You can’t see the Spartan Wood for the trees

MARTIN Wood led in the Fairlands Valley Spartans at the third cross-country league match of the season in Grovelands Park, Southgate, north London. He was 22nd in 32:40 on a course described by the runners as interesting with laps around an open park se

MARTIN Wood led in the Fairlands Valley Spartans at the third cross-country league match of the season in Grovelands Park, Southgate, north London.

He was 22nd in 32:40 on a course described by the runners as 'interesting' with laps around an open park section and a convoluted wooded section.

The men's race was over three laps while the women ran two.

First Spartan in the women's race was Peta Wilson who was 26th in 26:56.

Men's positions and times: Martin Wood 22nd 32:40, Paul Maguire 63rd 36:08, Steve Smithson 66th 36:17, Nick Crowley 69th 36:32, Tony Osborne 118th 40:30, Mark Glading 124th 41:01, Geoff Bysouth 158th 43:00.

Women's positions and times: Peta Wilson 26th 26:56, Barbara Wilson 30th 27:31, Sara O'Callaghan 31st 27:32, Sharon Crowley 47th 29:29, Lorraine Thomas 58th 32:06, Karen Barber 75th 34:00.

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The next cross-country event will be the county cross-country championships in Stevenage on Sunday, January 7.

Ten Spartans travelled to Wootton in Bedfordshire for the Bedford Harriers Half Marathon and three got under one hour and a half.

Times: Simon Jackson 1-24:53, Jim Brown 1-28:23, Don Papworth 1-29:46, Roger Biggs 1-37:35, Andrew Hull 1-43:29, Paul Holgate 1-43:45, Frances Ridgway 1-46:15, Ben Snowden 2-01:07, Alison Suckling 2-03:30 pb, Craig Snowden 2-15:46.

Spartans have had a great 2006 including successful events such as the Stevenage Half Marathon, evening 5k series and Fairlands Valley Challenge and considerable success, at individual and team level, in the Hertfordshire championships.

The club's annual meeting has elected its committee for 2007.

It consists of - chair: Tony Willson; secretary: Carol Paul; treasurer - Beverley Aitken; with committee members Graham Blackburn, Mark Collins, Claire Phipps, Frances Ridgway and Tessa Stephenson. Jim Brown continues as press officer.

The standard membership subscription for 2007 will be £18.

There were 27 members of FVS TRI who made the trek to north London to compete in the third match of the five-race Sunday cross-country league.

Jackie Perry led the ladies' team home in second place with her strongest performance to date finishing in seventh.

The women's team was made up of Jackie Perry (seventh), Chris Yuill (11th), Lesley Dutton (18th), Penny Wylie (20th) and Helen Shulver the all-important last scorer in 28th.

The women were also second in the masters race and retain second spot overall in the A team and masters race series.

Women's times (3.3 miles): Jackie Perry 24:29, Chris Yuill 25:16, Lesley Dutton 26:15, Penny Wylie 26:25, Helen Shulver 27:20, Ellie Burton 28:38, Anna Priestley 29:16.

With a lot of absent runners due to injury and illness, the men struggled to retain their second spot overall only managing third on the day.

The B team also dropped to third overall with third on the day and with the absence of leading vet runners, the masters team were only fifth on the day and now drop to fifth overall.

Simon Hall was the lead man for the club in eighth with Paul Gibb second in 12th. The other scorers making up the eight-man team were Nick Downing (27th), James Grierson (30th), Mike Russell (39th), Rob Wilson just pipping Jon Gillham in the sprint for 47th and James Brooks (50th).

Men's times (5.1 miles): Simon Hall 31:06, Paul Gibb 31:24, Nick Downing 33:19, James Grierson 33:31, Mike Russell 34:26, Rob Wilson 34:55, John Gillham 34:56, James Brooks 35:07, Andrew Mussett 36:02, Jeremy Lintott 36:06, Stewart Kay 37:49, Andy Proctor 38:31, Pete Eames 40:00, Dave Farthing 41:01, Richard Thomas 42:02, Tony Shortland 42:03, Drew Lowrie 42:08, Danny Brooks 42:21, Steve Mussett 43:24, Paul Dutton 44:38.

James Brooks and Nick Downing made their last appearances at cross-country before leaving to join the RAF and complete a sports physio course respectively.

The league rests until February with the last two fixtures in successive weeks.

Sam Tophill ran the Bedford Half Marathon in 1-36 to finish second FV40 and 279th overall from 1,317 finishers.