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 Months of training are starting to come to fruition for many Almosts, with one of the first rescheduled marathons taking place this weekend. Running for The Alzheimer’s Society, Katie Coleman shone in her first marathon, crossing the line in 3:30:15 on a course which measured 568 metres too long. Duncan Mounsor’s race experience was less than ideal. Not only was the course long he was also forced to run an additional three miles to the start, arriving with just 15 minutes to spare. He acquitted himself superbly well under such stressful circumstances, completing the marathon in 4:10:08.

At Dorney Lakes Marathon Preparation Event a quartet of Almosts took on five laps of Eton Dorney lake in increasingly warm and sunny conditions. Amy Broomhall ran a perfectly judged event, completing twenty miles in 2:59:40. The club’s sole male representative, Francis Bull, was next over the line in 3:02:15 followed by Alison Hume, whose 3:02:20 was good enough for 9th in category. Ela Antosiewicz finished very strongly in 3:06:36. All agreed that the multiple lap format was very challenging but it was a well organised event and served its purpose as a long training run for upcoming autumn marathons in London and Newport.

Further afield Alan Mullen’s knee held up sufficiently for him to complete the Twin Lakes 20 – ‘twenty miles of magic’ around Milton Keynes – in 3:09:44.

There was good club representation at the Great North Run half marathon. Louise Horner was first home in 1:46:37. Iris and Dave Mayo ran together in 2:36:33, as did Helen and Steve Yarnold in 2:51:02. Mere seconds behind were father and daughter duo, Ollie and Rachael Nolan, who completed in 2:51:41 and 2:51:42 respectively.

Closer to home ten Almosts competed in the ever-popular Chedworth trail race, beloved of off-road fans for its hills and river crossing. First home for the club in 1:21:35 was Ian Williams, followed by Shaun Carr in 1:23:58. Lizzie Renn secured 1:41:59 and Jim Trowbridge a little further back in 1:46:41, both ninth in category. Coming home close together were Helen Pardoe (1:51:56) and Des Beer (1:52:21), the latter securing a fine second in category. Mike Line was next in 1:59:30, followed by Sue Monaghan (2:03:20 for 8th in category); Andrea Hardy (2:07:35) and Mariel Chretien (2:17:40).

Cos Pearson’s stunning run of form continued with a fourth in category finish (54:03) at the Relish Running Wye Valley Tunnel Run 10k, starting and finishing at the National Diving and Activity Centre at Tidenham. The race runs along the Wye Valley Greenway, taking in the 1080m long Tidenham tunnel.

Further afield Martyn Fisher took on the Hoohaah Heritage 10k trail race around the Old Warden aerodrome on the Shuttleworth estate in Biggleswade, completing in 50:18.

Celebrating her 100th parkrun this week was Catherine Mason and Rich Smith recorded his 300th parkrun. Securing top ten gender finishes at parkrun were: Matt Polson (18:59, 5th in gender at Peel); Nick Lewis (19:47, 9th in gender at Cheltenham); Robert Foord (21:01, 5th in gender at Forest of Dean); Paul Thomas (22:56, 10th overall at King George V Playing Field); Rosemary Hubbard (23:19, 4th in gender at Cheltenham); Rachel O’Bryan (23:24, 5th in gender at Cheltenham) and Cat Daly (25:28, 5th in gender at KGVPF).

At KGVPF Sandra Stuart recorded a course PB for the second consecutive week (29:19) and Forrest Wheeler also scored a course PB (33:18). An improving June Franks earned an outright parkrun PB for the second consecutive week (34:16).

Finally, at the Bowood Middle Distance triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run), Matt Proome recorded a strong 5:20:01.

 

It was a prolific running weekend for many Almosts, including Mike Line, who completed his 250th parkrun at King George V Playing Field, following it up a day later with a 2:06:38 finish at Cheltenham half marathon.

Most parkrunners took it steady this weekend in order to save their efforts for Sunday’s big local draw. That said, several Almosts secured top ten gender finishes, including Nick Lewis at Cheltenham (19:16); Ben Taylor at Newent (20:15); Patricia Dendy at Seven Fields (21:05); Hamish Adamson at King George V Playing Field (21:39); Paul Haig at Foots Cray Meadows (23:07); and Jo Foster at Dishley, Loughborough (23:18). King George V Playing Field again proved to be a fertile hunting ground for the Almost ladies, where the first four home – Rachel O’Bryan, Rosemary Hubbard, Cat Daly and Vicky Kennedy (+ Hershey) - were Almosts. Also at KGVPF there was an outright parkrun PB for June Franks and course PBs for Mike Kennedy, Dave Davey, Dave Chittock, Deb Cartlidge and Sandra Stuart.

Completing two very different back-to-back endurance challenges over the weekend were Allan Green and Cos Pearson. Allan ran the Saturn Running 100 Marathon Club AGM marathon from the Thames Side Brewery in Staines on Saturday in 5:48:28, following it up with a gritty effort at Cheltenham half marathon the following day (2:12:12). Cos did the Wye Valley Trail Race, a half marathon event starting and finishing at Chepstow racecourse on Saturday, continuing her stellar running year with her second fastest half marathon (1:58:59) at Cheltenham just one day later, missing her PB by just 19 seconds.

Also running on Saturday in the delightfully named Jolly Running Celebration Caper was Karla Cleverley. The Caper is an off-road lapped event with ‘jollification station’ based in the gardens of the Double Locks pub in Riverside Valley Park, Exeter. Karla completed four laps for a total of 13.2 miles in 3:35:23.

The noise and support of the purple army on every corner of the streets of Cheltenham doubtless gave runners a much-needed boost on what turned out to be a very warm race, particularly in the latter stages around the racecourse. The thoughtful ‘Run4Rich’ and ‘BeMoreDoug’ markings on the Honeybourne Line certainly caused more than one lump in the throat. A special shout out to Prash Sripathi, who ran in a penguin costume in honour of Rich Walklate, finishing in a very creditable 1:50:13 in what were undoubtedly less than ideal conditions for full-body costumes.

A huge thank you to Claire Hawes, Zak Hussain, Penny Lewis, Peter Mitchener and Steve Taylor, without whose photos and videos it would have been impossible to piece together the Cheltenham half marathon and 10k results.

In the half marathon Mike Johnstone was first home for the club, equalling the club’s longstanding MV40 record of 1:22:17 for a top 50 finish.

Recording a top ten age category finish in the MV60 category were Kieran Keating (1:36:06, 2nd); Peter Morris (1:40:05, 6th) and Neil Tring (1:45:03, 10th). Sue Pearce was third in the FV45 category (1:37:19, also first lady Almost home). In the FV55 category Jeanette Gullick was 3rd in 1:47:24; Nikki White 7th in 1:51:26 in her first event in club colours; Alison Hume 9th in 1:54:46 and Sarah Wallbridge 10th in 1:55:10. In second place in the FV65 category Pauline Bargus was a mere 24 seconds behind the category winner (2:06:56). Virginia Pawlyn won the FV75 age category in 2:22:31, another national level performance in her age category.

Completing their first half marathon in style were Graeme Stopp (1:50:34); Craig Jackson (1:51:57); Gee Roohan (2:11:37); Chloe Chattington (2:14:51); Kate Nichol (2:15:08); Kerry Knowles (2:26:05) and Corinne Cooper (2:41:43 in her first ever race).

Recording an outright half marathon PB or course PB were: Matthew Hickman (1:26:36); Ben Stone (1:28:14); Matt Proome (1:28:44); Duncan Mounsor (1:36:11); Mark Wreford-Bush (1:38:39); Richard Knightley (1:40:11); Issy Ravenhill (1:42:51); David Woolnough (1:46:51); Julie Scourfield (1:52:00); Sam Wizard (1:54:42); Ela Antosiewicz (1:55:50); Marty Ward (1:58:35); Felicity Read (2:03:34); Hannah Brown (2:06:27); Wan Hartley (2:08:22); Natalie Wizard (2:15:43) and, obliterating her previous PB from 2006, Jane Russell (2:16:27).

Special mentions for Rob Hume, who celebrated his 60th birthday on race day and recorded a helium balloon aided 1:52:49 and Christopher Benjamin, who notched up his 93rd half in memory of his mum and auntie (2:04:14).

Other notable half marathon finishers included: Jean-Philippe Villain-Chastre (1:29:06); Steve Axford (1:31:50); Dale Midwinter (1:35:58); Robert Foord (1:36:24); Matt Mutton (1:39:18); Henrietta Marsh-Smith (1:39:40); Alan Mullen (1:51:11); Olly Bell (1:51:54); Nick Goddard (1:52:30); Ivana Wilson (1:53:41); Simon Morgan (1:54:39); Danny Carroll (1:54:59); Joe Harrison (1:55:45); Ben Kirby (1:56:01); Dave Davey (1:58:18); Chris McMahon (2:01:41); Kim Mansell (2:03:06); Kim Lewington (2:08:46); Lorraine Taylor (2:09:11); Brian Todd (2:12:05); Amy Broomhall (2:12:08); Tony Heap (2:12:20); Nat Stow (2:13:54); Debs Lacey (2:14:48); Simon Whitford (2:15:38); Hayley Woolnough (2:15:59); John Galpin (2:21:59); Dominic Lyes (2:22:00); Pinky Shetty (2:22:27); Bob Spawton (2:22:38); Charlotte Jamieson (2:25:44); Forrest Wheeler (2:26:40); Andy Akerman (2:30:05); Iris Mayo (2:42:15); Sarah Carr (2:46:57); Josh Rimell (2:51:33) and Mark Stojanov (2:53:10).

A number of Almosts took part in the Cheltenham 10k. Shaun Carr finished in 42:15 (8th overall, 2nd in category). Next home was Dan Magovern in 51:42. Jason Hulance (54:15) and new member Tony Storr (56:56, PB) were 7th and 8th in their age category. Completing the contingent of Almosts were Clare Bone (1:00:15) and Kerry White (1:13:02).

Far away from the Cheltenham hullaballoo, Fi and Matt Barnes and Jack Helliar quietly went about their running business at the ABP Southampton marathon and half marathon. Matt completed the marathon in 3:05:33 (8th in category and 31st overall) while Fi came home in 4:26:17. Jack recorded 3:12:34 for the half marathon distance.

Kevin Dryburgh completed the peaceful and picturesque yet challenging and hilly eight-mile Woodchester Park trail race in 1:11:52, Helen Pardoe following in 1:24:06.

At the Lake 32 triathlon Jamie Courtenay recorded 1:15:20 for 8th in category in the Sprint distance. Steve Yarnold finished in 1:47:55 and Helen Yarnold came home in 1:59:18 for 5th in category. In the Supersprint option Adrian Courtenay was first in category in 1:15:17.

Sheila Chatterley was the club’s sole competitor at the Chippenham Tri midweek duathlon at Castle Combe race circuit, where she completed the traffic-free two-mile run, ten-mile bike and final two -mile run in 1:14:11.

Finally, congratulations from all at the club to our newest Runners of the Month: Ivana Wilson and Graeme Stopp.

 

A very busy bank holiday weekend for the Almosts, with a late summer glut of results including two top race placings at Winchcombe Hill Climb 10k, two age category wins at Pershore 10k and two new club records, with many members choosing to double up across shorter distances over the weekend as autumn (half) marathon preparations are fine-tuned.

At the Alderton 5k Peter Morris led home a dozen Almosts in 20:08, shaving four seconds off Ed Munro’s MV60 age category record from 2013. He was followed by Sam Wizard (23:32) and Ela Antosiewicz (24:45), both of whom snared 5k PB’s. Next home was Natalie Wizard, who missed her 5k PB by a mere five seconds (25:56); Karen Hilton (27:03); Dave Mayo (27:04); Phil Jeyes (28:39); Josh Rimell (30:34); Janine Bennett (31:06); Iris Mayo (31:59); Clare Bone (33:12) and Kerry White (35:56).


Kerry White was also in action alongside Penny Lewis at the Witney Colour Run the following day. Sarah Carr negotiated the family friendly course with her two daughters, all ending up plastered in multicoloured paint by the finish of this fun event.

Martyn Fisher was, as usual, the first Almost across the line at the inaugural Little Gransden Airshow charity 10k in rural Bedfordshire. This race starts on the runway and takes runners around beautiful countryside before finishing back on the runway, where participants have the opportunity to take a finisher photo next to one of the many classic planes on display.

Helen and Steve Yarnold enjoyed strong runs at Dorney Lake. Helen finished first in category in the 10k (1:16:59) and Steve placed fifth in category in the half marathon (1:50:39).

A select band ran for sausages at the Winchcombe Hill Climb 10k, a race of two halves if ever there was one. A steep climb to the top of Belas Knap Long Barrow from Sudeley Castle followed by a knee and quad bashing descent back into Winchcombe. Josh Hand was second overall in 42:37 and Patricia Dendy was second lady in 46:58, scything two minutes off her course PB in the process. Other finishers were Shaun Carr (48:33); Neil Tring (51:22); Lizzie Renn (56:23, 3rd lady); Ela Antosiewicz (1:04:04); Lorraine Taylor (1:07:07); Mike Line (1:08:53) and Adrian Courtenay (1:16:23).

There were Vet 55 age category victories for Dave McGrath and Lesley Cottle at the Pershore Plum 10k, Lesley also bettering a club age category record from 2014 in the process (51:28). Dave was 12th home out of a field of 203 finishers in a strong 41:41. He was followed by Steve Wallbridge (48:06); Richard Bennett (48:53) and Rob Hume (49:27). First lady home for the club was Ivana Wilson in 49:42, a time which also secured her a new PB and top ten gender finish. Third lady home for the club was Alison Hume, whose 52:26 secured her third in category. Just half a minute behind was Sarah Wallbridge, who recorded 52:59 for fourth in category. Steve Taylor (54:20) and Steve Phelps (54:54) ran a deliberately measured race, followed home by Debbie Lacey (55:14); Sheila Chatterley (55:15, 2nd in category); Russell Jones (56:59); Bob Spawton (57:24); Sue Monaghan (59:50); Debbie Masding (1:02:17); Josh Rimell (1:10:17); Iris Mayo (1:10:26) and Mark Stojanov, who was running in his sixth ‘Plum’ (1:13:13).

It was a weekend of curious mathematical coincidences. At parkrun Olly Bell recorded his 100th run at the scene of his first in 2013 – Cheltenham – also finishing in 100th position (23:49). Jo Foster was second in gender at Bedworth (23:47). Ben Stone snatched a course PB at Gloucester North (19:18, 7th overall). Glenda Gill recorded her first ever buggy run with granddaughter Millie in tow (33:00), her verdict being that pushing a buggy is quite hard work! There were a number of notable achievements at King George V Playing Field parkrun. Duncan Mounsor finished third overall and first in category (20:55), followed by Mark Wreford-Bush in fifth (21:13, PB) and Hamish Adamson in ninth (22:30). A trio of Almost ladies took the top three gender positions. A first-timer on this course, Rosemary Hubbard was first lady home in 22:48, followed by Sharon Hadad (25:04) and Lesley Cottle (25:12). There were course PBs for Rob Hume (23:35); Dan Magovern (24:59); Alison Hume (26:35) and Jeff Tibbles (28:55). Virginia Pawlyn was the highest ranked finisher by age-grade, her time of 33:28 putting her at a national standard of 81.52% despite stopping for a chat with one of the marshals!

 

A much quieter week for the Almosts, with just a couple of events taking place in addition to the weekly parkrun fix.

A quartet of purple people took on the Vitality Big Half in London, enjoying some sightseeing in the capital en route. First home in a speedy 1:44:35 was Paul ‘Haiggy’ Haig. Continuing to rack up the miles as part of his training for the New York marathon, Olly Bell slashed six minutes off his Solihull half marathon time, finishing in 1:52:42. Husband and wife David and Hayley Woolnough ran together in 2:05:14 as part of Hayley’s training for the London marathon, where she will be representing the Team Flora ‘Get Towns Active’ campaign.

Adrian and Julie Courtenay took on the Rotary Club of Faringdon and District Buscot House 10k in Oxfordshire, a traffic-free race in a picturesque setting with a set of results notable largely for their sheer impersonality! Runners had only position, time and bib number recorded, meaning that Mr and Mrs C took anything from 39:00 to 91:22 to complete this charity run.

On a drizzly and overcast day Robert Foord recorded his 250th parkrun by finishing in 5th position (21:24) at King George V Playing Field, recording his fifth course PB in a row. Other top ten finishers at KGVPF were Bill Schindler (20:41) and Neil Tring (22:34). Rachel O’Bryan was first lady home in 23:09. Rob and Alison Hume recorded course PBs, finishing in 23:55 and 27:55 respectively.

Elsewhere Patricia Dendy was second lady at Lincoln parkrun in 20:19 (a new club record) and Jo Foster was fourth lady at Stratford Park, Stroud in 26:01. Matt Polson was seventh in gender at Birkenhead (19:15). Rosemary Hubbard continued her recent run of good form, coming home fifth in gender on the new Cheltenham parkrun course in 21:58 (PB).

Almost Athletes were in action the length and breadth of the country again this week. At Solihull 10k new member Craig Jackson celebrated a whopping two-minute birthday PB, crossing the line in 51:13. He was followed by Helen Yarnold in 1:17:11. Both were fifth in age category. In the half marathon Matt Proome enjoyed a speedy return to racing, completing the bumpy 13.1-mile route in 1:33:13. Continuing to mine a rich vein of form just one day after her Cheltenham parkrun PB (26:40), autumn marathoner Ela Antosiewicz came home comfortably sub-two (1:57:18, PB) as did Olly Bell (1:58:57). Steve Yarnold completed the club’s contingent, finishing in 2:05:52.

Elsewhere Kevin Dryburgh was the club’s sole representative in his hometown race, the well-supported Forfar 10k, which he completed in 45:28. David Chittock flew the flag at the midweek St Ives Bay 10k, which starts and finishes on the beach beneath the Hayle Surf Life Saving Club and takes in soft sand, ridged sand, harder sand (if you’re lucky), pooled water and concrete steps as well as the ominously named Dune of Doom at the five-mile point. David completed the race in 57:26.

At the White Star Running Cranborne 10k, based at Holwell Farm in the Cranborne, Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Kathy Haig recorded 1:24:08 over the challenging off-road event. Interestingly, three times as many ladies as gents participated at this distance, the final White Star Running event in 2021. Hopefully this unique event organiser will be able to bounce back stronger in 2022.

The latest edition of the fast Jon Ward Hereford 5k was a real family affair. Jo Foster recorded 22:57 for second in age category. Dave Mayo, in his first race for nearly 18 months, enjoyed a solid 28:17 showing; Josh Rimell was next over the line in 30:23 and Iris Mayo, clearly benefiting from the fruits of her concerted London marathon training, recorded 32:47 for first in age category.

Meanwhile, two veteran teams took on the Wyedean Relay, an off-road team event starting and finishing in Chepstow and run over legs 1, 7, 8, 9 and 10 for the second year. Team ‘Almost over the Hill’ finished in 15th position overall (4:02:21), being represented by Pauline Bargus (44:30); Lesley Cottle (1:16:01); Adrian Courtenay (34:50); Sheila Chatterley (57:08) and Sue Monaghan (29:52). Team ‘Almost There’ finished just one place behind in 4:07:19, being represented by Wan Hartley (44:38); Des Beer (1:16:02); Lynne Macedo (36:16); Jane Russell (57:07) and Claire Hawes (33:16). It’s hoped that the relay will be able to return to its original ten-leg format in 2022.

At Cannon Hill, Birmingham parkrun Issy Ravenhill recorded a PB for the second consecutive week, crossing the line in 22:46 for third lady overall. At New Earswick parkrun Nick Lewis achieved 19:20 for 5th overall and at King George V Playing Field parkrun first timer Rachel O’Bryan was second lady home in 22:36. At Cheltenham parkrun Matt Hickman enjoyed a top ten in gender finish (19:23, PB) as did Rose Hubbard (22:32, 8th in gender, PB). Jo Foster was also 8th in gender at Tewkesbury parkrun and there was a new PB for Helen McGuire at Congleton parkrun (26:53).

This week’s big draw for a sizeable contingent of Almosts was the popular Bugatti 10k, an undulating race with a sting in the tail on country lanes around Prescott Hill Climb, Dixton, Alstone and Gretton. The race is the fourth of seven in the 2021 Gloucestershire AAA Road Race Series, so individual and team points were up for grabs and keenly contested! First home for the club, in eighth position overall and third in age category was Rupert Denny in 38:54. A mere half a minute later was Josh Hand, in tenth position overall (39:25) and then Ian Williams in 40:06. Ben Stone (41:19) and Steve Axford (42:04) followed, a minute ahead of the club’s only age category winner Peter Morris (43:08) and Patricia Dendy, first club lady home in 43:17. They were followed by Duncan Mounsor (44:04), Nathan Newton (44:25), Richard Knightley (46:26), Neil Tring (48:29), Issy Ravenhill (48:37, third in category), Steve Phelps and Pete Blakeman matching each other stride for stride in 49:08 and Ben Brewin in 49:20. Heading up the 50s finishers were Mike Daly (50:13), Olly Bell (50:15), Steve Wallbridge (50:30) and Richard Bennett (50:48). Making up the scoring ladies’ team was Ivana Wilson in 52:21, closely followed home by Lizzie Renn (52:47), Ela Antosiewicz (53:31 PB), Craig Jackson (53:32), Brian Todd (54:26), Marty Ward (54:47), Allan Green (55:22), Dan Magovern and Peter Mitchener running together in 55:33, Mike Line (55:50), Pauline Bargus (58:59, second in category), Wan Hartley (59:04), Felicity Read (59:08), Debbie Lacey (59:33), Steve Yarnold (59:34) and Lorraine Taylor (59:46). Crossing the line in just over the hour were Graham Philpott (1:00:21), Kate Nichol (1:00:25), Russell Jones (1:00:49), Sharmila Door (1:00:56), Kim Lewington (1:01:49), Matt Bevan (1:02:12), Liz Garner (1:03:01), Jeff Tibbles (1:04:52), Jayne Murphy (1:06:57), Cheryl Rodham (1:07:13), Nicole Hope (1:10:11), Darren Lewington (1:10:49) and Ollie Nolan (1:12:18). Congratulations to our men’s and ladies’ teams of three, who each placed a highly respectable second behind Dursley RC and CLC Striders respectively and another big thank you from the committee to everyone who volunteered their time before and on race day to put on another very successful event.

On the previous Friday evening, a smaller contingent took on the many steep hills and fast descents of the Cranham Boundary Chase, part of the Cranham Feast. Back in its old road race format and run around the village boundary through lush woodland with the prize of a venison bap at the finish, the 5.6-mile race was the third event in the 2021 Gloucestershire AAA Road Race Series. First home for the club and third in age category was in-form Peter Morris in 41:25. Bunched together were Neil Tring (45:38), Olly Bell (46:15), Jo Foster (46:42, second in category), Steve Wallbridge (47:58, third in category) and Ed Munro (48:46, third in category). A few minutes further back were Alison Hume (52:40, third in category), Sarah Wallbridge (53:25), Sheila Chatterley (55:10, first in category) and Phil Jeyes (57:10), whose post-surgery knees most certainly did not thank him on the many descents.

Two days later Kevin Dryburgh (1:22:55) led home a group of ten Almosts at the Standish Woodland Chase, a multi-terrain race over a course just shy of ten miles, following parts of the Cotswold Way. The route is particularly hilly at the start and finish, run mostly on woodland trails. Just three minutes behind Kevin was the race-busy Neil Tring in 1:25:45, followed by the equally busy Steve Wallbridge (1:31:52) and Olly Bell (1:33:29). First lady home for the club was Sarah Wallbridge in 1:37:33, followed by Mike Line (1:42:18), Lorraine Taylor (1:42:39), Ed Munro (1:43:21), who was unlucky to pick up an injury on the course, Bob Spawton (1:48:34) and Janine Bennett (1:56:45).

Making a very welcome return to racing this week were brother and sister duo Karen Galpin and John Bailey, who took part in the Running Grand Prix at Oulton Park, both coming home second in category. Karen completed the full marathon distance and John took on the 16-mile option as part of his training plan for this October’s London Marathon.

Completing this week’s report with a flourish is Mark Newton, who took on the 44-mile Thames Path Ultra and won his first ever sporting trophy for first veteran home. Great effort, Mark!