Final results for the Linda Franks 5 mile

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Almost Athletes were out in force attending the Cross Country in Pittville Park on Saturday 17th February, in which nearly 300 runners from across the country took part in the wet and muddy event. Nick Lewis, was first Almost Athlete in at 40:38, second was Prashanth Kumar Sripathi 40:51, third Simon Jarvis 41:06. First Female Almost Athlete in was Jeanette Gullick 32:48, second Ingrid Harris 33:28, third Michelle Balchin 33:32.

Visually impaired runner Rob Rennell took part in the Castle Coombe Chilli 10k, achieving 1:17.

At Richmond on Thames, Christopher Benjamin took part in the half marathon, achieving a worthy 2:07.

Parkrun tourist, Helen Fursman attend the Linwood parkrun, Glasgow achieving 3rd lady and 1st in Age Category in 22:41.

Steve Linton, attended the Powerman duathlon in Spain, running 10k, then cycling 60km followed by  a further 10k run, achieving 3rd overall position.

In Grafham Water Park, Cambridgshire Shaun Carr took part in the Anglian standard distance duathlon, running 10k, cycling  40k, then running 5k in a time of 2:18.

At Gravesend, Kent, Allan Green took part in the Gothic Marathon run, where runners are encouraged to wear their darkest attire, with black high in fashion for the day. Green also went onto run the Dirty running marathon  in 4:44, with Ingrid Harris 3:47, achieving 2nd Lady position overall.

Further afield, in Castellon de la Plana, Spain, Mark and Anne-Marie Willicott, Fiona and Matt Barnes ran the Castellon Marathon, with Mark achieving 3:21, Matt 3:03, and Anne-Marie and Fiona 4:07.

A team of around forty Almost Athletes took part in the gruelling Dursley Dozen race at the weekend. This twelve mile, multi-terrain course is renowned as being one of the toughest off-road races, yet despite these difficult conditions there were some outstanding performances.

Tom Ward was the first Almost to cross the line in just 1 hour 30 minutes, placing him first in his age category and the fifth male to complete the race. Eleanor Laney was also first in her age group with 1:46 and the fourth woman to finish overall, whilst Dave Kelly came first in his category with 1:41. Both Dave McGrath and Desiree Beer were third in their age categories with times of 1:50 and 2:35 respectively, and Sarah Roberts was fourth in hers with 2:09.

There were also top ten category finishes for Paul Haig with 2:01, Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto in 2:11, Dave Elliott in 2:22, Sarah Wallbridge in 2:27, and John Galpin in 2:36.

Neil Tring and Lorraine Taylor were running their first Dursley Dozen, and were delighted with results of 1:59 and 2:25, whilst Steve Wallbridge’s finish in 2:12 gave him a new PB.

A further eight Almosts completed the course in under two hours: James Eastwood in 1:42, Simon Padley in 1:45, Shaun Carr and Matthew Hickman in 1:46, Piotr Michalski and Thomas Smith in 1:49, and Jason Mather and Amber Bullingham both in 1:52.

On Saturday there was yet another excellent result for Virginia Pawlyn who took part in the 20km Mad Dash at Morton Morrell in Warwickshire. Virginia was first in her age category and very happy to achieve a new PB of 2:04.

Seven Almost Athletes finished in the top twenty at Cheltenham parkrun this weekend, with Simon Jarvis storming into fourth overall with a time of 19:14. Matt Polson was 5th finisher in 19:25; Martin Foster crossed the line in 19:44 and Prash Sripathi in 20:04. Hattie Jenkins was the first female Almost to complete in just 20:08, followed by Phillip Jukes in 20:12 and Matt Hurshman in 20:44.

Mike and Cathy Daly tackled the Bramley 20 mile race in Reading and completed the course in 2:53. Both were thrilled with a new PB by more than four minutes.

Ingrid Harris took on the Punchbowl 30 mile Ultra on Sunday 11th, a cross-country run through the foot and bridle paths of Surrey which requires navigational as well as excellent running skills, and finished in 7:16.

Further afield and in much warmer conditions, Glenda and Ian Gill ran the Barcelona Half Marathon and completed the race in 2:11 and 2:27 respectively.

The Almost Athletes got the sporting weekend under way with parkrun in Cheltenham, in which athletes remembered Douglas Wymark with the slogan “Be Awesome” in which runners dressed up in super hero costumes, wore silly hats and sported ‘go-faster’ stripes as well as wearing #BeMoreDoug and #BeAwesome logos. At the event Peter Mitchener completed his 100th parkrun.

In Droitwich Spa, Dave Rogers, Ian Coggin, Julianne Jameson, Mark Willicott, Martin Thomas, and Michelle Balchin tackled the Wychavon Way, a 40 mile, self-navigated ultra-run over 4999 feet overall climb through Worcestershire trails ending in Broadway the “Jewel of the Cotswolds”. First home from the muddy run was Mark Willicott, followed closely by Dave Rogers, and Ian Coggin.

Ingrid Harris tackled the challenging Wilmot Wander, Chaddesden, Derbyshire, a 32 mile self-navigated ultra-marathon around Derby consisting of trail paths and towpaths. Ingrid completed the event in 6:36.

At the Phoenix Running event, Shawbridgeworth, Essex. Allan Green completed the Runner Bean 6 hour timed event, completing as many laps as possible along the beautiful River Stort waterways.  Green went away completing marathon distance with one of the cutting edge 3d medals in a time of 4:58

Locally in Staverton, the purple Almost Athletes were out in force running the Staverton 10 mile race. First Almost Athlete home was Hattie Jenkins 1:04:10 with second lady overall position, Nick Lewis 1:04:38 1st male AA, Richard Birch 1:06:10 2nd male AA, Martin foster 1:06:21 3rd Male AA, Patricia Peever 1:13 2nd Female AA, Helen Fursman 1:22 3rd Female AA.  

Two Almost Athletes became ‘centurions’ on Saturday 20th January by completing their 100th run in Cheltenham parkrun. Mark Medland finished in 26:02 whilst Michelle Balchin achieved 26:53.  Mark Lyes also achieved his 50th parkrun, whilst two other Almosts were in the top thirty finishers – Matt Polson ran in at 20:49 and Prash Sripathi in 21:01.

In London, Jo Johnston took park in the Greenwich Park 10km run and completed the undulating course in 1:15.

Three Almosts ran in the Doynton Hard Half Marathon on Sunday 21st January. This hilly cross country race is muddy at the best of times and particularly so this year with the heavy rain on race day.  Despite these testing conditions, Shaun Carr finished in 38th place with an impressive time of 1hr 58mins, whilst Ingrid Harris came home in 2:24 and Fiona Barnes in 2:38.

In rather more pleasant conditions, Allan Green came one race closer to his target of 500 by running the Grand Canaria Marathon in 4:19.

The biggest turnout of the weekend was for the annual Linda Franks Five Mile Road Race which had a large contingent of Almosts who organised, marshalled and took part in the run.

Even though the wet and cold conditions were far from ideal there were some excellent results for many club members.  Of the 229 runners who completed the race, five Almosts were in the top thirty finishers. Josh Hand was eleventh with a time of 29:16, followed by Simon Jarvis in 29:48, Matthew Polson in 30:27 (a new PB) and Martin Foster in 30:43. Hattie Jenkins was 28th overall and third lady home with a time of 30:45. Dale Midwinter was first in his age category with a time of 33:19 whilst Karen Galpin was also first in her age group and set a new category course record with her result of 35:16.

Other PBs included Matthew Hickman with 31:48, Jeanette Gullick in 34:59, Steve Wallbridge in 35:52, Stacey Amber in 36:27, Deb Cartlidge in 38:27, Chris McMahon in 39:42, Deborah Elliott in 46:20, Darren Lewington in 47:38, Lynne Macedo in 51:00 and Mark Stojanov in 55:31.

A further thirteen Almosts completed the five mile race in 35 minutes or less. Dave McGrath was home in 31:12secs, Prash Sripathi in 31:14, Matthew Bevan in 32:25, Richard Birch in 32:27, Matthew Hampton in 32:31, Matt Proome in 32:43, Phillip Jukes in 32:48, Gary Farquharson in 33:11, Wayne Jones in 33:18, Mohammed Hanif Shaikh in 33:41, Vasco Barreto in 33:44, Amy Sheer in 33:46 and Mike Kennedy in 35:00.

Other Almosts competing included Paul Haig, Michelle Balchin, Thom Stephens, Ross Greening, Daniel Magovern, Oliver Bell, Tim Brock, Joe O’Neill, Piotr Michalski, Pete Blakeman, Richard Haslam, Helen Fursman-Reid, Greg Hollingworth, Steven Adams, Victoria Kennedy, David Davey, Ben Kirby, Fallan Barlow, Dave Elliott, Richard Smith, Hayley Woolnough, Mike Line, Lorraine Taylor, Norm Lever, Mark Eavers, Barry Irvine, Kim Davenport, Paul Turner, Cathy Booth, Karen Hilton, David Lawrence, John Galpin, Steve Yarnold, Dominic Lyes, Pinky Desai, Bill Jones, Oliver Nolan, Charlotte Jamieson, Sue Monaghan, Coralie Pearson, Claire Hawes, Jayne Adams, Peter Allsopp, Bob Spawton,  Leigh Spencer, Sandra Stuart, Kate Plummer, Jane Birch, Helen Lyes, Fiona Sewell, Rachel Nolan, Sarah Fennell, Nicola Woodman, Lisa King, June Franks, Virginia Pawlyn and Andy Domm.

The Naunton Nearly 19 (18.3 mile) race was attended by a number of Almost Athletes. The race is in aid of saying goodbye to the traditional holiday "insulation" and the winter blues. The route started in the village of Guiting Power, with 1450ft overall of ascent. Josh Hand came second overall with an incredible time of 2:15, Dave Rogers achieved a worthy 2:30, Shaun Carr 2:38, Karen Galpin 3:04, Anne-Marie Willicott 3:24, Lepha McCartan 3:38.

In Telford, Steve Lints ran the Telford 10k race, achieving 36:25, and was 5th in his age group.

Parkrun tourist saw Oliver Bell attend the Redditch parkrun, achieving 21:30.

Allan Green attended the “Another medal on the wall” event at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in Minet country park, a 6 hour timed challenge, where each athlete can run for as long as they want (up to 6 hours) and complete as many or as few 1.88 mile out and back laps as they choose. Allan ran marathon distance of 26.2 miles, achieving a time of 4:26, consisting of 14 laps of the cycle path.

The Boxing Day Challenge at Cheltenham Racecourse enjoyed a good turnout this year which included a number of Almost Athletes sporting festive wear.  Proceeds from the two or four mile options were all in aid of local charity Winston’s Wish.

Despite the cold, wet and muddy conditions several Almost Athletes participated in The Seven Sins Runs on Thursday 28 and Friday 29th December.  Josh Hand stormed home in the Thursday run as first in his age category with a great time of 58:19 for the seven miles with seven hills challenge. Shaun Carr completed the race in 1:08, Jamie Courtenay in 1:12 and his father Adrian Courtenay was third in his category with 1:39. Paul Haig ran on Friday and completed the race in 1:14.

Allan Green continued his charge to his 500th marathon with a further three races over the past two weeks.  Allan completed the Enigma marathon, Milton Keynes in 4:23 and then the Dymchurch marathon in 4:32.  Both Allan and Ingrid Harris then participated in the Great Barrow Challenge marathon and finished in 4:47 and 4:00 respectively.

Matt Proome was still on his South African trip with a 24 minute finish at the Lonehill parkrun, Johannesburg on a hot and very tough off-road course. Proome also tasted success in the Cowhouse Christmas 15km night trail run in Pretoria, where he came third overall in 1:22.

On the Thames towpath at Walton on Thames, Vicky Kennedy and husband Mike returned for another round of the Phoenix Marathon series. This time they completed the Frozen Half Marathon, with Vicky finishing the icy course in 2:18 and Mike in 1:52.

Bad weather played havoc with other scheduled races at the close of 2017, with many events – including the 30th December Cheltenham, Gloucester North and Tewkesbury parkruns - being cancelled or postponed.  Claire Hawes managed to run the Exmouth parkrun in a time of 30:20 despite very strong winds.

The previously postponed Westonbirt Christmas 10km race finally took place on Saturday 30th December with some excellent results for Almost runners. Virginia Pawlyn was once again first in her age group with an excellent time of 1:01, and the Ladies Team was second overall.  Deb Cartlidge was first Almost over the line in 53:25, followed by Rob Hume with 53:30, Lepha McCarten with 53:33, Kate Freeman with 54:57, David Lawrence with 58:02 and Gareth Wilkes with 58:13. Pinky Shetty finished in 1:02, Sweetchilli Wan in 1:03, Mariel Chretien in 1:04 and Mark Stojanov in 1:13. Kasha Price kindly acted as sweeper and finished with the tail runners in 1:45.

On the final day of the year, Kasha Price and Coralie Pearson took part in the Wye Wander, covering five miles of hard trail running set in the Wye Valley. Both ladies completed the course in 1:20. In Gloucester, Dave Heap and Andy Domm were delighted to complete the New Year’s Eve Ten mile road race in 1:38.