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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.

A large contingent of Almost Athletes travelled north to Liverpool for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series and put in some impressive performances in the tough, warm conditions over the city route.

Mark Eavers was delighted to record a new PB by more than 75 minutes with a time of 4:46 having been paced around most of the course by team-mates Deb Cartlidge & Lepha McCartan who finished together in 4:33.  Kieran Keating was home in a magnificent 3:41 in his first marathon with Mike Kennedy in 3:42. Despite suffering an injury setback over the course Steve Wallbridge still recorded a 4:22.

In the half marathon Dave Rogers struck a 1:30, Jeanette Gullick 1:40, Vicky Kennedy 1:50, Sarah Wallbridge 2:03, Jayne Murphy 2:22 and Ceinwen Davies 2:23.

In the 5k, Eileen Swain bagged a new PB of 36:57, Ceinwen Davies ran 28 mins and Mark Eavers 31 mins, as they prepared themselves for the marathon challenges the next day.

In the Plymouth half marathon, Chris McMahon was round in 2:03.
Julie Birt completed the hilly Worcester half marathon also in 2:03. Josh Hand also took on Worcester and finished in a blistering 1:23 for 10th place overall.

At the Gloucester Race4Men 10k, Pete Blakeman ran 49:26, Rob Wood 50:45 for Rob and Gareth Wilkes 56:12

Allan Green completed 2 marathons this week, the Wendover Woods Marathon in 5:31 followed by Worcester in 4:27 where he was 1st in his age category.

Nat Stow grabbed a new parkrun PB at Cheltenham in 27:04. Robert Foord travelled to Pontypridd parkrun and ran 21:24.

Ingrid Harris ran the Shindig in the Shire marathon in 5:04, joint 2nd lady.  

Almost Athletes got the weekend underway with the Cheltenham parkrun, to remember the life of Rich Walklate, one of the original Cheltenham parkrun co-founders, supporters and part of the core team. The Run4Rich Memorial run, was  attended by parents Jane and Steve Walklate as well as family amongst a record 723 runners. Runners wore caps in tribute to Rich, sporting banners and flags with pictures of Rich at the Everest Marathon which he ran last year.  Rich had been working hard to get his parkrun time back under 20 minutes with support from Matt Polson, in memory of this planned 100th parkrun milestone Polson was a under twenty minute pacer.

The purple army attended Tewkesbury Half Marathon on Sunday the 13th May with Dale Midwinter coming in at 1:30, Matthew Proome 1:33, Patricia Peever 1:35, Daniel Reeves 1:37 achieving a 27 minute personal best, Michael Grant 1:39 winning second in his Age Group [PHOTO], Paul Haig 1:59, Julie Birt 2:00, Stephen Holland 2 hours, Natalie Stow also a personal best of 2:07 which she has been trying to gain for several years,  Mark Eavers 2:07, Oliver Bell 2:08,  Coralie Pearson 2:11, Oliver Nolan 2:12, Simon Gomersall 2:15, Chaweewan Hartley 2:19, Rachael Nolan 2:19, Kasha Price 2:29 and Sarah Fennell 2:34.

In Stratford, at the Shakespeare half marathon, Ross Greening achieved 1:44, Lucinda Hand 1:52 and Natalie Greening 2:05. At the Shakespeare marathon Dave Rogers achieved an exceptional personal best of 3:11, Karen Hilton also a personal best of 4:23, and Jackie Slaughter 5:06.

At the Stroud Marathon, a challenging mixture of local trails, and amazing views, Mark Wilicott was first in at 4:24, Ingrid Harris second in at 4:39, Thomas Smith 4:40, Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto 4:57, Shaun Carr 4:58, Karen Galpin 4:59, Anne Marie-Willicott and Fiona Barnes 5:23, Jim Trowbridge, Kevin Richards and Mariel Chretien 7:50.

Ian Coggin ran a marathon on Saturday and again on Sunday, with the Enduroman festival of ultra marathon events in Bransgore, Hampshire. This is a phenomenal success for Coggin who had only just completed the Malvern Hills Ultra Marathon the weekend prior, a tough 46 mile run, achieving 11th position out of 67, in 10:39.

In Vejle Denmark, Steve Linton took part in the Powerman middle distance duathlon, running 10k, cycling 60k, and then running 10k, achieving 16th in age category in 3:29.

David Farrow took part in the LDWA Ridgeway 40 Ultra Marathon starting west of Marlborough and ending in Streatley. The ultra follows the ancient ridgeway trail. This was the first ultra marathon Farrow has run, achieving 8:15.

Bristol hosted the Simply Health 10k, Paul Warren was first in at 44:18, Charmaine Brunt second in at 50:16, Gareth Wilkes third in 52:16, with all three runners achieving personal bests, Adrian Courtenay 1:01 and visually impaired runner Rob Rennell and guide runner Mark Medland 1:18.

The Annual British Heart Foundation Cotswolds 30 and 50 mile cycle got under way on Sunday around the stunning Cotswolds countryside. Cycled by Piotr Michalski, David Chittock, Deb Cartlidge, Jeanette Gullick and Mark Stojanov who cycled this event for the 17th year, achieving a personal best of 3:09.

Almost Athletes Ladies Team: Hattie Jenkins, Amber Bullingham and Michelle Balchin were joint team winners with CLC Striders at the Berkeley 10k race. With David Lawrence winning 1st prize for the 70 age group. 60 Almost Athletes attended this race with personal bests achieved in great numbers by: Matt Polson 38:49, Matthew Hickman 40:44, Steve Wallbridge 43:08, Daniel Reeves 44:34, Piotr Michalski 44:47, Claire Hearing 49:02, Rich Smith 49:25, Brian Todd 51:12, Catrin Davies 53:12, Jayne Adams 58:53, Penny Byrne 59:56, Lynne Macedo 1:01 and Iris Mayo 1:05.