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We are always looking for news, results and race stories for our weekly Echo report. Please tell us about your experiences, results, personal best times achieved, worst nightmare races etc by emailing almostathletes@hotmail.com - if you don't tell us about it, we can't report it!. We can't guarantee that all information supplied will go in as the Echo have full editorial control, but we will do our best.

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Karla CleverleyKarla Cleverley

Almost Athletes braved the cold weather at the weekend to put on another great display of running. First to race was Karla Cleverley on Saturday, running the Doughnut Dash in Walton-on-Thames, accompanied by the club mascot, Archie. Karla completed 5 laps of the course totalling 16.5 miles in 4:26:57, and given the freezing temperatures and fog, more than earned her celebratory doughnuts at the end! Also in Walton-on-Thames, this time on Sunday, Allan Green ran his customary marathon, completing 8 laps along the Thames in the Buff Bimble Marathon in 5:43:04.

 

Sam And Natalie
Sam And Natalie
Also on Saturday, this time in Cambridgeshire, Sam and Natalie Wizard ran the “Where’s The Finish?” half marathon. Sam ran a very impressive 2:01:23, finishing 5th overall; and Natalie finished in 2:36:39. Great performances from them both on a muddy and technical course consisting of 4 laps.

Archie.jpg
Archie
Closer to home on Sunday, a small contingent of Almosts were joined by Archie for the Riverbank Rollick in Thornbury. This is a tough trail run of almost 10 miles, containing 120m of ascent. Chris Benjamin completed the course in 1:43:58, Mariel Chretien in 1:55:34, Phil Jeyes in 2:02:54, Neil Tring in 2:08:05 and, on the comeback trail from injury, Lorraine Taylor in 2:08:06. Great work by everyone.

AAs at Thornbury
Almost Athletes at Thornbury

As usual on Saturday, there was a fine turnout of Almosts at various parkrun events. All told, 70 runners represented the club at 16 different events. Standout perfomers were – at Cheltenham, Lee Ormerod earning a PB in 20:40, and Chris Handscomb PBing by over a minute in 26:44; at Mallards Pike, Ela Antosiewicz with a PB and 1st in age category in 25:25, and Craig Jackson with a PB in 23:15; Hester Coggin 1st in age category at Kingsway in 24:15; and at King George V Playing Fields, Neil Tring finishing 1st in age category in 22:25, and Nicole Hope earning a PB in 26:29. Special mention as well to Danny Carroll who ran his 250th overall parkrun at KGV; and to Claire Hawes who ran her 100th Cheltenham parkrun.

Of course, parkrun couldn’t operate without volunteers, so a big shout-out to all Almosts who donned the high-viz at the weekend; in particular to Duncan Monsour taking on his first-ever stint as Run Director at KGV. Peter Mitchener, Jason Hulance, Hamish Adamson and Robert Foord all paced at KGV; while Neil Tring helped out by barcode scanning after his run. Speaking of volunteers, huge thanks must go to all members of the club who have put time and effort into organising next weekend’s Linda Franks 5 mile race, as well as those who are volunteering their time to ensure the event goes ahead smoothly.

Finally, congratulations to all at the club to this month’s Runners Of The Month, Ela Antosiewicz and Issy Ravenhill. Well deserved recognition for two outstanding recent performers.

Here’s to another successful week ahead!

 

Almosts at Cross CountryAlmosts at Cross Country

Almost Athletes were out in force at the latest round of the Gloucestershire County Cross Country Championships at Cotswold Farm Park on Saturday. There were some gritty performances & excellent positions from a dedicated team of club entrants who all ran valiantly with enthusiasm in some very testing conditions. Nick Lewis was 7th in his category in 44:11, Josh Hand was home in 42:59, Dave McGrath 7th in category in 46:36, Neil Tring a brilliant 2nd in category in 50:55, Steve Wallbridge in 54:40, Dave Garnett 6th in category in 57:51 and Mark Eavers in 1:00:31 .

Nick LewisNick Lewis

 

The Ladies were represented too by Ivana Wilson who dug deep & produced an exceptional 8th in category in 39:14, plus Sarah Wallbridge who rose to the challenge and delivered an equally exceptional 3rd in category in 42:51.

Sarah and IvanaSarah and Ivana

 

Almost Athletes as ever turned out in force to support parkruns both locally & nationwide. In the local bracket, Patricia Dendy stormed home to first place ladies finish at King George V parkrun in Cheltenham in a new pb for this course of 22:54, well done Patricia. The King George Vth parkrun was also celebrating its 50th running where club members always turn out to both run and volunteer including running the Core Team. Hamish Adamson of the Core Team ran his 100th parkrun at this week’s run. Well done Hamish.

Further afield Piotr Michalski travelled to the spiritual home of the first parkrun at Bushy Park in Surrey. James Clay and Mike Bryce, both stalwarts of the Pittville Park Core Team took a trip along the M4 to Newbury. At Gloucester North Victoria Kennedy blasted home for 2nd lady home in 24:38, with Mike Kennedy was 8th boy home in 22:46.

At Cheltenham Pittville parkrun where it was Pacer week, Almost Athletes as usual stood up the plate providing many of the volunteers for this task. Members pacing & helping many other happy parkrunners to PBs were Pete Mitchener, Graeme Stopp, Rich Smith, Janine Bennett, Adrian Courtenay, Jason Hulance, Richard Knightley, Corinne Cooper and Forrest Wheeler.

Ingrid Harris & Allan Green both took on the tough Plym Trail Marathon on Dartmoor where despite recent illness and injury, both turned in spirited times with Ingrid in 4:03 and Allan in 6:04.

The Christmas and New Year period saw many Almosts taking a break from racing but in the Forest of Dean several members competed successfully in the very challenging Seven Sins races. These are races held over the New Year weekend and comprise either seven hills in seven miles or fourteen hills in fourteen miles - what a way to burn off any excess Christmas cake!

On New Year’s Eve Sarah Roberts was 3rd in her Age Group in 1:22 and Lesley Cottle was 1st in her AG in 1:24. On New Year’s Day Jayne Cheslin was 3rd lady home (and 2nd in her Age Group) in 1:21 while Thom Stephens completed the fourteen miler in 2:36. On Sunday Fi Barnes’ 3:09 gave her first place in her Age Group in the fourteen miler, while Jamie Courtenay finished the seven miler in 1:15 and Adrian Courtenay completed the race in 1:59.

They may not have been racing over the Christmas break but Almosts didn’t put their feet up completely! On Christmas Day sixty-eight members took part in parkruns across the country (Dave Nelson achieving a 2021 PB at Springburn - a very welcome return to fitness after a difficult year recovering from covid).

New Year’s Day saw 92 members putting on their running kit in sixteen different parkruns. In Cheltenham Almosts had very successful outings: at the Pittville venue Peter Morris marked his 250th parkrun with an Age Group first place and Christine Harker took first place in her Age Group.

At King George V Playing Fields parkrun a good turnout from the club saw Age Groups firsts for Ela Antosiewicz, Victoria Kennedy, Jo Foster, Jeanette Gullick (who also got a course PB), Julia Whittaker and Claire Hawes. For the men Ross Greening and Rob Hume also notched up first place in their Age Groups.

A successful start to the year, and let’s hope we have a full and uninterrupted year of racing and parkrunning to look forward to in 2022!

A festive band of Almost Athletes headed to the coast over the weekend to take part in the Weston Christmas Cracker, a winter favourite and an event which has raised a significant amount of money for charity over the years.  Coralie Pearson was the first Almost Athlete to finish the sandy course in 53:24, shortly followed by Craig Jackson in 53:34 and Elzbieta Antosiewicz in 53:35.  Ali Shaikh (dressed as a penguin) waddled home in 53:54, and was joined by David Chittock (54:20), Claire Hawes (1:04:07), Deborah Cartlidge (1:06:38), Philip Jeyes (1:09:27) and Karla Cleverly (1:20:37).  


Enjoying the seaside a little further south were Allan Green and Ingrid Harris, who travelled to Portsmouth.  Allan Green completed the Coastal Waterside Marathon in 5:05:04, while Ingrid Harris followed up her recent marathon exploits by completing the half marathon course in 1:50:35, earning her a 5th place age category finish.


Powered by mince pies, Almost Athletes enjoyed a very successful round of parkrun performances on Saturday.  At Cheltenham Josh Hand (19:22) was the first placed finisher in his age category and the first Almost Athlete across the line, while Ivana Wilson bagged a new PB time of 23:51 and Janine Bennett ran her quickest time for three years with 28:57.  


At the King George V Playing Field course, Matt Polson was the first finisher overall in 19:58, while a hattrick of first place category finishes was achieved by Alison Hume (27:22), Mike Smith (23:53) and Sue Monaghan (35:59).  Heather Smith achieved a new personal best of 31:34.  Over in Tewkesbury, Graeme Stopp led the Almost Athletes with a time of 23:29, while Elzbieta Antosiewicz was the first placed category finisher with 27:14.


Elsewhere, Steve Phelps represented the Almost Athletes at the Hullavington Secret Santa 10 miler, finishing in 1:17:07, and Janine Bennett braved the cold to enjoy the Forest of Dean Christmas Tree Run.  

 

Almost Athletes were in festive action over the weekend, taking on all distances from parkrun to the marathon. Issy Ravenhill delivered in spades in her first outing over 26.2 miles in a warm and sunny Malaga, starting conservatively and patiently working her way through the field to execute the perfect race, recording 3:48:46 and a huge negative split.

Ingrid Harris With Trophy For Second FemaleIngrid Harris With Trophy For Second Female

Closer to home and in far chillier conditions, Ingrid Harris notched up her first in-person marathon in fourteen months, after a protracted period of injury, completing the very muddy and hilly eight lapper at Escot House in Devon. Her finishing time of 4:36 was good enough for second lady and earned Ingrid another trophy for the Harris mantelpiece.

Allan Green conquered the curiously named Tie Fighters at Christmas Enigma marathon, finishing in 5:03. In so doing he moved one step closer to 700 lifetime marathons.

Several club members took on the popular Westonbirt House Christmas 10k. Third is category and eighth female overall was new member Alice Tredgett (45:03). Other finishers were Ian McKinlay (51:03); David Chittock (51:20); Sally McKinlay (59:14); Deb Cartlidge (1:04:41); Peter Kimpton (1:05:14) and, running his fastest 10k for 18 months, David Nelson (1:09:11).

At the Severn Bridge night run, a five-mile race taking place on pedestrian accessways on the old Severn crossing, a healthy contingent of Almosts shone brightly. Elzbieta Antosiewicz was first over the line for the club in 41:11. She was followed by Lesley Cottle (42:42), who finished first in her age category. Jason Hulance recorded 46:48 and Claire Hawes 52:39, just a few seconds behind the winner of her age category. Corinne Cooper rounded out the club’s contingent in 54:22.

Following on from her age category success at the Severn Bridge night race, Lesley Cottle went one better two days later and finished second lady overall at the Brean Down Santa Scramble 10k (56:40).

Mark Stojanov at Rotary Club Gloucester Santa 5kMark Stojanov at the Rotary Club Gloucester Santa 5k

A quartet of Almosts took on the Rotary Club Santa 5k fun run in Gloucester city centre. Mark Stojanov recorded his fastest 5k time of the year (34:21). Taking on the challenge of Gloucester City parkrun first and then the Santa 5k were Ollie Nolan (39:58); Rachael Nolan (40:08) and Cos Pearson (40:11).

On the same festive theme Julie Averiss took part in the Liverpool Santa Dash, with 6,000 other costumed fun runners.

Julie Averiss At Liverpool Santa DashJulie Averiss at the Liverpool Santa Dash

There were outright personal bests for Megan Davis (27:48) and Claire Crawford (28:16) at Gloucester City and Cheltenham parkruns. Patricia Dendy was first lady finisher at King George V Playing Field parkrun in a course personal best time of 23:07. Nicole Hope (27:40) and Cottia Howard (37:25) also recorded course personal best times at King George V Playing Field.

In other news the club was delighted to receive photos of old club kit donated to a charity which works with youth groups in Africa. Pictured in the surplus kit is an award-winning under 15 girls’ rugby team.

Five Mile Festive Frolic GroupFive Mile Festive Frolic Group

As Christmas draws ever closer, Almost Athletes were out in force on Sunday for the brand new ‘Festive Frolic’ club run. Members of the club ran either 5 miles or 11 miles across the beautiful Stroud countryside all in aid of WellChild, raising a remarkable £250 for the charity. WellChild is a charity that makes it possible for children and young people with complex health needs to be cared for at home instead of hospital. The club’s contribution will help fund a local WellChild nurse as well as providing wider support and help for families and young people affected by serious illness. This seasonal iteration of the ever popular ‘Forest Frolic’ runs looks set to be an enduring favourite in the club’s social event calendar. 

Before the Mallards Pike 5 mile raceBefore the Mallards Pike 5 mile race

Earlier in the week, and in much gloomier weather, many runners donned their head torches to brave the dark and wet conditions of the first Mallards Pike Night Time 5 miler. Dave McGrath stormed home as the first Almost Athlete on the night simultaneously taking first place in the V55 category with a time of 43:07. Shaun Carr followed soon behind with a time of 44:10. Thanks to an incredible effort by all the club runners who attended, Almost Athletes took 3rd place in the team event.

Dave McGrath - Mallards Pike 1st Almost Athlete and 1st Mens V55 Dave McGrath - Mallards Pike 1st Almost Athlete and 1st Mens V55

Elsewhere Coralie Pearson finished the 22.5 mile Worcester Winter Ring Run in 4 hours and 40 seconds, taking an incredible 37 minutes off of her time from the spring event held earlier this year - smashing yet another PB and continuing to show that she is on top form at present. 

As the Gloucestershire AAA County Road Race series drew to an end last week, team and individual standings were confirmed. A total of 3 Almost Athlete teams placed 2nd - in the Ladies Open, Ladies Veteran and Mens Veterans categories. In addition to this, many members will take home a trophy in January at the awards evening. Duncan Mounsor and Peter Morris (Vet 50 and Vet 60 respectively) join Lorraine Taylor (Ladies Vet 50) to take 1st in their categories, with Ivana Wilson taking 3rd place in the Ladies Vet 35 and Mary Welsh coming second in the Ladies Vet 75 category. 

For many no Saturday is complete without parkrun and this weekend was no exception; with over 70 members turning up at 9am to a park somewhere! Notable mentions go to Nick Lewis who came home first at King George V Playing Field, where he was joined by 15 other club members. Many more attended Cheltenham with Felicity Read taking an amazing minute off of her previous personal best on the course. As it was pacer week, Peter Mitchener, Shaun Carr and Graeme Stopp stepped up to help their fellow runners smash their goals.