SPARTANS WIN IN TOP LEAGUE!

Heather Jones FVS celebrating new PB at St Albans Half Marathon

Fairlands Valley Spartans WON the first Mid Week League fixture of 2021 and not only on performance but also participation.

Winning a fixture in division one, the top division, is a huge achievement.

The Spartan men won with a score of 298 giving them six points while their women were third with 184 for four points. That meant they tied on points with North Herts Road Runners but won with a lower total score 482 compared with 576. Remember that in running events the winner gets one point for first place so low totals are better.

The Stevenage club was helped hugely by ANDREW PATTERSON coming second overall with just 33 minutes 36 seconds; SIMON JACKSON sixth in 34:08 and JONATHAN PARR seventh in 34:20. SUZY HAWKINS was ninth in the women’s race with 41:50. There was a stack of women’s category winners with Suzy first woman 45 plus; YUKO GORDON first woman 65 plus in 46:30; ABBIE PEZ first under 20 in 47:45 and CLARE PULLEN first 55 plus in 48:39.

WILLIAM MORLEY was first under 20 in the men’s race with 45:07.

All of the Spartan women’s “A” team of eight runners finished in under 48 minutes. The others were GEORGIE HOOPER 46:08; CHARLOTTE SMITH 46:50; JOANNE BOWDERY 46:54; HEATHER JONES 47:47 and GRACE COVENTRY 47:54. And MARIE COLUCCI led in the “B” team with 47:57.

All twelve of the men in the Spartan men’s “A” team finished in less than 41 minutes. Eight were under 40.

Nearly 100 Spartans ran – 46 women and 51 men. That means FIVE complete Spartan teams, teams of eight, finished the women’s race and FOUR complete teams, teams of twelve, finished the men’s race. Altogether 156 women from six clubs ran in division one. There were 173 men.

They were the only Stevenage based club to finish with complete teams in any division. Free participation in the mid week series is part of the club’s offer. With 97 members finishing between 33 minutes and 1 hour 40 minutes you can see that a wide range of abilities was very welcome.

Full results for all 46 women (eight per team) and all 51 men (twelve per team) can be found at the end of this release.

St Albans Hot and Hilly Half Marathon

The temperature was pushing 26 degrees and the 13.1 miles course nothing like flat but that did not stop Spartan HEATHER JONES running an amazing new personal best of 1 hour 43 minutes 50 seconds at Sunday’s St Albans Half Marathon. That’s an improvement of about six minutes.

DANNY SCANLON was so close to beating the “magic” one and a half hours but 1:30:26 was impressive in those conditions. He was 61st out of about 1600 finishers.

Meanwhile after his efforts last week JIM BROWN considered the temperature and thought he’d be pleased to get round with a nine minutes per mile average, giving say 1:58 so just under two hours; but he used all four water stations, carried a bottle for more than half the miles, and felt good enough at ten miles “only a parkrun to go” to speed up a bit for 1:55:36 and got in the top half of the field at 582nd despite another birthday coming along on Monday.

LUKE GURNEY said it was the hardest race he had ever done but came in with 2:05:33. KELLY EVANS was held up while an accident was sorted but came in with 2:07:13. JONATHAN JONES, DZENANA TOPIC and CHRISTINE ZVEREV kept in sight of each other almost all the way round and finished with 2:50:00; 2:50:03 and 2:51:09. New member Christine said, “it was great to finally join in all the fun in a big event. Lovely atmosphere and great encouragement.”

Position

Name

Time

Comments

61

DANNY SCANLON

1:30:26

269

HEATHER JONES

1:43:50

PB (6th F 20-29)

582

JIM BROWN

1:55:36

887

LUKE GURNEY

2:05:33

922

KELLY EVANS

2:07:13

1526

JONATHAN JONES

2:50:00

1527

DZENANA TOPIC

2:50:03

1531

CHRISTINE ZVEREV

2:51:09

SDW 100 – a Century on the South Downs Way

ADRIAN BUSOLINI ran the SDW100 on Saturday, in 21 hours 30 minutes 54 seconds. That’s 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne along the South Downs Way. 

This was his first real 100 mile race, which he completed almost 7 hours faster than last year’s virtual CR1C around Stevenage, comfortably achieving the 24 hour target he had set myself. 

The morning brought perfect running weather, but this soon developed into the heatstroke-inducing conditions that had been predicted for the afternoon (whilst it wasn’t all that hot in absolute terms, there’s almost no shade on the South Downs Way). Correspondingly, there was a high rate of DNFs (did not finish) this year. Adrian said, “Whilst I held up well through much of the afternoon, I really began to struggle late afternoon into the evening, with my pace faltering, muscles failing, hydration and fuelling strategy becoming confused, and willpower and self-belief waning. 

Sunset eventually brought the respite I needed, and soon after I regained my physical and mental form, and an acute determination to break 24 hours. With this, there was strong running, including relentlessly assaulting the hills, all the way to the finish. The only real hiccup was getting somewhat lost after following some incorrect route signage at the summit of the final hill before the descent to Eastbourne. After considerable backtracking and path exploration, I eventually spotted some headlights descending in the distance, which gave me the direction I needed to locate the correct path.

The race finished at the running track at Eastbourne Sports Park, which presented an opportunity to properly open the taps for a sprint finish lap. The legs felt like they were ticking over like clockwork as I gratuitously chased down the runner half a lap ahead (who spotted the danger last minute and surprisingly replied with a stonking 25m sprint finish himself – there were smiles all round at the finish line!) It was an immensely satisfying finish to a successful day on the trails. I was very happy with the PB, and have a lot of positives to take forward into the summer season.”

Peterborough 10K

PAUL HOLGATE reports that the postponed 10K at Ferry Meadows, Peterborough was very well organised.

STEVE WELLS was 82nd out of the 892 finishers and third man 55 plus with 41 minutes 58 seconds and Paul 711th in 1:06:19.

Racing Round England

The Spartans have a winner in their Bristol to Bristol virtual run, cycle and walk challenge around the coasts and borders of England. PENNY SCHENKEL crossed the finish line during the Spartans Wave 10K run on Tuesday 25th May with all 2,970 kilometres done.

She was 434 kilometres ahead of JIM BROWN (2536) and 789 ahead of BRIAN WHITE (2181).

On Sunday 13th June JIM BROWN, in second place, had crossed the River Severn and is closing in on Bristol with 2,805 kilometres (94.45%) done. BRIAN WHITE has maintained his third place and is approaching Fleetwood with 2376 kilometres. SHARON CROWLEY, fourth, is through ~Carlisle and starting to head down the west coast with 2192 kilometres.

This virtual event was another great distraction and motivation during the months of restrictions on racing and training together. It started in Bristol and followed the coasts and borders of England in an anti-clockwise direction. The other ten Spartans are still clicking up the kilometres and have until December to finish the event. Many other clubs are participating in the Virtual Coast Challenge.

Flying On

The Spartans are still flying. On Saturday morning five took part in the 56th virtual Fly 5K. NICK KLEANTHOUS ran a Fly PB (personal best) of 24 minutes 48 seconds. With the next day’s half marathon on his mind JIM BROWN was 114th in 27:58. NICOLA ANDERSSON was 129th in 28:50; PAUL HOLGATE 166th in 32:54 and PENNY SCHENKEL 178th in 34:32. There were 217 runners from 48 clubs and several different countries.

(Not) Parkrun

In addition to those using the same effort to record Fly 5K times on Saturday some other Spartans ran (not) parkruns on other days. For example JIM BROWN took 26 minutes 50 seconds to run the first 5K of Sunday’s St Albans Half Marathon.

(Not) Parkruns can be run on any day of the week.

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