Bests at Milton Keynes


There were golds galore for Fairlands Valley Spartans at the Hertfordshire Track and Field Championships held at Ridlins, Stevenage on the May Day Bank Holiday Monday.

There were three Spartan GOLDS in the men’s 1500 metres.  STEFFAN FORD won GOLD with 4 minutes 43.1 seconds in the 40 plus category; JOHN HARRIS won 50 plus GOLD with 5:09.9 and JIM BROWN won GOLD in the 60 plus with 6:44.7, sixteen seconds quicker than last year.  There were silvers for THOMAS SAUKA with 5:15.0 in the Vet 40 and KEN JUDE with 6:12.1 PB in the Vet 50.  STEVE SMITHSON took BRONZE in the Vet 40 with 6:02.3.  In addition seniors NICK GILL and KARTIK SHARMA ran 5:31.9 and 6:22.4 while Vet 40 STEVE GOUGH ran his 1500 in a new PB (personal best) 7:04.4.

There was a Spartan battle in the women’s 1500 metres.  CATHY CRAIG won GOLD in the 60 plus category with 7:09.58; MONICA SMITHSON GOLD in the 50 plus category with 7:12.32; PENNY SCHENKEL GOLD in the 40 plus with 7:13.61 and SHARON CROWLEY SILVER in the 50 plus with 7:15.01.

Penny won her second GOLD in the women’s 3,000 metres with 15 minutes 8.2 seconds.

In the 5,000 metres Jim won his second GOLD in the 5,000 with 24:05.4, eighteen seconds better than 2016; while Steffan took SILVER in his category with 17:49.7.

Steffan said it was a great return to the track after 25 years.  A former Cardiff AC runner, he took to the track again after three years of road running with Fairlands Valley Spartans.  The experience was amazing winning a gold in V40 1500m and 5000m.  The 5000m was tough running in the back straight in the wind without any protection and using back markers as a motivation to keep in the medals.  It was a learning experience after many years away from track but a happy return.

There were many other running, walking, throwing and jumping events on Monday:

Sharon Crowley won her hammer throw with a season’s best 16.95 metres; she won her 3K walk in 21:54 with a massive 53 seconds PB (personal best).  STEPHANIE MAYFIELD won the women’s 40 plus pole vault with 1.90 metres.

In the 100 metres TESSA STEPHENSON finished in 15.85 seconds taking GOLD in the women’s 50 plus and PETA WILSON in a PB 16.81 won GOLD in the 40 plus.  DAVE STEPHENSON won BRONZE in the men’s 50 plus 100 metres with 13.72 seconds.

In the men 50 plus category Dave Stephenson got a bronze in the Long Jump with a PB of 4.35 metres and a GOLD in the Shot Putt with 8.16m

Tessa Stephenson got GOLD in the shot with 7.95m and GOLD in long Jump with 3.35m.  Monica Brown won GOLD in the High jump W50 with 1.30m.  Andrea Westcott won the W40 high jump event.



CRAIG HALSEY and DAVID BOWKER were at the Pednor Five on Monday evening.  Craig come away with a podium, third overall and SILVER medal for Hertfordshire county championships, in a time of 27.44 on a tough undulating course.  David’s time was 36:29, earlier he had finished sixth in the five mile walking race with a personal best of 50:23.

TIM SABAN ran in the May Day 5 in Witham.  He finished 49th in 34:37.44


Milton Keynes Festival of Running

Three Spartans were out on Sunday for the second MK Rocket 5km.  Despite a horrible “incline” for the first half mile, the last part of the course made up for it with a great PB potential course, with near perfect weather to match.

Stuart Haycroft was first Spartan home with a new PB of 19:26, his first time breaking the 20 minute mark for 5K.

Victoria Mack Brett knocked over two minutes off her PB to break the 25 minute mark with an outstanding time of 24.32.  She said there was great support coming into the finish.

Claire Hyde also continued an outstanding return to form, dropping 4 minutes of her recent best to a time of 25:27

It was the Milton Keynes marathon on Monday. Nice cool sunny day, very well organised and a varied/interested course.  Great Spartans support and Grant Ramsay paced the three hour runners and finished in 2 hours 59 minutes exactly.

ISSY GREEN finished well with 3:43:41, which is good for age and a new PB by 8 minutes 37 seconds.  She was 33rd woman overall and 18th in her category.

CLAIRE PULLEN also achieved a Good For Age qualifying time with her 3:49:09.

TRISH HOPPER finished in 4:15:59 and ADRIAN BUSOLINI in 4:19:39.

KAREN LIDDLE and BARRY KING ran together and completed the marathon in 4.46.05.  They said it was a tough undulating course and the weather was a mixture of rain and sunshine.  After 12 miles they were on course for new PBs running 9.45 minutes per mile but couldn’t hold and eventually finished a slower time.  Both were happy in the end completing the marathon.

ROB SHAW completed the 26.2 miles in 4:57:33 with THERESA KEAST coming in with 5:52:29.

In the MK Half Marathon CAROLINE CROFT’s time was 2 hours 10 minutes 56 seconds.


PB for Verity

VERITY FISHER broke her 10K personal best on Sunday.  Despite 18 degrees and a 20mph wind, making a tough second half she finished the Langcroft 10K in 49:37.  Now she hopes to build on that during the mid week league races.  To give an idea of the conditions there were three sub 30 runners in the race but the best could only do 31:20.  DAN SUTTON finished in 51:43.



Three Spartans enjoyed dry, mild and still conditions for the lunch-time race round the Serpentine on Friday.  THOMAS SAUKA was 95th in 20:19; DAVID BOWKER 123rd in 21:13 and JIM BROWN 218th in 24:19.


Winchester Wind

On Monday evening, Tessa & Dave Stephenson began their outdoor track & field season, in very cold and blustery conditions, at Winchester Stadium. Tessa started off with 15.9 seconds, her fastest 100m for four years and also managed 82.2 seconds in the 400m, 1.05m in the High Jump and 6.65m in the Triple Jump. Meanwhile, Dave jumped 1.40m in the High Jump, equalling his personal best and then produced 8.35m, his best ever Shot Putt with the 6kg weight. He also managed 4.13m in the Long Jump and 70 seconds in the 400m as conditions deteriorated.


Duathlon Debut

HANNAH and JON SYPULA ran their first ever Duathlon today at Ashridge House in the Sprint distance which was 5km run, followed by 22km cycle and then a 2.5km to finish.

They both loved it and would recommend the event to anyone considering a multi sport event.  Beautiful scenery and well organised with great support from the marshalls.  Their times were Hannah 1:52:05 and Jon 1:34:56.:

In the Ashridge Duathlon race 3 BRIAN WHITE competed in the 10k run – 44k bike – 5k run event.  He finished in 2.39.20, 40th position and first Vet 60.  That’s his fastest time in the series of three which is impressive since only one week after London Marathon.


Parkrun Reports

Fastest Spartan woman of the parkrun weekend NATALIE LAWRENCE continues to put in impressive performances so soon after recently giving birth.  She was first woman to finish at Weymouth parkrun, in 19 mins 22 secs just a week after a very good run in the London Marathon off a necessarily short preparation.

STEFFAN FORD was the fastest Spartan man of the weekend, finishing second in 18:53 at Stevenage parkrun. DARREN EMMERSON was 21st in 22:39, MARTIN DUDLEY 22nd in 22:40 and MARK BEASLEY finished in 22:58 to also claim a top 30 finish.

TRACY PEZ was first Spartan woman to finish in 29:15, with PENNY SCHENKEL in 30:06 and HILARY DAVIES in 32:02 the next Spartan finishers.

In all 21 Spartans took part in Fairlands Valley, the others being NEIL ROBINSON (25:01),  PAUL MAGUIRE (26:11), KARTIK SHARMA (26:22), JIM BROWN (notching a new course PB in 26:35), JOHN MCCALL (28:58), PAUL HOLGATE (30:00), SALLY PHILLIPS (32:27), CALLUM BEASLEY (32:29), STEVEN DOBNER (32:33), KAREN PALMER (37:13), CAREN THAIN (38:10), JAMES SOUTH (38:14), SELVAN NAICKER (38:20) and EMMA MARTIN (44:46).

In other local parkruns, CRAIG BACON ran the fast circuit in Verulamium Park in St Albans, finishing 76th in 21:56. CHRIS HOLLAND went to Ellenbrook Fields where the grass portions are now drying nicely and conditions are quickening up. He finished 36th in 21:52, a new course PB.

Further afield, EMMA POULTER ran a new course PB at Brundall, finishing in a time of 35:48 while DARRYL STEVENS was at Portsmouth Lakeside where he finished in 38:40.


Off Road 10K

Spartan JOHN HARRIS recently ran the Childerley Estate Off Road 10K in 40 minutes 32 seconds.  He was sixth overall in the Cambridgeshire event and first male 50 plus.


London Update

No less than 26 Spartans including several first timers enjoyed almost ideal running conditions as they all completed the London Marathon.

Achieving a championship qualifying time GRANT RAMSAY finished in 2 hours 42 minutes 22 seconds.  That put him in the top 1% in the field at 404th and 67th in his category.  The second of three Spartans, a fantastic achievement, to beat the three hour barrier was ANDREW PATTERSON in 2:47:55.

JASON ANDERSON ran nearly perfect splits taking 12 minutes off his personal best to finish in 2 hours 52 minutes 28 seconds.  He went through halfway in 1:26:08.  Jason collapsed near the finish line last year.  No problems this time.

NATALIE LAWRENCE was the fastest female from Fairlands Valley in 3 hours 19 minutes 38 minutes.  An incredible race considering she had her third baby just eleven weeks ago.  Three other Spartan women beat four hours.  They were NICOLA KENNEDY in 3:42:18; MICHELLE REEVES in 3:43:22 and KERSTIN WEINER in 3:56:28.

Marathon first timers CLAIRE EMMERSON and SOPHIE COWAN met where the starts merged about three miles into the race and helped, and chatted, each other all the way to the finish.  Claire took 4 hours 30 minutes 55 seconds and Sophie 4:35:14.

JENNY GARRETT was another Spartan first-timer coming in with an impressive 4:18:33.  She ran a perfect debut marathon, with all 5K splits evenly paced.  Jenny went through half way in 2.09 and finished race in 4.18.  An amazing debut.  Fairlands Valley Spartans are known for preparing runners from ambition to finishing the London Marathon and celebrated more first time successes with MARK COLLINS in 3:40:06 after an injury-interrupted preparation, JENNY PAUL in 4:47:12, WAYNE McMILLAN in 6:02:55.

BRIAN WHITE was 16th in the Vet (60 plus) category with 3:15:05 and TRUDIE MOLLOY ran a new personal best (PB) of 4:50:21.

Dozens of Spartan volunteers helped make the event possible by working beyond the finish line getting the correct kit to tired runners after their 26.2 miles.  Well done and thank you the Fairlands Valley baggage buses crew.

The other Spartans making it to the Pall Mall finish line were PETER SMITH 3:17:05; RICHARD KENNEDY 3:21:42; DEAN CARPENTER 3:33:27; ANDY PRIOR 4:07:33; CAROL PAUL 4:25:57; DEREK WOOD 4:34:39; ERICA GRAYSON 4:43:07; MARK and CALLUM BEASLEY both in 5:14:30; TONY ARGYROU in 5:32:21; and LUCY WALSH in 5:46:59.


Place overall Name Category Finish Comments
404 GRANT RAMSAY 40-44 2:42:22 67MV40
688 ANDREW PATTERSON 18-39 2:47:55
1011 JASON ANDERSON 18-39 2:52:28 PB (12 minutes)
3812 BRIAN WHITE 60-64 3:15:05 16MV60
4124 PETER SMITH 50-54 3:17:05
4509 NATALIE LAWRENCE 18-39 3:19:38
4808 RICHARD KENNEDY 18-39 3:21:42
6912 DEAN CARPENTER 40-44 3:33:27
8243 MARK COLLINS 18-39 3:40:06 First marathon
8702 NICOLA KENNEDY 18-39 3:42:18
8909 MICHELLE REEVES 18-39 3:43:22
12207 KERSTIN WEINER 45-49 3:56:28
14992 ANDREW PRIOR 45-49 4:07:33
17651 JENNY GARRETT 45-49 4:18:33 First marathon
19536 CAROL PAUL 55-59 4:25:57
20842 CLAIRE EMMERSON 45-49 4:30:55 First marathon
21729 DEREK WOOD 18-39 4:34:39
21881 SOPHIE COWAN 18-39 4:35:14 First marathon
23883 ERICA GRAYSON 45-49 4:43:07
24906 JENNY PAUL 50-54 4:47:12 First marathon
25621 TRUDIE MOLLOY 45-49 4:50:21 Personal Best
30589 MARK BEASLEY 55-59 5:14:30
30590 CALLUM BEASLEY 18-39 5:14:30
33344 TONY ARGYROU 50-54 5:32:21
35001 LUCY WALSH 18-39 5:46:59
36425 WAYNE McMILLAN 40-44 6:02:55 First marathon


Coming Events

Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks.  The opportunities include the County 1500 and other track championships in Stevenage on Monday 1st May.  Others are:

  • EMAC Track and Field at Bedford on Wednesday 3rd May.
  • First Mid Week Road Race League match in Bishops Stortford on Wednesday 10th May.
  • Ross Peers Half Marathon on Sunday 14th May.
  • Summer Solstice 10K at St Albans on Tuesday 16th May.
  • Stirling Marathon on Sunday 21st May.
  • Second Mid Week Road Race League in Stevenage on Wednesday 24th May.
  • EMAC Track and Field at Cambridge on Wednesday 7th June.
  • Third Mid Week Road Race League in Hitchin on Wednesday 14th June.
  • Herts Veteran 10K Championships at Welwyn on Sunday 25th June.
  • Fourth Mid Week Road Race League from Ridlins on Wednesday 28th June.
  • EMAC Track and Field at Milton Keynes on Wednesday 5th July.
  • Mob Match at Welwyn Garden City on Thursday 13th July.
  • Fairlands Valley Challenge from Stevenage on 15th and 16th July
  • EMAC Track and Field at Stevenage on Wednesday 26th July.
  • Fairlands Valley Relays in Stevenage on Thursday 27th July.
  • Herts Senior 5K Championships at Hatfield on Wednesday 30th August.
  • Herts Veteran 5K Championships at Hatfield on Wednesday 13th September.
  • Herts Senior 10K Championships at Standalone on Sunday 1st October.
  • Peterborough Half Marathon on Sunday 8th October.
  • Stevenage Half Marathon on Sunday 22nd October.
  • St Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 19th November.  Enter fast.
  • Hertfordshire Five Mile Championship for Veterans at Hatfield on Sunday 26th Nov.
  • Bass Belle 10 near Royston on Sunday 26th November.

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