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News

We are always looking for news, results and race stories for our weekly Echo report. Please tell us about your experiences, results, personal best times achieved, worst nightmare races etc by emailing almostathletes@hotmail.com - if you don't tell us about it, we can't report it!. We can't guarantee that all information supplied will go in as the Echo have full editorial control, but we will do our best.

Latest News

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Almost Athletes turned out in force to attend an orienteering event organised by the club’s Mental Health Champions to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. The hugely successful evening saw a hundred club members split into teams, and Runandtalk their way across Cheltenham to locations based on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing.

The scenic Northleach 10k, a new addition to the Almost Athletes’ Off-Road Race Series, attracted a large band of club members. Richard Birch stormed home in 43:11, to take 2nd place overall. He was closely followed by Dave Rogers in 4th overall with 43:21, and Jean-Philippe Villain Chastre with 44:01.  First across the line for the Almost ladies was Katie Coleman in 46:53. Rachel O’Bryan was next in 50:59, then Ingrid Harris in 51:48. Richard Knightley ran his fastest off-road 10k to date in 52:00.

The flat, fast course at the inaugural Gloucester City 10k delivered some stunning individual achievements. Ben Stone went under 40 minutes for the first time and was first Almost home with 39:50. Francis Bull had his first sub-50 run in 49:19. Peter Blakeman hit his PB target, finishing 3rd in the MV60 age category with 46:06. Steve Phelps ran 46:02, Chris McMahon 51:08, and Rob Rennell 61:15.

An impressive performance saw Helen Fursman Reid run 1:50 to finish 1st Lady at the Forest of Dean Running Festival Half Marathon. At Worcester Half Marathon Chloe Farrar finished as a top 10 lady in 1:43. Mark Eavers completed the hilly course in 2:09, and Julie Birt in 2:20. Marty Ward gained a PB of 2:01 at the Great Run Manchester Half Marathon.

It was Nauris Eglitis’ first marathon in Riga, and he produced a remarkable performance in hot conditions to finish in 3.03. Allan Green also battled the heat at Helsinki Marathon, completing the course in 4:42. Lesley Cottle ran Exeter Marathon in 4:32, while Ingrid Harris headed for the hills of Shropshire to run the Shindig in the Shire Marathon in 5:09.

A group of Almosts turned their attention to the Mira Showers Triathlon at Sandford Parks Lido.  Hannah Brown finished in 1:04, Wendy Haskins 1:06, Nat Stow 1:10, Sarah Carr 1:13, Helen McGuire 1:15 and Claire Hawes 1:28. Jamie Courtenay completed Banbury Sprint Triathlon in 1:23, and Adrian Courtenay in 2:00.
A determined team of Almosts consisting of Dave Chittock, Deb Cartlidge, Alison Hume, Rob Hume, Sue Monaghan, Clare Hawes and Jane Russell took part in the Waitrose Ten, finishing with an impressive PB of 10.

At Cheltenham parkrun, Prashanth Sripathi was the first Almost home in 19:40. The Almost ladies had a very successful run. Jeanette Gullick stormed home in 21:15 to finish 1st female, while Anne-Marie Willicott, Sally Freeman, Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto and Jo Foster all finished as top 10 ladies. Andrea Hardy donned the centurion outfit to run her 100th parkrun, and there were PBs for Dawn Carroll in 24:30, Jordan Blackall in 24:32 (a PB by two minutes), and Louise Inchley in 24:38.

Matt Polson crossed the line in a stunning 17:51 at Kingsway, finishing 3rd overall and knocking 42 seconds off his PB.

At Gloucester City, Rob Rennell, guided by Robert Dalton-Morris, finished with a PB of 34:18. Maddie Page ran at Tewkesbury, and Peter Michalski was 2nd in his age category at Evesham with 21:14.

There was parkrun tourism aplenty. Martyn Fisher ran at Hyde, Thomas Wood at Markeaton, Peter Morris at Medina, Isle of White, and Mike Bryce at Sandwell Valley. Robert Foord was in action at Upton Court,   Ben Tayor at Richmond, Ellie Laney-Bolton at Lancing Beach Green, and Matthew Bevan at Tetbury Goods Shed.

At the AGM, Matt Polson, Ollie Nolan and Fiona Barnes were crowned Almost Athletes Runners of the Year. The newly created Douglas Waymark Memorial Trophy and Rich Walklate Memorial Trophy were awarded to Dominic Lyes and Michelle Balchin for their outstanding contributions. Dave Chittock and Phil Jeyes were awarded Life Memberships. Retiring committee members including Chairman Graham Fletcher were also recognised for their contribution.
 

It was another busy weekend for members of Almost Athletes with a number of notable results in several different events.

At Cheltenham parkrun Matt Polson was 8th overall out of a field of 563 runners, and equalled his PB with a time of 18:33.  There were new PBs for three other Almosts – Phillip Jukes came 14th with a time of 19:26, Germain Forgeoux achieved 20.52 and Richard Knightley 22:31.  Hester Coggin and Megan Davis ran the event for the first time with a joint finish of 28:53.

Away from Cheltenham, there were some other good parkrun results for Almost Athletes. Ben Stone was sixth in Gloucester City with a time of 19mins 36secs and Robert Foord was eighth in the Newent event with 23:10.  

Members of Almost Athletes also took park in parkruns at Abingdon, Bushy, Gloucester Kingsway, Kings Lynn, Marlborough Common, Oxford, Southsea and Tewkesbury.

Allan Green took on a longer run than his usual marathon on Saturday 11th, completing the 33 mile Marlborough Downs Challenge in a time of 7:56.

On Sunday 12th, nineteen Almosts ran in the Tewkesbury Half which took place in beautiful sunny conditions. Prash Sripathi was first to finish in a time of 1hr 29mins, closely followed by Ben Taylor in 1:32. Jeanette Gullick was first Almost lady to cross the line and second in her age group with 1:36, whilst Pauline Bargus was also second in her age category with 1:55.  

There were new PBs for Peter Mitchener with 1hr 36mins, Stacey Amber with 1:42, Iris Mayo with 2:35 and Rob Rendell with 2:43.  Nicky Staniforth completed her first half marathon in 1:58.

Also running were Steve Phelps with 1:43, Piotr Michalski in 1:44, Nicky Staniforth 1:58, Wan Hartley and Debbie Masding with 2:15, Julie Birt 2:16, Nicole Hope 2:18, Oliver Nolan 2:27, and Rachel Nolan and Sarah Fennell with 2:56.

The Stroud Trail Marathon and Half Marathon also took place on Sunday and produced some excellent results, particularly for Almost ladies.  Ingrid Harris was first lady to complete in 4:32, followed by Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto in third place with 4:48 and Michelle Balchin in fourth with 4:49. Hester Coggin finished in 5:10 while Jackie Slaughter and Mariel Chretien both crossed the line in 7:18.

For the men, Richard Birch came sixth with a time of 4:09, whilst Vasco Barreto came home in 5:58.

In the Stroud Half Marathon event, Anne-Marie Willicott came 3rd in her age group with a time of 2:11, and Dale Midwinter finished with a similar result of 2:11, despite poor signage and running further than necessary.

Over in Switerland, Karla Cleverley tackled the Geneva Half Marathon on Sunday and achieved a new PB with a time of 2:58.

This weekend also saw Almosts taking part in cycling events, with Steve Yarnold competing in the Cotswold Sprint Triathlon and Mark Stojanov achieving a new PB in the Cotswold British Heart Foundation 30 mile ride.

The weekend’s events were rounded off by a terrific turnout at Berkeley 10km on Monday evening in which more than 50 Almosts took part.

There were some great results for the ladies with Helena Youde (41:20), Amy Sheer (43:46) and Virginia Pawlyn (1hr 03mins) all winning their age categories.  Ingrid Harris came 3rd in her age group with 48:47. The ladies team consisting of Amy Sheer, Helena Youde and Anne-Marie Willicott (45:07) also won a prize for their combined results.

Josh Hand was first male Almost to cross the line with 36:35, followed by Matt Polson in 38:02 and Martin Foster in 38:37.  There was a new PB for Ben Stone with a time of 40:47.


Away from the racing events, at 11 am on Saturday morning a large group of Almost Athletes were joined by other friends and family of their late colleagues Doug Waymark and Rich Walklate for the unveiling of commemorative plaques at Lonely Tree on Cleeve Hill.

The iconic Newport marathon in South Wales proved a happy hunting ground for many Almost Athletes this week. First home for the club in an excellent new PB time was Martin Foster in 3:04. Following on were Robert Dalton Morris in 3:38, Neil Tring in 3:44 also a new PB, Steve Taylor in his marathon debut in 4:04, Lorraine Taylor in 4:13, Thomas Wood in 4:16, Dave Elliott in 4:23 and Tony Heap in 4:27. Mark Willicott was 4-hour pacer for the event & was home in 3:55 despite a failed watch & having to run “on feel”, much to the delight of his running entourage.
 
At the Newport 10K, Alison Hume ran 51:47 and Rob Rennell 72:09.

Amy Sheer was home in a blistering new PB at the Southampton marathon in 3:30 for 8th lady overall and 3rd in her category. Allan Green was also the same marathon in 4:49, meanwhile Leslie Cottle took 1:56 in the half marathon for 3rd place in her category.

At the Winchcombe cross trail marathon Dave Rogers was home in 4:37, Ingrid Harris in 4:26, her 150th marathon, and Mariel Chretien in 6:07 for 3rd in her category.

Kathy & Paul Haig ran the Dark Side Marathon in Reading.

In this week’s Waitrose 10, the Almost Athletes team secured a highly respectable scoring of 8.
 
Christopher Benjamin ran the Milton Keynes half Marathon in 2:02.
 
Martin Thomas ran the ONM lite race at Cannock Chase in 8:24, a 2-day self-navigational event across 39 miles.
 
Natalie Jayne & Sam Wizard got new PBs at the Milton Keynes Rocket 5k in 24:56 and 23:40 respectively.
 
Jamie & Adrian Courtenay ran the Bristol 10K in 44:38 & 63:09 respectively, as well as Helen McGuire in 58:47. Steve Phelps scored anew PB of 43:38 & David Pilling ran 46:09.

Nick Simon completed the Bollington 3 peaks fell race in 1:03.
In Wings for Life World run, Prash Sripathi covered 27.9k, Lou Tring 10.9k and Iris Mayo 8.8k.

At parkrun Ollie Nolan notched up his 100th run in Gloucester, Jeanette Gullick was 1st lady overall home in Cheltenham in a new PB of 21:14 and Lou Bryan also got a PB at Cheltenham in 23:16.

Hannah Brown was 4th in her category at the Wilmslow triathlon with a 400m swim, 24k bike & 6k run in 1:43.

Glenda Gill was first in her age category at the Tewkesbury Sprint triathlon.

A large group of Almost Athletes travelled to the capital to join over forty-thousand other people running the London Marathon. Many had fundraised and donned charity vests as they took part in the highlight of the UK running calendar. Josh Hand was in incredible form, racing home in well under three hours, with a personal best time 2:50. Matt Barnes followed in 3:00, then Hattie Jenkins, first female Almost, in 3.14. Paul Winkle ran 3.20, and Kevin Field finished in 3:33. Miranda Foster gained a PB with 3:37 and Michelle Balchin was close behind with 3:39.
Representing the club’s places were Natalie Greening (4:06), Mark Lyes (4:14), Clare Hearing (4:21) and Suzy Hills (4:32). Richard Knightley ran his first marathon in 4:26.  It was VI runner Jayne Murphy’s first London Marathon and she finished in 5:33 along with her guide Mark Eavers. In addition to training for the marathon, Murphy successfully campaigned for organisers to change their medal policy, and Eavers became one of the first guide runners to receive a London Marathon finisher medal.
Also running were Mike Daly 3:44, Helen Fursman 3:52, Karen Galpin 3:55, Ceri Schofield 3:55, Ali Shaikh 4:20, Allan Green, 4:20, Dave McGrath 4:24, Caroline Clarke-Williams 4:27, Laura Curtis 4:39, Maisie Markham  4:40, Maddie Page 4:47, Deb Cartlidge 4:50, Katie Sworn 4:53, Sharmila Door 5:07, Bill Jones 5:14, Oliver Clarkin 5:26, Nicole Hope 5:30 and Mark Pelling 6:10.
In Cheltenham, one year after runners participated in 3.7 mile ‘Finish for Matt’ events to remember Matt Campbell, who sadly died running the 2018 London Marathon, a group of Almosts gathered to repeat the run, marking the distance from the finish at which he collapsed.
Elsewhere, Shaun Carr ran Corsham 10K in 39.32, placing 33rd in a field of 1020 runners. Sarah Carr and Melvyn Harris both finished in 1:04. Martyn Fisher took part in Childerley 10k train race near Cambridge, finishing in 51:12, his best time in years.
Catherine Daly ran Stratford upon Avon Half Marathon in 1:50. Dave Nelson warmed up at Victoria parkrun, Glasgow, before running a PB time of 2:24 at the Great Stirling Run Half Marathon.
Mark Willicott completed 53 miles of the West Highland Way in 11:06 at the challenging Highland Fling Ultra. In Wales, Dave Rogers and Martin Thomas ran the hilly Gilwern Grunt, finishing the 8 mile course in 1:18 and 1:19 respectively.
At Cheltenham parkrun, Matt Polson was 5th finisher in 19:30, closely followed by Phillip Jukes in 6th place with 19:32. Jeanette Gullick was 2nd lady in 21.45, and Jo Foster 9th in 23:47. Lesley Cottle was 3rd lady at Gloucester North in 25:13 while Ben Taylor was 4th at Newent in 21:05. At Gloucester City, Hester Coggin and Patricia Peever finished as top 10 ladies with 23:54 and 26:07 respectively.
There was parkrun tourism for Sue Monaghan at Oxford, Jeff Tibbles at Worcester, and Robert Foord at Upton Court. Rachel Fargher and Malc Smith ran at Brockenhurst Park, Rich Smith ran at Keswick, Martyn Fisher at Millennium Country parkrun, and Dave Chittock at Woolacombe Dunes. Danny Carroll was at Severn Bridge, and Mike Bryce at Burnham and Highbridge.

On a very wet Monday morning the 15th April, Almost Des Beer took part in the Boston, Massachusetts marathon in the USA.  She finished the race in 5:24, making it her fifth successful completion of the six World Majors, with just Tokyo still to go.

At the start of the weekend, Matt Polson had come home in 10th place out of a field of 599 runners at Cheltenham parkrun with a time of 18:40, whilst Hattie Jenkins was first Almost lady to finish in 21:21.  There was also a new PB for Peter Mitchener with 20:55.

There were several other excellent results in parkruns for members of Almost Athletes.  Ben Taylor was second in the Newent event with 21:21, and Lesley Cottle was 2nd lady at Gloucester North with 24:39.  Josh Hand came 5th in Worcester Pitchcroft parkrun with a time of 17:51, and in Gloucester City VI runner Rob Rennell achieved a new PB of 34:28, more than 30 seconds faster than his previous best time.

Members of Almost Athletes also took park in parkruns at Gloucester Kingsway, Haldon Forest, Hove Promenade, Marlborough Common, Richmond, Sandwell Valley, Seaton, Severn Bridge, Stewart Middlesbrough, Swindon and Wimpole Estate.

Despite the cold and windy conditions it was a busy Sunday for Almosts taking part in longer events, both in the UK and abroad.

The Chedworth 10 mile trail multi-terrain run was well attended with more than 30 Almosts taking part.  Hester Coggin was first Almost lady to finish in 1:27, closely followed three seconds later by Ingrid Harris, who was first in her age category.  Sophie Longely was third Almost lady with 1:29.  For the men, Matt Barnes stormed home in 1:13, followed by Richard Birch in 1:15 and Dale Midwinter in 1:21.

Slightly further afield, Steve Yarnold took part in the Great Birmingham Half and crossed the line in 2:05, and Christopher Benjamin ran the Droitwich Half in 2:04.

Coralie Pearson and Karla Cleverley travelled to Boston, Lincolnshire, to take part in their marathon and half marathon events. Pearson completed the marathon in 5:25, whilst Cleverley crossed the half finishing line in 2:59.

The Brighton Marathon took place on Sunday 14th and Shaun Carr was first Almost home in 3:12.  Matthew Hickman achieved a new PB with 3:18, whilst Paul Warren finished in 3:30.  Also running were Piotr Michalski (4:01), Deb Cartlidge (4:09), and Dave Chittock (4:28).  Sarah Carr completed her first run at this distance in 5:40.

Along with the marathon, Brighton also hosted a 10km race that was run by Charmaine Brunt in a time of 50:13, together with Dave and Iris Mayo, who finished in 52:22, and 1:06 respectively.

Down in Wales, Ian Coggin took part in the Pendine Sands 32 mile Ultra and finished second overall with a time of approximately six and a half hours.

Allan Green completed his latest marathon at the weekend – the 8 lap Groovy Baby event at Walton on Thames. He crossed the line in 5:18 together with Paul Haig. Haig was aiming to complete 10 marathons in as many days, with the Groovy Baby event his second of the weekend.

Over in France, Kate Plummer ran in Les Printemps de l’Héronnière, Deux Sèvres, 5.5km race, whilst Clare Sinnott finished the Paris marathon in a time of 4:12.

Back in the UK, Hannah Brown competed in the West Lancs Triathlon with a finish time of 1hr 24mins, while John Bailey and Dominic Lyes both completed the Hereford Duathlon.

Manchester marathon saw twenty-seven Almost Athletes travel North to kick off their Spring marathon season. Richard Birch was first Almost home in an impressive 3:08. Paul Warren followed  with a PB time of 3:17, then Ben Taylor in 3:24. Kim Mansell ran a speedy 3:28 to finish first Almost lady, Ingrid Harris was next in 3:41, and Jeanette Gullick gained a PB with 3:47. There were some stunning debut marathon performances. Danny Reeves only just made it to Manchester due to technical issues with his racing chair, and he stormed home in 3:41. Ben Stone completed his first marathon in 3:25, and Thomas Wood in 3:54. The flat, fast course lived up to its reputation for producing personal bests. Steve Wallbridge took 24 minutes off his time and broke the four hour barrier for the first time in 3.58. Hayley Woolnough slashed a huge 42 minutes off her PB to finish in 4:17. Hannah Brown dipped under 5 hours for the first time in 4:59, and there was a PB for Peter Mitchener with 3:47. Debbie Elliott ran a half-marathon PB, knocking 8 minutes from her time to finish in 2:09.


There were over twenty Almosts in action at Angels 10K in Ashleworth, the venue for the Gloucestershire Road Race County Championships. The club came away with the 1st Ladies Team prize, and there were some notable age category placings at the race, which is part of the AAA County Road Race Series. Matt Polson led the way in 39:52 to take second in the senior male age category. Ellie Laney-Bolton followed in 41:40, taking 3rd overall lady, and forming the winning ladies team with Amy Sheer (44:39 and 1st LV40) and Katie Coleman (45:36 and 2nd LV40). Sue Monaghan took 3rd LV60 in 57:39 and Gregg Woodman ran 49:10 for a PB.


In Winchcombe, Shaun Carr was 4th in 1:47 at the Maverick Inov-8 23km race from Sudeley Castle. Also completing the distance were Lepha McCartan (2:39), Oliver Clarkin (2:41) and Mariel Chretien (3:12). Michael Combellack, Jenny Combellack and Andrea Hardy took on the 16km distance and completed the hilly off-road course in 1:39, 1:42 and 2:12 respectively.


Jackie Slaughter tackled the tough Testway 50 Ultra trail, racing across Hampshire against the clock, and finishing comfortably with the fourteen hour cut-off in a time of 13:08. Jack Goodwin took on his first 50 mile ultra at the South Downs Way 50, finishing in 10:29.


Anne-Marie Willicott was in action at Taunton Marathon, and completed the very hilly course in 3:47 to finish 2nd in the LV50 category. Mark Willicott also ran and finished in 3:36. Allan Green added the Bettshanger Marathon to his impressive tally, finishing in 5:27. Meanwhile Karla Cleverley added yet another trip to her half-marathon tourism, with Berlin Half Marathon in 3:12.


Mark Stojanov, Nicole Hope and Rita Crane ran the multi-terrain Scenic Six in Peopleton, Worcester, with Stojanov running his fastest off-road race to date in 1:10.


At Cheltenham parkrun over 40 Almosts turned out to witness Dave Chittock and Simon Gomersall don centurion helmets and capes for their 100th parkrun. Phillip Jukes was first Almost to cross the line with a PB time of 19:32 and Hattie Jenkins was 3rd lady in 22.13. Hester Coggin was 2nd lady at Gloucester City in 23:38, and the club also had local runners at Gloucester North and Kingsway. There was parkrun tourism for Danny Carroll at Oxford, Mike Bryce at Worcester, Clare Hawes at Exmouth, and Matthew Bevan at Woolacombe Dunes.  Malc Smith and Rachel Fargher ran at Lancing Beach Green, Patricia Peever and Kev Dendy ran at Stratford, while Stretford parkrun, Manchester, served as a pre-marathon warm up for Sarah Fennell, Claire Gallagher, Beverley Nolan, Ollie Nolan and Rachael Nolan.