Almost Athletes has awarded the following list of members "Life Membership" in recognition of their commitment and dedication to the club:
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.
As April rolls into May, Almost Athletes have continued to make the most of difficult circumstances, and with a spring in their step have taken on some stunning solo running routes.
This week’s report comes after club members embraced the Move and Post week which ran from 22nd-29th April. This initiative promoted a MOVE of whatever distance people fancied – and then an obligatory POST on the club’s Facebook page. It would be impossible to list everyone here, but please scroll through the page because some of the pictures are fantastic.
Focusing on a few though, Peter Allsopp wrote positively about how being part of the club has helped develop his confidence to take on off road routes. His run took in Mill Street, Cleeve Hill and Mill Lane and included spectacular fauna from Bluebells to blooming Wysteria! Kim Lewington also escaped to the hills and shared a great picture taken at Witcombe and Mark Willicott’s “Cotswold Run” included a manor house, a thatched cottage and inspiring woodland.
A constant theme from Move and Post week was members reminding themselves just how lucky we are to have so much scenery on our doorsteps. Jane Russell completed a ten mile run and did laps in Southam to make sure she hit the distance – in the sunshine, the Church looked resplendent. A number of Almosts have found sanctuary in the surroundings of Cleeve Hill with Nat Stow taking in the view as part of a great 10k and Thom Stephens including it on an amazing 16.74 mile effort.
There is no doubt that this initiative was well received by Almosts and the posts were inspiring to read. No more so than one from Matt Barnes, who marked Sunday 26th April (the day he would have been running the London Marathon) by spelling the letters NHS on his Strava map, during his run in Shurdington. A pertinent reminder of the outstanding work being done by our NHS heroes.
Since the last report we’ve also seen plenty of other impressive activity from Almost Athletes with yet more positivity emerging from every Facebook post! Mark Stojanov organised a “Finish for Matt” challenge where runners completed a 3.7 mile run in memory of Matt Campbell, who passed away running the London Marathon in 2018. Ben Stone, Chris McMahon, Marcus Rudge and Kim Lewington were amongst the Almosts who logged times.
A number of club members have of course seen events they were due to run, get cancelled – but undeterred are still getting out there and setting targets! Ashley Stevens donned his London Marathon 40th Anniversary colours to record a 1:38 half marathon. Michelle Balchin completed the Bishop’s Cleeve club run route of 5 miles ad Vicky Earls did a 3k in 14:55 with her aim of a sub 25 minute 5k now very much in her sights! Good work all.
So as lockdown continues, and the sun comes back out, the club is continuing to shine and we are seeing constant reminders of what a great community we are all part of. Keep up the excellent posts and we will do our best to put together a full round-up!