The Almost Athletes members who were voted "Runner of the Month" in previous years.
Every 4-6 weeks or so the committee nominate one or two Runners of the Month - these are people who we feel have worked hard and improved in some way, whether that is by running their first 5K, coming back from injury or completing a longer event in an exceptional time. At the end of the year, at the club AGM, members have the opportunity to choose a male and female Runner of the Year by voting for the various Runners of the Month.
Hester is our first ROTM for March. Hester is a dedicated athlete & works hard both on & off road.
Hester is a stalwart of the Monday track sessions and has shown great determination to improve which has seen her technique come on greatly. She's also hugely supportive of others including the coach! And happy to assist with demonstrations, always leading by example. Probably most importantly, there's usually a vegan cake available at the end of the session too.
Unfortunately finding an in-action shot of Hester has proved tough. Here she is though leading the way for her Cotswold Way Relay Team last summer, although we hope she abides by the rules a bit better this year!
Our second and final ROTM this month is Lesley. Lesley is a regular, very popular member of the Thursday morning running group as well as building up a highly credible list of achievements. Lesley is the club record holder in her age category at 5k and 10k. She was 1st lady in her category in the very demanding Jurassic Coast Challenge last July, 100km over 2 days in 14hrs 47mins. She smashed the club 5-mile record in her category at the Linda Franks in an excellent 38:46 and got a new parkrun PB a week later in 24:30.
Keep up the good work Lesley and enjoy The Exmouth 2-for 1 hospitality!
Shaun is our first ROTM for January. Shaun is a dedicated athlete & works hard both on & off road to turn in some highly credible performances. He is a regular track almost that has helped him no doubt to some strong PBs of late, plus a regular at XC. At parkrun he is well in the sub 20-minute bracket & within a few weeks of each other at the end of 2018 he PB-ed at 19:09 & then at 19:04. At the 7-Sins in the Forest he was 2nd overall in the 14 miler. Shaun took 10th overall and a new PB at the Evesham 10K and just this weekend he conquered the Mayhill Massacre with 5th place overall and 1st in his age category. Great work Shaun ….
Our second and final ROTM for January is Ollie Nolan. Ollie certainly had an interesting 2018. He returned from breaking his ankle in September to running, getting 1st in his age category in the Severn Bridge night run in November and coming 2nd in his age category overall for our road running race series. He is a very supportive member of the club and continues to support at events even when he couldn't run. He completed his last event of the year at the Evesham 10k supporting and encouraging a run2help runner of which he is a stalwart member. The very next day he had his Brain Tumour diagnosis from which we are now thankful he is well on the way to recovery from. Keep it up Ollie ….
As the social distancing measures continue, members of Almost Athletes continue to find enjoyable and interesting ways to keep running and motivated.
Many of you are still working your way through the Bingo challenge, with the ‘sunrise run’ and ‘finding your name run’ proving particularly popular during the past week. Sue Monaghan, Claire Hawes and Forrest Wheeler all completed the sunrise challenge and posted some beautiful photographs, whilst Mary Welsh found a creative way of combining a photo from the 2019 Linda Franks with a street sign from Bellshill in Scotland to complete her personal Name Sign challenge.
Ian Coggin felt it would be difficult for him to complete many of the Bingo squares due to where he lives, so has turned to the countryside for a different kind of inspiration. So far, he has provided us with a ‘moo-ving’ image of cows and his latest offering of himself with a flock of ewes and wearing a ‘sheepish grin’!
The 80s music challenge continued to attract several of you, particularly Pete Mitchener and Steve Taylor who provided some very witty postings, whilst Bob Spawton contributed with a tribute to his personal 80s idol Prince.
Claire Hawes’ suggestion of finding flowers in club colours has proved popular with lots of you sending in photographs, including Felicity Broom, Cottia Howard, Peter Allsopp, Lisa King, Vikki, Waring, Alice Harmon and Jane Russell.
The next major challenge as suggested by Glenda Gill will be the Treasure Hunt. Members can be as literal or creative as they like in interpreting each of the clues and then posting a photograph accordingly. The five things to look out for until the 31st of May are as follows:
2. A music connection
4. A reflection in water
Apart from the club challenges, several members have found other ways to keep themselves inspired. Adrian Courteney successfully completed the Hadrian’s Wall challenge of running 90 miles, and Mark Stojanov finished a half marathon in Tewkesbury with a time of 2hrs 39mins. Meanwhile Rob Rennell has clocked up more than 192km on his treadmill over the past five weeks.
Wednesday 20th April was Jane Wood Rackham’s birthday and she decided to mark the occasion by running the first of five ultra-marathons in five days on the dates that we would have been hosting The Forces March – an event that she completed back in 2015 with her friend Anne-Marie Willicott.
Away from running, it was also our Chair’s birthday during the past week, so happy birthday once again Claire, and thanks for helping to keep us all inspired.
Jo Johnson took on the 10 Day Life is Good challenge and has been posting a new photograph each day and nominating somebody else to take on the challenge. Her final photograph appeared this morning.
Melvyn Harris undertook a skinny dip to raise money for MIND, whilst Hannah Brown enjoyed her first day back in Lake 86 for some open water swimming – but presumably in a wetsuit!
Meanwhile, Dave Chittock has been extolling the virtues of Orwell’s Animal Farm as a top read during the lockdown and rashly announced plans to tackle 1984 next, and Jason Hulance submitted a question to the Great Big Parkrun Quiz.
Finally, another round of best wishes is due to Prash Sripathi and his wife Kavya who welcomed their beautiful baby daughter into the world on 16th May.
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.
Almost Athletes are continuing to find ways of staying connected and making solo running fun. The launch of AA Bingo has seen members tick off challenges in search of a full house. With lots of members nailing several squares in one run, the bingo cards are eagerly awaited. Who, if anyone, will be first to finish?
Piotr ‘Kenneth’ Michalski appears to be the current ‘most squares in one run’ champion, ticking off seven in one ten-mile run: ‘Thank you keyworkers✔, A view with a view ✔, sundown ✔, postbox ✔, phonebox ✔, landmark ✔, name sign run ✔ (although the last one could possibly be called into question if it comes to a draw!)
There was Strava Art ✔ for Claire Hawes, who drew a heart, and Jason Hulance, who drew a virtual mouse in Wuhan. Richard Knightley, Rachael Nolan, Janine Bennett, Michelle Balchin and Claire Gallagher combined theirs with a ‘Thank you key workers run’ by drawing NHS.
Running to ‘a view with a view’✔ were Mark Stojanov, Ivana Wilson, Nat Stow, Claire Gallagher and Claire Hawes. Nat Stow and Rachel Nolan completed a ‘sundown run’ ✔ and Claire Hawes took on the exhausting Sally-up squat challenge ✔
Michelle Balchin found postboxes ✔ got a Ross Barkley 5km PB ✔ of 18.00, but found travelling back uphill between each descent rather tiresome. She also took on Plonker in the Park ✔ Oregan circuits, as did Fiona Barnes, Helen Fursman, Richard Knightley and Matt Proome.
There was a combined Bingo and Run and Talk for Claire Gallagher and Lisa King, who talked on the phone while running in fancy dress ✔
The annual Wings for Life World Run saw competitors racing as far as possible before being caught by the virtual race car. This year saw Michelle Balchin cover 14:8 miles, Ashley Stevens made it to 15 miles, and Prash Sripathi ran 15.8 miles before the car caught up. Mark Stojanov took part in the DB Max Rainbow 5k Run, finishing in 34:52. Jason Hulance ran ‘in’ Manila, completing a ‘Run for Pasig River 10K’ in 57:39.
Other Almosts turned their attention to finding 80s musicians. Peter Mitchener has enthusiastically embraced the challenge, finding several, including ‘Kayte Bush’ on his outings. Phil Jeyes, Steve Taylor, Jo Johnston, Jane Russell and Mark Stojanov also joined in with gems such as ‘AHA’, ‘The Police’ and ‘Voyage’, and Dave Chittock went 90s with ‘All Saints’.
Having found all the postboxes in the Bishops Cleeve area, Mike Line has started searching for churches. He also ran to Cleeve Hill, as did Sheila ‘Zippy’ Chatterley and Geoffrey the dog. Leckhampton Hill beckoned Helen Fursman, Mariel Chretien went on a 10 mile scenic mystery tour, and Ingrid Harris went walking in the woods around Shurdington. Dave McGrath did yoga, and Kevin Dryburgh went on a very long ‘pub crawl’ of pubs he’d visited in Cheltenham. Ju Drop (Julie Averiss) found motivation to run, and Jason Hulance has now completed twelve of the AA relay routes.
Graeme Stopp ran a new 10km PB of 56.13, Dragos Saghin broke 5km per minute on a 10km run, Lisa King was delighted to take a Strava segment cup, and Rob Rennell did his longest treadmill run so far, running 11.2km in 1:31. Matt Polson completed a RED (run every day) April, running his second fastest 5km and a very impressive total of 200 miles in the process.