PRESS RELEASES for Hercules Wimbledon AC  

October 2017

November 2017 December 2017
31-10-17 28-11-17 12-12-17 LATEST
24-10-17 21-11-17 5-12-17

17-10-17

14-11-17

9-10-17

7-11-17

3-10-17

 

12-12-17 - FROM POLAR ICE TO TROPICAL HEAT

The Hercules Wimbledon running duo of Felix Allen and James Runnicles clearly enjoy challenges. Just weeks after they competed in the Polar Marathon in sub-zero temperatures in Greenland, the pair went to the other temperature extreme and undertook a 7000 mile round trip to compete in sweltering near 40C heat in Dakar, Senegal, writes Tom Pollak.
 
Reaching the Senegal capital involved an eight hour journey with a change in Lisbon. Both were due to run in the full marathon but Runnicles had to change his plans due to various flight delays and he only arrived three hours before the start of the race - not much time, without a night’s sleep, to acclimatise to the 38C heat - so he opted to run in the half-marathon.
 
Allen, 45, who had won the Polar marathon in Greenland, said: “The travelling wasn't so bad for me but a bit of a disaster for James who got stuck in Lisbon for an extra 24 hours.  Mind you, the taxi from Dakar airport at 3am was quite a ride.  The car looked like it had just left the banger racing at Wimbledon Stadium.”
 
As for the marathon itself, Allen found it quite a test and finished sixth in three hours 11 minutes 27 seconds.  “I cope quite well in the heat but there is no doubt that it slows you down,” said Allen. Thankfully there was plenty of water - a lot of which I was pouring over my head.  I think quite a few runners dropped out too.  There was a very long climb during the race which also explains the slower than usual finishing time.”  He added: “If you aren't prepared to do a bit travel time you don't get to see these amazing places.”
 
Runnicles was 20th in the half-marathon in a time of around one hour 52 minutes. After their races in which they made history by becoming the first Hercules Wimbledon runners to compete in Senegal, they posed with a local in a colourful tribal outfit.
 
Hercules Wimbledon’s Jonny Cornish had a busy but successful time on Wimbledon Common in chilly conditions on Saturday where he won two races in the space of a couple of hours. First, he headed home a 364-strong field to win the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun by more than a minute in a personal best of 15:36 and then he turned out in an inter-club five miles match which incorporated the Boro’ News Cup and the East Surrey League and again won comfortably by half-a-minute in 26:03. Hercules Wimbledon dominated the team stakes with Belal Ahmed was fourth in 27:31, Finn Johnson eighth in 28:35, Joe Toomey ninth in 28:46 and Neil Fraser 10th in 29:06. moe than 100 runners finished.
 
There was also a good turn-out of 13 Hercules Wimbledon youngsters with Ben Tatters second in the 2.5 miles race and Johanna Tofte first under 15 girl to finish.
 
A trio of Hercules Wimbledon runners turned out for Surrey in the senior women’s inter-counties match at Oxford where Surrey took the team honours. Claire Grima was 24th, Alex Binley 52nd and Eileen Brandley 65th.
Elsewhere, Hercules Wimbledon’s Richard McDowell headed home the field in the Buggy Run three miles race in Alice Holt Forest, Farnham, pushing his son Wilfred round the course in 21:53. Over 40 veteran Kieran White won the Nice Work Christmas 5km race in Richmond Park in 17:47, winning by more than four minutes. Matt Sharp was second in the Dulwich Park 5km parkrun in 16:17, five second behind the winner.
 
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are competing in the South of the Thames cross country championships in Aldershot, starting at 2pm. The New Year starts with a tough test for cross country runners with the annual Surrey cross country championships at Denbies Vineyard, Dorking, on Sunday, January 7th. Hercules Wimbledon’s senior men are defending the Surrey team title they won at the start of 2017 in Lloyd Park, Croydon.
 
Hercules Wimbledon athletes get the chance to build upon their appetites for a festive lunch with the annual Lauriston Runners Club’s 30-minutes Christmas Day paarlauf in which pairs of athletes run alternatively for 30 minutes with the duo covering the furthest distance the winners. The event starts from opposite Lauriston Cottage on South Side, Wimbledon Common at 11am on Christmas Day. The club’s last race of the year is the Hercules Wimbledon/Lauriston Runners Club’s five miles multi-terrain race on Wimbledon Common on Saturday, December 30th.
 
 
James Runnicles (left) and Felix Allen posing in their Hercules Wimbledon vests with a colourful local after competing in Senegal
Richard McDowell pushing son Wilfred to victory in the Buggy Run in Farnham

Three Hercules Wimbledon senior women who competed for Surrey at Oxford. Left to right: Eileen Brandley, Claire Grima and Alex Binley.

Hercules Wimbledon's youngsters after completing in the inter-club race on Wimbledon Common.

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5-12-17 - ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL WEEKEND

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s runners enjoyed another successful weekend with five parkrun wins, two junior parkrun winners and a gold medallist in an Irish county championship - and looking ahead a record eight Hercules Wimbledon runners will be flying the flag for Surrey in this weekend’s South of England inter-counties cross country championships at Horspath, Oxford, writes Tom Pollak.

Best of the parkruns came in Bushy Park where Jonny Cornish headed home a 991-strong field in  a massive personal best of 14:52, posting the top age-graded performance of the day, with his Hercules Wimbledon club mate Justin Reid 10th and first veteran over 45 finisher in 16:51.  Cornish took 35 seconds off his previous best for the course set in October 2016 and his run ranks him 14th fastest in the history of the event.

Over on Wimbledon Common Ben Toomer gained a runaway victory in 16 minutes 13 seconds finishing more than minute ahead of the second runner as he headed home the 398-strong field. David Lewin was fourth in 17:35 and Adam Harwood seventh in 18:01 with Amy Aronson and Alex Binley, warming up for her Surrey debut at Oxford, top two women finishers in 19:38 and 19:49. Lisa Thomas was first woman over 50 in 21:12. There were 21 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action there.

Matt Sharp headed home a 277-strong field in Dulwich Park in 16:01, winning by 18 seconds, while Robbie Hynes triumphed in Richmond Park in a personal best of 17:28, finishing 21-seconds clear of the 357-strong field. He sliced 17 seconds off his previous best set on his debut appearance in the event at the beginning of last month.

Not to be outshone, Hercules Wimbledon’s youngsters also took the honours in the Wimbledon Common 2km junior parkrun on Sunday morning with Ellen Weir, heading home all 92 boys and girls in 7:34 with her Hercules Wimbledon clubmate Harry Sudden top boy 27 seconds later. Sacha Ormiston was second in the boys race in 8:11 with Hannah Hegvold second girl finisher in 8:56.

Across the Irish Sea, Hercules Wimbledon’s Cheryl Nolan was tasting victory on the Emerald Isle as she headed home the field in the women’s 5km championship in the Laois County Championhipd on the Stradbally Estate in 17:51, winning by 26 seconds. She also led her Irish club to the bronze team medals.

Elsewhere, Tom Cheetham was second veteran over 50 finisher in the Regent’s Park 10km event the day after finishing top over 50 veteran in the Tooting Common 5km parkrun. Chris Ore won the Nice Works 5km event in Bushy Park in 18:31 with Kieran White runner-up and top over 40 veteran the 10km race in 35:08. Stuart Fraser was top veteran over 50 finisher in the Self Transcendence 5km race in Battersea Park where Maurice Sharp was top over 70 finisher.

Hercules Wimbledon will be well represented in the Surrey teams competing in the South of England inter-counties cross country championships in Oxford on Saturday. A trio of Hercules Wimbledon runners - Claire Grima, Alex Binley and Eileen Brandley - are in the senior women’s squad while Georgina Clarke, Joanna Tofte and Rebekah Riches compete in the under 15 girls event and Lauren Armitage and Millie Doyle race in the girls under 13 championship.

Meanwhile, nearer home, Hercules Wimbledon hosts the first of this season’s East Surrey League meetings, a five miles cross country race on Wimbledon Common on Saturday, starting from near the Thatched Cottage at 11am.

      
Claire Grima - Alex Binley - Eileen Brandley who are representing Surrey in the senior women's event at Oxford


 Cheryl Nolan winning the Laois county cross country championship in Ireland

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28-11-17 - ANOTHER WIN FOR VETERAN FELIX

Just weeks after winning the Polar Circle Marathon in sub-zero temperatures, Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s veteran exponent Felix Allen turned out in a more temperate climate to win the Velothon Track Marathon in Brighton. It meant running round-and-round the 579 metres circuit of the ancient velodrome more than 72 times to complete the 26 miles 385 yards marathon distance, writes Tom Pollak.

However, racing round Britain’s oldest cycling track - it was built in 1877 - proved no problem for the 45-year-old who won by more than three minutes in two hours 53 minutes one second.

Allen said after his win: “The track marathon sounds like most people's idea of hell but there were some real benefits. Seventy-two laps meant 72 aid stations and somewhere to leave all your supplies rather than carrying them,  and at any given time you know exactly where all of the other competitors are. Nice if you’re having a good race.”

Looking ahead, he added modestly: “Nothing too extravagant planned for the rest of this year, just a couple of marathons.  Mind you, one of those is in Senegal and that involves a 7000 mile round journey.”

Another of Hercules Wimbledon’s ultra distance runners Monika Crouse also completed a daunting challenge in Northumberland when she completed a half-marathon and marathon on successive days. The Wooler Trail half-marathon on Saturday involved running over 14 miles and climbing almost 2500 feet in the Cheviot Hills. She was the third woman veteran over 45 in 2:25:43.

With little time to recover, the 40-year-old was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to compete in the Wooler Trail marathon over a 28.5 miles course and climbing more than 6000 feet. She was 64th out of 226 runners in 6:50:50 and was fourth veteran finisher. Hopefully, Monika was able to enjoy the “splendid uninterrupted views” in the Northumberland National Park which the race prospectus boasted about.

In a contrasting muddy quagmire, Hercules Wimbledon’s Cheryl Nolan competed in the Irish National women’s 8km cross country championship in Dublin’s National Sports Campus. She finished 19th in 30:27. The 28-year-old said afterwards: “There was a small patch that was dry but we were going through a lot of muddy areas like the one in the picture! It was pretty brutal on the legs but I managed!”

Another of Hercules Wimbledon’s top women’s runners, Alex Binley, just missed out on a medal in the South of the Thames five miles race in Beckenham Place Park on Saturday, finishing fourth in the women’s category in 34:30.

One of Hercules Wimbledon’s most talented youngsters, Georgina Clarke, celebrated her selection to run for Surrey in the South of England inter-counties cross country championships in Oxford by setting a Hercules Wimbledon club record in finishing second female in the Bishop’s Park 5km parkrun in Fulham on Saturday. Her 18:57 time was the 16th fastest by an under 15 girl in park runs in Britain this year. Elsewhere, Adam Harwood was the best of 15 Hercules Wimbledon runners in the Wimbledon Common parkrun finishing third out of 381 runners in 18:05. Justin Reid clocked a faster 16:42 in finishing ninth out of 1100 runners in Bushy Park.

Hercules Wimbledon’s youngsters took the honours in Sunday’s Wimbledon Park 2km parkrun with Thomas Whorton heading home the 127-strong field in 8:13 and Cate Coverley first girl in 8:48. At the other end of the age scales, the ckub’s oldest cross country runner, 72-year-old Pete Giles was first over 70 finisher in the England Masters inter-area match in Bournemouth covering the 7.5km in 30:59.

This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s youngsters are in action in the second of their Downs League matches on Epsom Downs on Sunday morning. The races start at Tottenham Corner at 10.45am.


 
Cheryl Nolan racing through a quagmire in the Irish Championship in Dublic        winner Felix Allen from Hercules Wimbledon
Runners in the track marathon at Brighton Velodrome
Monika Crouse who completed two ultra distance runs in Northumberland on successive days

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21-11-17 - MEDAL WINS IN LONDON AND ULSTER

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s senior men’s team continued their outstanding cross country season by taking teams medals in the annual London cross country championships while the club’s golden oldies gained a hat-trick of medals in the British Masters Home cross country international in Northern Ireland, writes Tom Pollak.

Hercules Wimbledon’s oldest cross country runner, 73-year-old Pete Giles was just pipped in the British Masters international over 70 6km race in Londonderry on Saturday finishing just one second behind the winner. However, he led the England team to gold medals. Anna Garner was the third member of the gold medal-winning over 60 England women’s team finishing sixth.

Coming close on the heels of their team victory in the second of this season’s Start Fitness Surrey League races on Mitcham Common, Hercules Wimbledon’s senior men confirmed their rating as the top Surrey team this winter by taking the bronze team medals in the London championships at Parliament Hill Fields, North London. Racing through steady drizzle on the undulating three lap course, the medal-winning team was led in by Jonny Cornish who finished fifth of the 494 runners in the 10km championship in 34 minutes 23 seconds. Then came a group of five solid packing Hercules Wimbledon runners - Ben Toomer (11th in 34:23), Fred Slemeck (13th in 34:55), Andrew Penney (14th in 35:00), Finn Johnson (16th in 35:11) and Dimos Evangelides (18th in 35:32).

Cornish, Toomer, Slemeck and Penney clinched the bronze team medals in the four-to-score team contest but with Johnson and Evangelides close on their heels, had it been a six-to-score event, Hercules Wimbledon would have run out convincing team winners. A total of 18 Hercules Wimbledon runners were in action at the venue where the English national championships will be staged next February. It was the cub’s third medal winning performance in the event in seven years having taken silver in 2011 and bronze in 2013.

“It’s a shame this isn’t six-a-side competition like the Surrey championships. Had it been we would have taken the gold medals. However, taking the bronze team medals against some strong opposition is a good performance and augurs well for the Surrey championships in January when we are defending our senior men’s team title,” said Hercules Wimbledon team manager Fred Green.

Racing before the men, Hercules Wimbledon’s women’s team were robbed of their top runner in the 6km championship when Claire Grima dropped out with a chest infection. But, she was there with her two sons, Luca and Jasper, cheering on her clubmates and husband Dave who finished 124th in the men’s championship. In Grima’s absence, the women’s quartet was led to ninth team place by Eileen Brandley who has shown much improved form this winter. She was 20th of the 275 runners in 22:55 a big improvement on her 143rd place the last time she ran in the London in 2015. London debutante Lucy Wertheim was 37th in 23:51 with over 50 veterans Anne Hegvold and Lisa Thomas 55th in 24:25 and 79th in 25:31, respectively.

The London Youth Games championships were held before the two senior championships with 29 Hercules Wimbledon youngsters turning out for the Merton and Wandsworth borough teams. Georgie Clarke (16th in 7:57) and Rebekah Riches (25th in 8:11) were members of the bronze medal-winning Wandsworth under 15 girls team. Ellen Weir was the top Merton finisher taking 20th place in 8:00 out of the 209 runners. Highest placed Hercules Wimbledon runners in the eight youngsters races was Lloyd Hodgson who was 15th out of 204 runners the boys under 13 race representing Merton.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Alex Binley was top woman finisher in Saturday’s Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun 19:48. Matt Gibbons was the first Hercules Wimbledon finisher taking second place out of the 394 runners in 18:14 in his first race for more than two months. Kieran White was second veteran over 40 finisher in the Brighton 10km road race on the south coast on Sunday in 33:14 taking 15th place out of 1938 runners.

This weekend Hercules Wimbledon's cross country runners are in action in the South of the Thames five miles team championship in Beckenham Place Park, Lewisham, starting at 2pm.


The medal-winning Hercules Wimbledon contingent with Luca and Jasper, the two sons of Dave and Claire Grima in the foreground
 
Anna Garner who helped England women's over 60's team to gold
Pete Giles individual silver medallist who led the England men's over 70 team to gold

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14-11-17 - HISTORIC WIN ON MITCHAM COMMON

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club enjoyed another successful weekend of cross country running with the senior men making history by winning the Start Fitness Surrey League Division One team competition for the first time in four decades, writes Tom Pollak.

The club has to go back to 1978 for the last time it won a top division match. The victory also means Hercules Wimbledon top the league going into 2018.

Leading the team home on Mitcham Common was Jonny Cornish who raced to fifth place in 27 minutes 38 seconds. Not far behind were a bunch of five Hercules Wimbledon runners in close proximity to each other. Andrew Penney finished 11th in 28:04, Ben Toomer 13th in 28:09, Fred Slemeck 14th in 28:17 and Belal  Ahmed 15th in 28:18.

Two other Hercules Wimbledon runners Finn Johnson (20th in 28:36) and Dimos Evangelides (25th in 28:49) completed the course inside 29 minutes. Richard McDonnell (32nd in 29:16), Alex Robinson (39th in 29:27), and Will Russell (44th in 29:43) completed the scoring team of 10.

A total of 29 Hercules runners were among the 250 to complete the course.

Teams: 1st Hercules Wimbledon 218 points; 2nd Kent AC 247; 3rd Thames Hare & Hounds 327; 4th Herne Hill 398; 5th Ranelagh 490; 6th Belgrave 493; 7th South London Harriers 523; 8th Clapham Chasers 606; 9th Reigate Priory 793.

Standings after two matches: 1st Hercules Wimbledon 534; 2nd Kent AC 564; 3rd Thames Hare & Hounds 638; 4th Herne Hill 732; 5th Belgrave 907;  6th South London Harriers 1033; 7th Ranelagh 1077; 8th Clapham Chasers 1160; 9th Reigate Priory 1546.

Several Hercules Wimbledon youngsters were also in action on Mitcham Common. Henry Silverstein was ninth out of 92 finishes in the joint under 15 and under 17 race and Lloyd Hodgson was eighth out of 49 runners in the under 13 race.

Meanwhile Hercules Wimbledon's senior women and girls showed good form in the Start Fitness Surrey Ladies League meeting in historic Nonsuch Park.

The senior women improved on their first match performance at Reigate last month to finish third of the 15 clubs and just miss out on second place. Once again newcomer Cheryl Nolan led the 13 Hercules Wimbledon runners in finishing fifth in 21:51 with Claire Grima 10th in 22:22 and first veteran over 40. Alex Binley (24th in 23:20), Eileen Brandley (27th in 23:33) and Anne Hegvold (49th in 24:37 and second veteran over 50) completed the scoring team.

Teams: 1st Clapham Chasers 67pts; 2nd Thames Hare & Hounds 110; 3rd Hercules Wimbledon 114; 4th Herne Hill 140; 5th Ranelagh 172; 6th Kent AC 173; 7th South London Harriers 179; 8th Belgrave 181 out of 15 teams.

Leading standings after two matches:    1st equal Clapham Chasers & Thames Hare & Hounds 185; 3rd Hercules Wimbledon 249; 4th South London Harriers 272; 5th Ranelagh 307; 6th Kent AC 323.

Best of the youngsters in action were Georgie Clarke and Rebekah Riches who finished fourth and seventh in the under 15 and under 17 race to lead Hercules Wimbledon to third team place. They will both be in action for Wandsworth on the London Youth Games cross country championships on Saturday.

In the under 13 race Lauren Armitage and Millie Thorpe were 11th and 16th to lead Hercules Wimbledon to fourth  team place.

Hercules Wimbledon provided the winner of the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun on Sunday with Sam Masters crossing the line in 7:29 to lead the 149-strong field home.

This weekend Hercules Wimbledon's cross country runners are in action in North London and Northern Ireland. A trio of Hercules Wimbledon runners - Pete Giles, Anna Garnier and Justin Reid are competing in the Home Countries Masters cross country international in Londonderry on Saturday..

Also on Saturday, a large contingent of Hercules Wimbledon runners will be heading for Parliament Hill Fields. First off will be around a dozen club youngsters competing for Merton and Wandsworth in the London Youth Games cross country championships in the morning. Then, in the afternoon, Hercules Wimbledon's older runners compete in the annual London women's and men's championships over 6km and 10km respectively.


Hercules Wimbledon women's team in Surrey League action


Hercules Wimbledon men's team in Surrey League action

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7-11-17 - UNIQUE POLAR RUN EXPERIENCE

Two Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club runners have returned to London after enjoying the experience of a lifetime in sub-zero temperatures competing in the Polar Circle Marathon and Half-Marathon in Greenland, writes Tom Pollak.

One of them, 45-year-old Felix Allen beat more than 130 runners from different parts of the world to win the marathon, dubbed the World’s coolest by the organisers, to win in three hours 22 minutes 36 seconds beating Denmark’s Martin Thomson over the slippery icebound course by more than two minutes. Allen, who had previously completed 17 marathons including in London, Berlin and Amsterdam, admitted this was one of his more unusual experiences. His Hercules Wimbledon clubmate James Runnicles running his first marathon finished a solid 11th in 4:06:12.

The following day they returned to action on the slippery Polar surface to compete in the half-marathon. Thomson managed to turn the tables on the Hercules Wimbledon runner and won by almost eight minutes with Allen second in 1:53:18 and Runnicles 23rd of more than 100 runners in 2:24:43.

Organisers promote the event with the boast: “Welcome to an extraordinary marathon in truly magnificent scenery. Combine your visit to remote Greenland with a unique Arctic race. Run on the vast ice sheet and experience the breathtaking polar landscapes in this challenging running event.”

Their website adds: “The Polar Marathon - often referred to as the coolest marathon on Earth - includes the endless ice and arctic tundra of this vast country which provide the backdrop of this unusual race. This is a rare opportunity to visit one of the most remote corners of the world while daring to take part in an extremely challenging running event. Part of the route is on the ice cap.”

Allen commented: “It was a fantastic event, certainly a tough one.  Me and James seem to have developed a desire for the bonkers. It's a great way to visit such a remote and beautiful location and without the race taking place it would probably never happen.

“I suppose it's a combination of two interests, travel and running.  The more bizarre the setting the more it seems to appeal.  We certainly won't forget running on the ice cap or along side the Russell Glacier.  Luckily for us, no Polar Bears have visited the area in the last 5 years - one less thing to worry about.”

Nearer home, Hercules Wimbledon runners dominated their inter-club 4.9 miles match in Richmond Park, organised by the Bank of England, providing the first eight runners home. Will Russell, gained a comfortable win in 25:55 finishing more than a minute clear of teenager Henry Silverstein (27:07) with George Longworth third in 27:20. David Lewin was fourth in 27:40 followed by Tom Buckley (28:10) and Rob Tuer (28:32).

Two of the 21 Hercules Wimbledon runners were having their second race of the day after running in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun in the morning. Charles Hampden-Smith was second over 55 veteran in 20:57 and Lisa Thomas, who was first woman finisher in Richmond Park in 33:55, was fifth woman on Wimbledon Common in 21:43. Best of the 10 Hercules Wimbledon runners was Adam Harwood who finished fourth of the 453-strong field in 18:04.

Team result: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 6pts; 2 Kingston & Polytechnic 51; 3 Bank of England 54; 4 Elmbridge Runners 61.

In the Kingston 5km parkrun, Hercules Wimbledon chairman Dave Clarke ran with his wife Fran and teenage son Daniel finishing together in 21:53 with Fran first woman. Elsewhere, Justin Reid was fourth out of 1123 runners in Bushy Park where he posted the day’s top age-graded performance, clocking 16:43, just two seconds outside his best time for the course, Robbie Hynes was second out of 435 runners in Richmond Park in 17:45 and Rachel Brenton was second woman in Tredegar, Wales.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners will be aiming to continue their good start to their league programme. The men, who just failed to win the opening Start Fitness League match at Reigate will be challenging for there honours on Mitcham Common. The youngsters’ race starts at 2.30pm with the seniors off at 3pm. Hercules Wimbledon’s senior women who were fourth in their opening match are in action in Nonsuch Park, kicking off the programme at 12 noon.


Some of the Hercules Wimbledon contingent in Richmond Park where No 19 Will Russell won

Runners in action in the Polar Circle Marathon in Greenland
 
Hercules Wimbledon's Felix Allen who won the Polar Circle Marathon in Greenland
The 6km point in what is claimed to be the world's coolest marathon

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31-10-17 - YOUNG AND OLD RUNNERS SHINE

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s cross country runners enjoyed another outstanding weekend dominating the Wimbledon Common parkrun and picking up girls team medals in the Surrey young athletes relays, writes Tom Pollak.

The success was compounded with the news that Hercules Wimbledon’s Dwayne Cowan has been selected to compete for England in the 4x400m relay at next year’s Commonwealth Games to be held in Australia in April, two Hercules Wimbledon athletes have qualified for the European Age Group duathlon championships to be held in Spain next October and a third Hercules Wimbledon runner will be taking part in the Home Countries Masters international in Londonderry on November 14th.

Hercules Wimbledon runners dominated the weekly Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun on Saturday providing the first three runners to cross the line in addition to the individual men’s and women’s winners. Ben Toomer led in a phalanx of three Hercules Wimbledon runners as he headed home the 501-strong field in 16 minutes 30 seconds, beating club mate Finn Johnson by 14 seconds with Alex Robinson third in 17:02 and Joe Toomey fifth in 17:38. Eileen Brandley and Gina Galbraith were the top two women finishers in 19:31 and 20:00. Richard McDowell, who pushed his son Tom round the course in a buggy, finished 15th in 18:47. Twenty-six Hercules Wimbledon runners took part.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Liz Staverski was top woman finisher in Hull in 19:07 while  over 45 veteran Justin Reid, fifth who was veteran over 45 finishers in the trials race, celebrated his selection for Northern Ireland for the Home Countries Masters cross country international by finishing ninth out of 1388 runners in Bushy Park in 17:16 with the top age-graded performance of the day. Clubmates Dave Grima and Richard Clark were 13th in 17:34 and first veteran over 60, respectively. Elsewhere, Vikki Filsell posted the top women’s age graded performance in Bishop’s Park, Fulham, Chris Coles was seventh out of 340 runners at Woking and Daniel Clarke, son of Hercules Wimbledon chairman Dave Clarke, was runner-up in the Wimbledon Park 2km junior parkrun in 7:59, five seconds behind the winner and Cate Coverley was top girl finisher in 8:23.

Other Hercules Wimbledon youngsters were performing well in the Bruce Judd Surrey young athletes cross country relays at Stoke Park, Guildford. Opening leg runner Joanna Tofte led the under 15 girls teams to silver medals for the first time heading home the 22-strong field at the end of the opening lap in 7:55 the second fastest individual time of the day. Rebekah Riches (8:25) and Georgina Clarke (8:09) completed the silver medal-winning team. The B team of Ellen Weir (8th in 8:32), Selma Hegvold (seventh in 8:47) and Niamh Thompson (9:33) finished 10th.

In the under 13 relay, there was a domestic battle between two Hercules Wimbledon teams which the A team won by just two seconds. Millie Doyle (third in 8:32) brought the B team in five seconds ahead of Lauren Ermitage on the opening leg. Lulu Weisz (fourth in 8:54) handed over 26 seconds ahead of A team runner Millie Thorpe (seventh in 9:05) before Bailey O’Leary saved the blushes of the A team with an anchor leg of  9:27 finishing sixth of the 28 teams. Nina Raizada (9:45) brought the B team home in eighth place.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Gina Galbraith and Peter Lee secured selection for the European Age Group Duathlon Championships in Ibiza, Spain, next October, with solid performances in the British championships at Thurleigh, Bedfordshire. Galbraith was seventh in the women’s over 40 sprint duathlon. Lee, who excelled in both his runs, took the individual bronze medal in the men’s over 50 category.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Andrew Penney was second out of 160 runners in the North of the Thames five miles cross country race at Kingsbury in 24:44.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are in action in an inter-club 4.9 miles match in Richmond Park starting at 3pm close to Roehampton Gate and hosted by the Bank of England. Other clubs taking part are Kingston & Polytechnic, Elmbridge, Beckenham and the Stock Exchange.


The silver medal-winning under 15 girls team at Guildford


Ben Toomer ahead of Finn Johnson and Alex Robinson in the Wimbledon Common parkrun

 
Eileen Brandley women's winner of the Wimbledon Common parkrun
Richard McDowell pushes son Tom in a buggy in the Wimbledon Common parkrun

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24-10-17 - BAGFUL OF MEDALS FOR OLDIES

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s older cross country runners enjoyed another successful year in the annual Surrey Masters cross country championships in Richmond Park on Saturday with a trio of individual winners and one team title among a bagful of medals, writes Tom Pollak.

The traditional autumn challenge in Richmond Park of rutting deer was replaced this year by the gale force gusts of Storm Brian which meant runners were also focussed on staying on their feet as they raced round the two-lap circuits.

Marathon runner Claire Grima was cheered to victory by husband Dave and sons Jasper and Luca as she raced to a winning debut in the women’s 6km championship heading home the 133 runners in the women’s and men’s over 60 championships. She won by 43 seconds in 23 minutes 36 seconds to lift the women’s over 40 gold medal and admitted: “This is the first time I’ve run this race. I could have run when I was 35 but I have been in denial for five years.”

She added: “It was very windy so I tried to shelter by running behind other runners. This is probably the windiest inland race I’ve been in. The only times I can remember it being windier was when I raced on the sea front at Brighton and Hastings.”

The previous weekend Claire had taken the veterans over 40 women’s prize in the Cabbage Patch 10 miles road race at Twickenham where her Hercules Wimbledon clubmate Pete Giles was top over 70 age group winner. Giles, 73, celebrated his selection for the England team to compete in next month’s British and Irish Masters international in Londonderry with a runaway victory in the over 70’s championship in Richmond Park in 26:18 finishing more than five minutes ahead of another Hercules Wimbledon runner, Martin Miller, who took the silver medal in 31:32. Richard Clark, who was fourth in the over 60 championship, completed the trio who secured the over 60 team silver medals.

Giles, 73, who completed a hat-trick of Surrey Masters over 70 titles and was 17 seconds faster than his winning time in 2017, will be making his ninth appearance win the home countries international. Another Hercules Wimbledon runner in action in Northern Ireland will be Anna Garner, who was more than three minutes ahead of the runner-up in retaining her women’s over 60 title in 27:54.

Anne Hegvold led Hercules Wimbledon to the women’s over 45 team title finishing second in the over 50 race in 35:10 with Lisa Thomas sixth in 26:51 and Alison Purnell silver medallist in the over 55 category in 28:31. Second claim members Vikki Filsell and Liz Stavreski were silver and bronze medal-winners in the over 40 and over 50 categories.

Felix Allen and Matt De Freitas, taking the individual silver and bronze medals in 38:56 and 39:23 in the over 45 10km race led Hercules Wimbledon to silver medals in the men’s over 40 team event. The third member of the medal-winning team was Khaled Diaw who was seventh in 39:39.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Ben Toomer headed home the 384-strong field in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun on Saturday in 17:33 with David Lewin second of the 12 runners from the club. Richard McDowell beat a larger 556-strong field on Tooting Bec in 16:51 pipping the second runner by just three seconds. Elsewhere Russell Price was fifth out of 433 runners on Wycombe Rye while teenager Sam Masters was eighth on his debut at Holkham Hall, Norfolk. Morgan Rennie gained his fifth win in the Wimbledon Park 2km junior parkrun on Sunday, winning by almost a minute in 7:54.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s youngsters are in action in the Bruce Judd Surrey young athletes cross country relays in Stoke Park, Guildford, on Saturday.

 
Pete Giles retained his men's over 70's title                Claire Grima debut winner
The happy Hercules Wimbledon women's squad (left to right) Rowena Hornshaw, Anne Hegvold, Alison Purnell, Gina Galbraith, Claire Grima, Lisa Thomas, Marilena De Luca, Fenella Willis

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17-10-17 - SOLID STARTS TO CROSS LEAGUES

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s cross country runners followed up on their best men’s performance in the English road relay championship for more than 40 years the previous weekend with a solid start in both the men’s and women’s Surrey cross country leagues at Reigate on Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.

The Hercules Wimbledon men produced their best start since winning the opening match in 1978 by finishing runners-up in the Division One match, just seven points behind the winners. The club’s senior women’s runners were not to be outshone as they finished fourth of the 15 Division One teams, their strongest opening match performance since winning the first match in 2011.

The senior men were led in by a trio of runners - Jonathan Cornish, Fred Slemeck and Ben Toomer, who finished fifth, sixth and seventh of the 196 runners covering the five miles in 27 minutes 24 seconds, 28:04 and 28:06. Finn Johnson (21st in 29:04), Demons Evangelidis (26th in 29:30 and third over 40 veteran), Richard McDowell (31st in 29:41), Jonny Earl (47th in 30:22) Kieran White (49th in 30:29), Justin Reid (52nd in 30:43) and Neil Fraser (78th in 31:40) completed the scoring team of 10. Twenty-one Hercules Wimbledon senior men were in action.

More than two hours earlier, the Hercules Wimbledon senior women had raced over the undulating Reigate Priory circuit to throw down the gauntlet to their male clubmates by finishing a good fourth in the Division One match. They were led in by newcomer Cheryl Nolan making her debut in the gold and red Hercules Wimbledon vest who finished fifth of the 243 runners covering the six kilometres in 24:04. Claire Grima was eighth and top veteran over 40 in 24:40 followed by Eileen Brandley (29th in 26:30), Zoe Pike (45th in 27:18) and Anne Hegvold (51st in 27:30).16:53.

Hercules Wimbledon’s youngsters also gave a good showing finishing third in the girls under 15 team race with Johanna Tofte leading the team home finishing sixth of the 54 runners in 16:33. Georgina Clarke was ninth in 16:53, Rebekah Riches 16th in 17:47 and Ellen Weir 22nd in 18:17. Best of the Hercules Wimbledon under 13 runners was Lauren Ermitage who was 10th of the 80 finishers.

Richard McDowell, who helped the senior men to a strong team effort, was continuing his return to racing after almost four months out with a foot injury. The previous weekend he raced in the Chester Marathon sporting an England vest. This was because he was competing in the England over 35 age group championship for which he qualified in the Bournemouth marathon 12 months earlier. He finished 32nd of the 2587 runners in a very respectable 2:42:24.

“I toed the line after three weeks light training,” said Richard. “I was just planning on trotting round in around three hours so was making a concerted effort to take it easy at the start. Hitting the half-way mark in one hour 23 minutes, slightly quicker than anticipated, I was feeling incredibly fresh so decided to empty the tank overtaking dozens of runners and was pretty pleased with my time after the slow start.” He completed the second half of the race four minutes faster than the first 13 miles.

Claire Grima completed a busy weekend winning the women’s veterans over 40 category in the Cabbage Patch 10 miles road race at Twickenham on Sunday in 1:01:34, her best time for the distance since 2014. She was also fourth in the women’s race. Ben Toomer also racing the second time over the weekend was fifth out of 1558 runners in 54:02.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Matt Sharp was second British finisher in the Chicago Marathon, where there were more than 44500 runners, in 2:29:19.

Elsewhere, Hercules Wimbledon’s Alex Binley was top woman finisher in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun in 19:39, taking fifth overall out of 415 runners and leading 15 Hercules Wimbledon runners home. Teenager Ben Tatters was third out of 487 runners in the Richmond Park event while Georgina Carrington was top girl finisher in the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s runners compete in the Surrey Veterans cross country championships in Richmond Park. The races start near Pembroke Lodge with the women and over 60 men off at 3.30pm covering 6km and the main men’s 10km race starting at 4.15pm.


Hercules Wimbledon's happy men's squad after their best ever start


The successful girls under 15 squad left to right Anya Stacey, Georgina Clarke, Ellen Weir, Albane Fery, Selma Hegvold, Johanna Tofte and Rebekah Riches

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9-10-17 - BEST PLACING FOR FOUR DECADES
Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s road runners posted their best performance for more than 40 years in the English  senior men’s six-stage road relay championship at Sutton Park, Birmingham, on Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.

The six runners gave an impressive showing finishing 17th out of the 82 teams,  and the top Surrey and South West London club. It was Hercules Wimbledon’s best performance in the championship since finishing 11th out of 25 teams in 1974 when the event was held at Wimbledon.

Fred Slemeck made a strong start for Hercules Wimbledon covering the opening six kilometres leg in 18 minutes 50 seconds to hand over in 50th place. Then came another strong run by Andrew Penney who clocked 18:04, the fastest Hercules Wimbledon time, to storm through the field overtaking 18 teams handing over in 32nd place.

Finn Johnson (19:09) gained a further two places on the third stage before Belal Ahmed (18:44) moved up to 26th place. Penultimate runner Jonny Cornish posted the third best Hercules Wimbledon time of 18:14 to gain a further five places before Ben Toomer, clocking the second best team time on the anchor leg (18:06), race past another four teams.

Toomer and Ahmed completed a busy weekend by taking part in the Oxford half-marathon on Sunday. Ahmed was fourth out of 8357 runners in 69:40 just eight seconds outside his personal best.Toomer was 16th in 1:14:11 with David Grima 48th in 1:19:12 and his wife Claire 74th and first woman veteran over 40 in 1:20:45.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Dominic Kiralyfi was just two seconds outside his lifetime best set in 2015 when he finished runner-up in the Royal Parks half-marathon in Hyde Park on Sunday in 1:11:37. There were almost 16500 finishers.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Gina Galbraith gained a runaway victory in the women’s 40-45 category in the London half-duathlon event in Richmond Park in 1:29:37. She finished nine minutes clear of the runner-up.

It was 33rd time lucky for Hercules Wimbledon’s Thomas Whorton in the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun on Sunday. He posted his first victory since making his debut in the event in February 2016 after finishing runner-up three times. He clocked 7:52, one second slower than his best time as he headed a 212-strong field home with clubmate Thomas Beare third in 8:01.

Meanwhile, Hercules Wimbledon’s senior runners gained a hat-trick of wins on International parkrun day on Saturday. David Lewin headed home a 338-strong field to win for the fourth time in Finsbury Park in 17:45. Felix Allen made a winning debut at Southport in 17:53, beating almost 400 runners.

Allen completed a busy weekend by competing in the West Coast half-marathon in Fylde on Sunday where he was second veteran over 45 finisher in 1:23:33 finishing ninth out of 269 runners. Amy Aronson was top woman finisher in the Wimbledon Common parkrun finishing 13th out of 416 runners in 19:43. Top Hercules Wimbledon finisher was Adam Harwood who was third in 17:53.

Seven Hercules Wimbledon athletes were among 1465 runners who took part in the 13th anniversary Bushy Park parkrun. First Hercules Wimbledon finisher was Justin Reid who was fifth in 16:51. Russell Price was fourth out of 284 runners in the Sale Water Park event in 18:46.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are heading to Priory Park, Reigate, on Saturday for the opening Surrey Men’s and Ladies Leagues meetings of the season. The women’s programme starts at 12noon with the senior race while the men’s programme starts at 2.30pm with the young athletes 2.5 miles race followed at 3pm by the senior men’s five miles.

 
Left - Belal Ahmed who ran in the English six-stage road relay on Saturday and then finished fourth in the Oxford half-marathon on Sunday
Right - Dominic Kiralyfi after finishing runner-up in the Royal Parks half-marathon


Hercules Wimbledon's England six-stage road relay team from left Andrew Penney, Jonny Cornish, Belal Ahmed, Finn Johnson, Ben Toomer, Fred Slemeck

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3-10-17 - FLYING START FOR CROSS WOMEN

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s women’s cross country team made a winning start to the new season with a convincing victory in their opening match of the season at Lloyd Park, Croydon, on Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.

They were led to success by over 40 veteran Liz Stavreski  who was top woman finisher in the five miles race in 33 minutes 23 seconds. Teenager Charlotte Clover, making an impressive Hercules Wimbledon debut, was second finisher from the club and top under 20 runner in 34:48, eight seconds ahead of over 50 veteran Anne Hegvold. Completing the winning team was fellow over 50 veteran Lisa Thomas in 36:25. The other Hercules Wimbledon women finishers were Vikki Filsell (36:52), Alison Purnell (38:32), and Monika Crouse (38:52).

Women’s team: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 20pts; 2 Herne Hill 60; 3 Striders of Croydon 62; 4 Hercules Wimbledon B 63; 5 Epsom & Ewell 65.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Jonathan Cornish found it tough going in the men’s race where he was second in 27:05, nine seconds behind the winner. Another Hercules Wimbledon debutant, David Lewin, was 11th out of the 105 runners in 30:42, with Chris Coles 25th (32:36) and Simon Woodley 32nd (33:08). The men’s team finished fourth.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Henry Silverstein was top under 17 finisher in the young athletes two miles race where he was fourth out of 93 runners in 11:25, leading the team to fourth place. Georgina Clarke also made a useful start to her cross country season finishing second in the girls race in 12:16 with Ellen Weir fifth (12:33), Lauren Armitage 16th (13:24) and fourth under 13 finisher and Selma Hegvold 17th (13:34). The team was third.

Hercules Wimbledon had a hat-trick of parkrun 5km winners. Matt Sharp posted a personal best time as he headed home a 345-strong field at Dulwich Park in 15:45. It was his 13th win in 21 appearances in Dulwich Park were he made his debut on June 30th 2012, and took six seconds off his previous best set in June 2013.

Ben Toomer, who anchored the Hercules Wimbledon team to a fine fifth place in the South of England road relay championships the previous weekend, won the Chipping Sodbury event in 15:48 with Eileen Brandley ninth overall out of the 355 runners and first woman finisher in a personal best of 19:24. Her time chopped 89 seconds off her previous best set in April.

Elsewhere, Fred Slemeck was sixth out of 1229 runners in Bushy Park in 16:40 while Adam Harwood was the best of 14 Hercules Wimbledon finishers in the Wimbledon Common event finishing fourth out of 462 runners in 18:15 and Andrew Davies was sixth out of 416 runners in Bishop’s Park in 18:07. Harwood completed a busy weekend when he won the AFC Wimbledon Minthon 5km event in New Malden in 17:48 on Sunday.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Sam Masters beat a 161-strong field to win the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun on Sunday by more than a minute in 7:38 while Richard Evans was first veteran over 55 finisher in the Run Through half-marathon on Wimbledon Common.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon are competing in the England six-stage men’s road relay championship at Sutton Park, Birmingham, on Saturday. The team qualified by finishing fifth, the top Surrey and South London club, in the South of England championships at Crystal Palace last month. 


Hercules Wimbledon's winning women's team L-R Alison Purnell, Lisa Thomas, Monika Crouse, Anne Hegvold, Vikki Filsell, Liz Stavreski, Charlotte Clover

 
Some Hercules Wimbledon youngsters at Croydon

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Results of 9 April 2017