Fairlands Valley Spartans sparkled at the last cross country race in the series and achieved their best result in at least five years.

Bramley 20/10 * More For London


Fairlands Valley Spartans sparkled at the last cross country race in the series and achieved their best result in at least five years. 

With only a one point advantage going into the last race some tremendous performances on Therfield Heath confirmed the women’s team in second place (out of 21); and the female masters’ team (all veterans 35 plus) leapt from sixth to third.  JULIE SIMMONS was first woman veteran (55 plus).

The Spartans “A” team consisted of NATALIE LAWRENCE (3rd in 40 minutes 43 seconds); ALISON WOOD (6th); MADDIE PRITCHARD (13th); MICHELLE REEVES (16th) and JULIE SIMMONS (17th).

TRACY PEZ (25th) and HAZEL CLARK (37th) were not far behind leading in the “B” team which also included SARAH PIKE (58th); LISA BURGESS (73rd) and KATY JINKS (74th). 

So many Spartan were keen to run there was also a “C” team of JO BOWDERY (78th); KAREN LIDDLE (79th); PETA WILSON (82nd); STEPHANIE MAYFIELD (89th) and SHARON CROWLEY (104th).

In the men’s race GRANT RAMSAY was second in 33 minutes 21 seconds; ANDREW PATTERSON 6th in 34:22; SIMON JACKSON 7th in 34:48; ANDY NEATHAM 13th in 35:26; IAN YENNY 23rd in 36:15; LIAM HERBERT 54th in 38:43; MARTIN WOOD 74th in 40:54* and STEVE GREEN 81st in 41:59.  They made up the “A” team (eight to count). 

A total of twenty Spartan men ran.  Their “B” team was NICK CROWLEY (88th); BERNIE BARNABY (91st); THOMAS SAUKA (104th); MARK GOODWIN (128th); DAVE STEPHENSON (139th); ANDY CHURN (146th); STEVE PIKE (162nd) and MARK CHEADLE (165th).  They were backed up by ANDY JAY (168th); ANTHONY WHITE (171st); MARK FREEMAN (177th) and PAUL HOLGATE (180th). 

There may be other individual Spartans prizes but the full results have not been published yet.


Bramley 20/10 

ANDREA WESTCOTT continued her build up to the Paris Marathon with another personal best at the Bramley 10 Mile race on Sunday.  Andrea clocked 91:33 for a new best by nearly 2 minutes. 

YLLKA ISTREFI became the first woman to complete a series for the 2015 long distance Spartans championship when she finished the Bramley 20 mile race in 2 hours 37 minutes 57 seconds.  The series is the best of three out of 10 miles; half marathon; 20 miles and full marathon.  She was 308th out of the 743 finishers in this high quality race which is popular for many targeting the London Marathon.  JIM BROWN became unwell during the race but finished 594th in 3:12:11.


Gold For Christopher 

Meanwhile CHRISTOPHER WESTCOTT made the shorter journey to Lee Valley where he claimed Gold in the veterans (40 plus) 800 metres Southern Masters and EVAC (East of England) Championships.  Christopher’s time of 2:09.72 improved his own club V40 record.


Beat the Baldock Beast 

Three Spartans beat the Baldock Beast Half Marathon.  DANIEL BATES was 48th in 1 hour 35 minutes 7 seconds; PAUL WHYTE 76th in 1:37:52 and PAUL MAGUIRE 105th in 1:43:14.  There were 320 runners.


Love Welwyn 10K 

Club Secretary KAREN PALMER ran the Love Welwyn 10K in one hour and one second (1:00:01) on Sunday morning.  She says she will do much better when she has had some training.


Parkruns 14th February 2015 

Valentine’s Day and there was no other place to celebrate than with a Parkrun at Valentine’s Park in Ilford, in the east end of London.  Spartan men’s captain Danik (DANIEL BATES) was flying the flag and despite being stuck on the North Circular and making it to the park with just ten minutes to spare.  This was a two lap run (where The Great British Bake-Off is filmed).  After a very brisk warm Daniel was completed in 20-18.  He was 15th out of 264 runners (double the amount of runners which the Valentine’s Parkrun usually gets due to the date and the park’s name!). This was a perfect warm-up for the Baldock Half Marathon which took place the next day.

Two Spartans did one better on their tour of the Parkrun circuit, Verity Fisher and Daniel Sutton landed up in Barnstable, north-west Devon. Daniel finished the course in 26th place in a time of 22-24 and Verity was fifth female home with a time of 23-47 (37th place).  There was a total of 148 runners.

Down at the Spartans favourite local course at Panshanger, Hertford, Hazel Clark finished 99th out of 175 runners with a time of 30-08.


Champions Night 

Celebrate with the champions.  Fairlands Valley Spartans’ Presentation Evening, Dinner and Dance will be at Chesfield Downs on Friday 27th February.  Tickets are only £20 and they are available now.  Go to


Running London? 

With ten weeks to go so far 22 Fairlands Valley Spartans have declared that they are running this April’s London Marathon.  Some have qualified on time; some came out of the draw; many are running for charity. 


Please support them.  Over the next few weeks several stories on the Spartan entries will be released.  To get the ball rolling 

London Marathon – Suzy Hawkins

SUZY HAWKINS, 39 is a district nurse.  She first entered the London Marathon ballot ten years ago and has had four unsuccessful attempts to get in.  The last few years she’s been very busy with the arrival of small children and she is delighted and excited to be running.  This will be her second marathon but first London.  Suzy is hoping for around 3:30.  Ran the recent Watford Half Marathon in 1 hour 39 minutes 56 seconds. 

With wonderful support from Fairlands Valley Spartans (especially the Sunday long runs), Suzy feels like her training is back on track now: maybe not for a personal best, but definitely to finish with a smile. 

She hopes to raise some money for cancer research, as with many of us, people close to her have been devastatingly effected by cancer.  She hopes that will help her to keep her motivated when it starts getting tough.


London Marathon – Yllka Istrefi 

YLLKA ISTREFI is a concert pianist.  Yllka had already qualified for the London Marathon but was so impressed by the Fairlands Valley Spartans coaching team that she joined the club late in 2014.  Yllka ran the Amsterdam Marathon in 3L54:05 and Edinburgh in 3:42:05.  She ran the recent Watford Half Marathon in 1:40:41, and continued her build up with Sunday’s Bramley 20 in 2:37:57.  She hopes to beat 3:30, maybe 3:25 on 26th April.

London Marathon – Ruth and Jackie 

RUTH REILLY was lucky enough to get a ballot  place and is helping JACKIE DOWNES with her fundraising  for Children with Cancer UK.  Fundraising is going well, we have held cake sales, a race night and had a charity Christmas lights display.  It will be their first marathon so they are really excited!  They have a blog if people want to see what they have been getting up to in training: 


Got a place in the London Marathon?   

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 19th February.
  • Serpentine 5K on Friday 27th February.
  • Presentation Evening, Dinner and Dance at Chesfield Downs on Friday 27th February. Tickets available now.
  • 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.
  • Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 27th 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.
  • County 5 miles senior championships at Pednor on Monday evening 4th May.
  • Bushy 10K including Herts Veterans road championships on Sunday 5th July.
  • County 10000 metres track championship in Biggleswade on Thursday 9th July.
  • County and Open 3K Relay Championship in Stevenage on Thursday 30th July.
  • County 5K Senior Championships on 2nd September.
  • County 5K Veterans Championship on 16th September.
  • Standalone 10K (inc. country senior champs) in Letchworth on Sunday 4th October.
  • Great Eastern Run in Peterborough on 11th October.
  • Stevenage Half Marathon (includes County Veterans) on Sunday 1st November.
  • St. Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 15th November.
  • County 10 miles Veterans Championship at Buntingford on 27th December.



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 9.00a.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

E N D S 

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

Leave a Reply