News of all the Spartan awards at the 2014 presentation evening plus the weekend’s race reports

GRANT RAMSAY and YLLKA ISTREFI are Fairlands Valley Spartans new club champions.  Having won the short and long distance championship Grant was the obvious candidate for the overall male award.  In just a few months of Spartan membership Yllka improved enough to win the women’s long distance championship and come second in the short so she took the overall female championship.  Grant is champion of champions. 

Fairlands Valley Spartans gathered at Chesfield Downs on Friday evening for their Presentation Evening and Dinner – “Champions Night” and a chance to celebrate many other achievements during 2014.  A total of 75 women and 96 men recorded times in the club’s short distance championship; 54 women and 65 men in the long. 

MADDIE PRITCHARD won the most improved female award and the short distance women’s championship with a score of 71.2%.  Yllka Istrefi was second on 67.6% and NIKKI WILBY third with 61.0%. 

HELEN NUTTALL (73.8%); JENNY BIRKIN (67.0%); MICHELLE REEVES (66.6%); JULIE SIMMONS (66.2%); CLARE MOORE (65.6%) and ISABEL GREEN (62.1%) had good averages but only recorded times for two out of the minimum of three qualifying distances.  Similarly Julie (82.1%); IRIS HORNSEY (80.2%) and BARBARA WILSON (75.8%) had amazing age related scores but for only two distances. 

GRANT RAMSAY won the men’s short distance championship with an excellent 77.53% with CHRISTOPHER WESTCOTT second on 74.3% and ANDY NEATHAM close behind on 74.1%.  Most improved male DAVIE STAFFORD was fourth on 68.9%.   

YLLKA ISTREFI won the women’s long distance championship with 63.9%.  Scores are calculated from the best three of 10 miles; half marathon; 20 miles and full marathon during the whole calendar year.  NICOLA HABERLAND was second on 57.2% and ANDREA WESTCOTT third with 52.0%.  JEANETTE COLLINS was not far behind on 50.0%. 

Looking to 2015 several other women recorded good long distance scores but for only two distances.  They included Maddie Pritchard (65.8%); Isabel Green (59.4%); Clare Moore (57.7%); BEV HARLOW (56.9%); RUTH REILLY (56.3%); LISA GRAY (55.8%) and VICKY NASH (52.9%).

Completing his double Grant Ramsay won the men’s championship with 78.3% with Chris Westcott second on 72.0% and Davie Stafford third with 68.0%.  Todd Gray was fourth on 64.1% and Pete Smith snapping at his heels on 64.0%.  ANDREW PATTERSON (73.3%); SIMON JACKSON (72.1%) and GRAHAM BLACKBURN (65.7%) had good averages but for only two qualifying distances. 

Fairlands Valley Spartans value their veterans as well as their younger runners and also present annual age related awards.  The winners in the women’s short distance age related championship were 1st Tracy Pez; 2nd Beverley Harlow and 3rd Sharon Crowley.  Jan Fry, Jeanette Collins and Sharon Crowley were the top three in the long distance awards.

 For the men BARRY OSBORNE, Andy Neatham and JIM BROWN were the top three in the short championship with Chris Westcott; Pete Smith and Steve Elder top three for the longer contest.

SOPHIE COWAN was Starter of the Year having made great progress from starting to run with the club to now training with the mainstream groups.

IRIS HORNSEY and STEVE MAYFIELD were the club’s track and field champions. 

ISABEL GREEN and NICK WITCOMBE won the Captains’ Awards for their participation in the Mid Week and Cross Country leagues while TESSA and DAVE STEPHENSON received the Chair’s Award for maintaining the success of the Spartan Starter group.

The Spartan of the Year is ANDY PRIOR who stepped up to become an inspirational and dedicated head coach during 2014. 

Special mention was made of ROGER BIGGS who ran his 800th marathon during 2014.  Also ANDY NEATHAM; CHRIS WESTCOTT; STEVE MAYFIELD and MADDIE PRITCHARD who broke several club track records during the year.  GRANT RAMSAY won a BRONZE medal at the European Marathon Championships at part of Team GB and he broke the club’s 5,000 metres record for runners over age 35.


Short distance championships consist of the best three from 1500 metres; 5 kilometres; 5 miles and 10 kilometres.  Long distance championships the best three from 10 miles; half marathon; 20 miles and full marathon.


Another PB for Yllka at Serpentine

YLLKA ISTREFI had qualified for the “A” race by squeezing under 22 minutes in her last 5K road race but on Friday she made another big improvement by completing the Hyde Park race in just 21 minutes 19 seconds.  That’s 39 seconds faster than ever before.  She was 134th out of the 282 finishers in the popular lunch time event.


Two PBs and a Win at Berkhamsted Half Marathon 

New female club champion YLLKA ISTREFI burst through the 100 minute barrier at the Berkhamsted Half Marathon.  Despite the hills and wind on exposed sections of the course she improved her personal best (PB) by 1 minute 38 seconds.  She was 178th out of the 1,010 runners in 1 hour 39 minutes 3 seconds.  New male club champion GRANT RAMSAY was fourth overall in the event and first veteran runner in 1 hour 17 minutes 34 seconds. 

TIM SABAN improved his personal best by 1 minute 11 seconds to 1:36:04.  He was 126th.


ADAM MIMPRESS was 67th in 1:31:27 and TIM ROBINSON 554th in 1:53:57 

Medal for Jim 

JIM BROWN had recovered sufficiently from a very bad race experience two weeks ago to win his first county road medal for many years on Sunday.  He completed a club short distance championship series for this year by finishing the Berkhamsted Five mile race which was the County Championship for veterans.  Jim was third veteran (60 plus) and 100th out of the 709 finishers in 40 minutes 5 seconds 

Jim had run Friday’s Serpentine 5K in a year’s best time of 24:44 and already had a 10K “in the bank” from New Year’s Day.

The short distance championship is calculated from the best of three out of 1500 metres; 5 kilometres; 5 miles and 10 kilometres.  Improvements can be made right through to 31st December.

Spartans At British Masters

Spartans Chris Westcott, Monica Brown and Iris Hornsey were selected to represent Eastern Veterans in the British Masters Inter Area Track and Field Competition at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre.

There were eight regional teams in the men’s competition and seven in the women’s. 

Chris was chosen to compete in the male 40 plus 800 metres and 4×200 metres relay.  He ran an excellent 800 in 2:08.25 to come second, just a half second behind the leader.  That broke the club’s 800 metres record.  Later Chris ran the first leg in the relay and the team did really well to get a second place.

Monica competed in the female 50 plus 60 metres and also the 4×200 relay.   She was second in the 60m against fierce competition in a time of 8.92.  Then she ran the third leg in the relay and her team won a great first place! 

Iris Hornsey was chosen for the female 70 plus 800m and Long Jump.  She won the 800m in a time of 3:55.9 and was second in the Long Jump with a jump of 2.42m. 

Eastern Veterans came a very good second overall in the competition. 

Cambridge Boundary Run

 TRICIA HOPPER and KAREN LIDDLE finished the Cambridge Boundary run in 5 hours 32 minutes 30 seconds.  It was part road part off road.  The route markers had blown down in places which meant they had to be a bit creative (!) with the route.


Running London?


With nine 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


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:   

  • Finchley 20 mile road race on Sunday 8th March.
  • 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 Garden City 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.
  • 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 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 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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