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Almost Athletes accounted for a quarter of the entrants in the midweek Bugatti 10k, an undulating race with an uphill finish, made even more challenging this year by sweltering 30-degree conditions. It was the ninth event in the club’s road race series, so valuable points were up for grabs.

Almosts at Bugatti 10k

Almosts at Bugatti 10k

Lewis Jones (15th overall, 42:45) and John Johnson (19th, 44:07) both recorded a top 20 finish, with Johnson also scooping the prize for first in his age category. Other notable finishers were Steve Axford (44:25, 2nd in category); Katie Coleman (45:11, 1st in category); Joanne Johnson (46:13, 1st in category); Peter Morris (46:16, 3rd in category); Ian Poole (46:18, 3rd in category); Issy Ravenhill (47:19, 3rd in category); Amy Sheer (48:08, 3rd in category); Allan Green (51:24, 1st in category); Jeff Tibbles (55:40, 3rd in category); Hayley Woolnough (58:34, 3rd in category); Felicity Read (59:34, 2nd in category) and Pauline Bargus (65:21, 1st in category).

Other finishers included Craig Jackson (45:00); Lee Ormerod (45:12): Nathan Newton (46:07); Steve Phelps (46:26); Gary Farquharson (46:59); Richard Knightley (47:23); Peter Mitchener (47:43); Olga Goffin (49:10); Duncan Mounsor (49:21); Steve Wallbridge (53:01); Thomas Wood (53:45); Ela Antosiewicz (55:00); Ian McKinlay (55:56); Andy Holmes (56:02); Mark Eavers (56:02); Barry Irvine (56:43); Mark Jones (60:26); Liz Garner (63:30); Peter Kimpton (64:21); Rebecca McDowell (64:38); Chaweewan Hartley (65:22); Martin Workman (68:52); Sally McKinlay (69:08); Corinne Cooper (73:43); Lindsay Morrison (80:12); Jakia Hussain (81:34); Dave Nelson (81:34) and Nicole Hope (81:35).

There was no let-up in the scorching temperatures at the weekend, meaning more measured running was the order of the day. Captained by Andrew Wilkinson, seven members took on the Wyedean Relay, an offroad team event following the river Wye from Ross on Wye to Chepstow in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. Fielding a mixed team, Almost Inwales recorded a cumulative finish time of 6:19:29, with several members placing in their respective age categories. Desiree Beer (Leg 1, 1:05:41), Jason Hulance (Leg 5, 28:36) and Lynne Macedo (Leg 7, 37:05) all recorded first in age category while Matt Proome (Leg 6, 42:04) recorded a second-place finish in his age category. Rounding out the team results were Olly Bell (Leg 2, 1:04:46); Thom Stephens (Leg 3, 47:38) and Andrew Wilkinson (Leg 4, 1:33:39).

Further afield Allan Green notched up another marathon in 6:08 at the LDWA Birmingham Canal Canter. Richard Knightley and Mark Wreford-Bush opted for the 18-mile option at the same event, using it as a training run for this October’s London marathon. They enjoyed the event so much that they took a detour and added on another couple of miles at the finish to view the Commonwealth Games exhibition in Centenary Square.

A quintet of members ran the Solihull half marathon. Steve Axford was first home for the club in 1:37:43, followed by Chris Daddow (1:43:45); Steve Phelps (1:44:10) and, continuing her careful return from injury, Ingrid Harris (2:01:34, 4th in category). In her first outing as an official 1:50 pacer Issy Ravenhill delivered a masterful effort of 1:49:33.

Almost Athletes ran almost the full alphabet of parkruns across the length and breadth of the country this weekend, with representation at Beacon, Belvoir Castle, Cannock Chase, Cannon Hill, Cheltenham, Didcot, Evesham, Gloucester North, Haverfordwest, Ifield Mill Pond, Land’s End, Lanhydrock, Ludlow, Monsal Trail, Mount Stuart, Peel, Pollok Park, Ross-on-Wye, Rothay Park, Rutland Water, Seaton, Shepton Mallet, Tewkesbury and Watermead Country Park.

Notable performances came from Joanne Johnson, who was first female at Gloucester City and Nick Lewis, first male at Mallard’s Pike. Ben Taylor was fourth across the line at Gloucester City, a position replicated by Robert Foord at Mallard’s Pike. At Milford Waterfront Craig Jackson was fourth to finish in a new personal best time (21:31), which was also good enough for first in category. Ela Antosiewicz was third female and second in age category at the same event. Andrea Hardy was first in category, earning a new course PB for her efforts at King George V Playing Field. Testing out her injured knee, Hollie Stone was delighted to fulfil the role of tail walker, also at King George V Playing Field.

Another busy week for Almost Athletes saw members competing in races and, of course, at various parkruns across the country and further afield.

The main event of the week was perhaps the Standish Woodland Chase, a 10 mile trail race held just outside of Stroud. The club was represented by 16 members, with Mike Kennedy leading the merry band home in 1:17:03, which earned him a second place finish in his age category.

Almosts at Standish Woodland Chase

Almosts at Standish Woodland Chase

There were some other great performances put in, with Hester Coggin (1:27:27), Ingrid Harris (1:29:43), Lesley Cottle (1:41:47), Sue Monaghan (1:50:52), Des Beer (1:35:17), Shaun Carr (1:21:56), and Allan Green (1:34:03) all winning their respective age categories. Neil Tring (1:24:56) was also second in his category, and Alison Hume (1:42:20) third in hers. Also donning the purple for the race were Craig Jackson, Andy Holmes, Ela Antosiewicz, Coralie Pearson, Mike Line, and Lorraine Taylor.

Prior to his age category win at Standish, Allan Green completed his customary marathon, running the Midweek Flying S Run on Friday. This consisted of running up and down the Thames Towpath 8 times, with Allan finishing in 5:46.

At parkrun, as well as the various runners, plenty of members gave up their mornings to volunteer, thus ensuring that the events could go ahead safely. A number of members, including Ela Antosiewicz, Lewis Jones, Peter Mitchener and Graeme Stopp, paced at Cheltenham; while other volunteers coming from the club included Hamish Adamson, David Davey, Sue Monaghan, Duncan Monsour, Mike Smith, Aline Buckley, James Clay, Frances Ferguson, Peter Morris, Prash Sripathi, Beverley Nolan, and Phil Jeyes. Pete doubled up on volunteering as he also helped out at Cheltenham Junior parkrun on Sunday morning, where Dave Nelson was Run Director, and Jo Foster, Lisa King and Rich Smith also helped out. Parkrun can’t go ahead without volunteers, so a huge thanks to all members for putting themselves forwards. If you are able to volunteer at any event in future, it would be hugely appreciated by the event team – it’s fun, it’s easy, and it only involves giving up a maximum of a couple of hours on a Saturday or an hour on a Sunday for juniors!

Running-wise at parkrun, there were, as always, a number of strong efforts put in. There were PBs for Clare Bone at Cheltenham (26:38), Jeff Tibbles at Tetbury Goods Shed (25:34), and Issy Ravenhill at Oaklands in Birmingham (21:34 – also an age category win). Jason Hulance completed the “Bushy pilgrimage”, heading to the venue where it all began to take on their 8th Nelson event (888th overall event), and thoroughly enjoying his trip to the home of parkrun, finishing in 27:17.

There were age category wins for both Dave & Iris Mayo at Forest of Dean; Jeanette Gullick and Felicity Read at Cheltenham; Sarah Wallbridge and Jayne Adams at Tewkesbury; Mike Bryce at Ross-on-Wye; Nick Lewis, Neil Tring, Rosemary Hubbard, and Sharon Hadad at KGV; Jo Foster at Chipping Norton School; and Deb Cartlidge at Berkeley Green.

Overall, 84 members ran in 19 different events, with Reading, York, Gloucester North, Woodley, Newent, Seaton, Kesgrave, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Woodgate Valley Country Park also seeing club representation.

Another week has gone by, and Almost Athletes were, as always, keeping themselves busy, although it was a fairly quiet week in terms of races.

At the Draycote Half Marathon, Josh Hand earned a fantastic 5th place finish, coming in at 1:24:41; which also put him second in his age category. Steve Phelps also competed in the same race, finishing in 1:45:07. Mark Newton and Matt Jones both ran an extraordinary distance, finishing the 33.5 mile Exmoor Ultra together in 8:05:43.

Outside of races, there was the usual fantastic club representation at parkrun, with 77 members running at 26 different events. Furthest travelled, by far, was Ed Munro, who ran Ambleside parkrun in Vancouver, Canada. Ian Poole ran an overall PB at Cheltenham in 21:22, which was also good enough for second in his age category.

Earning first place in age category were Deb Cartlidge at Wolverhampton; Hester Coggin and Megan Davis at Gloucester North (Megan also running a course PB of 28:11); Eleanor Laney, Catherine Daly, Felicity Read, Peter Morris at Cheltenham; Victoria Kennedy at Newent; Jeff Tibbles at Evesham (course PB of 26:27); and Daniel Magovern, Duncan Monsour, Neil Tring, Rosemary Hubbard, and Sharon Hadad at King George V in Cheltenham.

Almosts were also represented at Wimbledon Common, Black Park (Slough), Ashton Court (Bristol), Coventry, Brueton (Birmingham), Walsall Arboretum, Billericay, Stonehouse, Tewkesbury, Exmouth, Witney, Marlborough Common, Millennium Country (Bedfordshire), Stratford Park (Stroud), Chipping Norton School, Trelai Park (Cardiff), Peel (Manchester), Central (Plymouth), and Chippenham Playing Fields (Monmouth).

Away from running, a group of Almosts took themselves on a social cycle to Broadway Tower and back, covering 38 miles and lots of hills! They fully enjoyed the coffee they treated themselves to, and everyone can surely agree that it was well deserved.

Despite the soaring temperatures Almosts achieved some blistering results this week!

To kick off a week of no fewer than three triathlons Phil Jeyes took part in the Tewkesbury Tri 4 Ukraine on Sunday.

Then on Wednesday Steve Phelps claimed a PB in the LPS Super-Sprint Tri at Lake 62, completing the course in 59:07 which saw him coming in 15th overall and second in his age group. Phil Jeyes also completed his second tri of the week, in 1:14:09.

The same evening Josh Hand took part in the Midsummer Open 5000m at the Prince of Wales stadium, clocking up a time of 18:43.

Meanwhile in Worcester three Almosts took on the Pitchcroft 10k: John Johnson finishing in 42:18, Joanne Johnson in 44:14 (which gained her 1st place in her age category) and Catherine Daly in 49:16.

It almost goes without saying that Allan Green completed yet another marathon this week - this time it was the Sundae Challenge which he completed in 5:33 and celebrated with ice-cream at the end!

On Friday Deborah Cartlidge, David Chittock, Lesley Cottle ran in the Westonbirt Summer 10k. David finished in 48:59, Lesley won her age category in 54:20 and Deb came in in 55:16.

As usual Saturday morning saw plenty of Almosts running and/or volunteering at parkrun. Neil Tring and Lorraine Taylor ran at the Haga parkrun in Stockholm, and Neil was first in his age group. Robert Foord came first in his age category at The Old Showfield parkrun in Frome, where parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt was also running. Peter Mitchener also achieved first in his age group at Cheltenham parkrun.

There were also milestone celebrations - at KGV parkrun Cheryl Rodham ran her 100th parkrun and at Cheltenham Jayne Adams celebrated her 250th parkrun - congratulations to both!

Later that day Almosts Hannah Brown, Nicole Hope were in action at the Tri in the Park as was Phil Jeyes, completing his trio of tri's in a week!

Over in Goodrich a brave band of Almosts took on the very challenging Coppett Hill Fell Race. Patricia Dendy continued her fantastic run of form by finishing fourth woman and first in her age category in 51:10. Duncan Mounsor finished in 55:12, Jamie Courtenay in 57:16, Hester Coggin 58:22, and Jim Trowbridge in 1:00:41. Ingrid Harris crossed the line in 1:03:35 and Alison Hume achieved a PB over last year’s time in 1:06:22 even though the course was slightly longer this year. Allan Green, fresh from his marathon earlier in the week finished in 1:11:42. Mike Line paused his own race to help Janine Bennett who’d taken a nasty tumble on the difficult course, but he finished in 1:21:56 and Janine finished the race in 1:22:08. Adrian Courtenay finished in 1:33:47.

Coppett Hill Fell Race

Coppett Hill Fell Race Almost competitors (Left-to-Right) Ingrid Harris, Allan Green, Jamie Courtenay, Hester Coggin, Patricia Dendy, Adrian Courtenay, Duncan Mounsor, Mike Line, Alison Hume, Jim Trowbridge.

On Sunday Neil Tring and Lorraine Taylor ran the Runmaro Half marathon in Stockholm, finishing together in 2:31.

Des Beer and Claire Hawes tackled a five mile race with a difference: the Rogue Runs Age-Grader, where results were ordered for age-adjusted time and not actual time (the age-adjusted time being calculated in accordance with the WMA calculator to show the time the runner might have expected to achieve in their 20s!) Des Beer completed the five miles in an actual time of 43:31 (age-graded to 31:41) and Claire Hawes finished in 52:02, age-graded to 36:51.

And there was no rest for Phil Jeyes who completed a 2k river swim and 12k run in the Monmouth Aquathlon!

Finally, away from running, Club Chair Peter Mitchener was very pleased to present a cheque for £500 to Cheltenham charity Open Door, one of the club’s chosen charities for this year.

Cheltenham charity Open Door

Club Chair Peter Mitchener presents a cheque for £500 to Cheltenham charity Open Door

Almosts took part in a variety of different sporting events this week ahead of the upcoming heat wave.

Despite the rising heat on Saturday morning Almost Athletes still took part in various Parkrun courses around the country – and even further afield. Starting closer to home, Peter Mitchener was joined by 29 other Almost Athletes members at Cheltenham parkrun where he finished first in his age group with a new summer course PB of 22:01. Neil Tring was first in his age group as well, this time at Wantage parkrun with a time of 21:46. Dave Nelson claimed the ‘most Northerly Almost’ spot at Ury Riverside parkrun in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. Slightly closer to Gloucestershire, though still far from the Cotswolds, Helen McGuire finished Barnstaple parkrun in 32:36. Steven and Jayne Adams ran at Worcester Pitchcroft parkrun in times of 26:14 and 31:29 respectively. At Stonehouse parkrun four Almost Athletes took part, with Mike Kennedy leading the purple and yellows home in 22:04, followed soon by Mike Bryce in 23:23, then James Clay (42:29) and Simon Jarvis (51:29). Neil Tring finished 11th at Grove Fields parkrun in 21:46. Many other Almosts took part in other events, including the regularly attended King George V in Cheltenham, Chippenham Playing Fields, Oxford’s University Park, Edgbaston, Clevedon Salthouse, Gloucester City and Ross on Wye.

In order to beat the heat on Sunday morning, 11 Almosts met at Old Pats at 4:15am to complete a warm 5.5 mile off road route around Leckhampton Hill. As a reward for their early morning they were treated to a beautiful red sun rise.

A little later on Sunday morning eleven Almost Athletes took part in the sunny Wye Valley tunnel 10k and 2k colour run. Christopher Benjamin organised the group of eleven intrepid athletes which included Ceinwen Davies, Zakia Hussain, Rachel Nolan, Matt Proome, Jason Hulance, Ollie Nolan, Kevin Keegan and Iris Mayo. All enjoyed this unique race and were welcome for the shade that the tunnels provided!

Almost Athletes at the start of the Wye Valley Tunnels 10k

Wye Valley team

Earlier in the week Allan Green ran the Blaisdon 10k and came first in his age category earning maximum points in the Gloucestershire AAA series. He then went on to run the Worcester ‘Wild One’ marathon on Sunday completing the 10 laps in 5 hours 41 minutes.

Outside of running, Mark Stojanov completed his 8th LINC 3 counties cycle ride with an all-time PB over 21.5 miles and finishing at the front of the pack, proving that his recent training efforts have been paying dividends. Steve Phelps took on the Tewkesbury sprint triathlon finishing with a time of 1 hour 14. Slightly further afield, Steve Taylor completed the National 3 Peaks challenge in a time of 26 hours, hampered only by heavy traffic during transitions.

As temperatures rose across the country, Almost Athletes did their best to match the increasing heat by putting in a succession of sizzling performances this week.

It all began on Monday at the Frampton 10k, where, despite it being an evening race, it was still warm. This didn’t deter a variety of club members putting on some impressive performances, with new PBs being secured by both Alan Mullen (48:38) and Jeff Tibbles (53:58). Amy Sheer was first in her age category in 44:41, while Steve Axford led the club home in 40:51. Mike Kennedy, Duncan Monsour, Richard Knightley, Mark Wreford-Bush, Hanif Shaikh, Charmaine Brunt, Coralie Pearson, Cheryl Rodham, Kim Lewington, and Dave Nelson were also out representing Almosts on the night.

Continuing on through the week, on Tuesday, Claire Hawes ran the Run Exe 5k, finishing in 31:38; and on Thursday Allan Green completed the Hedgehog Challenge Marathon in 5:17. Not content with running just one marathon this week, Allan then continued on and ran the 12 Parish Challenge in Worcester in 7:55! Heather and Mike Smith also completed the 12 Parish Challenge, walking the slightly shorter 18 mile distance option in 7:09. Also on Saturday, Jason Hulance, Karla Cleverley and Coralie Pearson completed the Weston’s Cider Scrumpy Scurry 5k.

Cos, Karla and Jason at Weston's Cider Scrumpy Scurry

Cos Jason Karla

Moving on to the weekend, and Sunday was, as always, a busy day of racing. The main event for the club was the Evesham Town 10k, where 20 club members competed on a baking hot morning. The standout performance came from Jeanette Guillick, winning her age category in 47:58; while Ian Poole was the club’s first finisher in 44:44. Also running were Paul Thomas, Ivana Wilson, Edward Munro, Dave Mayo, Tony Heap, Coralie Pearson, Mark James, Kev Fairs, Debbie Masding, Martin Workman, Josh Rimell, Corinne Cooper, Ollie Nolan, Mark Stojanov, Jon Owen, James Wilson, Rachael Nolan, and Iris Mayo.

Almosts at Evesham 10k

Almosts Evesham

Elsewhere, Lesley Cottle completed the Otter Rail and River 10k, earning a bottle of ale at the finish with a time of 59:53. Ingrid Harris, on the comeback from injury difficulties, ran the Chepstow Half Marathon in 2:01; while away from running, Hannah Brown completed the 130km Sue Ryder bike ride in 5:13. There were also excellent performances from both Steve Phelps and Ian Williams, who each completed the Cotswold Classic Middle Distance Triathlon, with Ian coming in in 5:03, and Steve in 5:23.

Steven Phelps at Cotswold Classice Middle Distance Triathlon

Steve Phelps

Ian Williams at Cotswold Classic Middle Distance Triathlon

Ian Williams

Ian Williams and Steven Phelps at Cotswold Classic Middle Distance Triathlon

Steve Ian tri

As well as all of this, there was the usual wide club representation at parkrun, with 75 members running at 15 different events. Standout performances came from Lewis Jones, who ran a PB at Cheltenham for the second week in a row, finishing in 19:14; while Neil Tring finished third overall and first in age category at Rogiet, finishing in 21:46. Patricia Dendy continued her fine recent form, running a PB at KGV in 20:47, finishing third overall and first lady. There were also age category wins for Matt Polson at Bedford, Peter Morris & Julia Whittaker at Cheltenham, Deb Cartlidge at Ross-on-Wye, and Jeff Tibbles and Rachel O’Bryan at KGV.

Away from competition, Virginia Pawlyn was honoured to be a baton bearer for the Queen’s Baton Relay for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, as the baton made its way through Pittville Park in Cheltenham. Club chair Pete Mitchener was also delighted to present Fiona Carter from the CASS and Friends charity with a cheque for £500 this week.

Virginia Pawlyn is honoured to be a baton bearer for the 2022 Commonwealth Games

Virginia relay

Club chair Pete Mitchener was also delighted to present Fiona Carter from the CASS and Friends charity with a cheque for £500 this week.

Pete Mitchener (AA Chair) presents Fiona Carter from CASS and Friends charity with a cheque for £500

CASS presentation