Club News


News from the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, Whipsnade 10k and more…

IT’S HOT AGAIN!  Edinburgh, Whipsnade, Hyde Park

For the third year running it was hot, hot, hot for the Edinburgh Marathon and Half Marathon.

In the half marathon with fantastic support from Katrina Doyle, Debbie Blackburn and Jayne Pinner GRAHAM BLACKBURN finished just before the sun burst through with a great time of 1 hour 29 minutes 33 seconds.

Also in the Half Marathon ANDY JAY finished in 1 hour 54 minutes 41 seconds and PHIL RUSHTON in 2:01:30.  NICK WITCOMBE ran a new personal best for the second week running with his time of 2 hours 6 minutes 12 seconds.  TRACY STILES ran her fastest half this year with 2:08:06.  KAREN SMITH ran her first half marathon in 2 hours 12 minutes 4 seconds

MARIA RUSHTON took 2:16:30.  JACKIE MORRISON and LES BUTLER both ran their best half marathons this year with the same time – 2:26:30; and KERRY SETTERFIELD completed the race in 2:30:30.

The Marathon runners started just as the faster half marathon runners were finishers and had 26.2 miles of hot roads to contend with though they were near the banks of the Forth for much of the race and almost on the beach at Portobello.

JO LAING ran an excellent London Marathon qualifying time and new personal best (PB) of 3 hours 5 minutes 20 seconds.  She was 195th out of thousands of runners; PETE SMITH’s new PB of 3 hours 14 minutes 9 seconds gives him a “Good For Age” entry for London; TODD GRAY finished in 3 hours 34 minutes 52 seconds; ROGER BIGGS in a year’s best time of 3 hours 51 minutes 17 seconds; CLIVE CANNON finished in 4:09:30; SARAH O’BRYAN in 4:27:30; and KAREN LIDDLE in a new PB of 4:33:30.

Wilting At Whipsnade

Sunday’s Whipsnade 10K was VERY warm but over an enjoyable three lap course past the zebras, flamingos and rhinos inside Whipsnade Zoo. There were Spartan starters although CHRIS WESTCOTT collapsed from exhaustion less than 1k from the finish not too long after lapping wife Andrea, who not surprisingly then retired from the race to ensure Chris was okay, so just the 11 finish times.

ANDY NEATHAM was first to finish with an impressive eighth position overall out of 562 finishers in 37 minutes 59 seconds.  MADDIE PRITCHARD was the next Spartan finisher completing her first ever 10K in 49:11.  She was 19th woman out of the 270 female finishers.  Those were both very good times in such warm conditions.

Spartan times: Andy Neatham, 8th in 37:59; Maddie Pritchard 108th in 49:11 (PB); Dan Sims 113th in 49:31; Paul Holgate 203rd in 54:39; Stephen Block 260th in 57:09; Sarah Hukin 321st in 60:14; Danny Hukin 322nd in 60:15; Lisa Jerrom 417th in 65:46; Gemma Nash 472nd in 68:34; Jan Fry 485th in 69:45; Anne-Marie Neatham 507th in 72:32.

Excellent preparation for Thursday’s 10K league race!

Sweltering Serpentine

The Serpentine was looking very tempting during the Last Friday of the Month 5K race which started at 12.30p.m.  It was hot in Hyde Park with conditions described by the organizers as sunny, hot, windy with lots of pollen.  Spartan JIM BROWN finished with salt stinging his eyes in a fairly controlled time of 23 minutes 14 seconds.  He was 115th out of the 194 finishers and eighth in his category.

Blistering BUPA

RUTH MURTAGH completed the BUPA London 10K in 59 minutes 38 minutes.  She was it was too blooming hot and had to walk for 1.3 miles.  Ruth hopes to do much better in the Mid Week League race on Thursday evening.

Go For It At Welwyn Garden City

After a fantastic turnout and good result in the first Mid Week Road Race League event of the season Fairlands Valley Spartans are going all out for more than one hundred runners at the next fixture which is a 10K race in Welwyn Garden City this Thursday evening, 31st May.  Everyone can contribute to the club’s success provided they have joined and wear the stripy vest.

Coming Events

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

  • Mid Week Road Race League 10K fixture in Welwyn Garden City at 7.45p.m. on Thursday 31st May.
  • EVAC Track and Field event in Kettering on Wednesday 13th June.
  • Mid Week Road Race League 10K in Harlow on Wednesday 20th June.
  • Spartans v NHRR “Olympic” Fun Event on Sunday 24th June.
  • Mid Week Road Race League Seven Miles in St. Albans on Thursday 28th June.
  • Mob Match at Trent Park on Wednesday 11th July.
  • EVAC Track and Field event in Milton Keynes on Wednesday 11th July.
  • Fairlands Valley Challenge (Off Road) on Sunday 15th July.
  • Relays in the Park (3K legs) on Thursday evening 19th July.
  • County 5K Championships in Stevenage on Sunday 9th September.
  • County 5 Miles Championship in Stevenage on Sunday 23rd September.
  • Stevenage Half Marathon on Sunday 4th November.

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 over 400 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 drama studio next to the gymnastics centre at Marriotts School — a Sports College, Telford Avenue, Stevenage (SG2 0AN) 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 done very much running yet might prefer to start with a Thursday, Saturday or Monday session.

Try a few sessions before joining.  Membership is only £27 per year.  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 (01438 354505 or 0793 968 7509), Stephanie Mayfield 01438 815859 or visit their website


More from Jim Brown (Press Officer) 01438 354505 / 0793 968 7509 or Stephanie Mayfield (Secretary) 01438 815859

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