Guy Fawkes 5 in Tewkesbury - November 2021
Almost Athletes took advantage of favourable Autumn conditions to record a number of personal bests across the weekend. The largest showing of runners – many of whom were racing for the first time in many months - was at the perennially popular Guy Fawkes 5 in Tewkesbury, the final race in the Gloucestershire AAAs 2021 road race series.
First home and second in category in a time of 30:27 was Matt Hickman, followed by Steve Axford (32:38) and Peter Morris (33:35, 3rd in category). Together with new member Sue Pearce (34:58, 3rd in category) and Katie Coleman (also 34:58) the group secured a strong second place in the team competition. Katie was also first in her age category, as was LV75+ Mary Welsh (55:57).
Flaying chunks off their previous five-mile PBs were Mark Wreford-Bush (35:19); Richard Knightley (35:22); Craig Jackson (37:52); Ela Antosiewicz (40:27); Cos Pearson (41:28); Hannah Brown (42:13) and Helen Yarnold (57:01). Dave Nelson was delighted to deliver an improved performance (53:03) after being hospitalised with Covid twice in the Spring, as was Helen Pardoe (44:04) whose family had been laid low by the virus.
Other results: Matt Proome (32:58); Lee Ormerod (33:44); Mike Bryce (33:48); Duncan Mounsor (34:36); Mike Kennedy (35:02); Neil Tring (36:15); Steve Phelps (36:22); Ali Shaikh (37:47); Ed Munro (38:23); Rob Hume (38:24); Cat Daly (39:12); Ivana Wilson (39:13); Alison Hume (41:04); Steve Yarnold (41:10); Dawn Carroll (41:34); Melissa Jonga (42:15); Josh Rimell (42:35); David Woolnough (42:37); Hayley Woolnough (42:38); Mark Lyes (42:39); Jason Hulance (43:01); Kev Fairs (43:52); Lorraine Taylor (43:56); Barry Irvine (43:58); Pauline Bargus (44:14, 3rd in category); Suzy Rodger (44:22); Kim Lewington (44:41); Sheila Chatterley (45:04); Wan Hartley (45:17); Sally McKinlay (46:07); Donna Evans (46:34); Nicole Hope (46:57); Claire Hawes (48:45); Karen Hilton (49:15); Wendy Haskins (49:15); Glenda Gill (49:38); Phil Jeyes (52:11); Corinne Cooper (53:00); Ollie Nolan (53:25); Kerry Knowles (53:50); Iris Mayo (54:08); Jackie Slaughter (57:00) and Rachael Nolan (58:45).
Further afield a healthy contingent of Almosts took on the fabled 26.2 in various locations. Marathon specialist Allan Green clocked up his 650th at the November Nightmare marathon (5:24) on Tuesday and his 651st at the Exeter Live Better marathon along the footpaths and cycle tracks of the River Exe and Exeter canal just five days later (5:30).
Closer to home Josh Hand recorded a stunning third place finish at the Cotswold Running Broadway marathon, clocking an impressive 3:48:36 over what is, by any measure, an exceptionally challenging route. Club coach Fi Barnes led by example, completing her sixth marathon or ultra in as many months, crossing the line with Helen Fursman in 5:33:19 with Mark Willicott barely a whisker behind in 5:33:20 just two weeks after his efforts at Newport marathon. In the hilly half marathon option off-road specialist Natalie Greening completed in 2:52:33 closely followed by Catrin Davies Perkins in 2:54:40 and new member Francesca Hill in 3:04:02.
At the fast and flat Reading marathon Mike Johnstone took inspiration from the name of the new race sponsors Unleashed Performance and annihilated the club’s age group record which he had held jointly since the Cheltenham half marathon in early September, finishing in a pacey 1:18:50. Henrietta Marsh-Smith recorded a similarly strong 1:39:49 and Felicity Read was thrilled to chalk up her first sub-two, finishing in 1:59:16.
Christopher Benjamin was frustrated in his attempt to clock up half marathon number 95 at the Wyre Wizard trail half marathon in Kidderminster, a late course change reducing the official distance by 0.4 miles meaning the 2:11:03 performance cannot be included in his mission to complete one hundred half marathons.
Kathy and Paul Haig were in Buckinghamshire for the Marlow 7, another hilly event which they completed together in 1:27:34.
Saturday saw the usual healthy contingent of Almosts participate in parkruns home and abroad, volunteering, running or, in the case of Club Chair Peter Mitchener and Ivana Wilson, donning official pacer vests and helping other runners to PBs. There were notable placings for Ben Taylor (first finisher at Mundy parkrun, 20:14) and Patricia Dendy (first lady at Kingsway, 20:50). Chris McMahon moved a step closer to his 50th parkrun, recording 25:28 at Gloucester North. There were outright parkrun PBs for Ela Antosiewicz at Cheltenham (26:28) and Jeff Tibbles at Evesham (27:52).
An honourable mention for Shaun Carr and life member Paul Turner, who both represented Great Britain at the rescheduled World Duathlon Championships in Aviles, Spain. Shaun completed the Sprint edition (5.1km run, 21.2km bike, 2.8km run) in 1:15:57 – recording a PB of 18:56 for the first run – and Paul Turner competed in the same distance, coming home in 1:40:28.
Club Chair Peter Mitchener presenting a cheque to Harvey Sherwood - November 2021
Finally this week, Chairman Peter Mitchener was pleased to donate a cheque for £500 to Harvey Sherwood of Cotswold National Landscape towards the work being done to restore the wildflower rich Jurassic limestone grasslands on the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The money was raised from proceeds of races hosted by the club.