Preparing for Spring


The Spartan Army was in action at three half marathons over the weekend.  A magnificent seventeen kept it local and ran the Welwyn Half Marathon.  This was an undulating 13.1 miles with several twists, turns and pinch points and a wearing headwind for the last few miles but many achieved great results including RUTH REILLY with a new personal best of 1 hour 49 minutes 30 seconds.

JIM BROWN got his second category second place in a week with 1 hour 50 minutes 21 seconds to be second veteran (60 plus).  He was 267th.

The fastest Spartan was THOMAS SAUKA, 91 out of the 612 finishers in 1:33:57.  ADRIAN BUSOLINI was not far behind at 108th in 1:36:18.  MICHELLE REEVES was Fairlands fastest female in an excellent 1:39:34 for 133rd.

Starting nearer the back JAY PAPA was 136th with a net time of 1:39:04.  MARK GOODWIN blamed the wind for him being just 44 seconds slower than last year.  He was 163rd in 1:42:47.

KARL SHREEVE continues to improve.  He made it into the top half of the field at 302nd in 1:53:33.  OLWEN BATTY and TIM SABAN ran together with a target to beat two hours.  They did it with Olwen 374th in 1:59:30 and Tim 375th in 1:59:29.  Back from an injury caused by the new poor lighting on Stevenage cycleways LISA GRAY was 390th in 2:01:02.

CLAIRE HYDE 2:03:51 chased in VISH SHAH at 2:03:43 while ROGER BIGGS was fourth Vet 60 in 2:06:08.  CALLUM BEASLEY completed in 2:11:46; SOPH GEORGIOU in 2:13:46 and ROBERT WRIGHT in 2:23:48.


Position Name Chip Time Comments
91 THOMAS SAUKA 1:33:57  
108 ADRIAN BUSOLINI 1:36:18  
133 MICHELLE REEVES (F) 1:39:34 8th Senior Woman
136 JAY PAPA 1:39:04  
163 MARK GOODWIN 1:42:47  
249 RUTH REILLY (F) 1:49:30 Personal Best (PB).
267 JIM BROWN 1:50:21 Second MV60
302 KARL SHREEVE 1:53:33  
374 OLWEN BATTY (F) 1:59:30 Sub Two Hours
375 TIM SABAN 1:59:29  
390 LISA GRAY (F) 2:01:02  
424 VISHAL SHAH 2:03:43  
425 CLAIRE HYDE (F) 2:03:51  
437 ROGER BIGGS 2:06:08 Fourth MV60
492 CALLUM BEASLEY 2:11:46  
550 ROBERT WRIGHT 2:23:48  


Reading Half

Three Spartans headed over to Reading for a famously fast half marathon with a nice stadium finish.

JAMES KILROY aiming for a 1.45 was going well maintaining an eight minutes per mile average for the first eight miles but then started to slow and struggled home for a 1.50.27 finish.

JOHN NELMS was treating this like a training run for his 100 miler in five weeks so offered to help pace KELLY McHALE.  Unfortunately Kelly started to struggle fairly early on with a big hill around mile four, but she said John was key to keeping her going and he got her round for a 1.57.10 with John just behind in 1.57.17.

The crowd support is one of the best at Reading and the course is interesting with a cool stadium finish.  The wind was annoying in places but not too bad.


Hampton Court

JENNY GARRETT and NICOLA TOUT ran the Hampton Court Half Marathon in 1 hour 59 minutes 42 seconds.  The 13.1 miles was on a flat course but very windy making the last two miles tough.  Jenny was using this run as training for the London marathon.



Earlier in the week, on Wednesday, ROGER BIGGS ran the Enigma Event in Milton Keynes.  This was nine laps round Willen Lake, on a lovely sunny and warm day.  He finished in 5 hours and 40 seconds (5:00:40).


Parkrun Reports

A blustery spring morning saw Spartans in action at five Hertfordshire parkruns as well as some further afield.

Fastest performer of the weekend was CRAIG HALSEY who was first over the line at Ellenbrook Fields in a time of 16 mins 54 secs, only 10 seconds outside his best there.  He was joined there by CHRIS HOLLAND who notched a time of 23:59 on his first visit.

At Stevenage JOHN HARRIS was first home of the Spartans’ thirteen runners, and 8th male in 19:33. MARTIN DUDLEY was 25th in 22:23 and SIMON SYPULA 91st in 29:01. The other men were PETER CARPENTER (31:22) and STEVEN DOBNER (32:20).

For the women, CAROL PAUL was 13th in 26:30 and VICTORIA BRETT 15th in 26:52, a new course personal best.  ALEXANDRA WHITEHOUSE was 31st in 29:41, also a new course best.  The other women were BEVERLEY HARLOW (29:50), TRACY PEZ (30:05), KAREN BROOM (30:19), SALLY PHILLIPS (32:59) and HALEY MCLOUGHLIN (37:25) in her first parkrun.

Two Spartans headed to Panshanger Park, ANDY JAY finishing in 25:52 and KEN JUDE in 26:09.  At St Albans STEVE GREEN was 17th in 19:48 while at Cassiobury Park TIM SABAN was 15th in 20:23.

Further afield GRAHAM HILL ran 35.21 at Milton Keynes while DARRYL STEVENS was back at Brockenhurst for a time of 42:36.  He was not the only Spartan on the south coast this week: VERITY FISHER was 13th woman at Southampton in 23:55 and DANIEL SUTTON also ran there in 26:02.


Getting Ready For Spring

Many other Spartans enjoyed the club’s 20 mile training run.  Great preparation for a Spring marathon.  There was also a fifteen mile option.


London Calling

Fairlands Valley Spartans are organising a coach to the start of the London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April.  We have spaces left on the coach for anyone who would like a lift to the start area at Greenwich Park & Blackheath.  The cost is £10 per person, leaving the Old Town at 06:30hrs.  Have a look at


Coming Events

Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks including cross country league.  The opportunities include:

  • Sandy Ten and Wymondham 20 on Sunday 26th March.
  • Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park on Friday 31st March.
  • Lee Valley 10K and Half Marathon in Waltham Forest on Sunday 2nd April.
  • Brighton Marathon on Sunday 9th April.
  • Maidenhead Easter Ten on Friday 14th April.
  • London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April.
  • County 1500 Championships in Stevenage on Monday 1st May.
  • Dereham 10 (ten miles) on Sunday 7th May.
  • First Mid Week Road Race League match on Wednesday 10th May.
  • Summer Solstice 10K at St Albans on Tuesday 16th May.
  • Stirling Marathon on Sunday 21st May.
  • Mid Week Road Race League in Hitchin on Wednesday 14th June.
  • Herts Veteran 10K Championships at Welwyn on Sunday 25th June.
  • Mob Match on Thursday 13th July.
  • Fairlands Valley Relays in Stevenage on Thursday 27th July.
  • Herts Senior 5K Championships at Hatfield on Wednesday 30th August.
  • Herts Veteran 5K Championships at Hatfield on Wednesday 13th September.
  • Herts Senior 10K Championships at Standalone on Sunday 1st October.
  • Peterborough Half Marathon on Sunday 8th October.
  • Stevenage Half Marathon on Sunday 22nd October.
  • St Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 19th November (TBC).
  • Bass Belle 10 near Royston on Sunday 26th November.

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