News from Ely, Hyde Park and the New Year weekend parkruns


Six Spartans chose the Ely 10K for their last race in 2016.  It was a cold morning on Saturday, New Year’s Eve as they lined up for the start in Little Downham.  The race began with a downhill section, good for getting the legs going, and has a nice hill at eight kilometres but the rest is flat.

CRAIG HALSEY was third overall out of the 606 finishers and third senior man in 35 minutes 1 second; STEFFAN FORD twelfth on second veteran (40 plus) in 37:19; TIM SABAN 75th in 42:02; ROGER BIGGS 329th in 53:32; KAREN BROOM 476th in 1 hour and 34 seconds (1:00:34) and PAUL: HOLGATE 483rd in 1:00:45.

Roger Biggs has run 41 marathons in 2016 bringing his lifetime total to 867.  He aims to pass 900 in 2017.


Hyde Park Double

There was a Hyde Park double for Spartan JIM BROWN as he saw out the old year and then was one of the first to record a club championship time for 2017.

It was cold and foggy, barely possible to see across the width of the lake, for Friday’s Serpentine 5K and Jim finished 142nd in a very fast field with 24 minutes 48 seconds.  That gave him a last Friday of the Month series average (best six count and Jim ran seven) for the year of 67.8%.

Then less than two days later he was back for the New Year’s Day 10K in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.  Despite a weather forecast threatening heavy rain before and during the race it was grey but, considering it was January, the conditions were almost perfect for running.  Despite doubling the distance he ran a bit faster than Friday and finished in 48 minutes 46 seconds beating last year’s time by 35 seconds.  He was 228th out of the 530 runners.  The winner’s time was 30:11; the fastest female 35:04 while the last finisher took 1 hour 26 minutes 13 seconds.


Parkrun Reports


New Years Eve

GRANT RAMSAY took on Stevenage parkrun for the first time and won, first overall, in 16:56. MIKE GREEN was fourth in 18:46, JOHN NELMS 14th in 20:10 and PETER SMITH 18th finisher in 21:15.

For the women, VERITY FISHER was 8th in 24:19, NICOLA KENNEDY was 13th in 25:56 and CAROL PAUL just behind in 14th in a time of 26:12. CALLIE CHAPMAN was fourth Spartan woman in 26:30.

The other Spartans running at Stevenage were THOMAS SAUKA (22:01), MARTIN DUDLEY (22:39), CHRIS HOLLAND (22:53), MARK BEASLEY (23:02), TIM ROBINSON (23:46, a new course PB), DARREN EMMERON (23:47), RICHARD KENNEDY (24:13), DANIEL SUTTON (25:26), HAZEL SMITH (26:33), HAYLEY BIRONNEAU (26:38, new course PB), KAREN PALMER (30:11), CAROLINE CROFT (30:14), HILARY DAVIES (31:14), PETER CARPENTER (31:33). CLAIRE PULLEN (35:19), ANTHONY OSBORNE (35:28), JAMES SOUTH (35:39) and IAN ALEXANDER (51:35).

At St Albans, JOHN ROXBOROUGH finished 63rd in a time of 21:43 while MARK GOODWIN was also in local action, finishing 33rd in 23:27, a new course PB. Elsewhere, EMMA POULTER was 56th at Cleethorpes in 36:55 while SHARON CROWLEY ran her first ever parkrun at Rotherham, finishing 29:59.


New Years Day

New Year’s Day offers the only opportunity of the year to run a double parkrun. Eight Spartans opted for Ellenbrook Fields in Hatfield for the early event. NICOLA KENNEDY was first Spartan woman to finish, in 8th place in a time of 25:44, while VERITY FISHER was 15th in 27:22.

For the men, THOMAS SAUKA was 20th in 21:04 to be first Spartan finisher, JOHN ROXBOROUGH was 33rd in 22:43, RICHARD KENNEDY 39th in 23:34, and TIM ROBINSON 54th in 25:55 and DANIEL SUTTON (64th in 27:24) were the other men who ran.

GRANT RAMSAY chose to go to Barclay parkrun in Hoddesdon for the first leg of his double and finished first in a time of 18:26.

All those who ran in the early runs then headed over to Panshanger to complete the double, joined by a few others who opted for a lie in and a single run. GRANT RAMSAY didn’t quite manage a double first position, but did run a new course PB of 17:23 to finish second. THOMAS SAUKA was 20th in 20:40, also a new course PB. MARK BEASLEY was 50th in 23:01 and CHRIS HOLLAND 64th in 23:43. RICHARD KENNEDY (24:06), TIM ROBINSON (27:10), DANIEL SUTTON (27:48), ROGER BIGGS (29:10) and IAN ALEXANDER (40:17, new course PB) were the other men to run.

For the women, VERITY FISHER was 25th in 27:41 and NICOLA KENNEDY was 28th in 27:51.


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:

  • Herts Cross Country Championships at Haileybury on Sunday 8th January.
  • Fourth Cross Country League Race at Watford on Sunday 15th January.
  • Fred Hughes 10 at St Albans on Sunday 22nd January.
  • Southern Seniors Cross Country at Parliament Hill Fields on Saturday 28th January.
  • Watford Half Marathon inc. County Senior Champs 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.
  • County 1500 Championships in Stevenage on Monday 1st May (TBA).
  • Stirling Marathon on Sunday 21st May.


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

Leave a Reply