Club News

News Release: Spartan Track Stars & Two more Sub 3 at MK

Spartan Track Stars: Women Win, Men Move Up To Third; Two More Sub 3 At MK

Spartan Track Stars: Women Win, Men Move Up To Third; Two More Sub 3 At MK

It felt more like winter than the start of a summer track and field league at Ridlins on Wednesday but the Fairlands Valley Spartans veterans athletics team enjoyed their finest performance to date with the women’s team winning and the men a comfortable third in the opening match in the Eastern Veterans Athletics Club (EVAC) central division. In the contest with six other clubs the men showed how much they have improved since last season. If they can keep that up they could qualify for the East of England finals in September.

This was the first ever track and field home match hosted by Spartans who organised a successful event in difficult weather conditions.

The ladies won twelve events in total with some surprises coming in the field events where the Spartans often struggle against specialist athletics clubs. Ladies captain TESSA STEPHENSON lead the way, dropping down an age group, winning the women 35 plus (F35) Long Jump, High Jump and Shot. MONICA BROWN also had a hat-trick of 1st places, in the F45 100m, High Jump and Long Jump. There was a clean sweep for the team in the Ladies Hammer, with wins for STEPH MAYFIELD in the F35, SHARON CROWLEY F45 and CAROLYN SHORTLAND whose 18.41m for the F55s was the longest ladies throw of the night. Steph followed up with a surprise win in her first ever attempt at the 100m hurdles.

On the track IRIS HORNSEY won the F55 1500m to add to her 2nd place in the Long Jump. ROSIE CANHAM was twice beaten narrowly, but had the consolation of a new personal best (PB) of 14.3 seconds in the 100 metres and an excellent 67.5 in the 400 metres. Second places were also earned by CHRIS FEELY in the F45 sprint hurdles and in the 2km walk by SHARON CROWLEY F45 and JAN FRY F55 whose 15:01 beat her previous PB by 26 seconds.

The men enjoyed mixed fortunes and were forced into several last minute changes. In the opening event, team captain DAVE STEPHENSON won the men 40 plus (M40) 2km walk then withdrew from competition to help officiate. Injury restricted DAVE BOWKER’s participation, but he made it a double in the walk winning the M50 in a new PB of 11:23. STEVE MAYFIELD registered just one jump before injury also cut his evening short, however it was good enough to claim 1st in the M40 Long Jump.

As a result of these setbacks, several new team members took on more than they expected; some at very short notice! JOHN HARRIS stepped in to do the 100m, 400m and High Jump, and ANDY NEATHAM produced one of the best performances of the night with second in the 1500m in 4:43.4 pushing an exceptional Milton Keynes athlete all the way. BARRY OSBORNE also recorded a superb 1500m time of 5:41.3 to claim maximum points for the M60s after coming 3rd in the Long Jump. JOHN TYRELL and BARRY KING were the other debutants, the latter being summoned from tea making duties to lead off the M40 relay team. MICK SHORTLAND dropped down an age group to help out the M50s and despite the heavier weights achieved 2nd places in the Hammer and Shot.

The evening ended with the medley relay races which consisted of 2 x 200 metres, 1 x 400 metres and 1 x 800 metres. They were some of the most exciting relays seen for a while. In the male vet 40 plus event Andy Neatham swept past several runners in his 800 metres to finish second. In the vet 50 plus race DAVE BOWKER handed over to JIM BROWN who gradually caught a Bedford and County runner before kicking past him at 600 minutes to take second place by eleven seconds and gain lots of valuable points.

In the women’s medley Julie Simmons ran a great final 800 metres to win the race by just 1.3 seconds. JULIE SIMMONS ran a fine 800m leg on her EVAC debut for the Spartans to bring them home first in the F45 medley relay. In the women 35 plus race Rosie Canham passed several runners to lift the team into third place.

PAUL PICKARD and PAUL HOLGATE completed the men’s team and ensured it fielded an athlete and collected points in all bar three of the 26 events.

The team scores:

Women — Fairlands Valley Spartans 159; Marshall Milton Keynes 143; Kettering Town Harriers 84.5; Bedford & County 81; Corby 51.5; Biggleswade 12 and Wellingborough 6.

Men — Bedford & County 146; Marshall Milton Keynes 125; Fairlands Valley Spartans 105; Kettering 74; Biggleswade 54; Corby 42 and Wellingborough 34.


Stevenage and North Herts Athletics Club played a huge part in facilitating this fixture for Fairlands Valley Spartans and supplying officials, with STEVE FEELY in particular working incredibly hard behind the scenes. The next EVAC match is at Bedford on May 9th.

Christopher and Lee Excel In Rain and Wind

Another two Spartans have beaten the three hour marathon barrier. Following Grant Ramsay and Simon Jackson’s achievement in London CHRISTOPHER WESTCOTT and LEE THORP went sub three on Sunday. What’s more both were running their first marathon! It was windy and incredibly wet for the inaugural Milton Keynes Marathon. So wet that part of the course had to be changed due to flooding. A fantastic twenty three Spartans completed the race. A huge success for Fairlands Valley only a week after the London Marathon. In April 68 different Spartans ran a marathon. They clocked up 76 marathons between them!

Chris Westcott was 17th out of the 2,923 finishers in 2 hours 57 minutes 17 seconds and Lee Thorp 21st in 2 hours 29 minutes 3 seconds.

DAVIE STAFFORD (3:44:47); STEVE GREEN (3:48:41); ANDY PRIOR (4:26:35); VISHAL SHAH (4:31:20); STEPHEN BLOCK (4:32:11); TREVOR SETTERFIELD (5:13:06); HANNAH SYPULA (5:19:06) and SARAH HUKIN (5:33:31) were also running their first marathons. That makes 26 new marathon runners in just two weeks for Fairlands Valley Spartans.

Despite the conditions five Spartans ran new personal bests — JAMIE DRACKFORD by 23 minutes to 3 hours 30 minutes 7 seconds; NIKKI ANDREWS to 3:50:07; MARK GOODWIN to 3:54:14; STUART HAYCROFT by 14 minutes to 3:54:25 and BARRY KING by a huge 57 minutes to 4:26:36;

FVS Club Chair GRAHAM BLACKBURN ran a good time at London then just a week later he finished this marathon in just 3 hours 33 minutes 31 seconds. ROB SHAW and PAUL HOLGATE ran their best times for 2012 — Rob at 4:31:14 and Paul 4:36:53:

The other Spartans who waded MK were TODD GRAY (3:16:44); MARK BEASLEY (3:46:03); PHIL RUSHTON (4:31:40); ROGER BIGGS (4:42:30) and TONY ARGYROU (5:33:29).

Full results for all Spartans:

Position Name Time Comments
17 CHRISTOPHER WESTCOTT 2:57:17 1st marathon
21 LEE THORP 2:59:03 1st marathon
139 TODD GRAY 3:16:44
311 JAMIE DRACKFORD 3:30:07 PB by 23 minutes
570* DAVIE STAFFORD 3:44:47 1st marathon
592 MARK BEASLEY 3:46:03
689 STEVE GREEN 3:48:41 1st marathon
780 NIKKI ANDREWS (F) 3:50:07 PB
899 MARK GOODWIN 3:54:14 PB
859 STUART HAYCROFT 3:54:25 PB by 14 minutes
1794 ANDY PRIOR 4:26:35 1st marathon
1795 BARRY KING 4:26:36 PB by 57 minutes
1834 ROB SHAW 4:31:14 YB
1807 VISHAL SHAH 4:31:20 1st marathon
1903 PHIL RUSHTON 4:31:40
2047 PAUL HOLGATE 4:36:53 Year’s Best
1932 STEPHEN BLOCK 4:32:11 1st marathon
2100 ROGER BIGGS 4:42:30
2571 TREVOR SETTERFIELD 5:13:06 1st marathon
2634 HANNAH SYPULA (F) 5:19:06 1st marathon
2754 SARAH HUKIN 5:33:31 1st marathon
2755 TONY ARGYROU 5:33:29

Jim Moves Up In Hyde Park

It was blustery and wet underfoot in Hyde Park on Friday but Fairlands Valley Spartans’ JIM BROWN ran his fastest 5K race for many years. Having run his last 5K in 22 minutes 56 seconds he worked out an ambitious plan to take 22:30 for the Serpentine Last Friday of the Month 5K and finished in 21 minutes 49 seconds! That’s a year’s best by 1 minute 7 seconds and could qualify him for the “A” race next time.

Coming Events

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

– EVAC Track and Field event in Bedford on Wednesday 9th May.
– Herts County Track and Field Championships on Saturday 12th May.
– Mid Week Road Race League 10K in Stevenage on Tuesday 15th May.
– Mid Week Road Race League fixture in Welwyn Garden City 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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