Plus updates from Medeira, the Serpentine, Santa Pola and parkruns


Nine Spartans braved the iconic South of England Cross Country Championships course at Parliament Hill Fields on Saturday.  Starting with a lung busting climb straight from the start the nine mile race is one of the longest in the cross-country calendar.  Conditions were more favourable than many years making the race faster and less of a mud fest but a hard, hard event nevertheless.

Racing over the full fifteen kilometres CRAIG HALSEY was 190th out of the 1,068 finishers in 57 minutes 24 seconds; DAVE RIDDELL was 656th in 67:38; TODD GRAY 664th in 67:46 and TIM ROBINSON 1,051st in 86:52.

The women’s race was over eight kilometres, about five miles, LAUREN ING was 381st in 43:25; HAZEL SMITH 462nd in 46:29; PETA WILSON 506th in 48:31; CALLIE CHAPMAN 515th in 49:15 and SHARON CROWLEY 541st in 51:58.


Funchal Marathon  – Sunday, 29th January 2017-

Funchal is the Capital of the Portuguese Island of Madeira, which sits in the Atlantic 400 miles from anywhere.

The marathon course was considered flat by the locals but ROGER BIGGS didn’t think so! It was two and a half laps on an undulating section to the West of Funchal, then a nice drop down on the promenade, before four laps including a climb onto the cobbled streets of the Old Town.

He managed to keep a reasonable pace to finish in 4 hours 49 minutes 18 seconds.



It was cold but dry and with a light breeze for Friday’s Serpentine 5K round Hyde Park.  JIM BROWN found it hard to get going but sped up a bit towards the end to finish in 24 minutes 27 seconds.  He was 183rd out of the 261 finishers in the lunch time race around the lake.


Santa Pola

Cathy Craig ran the Santa Pola Half Marathon for the ninth time in a row recently and got a time of 2 hours 21 minutes 36 seconds.  She arrived on the Wednesday to the worst weather for 100 years with more rain falling in 48 hours than had fallen in the previous five years.  Luckily the weather on race day was pretty much perfect with a bit of wind blowing the rainfall over the ocean and away from the town.  It’s a flat course along the sea front and a major event for the town with over 8,000 entrants.  Local support is great with bands playing along the route.  By the time Cathy left for home yesterday, it was lovely sunny weather and she was sorely tempted to book a later flight and stay a few more days.


parkrun Reports

CAROL PAUL was first Spartan woman to finish at Stevenage parkrun this week, crossing the line in 26:20 for 8th place. VERITY FISHER was the only other Spartan woman represented also in the top ten with in 26:42.

For the men, STUART STABLES finished in 25th place in a time of 22:00. DARREN EMMERSON continues to be consistently at the front end of the male Spartans at the venue, finishing 30th this week in 22:25. CHRIS HOLLAND was third Spartan male in 22:46 and MARTIN DUDLEY was not far behind in 23:10.

The other Spartans in action were MARK BEASLEY (24:01), NEIL ROBINSON (24:19), ALASTAIR BALDWIN, who notched a new course Personal Best of 29:12, PETER CARPENTER (32:07), JAMES SOUTH (32:09) and CALLUM BEASLEY (33:34).

CRAIG BACON took on the hill at Wimpole Estate, finishing in a time of 24:46. He was joined there by ANTHONY OSBORNE who completed in a time of 38:04.

Finally this week THOMAS SAUKA went down to Panshanger Park and completed in 21:24.


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:

  • Watford Half Marathon including 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.
  • Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 24th February.
  • Spartans Presentation Evening in Old Stevenage on Friday 24th February.
  • Roding Valley Half Marathon on Sunday 26th February.
  • Essex 20 and Berkhamsted Half Marathon on Sunday 5th March.
  • Finchley 20 including Hertfordshire Championships on Sunday 12th March.
  • Welwyn Half Marathon on Sunday 19th March.
  • Sandy Ten and Wymondham 20 on Sunday 26th March.
  • Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 31st March.
  • Lee Valley 10K and Half Marathon in Waltham Forest on Sunday 2nd April.
  • Brighton Marathon on Sunday 9th April.
  • Maidenhead Easter Ten on Friday 14th April.
  • London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April.
  • County 1500 Championships in Stevenage on Monday 1st May.
  • Dereham 10 (ten miles) on Sunday 7th May.
  • Summer Solstice 10K at St Albans on Tuesday 16th May.
  • Stirling Marathon on Sunday 21st May.
  • Herts Senior 5K Championships at Hatfield on Wednesday 30th August.
  • Herts Veteran 5K Championships at Hatfield on Wednesday 13th September.
  • Herts Senior 10K Championships at Standalone on Sunday 1st October.
  • Peterborough Half Marathon on Sunday 8th October.
  • St Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 19th November (TBC).
  • Bass Belle 10 near Royston on Sunday 26th November.


We should know the 2017 Mid Week Road Race League dates soon after 8th February.

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