In temperatures of about two degrees nine Spartans did the club and themselves proud tackling the St Albans undulations at the Fred Hughes 10 mile road race

Roger’s 50th Country 

Snow Saturday and snow forecast for Sunday morning but there was none, not even any ice on the roads, so the Fred Hughes 10 mile road race, incorporating the County senior championships, went ahead with no problems.  In temperatures of about two degrees and tackling the St Albans undulations nine Spartans did the club and themselves proud. 

There were two new personal bests and a season’s best.  STEVE GREEN was 124th out of the 732 finishers in a new personal best of 69 minutes 55 seconds and TIM SABAN 151st in a new PB of 71:36.  JIM BROWN ran a new season’s best 79:15 and was fifth in his category. 

YLLKA ISTREFI was first female for the Spartans.  She was 37th out of the 300 women in 74:56. 

TESSA STEPHENSON ran her first ten mile race for 11 years and finished in 98:30.

DAVE STEPHENSON was 294th in 78:49; ISABEL GREEN 401st overall in 83:34; Club chair BEV HARLOW 542nd in 90:38 and ROGER HARDMAN 571st in 92:26. 

Position Name Time Comments
124 STEVE GREEN 69:55 PB (personal best)
151 TIM SABAN 71:36 PB (personal best)
221 YLLKA ISTREFI (F) 74:56 37th woman out of 300
301 JIM BROWN 79:15 SB. 5V60.
401 ISABEL GREEN (F) 83:34  
542 BEV HARLOW (F) 90:38  
571 ROGER HARDMAN 92:26  
643 TESSA STEPHENSON (F) 98:30 First 10 for 11 years.

The next county championships will be in Watford on 1st February and Berkhamsted on 1st March.


Saturday Parkruns 

Saturday’s Parkrun in Bedford threw up some interesting results.  Snow showers were expected but did not come, so a group of Spartans endured cold temperatures whilst running the flat two and half lap course around Bedford Park.  Fast times were expected and delivered.

First to cross the line for the Spartans was men’s team captain Daniel Bates in a new Parkrun personal best (PB) of 19-57 (missed out on an overall PB by two seconds and gained a course PB as well, destroying the previous result by 37 seconds).  He was 11th out of the 267 finishers.  Tim Saban was second home with a time of 21-02.  Thomas Sauka improved on last week’s result by coming home in 22-04.  Not far behind was Danny Sutton in 22-23.  Verity Fisher also gained a Parkrun PB by 17 seconds to finish in 23-05.  Mark Allen came home in 23-13 whilst Emma Kinsley finished in 26-05. 

Elsewhere on the Parkrun circuit, there was more good news for the Spartans down the road at Panshanger, Hertford.  Martin Wood finished 16th (out of 215 runners) in 20-29 whilst Alison Wood was right behind in and finished 17th in 20-36.  

Further joy was to be had in the Roman town of St Albans where Brian Brackstone finished 3rd in a very impressive time of 17-16, finishing just 20 seconds behind the leader. There were 364 runners for this run.


Andrea in Bushy 

Andrea Westcott ran the Bushy Park 10km on Sunday.  In her first race as part of the Asics / Runners World training group for the Paris Marathon, Andrea clocked a new personal best of 55:26.


Roger’s 50th Country 

ROGER BIGGS travelled to the Bahama Islands in the Northern Caribbean, to run a marathon based in the capital Nassau, taking in much of New Providence Island. Basically flat other that two bridges to climb in the first two miles, the marathon scenery ranged from average to stunning, as at times you ran a few feet away from white sandy beaches.  

It was already 20C when the race started at 6am, topping out at around 27C at the finish.

This was the 50th country in which Roger has run a marathon.  He finished in 6:07:13.


Running London?

Got a place in the London Marathon?   

Every year Fairlands Valley Spartans successful train thirty or more people, many of them first timers, to run the London Marathon.  There are training groups from starters to fast fives to suit everyone.  Why not have a look at or contact Jim Brown 0793 968 7509 or Karen Palmer 0773 467 8566?  Newcomers very welcome.


Coming Events 

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

  • Handicap 5K in Stevenage on Thursday evening 22nd January.
  • Serpentine 5K on Friday 30th January.
  • Watford Half Marathon (County Seniors) on Sunday 1st February.
  • Cross Country League at Therfield Heath, Royston on Sunday 15th February.
  • Bramley 20 mile road race on Sunday 15th February.
  • Handicap 5K in Stevenage on Thursday evening 19th February.
  • Serpentine 5K on Friday 27th February.
  • Presentation Evening, Dinner and Dance on Friday 27th February.
  • County Veterans Five Mile Championship, and open road race, at Berkhamsted on Sunday 1st March.
  • Finchley 20 mile road race on Sunday 8th March.
  • Silverstone Half Marathon on Sunday 15th March.
  • Handicap 5K in Stevenage on Thursday evening 19th March.
  • County Cross Country Championships for Veterans in Trent Park on Sunday 22nd March.
  • Welwyn Garden City Half Marathon on Sunday 22nd March.
  • Orion 15 classic cross country on Saturday 28th March.
  • Oakley 20 mile road race on Sunday 29th March.
  • Maidenhead Easter Ten on Friday 3rd April.
  • Sandy 10 mile road race on Sunday 12th April.
  • Flitwick 10K on Sunday 19th April.
  • London Marathon on Sunday 26th April.
  • County 1500 metres track championship in Stevenage on Monday 4th May.
  • Stevenage Half Marathon (includes County Veterans) on Sunday 1st November.



Join The Spartan 

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 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 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 £35 per year, £25 without UKA membership.  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), Karen Palmer (07734678566) or visit their website


More from Jim Brown (Press Officer) 0793 968 7509 or Karen Palmer (Secretary) 07734678566

Leave a Reply