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.
Fairlands Valley Spartans WON the team award at Sunday’s Hitchin 10K. They had 25 out of the 518 finishers with several top twenty positions.
JONATHAN PARR was second overall and first in his category with a fantastic 34 minutes 24 seconds. KELVIN BEYIOKU was fifth in 36:42.
In her first ever 10K race ASHLEY JOHNSON won her category and was fourth woman overall in 42 minutes 37 seconds.
NICK GILL took eight seconds off his 10K personal best finishing in 41 minutes 28 seconds and he was 18 seconds quicker than the same race last year.
ADRIAN DONNELLY was 13th man in 39:33; MARIE COLUCCI 18th woman in 47:51 and GEORGIE HOOPER was twentieth woman in 48:28.
SHARON CROWLEY ran her first official 10k in a very long time! She finished in 1 hour 5 minutes 21 seconds. JIM BROWN improved his St Albans 10K time by exactly one minute when he finished in 56:29. He said it was great seeing so many Spartans at an event again.
The 25 Spartans were JONATHAN PARR 34:23; KELVIN BEYIOKU 36:41; ADRIAN DONNELLY 39:33; ROSS GALLACHER 40:19; NICK GILL 41:28; ASHLEY JOHNSON (F) 42:37; MARIE COLUCCI (F) 47:51; GEORGIE HOOPER (F) 48:28; ANDY JAY 50:28; VISH SHAH 50:49; LUKE GURNEY 51:29; ZOE JACKSON (F) 51:43; NIKKI WILBY (F) 51:51; KARK SHREEVE 54:46; SARAH ILLINGWORTH (F) 55:52; STEVE PIKE 55:54; JIM BROWN 56:29; MONICA SMITHSON (F) 1:02:01; CHRISTINE ZVEREV (F) 1:03:27; NICOLA PATTMAN (F) 1:04:13; STEVEN DOBNER 1:04:14; SHARON CROWLEY (F) 1:05:21; JONATHAN JONES 1:09:38; DZENANA TOPIC (F) 1:10:10 and SAMANTHA SUTTON (F) 1:12:40.
Milton Keynes Sub Four and PBs (Personal Bests for Hazel and Rob)
TIM ROBINSON and HAZEL SMITH ran the Milton Keynes marathon which was hotter than expected and had some sneaky hills towards the end. Both were very pleased with their times, Tim 4:35:22 and Hazel 3 hours 59 minutes 40 seconds. It was a massive PB (personal best) of around 24 minutes from Hazel’s last marathon in October. Hazel says that joining the Spartans peak performance group and following the training plan from Steffan Ford has improved her overall fitness and pace. Hazel was over the moon to dip under 4 hours for the first time ever.
Also TRICIA HOPPER, KAREN LIDDLE and BARRY KING ran and completed the Milton Keynes Marathon. As with many people/runners this was their first marathon since Covid.
Tricia Hopper ran the 26.2 miles in 4:28:30, this was her 87th marathon.
Karen and Barry ran together in 5.55.34. Karen has now completed 76 marathons and Barry 56.
Spartan ROB WRIGHT ran a new personal best (PB) of 1:35:31 at the Milton Keynes Half Marathon 2022.
CATHY CRAIG ran the Belfast Marathon on a cold dull day. All went well until around mile 17 when she was a bit sick and the queasiness never really left her. Still, she managed a watch time of 5:29:47, which was just within her second target time of 5:30.
Vitality London 10k
DEBBIE BLANTERN ran the Vitality London 10K, her first race since December 2019. She was super happy with her time of 58 minutes 41 seconds.
She said this will give her a big confidence boost to get more races booked this year.
Having run the Hitchin 10K in 1:12:40 on Sunday SAMANTHA SUTTON ran the Vitality 10000 in a time of 1 hour 11 minutes 55 seconds.
Also in the London 10000 CHARLIE WHITE ran a new personal best (PB) of 38 minutes 46 seconds and ANNABELLE WHITE a “pregnant best” of 55:41.
JIM BROWN was at the Serpentine Last Friday of the Month 5K. Some amazing runners show up for these lunch-time races. Jim was 146th out of 166 with 27 minutes 46 seconds. Slowly knocking off a few seconds since coming back from illness. It was dry but cold and breezy.
Good News for YUKO
YUKO GORDON is out of action at the moment but received some good news from British Masters last week. Her half marathon record has been ratified as a new British record for women over 70.
She ran a gun time of 1:40:02 (chip time 1:39:58) at Bedford on 27th March this year. Yuko did run 1:37:50 last summer but it was a chip time (and not ratified) as a gun time was not available with Covid restrictions. The previous record was 1:40:43 (chip time 1:40:33) held by Angela Copson.
Parkrun Highlights 30th April
First Spartan home at Stevenage parkrun was TONY RANDFIELD on his 98th parkrun in 20.59.
SAM SIMMONS took a trip to Bedford and ran 25:51 on his first outing there. Sam may have clocked the longest “parkrun” this week running just over 16 miles with parkrun included.
A parkrun “first timer” event for JAMES MCSWEENEY at Letchworth (25:55)
MIKE REYNOLDS was at Panshanger (25:12) and ED HARE was at Lee on the Solent (23:25). DARRYL STEVENS was at Brockenhurst running 45.34.
If you thought last week was good this week was amazing for Spartan results.
Seven Victories in Seven Days for Adrian Busolini
It’s hard to describe the achievement of Spartan ADRIAN BUSOLINI who ran seven marathons in seven days, WON all seven of them and broke the event record by more than 30 minutes. He is the Enigma Week @ the Knees Champion following an incredible week in Milton Keynes. Adrian’s total time was 22 hours 56 minutes 11 seconds, so he took 39 minutes 24 seconds off of the course record.
His average time for each of the seven marathons was 3 hours 16 minutes 36 seconds. His fastest: 2:53:11, and his slowest 3:33:58.
Here’s his story:
“Seven marathons in seven days with 7 wins and a new7 in 7 record (finishing the last one in 3:05:09). Enigma Week @ the Knees Champion.
After the Arc of Attrition, I felt I could use a different sort of challenge. One that didn’t involve wading through bogs, or slipping down rocky paths in the middle of the night. The answer popped up on my Facebook feed: Foxy from Enigma Running had one place remaining on his “Week at the Knees” 7 marathons in 7 days race.
The journey started on Monday at Willen Lake. I planned to run easy 3:30s. However, once I got going, I was delighted with my free-flowing gait and got a bit carried away, finishing in 2 hours 53 minutes – barely five minutes shy of my personal best (PB). This seemed to raise a few eyebrows amongst the competition. Unfortunately, this was immediately followed by my picking up a flat tyre on my return journey, which threw a major spanner in the works for my recovery plan!
On Tuesday, I paid for Monday’s hard effort and impaired recovery with a 3:19 finish. Still quick enough to secure first place, but the effort it took felt significantly greater than my 2:53. Wednesday followed a similar pattern, with muscular tightness and fatigue taking its toll, resulting in a 3:33 finish, my slowest of the week. By this point, I was sensing I might have blown my chances on the very first day. Would I be able to recover and complete the week?
Thursday brought a change of venue to Caldecotte Lake. The different scenery, coupled with fantastic sunny conditions, on-site support from FVS’ own ultra legend John Nelms, and a friend who joined the race alongside me (taking first female spot), all helped raise my mood. I kept it fairly slow & steady, and at least managed a more consistent race, finishing in 3:28. This felt much better than the previous two days. Was I recovering?
Post-race, John dropped the idea to Foxy and I that the course record of 23 hours 35 minutes, set back in 2014, might be achievable. Back at home, I calculated it would take an average of 3:26 on the remaining days for me to break it. The seed had been planted.
So on Friday I set out with the goal of running 3:15, to give myself 5 minutes more leeway heading into the weekend. It was, frankly, a horrible day: I was battling intermittent muscular problems, a caloric deficit, and all without knowing whether I was, as I hoped, recovering from Monday. Despite not looking at my watch for the last half, I ran 3:14:45, hitting my target pace more or less dead on.
Saturday revealed a mysterious problem with my tibialis anterior. It could have been anything from a muscular injury to a nasty bite. I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to complete, and was prepared to bow out if need be, but otherwise set myself a target of 3:25 to give myself another eight minutes leeway on Sunday. Fortuitously, whatever it was resolved itself over the first 10k, enabling me to dig in and secure a 3:21 finish. Going into Sunday, so long as I completed, I was guaranteed the overall win. The question was whether I could break the course record by running sub 3:44.
Frankly, Sunday felt like a formality, but it was still a marathon that needed to be run. There were lots of fresh faces today, and even though I set off at pace, two of them sat alongside me for the first couple of kilometres. I feared I might have to settle for a third place finish today, but when I tested them by increasing the pace by some 20 secs/k, they both dropped off. That was the last I’d see of them.
The rest of the race was a case of focussing on the task at hand. I vaguely fancied the sub-3, but was cautious about applying too much speed, just in case I pulled something in the final furlong. So it was a case of keeping the pressure on to keep my two rivals at bay, whilst juggling gels, electrolytes and pace changes to make it as comfortable as one can on the seventh day of marathoning. I finished the final race in 3 hours 5 minutes 9 seconds taking 39 minutes 24 seconds off the event record with a total of 22 hours 56 minutes 11 seconds.
And with that, I won the Week at the Knees, breaking the course record by over 30 minutes. For good measure, I won each individual day too. This was my first attempt at the multiday format, and I think it went fairly well.”
Milton Keynes Festival of Running
There were two Spartans at the Milton Keynes Festival of Running. STUART ARCHER ran a great new 20 mile personal best of 2 hours 20 minutes 13 seconds and JOHN HARRIS completed the 10K in 42 minutes 45 seconds for 37th out of the 576 finishers. John commented it was a great course with a sting in the tail – a horrible hill in the last mile.
Oundle 20 Miles
There was a new (personal best) PB for ROBERT WRIGHT at Oundle. He ran the 20 miles in 2:36:40 for 67th overall.
ROB EVANS took part in the Burghley 7 mile race that took place in and around the Burghley House Estate in Stamford, near Peterborough, which is best known for hosting the Burghley Horse Trials each year.
Burghley House is the ancestral home of the Cecil family and the house provided a stunning backdrop to the event. Weather conditions were good and Rob completed the seven mile race in 59:34 despite a nosebleed at mile 3!
Inter County Cross Country
JONATHAN PARR finished sixth scorer, i.e. counted for the team, for Hertfordshire, 211th overall, in the Inter County Cross Country men’s senior race on Saturday.
Yuko Is A National Champion
Spartan YUKO GORDON is a national champion. She won GOLD at the British Masters Cross Country Championship (National) in Tonbridge, Kent on Saturday
Yuko won W70 over one of the toughest cross country courses 6km (for all women 35+ and men 65+, 8km for men 40-64). If the boggy Parliament Hill is a 10, this was 9, probably Royston Heath is much kinder by comparison at 7.5. It was a long up slope followed by steep up hill, down to catch up the speed before next up with ditches and slippery mud between. The top three of Yuko’s age group W70 were very competitive and all faster than the winner of younger category W65. It was very competitive race and winning it was fantastic.
Parkrun Highlights 12th March
CIARAN MCANENY leads the way this week as the fastest parkrun Spartan running at Holy Cross College parkrun in Northern Ireland, finishing at 18:07.
Fastest lady goes to HAZEL SMITH who completed Stevenage Parkrun in 23:41 which was a year best (YB).
Hazel said, “A week after my 20 miler and I’m over the moon to have a year’s best at Stevenage parkrun today. I was fourth female and first in my age category with 23:41.”
There were plenty of unofficial milestones achieved by members this week, with LUKE SILVER completed 40 Parkruns, PAUL SHELLEY with 50, ALISON SHELLEY with 80 and MO WARRILLOW with 150.
GRANT RAMSAY ran his eleventh sub 20 minutes parkrun in succession at Stevenage with 19 minutes 39 seconds.
There were some fantastic performances from many of the thirteen Fairlands Valley Spartans racing the Cambridge Half Marathon on Sunday morning.
The fastest from Fairlands, and wow it was fast – he set a phenomenal new personal best, was SIMON JACKSON with 1 hour 12 minutes 30 seconds. 90 seconds is a lot at that standard. He was 48th out of about 10,000 finishers in the whole race AND third in his age category. The fastest female from the club was MICHELLE REEVES in 1:30:24.
VICKY ARCHER took about ten minutes off her Half Marathon personal best (PB) which was set at Hampton Court two years ago. On Sunday she was well under two hours with 1 hour 56 minutes 18 seconds. She said she trained so hard and is feeling quite proud of herself.
MARIAN MORLEY was delighted to report a new half marathon PB of 1:58:35 – improving by over nine minutes. Her previous best HM was 2:07:36 at the London Big Half in 2021. She surprised herself by running without stopping with an even cadence throughout and splits that only varied by 30 seconds – perhaps helped by being a fairly flat course. Her son William volunteered as a helper for the event and cheered all the runners on from the side.
LINDA GEORGE had a great time. On her way to a new half marathon PB of 2 hours 8 minutes 27 seconds she ran her best time ever for 5K, under 30 minutes, and her best time ever for 10K, under 60 minutes.
Then ELLIE McDERMOTT improved by 24 minutes 27 seconds in a week. She ran the Welwyn Half in 2:43:04 but Cambridge in 2:18:37.
Want to improve? Fairlands Valley Spartans offer training sessions on five days a week and now can arrange one to one coaching sessions. All are free to members.
Meanwhile JIM BROWN was content to continue his recovery, proving to himself that he can again run 13.1 minutes without stopping and trimmed his 2022 time by 26 seconds to 2:02:25.
The other Spartans included STUART HAYCROFT in 1:28:55 and MARTIN JACOB in 1:54:14.
WENDY THARANI, CATHY CRAIG and HAZEL SMITH travelled to Debden Airfield, near Saffron Walden to compete in the Essex 20. Hazel said it was a lovely course with five loops of four miles each. Some sections were quite exposed with a chilly headwind but it was basically flat.
Hazel had a fantastic run. She cut her 20 mile time by 49 minutes and her personal best is now 2 hours 49 minutes 13 seconds.
Wendy Tharani had an outstanding run finishing in 3:45:39 after being ill all week and completing a 20 mile training run the previous week. Cathy Craig won her age category with 3:55:24.
Silver for Andrew
It was silver for Spartan ANDREW PATTERSON in the British Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships on Sunday. He was taking part in the 1500m. It was Andrew’s first race back after a hamstring tear two weeks ago. He’d worked really hard with the physio to get to the start line, albeit he said he was being held together by tape.
He finished in 4:19.43, took the silver medal and said he was very happy to just get through the race and not to make the hamstring worse.
Second in Surrey 5K
It was second in Surrey for JONATHAN PARR in the Surrey 5K at Woking on Saturday. Morning. He was second overall and first male 35 plus in 16 minutes 9 seconds.
Parkrun Highlights 5th March
Anticipation of some hard races on Sunday meant there were only Spartans at three parkrun venues on Saturday and 18 stripes at Stevenage. This week there was a total of 259 finishers.
NICK GILL got a new personal best PB) of 20:06 on the occasion of his 80th parkrun. GRANT RAMSAY was in eighth position in another nineteen (19:29). Another top ten and sub 20 at Stevenage.
SUZY HAWKINS was first female in 21:11 on her 18th parkrun.
Further afield PETER CARPENTER was at Squerryes Winery parkrun running a new PB of 42:57. DARRYL STEVENS was in Minehead clocking at time of 37:11.
53 Times Round a Lake
A big shout out for Spartan ADRIAN BUSOLINI who, as this was being written on Monday, was setting out on his quest to run seven marathons in seven days. That’s round and round Willen Lake in Milton Keynes.