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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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It was a fitting tribute to the end of a marvellous running year when Almost Athletes held their annual Christmas dinner and awards evening at the Cleeve Hill Golf Club on Friday 15th December. The prizes for all age categories across the club’s highly competitive road and off road series were handed to the proud and deserving winners.

Allan Green ran another three marathons during the past two weeks, with the Malaga marathon in Spain completed in 3:57, the Dinton Challenge in 4:26 and the demanding Bovington Tank Museum marathon in 5:47.

At the Déjà vu marathon in Milton Keynes, there was a 3:48 finish for Mark Willicott and a 4:04 for Anne-Marie Willicott and Michelle Balchin who finished together as joint first ladies. Ingrid Harris also ran the Portsmouth marathon in an excellent time of 3:46.

Further afield in South Africa, Matt Proome took part in a 10km night trail run on Wednesday 13th December at Bryanston Country Club, Gauteng, Johannesburg. He also participated in the 8km Pirates Club run on Saturday, and finished 12th overall with an excellent time of just 33 mins.

Despite the inclement conditions, a good number of Almosts participated in two 10km races on Sunday 17th.

Eleven club members ran in the Weston super Mare Xmas Cracker with Philip Jeyes the first home in 54:48. Lepha McCarton was the first female Almost to finish with a time of 54:49, followed by Natalie Greening in 58.29, Catrin Davies 58.55, Kim Davenport 59:34, and Karen Hilton with 59:51. Darren Lewington finished in 1hr 07mins, Coralie Pearson, Rachel Nolan and Claire Gallagher were all in at 1:08 and Alan Mercer in 1:11.

A further fourteen Almosts competed in the Evesham Festive 10km with Jamie Courtenay the first to complete in just 46:23. Jeanette Gullick was first female Almost with 50:35, followed by Sarah Roberts in 52:50, Donna Evans 56:52, Stephen Holland 57:19, Tracey Jeanes 57:43, Peter Mitchener 58:44, and Kate Freeman at 58:45. Adrian Courtenay completed in 1hr 03mins, Mike Line in 1:05, Sheila Chatterley and Debbie Masding both in 1:14 and Emma Tooley in 1:18. Mark Stojanov was thrilled with an end of season finish of 1:19 in very wet and muddy conditions.

In Cheltenham parkrun, Lepha McCartan was delighted to dip under 26 mins with a new PB of 25:56 whilst Matthew Hickman also struck PB gold with 20:08. Lynne Macedo secured a 2nd in her age category as well. Slightly further afield, Matt Polson was 4th overall at Evesham parkrun, whilst Mark Medland was first UK competitor over the line at the Amanger Strand parkrun in Copenhagen.

Dave Rogers and Lepha McCartan ran the the Dark Peaks trail Ultra Marathon on Saturday the 2nd December in 6:08. The Marathon started in the village of Langsett, Sheffield in which runners had to self-navigate through scenic and challenging forest trails in the Peak District National Park, with over 4000 ft elevations.

In Victoria Park, East London, Gareth Wilkes ran the half marathon in 1:59.

The Nottingham marathon was attended by Ingrid Harris who completed the race in 3:33, Karen Galpin 3:36, Allan Green 4:14, all three runners came first in their age categories. Also in Nottingham, John Galpin ran the half marathon completing the race in 2:12 dressed as Spider-Man.

Parkrun tourist saw Robert Foord taking part in the Harcourt Hill parkrun.

Locally in Cheltenham, Mark Strojonov took part in the Santa Cheltenham 3 km fun run, achieving a worthy 21:28.

On Saturday 25th November the 250th Cheltenham parkrun took place with members of Almost Athletes providing many of the volunteers and participants. Despite the cold and frosty conditions 422 runners completed the run and two Almosts finished in the top twenty – Simon Jarvis was in 8th position with a time of 18mins 50secs whilst Matt Polson came 15th with 19.22. The first Almost lady to complete was Jeanette Gullick with a time of 21.45.

Parkrun tourists this week included Norm Lever at Lytham Hall in Lancashire, Helen Fursman Reid in Bushy and Natalie Greening in Ipswich. Alison and Rob Hume travelled abroad to Copenhagen to take part in an even colder Amagerstrandpark parkrun.

Allan Green continued to add to his impressive marathon tally by running on Friday 24th in the Samphire Hoe event in Kent, and achieved a finish time of 4hrs 49mins. On Sunday, Ingrid Harris completed the Colwall Hare and Tortoise off-road marathon in just 3hrs 50mins, whilst Vasco and Joanna Barreto ran in the Downton half marathon in the New Forest in 1hr 39mins and 1hr 48mins respectively.

Jeanette Gullick and Debbie Masding both tackled the off-road Croome Capability Canter on Sunday. Jeanette completed the 6.5 mile race in an impressive 50mins 16secs, whilst Debbie finished in 1hr 09mins.

A large number of Almosts took part in the Gloucester 10km on Sunday morning. Despite some technical problems with chip timings, the official results highlighted some excellent performances by club members. Dale Midwinter was the first male Almost to complete in 40mins 21secs, whilst Lesley Cottle was the first Almost lady to finish in 51.59. Peter Blakeman achieved a new PB with a time of 46mins 35secs, as did Jayne Murphy who was guided by Mark Medland to finish in 56.42. Rita Crane completed her first 10km race in 1hr 10mins.

The following members all completed the race in less than 50 minutes: Ben Taylor in 40mins 33secs, Jamie Courtenay in 43.13, Mike Bryce in 43.21, Jason Bliss in 43.33, John Jameson in 45.19, Mike Harris in 47.02 and Andrew Ackerman in 48.45. Other participants included Patrick Meyer who finished in 51mins 41secs, Lepha McCartan in 53.39, Suzanne Hills in 55.04, Julia Whittaker in 56.44, Charlotte Jamieson in 58.15, Adrian Courtenay in 59.00, Sweetchilli Wan in 1hr 50secs, Leigh Spencer in 1hr 09mins and Zakia Shahanaz Hussain in 1.16.

Steve Linton lead the way at the GlosAAA Cross Country league event at  Charlton Park on Saturday with a time of 39:44, followed by Nick Lewis 41:59, Vasco Barreto  45:21, Phillip Jukes 46:52 and David Garnett 52:50 for the men’s race.  For the women’s race Joanna Wisneiwska- Barreto  ran 34:18 followed closely home by Miranda Foster at 34:22.

At Guy Fawkes 5, Almost Athletes achieved many of the Age Category Award Prizes along with many personal bests, results are as follows:

Josh Hand 29:32, Simon Jarvis 30:19, James Eastwood 31:22, Richard Birch 31:31, Matt Polson 31:59(pb), Amber Bullingham 32:40 (4th lady & LS 1st prize), Gary Farquharson 33:10, Shaun Carr 33:28, Patricia Peever 33:59, Allan Green 34:12 (MV65 1st prize), Mike Kennedy 34:18, Ollie Bell 34:17, Amy Sheer 34:33 (LV40 1st prize), David Chittock 34:56(pb), Neil Tring 34:56 , Ali Shaikh 34:58, Karen Galpin 35:17 (LV55 1st prize), Martin Thomas 35:32(pb), Ceri Griffiths 36:02, Rachel O’Bryan 36:17 (LV45 1st prize), Steve Wallbridge 36:49(pb), Ingrid Harris 37:04 (LV50 1st prize), Dave Elliott 37:56, Helen Fursman-Reid 38:24, Mark Medland 38:29, Stacey Osmond 38:44, Donna Evans 38:52, Deb Cartlidge 39:07, Lucinda Hand 39:01, Lynsey Hill 39:06, Hayley Woolnough 39:46(pb), Alison Hume 39:38, Dawn Carroll 39:42, Neil Harris 40:01, Mark Lyes 40:03, Karen Hilton 40:43, Rich Smith 40:49, Catriona Houston 41:09, Desiree Beer  41:27, Bob Spawton 41:33(pb), Gareth Wilkes 41:32(pb), Philip Jeyes 41:33, Lorraine Taylor 42:00, Jackie Slaughter 41:52(pb), Sarah Wallbridge 42:01, Kim Davenport  42:10, Sam Wizard 42:08, Maddie Page 42:31, Ollie Nolan 43:40(pb), Mike Line 44:16, Glenda Gill 45:00, Cos Pearson 45:02, Sue Monaghan 45:37(pb), Mark Eavers 46:11(pb), Pinky Desai 46:34, Becky Drewett 46:40, Ian Gill 46:54, Sandra Stuart 46:55, Debbie Elliott 47:17(pb), Jane Birch 47:03, Nicky Woodman 47:32, Claire Hawes 47:41, Mariel Chretien 48:22, Claire Gallagher 48:22, Rachael Nolan 48:23, Alison Gregg 48:49, Sarah Fennel 48:49, Chaweewan Hartley 50:05, Lynne Macedo 51:01, Kasha Price 51:49, Fiona Sewell 53:07, Lou Tring 55:22, Cottia Howard 55:23, Mark Strojanov 55:43, Karla Cleverley 1:10:27.

Further afield Jo Johnston at took part in the Greenwich Park 10K achieving a time of 1:10 on a hilly course.  In Portugal Emma Yates won 3rd Age Category Award at X Milhas do Guadiana, the 10+ mile race starts in Portugal and finishes in Spain.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean Almost Athlete top age group competitor Virginia Pawlyn successfully completed the New York City Marathon in 4:43, which completes her 6th Major marathon earning her the exclusive 6 Star medal.

Parkrun tourists saw Jayne and Steve Adams in Willoughby parkrun, Sydney, Australia.

Despite the difficult weather conditions on Saturday Steve Linton gave an impressive performance in the Cheltenham parkrun of 18 min 50 sec, coming ninth overall and first in his age category, whilst Donna Evans was first lady in her age group with 24 min 33 sec. Phillip Jukes, Gareth Wilkes and Vaughn Balchin all achieved new PBs. Parkrun tourists included Matt Polson in Minehead, Julie and Adrian Courtenay in Watford, Oliver Bell in Wotton-under-Edge and Robert Ford in Gloucester North.

On Sunday there were a number of races that attracted Almost participants, in particular the Stroud Half Marathon. As many as 55 members took part in this race with Michelle Balchin and Nicky Woodman acting as official pacers. Some excellent results were achieved, especially in the age category rankings where several Almosts finished in the top ten for their respective groupings. Jeanette Gullick, Desiree Beer and David Lawrence were all in second place, Ingrid Harris and Allen Green were 5th, new member Amy Sheer was 7th in her category and Patricia Peever was 9th. The ladies team of Jeanette Gullick, Amy Sheer and Patricia Peever were third overall.

The Stroud Half Marathon also produced a large number of new PBs for Almost runners, including all of the following: Prash Sripathi 1:23, Matt Polson and Matt Proome both 1:30, Jeanette Gullick 1:32, Farook Mota 1:36, Steve Wallbridge 1:46, Piotr Michalski 1:49 and Hayley Woolnough 1:54. Julie Birt and Lorraine Taylor both achieved their first sub-two hour results with 1:55, whilst Deborah Elliott completed in 2:20.

Conditions were blustery at the Abingdon Marathon but both Josh Hand and Amber Bullingham still managed to complete the course and achieve new PBs of 2:51 and 3:15 respectively. In Portsmouth Claire Hawes took part in The Great South Run of 10 miles, whilst the father and daughter team of Mike and Catherine Daly managed to stay on course unlike the front runners, and both successfully finished the Venice Marathon in 4:20.


Almost Athletes took part in the Gloucester Amateur Athletics Association Cross Country, Prashanth Sripathi was the first Almost Athlete to complete the 9k race at 33.57, with Vasco Barreto 2nd 37.08, Mike Kennedy 3rd 39.38. The womens 6k race saw Jeanette Gullick first female at 26.21, a joint second, Miranda Foster and Joanna Barreto 28.46, 3rd place Ingrid Harris 29.21.

Parkrun tourist saw Claire Hawes take part in the Seaton parkrun, Devon.

In Cornwall, Rich Walklate ran the Eden Project trail Marathon, a hilly, multi-terrain course around spectacular countryside with Rich achieving a time of 3.50.

Kath McHaig ran the Bucharest Half Marathon, in Romania joined by Paul McHaig running the full Marathon. McHaig on target to achieve his 52 out of 52 marathons for 2017.

The Birmingham International Marathon was attended by Richard Birch 3.20, Matthew Hickman 3.26, Karen Galpin first in age category 3.35, Allan Green 3.43, Nicole Stent 5.42, Chaweewan Hartley 5.42, Coralie Pearson 5.16, Jakia Hussain 7.13.

At the Amsterdam Marathon, Simon Jarvis achieved a personal best of 3.33.

In Lisbon, Portugal, Hattie Jenkins achieved 1.34 in the half marathon, and Ellie Laney a personal best of 3.28 in the marathon.

Meanwhile Elly Millington came 5th in her age category in the Bedford standard distance Duathlon, with Steve Linton achieving 2.10.