Twenty two Spartans were amongst 3,748 who posted qualifying times in the Virtual National Road Relay Championships. Every runner had to race exactly five kilometres but alone and were on hundreds of different courses near their own homes.
Samantha Pretty 19:43; Gail Mackie 20:56; Michelle Reeves 21:06; Fiona Clarke 25:59; Hazel Smith 27:25 and Penny Schenkel 27:28 made up the Spartans entry in the women’s six stage event and finished with a total of 2 hours 22 minutes 37 seconds.
The club’s team in the 12 stage open event for men was Jonathan Parr 463rd out of 3,700 in 16:09; Simon Jackson 16:49; Jason Anderson 18:19; Adrian Busolini 18:34; Paul Shelley 19:09; Craig Wilson 19:44; Martin Blackburn 19:58; James Kay 20:07; Brian White 20:22; Nick Gill 20:31; Danny Scanlon 20:43 and Chris Holland 21:52.
The format allowed a number of races within races. A competition for veteran men aged 50 or more required teams of four and attracted Paul Shelley 19:09; Brian White 20:22; David Stephenson 23:46 and Jim Brown 24:44 giving a total of 1:28:01.
There were six stages in the race for all men aged 40 plus. Here Simon Jackson; Paul Shelley; Craig Wilson; Brian White; Chris Holland and David Stephenson made up the qualifying team and had a total time of 2 hours 1 minute 42 seconds.
In the age graded competition the Spartans got close to a 75% average with Simon Jackson (83.89%), Jonathan Parr (82.59%), Brian White (81.06%), Paul Shelley (77.63%), Samantha Pretty (75.61%), Jason Anderson (74.31%), Craig Wilson (73.09%), Gail Mackie (70.54%), Adrian Busolini (70.30%), Michelle Reeves (70.27%), Jim Brown (68.51%) and James Kay (66.30%). The twelve runners scoring 74.50%.
The event which would have been in Sutton Park, West Midlands was cancelled due to the Covid-19 restrictions but athletes all over the country ran 5K in a virtual version. They had to run solo and were on hundreds of different routes which avoided busy places. Extreme downhill routes were not allowed!
The event finished on Wednesday.
While the regular 12 and 6-stage event in Sutton Park, a regular feature of most distance runners’ seasons, was cancelled due to COVID-19, the virtual event gave athletes the chance to represent their club and compete against others around the country, while keeping within social distancing regulations.
Athletes ran a 5km leg in their local area, measured by their GPS watch. They then uploaded their performance to the central results platform. The event strictly enforced a run solo rule, as well as discouraging athletes from running in busy areas, to comply with the government restrictions. Runners used this as their one form of daily exercise.
Many Spartans benefited from the cycleway network in Stevenage – three metres wide plus often a footpath and grass verge meaning there were few difficulties maintaining the two metres social distancing.
Without the need to travel about twice as many teams took part compared with 2019.
The results for all 22 Spartan finishers were:
|Position||Name||Category||Cat. Pos.||Time||Age Grade|
The event incorporated a women’s 12-stage competition for the first time, with 60 complete women’s teams of 12 entered. The standard 6-stage option is also available, with 129 clubs on the start list.
Virtual running, where athletes complete a set distance alone with a GPS watch and then record it on a results platform, is a growing area of the sport. A number of road racing events this spring that were cancelled are offering virtual options and this is an area of the sport that is likely to continue to develop with the current restrictions in place.
An event fundraising page was been set up to raise money for the NHS. It has already raised thousands of pounds and can be found at justgiving.com/fundraising/virtualrelays.
Fairlands Valley Spartans have donated £500 so that the Parkrun in Fairlands Valley Park can have its own defibrillator. It should be available when Parkrun Stevenage relaunches later this year with its 200th edition of the popular event for runners and joggers of all abilities.
Club chair SOPHIE COWAN will be going along to the first parkrun, which will be the 200th, that’s possible after the pandemic restrictions are relaxed. She said, “FVS are delighted to have made a donation to Stevenage park run. All park runs rely on donations to purchase equipment. Lots of Spartans take part week in week out and FVS were keen to make a donation to grass roots athletics. The £500 donation will be put towards a defibrillator to help keep all participants safe. Once the lock down is relaxed, Spartans look forward to getting back to the regular Saturday morning run.”
Train Virtually With The Spartans
Despite the lack of races and coaching club sessions the Spartans are keeping active despite not being able to run in groups and making sure they maintain the two metre separation from everyone else.
Brian White, the head coach, is publishing weekly training programmes for members to follow solo; many Spartans were almost marathon ready and are relaxing with local runs from home to maintain fitness levels without over training; and members are benefiting from training videos published by Marriotts Sports Centre – the Spartans base in normal times. Full membership of the Spartans including UKA affiliation costs just £19 from now until 31st March 2021.
To join the Spartans visit www.fvspartans.org.uk now.
Parkrun Roundup 11th April 2020
Fairlands Valley Spartans and many others are looking forward to the 200th Stevenage Parkrun which will be the first local parkrun when the events can restart. The 199th parkrun was on Saturday 14th March. It’ll be some party when they restart.
(All this week’s Spartan parkrun results can be found near the end of this release).
The Spartans are looking forward to a busy programme of races, social and training events when it is possible for events to start again, maybe in June, including (please check as, obviously, race dates may change depending on government and UKA guidance):
- Mid Week Road Race League Race Three (10K) in St. Albans on Thursday 4th June.
- Welwyn 10K at Stanborough on Sunday 7th June (NEW DATE but check).
- St Albans Half Marathon (and Stevenage Day) on Sunday 14th June (CANCELLED).
- Welwyn 10K (including County senior championships) on Sunday 28th June (POSTPONED).
- Mid Week Road Race League Race Four (9K) in Trent Park on Thursday 2nd July.
- County 10,000 metres track championships at Sandy at 8.15p.m. on Thursday evening 9th July.
- Mid Week Road Race League Mob Match (10K) in Welwyn Garden City on Thursday 16th July.
- Fairlands Valley Challenge in Stevenage on Sunday 19th July.
- Relays in the Park (3K stages), the Hertfordshire Road Relay Championships, in Fairlands Valley Park on Thursday 23rd July.
- St. Albans 10K on Sunday 2nd August.
- Bearbrook 10K in Aylesbury on Sunday 2nd August.
- Burnham Beeches Half Marathon on Sunday 9th August.
- Clacton Half Marathon and 10K on Sunday 16th August.
- EMAC Track and Field fourth league meeting on Wednesday 2nd September (NEW DATE).
- Milton Keynes Marathon Weekend 5th – 6th September (NEW DATE).
- St Albans Stampede on Saturday 5th September.
- Bedford Half Marathon and 20 miles on Sunday 6th September.
- Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday 6th September (NEW DATE).
- Peterborough Marathon on Sunday 13th September (NEW DATE).
- Brighton Marathon Weekend, Friday 18th to Sunday 20th September (NEW DATE).
- Stevenage 10K on Sunday 20th September.
- EMAC (Eastern Veterans) Track and Field League Final on Saturday 26th September.
- London Marathon on Sunday 4th October (NEW DATE).
- Standalone 10K (including County veteran championships) on Sunday 4th October.
- Great Eastern Run (half marathon) in Peterborough on Sunday 11th October.
- Chelmsford Marathon on Sunday 18th October (CANCELLED).
- Stevenage Half Marathon (including County senior championships) on Sunday 1st November.
- St Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 15th November.
- Bass Belle ten miles on Sunday 29th November.