Almost Athletes has awarded the following list of members "Life Membership" in recognition of their commitment and dedication to the club:
Once again, members of Almost Athletes have continued to find inspirational and imaginative ways to keep running and to keep both themselves, and others, motivated in these difficult times.
The biggest Club event during the past two weeks has been the 5km Lockdown Virtual Relay, organised and coordinated by Michelle Balchin who deserves a big round of applause from everyone involved for generating such a sense of togetherness.
An amazing 138 runners in 6 virtual teams took part in the event, each completing a solo 5km run around a pre-defined route in Cheltenham which amounted to a total of 690 km of running overall. Each team had a captain who designed the routes and kept everyone taking part informed and motivated.
During the event there were five new PBs recorded from Laura Smith (35 mins 40 secs), Natalie Greening (25:12), Sharmila Door (25:24), Penny Lewis (32:27) and Kevin Balchin (26:39). The fastest leg was recorded on the Gotherington to Bishops Cleeve route, although there was a variety of difficulty in the routes so they were not totally comparable.
Everyone who took part put in 100% effort, but the winning team overall was the 23 members of ‘Almost Ran Out of Loo Paper’ who collectively ran a total of 115km. Their times were as follows:
Matt Polson 17 mins 57 secs; Finlay Willicott 21:31; Alison Hume 25:32; Malc Allen 23:06; Thomas Wood 21:50; Mike Line 30:03; Glenda Gill 28:45; Nat Stow 27:33; Neil Tring 22:10; Chris McMahon 22:24; Matt Hickman 19:21; Martin Foster 19:34; Patricia Dendy 21:57; Stacey Osmond 22:35; Rachel O’Bryan 23:05; Kev Fairs 26:00; Kev Dendy 29:05; Jane Russell 27:43; Rachel Farger 25:32; Ross Greening 22:27; Rachel Nolan 36:39; Julie Schofield 24:35; and Emma Hall 23:59.
Apart from the relay, individual Club members managed to devise numerous other ways to encourage themselves to keep going out and running.
One of the most creative postings was from John Bailey who took part in his own inaugural Tredington to Tewkesbury super sprint duathlon, consisting of a 4 mile run followed by an 11 mile cycle ride and finishing with a further 2 mile run. Not only did he come first overall with a time of 1 hr 40 mins, but he was also the first Almost Athlete to complete the event and first in his age category! He asked for a special mention for the organiser who presented him with an awesome trophy for his efforts!
Several Almosts continued to enjoy the street name challenge during the week whilst others took part in the post box challenge that began a few weeks ago. Hamish Adamson and Cheryl Rodham joined in the event whilst Mike Line eventually found all of the boxes in and around Bishops Cleeve.
The fastest leg was Gotherington to BC although all legs did fantastic and with a variety of difficulty in the each legs it’s not particularly comparable.
The winning team however was the Amazing ALMOST RAN OUT OF LOO PAPER
Matt Polson, Finley Willicott, Alison Hume, Malc Allen, Thomas Wood, Mike Line, Glenda Gill, Nat Stow, Neil Tring, Chris McMahon, Matthew Hickman, Martin Foster, Patricia Dendy, Stacey Amber, Rachael Nolan, Rachel Fargher, Rachel O’Bryan, Kev Fairs, Kev Dendy, Jane Russell, Ross Greening, Julie Scourfield and Emma Hall
With 23 legs, the total distance per team was a whopping 115k. The total difference between 1st and 6th place was a mere 64 minutes which over 115 Kilometres is very minimal.
Overall 138 runners took part, that’s 690 Kilometres ran!
And you were all incredible!
For the coming week, Forrest Wheeler has suggested a new challenge of looking for unusual or old lampposts, and began by posting an image of himself with a Dragon and Onion streetlamp from circa 1897.
Saturday 18th April was also the 3rd anniversary of Forrest Wheeler’s first ever parkrun in Pittville Park at which he suffered a cardiac arrest. Thankfully, he has now made a full recovery and was able to run around Pittville Park again on Saturday to reflect upon all the people who have helped him back to fitness. Thanks to all their efforts he has been able to enjoy his family, welcome two new grandchildren to the world, travel extensively and meet individual and collectively inspirational people on a daily basis.
Also on Saturday, Dave Nelson completed a 10 mile run in beautiful sunshine around his home town of Motherwell, Scotland.
On Monday, Katie Coleman should have been in Brighton, running her first ever Marathon to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Although the event was cancelled, she nevertheless donned her Alzheimer’s teeshirt and ran a few miles for her mother and everyone else suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Some Club members have been carrying out their running activities at home. Since receiving his new treadmill, Rob Rennell has run for at least nine consecutive days and clocked up a total of 43km, whilst almost equalling his own PB of sub 35 minutes for a 5km run. Melvyn Harris has been regularly completing 4 mile runs on his treadmill. He has created a new hash tag: #TruelyRewardingExtremelyAthleticallyDemandingMoraleImprovingLockdownLiberating!
Away from actual running events, there have been a number of other challenges that members have been involved in.
Vikki Waring has been returning to fitness by working out in her garden, whilst Dave Chittock has been challenged to nominate ten music albums that influenced him the most. Others have been challenging each other to post on Facebook older photos that boost the positive side of running.
This coming week there are going to be a number of other running challenges for members to participate in.
Mark Stojanov has been encouraging others to take part in the 3.7 mile #finishformatt event. So far he has 33 runners signed up with any donations going to the Captain Tom Moore NHS Justgiving page.
Wednesday 22nd April was planned to be a run and talk night to mark Stress Awareness Month with general chatting and running followed by eating cakes and drinking a beverage.
However, as the coronavirus has put a stop to this, the Club’s mental health champions have hijacked the week commencing Wednesday 22nd April for a MOVE and POST Week. They would like Club members to MOVE as much or as little as they wish, then afterwards to POST a picture that meets any of the following criteria:
5 Ways of Wellbeing: Connect, Give, Keep Learning, Take Notice, or Be Active.
They ask that people post something that has made them smile in their day-to-day life, or whilst they are moving.
Members are invited to share how they have been coping with the new routines and any tips for keeping motivated, whilst ensuring that all Social Distancing Guidelines are adhered to.
Keep safe and keep running everyone.
As lockdown continues, so does Almost Athletes’ determination to run responsibly and support each other’s adventures. There has been much excitement with the launch of the inaugural Almost Athletes Virtual 5k Relay: 138 runners, six Almost teams and twenty-one solo 5km legs around Cheltenham and beyond. Organiser Michelle Balchin’s spreadsheet skills have triumphed, and a variety of legs have been planned. From the fast and flat Hatherley… to the multi-terrain Gotherington2Bishops Cleeve… to a Pitbull in Brockworth. A different challenge awaits every team member.
Almost Ran Out of Loo Paper have made a fine start with Matt Polson (17:57, Manchester), Matthew Hickman (Fairview, 19:21), Patricia Dendy (Hatherley, 21:57), Chris McMahon (Churchdown, 22:24 PB), Malc Allen (BC Central, 23:06), and Rachel O’Bryan and Julie Scourfield finished Lecky in 23:05 and 24:35 respectively. Kev Fairs (WymanPitVillage, 26:00), Jane Russell (Prestbury, 27:43), Nat Stow (CharltonKings2Lecky, 28:21), Glenda Gill (Brockworth, 28:44) and Rachael Nolan (Tewkesbury&more, 36:39).
Almost Ate Everything have also started enthusiastically, with thirteen runners so far: Ben Stone (Arle2Waitrose, 19:44), Kevin Dryburgh (Hatherley, 21:39), Peter Mitchener (Fairview, 22:06), Craig Bullingham (Brockworth, 22:23), Mark Wreford-Bush (Gotherington2BC, 23:26), Cat Daly (BC Central, 24:23), Rich Smith (Bishops Cleeve West, 24:26), Dawn Carroll (Charlton Kings, 25:05), Jason Hulance (WymanPitVillage, 25:44), Ben Kirby (Hatherley Extra, 27:17), Dave Nelson (Somewhere in Scotland, 31:09), Sarah Carr (CK2Lecky, 32:59) and Mark Stojanov (Tewkesbury&more, 34:46).
Thirteen members of Almost Locked Up have completed their legs: Miranda Foster (Benhall, 22:24), Ingrid Harris (Hatherley, 24:12), Ivana Wilson (BC Central, 24:51), Sharmila Door (Churchdown, 25:24 PB), Jeanette Gullick (Woodmancote, 25:49), Hannah Brown (CK2Lecky, 26:21), Carole Doherty (CK, 26:37), Mark Conway (Hatherley Extra, 26:43). Kim Lewington (Brockworth) and Steve Yarnold (Prestbury) both finished in 27:55. Catherine Mason (Lecky, 28:36), Alice Harmon (Prestbury, 28:59), and Iris Mayo (BC West, 32:39).
Almost Free so far have Amy Sheer (CK2LECKY, 21:23) Dave McGrath (Fairview, 21:27), Duncan Mounsor ran (Hatherley Extra, 21:28), Shaun Carr (CK, 22:01), Richard Knightley (BC2Gotherington, 22:50) Emma Yates (Portugal, 23:33), Louise Bryan (The Park, 23:25), Mark Lyes (Prestbury, 24:23), Liza Habgood (BC Central, 24:48), Suzanne Hills (Springbank, 26:42) and Claire Hawes (Lecky, 32:30).
Almost On My Own have seen solo performances from Paul Warren (Brockworth, 20:49), Peter Morris (CK, 22:14), Dave Chittock (Hatherley, 22:46), Steve Taylor (Fairview, 22:56), Michelle Balchin (Gotherington2BC, 24:00), Ceri Schofield (Hatherley Extra, 24:06), Clare Hearing (Lecky, 24:38), Sarah Wallbridge (Tewkesbury&more, 25:04), Deb Cartridge (Naunton, 26:01), Kevin Balchin (BC Central, 26:39 PB), Sue Monaghan (Arle2Waitrose, 28:38), and Wan Hartley (WymanPitVillage, 29:49).
Almost Never Came Out have everything left to play for, with only eight outings so far: Josh Hand (BC West, 18:16), Donna Evans (BC Central, 23:26) Steve Wallbridge (Tewkesbury& more, 24:11), Charmaine Brunt (Brockworth, 24:28), Graeme Stopp (WymanPitVillage, 26:24), Julianne Jameson (Gretton, 29:15), Penny Lewis (CK2LECKY, 32:27 PB), and Marika Sieracki (Prestbury, 32:50).
With several athletes yet to run, and time left for performances to be bettered, Almost any team could win!
Away from the relay, club members have been busy searching for their names on road signs. Wan Hartley, Matt and Fi Barnes, and Thomas Wood found their names, while Nick Lewis cycled to Upton upon Severn in search of a suitable sign. Rachael Nolan found her name plus a phonebox and a defibrillator, while Mark Stojanov focused on phoneboxes. There were postboxes for Lisa King, Deb Cartlidge, and Peter Allsopp, and a Penfold for Helen Fursman. Mike Line continued to snap the postboxes of Bishops Cleeve and also found his name on a sign. Mark Wreford-Bush found postboxes, ‘godcakes’ and dilapidated farm vehicles, but Jo and Martin Foster may just have trumped these with their discovery of a burnt out car! Sue Monaghan went for some GPS art and drew her clubmates a heart in Swindon Village.
Cat Daly and Ian Williams explored some new routes on Cleeve Hill. Frances Ferguson found fields, Mariel Chretien found squirrels and Iris Mayo found bridges. Karen Gomm ran with Bradley the dog, Elzbieta Antosiewicz ran 10 miles, Ben Stone ran 9 miles around Arle, and Lynne Macedo’s four runs totalled a marathon. Jason Hulance visited the two Cheltenham parkrun sites on a 10K run, and Becky Heal got active and completed 1.3 miles.
Martyn Fisher created a rainbow of race t-shirts, and Ceri Schofield thrashed Phil Jeyes in the 45 second sock challenge.
There were new lockdown exercises at home for Ollie and Beverley Nolan, who have quickly mastered their exercise bike, racking up 225 miles and 120 miles respectively. Spidey Galpin ran in the garden, Rob Rennell ran on his new treadmill, and Jayne Murphy tackled her tough new training plan. Melvyn Harris recreated the club hill session and ‘notpub2pub run’ on his treadmill, hitting his fastest pace for some time with sub 10 minute miles.
With Easter upon us, Penny Lewis, Michelle Balchin, Catrin Davies Perkins, Kate Houston, Sue Monaghan, Rachael Nolan and Claire Gallagher searched for Easter decorations. There was an Easter Egg Hunt themed video briefing from ‘not run director’ Peter Mitchener for ‘not Cheltenham parkrun’, with ten chocolates hidden inside. Andrew Wilkinson ran every day of Lent, totalling an impressive 157 miles over 44 days.