News Race Results


Silver for Natalie in the Fred Hughes * Angela Wins 5K

Fairlands Valley Spartans have been on a bit of an award winning roll recently. This weekend it was the women’s turn as NATALIE LAWRENCE won open silver in the Hertfordshire Ten Miles Championships on Sunday morning and the women’s team of Natalie, YLLKA ISTREFI and ISABEL GREEN were third in the race.

Despite racing the previous day Natalie was 58th overall out of the 734 finishers and romped round the hilly course in 1 hour 5 minutes 37 seconds; Yllka 251st in 1:17:27 and Isabel 279th in a new personal best of 1:19:41.

BRIAN WHITE celebrated his return to Fairlands Valley Spartans by finishing second veteran (60 plus) and 97th overall in 1 hour 8 minutes 50 seconds. The second man for the club was STEVE GREEN, 105th in a new personal best (PB) of 1:09:09. Next came TIM SABAN at 151st in 1:13:09.

KEN JUDE was delighted to beat his target by nearly seven minutes. He finished his first ten mile race, and he didn’t pick a flat one, in 1:23:16 and 337th. JIM BROWN was 404th in 1:26:05; WENDY THARANI 413th in 1:27:20; MARTIN NICHOLAS 466th in 1:30:12; JEANNETTE COLLINS, 559th in 1:36:06 and SHARON CROWLEY, 669th in 1:44:48.


Position Name Time Comments
58 NATALIE LAWRENCE (F) 1:05:38 Second senior woman
97 BRIAN WHITE 1:08:50 2MV60
105 STEVE GREEN 1:09:09 PB
151 TIM SABAN 1:13:09
251 YLLKA ISTREFI (F) 1:17:27
279 ISABEL GREEN (F) 1:19:41 PB
337 KEN JUDE 1:23:16 First 10 miles
404 JIM BROWN 1:26:05
413 WENDY THARANI (F) 1:27:20
669 SHARON CROWLEY (F) 1:44:48


Angela and James Win 5K

It was cold and dark on Thursday evening but 23 Spartans lined up for the Stevenage based club’s first Handicap 5K race in 2016. Not only did ANGELA ARMITAGE win the event but she was also the fastest woman with an excellent 25 minutes 2 seconds which beat her previous PB (personal best) by 2 minutes 11 seconds.

Angela was closely followed by JENNY GARRETT, improving her own PB by a massive 3:15 to 26:48. JAMES KILROY was first man home, in third position overall, in a new season (and course) best of 21:41, 1:19 quicker than his fastest 5k of the previous two years. Second man (fourth overall) was newcomer Steve Close in 25:50, 2:40 quicker than handicap, with the rapidly improving Olwen Batty third lady in 27:09, 19 seconds quicker than earlier in the month, and Richard Kennedy third man, 32 seconds faster than his weekend 5K, in 21:33.

JOHN NELMS was the fastest runner on the night with 20 minutes 47 seconds, an improvement of 1:22. He was in ninth position overall in the event. Richard’s 21:33 was the second quickest time, and James’ 21:41 third.

Fastest female was Angela’s 25:02, with the fast improving JANE McFARLANE only seven seconds slower with her new PB time of 25:09. Jenny’s 26:48 put her in third position.

There were also PBs for Emma Poulter, 35:36, and newcomer Sarah Atkinson, 31:31, season bests for Bernadette Millwood and Nikki Tout, and year bests for Jim Brown (25:10), Mark Goodwin (22:27), Robert Shaw (27:15), Liz Carvell (28:51), Andy Jay (23:59); power-walker David Bowker (32:32), Martin Dudley (24:00), Paul Holgate (29:53), John Wasmunth (30:50) and Karl Shreeve (35:54). Club chair NICK WITCOMBE was sweeping and finished in 34 minutes 9 seconds.

In handicap races the slowest runners start first with others following at intervals determined by their current form. The winner is the person who improves the most, not necessarily the fastest runner.

The next Handicap 5k will be on Thursday 18th February 2016.


Pos Name Time T. Pos F. Pos Comments
1 ANGELA ARMITAGE 25:02 7 1 PB (2:11). Winner
2 JENNY GARRETT 26:48 11 3 PB (3:15). 3rd fastest woman.
3 JAMES KILROY 21:41 3 SB (1:19). 3rd fastest man.
4 STEVE CLOSE 25:50 10 1st 5K
5 OLWEN BATTY 27:09 12 4 YB
6 RICHARD KENNEDY 21:33 2 YB. 2nd fastest man.
7 JANE McFARLANE 25:09 8 2 PB (0:29). 2nd fastest woman
8 JIM BROWN 25:10 9 YB
9 JOHN NELMS 20:47 1 YB. Fastest man.
10 EMMA POULTER 35:36 22 9 PB
11 MARK GOODWIN 22:27 4 YB
12 ROBERT SHAW 27:15 13 YB
13 LIZ CARVELL 28:51 14 5 YB
14 ANDY JAY 23:59 5 YB
15 DAVID BOWKER 32:32 20 Race Walking. YB
16 BERNADETTE MILLWOOD 30:36 17 7 SB (0:10)
18 NIKKI TOUT 29:51 15 6 SB (0:07)
19 PAUL HOLGATE 29:53 16 YB
20 JOHN WASMUNTH 30:50 18 YB
21 SARAH ATKINSON 31:31 19 8 1st 5K
22 NICK WITCOMBE 34:09 21 Sweeping
23 KARL SHREEVE 35:54 23 YB


Ten Miles In Kent

Another Spartan was trying to beat 90 minutes on Sunday but MARK CHEADLE was in Kent. He did the Canterbury 10 mile road race. While it was lovely and warm, despite being a road race it had more than its fair share of mud and was hilly.

Mark came 712th out of 1163 in a time of 1:29:19 so with the help of a decent finish he had sneaked under an hour and a half.



On Saturday ROGER BIGGS ran the Liliput Marathon in County Westmeath, Ireland. He just beat the five hour time limit to finish in 4 hours 59 minutes 50 seconds. Not a fast time but the first time in over thirty marathons that Roger had run from start to finish.


Parkrun Reports

Several Spartans were at the Panshanger Parkrun on Saturday. Training Group 5 runner Natalie Lawrence was first female home finishing fifth out of the 225 runners in 19 minutes 15 seconds. Fellow group 5 runner Paul Whyte grabbed a course personal best (PB) by sneaking under 20 minutes to finish in 19:55 for eighth place. Michelle ‘Speedy’ Reeves is returning to form and her fitness improving. She tackled the cross-country course by coming in 22nd and third female runner with 21:17. Isabel Green came in 25:33 (76th), Lesley Jeive 29:37 (138th), and Alastair Baldwin 31:55 (170th).

At St Albans, Daniel Sutton came in at 23:06 gaining a new course PB (94th out of 445 runners), Verity Fisher finished in 23:26 (108th), Emma Kinsey in 24:32 (143rd) and it was great to see Ken Jude helping out doing timekeeping duties at the finish line.

Further afield, Darryl Stevens completed the Brockenhurst Parkrun in Dorset, just sneaking in a sub-40 minute run in 39-54 whilst John Nelms grabbed a course PB at Ashton Gate parkrun in Bristol by finishing 23rd out of 443 runners in 21-10.

RICHARD KENNEDY and NICOLA HABERLAND ran again at Holkham parkrun this weekend, Richard finishing 20th of 106 in a time of 22:49 and Nicola finishing 26th in 23:32.


Monica’s Power Of Ten

Congratulations to Monica Brown who topped the ‘Power of 10’ 100 metre rankings for women of 50 plus in the UK in 2015, whilst running for Fairlands Valley Spartans in the Eastern Veterans Athletics League.


Coming Events

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

• Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 29th January.
• South of England Cross Country Championships in London on Saturday 30th January.
• Watford Half Marathon including the County Championships for Veterans on Sunday 7th February.
• Fifth and final cross country league race on Therfield Heath on Sunday 14th February.
• Handicap 5K in Stevenage on Thursday 18th February.
• County Veterans Cross Country Championships on Sunday 13th March (probably Watford).
• Finchley 20 on Sunday 13th March.
• Essex 20 including Intercounties on Sunday 20th March.
• Sport Relief on Sunday 20th March.
• Maidenhead Easter Ten on Friday 25th March.
• County 20 Miles Championships at Oakley on Sunday 3rd April.
• County 1500 metres open and veteran track and field championships in Stevenage on Monday 2nd May.
• Pednor Five (including County five miles championship for veterans) on Monday evening 2nd May.
• Halstead Marathon, including Hertfordshire County Championships for seniors and veterans, on Sunday 8th May.
• Stevenage Half Marathon, a Stevenage 70 event, on Sunday 6th November.
• County Five Miles Open Championship in Hatfield on 27th 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 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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