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Despite the dreadful weather conditions over much of the weekend, members of Almost Athletes took part in races throughout the UK with some impressive results all round.

Mark Willicott deserves a special mention for completing the gruelling Centurion Running Autumn 100 on Saturday 13th in 22h:42m.  This continuous, 100 mile trail race consists of four loops to and from Goring and Streatley, and uses sections of both the Ridgeway and Thames Path National Trails.

The Old Down Country Park cross country race in Stroud also took place on Saturday, and was supported by a number of Almosts.  In the men’s race Nick Lewis was first Almost to finish in 43:37, followed by Prash Sripathi in 43:50 and Martin Foster in 45:02. Dave McGrath followed in 46:25, Thom Stephens in 48:28, Martin Thomas in 50:01 and David Garnett in 54:35. For the ladies event, Patricia Peever was first Almost to complete in 31:48, followed by Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto in 35:00 and Ingrid Harris in 35:25.

A group of Almosts participated in the Hope Valley, Woodhope race on Sunday 14th.  Ingrid Harris, Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto and Lucinda Hand all completed the 8.3 mile event within a few seconds of each other with a time of 1:10, and secured 4th, 5th and 6th ladies places.  Hester Coggin finished in 1:15, Lorraine Taylor in 1:17, Alison Hume in 1:27, Deborah Elliott in 1:34 and Catherine Mason in 1:38.

For the men there were four Almosts who finished in the top twenty.  Richard Birch was 6th with a time of 1:00, Prash Sripathi was 8th with 1:02, Nigel Tillott was 14th with 1:04 and Martin Thomas 19th with 1:08.  Also running were Jim Trowbridge in 1:12, Steve Taylor in 1:13, Steve Adams and Andrew Wilkinson both in 1:14, Rob Hume in 1:16, Neil Tring in 1:17 and Kevin Richards in 1:25.

There were several different Half Marathon events on Sunday in which Almost runners took part.

The Eden Project multi-terrain Half in Cornwall was completed by Dave Rogers in 1:47, Catherine Daly in 1:54 and Lepha McCartan in 2:03.

Wan Hartley finished the Manchester Half in 2:21. Peter Hooper was the 2hr pacer in the Great West Exeter Half, Kev Dendy completed the Birmingham Half in 1:59 and Felicity Broom achieved a new PB in the Royal Parks Half in central London with a time of 2:16.

Shaun Carr tackled the Bedford Duathlon which consisted of a 10km run, followed by a 40km bike ride and then a further 5km run, and came home in 2:17.

Further afield, Allan Green was first in his age group in the Palma Marathon with a time of 4:07, while Simon Evans finished the Half in 2:01. Steve Yarnold also took part in the Half Marathon whilst Helen Yarnold ran the 10km race.

Coralie Pearson completed the Bucharest Marathon and Karla Cleverley ran the Half, whilst Steve and Holly Linton took part in the Ibiza European Duathlon.

There were also some terrific results at Cheltenham parkrun on Saturday 13th where two Almosts – Matt Polson and Prash Sripathi – both finished in the top ten. Polson was third overall with a time of 18:56secs and Sripathi came 10th in 20:12.

Richard Knightley gained a new PB with a time of 23:21, whilst both Liam Taylor and Connor Bryant ran the Cheltenham course for the first time in 28:33 and 28:42 respectively.

Jenny Randall was a parkrun tourist in Warrington and finished in 23:05.

Almost Athletes got the weekend started with the Chicago friendship run, attended by Anne-Marie, Helen Fursman, John Galpin, Graham Fletcher, Fiona and Matt Barnes. The Chicago Marathon saw Matt Barnes first in at 3:13, Karen Galpin 3:40, Helen Fursman-Reid 3:53, Anne-Marie Willicott 4:15 and Des Beer 6:35.

In Cardiff, the half marathon was run by Piotr Michalski achieving a personal best of 1:36, Miranda Foster 1:40, David Chittock 2 hours, Ali Shaikh 1:43, Kasha Price 2:37, Chaweewan Hartley 2:15, and Claire Gallagher and Lisa King 2:59.

Rachael Nolan ran the Bournemouth running festival marathon with her Fly2Help bear Douglas, to raise money charity completing the marathon in 5:29.

At the Chester metric marathon, Sarah and Steve Wallbridge achieved 2:36 and 2:33.  The Chester Marathon was run by James Taylor in 3:20, Paul Warren 3:22, Chris White 3:41, Lorraine Taylor and Neil Tring 3:59.

At the picturesque and challenging off road Clarendon Marathon, in Salisbury, Ingrid Harris achieved 3:54 and was 1st in her V55 age group, Debbie Minett achieved a worthy 4:57 running for CALM charity.

Kev Dendy ran the Cricklade 10k achieving a new personal best of 52:14. Andy Ford ran the Cricklade half  marathon in a new personal best time of 1:31, Michael Grant 1:34, Kerry Heath-Smith 1:45 and Neil Harris 1:57

In Santorini, Greece, Rachel Fargher and Malc Smith took part in the 10k trail race.

Allan Green ran the labour of love marathon in 4:21 at the Minet Country Park, Hillingdon, Hayes.

Parkrun tourists saw Helena Youde at the Nose Hill parkrun Alberta, Canada. Norm Lever was at the Wammy parkrun, Newcastle under Lyme achieving a new personal best of 24:04.

Martyn Fisher ran the challenging Wimpole Estate Half Marathon, Cambridgeshire in 1:59.

Lynne Macedo achieved a new personal best of 2:29 at the Oxford Half marathon.

In Walton on Thames, Kathy Haig took part in the Leviathon marathon and Paul Haig the 50 Mile Ultra marathon.

Adrian Courtenay took part in the Devils Aquathon at the Cheltenham Lido, consisting of a 400m swim and 10k run from the Cheltenham Lido to Leckhampton Hill, Adrian achieved 1:40. Jamie Courtenay took part in the longer 2km and 10k run achieving 1:46. Also, attending this event was Lucinda Hand, coming in 2nd Female overall.

Shaun Carr took part in the Storm the Fort, long course duathlon, Shropshire consisting of 21k run, 90k bike, 11k run achieving 11th overall in 6:37.

At the Warwickshire Super Sprint Triathlon, Lepha McCartan took part in her first triathlon, achieving 58:44 and 1st in the Pink wave for Breast cancer.

The main event of the weekend was undoubtedly the Cheltenham Half Marathon in which a large contingent of over 100 Almosts took part with some excellent results all round.

Josh Hand was first male Almost home in 1:22, followed by Steve Linton in 1:25 and Martin Foster with 1:26, both of whom gained new PBs.

For the ladies, Helena Youde was third female overall with a terrific time of 1:22 which placed her first in her age group, followed by Hattie Jenkins in 1:31 and Patricia Peever in 1:34.

Danny Reeves put in a great performance and was second in the wheelchair category with 1:29, whilst visually impaired runner Rob Rennell gained a new PB by finishing in 2:59. Louise Bryan ran her first ever Half Marathon in 1:55.

There were a number of other outstanding results for Almosts in the various age groups. Ingrid Harris, Karen Galpin and Karen Gomm were 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their group with times of 1:40, 1:43 and 1:49 respectively. Virginia Pawlyn was first in her group with 2:13, whilst Dale Midwinter and Jeanette Gullick were both 3rd in their groups in 1:29 (a new PB) and 1:42.

Young Almost Holly Linton came first in the Community Mile around the Racecourse with a new PB of 5mins 40secs.

Of the Almosts running in penguin costume, first home was Prash Sripathi in a time of 1:33, followed by Pete Mitchener in 1:54.

Amongst the many new PBs gained today were the following: Matthew Hickman with 1:28, Ben Stone with 1:29, Martin Thomas in 1.39, Piotr Michalski with 1:41, Andrew Wilkinson in 1:42, Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto in 1:43, Catherine Daly in 1:45, Jo Foster with 1:46, Richard Knightley in 1.51, Chris McMahon with 1:52, Sarah Carr in 2.20, Kev Fairs in 2:23, Dave Nelson in 2:25, Mark Stojanov in 2:35 and Rita Crane in 2:56.

As well as running in penguin suits, Almost Athletes manned the 10 mile water station dressed as penguins in tribute to their late colleague Rich Walklate.

Away from the Cheltenham Half, a number of Almosts competed in other events over the weekend.  Claire Hawes ran the Exmouth 10km in 57:21, her fastest since early 2015, and on Saturday Allan Green took part in the Pyjamathon Marathon at Walton on Thames with a finishing time of 4:28.

Dave Chittock ran the British Heart Foundation Half Marathon at Blenheim Palace in 1:50, whilst Dave Rogers and Lepha McCartan tackled the Maverick X series Marathon in Snowdonia which had 7000 feet of climb and a distance of almost 28 miles overall.  Rogers finished in 5:55 and McCartan in 6:49. Oliver Clarkin took on the shorter distance of 14.5 miles with 1300 metres elevation at the same event, and came home in 4:05.

Seven Almost ladies ran the Forest of Dean Half Marathon on Sunday with Sarah Roberts the first to finish in 1:54, followed by Hester Coggin in 1:56 and Karen Hilton in 1:58.  Carole Doherty achieved 2:10, Desiree Beer 2:12, and Nikki Durnell and Wan Hartley both 2:21.

There were celebrations at Cheltenham parkrun on Saturday 29th where two Almosts – Matt Bevan and Prash Sripathi – both completed a remarkable 250th run.

On the same morning, Lynne Macedo ran her 50th parkrun and there were new PBs for Simon Evans with 23:15, Lorraine Taylor with 23.52 and Emma Wilkinson with 24.15.

Rich Smith was a parkrun tourist at the Arrow Valley event, and finished in 30:02 whilst running with a buggy.

Despite the wind and heavy rain over much of the weekend there were some excellent results for Almosts in a variety of different races.

On Saturday 22nd Martyn Fisher completed the Norfolk Coast Marathon in 4:35, whilst Ingrid Harris took on the LDWA Cotswold Challenge Marathon and finished in 5:55.

Alice Harmon recorded an excellent time of 47:51 at the Loch Ness 10km race in Scotland on Sunday 23rd, whilst Mark Stojanov ran 11.5km at Hever Castle in 1:31.

Rob Rennell tackled the Great Bristol Half Marathon and completed in 3:07.

The Angels 10km race also took place on Sunday after having been postponed from April due to bad weather.  The undulating course which starts at Ashleworth is part of the Gloucester AAA County Road Race series. Martin Foster was first Almost home in 40:10, followed by Richard Birch in 40:22, Neil Tring in 44:15 and Allan Green in 47:35.

Once again there was success for the Almost’s ladies team consisting of Amy Sheer, Michelle Balchin and Catherine Daly, who were second overall with times of 45:17, 46:13 and 48:58 respectively.

There were also County medals for each of the following: David Lawrence, Neil Tring, Richard Birch, Allan Green, Amy Sheer, Catherine Daly, Michelle Balchin, Lorraine Taylor and Hayley Woolnough.

At Cheltenham parkrun there was a new PB for Louise Inchley with 24:51 and Louise Bryan ran her first parkrun in 24:39.

Parkrun tourists this weekend included Pete Mitchener in Melbourne, Australia, who gained a new PB with a time of 21:10. Nat Stow ran Gloucester North for the first time in 27:14 and Kate Freeman took part in the Bakewell parkrun.

Almost Athletes travelled far and wide this weekend to take part in events in all corners of the world. Peter Mitchener ran the Sydney Marathon in 3:58, Hannah Brown Stockholm half marathon in 2:23, Mike Bryce, Simon Jarvis, Rachel Farghar, Malc Smith, Janine Bennett and Claire Gallagher ran the Copenhagen Half Marathon, Oliver Bell, Ali Shaikh and Sandra Stuart all took part in the Berlin Marathon. Vasco Barreto took part in the Trail of the Dents-du-midi, from the village of Champéry, Switzerland. A 57km ultra marathon, tackling 7 peaks across the trail, with 3700m of elevation gain. Barreto completed this event in 10:41.

Locally in Worcester, Josh Hand, Gareth Wilks, Nicole Hope, Dave Nelson, Andrea Hardy, Rob Rennell took part in the Worcester 10k. And, Chris White the Worcester half marathon, completing this race in 1:40, gaining a new personal best.

Amy Sheer tackled her debut marathon, in Richmond, London, achieving an exceptional time of 3:36, gaining fourth female overall position.

At the Apperley quarter marathon, Helene Youde was first  female overall, Jo Foster second Female Almost Athlete in and Ingrid Harris third in. James Eastwood was first male in, Matt Polson second and Richard Birch third in.

Michelle Balchin took part in the Heart of England, Forest Marathon, Starting in the Medieval market town of Henley in Arden, South Warwickshire. Balchin completed this tough event in 4:50.

Becky Bendall took part in the Calke Abbey 10k, in Derbyshire. At the temple Trail Half Marathon, in Marlborough Julianne Jameson tacked this trail event in 2:12. In Swansea, Paul Warren completed the 10k in 42:04 and Charmaine Brunt 49:28, both achieving PBs.

Allan Green took part in three marathons over the past week, New Forest Marathon 4:45, Wendover Woods 4:17 and Heart of England, Forest Marathon 5:33.

In Warrington, Karla Cleverley took part in the EHM 5k, coming in at 42:48, and the Half Marathon in 3:13.

The Devil Mudrun Cheltenham, a hardcore, hilly 9km course, featuring 31 obstacles through rugged countryside and plenty of mud, was attended by Gregg Woodman and Kevin Balchin.

Martyn Fisher took part in the Royston Harvest Trail Half Marathon.

At the Cirencester Tri Ferris big swim, Mark Lyes completed this swimming race in 1(hr):03.

Parkrun tourists saw, Janine Bennett, James Clay, Claire Bear, Rachel Fargher, Malc Smith, Greg Hollingworth and Simon Jarvis at the Amager Fælled parkrun, Copenhagen, Oliver Bell Berlin parkrun, Philip Jeyes at the Jamaica Pond parkrun, Boston, Jeanette Gullick, Sarah Wallbridge, Sheila Chatterley at the Coleford parkrun, with Sheila achieving first in her AG and Hattie Jenkins second lady at the Bath Skyline parkrun. Helene Youde was first lady at the Cheltenham parkrun.

The flat & fast course at the Oldbury 10 mile race near Thornbury was a happy hunting ground this week for a large turnout by Almost Athletes.
For the ladies, Helena Youde was first home for the race overall in a time of 1:04:59. Together with Patricia Peever & Hattie Jenkins the ladies also stormed to the team prize for the race where Sally Conway, Judo bronze medal Olympian presented their prize.
First home for the men were Prash Sripathi Kumar in a PB of 1:04:04, Rich Birch in 1:05:57, Martin Foster 1:06:04 PB and Dave Rogers also in a new PB of 1:07:03.
The course also brought out a string of personal bests including Matt Hickman 1:07:31, Jeannette Gullick 1:16:30, Stacey Osmond 1:18:46, Andy Wilkinson 1:19:15 , Lorraine Taylor 1:22:22, Alison Hume 1:24:32, Chris McMahon 1:26, Lepha McCartan 1:27:03 and Janine Bennett 1:39:04.
Danny Reeves earnt a prize for the events inaugural wheelchair athlete in 1:12:26.
Travelling to the North East for the Great North Run, the world’s largest half marathon, a small band of Almosts were relieved to find no fog on the Tyne but instead some ideal running conditions. Christopher Benjamin felt like the first time in a half with 2:09 and Oliver Clarkin ran around an army of other runners to secure a new PB of 2:17. It was another family affair for the Nolans with Oliver home in 2:27:07 & daughter Rachael in 2:32:05. Iris Mayo found the going tough but finished in 2:47.
At the Marathon du Medoc in France Virginia Pawlyn finished in 6:11.
At Cheltenham parkrun there were PBs for Dave Rogers in 19:29 and Chris White in 21:29.
There was parkrun tourism for Peter Morris at Trellisick in Cornwall in 22:57, Dave Nelson at Strathclyde Park in Motherwell in 29:56 a best for the year, Ellie Laney in San Francisco, California in 20:02 for first lady. Martyn Fisher completed his 100th parkrun at The Wimpole Estate, Cambs, whilst Dave, Sam and Barney McGrath ran at Exmouth parkrun.
In her first outing as an Almost Athlete, Kerry Knowles conquered the Stratford 10k in 1:08:05. Karla Cleverley defeated the Northampton half marathon in 3:23:35. Hazel Everett took a 1:02 at the New Forest 10K. Ingrid Harris was 3rd lady overall at the Bacchus Wine Marathon.
At the Cheltenham Lido triathlon with its 500m swim, 13km bike & 2.5km run Neil Tring was round in 53:02 PB, Lou Tring in 59:23 PB, Hannah Brown 1:02, Nat Stow 1:03, Adrian Courtenay in 1:07 and Sarah Carr in 1:09.