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A small band of Almosts travelled to the Milton Keynes Marathon and half Marathon events. In the half, Maddie Page exorcised some demons from her previous two outings on the course with an excellent 2hrs 6minutes and Christopher Benjamin recorded 2.14. In the full marathon Dave Chittock secured a 4hrs 13minutes, having run well to 21miles but found the late pace in the closing 5 miles a tough ask. Closer to home, at the Angels 10k in Ashleworth, the ladies secured 2nd team prize courtesy of Patricia Pever in 44mins 55seconds, Victoria Kennedy in 44.57 and Hester Coggin in 50.35. In the men's race new member Richard Birch ran an excellent 41.05, followed by Dave Rogers in 43.50 and Farook Mota in 45.21. Also competing were Neil Tring 46.01, Allan Green 46.05, Phil Jeyes 48.13, Rob Hume 50.28, Debs Cartlidge 52.04, David Garnett 51.17, Peter Blakeman 51.43, Alison Hume 54.11, Kim Davenport 54.46, Sue Monaghan 55.33, Sheila "Zippy" Chatterley 55.31, Lorraine Taylor 58.28, Nick Spice 58.31, Sandra Stuart 58.28, David Lawrence 60.22, Kate Plummer 65.46, Fiona Sewell 65.48, Kasha Price 65.58 and Claire Gallagher in 69.51.

A new Guinness World Record was achieved as 34 members travelled to the capital to compete in this year's London Marathon with some blistering performances right across the spectrum of the club. In near ideal running conditions Douglas Wight ran a new personal best of 2 hours 36 minutes and 38 seconds giving him 181st place in a total field of more than 40,000 runners. Next was Matt Barnes in a new PB too of 2.53.51. Josh Hand ran a magnificent first half but suffered from the pace in the final quarter yet still delivered a clear sub 3 hours in 2.55.01. Next home was Steve Linton, still a relative new comer to the marathon distance but secured an excellent 3 hours 2 minutes. The club's first lady over the line in a truly superb 3.10 was Hattie Jenkins with a PB by more than 20 minutes. Richard Birch was next home in a superb 3.15 closely followed by club stalwart Dale Midwinter in 3.16. Sally Mason recorded an excellent 3.32 followed by Ceri Griffiths in 3.37. John Liptrot took a 3.38 and secured a notable 25th place in his age category. Sally Pate took an excellent 3.39 followed by Helen Fursman Reid with a well-deserved 3.40. Hot on her heels was Karen Galpin in 3.41, 95th in her category and in the same 3.41 time Mike Daly obliterated his PB by more than 17 minutes. Simon Attridge was delighted with his 3.43, closely followed home by Ingrid Harris in 3.44 who is closing in on her 100th marathon milestone. Michelle Balchin showed that the long and dedicated training miles really do pay off with a 3.45. Securing his first marathon finish in an excellent 3.51 was David Pilling, with Allan Green in 3.53 who completed his 444th marathon finish. Gemma Stevens bagged a superb 3.57, all the more amazing as she also took a new Guinness World Record for the fastest female marathon dressed in a full body dinosaur outfit. Just dipping under the 4 hours in a gritty, determined run of 3.58 was Anne-Marie Willicott. Next home in a hard fought for 4.04 was Dave Elliott. Making her marathon debut and securing a very impressive 4.10 was Aline Imray. Frances Jauch showed determination to record a 4.28 with Mike Harris also making his marathon debut in 4.29. Sandra Stuart was delighted with her 4.47, and was followed closely home by Rachel Fargher and Dave Davey both in 4.49. John Galpin dug deep in the rising temperatures to hit 5.05 with Caroline Chipperfield working hard for her 5.29. Finally but by no means least was Christine Walker in an excellent 6.23. 

With over 30 Almost Athletes due to run the London marathon next week it may have been a relatively quiet Easter weekend for races, but everyone’s attention was focussed on supporting fellow Almosts Matt Proome and Farook Mota, running the gruelling Old Mutual Two Oceans ultra-marathon in Cape Town.  Founded in 1970, it’s reputed to be the world’s most beautiful marathon, with breathtaking scenery. The 56km route starts in Cape Town, heads down to the Atlantic Ocean before crossing to the Indian Ocean and back to the finish.

Having run the 5k International Friendship Run on Good Friday as a warm-up for Sunday’s Ultra, Farook breezed in to finish the 56k, over half an hour quicker than the last time he ran it in 2001, in 5hrs 23, really pleased with his time and having enjoyed every step of the event. Matt was right on his heels finishing the ultra in an amazing 5hrs 25, having had a fantastic and enjoyable run, too. Very well done both!

Congratulations to Victoria Kennedy who ran the Easter Enigma marathon in Milton Keynes in an impressive 3:45:55 to take 1st lady the trophy.

Haiggy McHaig continues his series of 50 marathons to celebrate his 50th year running number 26, the Newcastle Way marathon in 5hrs 36.  In addition to running 50 marathons in 50 weeks he is not drinking alcohol or having his hair cut!

It wouldn’t have been Easter without a chocolate race and Allan Green found a gentle chocolate themed marathon in Northampton, which he completed in 4hrs 40 to claim his chocolate themed medal and goody bag.

Over 50 Almost Athletes took part in the Cheltenham park run this weekend. Bob Spawton was running his first whilst Frank McDevitt, suitably attired, ran his 100th, several achieved new personal best times and Gemma Hargraves was first lady back. Further afield, Robert Foord ran his 29th park run in Cardiff while Dave Chittock ran at Helston in Cornwall.

Good luck to all the Almosts running the London marathon next weekend – whether it’s your first marathon or almost your 100th, for a special charity or just for yourself. Have a great run and enjoy!

Glorious weather this weekend saw the Almost Athletes out in force at the scenic and surprisingly tough Chedworth 10 mile Roman trail race.

Like the weather, Gemma Hargraves set a hot pace, storming in to take 3rd lady home overall in 1:14:50 seconds ahead of Nick Spice and following Matt Barnes and Prash Kumar who led the pack of 55 Almost Athletes and finished in a blistering 1:10 and 1:12 respectively. Matthew Hampton, Mark Willicott and Gary Farquarson finished ahead of Patricia Peever, in an impressive (1:15, 1:18:3 and 1:20:5 respectively). Patricia crossed the line in 1:22:3, to take 4th lady position, escorted by Mike Daly and Jason Mather.

Craig Bullingham , Jamie Courtenay and Vasco Barreto were next across the finish line in 1:25:06, 1:25:44 and 1:26:14 to be followed by Martin Thomas (1:27:27) seconds ahead of Dave McGrath, Vicky and Mike Kennedy and their dogs, with Thom Smith edging between (1:29:12). Allan Green took 4th place in his age category at 1:29:30, half a minute ahead of Dave Elliott who took 5th place in the same category in 1:30:08, and ahead of John Bailey (1:29:28) and Mark Davies (1:29:27).

Joe Harrison also sneaked in on 1:30:56 followed by a stream of ladies, headed by Annabel Box (1:31:34), Ingrid Harris (1:33:00) (seconds ahead of Andrew Wilkinson (1:33:18), Sarah Roberts (1:34:12).Fi Barnes (1:34:11), Lepha Mccartan pulled off a new personal best time in 1:36:26 and Kerry Heath-Smith (1:38:15). Kerry crossed the line with Steve Wallbridge who was followed by Dan Magovern running his first club off road race series event  (1:39:02) and Bob Spawton (1:39:13), with Sarah Wallbridge coming in at 1:40 on the nail, to take 4th place in her age category ahead of Des Beer who took 5th place (1:42:40). Helen Turner, Clare Hearing and Karen Hilton (1:40:47, 1:41:03, 1:42:17) came between while Hayley Woolnough running her first off road race finished seconds behind (1:42:53). Rich Smith sneaked in seconds under 1:50 behind Mike Line (1:43:36), Norm Lever (1:44:06), Duncan Mounsor ((1:45:42), Catherine Mason (1:47:42), Glenda Gill (1:48:04) and John Galpin (1:49:11). Kevin Richards, Debbie Minett, Di Kemple, Louise Newman, Ian Gill, Mariel Chretien, Steve Yarnold and Adrian Courtenay completed the Almost team (1:50:13, 1:51:06, 1:51:52, 1;53:43, 1:55:37, 1:56:52, 1:58:05 and 2:03:05).

Meanwhile and despite the heat, Thom Stevens completed the South Downs way 50 miler on Saturday in just under 9hrs 25mins.

Amber Bullingham proved that she’s back on form, taking the first lady position at Cheltenham parkrun, while Robert Foord  came 5th in the Bradford run on a course described as ‘slopes gently’ in 21:10.

The spring marathon season is well underway and this weekend saw several Almosts representing the club both in this country and further afield. The first event on Saturday, the Bath Beat, saw Anne-marie and Mark Willicott complete the full marathon length while  Lorraine Brinton and Helen Fursman opted to run the half marathon. This was followed Saturday evening by the Ibiza marathon which Simon Jarvis completed in 4:39:31 on Saturday evening.  Eight Almosts took part in this year’s Brighton marathon in the heat on Sunday morning. Shaun Carr led the team home in 3:34:53 followed by Sarah Farr 4:10:30 and Simon Bultand 4:30:55. Frank McDevitt sneaked in sub-5 at 4:54:44 while Helen and Marcos Puerta Terron completed the race in 5:22:38 and 5:35:30 with Jane Birch and Alison Gregg at 6:14:25 and 6:24:32.

Over in Germany, the Hannover marathon, half marathon and 10k races attracted a handful of Almosts. Rachel Nolan and Coaralie Pearson chose to run the full distance and raced in a whisker under at 4:59:10 and 4:59:03 respectively. Coralie was justifiably very pleased with her first sub-5 since 2011. Karla Cleverley completed the half marathon in 3:21:12 while Ollie Nolan and Mandy Shardlow opted to run the 10k (1:01:25 and 1:19:19).

Finally, Haiggy McHaig continues his 50 in his 50th year competing in the West Lancs Triathlon at Ormskirk with his wife Kathy. Haiggy took 4th place in his category, completing the event in 1:03:34 and Kathy in 1:34:38.85.

At the Greater Manchester Marathon Prashnath Kumar S took the club's first honours of the day with an exceptional run of 3hrs 01min. Next home was Mike Kennedy in an equally noteworthy 3hrs 11mins. First lady home was Anne-Marie Willicott with a new PB of 3hrs 40mins, chased down hard by Vicky Kennedy in 3hrs 45mins. Alison Hume ran solidly to easily break the 4 hours in 3.52. Julie Scourfield's 4 hour target just eluded her but she was delighted still with her 4.05. Husband and Wife duo, Sarah and Steve Wallbridge completed the course together in 4.23. Patrick Meyer completed the showing 2 minutes later in 4.25. Italy proved a popular weekend destination for the club with new member Alison Houghton running in testing conditions of thunder, lightning and torrential rain at the Marathon di Roma but still helping herself to a 4.13 personal best. At the Milan marathon Rachel Fargher secured a PB by 24 minutes in 4.21, Simon Jarvis struggled with injury but still completed in 4.55 and James Clay in 5.11. Karen Galpin and Jackie Slaughter took on the 50km Silkin Way Ultra Marathon near Telford. Karen had a marvelous run finishing 2nd overall and joint 1st lady, meanwhile Jackie secured a new PB at the distance by more than 45 minutes in 6hrs 25. 

The beautiful spring weather this weekend lured Almost Athletes out to enjoy the countryside scenery and sunshine.  Although not out in the same numbers as recent weekends, those who ran bagged some well –deserved prizes.

On Saturday Ingrid Harris notched up yet another marathon towards her target 100 at the Poets Path Potter at Dymock, and bagged herself third place in the process. Mark and Anne-marie Willicott and Fi Barnes also ran the full marathon distance, which Fi described as ‘my new favourite trail’. Rachel Nolan, Ollie Nolan, Claire Bear and Kasha Price opted for the pretty 10 mile Daffodil Way run.

Continuing the rural community theme, Almosts competed in the Pendock spring chicken 10k. Hester and Ian Coggin and Sharon James completed this multi-terrain course over gently undulating roads and farm tracks in 51:48 51:01 and 1:12:05 respectively.

The Cleevewold 14mile tough hilly race attracted a strong field.  Undaunted by the hot sun and breeze, Prash Kumar finished first for the Almosts in a cracking 1:54:30 to take 8th position overall.  Steve Linton was hot on his heels just 2minutes behind and Nick Lewis a minute later. Gemma Hargrave raced in a whisker under the 2hours at 1:59:59 to grab the 1st lady prize. Nick Spice (2:03) and Daniel Badger (2:08) finished ahead of Miranda Foster who took 2nd prize in her category at 2:17, followed by  Ed Collier 1st in his age category and Kerry Heath-Smith 2nd in hers, both crossing the line in 2:18, Martin Thomas (2:21), Tom Parling (2:31), Grainne Carpenter (2:58), Chris Urwin (2:45), Catherine Mason (2:51), Mike Line(2:55) and Mariel Chretien (3:09) completed the team. Almost Athletes ladies team (Gemma, Miranda and Kerry) and men team (Prash, Nick Lewis and Steve) won 1st and 2nd team prizes respectively.

Haiggy McHaig continued his bid to run 50 marathons in his 50th year, running no 24, the Canalathon 50k from Manchester to Halifax with Kathy. They completed it in 7:26 – a marathon/50k PB for Kathy

Haiggy finished 5th in his 23rd race, his highest position, in the Iron Bridge virtual race. This also runs alongside water, along the banks of the Severn between Ironbridge and Bridgenorth.

Lepha Mccartan and Deb Cartlidge were spoiled with amazing weather for running the Maverick X Series half marathon in the Yorkshire Dales. Starting at Malham Tarn, they enjoyed both the stunning scenery and the boggy and tough course, finishing smiling in 2:53:46 and 2:53:47.

Teignbridge Trotters' temporarily adopted Almost Athlete Phil Jeyes for the Arlington Court 10k Canter off road round National Trust grounds. Phil completed the tough undulating but scenic course in 51:21.

Saturday’s parkrun saw two Almosts complete their 100th run. In Cheltenham Adrian Courtenay ran dressed as a centurion, while Farook Mota secured a personal best time at his 100th parkrun (21.12 at Kingsway).  Matt Polson, Jayne Adams and Penny Byrne achieved personal best times at Cheltenham, while slightly further afield Robert Foord ran the fast course of the Coventry parkrun.

A grand day out was had by all!