Fairlands Valley Spartans won their first ever County Cross Country Championship team medals as the championships came to Stevenage on Sunday.
The Spartan men’s team “A” team of CRAIG HALSEY, ANDREW PATTERSON, GRANT RAMSAY, BRIAN BRACKSTONE, PAUL HEWITT and PAUL WHYTE won BRONZE by racing round 12 kilometres on a “real” cross country course made muddier by Saturday’s heavy rain.
Craig was 12th in 43:51; Andrew 17th in 44:38; Grant 19th in 44:48; Brian 24th in 45:35; Paul Hewitt 51st in 49:31 and Paul Whyte 72nd in 53:07.
There was a good Spartan turnout for such a tough event. In addition DAVE RIDDELL was 75th over the three laps in 53:22; DAVE BOWKER 92nd in 56:18; NICK CROWLEY 93rd in 56:22; RICHARD KENNEDY 99th in 57:53; PETE SMITH 106th in 59:42; ANDY JAY 123rd in 65:42 and JIM BROWN 125th in 67:07.
Spartan NATALIE LAWRENCE went top ten in the women’s championship. Over two laps, eight kilometres she was ninth in 32 minutes 7 seconds. MADDIE PRITCHARD was 39th in 40:15; NICOLA HABERLAND 44th in 40:48; CLAIRE COX 48th in 41:37; SOPHIE COWAN 54th in 43:34; PETA WILSON 55th in 44:37; SUE HAMER 58th in 45:43 and SHARON CROWLEY 66th in 49:34.
The women’s team were seventh, just behind two other teams. Fairlands Valley Spartans were one of just two clubs who finished with at least two complete teams in both the senior men’s and senior women’s races. The next cross country race for the Spartans will be this Sunday, 17th January in Watford.
Hong Kong Captain
Club Captain DANIEL BATES ran the “Green Race” on Hong Kong Island, China on Saturday. This was a 15 kilometres off-road mountain race.
He finished 59th out of 181 runners in a time of 1 hour 53 minutes 18 seconds. It was tough going, probably the hardest race he has ever done due to heat, fitness and terrain (yes, even tougher than his Jungfrau Marathon back in 2013) but hopefully a good warm up for next Sunday’s Hong Kong marathon (paperwork pending). Daniel loved every minute of it though his legs were jelly afterwards.
Mississippi Blues Marathon – Saturday, 9th January 2016
ROGER BIGGS travelled to Jackson, the State Capital of Mississippi for a marathon to remember one of the legends of the blues, B B King, who died last year.
A tough course starting and finishing at the Jackson Convention Center. While the hills kept coming, it was the weather that had the biggest effect on the race. Based on the 5 hours that Roger took, the first hour was light rain; for the next three hours the weather was almost perfect for running; the last hour was a torrential downpour, and a thunderstorm that threatened to ‘Black Flag’ the event.
A soaked Roger finished the Marathon in 4:56:15, for 646th out of 754 finishers.
On Saturday CAROL PAUL ran the Fowlmead marathon at the Fowlmead country park near Deal in Kent. It was a six lap trail marathon with a hilly out and back leg to get on to the lap. The hills seemed to get bigger with each lap. It was a bit wet and muddy underfoot at times but Carol completed the marathon in 5:05:56.
Verity 100th in 100th
There was a celebration at Panshanger Park as a number of Spartans turned out to support VERITY FISHER as she joined the parkrun 100 Club in very tough, muddy conditions. As if fate had decreed, Verity crossed the line as 100th finisher in 26mins 57secs wearing a “100 parkruns” sash to crown a special achievement.
First Spartan to finish was JOHN NELMS (29th out of 294 in 22:18) on his first visit to the venue. TIM ROBINSON was second Spartan home (65th, 25:08) with VISHY SHAH not far behind (75th, 25:34).
Other Spartans running at Panshanger were DANIEL SUTTON (101st, 26:57), ANDY JAY (109th, 27:27), EMMA KINSEY (153rd, 29:54), DEBBIE RAINES (163rd, 30:22), KAREN PALMER (177th, 30:49), LESLEY JEIVE (179th, 30:50, a new course PB) and HEATHER MOLONEY (224th, 33:09).
Elsewhere, JAMES KILROY ran at Norwich for the first time, finishing 181st of 550 runners in a time of 24:26 despite having to start from the back as he was accompanied by Sasha, his Dad’s dog, enjoying her first parkrun while up in Newcastle ROGER HARDMAN finished 240th of 527 runners in a new course PB time of 26:34.
Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks including the:
• Quiz Night at Marriotts on Saturday 16th January.
• Fourth cross country league race in Watford on Sunday 17th January.
• Handicap 5K in Stevenage on Thursday 21st January.
• Fred Hughes 10 including the County Ten Mile Championships for Veterans on Sunday 24th January.
• Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 29th January.
• South of England Cross Country Championships in London on Saturday 30th January.
• Watford Half Marathon including the County Championships for Veterans on Sunday 7th February.
• Fifth and final cross country league race on Therfield Heath on Sunday 14th February.
• County Veterans Cross Country Championships on Sunday 13th March (probably Watford).
• Finchley 20 on Sunday 13th March.
• Maidenhead Easter Ten on Friday 25th March.
• County 20 Miles Championships at Oakley on Sunday 3rd April.
• Halstead Marathon, including Hertfordshire County Championships for seniors and veterans, on Sunday 8th May.
• Stevenage Half Marathon, a Stevenage 70 event, on Sunday 6th November.
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 affiliation. Concessions are available. Membership forms are available on the Spartans website www.fvspartans.org.uk 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 www.fvspartans.org.uk