News Roundup for W/E 13th November

XC in Grovelands * Liam Herbert in Florida * PB for John Nelms in MK


Forty two Fairlands Valley Spartans enjoyed the easiest running conditions in Grovelands Park for many years as they round the second fixture in this season’s cross country season.

On a course which has frequently been waterlogged and slippery in the past GRANT RAMSAY romped round the just over five miles to come second out of about 450 club runners in 29 minutes 9 seconds just 29 seconds ahead of ANDREW PATTERSON who was fifth in 29:38.  SIMON JACKSON was also in the top ten at tenth in 30:24.

The whole Spartans “A” men’s team of eight runners were in the first 75.  BRIAN BRACKSTONE was 20th in 31:02; STEFFAN FORD 37th in 31:45; PAUL NEWETT 53rd in 32:28; MIKE GREEN 56th in 32:29 and DANNY HUKIN 72nd in 33:07.

Next came Fairlands fastest female SAM PRETTY at 101st overall in 34 minutes 10 seconds.  The women’s “A” team of five was completed by SUZY HAWKINS, 205th in 37:51; ISABEL GREEN, 293rd in 41:40; HAZEL CLARK, 310th in 42:18 and KELLY McHALE, 332nd in 42:52.


Position Name Time M/F FVS Team
2 GRANT RAMSAY 29:09 M Men’s “A”
5 ANDREW PATTERSON 29:38 M Men’s “A”
10 SIMON JACKSON 30:24 M Men’s “A”
20 BRIAN BRACKSTONE 31:02 M Men’s “A”
37 STEFFAN FORD 31:45 M Men’s “A”
53 PAUL NEWETT 32:28 M Men’s “A”
56 MIKE GREEN 32:29 M Men’s “A”
72 DANNY HUKIN 33:07 M Men’s “A”
101 SAM PRETTY 34:10 F Women’s “A”
103 KARL CLARK 34:20 M Men’s “B”
104 STEVE GREEN 34:31 M Men’s “B”
123 RICHARD SPRINGALL 35:12 M Men’s “B”
131 BARRY OSBORNE 35:24 M Men’s “B”
143 TODD GRAY 36:17 M Men’s “B”
168 THOMAS SAUKA 36:36 M Men’s “B”
183 PETE SMITH 37:09 M Men’s “B”
190 TIM SABAN 37:21 M Men’s “B”
205 SUZY HAWKINS 37:51 F Women’s “A”
209 DAVE SMITH 38:04 M Men’s “C”
216 RICHARD HAZLEDENE 38:34 M Men’s “C”
246 DARREN EMMERSON 39:55 M Men’s “C”
256 NICK CROWLEY 40:05 M Men’s “C”
258 MARK GOODWIN 40:08 M Men’s “C”
293 ISABEL GREEN 41:40 F Women’s “A”
310 HAZEL CLARK 42:18 F Women’s “A”
316 ANDY JAY 42:21 M Men’s “C”
322 NEIL ROBINSON 42:38 M Men’s “C”
325 JIM BROWN 42:39 M Men’s “C”
332 KELLY McHALE 42:52 F Women’s “A”
334 LAUREN ING 43:05 F Women’s “B”
343 JAMES KILROY 43:36 M
356 SOPHIE COWAN 44:05 F Women’s “B”
359 NICOLA TOUT 44:31 F Women’s “B”
363 HAZEL SMITH 44:40 F Women’s “B”
379 ROB SHAW 44:35 M
381 JON SYPULA 45:32 M
403 WENDY THARANI 47:34 F Women’s “B”
436 CATHY CRAIG 53:00 F
444 CLARE COX 55:07 F
446 STEVE GOUGH 55:17 M


The 28 men and 14 women were in third place out of nineteen clubs going into this race.  League positions had not been announced at the time of going to press but Fairlands Valley Spartans are keen to do even better at the next fixture which will be at Willian, between Stevenage and Letchworth at 10a.m. on Sunday 18th December.


Poppy Half Marathon

CLAIRE COX ran Bexhill on Sea’s Poppy half marathon, the course was 2x 8k laps and one 5k lap nearly all along the sea front.  Runners were continuously buffeted by the wind and rain coming off the sea.  Her time was 1:48:36, overall position 131 and 18th female to finish.  She was really pleased with that.


Ballbuster Duathlon 12th November

On Saturday BRIAN WHITE endured absolutely horrendous weather with inches of water flowing across the roads in the Ballbuster Duathlon.  Set in the picturesque national trust north downs and including Box Hill.  5×8 mile laps with each lap finishing at top of Box Hill. So 8 mile run, 24 mile bike then finishing with 8 mile run.

Brian finished in 104th place with 3.32.57, 1st in the 60-64 age group


Walt’s Wine and Dine

LIAM HERBERT recently enjoyed a sunny trip over to Florida, where he ran three consecutive races over three days as part of Walt Disney World’s Wine and Dine Race Weekend. Each race took in a different route through the Disney theme parks and resorts that included plenty of on-course entertainment and gave the opportunity to have photos taken with Disney characters. The fun and excitement of running these races was only dampened somewhat by the early start times (between 5:30-6:30am) and the incredibly humid temperatures at those early hours! Liam started his weekend with a 5K fun run on the Friday morning, which was untimed, so he used the opportunity to loosen up his legs after his flight and jogged around in approximately 30 minutes.

Liam then ran the inaugural Disney Wine and Dine 10K, and had a good competitive run to finish 38th out of 9260 participants in a time of 42 minutes and 24 seconds. This placed Liam 7th in his age category, and also meant that he was the first British participant over the finish line.

Liam rounded off his weekend by completing Sunday’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon in a time of 1 hour 34 minutes and 10 seconds, finishing 56th out of 12,651 participants. This result placed Liam 10th in his age category, and once again, confirmed him as the fastest British runner on the day.

Liam was delighted to finish in the top 0.5% in the results for both the 10K and half marathon. In addition to collecting a commemorative medal for each of his three races, Liam also earned two inaugural challenge medals: the Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge medal for finishing the 10K and the half marathon during the race weekend, together with the more elusive Castle to Chateau medal for completing a Disney half marathon in both France and the US within the same calendar year.


Roger Biggs

ROGER BIGGS was in Southern France for the popular Des Alps Maritimes Marathon.  The route from Nice to Cannes mostly hugged the Mediterranean coast.  Following a few bad runs Roger was pleased to finish in 4 hours 43 minutes 29 seconds.


PB at MK

There was a new personal best (PB) of 3 hours 45 minutes 2 seconds for JOHN NELMS in the “shaken not stirred” Enigma Marathon in Milton Keynes on Monday.


Parkrun Report (12 November)

Stevenage parkrun joined in the Stevenage 70 celebrations on Saturday as the Mayor was on hand to award medals to all those who braved the foul conditions.

First Spartan finisher was JOHN NELMS who was third across the line in 20:55. THOMAS SAUKA was 13th in 22:38 and DAVE SMITH 26th in 23:57, followed closely by CHRIS HOLLAND in 27th for a time of 23:59.

First Spartan lady was HANNAH NEALE running 24:58 for 5th place in her first ever parkrun. CAROL PAUL was 12th in 26:17, LAUREN HARNETT was 21st in 29:24 and ALEXANDRA WHITEHOUSE finished 30th in 30:40, a new course personal best. There was also a new course PB for EMMA POULTER who knocked over a minute off her previous run at the venue to finish in 35:58.


Other Spartans running at Stevenage were PETER CARPENTER (29:15), KAREN BROOM (33:58), TIM SABAN (33:59), and IAN ALEXANDER (35:31).

In other parkruns, JOHN ROXBOROUGH ran at St Albans, finishing 41st in 21:20, a new course PB while ROGER HARDMAN was at Newcastle, finishing in a time of 27:52. Finally, DANIEL SUTTON (31:04) and VERITFY FISHER (31:05) ran for the first time at Ashton Court in Bristol


Coming Events

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:

  • St Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 20th November.
  • Wolverton Five on Saturday 26th November.
  • County Five Miles Open Championship in Hatfield on 27th November.
  • Spartans Christmas Social on Saturday 10th December.
  • Third Cross Country League Race at Willian on Sunday 18th December.
  • Boxing Day Five in Witham on Monday 26th December.
  • Serpentine New Year 10K in Hyde Park on 1st January.
  • Herts Cross Country Championships at Haileybury on Sunday 8th January.
  • Fourth Cross Country League Race at Watford on Sunday 15th January.
  • Watford Half Marathon on Sunday 5th February.
  • Fifth and Final Cross Country League Race at Royston on Sunday 12th February.
  • Veterans County Cross Country Championships on Sunday 19th February.
  • Finchley 20 on Sunday 11th March.


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 affiliation.  Concessions are available.  Membership forms are available on the Spartans website  Please ask if you would like a paper copy.  You can also join online.

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

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