Wild, Wet and Windy at the Palace


Wild, Wet and Windy at the Palace 

With a time of 2 hours 3 minutes 54 seconds GRANT RAMSAY was fifth out of the 842 finishers and first veteran runner (40 plus) in Sunday’s wet and windy Oakley 20 mile race in Bedfordshire.    

STEFFAN FORD was 28th in 2:13:34; STEVE GREEN 199th in 2:38:38; SUZY HAWKINS 276th in 2:45:56; MOLLIE SMITH 339th in 2:52:37; LISA BURGESS 381st in 2:55:44 and AMANDA WHORWOOD 678th in 3:24:10. 

For several this was their last long run before the London and Brighton Marathons.


Classic 15 Miles Cross Country


Two Spartans competed in probably one of the best workouts before the London Marathon.  The Orion 15 is classic cross country with stiff hills, mud and kissing gates – all fifteen miles of it on a Saturday morning.  The first target is to get to a cut off point between 8 and 9 nine before a 90 minutes time limit.  That was challenging with a steep long gooey hill at five miles.  YLLKA ISTREFI was 139th in 2:12:14 and JIM BROWN 174th in 2:18:42.  There were 278 finishers.  Many other starters did not complete the full distance.


Wild, Wet and Windy at The Palace (Hampton Court) 

The first ever Half Marathon allowed in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace was held on Sunday.  Spartans Dave & Tessa Stephenson, Claire Drake, Jan Fry and Maria Rushton braved the very strong and gusty wind and rain on a course starting in front of the Palace and running both inside and just outside the grounds before finishing in the Home Park Gardens. Stretches of gravel and grass paths and tracks made the course quite hard work and slippery. Dave produced a season’s best time to finish in 1 hour 40 minutes and 14 seconds and was followed home by his wife Tessa in 2 hours 7 minutes 19 seconds. Claire, running in her first ever half marathon, did better than she expected to finish in 2 hours 17 minutes and 8 seconds, with Jan and Maria using this race in preparation for the London Marathon, finishing in 2 hours 24 minutes 15 seconds and 2 hours 30 minutes 19 respectively. 


It was bright, dry, cool with a northerly breeze for Friday’s Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park.  YLLKA ISTREFI was second woman 35 plus and 122nd out of the 269 finishers in a year’s best time of 21 minutes 23 seconds.  JIM BROWN improved his 2015 time by 1 minute 12 seconds when he finished 180th in 23:32.


Daffodil Dawdle 

Late results from yesterday’s Daffodil Dawdle off road marathon just outside Newmarket. 

Strong winds, rain and hailstones didn’t prevent some good times as Selvan Naicker, Tricia Hopper and Barry King completed the very muddy course in 6 hours 7 minutes, 11 minutes quicker than Barry and Tricia ran in 2014, while Paul Holgate ran 22 minutes quicker than last year to finish in 6:37. 

Sharon, Mike, Nicholas and Elizabeth Crowley made the walking options a family day out.  NICK and SHARON CROWLEY completed the 26.6 mile event in 6 hours 47 and 7 hours 47 respectively while LIZ and MIKE both went round the 17.3 in 4 hours 56 minutes.


Another Weekend in the States 

ROGER BIGGS moved to the Atlantic Coast of Florida for his last marathon of this trip to the States.  The Tomoka Marathon started in the City of Ormond Beach before heading north close to the Atlantic Ocean  into the Tomoka State Park, before returning back to Ormond Beach along the Halifax River.  The course was virtually flat until the last 1/2mile when a bridge brought you over the Halifax River back to the finish. 

The weather was again kind, a bit nippy at the start before sunrise, but soon in lovely sunshine, cooled by the northerly wind.  Roger finished in 6 hours 3 minutes 52 seconds.



There was drama before the start of the run at Wimpole Hall Estate on Saturday as part of course had more than fifty cows and bulls who did not want to clear the route.  Runners and marshals gave them a helping hand.  Running his last event before the Paris Marathon on the 12th April DANIEL BATES took on the tough course at Wimpole Hall Estate. He was first Spartan home in 17th place (out of 266 runners) in 21 minutes 4 seconds.  Daniel Sutton and Verity Fisher were running at Wimpole for the first time.  Daniel crossed the line in 24-06 (66th) and Verity in 28-26 (154th). 

Down at Panshanger (Hertford), Mark Allen put in an impressive performance by getting a new Parkrun PB of 22-48 (finishing in 37th out of 219 runners) and was first Spartan home here.  Andy Jay continued his impressive form by achieving a new Parkrun PB finishing in 24-21 (61st).  Emma Kinsley had to battle hard in her run after she rolled on her ankle and getting injured.  However she finished in 26-43 (84th). 

Ken Jude completed the St Albans parkrun finishing last (336 out of 336 runners) in 43-03. 

At the Cambridge parkrun, Lucy May Field completed her 100th parkrun (her 67th run at Cambridge) by finishing in 201st place (out of 362 runners) in 27-14. 


Running London?

With just over three weeks to go so far 24 Fairlands Valley Spartans have declared that they are running this April’s London Marathon.  Some have qualified on time; some came out of the draw; many are running for charity.


Please support them.  Over the next few weeks several stories on the Spartan entries will be released.  To get the ball rolling


Got a place in the London Marathon?   

Got a Place in the London Marathon?  Every year Fairlands Valley Spartans successful train thirty or more people, many of them first timers, to run the London Marathon.  There are training groups from starters to fast fives to suit everyone.  Why not have a look at or contact Jim Brown 0793 968 7509 or Karen Palmer 0773 467 8566?  Newcomers very welcome. 

Coming Events 

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

  • Maidenhead Easter Ten on Friday 3rd April.
  • Spartans’ Club Training 20 on Sunday 5th April.
  • Watford Open Graded Track Event on Wednesday 8th April.
  • Sandy 10 mile road race on Sunday 12th April.
  • Flitwick 10K on Sunday 19th April.
  • London Marathon on Sunday 26th April.
  • Handicap 5K on Thursday 30th April.
  • County 1500 metres track championship in Stevenage on Monday 4th May.
  • County 5 miles senior championships at Pednor on Monday evening 4th May.
  • EVAC Track & Field League at Milton Keynes on Wednesday 6th May.
  • Midweek Road Race League race in Stevenage on Tuesday 12th May.
  • Midweek Road Race League race in Chingford on Wednesday 27th May.
  • EVAC Track & Field League at Bedford on Wednesday 3rd June.
  • Midweek Road Race League race in Harlow on Wednesday 17th June.
  • EVAC Track & Field League in Biggleswade on Wednesday 1st July.
  • Midweek Road Race League race in Hitchin on Thursday 2nd July.
  • Bushey 10K including Herts Veterans road championships on Sunday 5th July.
  • County 10000 metres track championship in Biggleswade on Thursday 9th July.
  • Midweek Mob Match in Welwyn Garden City on Thursday 16th July.
  • Fairlands Valley Off Road Challenge on Sunday 19th July.
  • EVAC Track & Field League at venue TBA on Wednesday 29th July.
  • County and Open 3K Relay Championship in Stevenage on Thursday 30th July.
  • County 5K Senior Championships on 2nd September.
  • County 5K Veterans Championship on 16th September.
  • Standalone 10K (inc. country senior champs) in Letchworth on Sunday 4th October.
  • Great Eastern Run in Peterborough on 11th October.
  • Stevenage Half Marathon (includes County Veterans) on Sunday 1st November.
  • St. Neots Half Marathon on Sunday 15th November.
  • County 10 miles Veterans Championship at Buntingford on 27th December.



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 9a.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 yet done very much running might prefer to start with a Thursday, Saturday or Monday session. 

Try a few sessions before joining.  Membership is only £37 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


Leave a Reply