DEBBIE BLANTERN won the club’s 5K handicap race on Thursday evening. Debbie beat her handicap by 4 minutes 38 seconds with 30:22 and finished seven seconds ahead of MICHAEL O’KEEFE with a season’s best 25:14.
MATT GIFFORD was third in his first handicap with 21:10, beating his handicap by 2:05.
MARIE COLUCCI was second woman on handicap and on speed with 23:38 with ASHLEY JOHNSON was fastest female and third on handicap with 20:20.
The fastest Spartan on the night was NICK GILL with 18:46.
Summer Solstice 10K
Seven Spartans went to St Albans for the Summer Solstice 10K or #BeatTheSunset race on Wednesday. An 8p.m. start on a beautiful summer’s evening didn’t present problems for many people and all the Spartans were back in the sunshine with about half an hour to spare. Sunset was at 9.24p.m.
The fastest from Fairlands Valley Spartans was DAVID PATTMAN 83rd out of the 532 finishers with 44 minutes 19 seconds. STEVEN DOBNER was next in with a fine 47:45 with HARRIET SMITH 33rd woman beating 50 minutes with 49:12 and MO WARRILOW coming in at 52 minutes 32 seconds.
There was a tremendous personal best (PB) by CHLOE CHAPMAN who finished in 53 minutes 3 seconds, an improvement by 1 minute 47 seconds. MATT TUTTON improved his PB by 56 seconds to 55:17.
JIM BROWN ran his best 10K this year by seven seconds with 55:21 and was second in his category.
Yuko Wins Brutal British Masters
YUKO GORDON won Gold in the British Masters Multi-terrain 30K Championship on Sunday. The championship was incorporated into the North Downs Run, in which she came first in W65 (women 65 plus) category in 3:24:06. Overall Yuko was 180th out of 400 plus finishers.
The race started and finished at the Cyclo Park in Gravesend, Kent. The course is well known as tough, hilly and challenging on a normal day, but with the 31C heat added, it was absolutely brutal. However, the race is very popular for the stunning beauty of Britain’s fine vineyards, red carpets of poppy field and breathtaking views.
Sunday saw MIKE JEFFS take on the Orwell Challenge in Felixstowe. There was some difficult terrain to deal with along with the local wildlife which included jelly fish! Mike said that it was a tough course but very beautiful.
He completed the half marathon distance in 2:14:14 – 21st out of 100 finishers.
THOMAS SAUKA did the Purbeck Plod on Sunday, it was meant to be 25 miles but he did a marathon in the end with a few errors. Lucky Tom.
It was very beautiful event but very brutal as well. The course followed the southwest coast path from Swanage to Kimmeridge Bay, which had some killer vertical climbs and descents and 5 miles of overgrown path, then it cut inland to Corfe Castle then back to Swanage going over the hills and the great ridge which is amazing but a very long climb.
Tom finished in 7 hours 34 minutes with 42.26 kilometres done. He said “A tough day that I will never forget.”
JIM BROWN was running at the Lee Valley Velo Park, an Olympic venue, on Saturday morning. It was perhaps too hot to expect a good time but 1 hour 33 minutes 16 seconds for the ten miles WON his age group.
Parkrun Saturday 24th June 2023
STEVE DOBNER ran a new park PB of 24 minutes 47 seconds at Wimpole.
The Spartans club handicap 5K returned on Thursday evening and there were 41 runners.
Running round the Fairlands, Grace, Martins, Verity, Fairlands Ways course the winner on the night was a very quick SIMON FRASER in a new PB (personal best) time of 16:48, with CHRIS WATLING second in 23:54 and ADRIAN BUSOLINI third in 17:52.
ANNA SWANEPOEL won the women’s handicap with a new personal best (PB) of 27 minutes 48 seconds. PENNY SCHENKEL was second across the line with a year’s best 34:20 and KAREN ELLIS just two seconds behind third with a year’s best (YB) 25:11 which was 1:42 quicker than her previous fastest 5K time this year.
Fastest runner on the night was Simon Fraser with Adrian Busolini second quickest in 17:52 and Charlie White third quickest (19:18). GRANT RAMSAY continued his return to form at fourth fastest with 19:22. Tracy Pez was quickest female (24:15) with Karen Ellis second quickest and Nikki Wilby, 25:41, third quickest.
In handicap races the slower runners, on recent performance, start first and if everyone runs exactly to form they will all finish together. So a pursuit race and the best improver wins.
Thus SIMON FRASER was first across the line 36 seconds of CHRIS WATLING. Chris finished 12 seconds ahead of ADRIAN BUSOLINI in third even though Chris’ net time was 23:54 and Adrian’s 17:52
The next handicap 5K will be on Thursday 1st September 2022 and it would be fantastic if the Spartans can get even more than 41 taking part next time.
A big thank you to helpers and supporters: Vicky and Stuart Archer and boys; Sharon and Mike Crowley; Jan and Nick Fry; Tony Randfield; Hannah Sypula and Tony Willson.
EMAC – East of England track and field hit by downpour
The last Eastern Masters central division competition at Bedford on 20th July was cut short due to a downpour which left the track and field completely flooded and unsafe. Some events took place before the heavens opened, with our women’s team completing another clean sweep, this time in the distance hurdles – W35 400m Nikki Wilby, W50 300m Andrea Westcott, and W60 300m Sharon Crowley.
Stephanie Biggar won the W35 javelin competition, marking her last appearance for the team with a new PB! Christine Lathwell also scored top points, winning the W35 mile in horrendous conditions with race bibs disintegrating before crossing the line! Monica Brown won the W50 long jump, making a brave return to the event that caused her injury last year. Other points scored on the evening – Wendy Tharani (third W50 mile), Carolyn Linsell (third W60 mile), Marian Morley (second W50 javelin), Joylyn Saunders-Mullins (second W60 javelin), Fiona Clarke (fourth W35 long jump and a new PB!), and Karen Dodsworth (second W50 long jump). Tracey Jackson was due to make her debut for the team, but the weather had other ideas!
The men’s team had wins from Chris Westcott (M35 mile) and Grant Ramsay (M50 mile) with other points from Pete Smith (second M60 mile and second M60 300m hurdles), Anton McCalla (third M35 discus), Nick Kleanthous (fifth M50 discus), Ron Westcott (third M60 discus)
The final will be held at the Bedford International stadium on Sunday 4th September. The Spartans women’s team will be attempting to retain their championship title.
Three in Three for Jim
It was three 5K races in three days for JIM BROWN. His second was at the Serpentine Last Friday of the Month 5K in Hyde Park on a dry, sunny, warm with a light breeze Friday lunch time. He finished in a reasonable 27 minutes 8 seconds and was second in his age group. His first was the Spartans handicap 5K on Thursday evening and his third in the Stevenage parkrun where his previous exploits came to haunt him a bit in the last 1.5 kilometres.
Parkrun Highlights Saturday 30th July
GRANT RAMSAY wearing his Team GB top from the recent world masters championships WON the Stevenage parkrun in 18 minutes 21 seconds.
Fairlands Valley Spartan members were out in force on Saturday with thirty seven members taking part at ten different parkrun venues across the country. It was a bumper weekend of achievements with personal bests, year bests, first finishes and top tens.
Congratulations to Sam SIMMONS running his 50th Parkrun at Stevenage, coincidently finishing at 50th place with a time of 23:45. Congratulations also go to Adrian DONNELLY (19:58 at Stevenage) and Michael O’KEEFE (27:18 at Henlow Bridge Lakes) who both achieved personal bests this weekend.
Grant RAMSAY was fastest at Stevenage, coming first with a year best (YB) time of 18:21. Alison WOOD and Sam PRETTY (who made her debut at Stevenage Parkrun) took home first and second lady with times of 21:42 (YB) and 21:55 respectively.
There were three other top ten finishers this week, with Adrian DONNELLY fifth, Ashley KING eighth lady both at Stevenage (25:15) and Karen ELLIS sixth lady at Sheringham (26:41 YB).
Four more year bests were achieved with Chloe CHAPMAN (27:15) and Claire EMMERSON (27:20) both running at Stevenage, Peter CARPENTER (43:17) at Squerryes Winery and Maria SWIFT (29:13) at Sandringham.
25 of the 229 finishers at Stevenage were Spartans. Last but not least, five Spartans reached unofficial milestones with Nicola PATTMAN completing her 20th Parkrun, Jonathan JONES (80th), Alison SHELLEY (90th), Thomas SAUKA (110th) and Martin DUDLEY (150th) all at Stevenage.
All the Spartan handicap 5K runners in finish line order