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This Saturday saw the annual Cotswold Way Relay event which started from Chipping Campden in the early morning and finished in the evening at Bath Abbey.  The race comprises ten stages of varying length and undulation in which teams from different running clubs compete, and this year’s event was run under particularly hot and gruelling conditions.

Almost Athletes fielded a total of 60 runners in 6 teams, together with other members who manned water stations along the route. The Club was delighted when their ladies team – "Almost our girls" - secured fourth place overall. The ladies team consisted of Amber Bullingham, Michelle Balchin, Amy Sheer, Stacey Osmond, Helena Youde, Hattie Jenkins, Hester Coggin, Helen Fursman, Miranda Foster and Katy Gaze.

As well as the excellent team result, both Helena Youde and Hattie Jenkins took second places in their stage of the race, whilst Martin Foster was 11th in leg 2.

The Almost mixed team – "Almost winning aren’t we" – took a very well deserved 17th place out of a strong field of 66, and consisted of Oliver Bell, Martin Foster, Ingrid Harris, Richard Birth, Mike Kennedy, Catherine Daly, Dave Rogers, Kirstie Hallan, Danny Caroll and Matt Polson.

The numbers of Almosts taking part in the Cheltenham parkrun were lower this weekend, largely because so many members were taking part in the CWR on the same day. Nevertheless, two Almosts were amongst the first finishers – Matthew Pickman was 19th with a time of 19:53 whilst Prash Sripathi was 23rd in 20:10.  There were also two new PBs with Simon Gomersall completing in 28:01, and Lynne Macedo in 30:18.

Parkrun tourists included Kate Freeman, Janine Bennett and Claire Gallagher who all ran in the Witney event, and Iris Mayo who was first in her age category at the Cirencester parkrun.  Peter Morris took part in the Penrhyn castle parkrun in North Wales, and came in at 21:40.

Other events that Almosts took part in this weekend included Endure 24 in Leeds in which Peter Mitchener ran 35 miles out of the 140 total as part of the "Worst Pace Scenario" team.  Allan Green completed yet another marathon – Rachel’s Ranscombe Ramble – in 6:08, and Ingrid Harris took to her bike to cycle 32 miles in the very hilly Tour d’Ilmington.  Donna Evans also cycled 80 miles in the GE charity ride from Cheltenham to the National Memorial Arboretum.

The Frampton 10km race took place on the evening of Monday 2nd and also enjoyed a good turnout of Almosts, together with some outstanding results.

Karen Galpin was first in her age category with a time of 47:09 and David Lawrence was third in his group with 56:38. The Ladies Team of Michelle Balchin, Amber Bullingham and Jeanette Gullick took 2nd place overall.

Josh Hand was the first Almost home and in 11th position with a great time of 37:47, followed by Richard Birch in 40:17, Matt Polson in 40:39, Matt Proome in 41:49, Matthew Hickman in 42:32, Andrew Ford in 42:37 and Simon Jarvis in 43:10.

Despite the heat a further 29 Almosts completed the race in less than one hour, whilst Sue Monaghan, Charlotte Jamieson, Jayne Adams and Claire Hawes claimed four of the top ten places in their age category.

Almost Athletes attended the scenic Chedworth midsummer trail run of roughly 6 miles. Ingrid Harris won 1st V55 Female in 58:30, Giles Foster came in at 56:20, Jenny Randall 1:02 at 3rd in Age Group, Hannah Brown 1:09 and Claire Hawes 1:22.

The Swansea Half saw Claire Hearing and Iris Mayo achieve personal bests of 1:50 and 2:37 respectively.

In Pittville Park, Cheltenham, the Gin relay run got under way with two teams, each runner receiving a glass of gin after completing their 2 mile leg. Norm Lever, Daniel Reeves, Miranda Foster and Jeanette Gullick won a bottle of gin for sporting their French fancy dress. Sheila Chatterley and Virginia Pawlyn also attended the relay.

Helen Fursman attended the Cotswold way women only sprint tri consisting of a 750-meter swim, 20k-bike ride and a 5k run. Fursman achieved 1:22.

In Tockington, Kirstie Hallam took part in the Tockington Duathlon consisting of a 2km run, 15km bike and 2km run, achieving 48:02.

Lepha MacCarten achieved 54 mins and Deb Cartlidge 58 minutes at the Kingham 10k.

At Nailsworth 10k Josh Hand, achieved 2nd overall position and Lucinda Hand 3rd Lady.

Patricia Peever ran the tough and undulating Sherborne 10k in 46 minutes.

Parkrun tourist saw Peter Morris at the Exeter Riverside parkrun, coming in at 20:35, and Iris Mayo at Swansea Bay parkrun. At Cheltenham parkrun Martin Foster was the top ten finisher, Helen Youde 1st Lady finisher and Kev Dandy running his 299th parkrun.

Allan Green took part in the Malvern midsummer marathon, running over 4,800ft of ascent, on tracks and paths including the length of the Malvern Hills, Cradley, Oyster Hill, Ledbury and the Malverns. Green came in at 7:20.

In Cheshire, Hannah Brown, attended her first ever triathlon at Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon.

A number of Almost Athletes ran an impressive triple header of tough races last week with the Cirencester Summer Sizzler 10k on Wednesday, Bourton's Hilly Half Marathon on Saturday and the Cheltenham Challenge Half Marathon or 10k on Sunday. Those completing the triple header were Lorraine Taylor, Neil Tring, Haiggy McHaig, Ingrid Harris, Allan Green, Prash Sripathi and Alison Hume.

At the Bourton Hilly Half there was a ladies team win for Michelle Balchin 1:41 with Jeanette Gullick & Ingrid Harris. Ollie & Rachael Nolan completed in 2:10 and 2:24 respectively. Debbie Elliott ran 2:20,  Piotr Michalski ran a new PB of 1:42. Peter Morris completed in 1:40. Lorraine Taylor 1:55, Neil Tring 1:41 and Deb Cartlidge in 2:00.

The Cheltenham Challenge Half Marathon featured Giles Forster, Sarah Carr, Sue Monaghan, Sarah Roberts, Nicole Hope 2:35, Robert Foord 1:53, Brian Todd 2;13, Mark Lyes 2:19, Lorraine Taylor 2:28 and Neil Tring 2:09.

Andrea Hardy ran the 5k at Cheltenham in 27:14, her fastest for the distance this year.

In the 10k event Katy Hanna was round in 1:02, Pete Mitchener delivered a 48:25. Jo Foster was 3rd lady overall. Nat Stow ran 58:11.

At the Cirencester 10k, Michelle Balchin was first in her age category in 45:02. Ingrid Harris also took a first place in her category. Jeanette Gullick ran 44:57. Brian Todd was home in 49:17. Rachael Nolan was delighted with a new PB and also for Iris Mayo and Mark Eavers in 52:11 Nikki Durnell ran a new PB, Peter Morris PB 42:46, Kieran Footit 45:32, Rich Smith 51:07, Matt Polson 39:03 and Hayley Woolnough 50:31, Dave Chittock 49:22 and Deb Cartlidge 50:48.

Julie Birt went sub 2 hours at the Freckleton Half Marathon.

At the Maverick X Series Exmoor Marathon. Dave Rogers was 8th overall in 4:46, Lepha Mccartan ran 5:57 & Jules Jamieson 7:17.

Claire Hawes completed snow-delayed Age UK Exeter 10k in 1:01.

On two wheels Ali Shaikh completed the gruelling London to Brighton bike ride on Sunday. Also, on two wheels in a unique challenge with friends from Sandford Park Lido, Marina Osburn swam a kilometre at each of 5 London Lidos, cycling 32 miles in between the locations on a Boris Bike.

Virginia Palwyn ran the Shrewsbury Half Marathon.

Matt Polson ran the Bedford 10K in 39:10.

The past week saw Almost Athletes participating in a large number of races both throughout the UK and abroad, including a number of Ultra events.

In Durban, South Africa, Anne-Marie and Mark Willicott took part in the biggest parkrun in the world on Saturday 9th with over 3,000 other runners. They then went on to compete in the Comrades 90km Ultra Marathon on Sunday, a race which stretches from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Their finishing times for this challenging event were 10:34 and 8:48 respectively.

Back in the UK, Mariel Chretien ran the gruelling Race to the Tower Ultra – a continuous double Marathon through the Cotswolds - in a time of 15:57. Mark Lyes and Steve Yarnold completed the first leg of marathon distance in 6:35 and 7:28.

On Sunday, both Ellie Laney and Amber Bullingham tackled the half Ironman triathlon in Staffordshire, and finished in 5:34 and 5:42.  

Allan Green and Ingrid Harris took part in the Phoenix Explorer Marathon along the river Thames on Saturday. Green came home in 4:33, whilst Harris was first lady in 3:48.  On Sunday Harris then competed in the Heron Half in Yeovilton, and finished first in her age group with a time of 1:49.

In Seattle, USA, Karla Cleverley ran in the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5km race on Saturday, and then successfully completed the hilly half marathon in the same location on Sunday.

The annual Man Versus Horse race took place on Saturday in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales in which runners compete against riders on horseback in a 22 mile event. Dave Rogers came home in 3:24, Mike Daly in 4:06, Martin Thomas in 4:24 and Catherine Daly in 4:27. The ‘Hot to Trot’ team of Lepha Mccartan, Deb Cartlidge and Catherine Mason completed the race in 4:08.

Mary Welsh took part in the Ladies 10km in Glasgow on Sunday, and finished in 1:06 and Lynne Macedo ran the 10km Gloucester Race for Life in 1:03.

Congratulations were given to Rob Rennell who completed his 50th parkrun at Cheltenham on Saturday 9th June. Josh Hand equalled his personal best with a finish of 18:08 and 8th position overall, whilst Prash Sripathi came 19th in 19:44. Peter Morris and Cam Pay both gained new PBs at the same run with 20:40 and 26:51 respectively.

Parkrun tourists this week included Chris McMahon who gained a new PB of 23:17 in the Gloucester North event, and Neil Tring with a PB of 21:13 in Cirencester.  Claire Hawes came first in her age group at the Exmouth parkrun, whilst other Almosts competed in Tewkesbury, South Woodham Ferrers, Upton Court and the Gloucester City events.

This is also the Triathlon season for a number of club members, and both Hattie Jenkins and Matt Proome took part in the Costwold 113 South Cerney Lakes middle distance race on Sunday. Jenkins finished in 5:06 and secured fifth place in the ladies event, whilst Proome completed in 5:20.

Earlier in the week, eight Almosts took park in the Broadway Tower Charity Run – a five mile, multi-terrain race. Nick Spice was first home in 39:04, followed by Tegan Parsons in 42:51, Michelle Balchin in 45:47, Matt Jones in 47:20, Ed Brandley in 47:39, Chris McMahon in 49:38, Mike Lane in 55:22 and Nicola Woodman in 1:08.

Cheltenham and County Harriers hosted the 5.5 mile Cloud Cuckoo multi-terrain race at Cleeve Common on Wednesday the 30th May. A large turn-out of Almost Athletes attended the event, with Josh Hand the first Almost Athlete in at 37:38, Simon Jarvis 40:42, Prashanth Sripathi 40:45, Miranda Foster 47:26, Ingrid Harris 48:01 and Lucinda Hand 48:35.

On Saturday the 1st June, the 20th anniversary, Dartmoor Discovery 34 mile Ultra Marathon got under way. Classified as a cult status run, the race starts and finishes in Princetown, a course that takes one up and down some of the toughest hills that Dartmoor has to offer. The event was attended by Ingrid Harris 5:30, Michelle Balchin 5:32, Danny Carroll 5:34, with Balchin and Harris 9th and 10th Ladies in the race.

Katy Hana attended the Bredon 10k Cricket Club Tower run, a run which tracks the paths to the 299m summit of Bredon Hill, Hana achieved 1:09 for this run with glorious views of the Worcestershire countryside.

In Coniston, Martyn Fisher ran the 10k race, described by Runners' World magazine as 'the most scenic trail run in Britain.

The Fairford 10k race was well attended by the Almost Athletes, Martin Foster first Almost Athlete in at 39:17. Richard Birch second in 40:08, Neil Tring third 44:57, Amy Sheer 45:36, Allan Green 46:43, Lorraine Taylor 52:45, Gareth Wilkes 53:30, Stacey Osmond 53:38, Philip Jeyes 53:43, Deborah Cartlidge 54:41, David Lawrence 1:00:35, Sue Monaghan 1:00:43, Sandra Stuart 1:04:52, Kasha Price 1:06:36 and Iris Mayo 1:13:12.

Ceri Griffiths attended Gloucestershire’s newest and most demanding off-road race, The Dursley Peaks Challenge, an offroad race, 10.31km long with 318 m of climb, Griffiths completed this race in 1:11.

A most scenic Royal Windsor Trail Half Marathon was attended by Karla Cleverley and Coralie Pearson, run along the banks of the River Thames views of Windsor Castle.

Parkrun tourists saw Peter Morris at Exeter Riverside parkrun achieving a personal best of 20:49 and Rich Smith at Fell Foot parkrun, Windermere, Cumbria. 

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.