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We are always looking for news, results and race stories for our weekly Echo report. Please tell us about your experiences, results, personal best times achieved, worst nightmare races etc by emailing almostathletes@hotmail.com - if you don't tell us about it, we can't report it!. We can't guarantee that all information supplied will go in as the Echo have full editorial control, but we will do our best.

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The undulating course at the Dymock half marathon was a happy hunting ground for many Almost Athletes on Sunday despite several torrential downpours during the race. Top spoils went to Hattie Jenkins who won the women’s race in an excellent time of 1 hour 33 mins, this having also cycled 22 miles to the event. Jenkins also led home the group to take the ladies team prize with Ingrid Harris 1:44, Alison Hume 1:51 in a PB for the course & Claire Sinnott 1:51, a PB by 7 minutes.
Other ladies running included Hayley Woolnough 1:52 (PB), Lorraine Taylor (PB), Cos Pearson 2:26, Catherine Daly 1:55, Claire Cook 2:07, Sandra Stuart and Deborah Elliott.

First man home for the club was Martin Foster in a blistering 1:20. Also running were Prashnath Sripathi, Stephen Taylor, Piotr Michalski 1:42 (PB), Dave Chittock 1:55, Norm Lever 2:06, Rich Smith, Mike Daly, Dom Lyes, Oliver Bell, Neil Tring, Dave Davey 1:54, Steve Yarnold, Haiggy McHaig, Mike Line, Stephen Taylor & Dave Elliott.

Felicity Broom was delighted with a new half marathon PB of 2:17 at Edinburgh.

Virginia Palwyn completed the Casterbridge half, Dorset in 2:49.

Steve and Sarah Wallbridge conquered the hilly 20km Trail de la Mine in Normandie France in 2:19.

At the Vitality London 10k Catherine Daly & Dave Chittock were home in 55:13 and Christopher Benjamin in 57:23.

At the Boddington 10k Pete Mitchener was round in 45:48, Donna Evans in 50:37 and Dave Garnett in 47:25.

Josh & Lucinda Hand ran the Wells 10k. Josh took 10th place overall in 38:25 whilst Lucinda had a fabulous 49:45.

Patricia Peever was 1st Lady at the Worcester Pitcroft 10k in 43:41.

There was plenty of parkrun tourism this week from Ollie Nolan at Enniskillen in Ireland in 28:28 and Robert Foord at Upton Court near Slough in 22:30. Claire Gallagher, Prash Sripathi and Simon Jarvis travelled to Bath Skyline parkrun whilst Claire Hawes was her 1st in Age category at Exmouth.  Kim Davenport also notched up 1st in age group at Gloucester City parkrun. Lepha McCartan and Dave Rogers were in Cornwall for the Penrose parkrun near Helston where they recorded 26:37, a PB for McCartan & first in age category. Becky Bendall was at the Conkers parkrun in the National Forest.
Chris McMahon completed his first ever parkrun at Cheltenham 24:14. There was a new PB for Nat Stow, also at Cheltenham in 26:37.

A large contingent of Almost Athletes travelled north to Liverpool for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series and put in some impressive performances in the tough, warm conditions over the city route.

Mark Eavers was delighted to record a new PB by more than 75 minutes with a time of 4:46 having been paced around most of the course by team-mates Deb Cartlidge & Lepha McCartan who finished together in 4:33.  Kieran Keating was home in a magnificent 3:41 in his first marathon with Mike Kennedy in 3:42. Despite suffering an injury setback over the course Steve Wallbridge still recorded a 4:22.

In the half marathon Dave Rogers struck a 1:30, Jeanette Gullick 1:40, Vicky Kennedy 1:50, Sarah Wallbridge 2:03, Jayne Murphy 2:22 and Ceinwen Davies 2:23.

In the 5k, Eileen Swain bagged a new PB of 36:57, Ceinwen Davies ran 28 mins and Mark Eavers 31 mins, as they prepared themselves for the marathon challenges the next day.

In the Plymouth half marathon, Chris McMahon was round in 2:03.
Julie Birt completed the hilly Worcester half marathon also in 2:03. Josh Hand also took on Worcester and finished in a blistering 1:23 for 10th place overall.

At the Gloucester Race4Men 10k, Pete Blakeman ran 49:26, Rob Wood 50:45 for Rob and Gareth Wilkes 56:12

Allan Green completed 2 marathons this week, the Wendover Woods Marathon in 5:31 followed by Worcester in 4:27 where he was 1st in his age category.

Nat Stow grabbed a new parkrun PB at Cheltenham in 27:04. Robert Foord travelled to Pontypridd parkrun and ran 21:24.

Ingrid Harris ran the Shindig in the Shire marathon in 5:04, joint 2nd lady.  

Almost Athletes got the weekend underway with the Cheltenham parkrun, to remember the life of Rich Walklate, one of the original Cheltenham parkrun co-founders, supporters and part of the core team. The Run4Rich Memorial run, was  attended by parents Jane and Steve Walklate as well as family amongst a record 723 runners. Runners wore caps in tribute to Rich, sporting banners and flags with pictures of Rich at the Everest Marathon which he ran last year.  Rich had been working hard to get his parkrun time back under 20 minutes with support from Matt Polson, in memory of this planned 100th parkrun milestone Polson was a under twenty minute pacer.

The purple army attended Tewkesbury Half Marathon on Sunday the 13th May with Dale Midwinter coming in at 1:30, Matthew Proome 1:33, Patricia Peever 1:35, Daniel Reeves 1:37 achieving a 27 minute personal best, Michael Grant 1:39 winning second in his Age Group [PHOTO], Paul Haig 1:59, Julie Birt 2:00, Stephen Holland 2 hours, Natalie Stow also a personal best of 2:07 which she has been trying to gain for several years,  Mark Eavers 2:07, Oliver Bell 2:08,  Coralie Pearson 2:11, Oliver Nolan 2:12, Simon Gomersall 2:15, Chaweewan Hartley 2:19, Rachael Nolan 2:19, Kasha Price 2:29 and Sarah Fennell 2:34.

In Stratford, at the Shakespeare half marathon, Ross Greening achieved 1:44, Lucinda Hand 1:52 and Natalie Greening 2:05. At the Shakespeare marathon Dave Rogers achieved an exceptional personal best of 3:11, Karen Hilton also a personal best of 4:23, and Jackie Slaughter 5:06.

At the Stroud Marathon, a challenging mixture of local trails, and amazing views, Mark Wilicott was first in at 4:24, Ingrid Harris second in at 4:39, Thomas Smith 4:40, Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto 4:57, Shaun Carr 4:58, Karen Galpin 4:59, Anne Marie-Willicott and Fiona Barnes 5:23, Jim Trowbridge, Kevin Richards and Mariel Chretien 7:50.

Ian Coggin ran a marathon on Saturday and again on Sunday, with the Enduroman festival of ultra marathon events in Bransgore, Hampshire. This is a phenomenal success for Coggin who had only just completed the Malvern Hills Ultra Marathon the weekend prior, a tough 46 mile run, achieving 11th position out of 67, in 10:39.

In Vejle Denmark, Steve Linton took part in the Powerman middle distance duathlon, running 10k, cycling 60k, and then running 10k, achieving 16th in age category in 3:29.

David Farrow took part in the LDWA Ridgeway 40 Ultra Marathon starting west of Marlborough and ending in Streatley. The ultra follows the ancient ridgeway trail. This was the first ultra marathon Farrow has run, achieving 8:15.

Bristol hosted the Simply Health 10k, Paul Warren was first in at 44:18, Charmaine Brunt second in at 50:16, Gareth Wilkes third in 52:16, with all three runners achieving personal bests, Adrian Courtenay 1:01 and visually impaired runner Rob Rennell and guide runner Mark Medland 1:18.

The Annual British Heart Foundation Cotswolds 30 and 50 mile cycle got under way on Sunday around the stunning Cotswolds countryside. Cycled by Piotr Michalski, David Chittock, Deb Cartlidge, Jeanette Gullick and Mark Stojanov who cycled this event for the 17th year, achieving a personal best of 3:09.

Almost Athletes Ladies Team: Hattie Jenkins, Amber Bullingham and Michelle Balchin were joint team winners with CLC Striders at the Berkeley 10k race. With David Lawrence winning 1st prize for the 70 age group. 60 Almost Athletes attended this race with personal bests achieved in great numbers by: Matt Polson 38:49, Matthew Hickman 40:44, Steve Wallbridge 43:08, Daniel Reeves 44:34, Piotr Michalski 44:47, Claire Hearing 49:02, Rich Smith 49:25, Brian Todd 51:12, Catrin Davies 53:12, Jayne Adams 58:53, Penny Byrne 59:56, Lynne Macedo 1:01 and Iris Mayo 1:05.

At the Club AGM we were pleased to award the following Life Memberships.
Hearty congratulations to the following, all of whom were elected Life Members at last night's AGM, for their enormous and varied contributions to the smooth running of our club:
Dave Elliott, Wendy Haskins, Rob Hume, Bill Jones ('Billy Whizz') and Nick Lewis.
Thank you all
Graham Fletcher

Almost Athletes were deeply shocked and saddened to learn that one of their members – Rich Walklate – passed away this weekend.  Rich had been both a great athlete, staunch supporter of Cheltenham parkrun and friend to many, and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.  The events in which Almosts took part this weekend are dedicated to his memory.

On Sunday 6th May, Thom Stephens stormed to success as the overall winner of the 100km St Illtyd’s Trail in Pembrey, Wales. Although there were very warm conditions throughout this challenging event, he achieved an excellent time of 13:10.

On the same day, Mark Willicott and Matt Jones both tackled the Marlborough Downs Challenge of 33 miles. Mark Willicott successfully completed this multi-terrain trail run with a finish time of 6:14, whilst Matt Jones came home in 7:10. 

Despite completing his 500th marathon a short while ago, Allan Green continued on his quest for ever greater achievements. On Friday 4th May he ran the May The Fourth Be With You marathon in Carding Mill Valley in 6:09, followed on Monday by the Milton Keynes marathon in 4:18, which placed him first in his age group.

Ben Taylor also took part in the Milton Keynes marathon and finished in 3:52.  Three other Almosts – Jonathan Bird, Pete Hopper and Mark Stojanov – all successfully completed the half marathon event. Bird finished in 2:03, Hopper in 2:13 and Stojanov in 3:04.

Ingrid Harris ran in two races over the weekend again, coming in as fourth lady in the Brecon Beacons trail marathon on Saturday 5th May with a time of 5:32, followed by the Winchcombe Cross half marathon on Sunday.

Steve Wallbridge also ran the Brecon Beacons event, and was first Almost home by completing the extended half marathon of 16 miles with a time of 2:33.

Further afield and in even hotter conditions, Ali Shaikh and Emma Yates both ran the Meia half marathon in Portugal, whilst Jamie Courtenay took part in the Grand Island 10km in Buffalo, USA with a finish time of 45:28.

Saturday saw the fifth Wings for Life World Run in which Prash Sripathi ran to raise money for Apprun. This run involved being chased by a ‘virtual’ car, and Sripathi completed 17.42 miles in 2:18 before being caught. Another Almost – Simons Jarvis – took part in a similar event in Melbourne, Australia.

There were a number of other races over the weekend with Almost participants. Malc Allen took part in the Forest of Dean trail half marathon and achieved 1:50, whilst Adrian Courtenay finished the Cotswold Super Spring Triathlon in 1:30.

Lynne Macedo and Graham Philpott ran the Bath Two Tunnels 10km (return and hilly options respectively) and both finished in 1:07.

Saturday’s Cheltenham parkrun saw new PBs for three Almosts with Rachel O’Bryan achieving 23:32, Steve McQuitty 25:15, and Kasha Price 29:50. 

There were a number of parkrun tourists this weekend with Matt Polson coming in as first male and second overall in the Great Denham run with a terrific time of 18:53.  Jo Foster was second lady in Cirencester parkrun with a time of 23:46, and Martin Foster was sixth overall with 19:44.

Other Almost tourists included Mark Medland in Arrow Valley, Iris Mayo in Thornbury and Ollie Nolan Snr in the Gloucester City Runtogether Run2 Help event.

Bank Holiday Monday saw the start of the Club’s Handicap race series which had a record turnout of members for the first run.  Steve Wallbridge was first home, followed by Hester Coggin and Hayley Woolnough.


The rescheduled Droitwich Half Marathon was a happy hunting ground for a small band of Almost Athletes. Dave Davey recorded a comfortable sub 2 in 1:56, Andrew Wilkinson fresh from his London endeavors completed in 2:10 and Mark Eavers was delighted with a new PB by more than 3 minutes for the half of 2:02.

Continuing his grueling training regime for the Comrades 89k Ultra in South Africa in June, Mark Willicott ran the 41-mile Millennium Way Back Ultra in Derbyshire where he took 3rd place overall in a time of 6:53.

Cos Pearson and Dave Elliott took on the Newport Marathon in South Wales. Elliott was very pleased with his 3:53:21 and Pearson dipped well under the 5-hour mark again in 4:56:56. In London David Farrow completed in 04:20:48. Having completed his 500th marathon in London, Allan Green ran his 501st at the Liverpool Hope University Marathon in 4:18:58.

In London Jo Johnston secured a new PB at the Queen Elizabeth Park 10K of 1:06:47. Visually impaired athlete Rob Rennell was at the Newport 10K in South Wales where he too achieved a new PB of 1:18:47. Rennell also ran at Gloucester City parkrun in 39:44.

At parkrun Michelle Balchin made the short hop to Gloucester City and was delighted to be first lady in a new PB time off 21:58. Jamie Courtenay was stateside where he completed the Washington DC parkrun in 21:27.

Marking the tragic passing of London Marathon competitor Matt Campbell, a band of Almosts added an extra 0.6 miles to their Cheltenham parkrun to record 3.7 miles in the #FinishForMatt campaign, the distance that he had to left to run when he sadly collapsed. All runners made a donation to the Brathay Trust in his honour, the charity he was supporting in London.

Almost Athletes were represented at the Dave McNamee memorial 10k at Temple Guiting. Martin Foster was home in 40:17 for 9th overall, Richard Birch 41:33, Amy Sheer 44:58 for 5th lady overall, Neil Tring 46:06, Allan Green 47:51, Lorraine Taylor 53:12, David Lawrence 1:00:07 and Sandra Stuart 1:03:22.