Members old and new took on the Watford XC, plus marathon and parkrun news


Conditions were not attractive but Fairlands Valley Spartans turned out sixteen women and 23 men for Sunday’s cross country league race in Watford.  This was the fourth in the five race series.

Despite continuous rain, hills and some muddy sections all eight runners in Fairlands Valley Spartans men’s “A” team ran the 5.9 miles in less than 40 minutes.

ANDREW PATTERSON was third out of about 400 finishers in 34 minutes 21 seconds with GRANT RAMSAY seventh in 35:41. SIMON JACKSON had another good run finishing 21st in 37:18 with CHRIS WESTCOTT not far behind at 24th in 37:37.  STEFFAN FORD, 31st in 38:05; PAUL HEWETT, 33rd in 38:07; MIKE GREEN, 56th in 39:39 and TODD GRAY, 59th in 39:45 completed the “A” team.

NUALA CARSON was first in for the women.  She was 148th overall (men and women) in 44 minutes 45 seconds, just ahead of MICHELLE REEVES who was 149th in 44:46.  SUZI HAWKINS was 161st in 45:30 and CLAIRE WHITCHURCH 201st in 48:10.  HAZEL CLARK was the fifth and final counter in the women’s “A” team with 51 minutes 40 seconds for 258th position.

ZOE JACKSON enjoyed her first cross country race since leaving school and counted for the “B” team at 296th in 54:47. KELLY McHALE was team leader at 53:01 for 274th; WENDY THARANI, 316th in 56:47; CLAIRE COX, 333rd in 58:37 and SOPHIE COWAN, 334th with 58:38.

JAY PAPA ran his first race with the Spartans and was 159th in 45:22.  The Watford course is very varied, on some sections a long spike would be an advantage; on some trail shoes are ideal but there were two long sections where a road shoe would have worked well.  He counted towards the men’s “B” team which also included DANNY HUKIN 64th in 40:18; KARL CLARK 74th in 40:49; RICHARD SPRINGALL 84th in 41:03; ADRIAN BUSOLINI 95th in 41:45; THOMAS SAUKA 120th in 43:04; PETE SMITH 158th in 45:21 and STEVE MAYFIELD 184th in 47:24.

In addition JENNY GARRETT was 335th in 58:39; NICOLA TOUT 342nd in 59:55; STEPH MAYFIELD 343rd in 60 minutes exactly; LIZ CROWLEY 359th in 62:30; SHARON CROWLEY 367th in 63:30 and TRACY STILES 372nd in 66 minutes.

For the men there was also good runs by DARREN EMMERSON 200th in 48:08; TIM ROBINSON 219th in 49:05; PAUL WHITE 220th in 49:07; JAMES KILROY 239th in 50:22; NEIL ROBINSON 243rd in 50:34; JIM BROWN 287th in 53:47 and STEVE GOUGH 376th in 68:52.


Position Name Time M/F Category Comments
7 GRANT RAMSAY 35:41 M M40 Men’s “A”
21 SIMON JACKSON 37:18 M M40 Men’s “A”
24 CHRIS WESTCOTT 37:37 M M40 Men’s “A”
31 STEFFAN FORD 38:05 M M40 Men’s “A”
33 PAUL HEWETT 38:07 M SM Men’s “A”
56 MIKE GREEN 39:39 M SM Men’s “A”
59 TODD GRAY 39:45 M SM Men’s “A”
64 DANNY HUKIN 40:18 M M40  
74 KARL CLARK 40:49 M M40  
120 THOMAS SAUKA 43:04 M M40  
148 NUALA CARSON 44:45* F SW Women’s “A”
149 MICHELLE REEVES 44:46* F SW Women’s “A”
158 PETE SMITH 45:21 M M50  
159 JAY PAPA 45:22* M SM First run
161 SUZI HAWKINS 45:30* F W35 Women’s “A”
184 STEVE MAYFIELD 47:24 M M50  
200 DARREN EMMERSON 48:08 M M40  
201 CLAIRE WHITCHURCH 48:10* F W35 Women’s “A”
219 TIM ROBINSON 49:05 M M40  
220 PAUL WHITE 49:07 M SM  
239 JAMES KILROY 50:22 M SM  
243 NEIL ROBINSON 50:34 M SM  
258 HAZEL CLARK 51:40 F W35 Women’s “A”
274 KELLY McHALE 53:01 F W35 Women’s “B”
287 JIM BROWN 53:47 M M60  
296 ZOE JACKSON 54:47* F SW First X/C.  Women’s “B”
316 WENDY THARANI 56:47 F W35 Women’s “B”
333 CLAIRE COX 58:37 F W45 Women’s “B”
334 SOPHIE COWAN 58:38 F W35 Women’s “B”
335 JENNY GARRETT 58:39 F W45  
342 NICOLA TOUT 59:55* F W45  
343 STEPH MAYFIELD 60:00 F W35  
359 LIZ CROWLEY 62:30 F SW  
367 SHARON CROWLEY 63:30 F W55  
372 TRACY STILES 66:00* F W45  
376 STEVE GOUGH 68:52 M M40  


The team results have not yet been published.  Fairlands Valley Spartans were in third place in the league before this race.  The fifth and final race is on Therfield Heath on Sunday 12th February.


Louisiana Marathon – Sunday, 15th January 2017

ROGER BIGGS extended his Stateside Marathon count to 102, with an excellent marathon in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana State Capitol.

The marathon started and finished a matter of metres from the State Capitol, and not much further away from the awesome Mississippi River.  The course was traffic free, taking in much of the Greater Baton Rouge area and some pretty impressive lakes.  The mist that covered the Mississippi gradually cleared, leaving some very humid conditions.  Roger did not have one of his better days on a basically flat course, but hung in to finish in 4:50:56.


Parkrun Reports

It was an icy morning in Fairlands Valley for Stevenage parkrun but the team of volunteers did a great job identifying and marking potential danger spots with marshals and cones to ensure a safe run took place in marginal conditions for the 242 runners.

Their efforts meant the conditions were no problem for recent joiner NICK GILL who was first of the seventeen Spartans to finish in a new course PB (personal best) of 21:32 in 10th place. CHRIS HOLLAND was 23rd in 22:38, MARTIN DUDLEY 27th in 23:10 and DARREN EMMERSON 34th in 23:55.  For the women HANNAH NEALE was 5th in 25:24, CAROL PAUL 7th in 25:50, VERITY FISHER 10th in 26:40 and KAREN PALMER 17th in 28:13. There were also new course PBs for CAROLINE CROFT (28:28) and CLAIRE DRAKE (29:43).

The other Spartans in attendance at Stevenage were CALLUM BEASLEY (25:07), CLIVE CANNON (26:40), HAZEL SMITH (30:00), CATHERINE CRAIG (30:08), MICHELLE REEVES (30:30), PETER CARPENTER (30:32) and HEATHER MALONEY (30:52).

Three Spartans headed to Ellenbrook Fields for their parkrun fix. ELLA GOWER was first Spartan home, 37th woman in 33:12, a new course PB. TIM ROBINSON ran an easy 34:12 ahead of Sunday’s cross-country fixture, and MARIE HUTCHINGS finished in 38:47.

At Panshanger ANDY JAY nursed a niggly calf round in 29:23. Finally, south-coast Spartan DARRYL STEVENS ran 39:12 at Brockenhurst.


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:

  • Fred Hughes 10 including County Championships at St Albans on Sunday 22nd January.
  • Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 27th 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.
  • Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 24th February.
  • Spartans Presentation Evening in Old Stevenage on Friday 24th February.
  • Finchley 20 on Sunday 12th March.
  • Welwyn Half Marathon on Sunday 19th March.
  • Sandy Ten on Sunday 26th March.
  • 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 (TBC).
  • Stirling Marathon on Sunday 21st May.
  • 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.


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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