin and ballroom dancing. Never made it to Strictly…

Thanks very much Ann for taking the time for this.   If your interested in becoming a future Spartan in the Spotlight,  then please contact Andy Jay at the club or leave a comment here.


Spartan in the spotlight

Meet Davie Stafford


Welcome to the next in our series of Spartans in The Spotlight,  a fascinating insight into the lifes of our fantastic runners.  This month we feature Davie Stafford who has been with FVS since 2010 and doing extremely well with the club,  with many Personal Bests and a first marathon in 2012.    So what can we tell you about Davie…..


Occupation: Self Employed/Window Cleaner


Family: wife Hailey, Daughter Isla-May


When did you join FVS ?  2010


Why did you join the FVS ?  Because i felt i needed i new fitness challenge, FVS was local & recommended through a friend.


As a running club,  what does FVS mean to you and provide you with ?  Provides a very good training programme. I like to be committed something and achieving my goals.


Whats been your racing highlight to date,  since joining the Spartans and why. Running my first marathon in MK 2012 and i’m happy I have achieved a PB in every race (so far!)


Which race has been the best you have taken part in and why ? St Neots half marathon, as it was a lovely course & enjoyed running it.


What is your favourite running distance(s) ? 10miles/half marathons


What are your running goals for the future,  either short term,  medium or long term goals. My main goal is to get into the london marathon (fouth time lucky this year, i hope). Sub 1hr 30 half marathon. Continue to achieve my pb’s in every race i enter.


What other Sports and hobbies do you have in your spare time ? none


Whats the most interesting fact about you,  that your friends at the running club would not be aware of ?
I was a qualified chef before i owned my own window cleaning company


Thanks Davie,  so clearly you are loving your racing and setting some great Personal Bests along the way.  Congratulations on your first Marathon in 2012.  Good luck with your targets in 2013.


Next up in the spotlight Series,  I will be catching up with the FVS Most Improved female and Most Improved Male – so stay tuned to this channel !!!!
Andy Jay.
Spartan in the spotlight

Meet your Chairman, Beverley Harlow

FVS Chairman
FVS Chairman

New Year,  New Chairman.  Welcome to the next in the popular series of Spartans in the Spotlight.  I recently caught up with Beverley for our Spartan in the Spotlight series:

Name:  Beverley Harlow

Occupation: Formerly Deputy Headteacher at a Secondary school teaching music, now retired.

Family: Married to John — no children but one lovely dog called Meg who is a fair weather runner

When did you join the Spartans: I joined the Spartans in 1991.

Why did you join the Spartans: I decided to enter the London Marathon intending to walk as I hated any form of running. When my confirmation of entry arrived through the post it included a training plan. I started running on 1st January that year and my first run(jog )nearly killed me, but, being of a slightly obsessive nature, I followed the plan to the letter and joined the Spartans after about a month. I haven’t stopped running since!

Tell us all about the role(s) you play within the club: Last year I became a club coach having completed the LiRF course. I also joined the committee and was elected Vice-chair. This year I have taken on the chairmanship — I suspect it will be a steep learning curve, but it is time for me to give something back to the club after 21 years.

What has been your Racing highlight to date, since joining the Spartans and why. This is a difficult one — I decided to try for a marathon pb last year to celebrate 20 years of running and achieved that at Chester. Other highlights over the years have been my first London marathon and last years VLM. Also my Olympic Park run in March was amazing and a lovely precursor to my time in the park as a Gamesmaker in the summer.

Have you ever represented your running club in a race overseas? I love going to a foreign city and running a half marathon or other distance. I have been lucky enough to compete in Prague, Paris, Stockholm,  New York, Reno (USA), Montagu and Port Elizabeth (South Africa) and in Wiarton in Canada. I always look for a race to enter if I am going away.

What are your running goals for the future. I aim to continue running for as long as I am able. I think it is fantastic to see older runner into their 70s and 80s still running and competing. I run because I can. I aim to get as close to my half-marathon pb as possible at Edinburgh in 2013.

What other Sports and hobbies do you have in your spare time when you’re not running? I am the organist and choirmaster at St. Mary the Virgin church in Walkern and that takes up most Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. I also really enjoy walking and cycling (slowly). I love photography and am learning to play bridge.

Whats the most interesting fact about you, that your friends at the running club would not be aware of ?  I am aunt to Olympian Goldie Sayers who has been the UK record holder for the last ten years.

Wow thanks to Chairman Beverley for a fascinating insight,  especially the Aunty news at the end !!   Thanks for taking the time to do this. 

Readers, hope you enjoyed this and please feel free to catch up further with Bev at the many FVS training sessions and of course at our major Annual FVS Presentation Evening on 25th January at Knebworth Barns.  Tickets available online from the main page.


Andy Jay.

Spartan in the spotlight

Meet your Captains – an interview with Nick Witcombe and Tracy Pez

Andy Jay: Hi Captains, nice photo. Let me ask, why is it that superheros wear their underwear over the top of their clothes?

NW: Because their pants are always clean, it is a sign of perfection….
TP: Plus, It’s a fashion statement…!!!

AJ: OK, so you are clearly not really superheros, but if you were, which super power would you like to have?

NW: The power of speed, so I can no longer have to plod!!
TP: The power of invisibility, so I can cause lots of mischief!!!

AJ: Would you rather be able to read people’s minds OR have x-ray vision?

TP & NW: We know what you’re thinking…….!!!!….it has to be X-ray vision!!

AJ: Tell me, what was the most interesting trip you have ever taken?

TP:  Oh no…what did you have to go and ask that for??
NW:  Well it was when I went to Texas and ran the New Braunfels Half Marathon….where I finished in first position….the first Spartan….it was a great trip….

AJ: Anyway, moving swiftly on….What is your favourite pre-run breakfast ?

NW: Porridge. Because I am not allowed a fry up.
TP:  I have porridge too….but not with Nick!!   #awkward

AJ: What is your favourite piece of clothing?

NW: It has to be my famous flat cap…
TP: Obviously mine has to be my stripy vest….closely followed by my underpants…

AJ: What was the funniest thing you have ever experienced while running?

NW: I think it was my Pingu experience….although Sharon running through the farm with a flock of sheep hot on her heels was very funny too!!!
TP: Ummm…I think mine was Andy Jay stamping his feet and throwing his toys out the pram at the Eddy half while Charlie did his rather poor impersonation of a Scots man…..!!

AJ: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what five items would you want to have with you and why?

TP: Jointly stranded?
NW: Together? #awkward…
TP:  Well in that case, I’d need earplugs (to avoid those stories from Texas!).  Umm…and a box of Christmas crackers (to source some new jokes)
NW:  I’d take earplugs (to avoid the bad jokes).  And a mobile device to prevent Facebook withdrawal symptoms….
TP: Yes I can imagine the exciting status updates now….Still stuck on the island….sunny and sandy today…
NW: I’d need my other gadgets too — like my head torch, to see what I am doing when it gets dark
TP:  And I’d have to take my Spartan calendar!
NW. Oh, and my dartboard… (see the Spartan calendar….)

AJ: What are your pet running peeves?

TP: Andy Jay.
NW: Andy Prior.

AJ: What three items are top of your bucket list?

NW: run the Las Vegas half marathon, to go to Australia to see the Ashes, and to visit a desert island (but not with the ladies captain)….
TP: I’d like to travel some more, Rome and South America being top of my wish list at the moment, and I’d like to get a PhD — Dr Pez has such a nice ring to it don’t you think?!….and I’d like to learn to swim really well and really far to escape Nick on that desert island….

AJ: Where would you go in a time machine?

TP: Into the future…just to see if AJ gets any quicker….but that’s unlikely and actually I don’t think I really want to know what the future has in store so I think I’d go back…..maybe to Egyptian times see how they really did build the pyramids..
NW: Umm..I’d pop back to 1986 and leave a note for myself to buy shares in Apple and Google with my first ever pay cheque….

AJ: Do you have any phobias?

TP: Spiders and housework! And Nick’s stories from Texas….
NW: Heights, stripy shorts, and the Ladies Captain…

AJ: Would you rather own a boat or a plane?

NW. A boat….I don’t like heights….
TP: But you work for an airline….??

AJ: Which Spartan do you most look up to?

NW. Ron Cohen — what an inspiration
TP:  Andy Jay – cos he is taller than me…(and paid me to say that!!)

AJ: Do you have any moments of fame?

NW:  Yes, I appeared in 1993 FA cup final.  Unfortunately I didn’t score the winning goal though!!
TP:  I was in the Comet once….There was a great photo of me with blurred feet — my girls were very impressed as the blurring was clearly due to the fact I was running so fast…!!

AJ: What is the best thing about the Spartans….

NW: It has to be the great people..The Fab 4,  Doyles Dollies, and Andy Jay of course…~
TP: What about me…??
NW: Ooppps….#awkward
TP: My best bits are Shed parties, SSRs, CBFs, all the laughs we have and of course the fab training runs on offer – intervals on a Tuesday, long Sunday morning adventures (preferably with Jelly Babies) – and the MWL…oh yes, and listening to tales of Texas…..get off my foot now Nick….
NW:  And the Ladies Captain…TP…can you stop pinching me now…??!

AJ: Would you rather give up chocolate or chips?

TP: Chips obviously — couldn’t be without chocolate!!
NW: I’ll give up the chocolate – there’s a shortage anyway with TP’s addiction…

AJ: Would you rather find true love or £100,000?

TP: That’s easy. £100,000!!….
NW: £100,000!!!

AJ: Would you rather sit on a cloud or walk on water?

NW: Walk on water…
TP: That would be useful if your boat sinks Captain…

AJ: Delicious choice: Swallow a fly or suck a brussel sprout?

TP: The fly….have had a fair few while out running already….
NW: Ummm..protein

AJ: Would you prefer to be super strong or super fast?

TP:  Super strong…I am already super fast….and I have cute muscles! 😉
NW:  Super Fast…I am already super strong..!  (flexes muscles)

AJ: Would you rather be a ninja or a pirate?

TP: A Pirate…of the Caribbean…with Johnny Depp…
NW:  A pirate obviously, I mean I’ve already got me boat, and I can walk on water….and I look like Johnny Depp
TP:  Johnny Vegas more like…

AJ: Would you like it to be always summer or always winter?

NW: Defo Summer…it’s not Christmas and there are no Christmas cracker jokes!!!…..ouch…!!!

AJ: Do you prefer to have your birthday or Christmas?

NW: Christmas jokes to put up with!!..OUCH!!!!

AJ: What location would you choose: to be on a beach or up a hill?

NW: A beach….you’ve got me thinking back to that desert island….
TP:  I’d rather be up a hill….escaping Nick’s desert island fantasies..!!

AJ: You guys seem to do a lot together as Captains…what famous double act would you compare yourselves too?

TP: I think Wham.  One talented member (me) and one who just follows behind….!!! 😉 ….

AJ:  Thanks Captains!!!!