Super Spartans reward their great and good

Stevenage running club Fairlands Valley Spartans celebrated their champions and a great year at their annual presentation evening. Kath Hardcastle was announced as the new overall women s champion and Simon Bell the men s champ at the Novotel, Stevenage,

Stevenage running club Fairlands Valley Spartans celebrated their champions and a great year at their annual presentation evening.

Kath Hardcastle was announced as the new overall women's champion and Simon Bell the men's champ at the Novotel, Stevenage, on Saturday night.

Paul Maguire, despite an ongoing battle with serious illness, continued to turn in some outstanding performances.

He was Spartan of the Year in recognition of his courage and inspirational determination.


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The ladies' short distance championship, held over 1500m, 5k, five miles and 10k was won by Annette Bell with Hardcastle second and Chris Feely third.

Chris King won the long distance women's championship, which was over 10 miles, half marathon, 20 miles and full marathon with Hardcastle second and Frances Ridgway third.

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Over the same distances, Bell won the men's short distance championship with Jim Brown second and Phil Gale third.

Brown just got his nose ahead in the long distance championship with a good half marathon towards the end of the year, Bell was second and Declan Clynes third.

Kerry James cut chunks off many of her times during 2007 and was the 'Most Improved Spartan'. Simon Jackson was the most improved man.

Dave and Tessa Stephenson won the chairman's award, presented by outgoing chairman Tony Willson, for services to the club.

Katrina Doyle received the Bryan Moore Shield for winning the 10-mile handicap road race.

Special awards were made to Michaela Sanders, the fastest ever Briton to run 100 marathons; to Roger Biggs for running a marathon in every state of the USA; and to Willson for his three years as club chairman.

Despite enjoying themselves at their presentation evening and dance, several Spartans were out to face the hills and wind of the Watford Half Marathon on Sunday morning.

Simon Jackson and Kath Hardcastle put down clear markers for the 2008 club championships.

Jackson was 21st out of 1,954 finishers in a new personal best time of 1-20:59, and Hardcastle 152nd overall in 1-28:35.

Times: Simon Jackson 1-20:59 pb, Kath Hardcastle 1-28:35, Jim Brown 1-33:06, Simon Owens 1-39:41, Nick Stewart 1-40:20, Mark Goodwin 1-47:16, Andrew Hull 1-45:00, Paul Holgate 1-50:32, Sara O'Callaghan 1-53:29, Tony Osborne 1-59:04, David Paul 2-03:41, Julie Goodwin 2-04:40, Alison Suckling 2-05:14, Andrew Manwaring 2-17:17.

Six Spartans took part in the South of England vets cross-country championships in Mad Bess Woods, Ruislip, on Saturday afternoon.

First club finisher in the men's race over 9.2k was Steve Smithson in 41:03, not far behind was new Spartan of the year Paul Maguire in 41:08.

They were followed by Andy Garrett in 43:12, Dave Stephenson in 45:17 and new club chairman Mark Glading in 46:48.

Sharon Crowley ran the women's race which was over about 6k.

The Spartans team of Graham Blackburn, Jim Brown, Roger Biggs and Mick Connell won bronze medals in the Herts county 10-mile road race championships recently.

Rob Shaw won an individual silver medal in the veteran (60 plus) category.

Roger Biggs and Mark?Sanders were in the Netherlands at the weekend to run the Apeldoorn Marathon.

This was on a scenic two-lap course, mainly through woods on a cold day, and Biggs finished in 3-41:07 and Sanders in 4-51:27.

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