Tremendous Third in Cross Country, Carol’s 300th Marathon, Wolverton & the London Mo-Run

Goo Sunday

Fairlands Valley Spartans fielded three women’s and two men’s teams for the recent Sunday Cross Country League fixture. Achieving one of their best over results they were third overall out of the 21 clubs taking part.

A magnificent 16 Spartan women and 17 men descended on a very wet Grovelands Park, Southgate for the second cross country league race of the season. Over three laps, five miles and a lot of liquid mud many Fairlands Valley runners finished well up in the men’s and women’s races.

In the men’s race the Spartans had two in the top ten. LEE REYNOLDS was fifth in 30 minutes 48 seconds and BRIAN BRACKSTONE seventh in 31:25. The rest of the “A” team consisted of ANDY NEATHAM, 11th in 31:54; DAVIE STAFFORD, 48th in 34:16; LIAM HERBERT in 35:42; MARTIN WOOD, 91st in 36:44; STEVE GREEN, 128th and BERNIE BARNABY, 129th both in 38:58.

ROSIE CANHAM was first in for the women, ninth in 39:24. MADDIE PRITCHARD, 21st in 41:21; MICHELLE REEVES, 28th in 42:20; NIKKI WILBY, 37th in 42:59; and RHIANNON GRIFFIN, 46th in 43:53 made up the rest of the “A” team. Men’s consisted of eight and women’s teams of five runners.

NICHOLAS CROWLEY led in the men’s “B” team. He was 133rd in 39:30 and supported by STEVE MAYFIELD, 138th in 39:58; ANDY CHURN, 181st in 42:39; MARK GOODWIN, 183rd in 42:47; DAVE STEPHENSON, 194th in 43:16; JIM BROWN, 220th in 46:41; MARK

FREEMAN, 225th in 47:07 and PAUL HOLGATE, 238th in 52:44.

HAZEL CLARKE, 48th in 44:07 was first in the women’s “B” team with VERITY FISHER, 55th in 45:38; LISA GRAY, 66th in 46:24; HAYLEY FAULKNER, 67th in 46:25 and LISA LIVERSIDGE, 84th in 48:06.

The other Spartan runners were ISABEL GREEN, 85th in 48:07; JEANETTE COLLINS, 98th in 50:24; TESSA STEPHENSON, 110th in 53:26; NICK WITCOMBE, 240th man in 53:55; LISA GAVIGAN, 115th woman in 54:15; STEPH MAYFIELD, 119th in 55:12 and SHARON CROWLEY, 130th in 58:43..

The women’s and men’s “A” teams were fifth but lack of consistency amongst other clubs gave Fairlands Valley Spartans its third place overall. Amongst the “B” teams the Spartan women were third and the men fourth. Going into the third race the club are 1324 to 1438, just 114 points clear of fourth placed St. Albans Striders but have some work to do to catch Harpenden Arrows.

The next cross country league race will be in Watford on Sunday 7th December.

Carol’s 300th

On Sunday CAROL PAUL completed her 300th marathon or ultra marathon at the Havana Marathon in Cuba. In temperatures of 30 degrees plus on a two lap course of the city Carol completed the marathon in 5 hours 20 minutes 14 seconds. She ran her first marathon in October 1992 at the Snowdon Marathon. In November 2004 saw Carol complete her 100th at the Stevenage marathon. Carol’s 200th marathon was in May 2010 in Hannover Germany.

London Mo-Run

On a beautiful calm late November morning two Spartans ran the London Mo-Run 10K on Saturday morning.

On a hilly 10K course in Greenwich Park new member YLLKA ISTREFI ran a new personal best (PB) time of 45 minutes 48 seconds. She was 10th woman out of 622 and in the top 100 overall (98th out of 1421 finishers).  

In his third race in less than a week Jim Brown was second in his category with 49 minutes 34 seconds. He was 241st.

Already a good runner in the short time since she discovered Fairlands Valley Spartans Yllka has improved from 25 minutes 18 seconds on a fast, flat 5K course to 45:48 for a tough 10K.

50th Anniversary Wolverton

It was a beautiful day for the 50th Anniversary of the Wolverton 5 race.

GRANT RAMSAY was third veteran and 31st overall out of the 284 finishers in 27 minutes 54 seconds; new club treasurer BARRY OSBORNE second veteran (60 plus) and 90th overall in 32:22; RYAN DUNNING 140th in 35:47; STEVE MAYFIELD 151st in 36:24; club chair BEV HARLOW fifth veteran woman (55 plus) in 43:26; and PAUL HOLGATE 243rd in 44:23.

Inaugural Hatfield Five

Christopher Westcott ran the inaugural Hatfield 5 on a beautiful Sunday morning. Christopher finished in 11th place in 29:22, and was the first veteran (V40) finisher.

The three other Spartans taking part ran personal bests STEVE GREEN (32:28); MATT GILL (33:49) and ISABEL GREEN (39:16). The course is a fantastic flat loop of Hatfield.


With a 40 second improvement since last month Jim Brown ran Friday’s Serpentine 5K race in 22 minutes 40 seconds. He was 135th out of the 264 finishers. His time moved him up to 71.1% in the series score. Hazel Clark was 157th in 23 minutes 20 seconds. Conditions in

Hyde Park were mild, dry and there was a medium breeze.

San Sebastian Marathon – Sunday, 30th November 2014

Roger Biggs travelled to the Basque region of Northern Spain and the lovely city of San Sebastián. The marathon was a two lap, basically flat course that took in the city and the lovely Bay Area, finishing inside the Anoeta Stadium, home of Real Sociedad football club. Roger kept going to finished in 4:41:35.

Parkrun News

New men’s captain Daniel Bates completed the Milton Keynes Parkrun (5km) in 20-09 finishing 13th out 368 runners.

Five Spartans were at the Panshanger Parkrun in Hertford.

Martin Wood was fifth out of the 132 runners in 20 minutes 4 seconds; Tim Saban – 21-42 (15th); Daniel Sutton – 22:59 (28th); Verity Fisher – 24:52 (43rd); and Jeanette Collins – 27:39 (70th).

New Committee

About 50 members attended Fairlands Valley Spartans’ AGM on Friday evening. The club had a fantastic year celebrating its 30th Anniversary; including a successful Stevenage Marathon and with the women’s team doing really well in the cross country league.

The club’s new committee consists of Chair Bev Harlow; Secretary Karen Palmer; Treasurer Barry Osborne; Men’s Captain Daniel Bates; Women’s Captain Nikki Wilby; Press Officer Jim Brown plus Tony Argyrou; Paul Holgate; Paul Marshall; Tracy Pez; Tessa Stephenson; Andrea Westcott and Nick Witcombe.

Coming Events

Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks including the:

Cross Country League at Watford on Sunday 7th December

Handicap 5K in Stevenage on Thursday evening 18th December

Serpentine 5K In Hyde Park on Friday 19th December (not 26th)

Spartans’ Christmas Social in Stevenage on Friday 19th December

Buntingford Year End Ten (County Vets Champs) on Sunday 28th December

Ely New Year’s Eve 10K on Wednesday 31st December

Serpentine New Year’s Day 10K in Hyde Park on Thursday 1st January

Herts County Cross Country Championships in St Albans on Sunday 4th January.

Cross Country League at Trent Park on Sunday 11th January.

Fred Hughes 10 in St. Albans on Sunday 18th January.

Watford Half Marathon on Sunday 1st February.

Cross Country League at Therfield Heath, Royston on Sunday 15th February.

Presentation Evening, Dinner and Dance on Friday 27th February.

County Cross Country Championships for Veterans in Trent Park on Sunday 22nd March.

London Marathon on Sunday 26th April.

Join The Spartans

Live in or near Stevenage? Like running? Fairlands Valley Spartans is your local running club and is on the up! The club was voted the UK’s Best Running Club in 2010. It now has hundreds of members and encourages participation by all. The Spartans have a varied training programme to suit those who want to run 5 kilometres through to full marathons.

The Spartans weekday training sessions are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Go along to the new sports centre at Marriotts School – a Sports College, Telford Avenue, Stevenage (SG2 8UT) at 7p.m. Up to five running groups go out on training nights – there will be one to suit you!

The Spartan Starter group starts from Marriotts at 7.30p.m. every Monday (except public holidays) and 7p.m. every Thursday.

Most long Sunday morning training sessions start 9.00a.m. sharp. Spartan track training sessions are held at Ridlins Athletics Track, Woodcock Road, Stevenage most Saturdays from 9.15a.m. There are events to enter every Sunday. Newcomers are very welcome – those who have not done very much running yet might prefer to start with a Thursday, Saturday or Monday session.

Try a few sessions before joining. Membership is only £35 per year, £25 without UKA membership. Concessions are available. Membership forms are available on the Spartans website Please ask if you would like a paper copy.

If you want to know more about the Spartans please contact Jim Brown (0793 968 7509), Karen Palmer (07734678566) or visit their website


More from Jim Brown (Press Officer) 0793 968 7509 or Karen Palmer (Secretary) 07734678566

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