The Fairlands Valley Challenge is this weekend and sees the introduction of a new 6 mile event on the Saturday! Come along and get involved. Also news from many events this week, including the Ware 10.

The Fairlands Valley Challenge is this weekend, 18th and 19th July and you can get involved.

What is it? An off-road running and walking event that starts and finishes at Marriotts Sports Centre, Stevenage. It is of the most popular events that Fairlands Valley Spartans hosts – and has been staged for the last 20 years. Participants use a route description and a map to self-navigate around countryside and villages surrounding Stevenage, passing through checkpoints where volunteers provide refreshments and encouragement. Unlike lots of other races, the course is not marshalled so participants do make minor variations to the route they take from start to finish! This year the Spartans are adding something new to run / walk, making it a weekend event. A brand new six mile Challenge is being offered on Saturday afternoon 18th July, whilst the classic Challenges of 12 miles, 18 miles, marathon (26.2 miles) and ultra marathon (50K) are offered on Sunday 19thJuly starting from 8a.m. with the last finishers coming in any time up to 7p.m.

Why is it important? The Fairlands Valley Challenge is extremely popular with runners and walkers internationally (yes- entrants have travelled from the U.S. and Europe to take part!). It helps build the reputation of the Spartans in the running community, and makes people come back to the club’s events for years to come! Any surpluses help to keep the club going and get more local people involved in running.

How can I be involved? You can run! Have a look at for more details. Or you can help! The success of the Challenge is down to the large number of volunteers, and their time, energy and effort in organising and putting on a safe enjoyable event for all participants. Without volunteers, many races would simply not take place. This year, we need all the help we can get, especially on Sunday 19th July. There are lots of jobs to cover: from manning checkpoints, to providing refreshments and helping at the finish line … all jobs, no matter how big or small they seem, ensure participants have the best possible experience on the day. You don’t need to have helped out before, or to hand over the whole of your day to the event: any time you can offer to help is appreciated. To say thank you, anyone who helps on Sunday 19thJuly can claim a free entry into the Saturday 6 mile event, where they will collect a highly desirable FVS branded kit bag as part of their finisher reward!

If you can help at the event, please contact Liam Herbert or Maddie Pritchard via the club’s Facebook, Twitter, forum or by email to They will be able to give you more information on what jobs are and what is involved in volunteering.

Ware Tens

A number of Spartans made the short trip to Ware for the New Ware 10, which this year was held in its new slot of July, instead of October and for the first time included a 10K option addition to the usual 10 miles.

The course was multi terrain and included beautiful tow paths following the canal between Ware and Hertford.

It was a really well organised event, superb and enthusiastic marshalling, with a technical shirt, tea and cake at the finish.

DANIEL BATES ran very well to finish in 1 hour 16 minutes 56 seconds, considering just 24 hours earlier he arrived home from an 11 hour flight from Vancouver after a four week holiday.

The other ten mile Spartans were Mark Goodwin 01:18:56; Andy Jay 01:27:24; Marie Colucci 01:38:16; Dawn Easby 01:38:20; Nick Witcombe 01:40:10 and Jan Fry 01:48:09.

MARTIN NICHOLAS ran the 10K in 53 minutes 33 seconds.

Ranscombe Twelve Hours

On Saturday Spartan CAROL PAUL ran the Ranscombe Summer Challenge in Kent. It was a 12 hour off road event which consisted of laps of 3.8 miles which were very hilly with 3870 feet of ascent. In very hot conditions Carol completed 38 miles in 8 hours 28 minutes 55 seconds.

Bishops Stortfold

Recently JOHN NELMS completed the Bishops Stortford 10 mile multi terrain race in 77 minutes 4 seconds. He said it was a really nice event – friendly and well organised.

Walking With A Purpose

DAVID BOWKER competed for Hertfordshire in the Inter-County Match in Crawley on Sunday. He raced in the 3K walk where he was 14th out of 24 in a new personal best of 17 minutes 24 seconds.

Parkrun Reports

LIZ CARVELL completed St. Albans Parkrun on Saturday in a time of 28:00. It was very hot. She was second in her age category and 226th out of 321.

Relays in the Park, Thursday 30th July

The Relays in the Park will be on Thursday evening 30th July. Join this fun team and enter your team now. Teams consist of three women or five men. Each runner races over a three kilometre stage in Fairlands Valley Park.
Great for running and the design of the course makes it great for spectating.
The event will also incorporate the Hertfordshire AAA Senior & Veteran Championships on Thursday 30th July at 7.30pm. It’s being held for the 23rd time.
For an entry form and further details please visit You must enter at least one team in advance.

Race headquarters will be in Marriotts Sports Centre, SG2 8UT but the games begin in the park at 7.30p.m. so allow plenty of time.

Coming Events

Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks including the:

Midweek Mob Match in Welwyn Garden City (10K) on Thursday 16th July.
Fairlands Valley Off Road Challenge Weekend on Sunday 18th and 19th July.
EVAC Track & Field League on Wednesday 29th July.
County and Open 3K Relay Championship in Stevenage on Thursday 30th July.
County 5K Senior Championships on 2nd September.
County 5K Veterans Championship on 16th September.
Club Handicap 10 mile race on Sunday 20th September.
Standalone 10K (inc. country senior champs) in Letchworth on Sunday 4th October.
Great Eastern Run in Peterborough on Sunday 11th October.
Abingdon Marathon on Sunday 18th October.
Stevenage Half Marathon (includes County Veterans) on Sunday 1st November.
St. Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 15th November.
Spartans Christmas Party on Friday 4th December.
County 10 miles Veterans Championship at Buntingford on 27th December.

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 membership. 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


More from Jim Brown (Press Officer) 0793 968 7509; Andy Neatham 0777 197 5499 and 01438 816889 or Karen Palmer (Secretary) 0773 467 8566

Leave a Reply