Club News


Lots of action this week both home (club handicap 5K) and away (Cross Country league in Cheshunt; marathons in Snowdonia, Woolwich and Preston plus more) and far away! (Texas, USA!). Read all about it here.


Cross Country Season Starts

MATTHEW HOLGATE and CHRISTINE PROWLE were the winners as 32 runners took part in Fairlands Valley Spartans Handicap 5K on Thursday night.

Matthew was first to finish, four minutes quicker than his previous best 5K this year, and in a new personal best (PB) time of 36 minutes 17 seconds as he continued his improvements shown over recent weeks.

In second position, just 13 seconds behind Matthew and improving her own PB by 3:23 to 38 minutes exactly, the first female to finish was Christine Prowle, with AMANDA VICKERS second female, also in a new PB, of 34:12, 2:46 faster than previous.  GEMMA SMITH was third female in her welcome return to the club with 25 minutes 50 seconds.

Third man (fourth overall) was newcomer ALI VORSTER in his debut 5k, finishing in 25 minutes exactly, 2:30 faster than handicap, with another newcomer, DAVE SMITH third man just a few seconds behind Ali, in 24:30, 2:15 ahead of handicap.

Grant Fastest

Fastest runner on the night was GRANT RAMSAY in 17 minutes 9 seconds.  LIAM HERBERT was second quickest in 18:27 and ROB WILLIS third fastest with 18:33.  BERNIE BARNABY also beat 20 minutes with 19:45 in his first 5k with the club.

Fastest female was the much improved RHIANNON GRIFFIN 20:20, with GEMMA SMITH’s 25:50 2nd quickest and VIVIENNE HONEY 3rd fastest in 28:14.

Next month’s Handicap 5k will be in 4 weeks time on Thursday 22nd November.

Cross Country Season Starts

Sunday’s conditions were perfect for the first cross country league race of the season, a little mud but not a lot and a little cold but not too cold.  Eighteen Spartans made the trip to Cheshunt with the following results.

Women: Alison Wood 84th overall in 34 minutes 30 seconds; Rhiannon Griffin 111th in 35.47; Nikki Andrews 159th in 38.33; Julie Simmons 160th (app. 38.36); Tracy Pez 165th (app. 39.15); Anne Tyressone 221st in 41.57; Nikki Lorimer 259th in 44.17; Hannah Davidson 272nd in 45.13 and Iris Hornsey 295th in 50.59

Men: Simon Jackson 13th in 29 minutes 46 seconds; Martin Wood 75th (app. 33.55); Dave Bowker 76th in 34.01; Todd Gray 82nd in 34.23; Steve Mayfield 146th in 37.42; Andy Jay 223rd in 41.41; Mark Cheadle 228th in 42.16; Marc Green 264th (app. 44.00); Nick Stewart 308th (app. 47.00).

The first five women and eight men will count towards the league results though others may have contributed by getting ahead of runners from other clubs.

Britain’s Toughest Marathon

On a beautiful dry day, albeit with a chilly breeze that was quite strong in places, six Spartans took on Britain’s toughest marathon, in Snowdonia, North Wales.

With three massive climbs, the race is not for the faint hearted, but all six Spartans were delighted with their achievements and with such stunning scenery around the course are already looking forward to returning next year.

Their finishing times were – Matt Gill 4:08:48; Tricia Hopper 4:58:55; Karen Liddle 4:58:55; Barry King 4:58:55; Sharon Crowley 5:00:20 (21st consecutive Snowdon marathon – every year since 1991); and Paul Holgate 5:01:07 (24th consecutive – every year since 1988

Chosen Half

NICK WITCOMBE ran in the Chosen Half Marathon in New Braunfels, Texas, USA on Sunday.  His time was 2 hours 13 minutes and 17 seconds.  It was very cold due to a rare cold snap and the course was quite hilly.  The race took place along the Guadalope river and the race was very picturesque and enjoyable. A fellow runner even recognised the famous FVS stripes.

Fenland 10mile at Wisbech.

The Fenland Ten was on a flat course but it weas open and exposed when windy as it was at the weekend.  PHIL GALE says it was a well organised small race on quiet roads, raining at start but eased off soon afterwards. Lots of puddles on course and a pretty cold wind against runners in second half.  He finished in 68 minutes exactly.

Roger Doubles Up

ROGER BIGGS ran the Woolwich Tunnel Marathon on Friday.  It was organised by the 100 Marathon Club to commemorate the opening of the Woolwich Tunnel exactly 100 years ago. Starting at the Northern end of the tunnel, the marathon commenced by the entire field walking to the southern end, then up the 105 steps to emerge on the southern shore of the Thames. At this point the running started with four out & back sections along the Thames path to the East then West.  After a reasonably good first half, Roger suffered to finish in 4 hours 32 minutes 11 seconds.

Then Roger travelled North to Preston for a marathon billed as ‘once every 20 years’. Organised as part of The Preston Guild, this well organised event went through Preston, then out into the countryside to the North & South.  It wasn’t the undulating course that slowed down runners, it was the strong & cold Northerly wind plus rain from start to finish! Roger struggled early on, but found a strong finish to come home in 4:07:31.

Pompey Payne

RACHEL PAYNE ran the Great South Run in Portsmouth on Sunday in 1:23 which she is pretty pleased with.

20th Anniversary Serpie

JIM BROWN ran the 20th Anniversary Last Friday of the Month Serpentine 5K.  This popular event goes round the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London.  In cool, windy and damp conditions he was happy to finish in 22 minutes exactly and the first half of the finishers.  He moved up to 22nd overall in the 2012 series championship.

Baggage for VLM.

The London Marathon is not until Sunday 21st April but Fairlands Valley Spartans are already signing up volunteers for help in Pall Mall.  The club have helped make the event a success for many years.

Enter Now!

The club host the County Championship Half Marathon on Sunday 4th November.  The race is in Stevenage and is for seniors and veterans.  The championships are within an open race — everyone can have a go.  Enter now.  There are details on

Coming Events

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

  • Stevenage Half Marathon on Sunday 4th November.
  • Handicap 5K on Thursday evening 22nd November.
  • Cross Country League on Sunday 25th November.
  • Buntingford Ten on Sunday 30th December.
  • Virgin London Marathon on 21st April 2013.

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 (0793 968 7509 or 01438 354505), Stephanie Mayfield 01438 815859 or visit their website

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