The latest Government announcement means this race must be delayed - more information to follow. Please click this link for further details.
This week, Alison Hume, our Membership Secretary, was so impressed with Almosts running in some very tough events that she felt compelled to write a third 'Post-Lockdown' report at the same exemplary standard as the first two. Clicking this link to read it in full is a must.
AA Membership year is 1st April to 31st March.
Applications are now open for NEW MEMBERS - their membership will run from 1 January 2021 till 31st March 2022.
EXISTING FULL MEMBERS are presently being sent invitations to renew using the England Athletics portal.
NEW MEMBERS, 2nd CLAIM MEMBERS, LIFE MEMBERS and VOLUNTARY MEMBERS are invited to renew using forms on the website.
We pride ourselves on being the kind of club that can help and encourage you to get the most out of your running - whether your interest is running for fun, getting fit, or training for anything from a 5K race to a marathon or even an ultra. We can help you achieve your aims.
Almost Athletes has been running since 1988, welcoming runners of all abilities and providing not only guided training runs but also a lively social calendar. With a current membership in excess of 400, Almost Athletes really is Cheltenham's biggest and friendliest running club!
With club coached sessions and Wednesday social runs back in full swing after the recent lockdown and virtual events such as the Cheltenham Challenge and London Landmarks half marathon still an option, Almost Athletes returned with a flourish from their enforced race cocoons at the popular Cleeve Cloud Cuckoo race on 2nd June, with three club members finishing in the top ten of this long-established event: new member Mike Johnstone (4th overall and 2nd MV40), Josh Hand (6th overall) and Nick Lewis (8th overall). They were followed by Mike Kennedy, Duncan Mounsor (1st MV50), Shaun Carr and Ross Greening. First lady home for the club and first senior lady overall was Chloe Farrar, just one second in front of Neil Tring (3rd MV60). Next in were Pete Blakeman, Olly Bell and Mike Daly. Second lady home for the club was Michelle Balchin.
Other finishers were: Eddie Munro, Graeme Stopp, Steve Wallbridge, new member Gary Whiting, Jim Trowbridge, Des Beer (1st in category), Cat Daly accompanied by club mascot Archie, Barry Irvine, new member Lizzie Renn, Sarah Wallbridge, Mike Line, Jane Russell, Sue Monaghan, Nela Trowbridge, Peter Allsopp, Sheila ‘Zippy’ Chatterley (2nd in category), Bob Spawton, Bill Jones, Forrest Wheeler, Jack Helliar and Virginia Pawlyn. Phil Jeyes completed the lumpy five-mile route as tail walker.
in May a smaller group of Almosts braved the atrocious wet and windy conditions to tackle the muddy and hilly Dick Whittington run, a new 5k off-road event in Longhope. First club member home in a top ten finish was Neil Tring (1st MV60) followed by Jim Trowbridge (2nd MV60). Next in were Steve Wallbridge (2nd MV55), David Garnett (3rd MV60) and Eddie Munro (1st MV65). First lady in for the club was Lorraine Taylor, third in her age category, followed by Alison Hume, also third in category. Fresh from her three-minute PB at Worcester marathon the previous week, the strongly improving Coralie (Cos) Pearson was third lady home for the club, bagging first spot in her age category. Kevin Richards (2nd MV65), Bob Spawton, Julie Averiss and Janine Bennett rounded out club entries for this short but challenging trail event.
At the hilly Worcester half marathon the club was well represented by Karla Cleverley, busy training for an ultra, who earned a whopping ten-minute PB, coming home in 2:48:36. In the full marathon two members, Richard Knightley and Mark Wreford-Bush reaped the rewards of recent training efforts to bag personal bests and oh-so-sweet sub 4 finishes to boot. First home in the marathon was Amy Sheer (3:46:29) followed by Richard Knightley (3:55:34, PB), Michelle Balchin (3:57:25, 1st in category), Mark Wreford-Bush (3:58:55, PB), Coralie Pearson (4:40:12, PB) and marathon ever-present Allan Green (5:22:07, 2nd in category).
The club fielded both runners and helpers at the Maverick Adidas Terrex Original Cotswolds run at Sudeley Castle on 15th May. In the longer 15-mile event and running his first event in club colours Mike Johnstone recorded a highly creditable 7th place finish in 1:43:48. He was followed by Ian Williams (18th overall), Shaun Carr, Cat Daly, Bob Spawton and Claire Gallagher. Andy Holmes and Sharmila Door competed in the middle distance event.
Martyn Fisher completed the Monkey Meander marathon, his 16th, at Horseheath Racecourse in Cambridgeshire. In early May Russell Jones took on the Bath Two Tunnels 10k and was pleased to come in under the hour (59:17) in his first race for well over a year.
On 22nd May several club members attended the Westonbirt ‘Run for the Trees’ 10k. Continuing his good racing form, Duncan Mounsor placed highly (33rd out of 505 finishers) in 44:05. Cat Daly was first lady home for the club in 51:34, followed by Natalie Pluck, Felicity Read (PB) and Naomi Daly. Sam Wizard and Gareth Wilkes also competed. Elsewhere busy Christopher Benjamin clocked up his 82nd half marathon at the Royal Windsor Half Trail Marathon and his 83rd in Walton-on-Thames.
Meanwhile on 23rd May a handful of Almosts – Kev Fairs, Claire Gallagher, Thom Stephens, Lorraine Taylor and Neil Tring - made the two-hour journey south for Roly’s Run in memory of club member Rich Walklate. Thom merits recognition for completing the very hilly (over 3,500 ft of ascent) White Star Running ‘Ox of Two Halves’ marathon in Wiltshire in 4:58, following it up just two days later with the even hillier 40 mile ultra at Roly’s Run.
Finally, this race report would not be complete without a special mention for Mark Willicott, who quietly and without drama, conquered the 148-mile Grand Union Canal Run from Birmingham Gas Street Basin to Little Venice in London. Out of 90 starters only 44 completed this extraordinary challenge. Ably supported by club coaches Fi and Matt Barnes and his family over the course of the weekend, Mark crushed the event in 39 hours and 7 minutes, registering 28th place overall.
I finish with a plug for upcoming club road races – Linda Franks 5 on Wednesday 7 July and Bugatti 10k on Wednesday 11 August (entries opening soon) – and a big shout out to all members currently recovering from illness or injury. We hope you recover well and are able to join us on road or trail very soon.
Two major challenges have kept many of you busy throughout the month of July, both of which have now been completed.
The Baton Relay certainly proved extremely popular and many thanks are due to both Jason Hulance and Prash Sripathi for providing such detailed summaries and statistics of the distances covered. 90 club members carried the baton for the whole distance from John O’Groats to Land’s End (and then some!), with a massive final total of 895 miles run.
Some of the many runners who took part in the final stages of the relay included Matt Proome, Jayne Adams, Graeme Stopp (several times!), Jayne Murphy, Michelle Balchin, Pete Mitchener, Prash Sripathi, Duncan Mansour, Lorraine Taylor, Jane Russell, Sue Monaghan, and Frances Ferguson.
The grand finale took place at Pittville Pump Rooms at 5pm on Friday 31st with Frances Ferguson carrying the baton home to a welcoming crowd of club members.
The Cotswold Way Virtual Relay was also completed on Friday 31st with members completing their respective leg of the event throughout the month. Participants competed as part of twelve teams of five and were able to run together, or in smaller groups, as long as social distancing was observed. Final results as to how the Almost teams fared against other clubs are awaited at the time of writing.
Several members also took part in the virtual Race to the Stones which took place between the 6th and 12th July. The options were to run a half, full marathon or 100km during that time, and Deb Cartlidge, Catherine Daly, Dave Chittock, Piotr Michaelski, Sharmila Door and Dave Nelson all successfully completed their chosen distance.
Jason Hulance and Zakia Hussain were delighted to complete the Tough Runner UK Trifecta at the end of the month. This consisted of 100 ‘Beast’ miles, an altitude challenge and a final 10km run on the 26th. Throughout the event they both managed more than 10,000 feet of elevation gain.
A new challenge began on Monday 3rd August which consists of four virtual 5km handicap races – one a week throughout the month of August. Each run needs to be completed during the following periods of time, and should be on a single loop:
All times should be submitted to Philip Jeyes, and the best three scores will count towards the final result.
Finally, a reminder that Ashley Stevens will be running a marathon along the Honeybourne Line on 30th August, in aid of WellChild.
The 5k Virtual Relay 2020 summary can be seen by clicking Link.
Once again, members of Almost Athletes have continued to find inspirational and imaginative ways to keep running and to keep both themselves, and others, motivated in these difficult times
Keep safe and keep running everyone.