GOLDEN TRACK GIRLS, Twenty’s Plenty and a few Halves

Medals on the track, a 20 miler and a few halves.

Six Spartans ran 20 mile races on Sunday as part of their Spring Marathon preparation.

Four were at the Finchley 20 which was actually based in Ruislip.  YLLKA ISTREFI cut her personal best (PB) by 3 minutes 41 seconds when she finished 181st out of the 485 finishers in 2 hours 34 minutes 16 seconds.

RICHARD KENNEDY was 269th in 2:49:22 and NICOLA HABERLAND 287th in 2:52:07.

JIM BROWN put the nightmare of Bramley three weeks ago behind him by running within the limits of his current fitness and finishing 311th in 2 hours 56 minutes 16 seconds – an improvement of 15 minutes 55 seconds.

RUTH REILLY ran the Milton Keynes 20 on Sunday.  Her time was -3:18:35.  BERT BUTLER finished the same race in 2:54:30.

BMAF Golden Girls

Spartans were in action at the BMAF (British Masters Athletics Federation) Championships at the weekend.  On Saturday 7 March MONICA BROWN competed in the women over 50s 60 metre sprint.  She ran in the second heat to win in a time of 8.97 and then went on to win the Gold in the final in a season’s best time of 8.85 seconds.

 Also running on the Saturday IRIS HORNSEY competed in the women’s over 70 400 metres where she finished in a time of 1:39.4.

On Sunday 8 March Iris was again at Lee Valley running in the 800m which she ran in a season’s best time of 3:45.21 to win the gold medal – a good 10 seconds better than she ran in the BMAF Inter Area competition last week.

CHRISTOPHER WESTCOTT was delighted to claim the silver medal in the British Masters Indoor Championships on Sunday.  He ran a new veteran personal best (PB) of 2:06.58 to clinch second place in the V40 800m.  Christopher has now improved his best three times in the last four weeks 

GRANT RAMSAY was fourth in the BMAF Indoor Championships over 1500 metres.  Although he missed out on third place by just one 100th of a second he was happy with his time – his best for nine years.

A Few Halve 

Six Spartans ran the popular Cambridge Half Marathon and two achieved new personal bests.  TIM SABAN ran a new PB of 1 hour 35 minutes 11 seconds while LIZ MORGAN cut hers by a massive 11 minutes to 2:18:38 

SIMON JACKSON was the fastest Spartan.  He was 19th out of the 3,597 finishers in 1:17:47.  Recovering from illness SUZY HAWKINS jogged round in 1:41:15 and BEV HARLOW finished in 2 hours 2 minutes 48 seconds.

It was a lovely day for running and a well organised race.


Position Name Time Comments
19 SIMON JACKSON 1:17:47  
275 LIAM HERBERT 1:31:28  
409 TIM SABAN 1:35:11 PB
746 SUZY HAWKINS (F) 1:41:15  
2328 BEV HARLOW (F) 2:02:48  
3099 LIZ MORGAN (F) 2:18:38 PB (11 minutes)


3,597 finishers 

MADDIE PRITCHARD improved her personal best (PB) by six minutes to 1:36:50 when she ran the Surrey Half Marathon in Woking on Sunday morning.

DANIEL BATES scored a second personal best (PB) this weekend, this time in the half marathon distance down in the Cirque Ports town of Lydd in the Romney Marsh area of Kent.  One of Britian’s flattest courses so a good place to go for a PB if the conditions are right. He managed to gain a PB by 56 seconds in the race with a time of 01:31:51 but was unable to get a sub 1:30 because of the strong wind towards the finish.  Finishing 43rd out of 394 runners was a great result and hopefully that sub1h30 will come at the Welwyn half in two weeks time.

ANDREA WESCTOTT achieved a new personal best (PB) of 2 hours 3 minutes 49 seconds in the Milton Keynes Half Marathon.  PAUL HOLGATE finished in 2:11:43, 55 seconds quicker than last year and 1:17 better than this year’s Watford Half.  He says he’s looking forward to Silverstone next weekend.  CRAIG BACON was the fastest Spartan.  He was 290th out of the 1,921 finishers in 1:39:44. 

SOPHIE COWAN was very pleased with her run in the Milton Keynes 10K.  She took more than two minutes off her personal best to finish in 52:09.  LINDA GREENE took 1 hour 10 minutes 24 seconds.


Cross Country Medals

 The individual results from the cross country league have been published.  Over the five race series MADDIE PRITCHARD was second senior woman with MICHELLE REEVES fifth and NIKKI WILBY seventh. 

JULIE SIMMONS won the women over 55 category and ANDY NEATHAM was third man over 40.



 Daniel Bates and Tim Saban headed off to Malahide in Ireland for their first ever international parkrun.  Located eight miles north of the capital, Dublin, breezy conditions were in store for the one lap & a half course located in the beautiful woodland grounds of Malahide castle. Daniel carried on with the good form in 5kms this year by finishing 10th (first Spartan home and first person from the UK) out of 403 runners in 19-25, gaining a new 5km parkrun personal best, beating his previous time by thirty seconds. Celebrations were to be had at the finishing line but there was more as Tim came home 21st with a new personal best of 20-14.

 Back in the UK and in south west London at the Bushy Parkrun, Verity Fisher got her 5km parkrun pb and first sub-23 minute time in 22-48.  However this course always attracts a huge amount of runners and she finished 206th out of 1013 runners. Daniel Sutton was 113th in 21:16.

 Down at the Spartans favourite local parkrun course in Hertford, Andy Jay got a new parkrun PB at Panshanger. He finished the course in 26-31 and come home in 84th out of 223 runners. Steve Watkins came in 179th with a time of 33-15.  

 Running London?

 With seven weeks to go so far 22 Fairlands Valley Spartans have declared that they are running this April’s London Marathon.  Some have qualified on time; some came out of the draw; many are running for charity.


 Please support them.  Over the next few weeks several stories on the Spartan entries will be released.  To get the ball rolling

This year Nick will be running the London Marathon for the second time, the first in 2011, after his name being drawn in the club ballot. 

After being given this opportunity Nick decided to run for a charity and has chosen Braintrust.  

They are a UK Brain tumour charity, dedicated to helping people affected by a brain tumour. They improve clinical care for brain tumour sufferers and provide co-ordinated support in their search for treatment. They provide support and advice from the point of diagnosis and beyond.

A fellow Spartan, Caren Bridgman, spoke of the great support the charity offered her during her illness and beyond including support when dealing with her concerns and worries, explain the terminology, track her treatment even helped with travelling costs. Caren explained the difficulties she faced so I decided that this was the charity I would like to support in some way. 

My just giving page is


Got a place in the London Marathon?   

Got a Place in the London Marathon?  Every year Fairlands Valley Spartans successful train thirty or more people, many of them first timers, to run the London Marathon.  There are training groups from starters to fast fives to suit everyone.  Why not have a look at or contact Jim Brown 0793 968 7509 or Karen Palmer 0773 467 8566?  Newcomers very welcome.


Coming Events 

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

  • Silverstone Half Marathon on Sunday 15th March.
  • Handicap 5K in Stevenage on Thursday evening 19th March.
  • County Cross Country Championships for Veterans in Trent Park on Sunday 22nd March.
  • Welwyn Half Marathon on Sunday 22nd March.
  • Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 27th March.
  • Orion 15 classic cross country on Saturday 28th March.
  • Oakley 20 mile road race on Sunday 29th March.
  • Maidenhead Easter Ten on Friday 3rd April.
  • Sandy 10 mile road race on Sunday 12th April.
  • Flitwick 10K on Sunday 19th April.
  • London Marathon on Sunday 26th April.
  • County 1500 metres track championship in Stevenage on Monday 4th May.
  • County 5 miles senior championships at Pednor on Monday evening 4th May.
  • Midweek Road Race League race in Stevenage on Tuesday 12th May.
  • Midweek Road Race League race in Chingford on Wednesday 27th May.
  • Midweek Road Race League race in Harlow on Wednesday 17th June.
  • Midweek Road Race League race in Hitchin on Thursday 2nd July.
  • Bushey 10K including Herts Veterans road championships on Sunday 5th July.
  • County 10000 metres track championship in Biggleswade on Thursday 9th July.
  • Midweek Mob Match in Welwyn Garden City on Thursday 16th July.
  • Fairlands Valley Off Road Challenge on Sunday 19th 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.
  • Standalone 10K (inc. country senior champs) in Letchworth on Sunday 4th October.
  • Great Eastern Run in Peterborough on 11th October.
  • Stevenage Half Marathon (includes County Veterans) on Sunday 1st November.
  • St. Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 15th November.
  • 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 £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), Karen Palmer (07734678566) or visit their website 



More from Jim Brown (Press Officer) 0793 968 7509 or Karen Palmer (Secretary) 07734678566



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