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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.

Latest News

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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.

The sun was shining on the Almost Athletes this weekend at the London Marathon, where Allan Green ran his 500th Marathon, running in the 65 age category, Green runs marathons almost every week and has worked tirelessly for this phenomenal achievement. Continuing at the London Marathon Josh Hand was 1st male Almost Athlete in at 3hrs, Matthew Barnes 3:16, Harriet Jenkins 1st female in at 3:20, James Eastwood 3:26, Michelle Balchin 3:35, Prashanth Sripathi 3.:37, Mike Kennedy 3:41, Tegan Parsons 3:43, Ingrid Harris 3:51, Fiona Barnes and Alison Hume 3:58, Helen Fursman-Reid 4:01, Karen Galpin 4:06, Anne-Marie Willicott 4:23, Paul Haig 4:31, Oliver Bell 4:35, Francis Bull 4:41, Hayley Woolnough 5:00, Andrew Wilkinson 5:24, Brian Todd 5:25, Wendy Worger 5:48, Nicola Woodman 5:54 and Darren Lewington 5:58.

In Southampton, Hazel Everett ran the 10k race, coming in respectively at 1:05. Dave Rogers, Lesley Cottle, Marcus and Helen Puerta-Terran, Kathryn Butland, Malc Smith ran the Half Marathon. Simon Butland ran the Marathon, achieving 4:46.

Karla Cleverley ran the Blackpool Half Marathon in soggy conditions, achieving a personal best of 3:02.

Locally in Cheltenham the first tri of the season got underway at the Cheltenham Lido, with Amber Bullingham completing the tri in 56:58, Glenda Gill 1:04 achieving 3rd in her age category, Jeanette Gullick 1:18, Steve Wallbridge 1:16. Laura, Rob and Neil Tring attended the event as a relay team “At least were Tri’ing” achieving 3rd place, and Laura achieving 3rd in her age category.

Parkrun tourist saw Iris Mayo in Seaton, and Steve Wallbridge achieved a personal best of 21.15 at Tewkesbury parkrun. Peter Mitchener at achieved 1st in his age group at Cheltenham parkrun.

The Brighton Marathon, now the second biggest in the UK behind London was the testing ground for three Almost Athletes this week. In blustery, damp conditions for the start of the race, David Chittock, Deb Cartlidge and Robert Dalton-Morris were representing the club. Chittock & Cartlidge had trained together throughout the winter for the event and set off at a measured pace onto the surprisingly hilly course. Both were comfortable through to mile 5 but having suffered in a cycling accident only 48 hours before, Cartlidge was forced to ease back. Chittock pushed on and was delighted to finish in a new PB time by 8 minutes & his first under 4 hours for the marathon of 3:59:34 seconds. Cartlidge dug deep to maintain her pace & was over the line in an impressive 4:16. Dalton-Morris had a comfortable race up to 20 miles but found the last 6 very tough going. He still managed a 3:51, the first time he had gone below the 4 hours in 5 years and 25 minutes faster than his previous outing in Brighton.

Further afield Mike Daly was in the USA for the iconic & hugely competitive Boston MA, Marathon. Despite awful conditions with headwinds and torrential rain, Daly recorded an excellent 3:54.

As they continued their training to The Comrades Ultra this summer, Anne-Marie and Mark Willicott completed the 18th Valley and Views Trail Marathon in 6 hours.

At Cheltenham parkrun there was a new PB for Jeanette Gullick in 21:21. Robert Foord travelled to the Penallta parkrun and recorded a 21:17, 2nd in his age category. Steve Wallbridge ran a new parkrun PB at Tewkesbury in 22:57.
Rachel Fargher completed the Mersey Tunnel 10k and Allan Green completed his 499th marathon at the Betteshanger Marathon in 4:29.

Despite the continuing rain with poor and muddy running conditions, many members of Almost Athletes were again out in force over the past weekend.

On Saturday there were 32 Almost participants in the Forest of Dean Half Marathon, with several excellent results. Hattie Jenkins was both the first Almost to complete in a time of 1:31, and third lady overall, whilst Ellie Laney was fourth lady in 1:35, closely followed by Michelle Balchin in 1:39.  Jenkins, Laney and Balchin won the first ladies team prize. Three other Almost ladies recorded new PBs for this distance – Hayley Woolnough with 1:52, Alison Hume with 1:55 and Julie Birt with 1:57. Steve Wallbridge also broke his time from last year’s race by more than seven minutes, with a new PB of 1:45.

Other Almosts who completed the race in less than two hours were: Thomas Smith in 1:34, Shaun Carr and Matt Proome both in 1:37, Vasco Barreto in 1:38, Mike Kennedy in 1:40, Paul Haig in 1:41, Patricia Peever in 1:44, Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto in 1:48, Dave Elliott in 1:49, Steven Adams in 1:50, Jamie Reeves, Steve Taylor and Jim Trowbridge all in 1:55 and Lorraine Taylor in 1:57.

Also running were Clare Hearing in 2:02, Carole Doherty in 2:03, Catherine Mason in 2:12, Kevin Richards in 2:13, Catrin Davies in 2:17, Dominic Lyes in 2:19, Deborah Elliott and William Jones both in 2:22, Jayne Murphy and Nicola Woodman in 2:25, and Adrian Courtenay in 2:31.

Zakia Hussain ran in the Spring Wolf Run in Warwickshire on Saturday the 7th, a 10km off-road race through both natural and man-made obstacles. Down in Exmoor, Malc Allen tackled the similarly gruelling Exmoor Half Marathon, and completed this difficult course in 2:41.

Ingrid Harris took part in two events over the weekend with terrific results in both. On Saturday she ran the Magna Carta Half Marathon in Runnymede, coming first in her age group with a time of 1:49.  On Sunday she took part in the Groovy Baby Marathon along the River Thames and was first lady overall with a time of 4:01 on a wet and slippery course.

Allan Green notched up yet another marathon by completing the Taunton event in 4:15, bringing his tally of marathons up to 498.

On Sunday 8th, a group of 15 Almosts completed the Manchester Marathon, and there were again some noteworthy results for club members. Karen Galpin stormed home to become first in her age category with an impressive time of 3:30, whilst Rich Walklate achieved a massive new PB of 3:03 by knocking 22 minutes off his previous marathon time. Piotr Michalski and Neil Tring were both running their first marathons, and achieved 3:55 and 3:56 respectively. Janine Bennett also achieved a new PB with a time of 4:57.

Also completing in less than four hours were Rich Birch in 3:13, Prash Sripathi in 3:20, Ben Taylor in 3:21, Farook Mota in 3:55 and Emma Hall in 3:56.

Other finishers were Julie Scourfield in 4:23, Luke Worgan in 4:47, Coralie Pearson in 4:57, and Alison Gregg and Jane Birch in 5:50.

In the Birmingham Half Marathon, Stephen Holland came home in 1:55, whilst Shaun & Sarah Carr ran the tough Loughborough Half Marathon in 1:42 and 2:33 respectively.

There were two PBs for Almosts at Cheltenham parkrun this weekend – Graham Philpott with 28:02 and Jane Russell in 30:42. Piotr Michalski ran the South Manchester parkrun and also achieved a PB of 22:05, whilst Robert Foord came second in his age group at the hilly Colchester Castle parkrun with a time of 22:04.

On Easter Monday, Martin Thomas ran the Bushley Mile in Tewkesbury, and was very pleased to achieve a time of 6:23 and 21st place overall.