Lizzie’s the champ

The senior women s national cross-country title was won by Stotfold s Lizzie Hall by a massive 33 seconds. She braved the icy winds and perhaps the severest cross-country course in England to compete in the national championships at London s Parliament Hi

The senior women's national cross-country title was won by Stotfold's Lizzie Hall by a massive 33 seconds.

She braved the icy winds and perhaps the severest cross-country course in England to compete in the national championships at London's Parliament Hill Fields at Highgate.

Lizzie covered the tough 8k course in 32:12, beating several English international representatives in the process.

The former Knights Templar School pupil is now studying at Brunel University.

Other local athletes at this event included three from Bedford and County AC.

Ryan Parker was sixth in the under-15 boys; Rachel Gibbs was 16th in the under-20 women; and Lizzie Gibbs was 54th in the under-20 women.

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Stevenage and North Herts AC also had club members competing.

Under-20 woman Sara Bailey was the highest placed of all of them.

In her 5k race, she clocked 21:50 for 31st place (out of 130 finishers).

Under-15 girl Joanne Mansell, in her race of 293 finishers, was placed 37th, clocking 19:41 for the 4k.

Under-13 boy Lewis Keeble faced 360 other runners in his 3k race and finished in 13:04 for 61st place.

Under-15 boy Callum McKechnie ran 4.5k in 21:00 to finish 198th out of 326 finishers.

And Sarah Pike, in the under-13 girls' race, covered 3k in 16:14 to finish 272nd out of 376 finishers.

Fairlands Valley Spartans finished a complete men's team for the first time in four years.

At least six had to finish but all seven Spartan starters got round the gruelling 12k race. They were Mark Collins, Graham Blackburn, Andy Bramall, Phil Eaton, Jim Brown, Mark Freeman and Ron Church.

Spartans were 93rd out of the 100 clubs that managed to get a team round - many did not - and were delighted with their achievement.

Spartan times and positions (1,261 finishers): 748 Mark Collins 55:07, 805 Graham Blackburn 56:02, 835 Andy Bramall 56:30, 841 Phil Eaton 56:36, 1005 Jim Brown 59:44, 1229 Mark Freeman 68:20, 1249 Ron Church 69:47.

Peta Wilson and Sharon Crowley took part in the women's race over 8k. Peta was 313th in 46:50 and Sharon 341st in 48:12 (out of 444 finishers).

* Two Stevenage and North Herts AC members figured prominently at the British Universities Indoor Championships at Sheffield Arena.

Pride of place went to Emma Kemp, who studies at Loughborough University, who won her first major title and gold medal in the 400m in a time of 55.47. Hayley Beard, continuing her recovery from injury, was representing Birmingham University and won the bronze in the 1500m event in 4:27.

North Herts Road Runners competed at both ends of the distance scale with a 5k race at London's Hyde Park and a 20-mile road race at Bury St Edmunds.

Melissa Winters put in the performance of the weekend to fully justify her qualification on the elite start of this year's London Marathon by finishing in third place in the women's category at Bury.

Fifteen members made the trip to Suffolk for the annual Bury 20-mile road race and were among a field of almost 400 that battled a tough, hilly course with the added challenge of a bitterly cold wind.

Gary Cook led the men's team home in 2-17:21 followed by veterans John Franklin (2-20:10), Steve Taplin (2-23:01), Richard Thackeray (2-25:25), Martyn Annetts (2-27:20) and Stewart Bryant (2-29:50), who all finished at the top end of the field.

The ladies also ran well with Winters finishing as third female with a superb time of 2-21:35, backed up by solid performances from Suzy Crowe (2-29:52), Jane Chappell (2-33:49), Claire Messenger (2-38:54) and Jo Summers (2-47:38). Also running were Nat Whitley (2-34:58), Chris Priestley (2-38:54), Mike Mello (2-53:24) and Colin Calcutt (2-59:34).

Four of the Squirrels that ran at Bury also ran at London's Hyde Park two days earlier at the monthly Serpentine 5k.

Super veteran Stewart Bryant finished third in his category with a time of 19:01, marginally ahead of club colleagues Duncan Hooker (19:11) and Martyn Annetts (19:15). Also running were the regular participants - Chris Priestley (20:07), Jo Summers (21:49) and Lindsay Cook (25:55).

There were 22 Fairlands Valley Spartans who braved a chilly Thursday evening to take part in their second handicap 5k of 2006.

Winner on handicap was Doug Hall in a new personal best time of 26:49, fastest on the night was Mark Collins in 18:41 and fastest woman was Annette Bell in a personal best of 20:14.

Four Spartans tackled the Bury 20 with Chris King the first to finish with a personal best of 2-30:16. She was 64th overall and third female veteran (40 plus).

Mark Beasley finished in 2-32:38 (75th), Kevin Smyth was pleased with his 2-39:06 (111th) and Alison Suckling completed the race in 3-33:53 (341st). There were 368 finishers.

The Comet's Sportsman of the Year, Roger Biggs, has run another race in his fastest time since 1999! This time it was the Seville Marathon in Spain and his time was 3-35:39. Michaela Norton-Lay finished in 4-41:55 with Mark Sanders not far behind in 4-42:17.