Recently, Monica Brown, along with Andrea Westcott, Tessa and Dave Stephenson headed south to the warmth of Lee Valley indoors sports centre to compete in the masters competitions. The day consisted of the British Masters Pentathlon Championships, the Eastern Masters Area Championships and the South of England Championships for individual events.
Monica started off the day in great form by winning the women’s 60 metres in the 50 to 54 year age group in the Eastern Masters Championships which also qualified her for the South of England title too. Well deserved as Monica also beat the times of all her younger competitors who were ten years younger bar one!
Monica was then joined by club mates Andrea Westcott competing in her first pentathlon in the 45 to 49 year age group and Tessa Stephenson competing in the 55 to 59 year age group for the second year. The indoor pentathlon consists of 60 metres hurdles, high jump, shot putt, long jump and rounding it off with 800 metres around the smaller 200 metre track.
On her way to retaining her national title, Monica produced good results in all her events particularly the high jump which was 1.36m, her long jump of 4.24m was slightly shorter than usual but still clear of her opposition. Monica also achieved a personal best in the shot putt with 8.01m. Tessa Stephenson had a good event by putting the shot 8.58m. Andrea saved the best to last by running a personal best of 3:24.08 in the 800 metres.
Andrea Westcott tallied up a total of 1259 points to win silver, Tessa achieved 2339 points to also win silver and Monica earnt 3312 to retain her title and surpass last year’s total of 3230 points.
In between the pentathlon events, Dave Stephenson did his first competition of the year, entering the men’s 50 to 54 years age group 200 metres. He managed to dip under 30 seconds to record 29.09 seconds.
TODD GRAY and BRIAN WHITE ran the Bramley 20 miles event on Sunday. Many use this as preparation for the London Marathon. Todd finished in 2 hours 17 minutes 55 seconds and Brian in 2:21:43.
First Stripy Run
On Sunday NICK GILL ran his first race in the Spartans vest – the Hampton Court Half in Thames Ditton.
Running with his brother-in-law who is also in training for the Greater Manchester Marathon, the plan was to keep the pace fairly easy for the first five miles – and then kick on for the second half.
All went to plan, but with three miles to go there was a small chance they could finish in under 1 hour 40 minutes if they really went for it. Despite running the final three miles in under 21 minutes 40 seconds and ending with a sprint finish, Nick crossed the line in 872nd place in 1h40m02s, just a shade over 100 minutes.
But as he wasn’t chasing a personal best, the run couldn’t have gone better as he prepare for Manchesters – and the negative split (51m43s first half, 48m19s second) was really encouraging and well worth the 5.30a.m. start from home.
Herts Vets Cross Country
Three Spartans ran the Hertfordshire Veterans cross country championships on Horsendon Hill. TIM ROBINSON was 18th veteran (40 plus) taking 46 minutes 28 minutes for his 5.5 mile run.
Over a shorter distance PETA WILSON was 16th (women aged 45 plus) in 33:04 and SHARON CROWLEY 16th (women aged 55 plus) in 35:16.
JAY PAPA was first Spartan to finish at Stevenage parkrun, crossing the line 9th in 20 mins 46 secs in his first ever parkrun. He just pipped BARRY OSBORNE who was 10th in the same time. DARREN EMMERSON was 24th in 22:09 and MARTIN DUDLEY 34th in 22:58. The other Spartan men in action were CALLUM BEASLEY (24:29), MARK BEASLEY (24:36), STEPHEN SMITHSON (26:57), TIM ROBINSON (an easy 28:14 ahead of Sunday’s County Vets Cross Country), ROBERT HARDY (37:13), JAMES SOUTH (39:57 pushing a buggy) and IAN ALEXANDER (tail-running in 51:36).
VERITY FISHER was 4th woman in 23:41 and CAROL PAUL 11th in 26:25. MONICA SMITHSON was 21st in 29:13. ELLA GOWER (32:51, a new course PB by 4 seconds) and SALLY PHILLIPS (33:44) were the other Spartan women running.
At Panshanger MARK GOODWIN eclipsed his previous course best by 24 seconds to record 23:03 in 35th place, while at Cambridge THOMAS SAUKA was 33rd in 20:09 on his first visit to that venue. At Canons Park, JOHN ROXBOROUGH was 12th in 21:36 on his debut run there.
Three Spartans were in action further south. OLWEN BATTY was 24th woman at Hove Promenade, finishing in 24:09, her best parkrun time anywhere. Heading west, DARRYL STEVENS notched a time of 37:15 at Brockenhurst, just 5 seconds outside his best time there. Finally, DANIEL SUTTON ran at Yeovil Montacute and finished in a time of 26:49.
The Spartans Presentation Evening is in the Cromwell Hotel, Old Stevenage this Friday 24th February.
Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks including cross country league. The opportunities include:
- Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 24th February.
- Spartans Presentation Evening in Old Stevenage on Friday 24th February.
- Roding Valley Half Marathon on Sunday 26th February.
- Baldock Beast Half Marathon on Sunday 26th February.
- Essex 20 and Berkhamsted Half Marathon on Sunday 5th March.
- Finchley 20 including Hertfordshire Championships on Sunday 12th March.
- Welwyn Half Marathon on Sunday 19th March.
- Sandy Ten and Wymondham 20 on Sunday 26th March.
- Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 31st March.
- Lee Valley 10K and Half Marathon in Waltham Forest on Sunday 2nd April.
- Brighton Marathon on Sunday 9th April.
- Maidenhead Easter Ten on Friday 14th April.
- London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April.
- County 1500 Championships in Stevenage on Monday 1st May.
- Dereham 10 (ten miles) on Sunday 7th May.
- First Mid Week Road Race League match on Wednesday 10th May.
- Summer Solstice 10K at St Albans on Tuesday 16th May.
- Stirling Marathon on Sunday 21st May.
- Mid Week Road Race League in Hitchin on Wednesday 14th June.
- Herts Veteran 10K Championships at Welwyn on Sunday 25th June.
- Mob Match on Thursday 13th 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 (TBC).
- Bass Belle 10 near Royston on Sunday 26th November.