Spartans honour their brave runners

New and old faces were honoured at a Stevenage running club s awards night. Fairlands Valley Spartans gathered at the Novotel for a successful and enjoyable presentation evening, meal and dance on Friday. Presentations were made for the 2006 championships

New and old faces were honoured at a Stevenage running club's awards night.

Fairlands Valley Spartans gathered at the Novotel for a successful and enjoyable presentation evening, meal and dance on Friday.

Presentations were made for the 2006 championships, Spartan of the Year and other awards.

Spartan of the Year went to recent addition to the coaching team, Chris Leigh, for his encouragement to newer runners.


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The overall champion with first place in the long championship, second in the short and a percentage score of 75 per cent or better for all eight counting distances was Jim Brown.

First man in the short championship, with massive potential for the overall in 2007, was Simon Bell who only joined the Spartans during 2006.

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Leading lady was Chris King, first in the long events and second in the short. Winner of the women's short championship was Annette Bell.

Sharon Crowley picked up three awards - the chairman's award (for rescuing another organisation's charity run and her work supporting the evening 5k series and local midweek league fixture), second place in the women's long distance championship and a share of the captain's award for participating in every road and cross-country league event in 2006.

The most improved Spartans were Roger Biggs, a renaissance for a member who ran the 1984 Stevenage Marathon but has recently recorded lifetime bests, and Sue Leigh, an accelerating new member.

Long distance championship races are over 10 miles, half-marathon, 20 miles and full marathon.

The short distance races are 1500m, 5k, five miles and 10k.

Accurately measured and timed races throughout the year count towards the championships.

Awards winners

Spartan of the Year: Chris Leigh.

Overall champion: Jim Brown.

Most improved woman: Sue Leigh.

Most improved man: Roger Biggs.

Short distance championships, first male: Simon Bell, second male: Jim Brown, third male: Tony Osborne.

Short distance championships, first female: Annette Bell, second female: Chris King, third female: Barbara Wilson.

Long distance championships, first male: Jim Brown, second male: Roger Biggs, third male: Declan Clynes.

Long distance championships, first female: Chris King, second female: Sharon Crowley, third female: Frances Ridgway.

Chairman's award: Sharon Crowley.

Club captain's award: Mark Freeman and Sharon Crowley.

Bryan Moore Shield (handicap 10): Graham Preston.

Despite the bitterly cold weather, 27 Spartans turned out in Stevenage for the first 5k handicap race of the year last Thursday evening.

First runner home, showing a welcome return to form, was Kerry James who beat her handicap by an enormous 3:50 to finish in 22:07, more than four minutes faster than her best 2006 5k time.

Fastest runner on the night was Andrew Patterson in 18:50.

Chris King was the first Spartan finisher in the Marrakech Marathon at the weekend when she finished in 3-21:22.

Roger Biggs completed the Moroccan event in 3-45:50 and Dave Clarke took 3-53:20.

Steve Dear completed the Marrakech Half Marathon in exactly 1-29 while Tony Osborne ran the course in 1-47:30.

Three other Spartans were at the Stonehenge Stomp off road event. Mike Newbitt and Robert Hardy ran the 40k event in 4-32:44 and 4-48:59 respectively.

Pauline Hardy completed the 20k option in 3-17:10.

Mark and Michaela Sanders ran the Apeldoorn Midwinter Marathon together in Holland.

Although it was rather cool, windy and rainy, the route through the pine forests made it enjoyable. The pair finished in 4-52:52.

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