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In a tough week for running, there has been a range of good performances from Almost Athletes. There were three hilly and muddy races in the club race series which produced a number of notable performances.

At the Cirencester Summer “Drizzler”, Josh Hand was the first Almost home, coming 9th overall in 37:26.  The ladies team goes from strength to strength claiming the first and third ladies team with the winning team comprised of Helena Youde, Amy Sheer and Jeanette Gullick, the latter two also won their age category. The men’s team claimed second overall comprising Hand, Martin Foster and Matt Polson.

Despite the conditions, the race produced PBs for; Pete Mitchener in 43:44, Neil Tring in 44:46, Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto in 46:55, Gregg Woodman in 48:49, Lee Ormerod  completed his first 10km in 50 mins, Pauline Bargus in 53:28, Peter Allsopp in 56:49, Nat Stow in 57:05. Jane Russell ran under an hour in her first race as an Almost, and Rob Rennell gained a huge 2 minute PB in 1:08:57.

A large number of Almosts also tackled the Cheltenham Challenge this weekend, with representation in both the 10km and half Marathon.

In the “ultra” half Marathon, Mike Daly led the club finishing 10th overall in 1:58. Ingrid Harris was the first female home, winning her age category in the process in 2:01. Finishing as 7th lady overall was Hattie Jenkins, closely followed by Olga Goffin finishing 8th in 2:06. Finishing just outside the top 10 was Hester Coggin in 12th.

Other notable performances came from Hamish Adamson, completing his first event for the club, in 2:13, Richard Knightley in 2:10, Jackie Slaughter in 2:43, Wan Hartley in 2:46, Sandra Stuart in 3:07, Adrian Courtenay in 3:09, Dave Nelson in 3:12 and Sue Monaghan finished in a course pb.

In the Challenge 10km, Peter Mitchener was the first Almost home in 46:28. This placed him 11th overall and he also won his age category. Sharon Hadad was the first Almost lady home in 51 mins, finishing as 5th lady overall. She was closely followed by Jo Foster in 54 mins and Helen Barker 10km in 56:42. Other notable performances include Julie Averiss finishing in 1:24.

At the same time as events in Cheltenham, Almosts provided a large majority of the Bourton Hilly Half field. Hand was the first Almost home, coming third overall in 1:22. He was followed home by Matt Barnes and Martin Foster who both ran 1:27. Completing a strong week, the ladies team claimed first overall prize with a team comprised of Youde, Ceri Schofield and Debs Cartlidge. To complete a strong showing by the club, Neil Tring won his age category.

Despite the large number of runners at these three events, this week also saw a range of athletes complete a variety of other races. Allan Green showed no sign of slowing down, completing the Dorney Lake Marathon in 4:33. At the Maverick Exmoor “The Beast” half marathon, Samuel James ran 3:01, and in the “long” marathon Oliver Clarkin completed a very tough course in 6:49. Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto completed the Cheddar Gorge Marathon in 5:12.

Missing a good night’s sleep in the process, Christopher Benjamin completed the Dartford Midnight Half in 1:57, which was his first sub 2-hour in almost 3 years in. Piotr Michalski ventured to Paris to complete the Versailles 15km in 1:10.

Heather Theyer and Debbie Gaynor completed the London to Brighton bike ride in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

At Cheltenham parkrun Sally Freeman was the first Almost and also the first lady. Cheltenham parkrun also saw a pb for Rob Rennell in 34:03.

As ever, there was a wide range of parkrun tourism which included: Piotr Michalski at Bois de Boulogne in France, Claire Hawes at Kesgrave, Jo and Martin Foster at Wyre Forest, Rich Smith at Keswick, Katie Coleman at Colby Woodland Garden, David Nelson at FoD, Steve Phelps at Plymvalley, Danny Carroll at Torbay Velopark, Andrea Hardy at Gloucester North, Michelle Balchin at Newent, Kate Freeman at Victoria Dock, Peter Jones at Kirkwall and Matt Bevan at Somerdale Pavilion.

Almost Athletes faced a wet and windy start to the Race to the Tower Ultra and Marathon event. Michelle Balchin ran through the rain to complete the 52.4 miles along the Cotswold Way from Whiteshill to Broadway. Her impressive performance saw her finish 2nd in the FV40 category with a time of 11:19. Chris White completed the two-day double marathon in 9:57, and Andrea Hardy ran the marathon distance, finishing her first marathon at Broadway Tower in 6:49.

Neil and Laura Tring took on the two-day Jurassic Coast Ultra from Poole to Bridport. The 100km challenge along the coastal path takes in Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and Chesil Beach along the way. The challenging first day racked up an elevation gain of over 4500ft, and they reached the overnight point in 7:55. Slightly gentler terrain on the second day saw them make up time to cross the line in a total time of 13:48.
Catherine and Mike Daly raced horses as well as humans over the 22 mile Man vs Horse event in Llanwrtyd Wells. Mike crossed the line in 4:00, followed by Catherine with a course PB of 4:14. Allan Green added to his marathon tally at the Rugby Challenge Marathon (5:13) and Yeovil Marathon (4:17).

At the Sharpness 16, Wan Hartley, Nikki Durnell and Julie Averiss ran along Sharpness Canal from Sharpness Marina to Gloucester Docks. Durnell pulled up with an injury at the halfway mark, but Hartley and Averiss went on to finish the 16 mile course in 3:55.

Broadway Tower was also the destination for a group of Almosts running the 5 mile Broadway Tower Charity Run. Ben Stone was first Almost to the Tower and back in 38:22, followed by Nick Spice (39:00), and Malc Allen (42:50). Ingrid Harris ran 44:07 to take 1st in the FV55 category. Kev Fairs finished in 49:34 and Mike Line 55:50. At Stroud Beer Race, Michelle Balchin and Joanna Wisnieska-Barreto finished in 56:27 and 57:33 respectively.

Adrian and Julie Courtenay ran the Gloucester 10k Run for Life, and there were half marathons for Josh Hand in Market Harborough (1:20 and 3rd overall) and Kev Fairs in Derby (2:13). Robert Dalton-Morris was in Connecticut, where he ran the 8 mile Litchfield Hills Road Race in a course PB of 54:51.

Almosts displayed talents other than running at triathlon and cycling events across the country. Hannah Brown completed the Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire, clocking a total time of 7:29. Ingrid Harris also took on the half distance at the Cotswold 113 triathlon finishing in 6.21. Jayne Cheslin was at the British Standard Distance Triathlon Championships in Leeds and finished 8th in her age category in 2:42 with a 10k PB of 49:40. Mark Stojanov gained a new PB of 1:36 in the Linc 3 Counties Cycle Ride 20 miler.

At Cheltenham parkrun, Run Director Peter Mitchener completed the inaugural Ten Title Challenge. Peter Morris was first Almost home in 21:50, but it was the ladies who excelled, taking five of the top six female spots. Jeanette Gullick was first in 21:53, Sally Freeman second in 22:12, and Hattie Jenkins third in 22:30. Sharon Bullimore was 5th Lady in 22:54 and Sharon Hadad 6th in 22:59. There were PBs for Maisie Markham (27:23) and Rita Crane (31:04).  It was Adrian Courtenay’s 150th parkrun, while Kev Dendy impressively managed to finish his 350th run in 350th place!

Several Almosts achieved top ten finishes locally. Charlie Isles was 2nd lady at Tewkesbury in 22:11. Martin Foster was 4th at Worcester Pitchcroft in 18:33 while Jo Foster finished 6th lady with 23:20. At Newent, Ben Taylor ran 20.44 to finish 4th, and Stone was 8th overall at Gloucester City in 19:45. There was tourism for Danny Carroll at Tetbury Goods Shed, Peter Jones at Bressay, and Martyn Fisher at Wimpole Estate. David Nelson was at Ruchill, and Matt Polson travelled to Hafan Pwllheli where he finished 3rd overall in 19:08.

With the longer days now upon us, evening races are becoming a regular feature once again.  On Wednesday 29th a large group of Almosts took part in the Cleeve Cloud Cuckoo 5.5 mile multi-terrain race on Cleeve Common.  Of the 163 runners taking part in the event, more than a quarter were members of Almost Athletes.

Shaun Carr was first Almost home and in 7th place overall with a time of 39:38, followed by Jean-Philippe Villain-Chastre in 42:52 and Germain Forgeoux in 43:07.  Laura Tring was third lady to finish in 46:02, closely followed by Emma Charlesworth in 47:26 and Joanna Wisniewska-Barreto in 48:48.

The ladies team of Tring, Charlesworth and Wisniewska-Barreto were first overall, whilst the men’s team of Carr, Villain-Chastre and Forgeoux came second.

At Cheltenham parkrun there was a new PB for Hamish Adamson. He finished in 20th place out of a field of 625 runners with a time of 19:35, whilst Kim Mansell also achieved a new PB with 22:45.

This Saturday saw some other good parkrun results for Almost Athletes. Ben Taylor was second in Newent with a time of 20:21, whilst Martin Foster was 3rd at the Fire Service College event with 19:11 and Jo Foster was 5th lady in 24:21.  At Gloucester City parkrun Ben Stone came 5th in 19:35, and Piotr Michalski came 8th at Lydney with 21:33. Claire Hawes completed her 150th parkrun at Exmouth in a time of 30:20.

Members of Almost Athletes also took park in other parkruns throughout the UK including Aberdeen, Didcot, Dudley, Gloucester North, Pocket, Southampton, Tewkesbury, Trelissick, Whinlatter Forest, Wyne Forest and Yeovil Montacute.

This week also saw several members taking part in longer events.  On a very hot Saturday Robert Foord ran the aptly named Flaming June Quarter Marathon in Cambridge in a time of 51:37. Martyn Fisher also completed the inaugural Hertfordshire AONB Marathon at Great Offley in 4:48 in similarly sweltering conditions.

Allan Green competed successfully in three separate races during the past week. On Tuesday 28th he ran the Enigma Trains marathon at Milton Keynes in 4h:39, and the following day finished the Cleeve Cloud Cuckoo race in 58:40. On Sunday 2nd June he rounded off the weekend with the Golden Phoenix marathon at Walton on Thames with a time of 4:52.  

Ingrid Harris also took part in the Golden Phoenix marathon and had an excellent result by finishing as first lady with 3:59.

The RunFestRun event took place over the weekend at Bowood House, with a small group of Almosts competing in some of the events.  In the morning, Nikki Durrell and Claire Gallagher ran the half marathon, and in the afternoon a team consisting of Mark Eavers, Gallagher, Ceri Schofield and Jackie Slaughter took part in a relay event.

Almost Athletes needed no help as they bought a ticket to ride to the North West where after a hard day’s night on Saturday, they came together for the Liverpool Festival of Running. Whilst some needed a little help from their friends to ensure they had their kit, they all ran the long and winding road to ensure they could get back to enjoy some well-deserved, revolutionary celebrations.

In the full marathon, Prashanth Sripathi ran 3:28, Helena Youde stormed to 3:29 in her first time at the distance, Matt Proome 3:42, Anne-Marie Willicott 3:47, Fiona Barnes 3:51, Steve Wallbridge 3:53 for a new PB, Julie Scourfield 3:58 a new PB & first time sub-4, Mark Willicott 4:06, Francis Bull 4:21, Allan Green 4:39, Gareth Wilkes 4:55 in his first marathon, Jeremy David Cooper and Nicole Hope in 5:45.

In the half marathon Matt Polson ran 1:26 for a new PB, Dave Rogers 1:31, Jon Bird & Pete Hooper 1:52, Lepha McCartan 1:59, Deb Cartlidge 2:06, Deborah Elliott, Hayley Woolnough and Mark Eavers 2:21, Ceinwen Davies 2:29, Andy Domm 2:29, Kasha Price 2:37, Rachael Nolan and Ollie Nolan Snr 2:55, Sarah Fennell and Julie Averiss 2:57, Philip Jeyes 3:28.
As well as running the half marathon, McCartan, Cartlidge & Eavers also ran on to compete in the One Mile race too.
In the 5k on Saturday were Gareth Wilkes in 28:34, Nicole Hope 29:10, Kasha Price & Cenwein Davies in 31:02, Hayley Woolnough & Deb Elliott in 37:15, Ollie Nolan in 37:15, Rachael Nolan in 27:18, Eileen Swain in 40:26 and Bev Nolan in 55:31. Also running were Andy Domm & Julie Averiss.

At the Dymock Half marathon, the club succeeded again in one of the it’s most popular races it attends. The clubs ladies took the team prize with excellent performances by Kim Mansell in 1:40,  Patricia Peever in 1:42 and Ingrid Harris in 1:45. In the men’s Rich Birch was home in 1:27, Martin Foster in 1:28 & Dale Midwinter in 1:39. Also running were Peter Morris in 1:46, Ceri Schofield in 1:47, Steve Taylor in 1:51, Richard Knightley in 1:53, Lorraine Taylor in 2:00, Dave Davey in 2:04, Claire Hearing & Claire Cook also in 2:04, Claire Gallagher in 2:39 and Janine Bennett in 2:42.

At parkrun Alison & Rob Hume completed their 100th in Cheltenham. Lynne Macedo was first finisher in her category at Mile End, Ben Stone was first in his category at Gloucester and Louise Inchley ran a new PB at Cheltenham in 23:51,

Dave Nelson ran the Westminster One Mile in 7:38 (PB) on Sunday & the London Vitality 10K on Monday in 1:04.
Mark Stojanov ran the Worcester Pitchcroft 10K in 1:11. Chris Benjamin ran the Phoenix Pop Up Remembrance half marathon.

In triathlon, Neil Tring was 3rd overall & won his category at the Gloucester Sprint Tri, whilst Karen Hilton was 1st in her category. At the South Cerney Lake 62 Tri, John Bailey was home in 1:03 & Dom Lyes in 1:07.

At the Westonbirt sprint tri, Natasha Poole finished in 1:31, Glenda Gill in 1:32 and Wendy Haskins in 1:38.

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.