Spartan MIKE JEFFS had a superb run in the ten mile race at Bedford on Sunday. He was 26th overall in 65 minutes 22 seconds.
In dry conditions but a chilly head wind in places MATT CLARKE came in at 113th with 1 hour 22 minutes 49 seconds (1:22:49) and FIONA CLARKE at 1:28:25 for 163rd position. Fiona enjoyed the flat course.
JIM BROWN ran the course in 1:30:03 and missed first place in his age category by only nine seconds.
It was the first last Friday of the Month 5K for 2023 in Hyde Park, London. JIM BROWN finished in 27 minutes 16 seconds (27:14 net). There were 214 finishers in the lunch-time race.
Spartan YUKO GORDON broke the British road 5 kilometres age record for women on Friday. Running at the Last Friday of the Month Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park she finished in 21 minutes 53 seconds beating the previous record for women aged 70 plus of 22:08 set by Angela Copson by 15 seconds. It was also a race record. While many runners would be happy with an age related score around 70% Yuko achieved 96.5%!
There was also a good run by new Spartan ASHLEY JOHNSON who won her category and got a new personal best (PB) of 21 minutes 5 seconds.
Completely outshone by the two Spartan women JIM BROWN was nevertheless pleased to get under 28 minutes for the first time in what seemed like ages. In fact with a dash for the line he beat 27 minutes with 26:58.
The Serpentine 5K is a long established running club event. Great to enjoy on a Friday lunchtime or if you are after a personal best or even a record it’s accurately measured and properly timed.
It was a good day to run – mild, dry and with a modest breeze. The next Serpentine 5K will be on Friday 25th February.
Adrian’s Arc of Attrition
Spartan ADRIAN BUSOLINI completed the 100 miles Cornish Coastal Path “Arc of Attrition” ultra marathon in 28 hours 12 minutes 31 seconds.
Here’s his story:
“I didn’t even know what the Arc was when I added my name to its waiting list sometime last year; it was just “some legendary race” that I should probably run at some point. So it wasn’t until I was offered a place in November, that I read the website and learned the basics. January, 100 mile, Cornwall, coast path. I’d already run part of the route in the 70k Classic Quarter back in May. I rated that as one of the toughest runs I’d done, and for some reason I assumed I’d likely experienced the worst bits of the coastal path.
I learned a bit more about it in the weeks preceding the race; notably the infamous Pendeen-St Ives section, and consequently bought an awful lot of new kit. Also, only having 4 aid stations, and 1 drop bag, presented some real challenges for an uncrewed runner like me. The most kit I’d carried before was during the CCC; but even there, I hadn’t needed to carry 5kg of supplies in a 12l pack. Water resupply was an open question.
The weather conditions were described as unusually favourable, and we joked about course PBs on the start line, before the drums rang out and the blue smoke was deployed to signal the start of the Arc.
The Arc is a bit of a beast. The section through Lizard to Marazion is technical, tough coastal running. In May, when I ran the Classic Quarter, it was slippery. In January, it’s more slippery. And it’s pretty relentless up-and-down stuff. The downs in particular are awkward; you can’t easily use them to regenerate, as their awkwardness means you’re usually having to break, and thus pummel your quads, which you know you’ll pay for later.
Marazion to Mousehole (via Penzance) is flat and easy, a nice period to recover & pile on the miles. But Mousehole to Land’s End is extremely technical. It’s only runnable in very short bursts. It was tough in the Classic Quarter, and it’s tougher in the Arc when it’s at night. In places, one’s foot and entire lower leg disappear into mud. When the shining lights of Land’s End Hotel rise like the sun over the crest of the hills, they act like a beacon of hope in the loneliness of the mizzley night. At this point, my shoes were full of water, mud, sand, and stones; so my drop bag, and fresh pair of shoes and socks, at Land’s End made the world of difference.
Pendeen to St Ives is a borderline ridiculous race section. There’s about 20km of night-time rock-hopping, mud-wading, clambering, scrambling, slipping and sliding. In places, my knees were swallowed up by the mud. Progress was painfully slow. Meanwhile, time ticks away.
Arriving into St Ives was a huge relief, where I did my best to dust the worst of the debris from my socks (a lost cause), before getting back to the job of polishing off the last 35km. An easier section; initially road, then back to the coastal path, interrupted by the infamous “Dunes of Doom”, before I finally focussed back on my finishing time and place, and began to rein in those ahead of me. I must have gained 5-10 places in the final 10km.
The finish through Porthtowan, ending with a brilliant hill climb up to the Eco Park, was a thoroughly enjoyable end to what was an extremely tough race. I got a gold buckle for a sub-30 hour finish, which I’ll take with pleasure. It was a race I was simply happy to finish uninjured. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my two pairs of socks: I fear they are both ‘beyond economical repair’.
I finished in 28:12:31, putting me around 31st place.”
Parkrun Highlights 29th January.
Late January and it was amazingly mild and sunny for the 227th Stevenage parkrun. Many runners were in shorts and running vests without the extra layers that might be expected at this time of the year. 326 finishers this time including 24 Spartans.
Altogether thirty-nine Fairlands Valley Spartans ran at Parkrun events around England.
PB times were recorded at the Westmill course for Danny SCANLON. Danny completed the event in 21 minutes and 36 seconds, finishing sixth overall.
Also hitting milestones were both MATT CLARKE and TONY RANDFIELD who ran in Stevenage. Here they completed their 80th and 90th Parkruns respectively, in times of 26 minutes and 47 seconds and 21 minutes and 6 seconds. MIKE REYNOLDS also hit 80 runs with a time of 26 minutes and 8 seconds at the Panshanger event.
GRANT RAMSAY was fourth overall in Stevenage in a time of 19 minutes and 15 seconds.
The next stripy Saturday will be this Saturday 5th February.
It was brutal for the beast on Sunday. Fairlands Valley Spartans NEIL ROBINSON, KAREN ELLIS, TIM ROBINSON, MICHAEL O’KEEFE, TRISH HOPPER and KAREN LIDDLE ran the Baldock Beast half marathon.
Weather conditions were terrible with a yellow warning issue by the Met office, the organisers were considering cancelling the event but the forecast was for it to clear at around 11am and with five minutes to go, the runners were called to the start line.
The first mile and a half are up hill and the runners were exposed to horizontal rain and high winds, with ankle deep water, but once over the brow of the hill and into Wallington the conditions improved and running was easier.
Tim still had the Beachy Head Marathon in his legs and adopted a strategy of walking up the steep hills.
The last couple of miles the sun came out and the rain stopped but the wind still made running very difficult.
Tim said it was another superbly organised event by local runners.
Neil Robinson was first back for the Spartans with 1 hour 58 minutes 58 seconds. The first female from Fairlands was Karen Ellis in 2:05:23. Tim Robinson came in with 2:07:35 and Michael O’Keefe with 2:20:28. Tricia Hopper and Karen Liddle finished together in 2:31:47 and 2:31:48. Not a race for personal bests!
“Actually the hardest things I’ve ever done” said WENDY THARANI about Sunday’s Lulworth Cove Marathon. This was off road either going steeply uphill or steeply downhill for almost 30 miles. She said there was typical coastal changeable weather weather but some lovely sunshine and stunning scenery including Lulworth’s Cove and Durdle Door. Wendy completed the 29.41 miles in 8 hours 58 minutes 20 seconds.
There were two Spartans at the Serpentine Last Friday of the Month 5K in Hyde Park.
Spartan YUKO GORDON scored the highest age graded score in the race 94.2% with 22 minutes 25 seconds.
The fastest woman raced round in 18:28. She was an FV50 but that ONLY scored 93.5%.
The fastest man went round in 15:26 but that was only good enough for 85.5%.
The Last Friday 5K can be an amazing event at the top end but also a great way to spend a Friday lunch-time. Of course several went for coffee in the Serpentine Kitchen afterwards.
Conditions were described by the organisers as mild, dry but wet underfoot and windy.
Compared with recently JIM BROWN made a marginal gain of seven seconds to finish with 26 minutes 44 seconds. A bit disappointing but his quickest “real” 5K for a long time (real in the sense of an accurately measured and properly timed race with other people).
Best age graded
Seven second improvement
Two Weeks To Go! Here Comes The Stevenage Half! It’s on 21st November.
Inspired by the London and Manchester Marathons? Now you can be one of hundreds running in Stevenage on Sunday 21st November as entries for the town’s half marathon are open. This year the race is a couple of weeks later than usual.
Entries for the Stevenage Half Marathon are open but are going fast! To make sure that you secure your place visit the following link to enter the race! Go to https://stevenagehalfmarathon.org.uk/
Parkrun Highlights for Saturday 30th October 2021
Twenty two Spartans headed out to run at seven different Parkrun venues on Saturday.
Congratulations to JONATHAN PARR who came first at Stevenage with a time of 17 minutes 7 seconds. This was Jonathan’s 16th win. He is currently at third place for the most first place finishes at Stevenage.
There were four other top ten gender positions this week with GRANT RAMSAY third (19:20, Stevenage), KELLY EVANS 6th (26:34, Erddig, near Wrexham), DAVID PATTMAN 10th (19:58, Gunpowder, Waltham Abbey) and GAIL MACKIE 10th (26:30 , Stevenage).There were no official Parkrun milestones this week but MONICA SMITHSON and BETH FOLEY have both reached an unofficial milestone of 40 Parkruns at Stevenage.Well done and congratulations to all.(You can find all the Spartan parkrun times near the end of this release).
Twenty two Spartans raced around the Standalone 10K in Letchworth on Sunday and their women won prizes at opposite ends of the age spectrum. ABBIE PEZ was first junior lady (under 20) with 50 minutes 2 seconds and YUKO GORDON was first woman over 65 with 45 minutes 53 seconds. CLAIRE PULLEN was first woman over 55 with 47:12.
The Standalone 10K included the Hertfordshire County Championships for veteran runners and the Fairlands Valley Spartans first team of four consisted of DEAN CARPENTER 100th out of 747 overall (including seniors) in 44 minutes 10 seconds; JON FILBY 110th in 45:06; MARK GOODWIN 157th in 47:19 and ANDY JAY 227th in 50:21.
Yuko Gordon led in the Spartan women in 120th in 45:53 with Claire Pullen 153rd in 47:12; TRACY PEZ 171st in 47:47. It was teams of three for the women’s event. A second women’s team was brought in by KAREN ELLIS and NICOLA ANDERSSON 326th and 327th in 53 minutes 31 seconds and completed by CAROL PAUL 401st in 56:29.
(All the Fairlands Valley Spartan times can be found in a table towards the end of this release).
Spartan Women Win In The East
The ladies track and field team saw off competition from the best athletics clubs across the East of England to regain the masters (veterans) championship trophy they last won in 2017. The team dominated from start to finish, cruising to victory with 255 points. Second placed Peterborough/Nene Valley AC scored 235.5 points, and Marshal Milton Keynes AC placed third with 232.5 points.
The team were out in force, fourteen Spartan women, and really enjoyed the competition and great conditions.
Wins came from JOYLYN SAUNDERS-MULLINS (once again dropping down an age group) – W50 (women aged 50 plus) 100 metres and W50 javelin throw (also finishing a very close second in the W50 200m). TESSA STEPHENSON – W60 200 metres (also finished 2nd placed W60 100m and W60 shot put). ALISON WOOD – W50 800m (also 2nd placed W50 in the 1500m). CHRISTINE LATHWELL – winning both W35 1500m and W35 3k. NIKKI WILBY – W35 high jump (also 2nd W35 pole vault, 2nd W35 triple jump, and 2nd W35 400mH). ANDREA WESTCOTT – W50 triple jump (also 4th place W50 high jump and 6th place W50 long jump).
YUKO GORDON won an additional trophy having clocked an amazing age graded 99.5% in the W60 3km and also easily won the W60 800m.
The team’s strength in depth meant that all events were covered, earning vital points.
Team members bolstering the tally were CALLIE ‘Cocktail’ CHAPMAN – third place W35 long jump, 5th placed W35 100m, and 6th place W35 200m. SUZY HAWKINS – 3rd place in both W35 400m and W35 800m. KAREN DODSWORTH – dropping down an age group to cover W50 400m and finishing 5th, also placed 5th in W60 discus throw and W60 long jump, and 4th place in W60 triple jump. SHERYL HANN – also dropped down to cover W50 3km and placed 7th. SHARON CROWLEY – first place B string 2km walk and 6th placed W60 hammer throw. CATHY CRAIG – fourth place in the A string 2km walk (also bravely covered the W50 300mH, finishing in 5th place). STEPHANIE BIGGAR – 2nd place W35 hammer throw, 3rd place W35 shot put, 4th place W35 javelin throw, and 5th place W35 discus throw. MARIAN MORLEY – 2nd place in both W50 shot put and discus throw, and 4th place W50 hammer throw.
A full day of events, which started at 10:30 am, finished with the (usually) all important relay races. In reality, victory had already been sealed! The W35 team (Suzy Hawkins, Cocktail Chapman, Nikki Wilby, and Christine Lathwell) still battled well and finished second. The W50 team (Joylyn Saunders-Mullins, Sharon Crowley, Karen Dodsworth, and Tessa Stephenson) finished third.
It was a truly excellent day, with great team spirit and support throughout. Mike Crowley and Chris Westcott should also get a mention for their help and support during a very long day.
Jonathan Second In Surrey
JONATHAN PARR finished 2nd in the Mercer Surrey 5k at Woking on Sunday morning with a time of 16 minutes 18 seconds.
Happy Spartan at Bedford Autodrome
CAROLE SHELDRICK was the solo Spartan at the Bedford Autodrome 10K on Sunday.
She said, “What an amazing event they put on. I have got to say, I wasn’t too sure how this run would go for me. I felt under trained, so was just hoping I’d manage to get round in one piece so I was very happy with my time of 56:28. One happy Spartan.”
Running Through The Glen
ZOE JACKSON was celebrating in the sun after completing the Robin Hood Half Marathon. Pacing someone with a target time of 125 minutes she finished, on target, in 2 hours 3 minutes 16 seconds. Zoe said it was a great course with fantastic support the whole way round the city, and we were very lucky with the weather!
Sunny, warm, light breeze, the odd parakeet and a cafe near the finish. “What’s not to like?” said JIM BROWN after finishing the second of the revived Last Friday of the Month 5Ks – the Serpentine 5K?
Jim achieved a marginal improvement on last month in this lunch-time race in Hyde Park.
His official time was 26:53 and 123rd. Last month was 26:58. Both on the two lap version of the Serpentine course.
Jim commented it was very enjoyable, more should try it, but I seem to be the wrong sort of consistent at the moment.
Parkrun Highlights 25th September 2021
Members of Fairlands Valley Spartans took part across 10 different UK parkruns this week. There were PBs for ANTON McCALLA on his second appearance at Market Harborough (26:30). It was PB o’clock for ED HARE at Lee-on-the-Solent (23:03) in his fourth run at that venue.
In Stevenage ADRIAN DONNELLY clocked a new PB of 20:26. Eighteen Spartans were running in Stevenage while several others were helping this week.
(The full list of Spartan parkrun times will be near the end).
The 72nd Fly 5K – Saturday 25th September.
Lots of “real” races going on including the London Marathon this Sunday (3rd) but the virtual Fly 5K races continue and two Spartans were in the action. NICOLA ANDERSSON was 65th in 28:34 and PAUL HOLGATE 78th in 30:27. He was third veteran man 60 plus and this was his 70th Fly 5K.
Fly 5K was one of the stars of lockdown keeping runners moving and in touch during the restrictions. The first of the free virtual races was in June 2020.
Entries Open for the Stevenage Half Marathon
With only eight weeks to go to the Stevenage Half Marathon it’s time to start getting ready and entered. This year the race will be on Sunday 21st November (a couple of weeks later than usual).