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Almost Athletes have been getting in the festive spirit this week with trips to Christmas races accross the region.  A large group travelled to Evesham Festive 10k, where they were rewarded with some impressive results despite challenging conditions. The mud was no match for Shaun Carr, who finished in 10th position with a remarkable 10k PB of 42:10. Dave McGrath followed in 43:12 to take 13th place. For the ladies, Ingrid Harris ran 50:44 to win the V55 age category. Mark Stojanov looks to be ending 2018 on a high as he finished with yet another PB of 76:13. Also in action were Robert Brush (47:49), Peter Mitchener (48:35), Sam Wizard (54:50), Neil Tring and Lorraine Taylor (both 55:23), Carol Doherty (56:54), Mike Line (62:28), Natalie Pluck (63:00), Glenda Gill (63:06), Bob Spawton (65:15), Wan Hartley (66:28), Ian Gill (69:30) and Olly Nolan (76:42).

At Westonbirt House Christmas 10k, Rob Hume was first home for the club in 49:10. Alison Hume was next in 54:59, then Nicole Hope (55:13). Adrian and Julie Courtenay both finished in 64:44, with Julie gaining a PB for her efforts. Also running were Julie Averiss (70:41) and Zakia Hussain (79:11)
Lucinda and Josh Hand donned their Santa outfits at the Draycote Water Santa Dash, Warwickshire. Lucinda completed the 8km course in an impressive 34.52 and took 2nd lady, while Josh followed pushing their daughter in a buggy in 38:21.

Paul Haig took on the Sikhs in the City Dawn til Dusk Ultra, Ilford. Allan Green got another marathon under his belt at Dinton Pastures, Reading. Green got lost but still finished the multi-terrain course in 5:08.

There were celebrations at Cheltenham, as Deb Cartlidge reached her 100th parkrun. Dressed in a tutu and the obligatory centurion outfit, she completed her milestone run in 27:55.  The event also saw Robert Foord running his 200th parkrun in 24:24. First Almost home was Matt Polson, who was 7th overall in 19:18. Josh Hand was close behind in 10th position (19.28). Jeanette Gullick was 3rd lady in 22.19, and Sharmila Door gained a new PB (28:04).
There were some great local results for the club’s ladies, with Lesley Cottle 2nd lady at Gloucester North (24:32), and Hester Coggin 5th lady at Tewkesbury (24:25). Gloucester City saw Rachel Fargher finish 7th lady (26:59) while Glenda Gill was 10th lady and first in her age category (27:50). The event also provided course PBs for Malc Smith (24:17), Ian Gill (29:37) and Rob Rennell (38:07 running with guide Robert Dalton-Morris).
There was parkrun tourism for Mike Bryce at Fire Service College, Steven Adams at Marlborough Common, Peter Mitchener at Heslington, and Simon Attridge at Richmond. Rich Smith ran Rickmansworth with a buggy in 28:42. In Johannesburg, Matt Proome was in action at Golden Harvest and finished in 23 minutes.


The Weston Super Mare Christmas Cracker 10k was the destination for a small band of Almost Athletes this week. In a blustery wind Dave Rogers was first home for the club in 42:46 followed by Ross Greening in 45:33 and Rachel O’Bryan in 48:56. Also running were Alan Mercer 53:56, Lepha McCartan 58:32, Natalie Greening 61:10, Catrin Davies 61:54, Jayne Murphy 65:21, Graham Philpott 65:21 and Rob Rennell 69:47.

The festive fun continued at the Sudeley Castle Santa Dash where Josh & Lucinda Hand were 2nd placed male & female respectively but importantly were first placed male & female Santas. Also competing were Dave Nelson in 1:03, Wan Hartley in 1:04, Kerry Knowles 1:15 and Iris Mayo in 1:21.

Allan Green notched up yet another marathon at the Run for Elf Marathon at Egham in Surrey in 5:04 with 8 laps on a Thames tow path.

The club fielded a men’s and ladies’ team at the Gloucestershire Cross Country League meeting at Wootton under Edge. The men were represented by Haiggy McHaig, Dave Garnett, Martin Foster, Dave McGrath, Neil Tring, Matt Hampton & Ali Shaikh and were placed a credible 9th out of 16 teams. For the ladies Patricia Peever & Lorraine Taylor represented the club but sadly with only two members were not able to register a placing.

On a relatively free race weekend, more than 30 club members ran a 10-mile run around Leckhampton Hill and Shurdington to help club members Fiona & Matt Barnes celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary.

At parkrun Mike Daly equaled his PB with a 21:18 at Kingsway, Gloucester. Helena Youde was first lady home overall at Cheltenham in 19:26. Also on the parkrun tourism trail was Rich Gilbert at Gloucester, Helen McGuire at Swindon, Matt Waterfield & Rich Smith at Gloucester North, Steve & Jane Adams at Stonehouse, Robert Foord at Upton Court, Dave Nelson at Newent, Leigh Allinson at Telford, Matt Bevan at Southwark, London, Kev Dendy at Queen Elisabeth Park, London, Ed Brandley at Lanhydrock, Cornwall, Steve & Sarah Wallbridge at Tewkesbury, Gerard Gatek at Katowice, Poland, Danny Carroll at Exmouth, Haiggy and Kathy McHaig, Patricia Peever, Rachael, Bev & Oliver Nolan at Gloucester City, and finally Matt Polson, Simon Jarvis, Neil Tring and Lorraine Taylor at the inaugural parkrun at the Fire Services College at Moreton-in-the-Marsh.

Inspired by the memory of late friend and club member Rich Walklate, Ellie Laney-Bolton and Gemma Stevens travelled to Dorset to take part in the Endurance Life Ultra. The tough 33 mile route along the trails of the Jurassic Coast took in an ascent of over 5700 ft. They battled the wind, rain and mud to complete the race in an impressive 7:56.

Malc Allen also braved wet and windy conditions to tackle the Might Contain Nuts Half Marathon in Powys. He ran the challenging, hilly course across the Brecon Beacons in 2:25.

Clare Hearing was in action at the Croome Capability Canter. She completed the scenic 6.5 mile route around Croome Park in 1:07.

In Portsmouth, Karla Cleverley took part in the Victory 5 Mile Road Race, which is now in its 72nd year. Cleverely finished in 1:08.

Allan Green edged closer to his 100 Marathon goal with the Oulton Park Marathon in Cheshire. Green completed the 10 lap run around the motor racing circuit in 4:51.

With the festive season underway, Mark Stojanov was amongst the Almosts taking part in the Rotary Club Santa Fun Run in Pittville Park. Stojanov completed the 3km course in 21:47 adding yet another pb to his year.

Ingrid Harris ran the Nottingham Christmas Marathon around the National Watersports Centre, finishing in 3:40.

Almost Athletes' parkrunners were out in force with some impressive individual results. Leigh Allinson took a fantastic 1st place at Wyre Forest in 19:33. At Gloucester City, Hester Coggin was 3rd lady in 23:51. There were strong performances at Cheltenham with Prash Sripathi, Matt Polson, Nick Lewis, Martin Foster and Simon Jarvis all finishing in the top 15. Hattie Jenkins took 2nd lady in 21:37, while Karen Galpin and Catherine Daly also finished as top 10 women.

There was local representation at Tewkesbury and Stonehouse, while further afield Robert Foord was in action at Black Park and Kev Dendy at Eastville. Dave Rogers and Lepha McCartan were at Tamar Lakes, with McCartan finishing as 4th lady in 26:10. Away from the UK, Mark Medland ran at Caffarella, Rome.

Although there were fewer races taking place this weekend, several members of Almost Athletes still managed to achieve some excellent results.

On Saturday, Thomas Wood gained a new PB at Ravenstonedale, Weybridge 10km with a time of 42:25.

Hannah Brown also got a new personal best time of 56:57 at the Wilmslow Festive 10km race.

Both Ingrid Harris and Allan Green took part in the Four Seasons Winter Marathon at Margam Park in South Wales.  Harris finished in 3:52 and Green in 5:40.  This marathon was Green’s 96th out of 100 which he aims to complete over 100 consecutive weeks.

On Sunday 25th Sheila ‘Zippy’ Chatterley ran in the Cartama Half Marathon in Malaga, Spain, and was delighted to finish as second in her age category for which she was awarded a cup.

At Cheltenham parkrun on Saturday 24th November Josh Hand was 9th overall with a finishing time of 18:51, whilst Matt Polson came 13th in the Leamington parkrun in 19:35.  

Much further afield in Australia, Jeanette Gullick was first lady in Yeppoon, Queensland parkrun with a time of 22:14, and Jo Johnson ran in the Armidale parkrun along with a kangaroo!  Maisie Markham was 2nd lady to finish in the Anacastia, Washington DC parkrun with a time of 25:34.

Other parkrun tourism saw Almost Athletes taking part in 10 different UK events at Basingstoke; Fountains Abbey; Gladstone Park, London; Gloucester City and North; Leamington; Richmond; Severn Bridge; Swindon; and Upton House.  

The Mandy Whittington Newent 9 saw a bumper turnout from Almost Athletes as the race represented the final event in the clubs road race competition series for 2018. On a bright but cold morning the club had some excellent performances.

First 3 men home for the club were Matt Polson in 37:00 and 6th overall out of the field of nearly 300, Prash Kumar Sripathi in 37:19 for 7th place overall and Martin Foster in 37:46 for 10th overall. For the ladies, Catherine Daly finished off a marvellous season in 46:48 and 5th in her category, followed by Lorraine Taylor in 48:03 and Dawn Carroll in 49:29. Maddie Page was delighted on her comeback with her first race this year to record a 55:13.

At the tough, off-road Broadway Marathon Shaun Carr was home in 3:57 for 9th place overall, Piotr Michalski completed in 5:00 and Fi Barnes in 5:11. In the half marathon, Nicole Hope was round in 2:38 and Chaweewan Hartley in 2:59.

Allan Green notched up two more marathons this week with the Dormy Lake Marathon in 4:45 and the Winter is Coming event in 5:21.

In Coalport, Jules Jamieson completed the overnight “Sunset to Sunrise” 38-mile Ultra marathon

At parkrun, Cottia Howard completed her 100th at Cheltenham. Patricia Peever was 1st lady home at Gloucester City. Further afield, in Australia, Jo Johnston ran at Armidate & Jeanette Gullick at Maribyrnong, Melbourne in 22:21 for first in her category.
Malc Smith was en-francais for the Les Dougnes parkrun in Bordeaux where he crossed the line in 24:02.

Ingrid Harris tackled the Kirkstall Abbey Marathon and was first lady home in 3:47.

Visually impaired runner Rob Rennell and guide Robert Dalton Morris tackled the Castle Coombe Chilly 10k in 1:16.

At the Ashton Under Hill 5K, Karen Gomm completed in 25:03, Jess Hull in 24:49 and Matt Hull in 19:03, all were PBs. Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto also ran.

Karla Cleverley sent herself to Coventry where she tackled the 10K in 1:24.

Windy conditions did not deter a hardy group of Almost Athletes from competing in the Severn Bridge Night Run on Wednesday. Ollie Nolan completed the five mile race in 59:24, coming first in the MV65 category and making a remarkable comeback after recently fracturing his ankle. Joe Harrison was the first Almost to finish in 39:51, followed by Kasha Price (50:43), Janine Bennett (56:19), Clare Gallagher (56:20) and Rachel Nolan (59:24).

Remembrance Sunday saw three Almosts taking part in the annual Sodbury Slog multi-terrain race, where the hilly nine-mile course lived up to its tough and muddy reputation. First Almost home was Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto in 1:33. Seth Gilbert finished in 2:29 and Coralie Pearson in 2:37.  Meanwhile, Paul and Kathy Haig took part in the centenary edition of the Remembrance Day Marathon, finishing in 4:03 and 6:34 respectively. Participants stopped mid-race to observe a two minute silence at 11am, before continuing along the riverside trails of Walton on Thames.

The Autumn Forest Frolic was hosted by club members Ian and Glenda Gill, with proceeds going to Brockworth Hedgehog Rescue. The event saw club members and their families running around the trails of the Forest of Dean, with the reward of Ian’s legendary cooking waiting for them at the finish line.
In Malta, Andrew Wilkinson took a break from his holiday to run the Zurrieq Half Marathon in 1:46.

More than 40 club members were in action at Cheltenham parkrun to witness Peter Mitchener’s debut as Run Director. Jo Foster ran 23:05 to finish second lady, while Prash Sripathi was the first male Almost in 19:44. The club was also represented at Gloucester North, Tewkesbury, and Gloucester City where Lorraine Taylor was 6th lady with course PB of 24:26 and Neil Tring was 7th overall in 20:47. Rich Smith pushed a buggy around Lydney parkrun, finishing in 30:21.

Jo Johnston was in New South Wales, Australia, and ran the hot and hilly Armidale parkrun in 38:39. Andrea Hardy was a tourist at Cannock Chase, Rachel Fargher at Witney, Oliver Bell at Sheringham and Jeff Tibbles at Heartlands.