News from the Cross Country County Champs, Enigma, First Saturday of the month and Ely.

Sunday’s Hertfordshire Cross Country Championships were run in extremely difficult conditions but every Spartan that ran did the club proud.

In the senior women’s race over 8,000 metres TRACY PEZ was the first Spartan home. She was 19th in 35 minutes 45 seconds. RHIANNON GRIFFIN was 30th in 38:45; PETA WILSON 45th in 42:52 and SHARON CROWLEY 56th in 57:23. The club’s women’s team were seventh.

The senior men’s race was over 12,000 metres. ANDREW PATTERSON was the first finisher from the club and was closely followed in by SIMON JACKSON and IAN YENNEY. Andrew was 27th in 44:59; Simon 31st in 45:26 and Ian 34th in 46:09. TODD GRAY, 57th in 50:10; ANDREW BENNETT, 81st in 54:36; DANIEL BATES, 89th in 56:23; THOMAS SAUKA, 90th in 56:42; JAMES SEALS, 98th in 58:35 and ANDY JAY, 106th in 63:18 made up the rest of the Spartans nine man team which was eighth overall.

The championships were in Cassiobury Park, Watford.

Grant Wins Enigma

On Saturday GRANT RAMSAY won the Milton Keynes Winter Enigma (New Year) Marathon won in 2 hours 43 minutes 33 seconds. His time was a bit slower than expected due to the awful conditions, but Grant was very happy with the way things went – it was a national championship qualifying time and a new course record! Due to flooding the venue was switched and the race involved 17 laps round a lake! Very challenging but enjoyable!

This was Grant’s fourth race victory in succession.

First Saturday 5K
LISA GRAY was the third woman over the line in the North Herts first Saturday of the month 5K race on Saturday morning with a time of 25 minutes 54 seconds. JOHN HARRIS was fourth overall in 21:16. Lots of mud and water to contend with!

New Year Indoor
Lea Valley hosted an indoor open graded meeting on New Years Day. The competition followed the usual format of heats seeded on expected performances, which made for some very close races over the first event of 60m. In round 1, STEVE MAYFIELD ran a personal best of 8.50 seconds earning second place in Heat 2. In round 2 he clocked 8.50 again, this time coming fourth in a race where just 0.04 separated 2nd and 5th. Next up was the 800 metres where JOHN HARRIS continued his return from injury coming 5th in heat 5 in 2:33.70. In the final event of the day, the 200m, STEVE MAYFIELD won his heat in an indoor personal best of 27.72 seconds.

Just two Spartans saw out the old year at a very windy Ely 10k. Despite the strong headwind from 4k to 8k, MADELEINE PRITCHARD was within 17 seconds of her personal best time, recording a new best time for 2013 of 46 minutes 8 seconds to finish 19th female of 211 finishers (149th of 553 finishers overall), with PAUL HOLGATE slowly recovering from his repetitive calf injury finishing in 495th position in a time of 63:05.

ANDREW PATTERSON tried the Pirton Boxing Day Run for the first time. It was good fun and nice to get out in the fresh air and work off some of the overindulgence of the holidays. 3.2miles doesn’t take over the whole day either. The route was around Pirton Recreation Ground a couple of times before a loop around the countryside and a final lap of the rec. It was all offroad and due to the recent rain it was rather boggy and slippery; which made it good cross country training. He was third overall in 18 minutes 46 seconds.

ADRIAN DONNELY was 18th in 22:09: TRACY STILES 155th in 32:20 and MELISSA TYLER 192nd in 39:04.

GRANT RAMSAY won the short course race taking 14 minutes 4 seconds for the 2.5 miles off road event.

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

• Cross country race four on Therfield Heath on Sunday 12th January
• Handicap 5K on Thursday 23rd January
• Cross country race five at Watford on Sunday 16th February
• Presentation Evening on Friday 28th February 2014
• Veterans Cross Country Championships in Royston on 16th March 2014.
• Off Road Challenge in Stevenage on Sunday 20th July 2014.
• Stevenage Marathon on Sunday 2nd November 2014.

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, Brittain Way, 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 9.30a.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 done very much running yet might prefer to start with a Thursday, Saturday or Monday session.

Try a few sessions before joining. Membership is only £35 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.

If you want to know more about the Spartans please contact Jim Brown (0793 968 7509), Vivienne Honey 07702 846304 or visit their website

More from Jim Brown (Press Officer) 0793 968 7509 or Vivienne Honey (Secretary) 07702 846304

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