Fairlands Valley Spartans is a Stevenage based running club founded in 1984 following the inaugural running of the Stevenage Marathon. With more than 400 members, we are one of the largest running clubs in the local area. We are primarily a road running club, but our itinerary also includes track and off-road activities. All abilities are catered for – from committed marathon runners to people embarking on a program of fitness from the depths of their armchairs.
In 2008 the club launched it’s Starter Group, catering for first time runners. This has proved to be extremely popular and the group train on both Monday and Thursday evenings. Many of the Starter Group have progressed from running 5K races to completing full marathons.
In 2010 the club were proud to be voted the RunnersWorld Running Club of the Year, recognising the way in which the club have made all abilities welcome, the huge success of the Starter Group and the continued growth in membership and success in races.
Your questions answered!
Where can I find you?
The club has it’s base at Marriotts Sports Centre, Marriotts School, Telford Avenue, Stevenage SG2 0AN.
Our Starter Group meet on a Monday at 7:30pm and a Thursday at 7pm.
The club’s main training sessions are held Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7pm. In addition, the club also meet at Ridlins Athletics track, Woodcock Road, Stevenage at 9:15am each Saturday for a track based training session.
What training do you do?
Our main training session on Tuesday evening (meeting at Marriotts Sports Centre) is based around 4 mixed ability groups. The groups cover a distance of between 5 and 7 miles using a variety of interval based training with regular re-grouping to the back runners to ensure that nobody is left behind. The training on Thursday evenings has a focus on improving runners technique and is based on shorter distances, up to about 5K.
The Starter Group training sessions are based over a 5K circuit with regular re-grouping so that everyone stays together. This group caters for all abilities, particularly those that are taking their first running steps and building up from walking, walk/running before running the complete the training circuits.
On a Saturday the club holds a track session for all abilities at Ridlins Stadium, Woodcock Road, Stevenage that starts at 9:15am. The sessions focus on good running form and technique and helping runners to improve their running efficiency and speed.
In addition to the training sessions above, there are also social, off-road runs starting from Hitchin at 9:30am on a Thursday and Saturday morning, usually covering between 5 and 7 miles.
You will also find a number of the club members training on a Sunday morning with a longer social run. The training includes regular re-grouping so that all runners stay together and this is a great chance for members to catch up on events and chat over the last week! The Sunday runs tend to become a corner stone in the club’s marathon training between December and May as runners prepare themselves for marathons such as those at London or Edinburgh in the Spring.
All of the training is supported by the club’s large team of qualified coaches. The coaching team prepare the training schedule on a rolling quarterly basis and this is published on the club’s website www.fvspartans.org.uk. Additional training sessions and schedules are prepared to support those running marathons and members of the coaching team are always on hand to give support and advice (many of them actually run the marathons as well so they have first hand experience!)
Above all, we aim to ensure that all the runners are enjoying the training and having fun.
Can I turn up or do I have to join first?
We encourage runners to just turn up at one of the training sessions, speak to a member of the coaching team and then just try us out! There is no need to join straight away.
I am only looking to train for the Virgin London Marathon, how will I find others to train with?
You will not have difficulty in finding others to train with. Many of the runners in the club are training for the Virgin London Marathon and many of the coaching team too! The club designs a training schedule for those training for the London marathon and caters for all abilities. You will find running partners at any of the planned club training sessions, including the longer training runs on a Sunday morning. Many of the runners taking part in the Sunday runs will be training for the London Marathon so you will be in good company!