It was another very busy week for the Almosts, some of whom took on ultramarathons as far afield as Worcestershire, Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight. This week’s long-distance champs are Steve Clark, Karla Cleverley, Cat Daly, Nick Lewis, Cos Pearson and Thom Stephens. Thom and Cat took on Race to the Stones (continuous option), running 100k along The Ridgeway, finishing at Avebury Stone Circle, in 10:58:09 for 43rd position overall and 13:06:44 respectively. Cos Pearson put her recent targeted training to good effect in the Race to the Stones Weekender edition, running 50k on consecutive days in 15:16:46. Karla Cleverley also cashed in her long-term investment in training, crossing the line in her first ultra in 19:24:02.
Steve Clark took part in the two-day Isle of Wight Full Island Challenge, which follows the coastal path 106km around the island and takes in almost 2,000m of height gain past The Needles and Cowes, completing the tough route in 19:30:23. Closer to home Nick Lewis proved a more than worthy match for the Upton 50km ultra, a new addition to the ultrarunning calendar on a mixture of established national trails, bridleways, footpaths, riverbanks and connecting tarmac roads. Nick finished 10th overall in 6:38:17. Meanwhile, an Almost team comprising Jane Rackham-Wood, Shaun Carr and Phil Jeyes took part in the Upton triathlon relay event, swimming 1,500m, cycling 40km and running 10k. At the Cotswold Classic triathlon Jayne Cheslin completed the course in 5:02:44.
Christopher Benjamin edged 13.1 miles closer to his target of 100 half marathons, completing his 91st, a Forestry Commission event in Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire. Mark Wreford-Bush took part in the Leamington Spa half marathon, finishing in a creditable 1:41:44. Elsewhere Kathy and Paul Haig took on the novel White Star Running Wedding Run, a half marathon which turned into a 15.64-mile event, recording 3:50:27 and 3:50:31 before attending a wedding as part of the event!
Mike Johnstone was in blistering midweek form at the scorching hot Brighton Phoenix 10k. Securing a top 10 finish in his age category, he also broke the MV40 club record of 37:06 which had stood since 2014 by eleven seconds, stopping the clock at 36:55.
Elzbieta Antosiewicz’s rich vein of good form continued at the Chepstow Racecourse 10k, where she and club mascot Archie recorded Ela’s second fastest time (54:58) for 6th in age category.
A select band of Almost gents took on the fast and furious Bourton 1 mile, the first event in the 2021 Gloucestershire AAAs road race series and a county championships event. Josh Hand came home first for the club in a speedy 5:39 closely followed by Peter Morris in 5:46 (4th in category), Neil Tring in 6:15, Chris McMahon in 6:37 and Dan Magovern in 6:43.
Taking part in the second race in the Gloucestershire AAA road race series, the 7.2 mile Stroud Beer Race run over an undulating three lap course starting at the Old Lodge Inn, Minchinhampton was a large contingent of Almosts. First home in 20th position and 3rd in age category was coach Dave McGrath in 51:35. Next across the line in 52:20 and 2nd in age category was Peter Morris closely followed by his nemesis Duncan Mounsor in 53:29 and Mark Wreford-Bush in 53:49. Other finishers were Richard Knightley (56:03); Ross Greening (56:44); Neil Tring (59:03); Olly Bell (1:00:21); Kevin Dryburgh (1:05:27) and Jim Trowbridge (1:07:25). Lorraine Taylor, the club’s sole lady representative, completed the challenging course in 1:12:30 for second in age category. Just behind Lorraine was Kevin Fairs (1:13:51); Kevin Richards (1:15:07) and, continuing his solid comeback from leg surgery, Phil Jeyes (1:16:56).