Spartan of the Month and Milton Keynes Half Marathon
MICHAEL O’KEEFE was voted Spartan of the month for November. He organised the Bryan Moore 10 and Paul Maguire 5 mile handicap events as well as putting a huge amount of effort into helping set up the Stevenage Half Marathon before running it!
On Sunday Michael was at the Milton Keynes Winter Half Marathon which he finished in 2 hours 1 minute 41 seconds. He said it was minus 3 degrees at start and minus one at the finish so a tad chilly.
GRANT RAMSAY ran the Goodwood Marathon in 3 hours 5 minutes 52 seconds which was a significant improvement on a couple of his previous marathons earlier in the year which he ran at Bedford in 3 hours 16 minutes and Milton Keynes in 3 hours 22 minutes.
Welwyn Festive 5 miles
Following on from the Festive 5 at Welwyn on the 11th December it has now been confirmed that ANDREW PATTERSON not only achieved a personal best but has also set a new course record of 26 minutes 34 seconds. Well done Andrew!
Minsden Chapel Christmas Club Run
The clubs pre-Christmas Minsden Chapel Run has been a favourite for Fairlands Valley Spartans for many years. This year a group of Spartans ran the route braving chilly temperatures and freezing fog.
This is a fantastic club run that brings all members and abilities together to enjoy a social Christmas run which always delivers on stunning views! Three different distances are covered with all runners ending up at the very pretty and recently renovated Minsden Chapel before they head back to Stevenage ‘dropping off’ different runners at the different meeting points.
Altogether there were four parkrun PB for Spartans. STEVE DOBNER 20:39 and MO WARRILOW 24:31 at Great Denham; MICHAEL O’KEEFE at Henlow Bridge Lakes 27:10 and NIKKI NATION at Stevenage with 28:57.
Spartan SIMON JACKSON won the Festive Five road race at Welwyn Garden City on Sunday morning. He took just 27 minutes 56 minutes, a new personal best, to get round the tricky two lap course and finished nine seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
Next in was JOHN HARRIS at 23rd with 35:05.
NICK KLEANTHOUS was one of many in fancy dress. He said it was a very well organised event with great marshalling. He finished in 43:47, that’s just over three minutes faster than last time, then enjoyed a lovely cake stall at end and the a box of chocolates handed out at the finish line.
ANDY JAY was delighted to maintain an average of eight minutes per mile and finished 45th with 39 minutes 54 seconds.
The fastest female from Fairlands was HAZEL SMITH in 42 minutes 20 seconds. ERICA GRAYSON and SUE HAMER went round in 48:25 and 48:30. Then there was a little Spartan procession of three with CATHY CRAIG in 50:40; PENNY SCHENKEL smiling in 50:50 and JIM BROWN in 50:51. Soon along came JONATHAN JONES in 51:54 and DZENANA TOPIC in 51:56. Twelve Spartans ran the event.
Pretty miserable and damp on the way to the start but the rain held off during the race itself and only started again on the way home.
(The full result for all twelve Spartans is near the end of this release).
Andrew Wins At Goodwood
Spartan ANDREW PATTERSON raced and WON the Goodwood Marathon on Sunday. It consisted of a short out and back followed by 11 laps of the motor racing circuit.
The wind was 18mph, whilst it was Glorious Goodwood with it behind him, the cross winds and facing the wind was tough going. The first nine laps were consistent at 13:59 to 14 minutes 12 seconds. But the last couple of laps were a slog. He could feel his legs cramping so it wasn’t until the final mile that he knew he would finish with a new personal best (PB).
The first half Andrew was in fourth place, but in the second half he moved up on to the podium and on the penultimate lap moved in to first. He took the race victory in 2 hours 37 minutes 26 seconds (2:37:26) beating his previous best marathon time by 4 minutes 20 seconds.
It was a great end to the race year for Andrew with PBs at 1500, 3000, 5K, 10K, 10 miles, half and marathon. He won the Stevenage Half Marathon two weeks ago.
Yuko In Spain
YUKO GORDON ran the Valencia marathon. The course was flat, nice and warm but windier later in the morning. She managed an amazing time of 3:29:02.
Yuko had to run under 3 hours 48 minutes to claim the points she needed to qualify for next year’s Age Group World Championships, so she’s OK with 3:29. Yuko says she will rest from marathons till next spring, hopefully have a good rest from the distance and back to basic conditioning over this winter.
Three Canta With Santa
JOHN HARRIS and deer friend took part in the Santa Canta 5K in Letchworth and ran it in 26:06.
CAROLE SHELDRICK and new FVS member DAVID KENNEDY also enjoyed some festive fun at the NHRR Santa Canta 5K. David ran as a Christmas cowboy with a time of 25:56 and Carole as a Christmas Elf with a time of 33:25.
They said it was such a fun event and topped off with a medal and mince pie to finish.
Running in the Chapel
A bit earlier than some years due to running calendar complications but many other Spartans enjoyed a festive Sunday trail run to Minsden Chapel. There were three choices of distance – 11 miles; 8 miles or 4.5 miles.
Parkrun Highlights for Saturday 4th December 2021
As we head towards the end of another year, the first Saturday of December saw twenty-four Fairlands Valley Spartans head out to represent the club at Parkrun events.
New personal best times were set by two runners on the Stevenage course. ASHLEY JOHNSON finished as the first female, at only her third Parkrun, with a new parkrun personal best (PPB) time of 22 minutes and 22 seconds; and CHLOE CHAPMAN was the 12th female to complete the run in her new PPB of 26 minutes and 39 seconds.
Also in Stevenage, both MARK BEASLEY and KAREN PALMER edged ever closer to attending 100 events with their 99th runs in times of 28 minutes and 47 seconds and 34 minutes and 31 seconds respectively.
Other milestone runs saw JAMES MCSWEENEY complete the Littleport parkrun and his 80th event in 24 minutes and 23 seconds; MIKE REYNOLDS finish his 75th Parkrun in 27 minutes and 58 seconds on the Endcliffe, Sheffield course; MICHAEL O’KEEFE ran at Houghton Hall in 28 minutes and 40 seconds to complete 125 events; and, DARRYL STEVENS reached his 175th run at Lancing Beach Green, West Sussex in 37 minutes and 14 seconds.
(You can find all the Spartan parkrun times near the end of this release).
Spartans Committee for 2021 / 2022
Fairlands Valley Spartans held their Annual General Meeting on Tuesday. There was a tremendous enthusiastic turnout at Stevenage Hockey and Cricket Club. The club’s chair David Scott reported that the Spartans recovery from the Covid period was good with 48 new members in just the last few months.
It was possible to organise a very successful Stevenage Half Marathon and the club’s five and ten mile handicap races. Now the Spartans are looking forward to two cross country leagues races before Christmas including the one they are hosting in Stevenage on 19th December. Then next year they are already planning for the return of the mid week 10K league; the 3K Relays in the Park; the off road challenge; the remaining fixtures in the 21/22 cross country league and they already have a date for the 2022 Stevenage Half Marathon – Sunday 6th November.
Brian White, head coach, added that despite the interruptions caused by COVID Fairlands Valley Spartans still organised 384 free coached sessions between 1st January and 30th November 2021. The Spartans train at 7p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays with up to five groups going out. Then there is the Spartan Starter group on Mondays; track based sessions on Saturday mornings and longer steady runs (typically about 10K and 10 miles) from various locations on Sunday mornings. Plus access to a host of events including county championships some of which are free and many where club membership brings a discount.
The new Fairlands Valley Spartans committee is Chair David Scott; Vice Chair Vicky Archer; Secretary Wendy Tharani; Treasurer Andrew Patterson; Head Coach Brian White; Men’s Team Captain & Committee Mark Freeman; Ladies’ Team Captain & Committee Callie Chapman; Press Officer & Committee Jim Brown (0793 968 7509); Membership Secretary Debbie Blantern; President Sophie Cowan with the additional committee members Steffan Ford, Sue Hamer, Paul Holgate, Tim Robinson, Hazel Smith, Tessa Stephenson and Hannah Sypula.
Full results for all Spartans when there are a lot at an event will be listed below.
Spartans at the Festive Five
Spartans at parkruns on Saturday 4th December.
1st Fem. PPB
Endcliffe parkrun (Sheffield)
Houghton Hall parkrun
2nd in race
Lancing Beach Green parkrun
(PPB = Parkrun personal best; 175th PR = 175th parkrun).