There was glorious sunshine in sunny Stevenage as 507 runners raced round the town on the town’s annual half marathon which was organised by Fairlands Valley Spartans.
The race incorporated the county championships for veteran runners and home club won gold, silver and bronze medals. CLAIRE COX won the women (35 plus category) gold in his first ever half marathon in 1 hour 50 minutes exactly and BARRY OSBORNE the men (60 plus) silver in 1 hour 37 minutes 24 seconds.
Fairlands Valley’s male and female teams won SILVER and BRONZE medals and the women’s “A” team were third overall in the race.
The women’s “A” team were only one point away from the gold medal. They were CLAIRE PULLEN 1:40:44; CLAIRE COX 1:50:00 and ISABEL GREEN 1:54:48 and their “B” team (bronze) was SUE HARMER 2:04:18; LISA GAVIGAN 2:15:57 and KAREN BROOM 2:24:26. The Spartan “A” men were DEAN CARPENTER 1:35:18; Barry Osborne 1:37:24; KARL CLARK 1:40:37 and STEVE MAYFIELD 1:42:46 and the “B” STEVE ELDER 1:43:36; DAVID STEPHENSON 1:44:19; ROBERT EVANS 1:45:31 and MARTIN DUDLEY 1:50:50.
The overall winner was Stephen Harrison from Team Trisports in 1 hour 14 minutes 23 seconds while the fastest woman was Rachel Doherty from Higham Harriers in 1:22:58.
Mark Vaughan from North Herts Road Runners was second in 1:14:34 and Tom Stephenson
from London Heathside third in 1:15:14. Karen Murphy from Barnet & District was second woman in 1:29:12 and Wendy Walsh from St Albans third in 1:29:50.
Martin and Sarah Steer were attempting a buggy pushing record. They were after the world record for pushing a twin buggy round a half marathon. The passengers were Nathan and Luke who were one year old on race day. They finished in 1 hour 56 minutes 44 seconds and are now waiting to hear from the Guinness World Record administrators.
The race was almost all on cycleways. It started at Ridlins Athletics Track at 10a.m. and went up Gresley Way, then Six Hills Way and into Fairlands Valley Park for a loop round the lakes and then down to the showground before continuing down Broadhall Way, picking up Gresley Way back to Woodcock Road. That’s one lap. Now all the runners did it all again before finishing on the 400 metre track in front of the stand.
A tremendous thirty one Spartans completed the race and dozens of others volunteered as marshals and in other ways to make sure it was a success.
The fastest Spartan was JASON ANDERSON, twelfth and chipping seven seconds of his personal best to 1 hour 22 minutes 43 seconds. As a senior man (18 to 39) he was not involved in the county championships,
Seven from Fairlands Valley Spartans were running their first ever half marathon. KARL CLARK 115th in 1:40:37; MARK ALLEN 170th in 1:45:28; Claire Cox winning her gold medal in 1:50:00; MARTIN DUDLEY 219th in 1:50:50; DARREN EMMERSON 227th in 1:51:51; KARL SHREEVE 439th in 2:20:53 and CLAIRE RENSHAW 488th in 2:40:29.
There were other personal bests from JAMES KILROY a 3:21 improvement to 1:50:48 (217th); SUE HAMER 2:18 to 2:04:18 (348th); and KAREN BROOM taking a massive 7 minutes 29 seconds off her PB to 2:24:26 (450th).
TIM ROBINSON was 278
th in 1:55:50. After a careful start JIM BROWN enjoyed his first long run in many months and was 310th in 1:58:32, he was fourth in his category. BARRY KING had a precise plan to beat two hours and it worked, he was 313th in 1:59:28. VERITY FISHER was 317th in 2:00:20; ROBERT SHAW 372nd in 2:07:00 and ANDREW SMITH 376th in 2:07:50. Veteran Spartans ROGER BIGGS and PAUL HOLGATE had a tight battle with Paul finishing just three seconds ahead on “chip” (the electronic) time in 2:08:12 but Roger one position ahead at the finish line.
LISA GAVIGAN was back in 2 hours 14 minutes 57 seconds; DAVID CADOGAN in 2:20:07; and IAN ALEXANDER got a huge cheer when he finished in 2:58:51.
Full results are here: http://www.activetrainingworld.co.uk/upload/results/2015/StevenageHalf2015Results.pdf
Grant Is British Champion
We have a British Champion in Stevenage. Fairlands Valley Spartans’ GRANT RAMSAY won GOLD in the British Masters Marathon Championships at Newcastle. He was first in the 40 plus category and fourth overall out of 200 in the whole race. Grant was very happy with his time of 2 hours 44 minutes 45 seconds for the challenging off road course, and above all with winning his first ever national title. Grant trains with Group Five on a Tuesday night and has a programme designed by Spartan Head Coach Andy Prior who has recently qualified as a UK Athletics Tutor.
New York, New York
MATT GILL took part in the New York Marathon and said it was the greatest race he has ever done. He finished in 3 hours 38 minutes 22 seconds.
Dry Window For Serpie
Leaving Stevenage on Friday morning it was cold, wet and windy but by 1230 in Hyde Park it was dry with just a light breeze and almost warm for the Last Friday of the Month 5K.
SIMON JACKSON was a lucky 13th out of the 243 finishers in 17 minutes 26 seconds; TIM SABAN pleased with his 20:36 and 89th; JIM BROWN continued his recovery with a 2 minutes 49 seconds improvement over his last attempt at the distance. He was 206th in 26 minutes 11 seconds.
Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks including the:
St. Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 15th November.
Handicap 5K in Stevenage on Thursday evening 19th November.
Second cross country league race in Trent Park on Sunday 22nd November.
Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park at Friday lunchtime 27th November.
FVS Annual Meeting on Friday evening 27th November.
Wolverton Five (inc. EVAC Championships) on Saturday 28th November.
Hatfield Five on Sunday 29th November.
Spartans Christmas Party on Friday 4th December.
Third cross country league race at Willian, Letchworth on Sunday 6th December.
Festive Five in Welwyn Garden City on Sunday 13th December.
Handicap 5K in Stevenage on Thursday evening 17th December.
Serpentine 5K on Friday 18th December (obviously won’t be on Christmas Day).
County 10 miles Veterans Championship and Open 10 at Buntingford on Monday 28th December.
New Year’s Day 10K in Hyde Park on Friday 1st January 2016.
County Cross Country Championships on Sunday 10th January 2016 (probably Stevenage).
Fourth cross country league race in Watford on Sunday 17th January.
Fred Hughes 10 including the County Ten Mile Championships for Veterans on Sunday
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).
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 membership. 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
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
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More from Jim Brown (Press Officer) 0793 968 7509; Andy Neatham 0777 197 5499 and 01438 816889 or Karen Palmer (Secretary) 0773 467 8566