PRESS RELEASES for Hercules Wimbledon AC  

January 2018

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20-02-18 - BUSY WEEKEND AHEAD INDOORS AND OUT

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s athletes are facing a busy weekend competing in two national championships at Parliament Hill Fields and Sheffield, writes Tom Pollak.

Meanwhile, Hercules Wimbledon athletes picked up two medals in the Surrey indoor championships and performed strongly in the final Downs League meeting of the season.

Perhaps the stand-out performance of the weekend was achieved by Cheryl Nolan who smashed the long-standing 52-year-old Hercules Wimbledon women’s 3000 metres club record in the Irish indoor championships in Abbotstown. She clocked 9 minutes 48.15 seconds in finishing fifth to eclipse the 1966 club record of 9:48.6 set by Bridget Cushen, who is still active in athletics as secretary of the British Masters Athletics Federation. She also represents Britain on the IAAF Veterans Committee.

Two Hercules Wimbledon youngsters medalled in the Surrey Indoor Championships at the David Weir Leisure Centre, Carshalton. Mabel-Rose Scales, competing in her first Surrey championships, took silver in the girls under 13 long jump with 4.03 metres. Her dad, former Crazy Gang footballer John, proudly watched on. He came on as a substitute the historic 1988 Cup Final at Wembley when Wimbledon beat Liverpool 1-0 and turned out for Wimbledon almost 300 times, mainly as a defender, between 1987 and 1994  before moving to Liverpool.

Cora Barnett took bronze in the girls under 13 60 metres in 8.51. Earlier in the day, she won her heat in 8.50 and finished second in her semi-final in 8.44. Ayoola Ajayi finished just outside the medals in fourth place in the senior 60 metres in 8.40 while Andrew Sarpong was fifth in the junior men’s long jump with 5.78m.

Four Hercules Wimbledon youngsters showed good form in the final Downs League meeting of the season on Epsom Downs. Hector Revill was runner-up in the under 15 race with Sam Masters and Morgan Rennie among the top 10 finishers and William Belton fourth in the under 13 race.

Double Surrey sprint champion Jaleel Roper and Commonwealth Youth Games double medallist Chad Miller head a record 12 Hercules Wimbledon athletes competing in the England age group championships in Sheffield this weekend. Roper, who was unbeaten in all his championship races last year, runs in the under 17 60 and 200 metres while Miller, who warmed up for Sheffield with a lifetime best 60 metres run of 6.88 seconds at an indoor meeting in Newham, contests the under 20 400 metres. Teenager Zipporah Golding will be aiming to improve on her fourth place last year when she competes in the under 15 girls 60 metres, while South of England finalist Robert Philpott goes in the under 17 60 metres.

A large contingent of Hercules Wimbledon cross country runners will be heading for Parliament Hill Fields, often dubbed the spiritual home of English cross country running, on Saturday to compete in the English cross country championships. Ben Toomer, who led the team to a hat-trick of Surrey titles last month, heads the senior men’s squad along with Fred Slemeck, Jonny Cornish and Alex Robinson. Marathon runner Claire Grima heads the senior women’s challenge while the club will also be represented in most of the age group races.

Meanwhile, Hercules Wimbledon’s Kieran White was the top veteran finisher in the Inter-Services cross country championships at RAF, Halton, and golden oldie Maurice Sharp was top over 70 finisher in the Valentines 10km race in Battersea Park where Tom Cheetham was second over 50 veteran. Claire Grima was top woman veteran over 40 finisher in the Wokingham half-marathon just 40 seconds behind husband David as they continue their preparations for the London marathon in April.

Peter Giles was top over 60 finisher in the Valentines 10km road race in Chessington while at the other end of the age range,  14-year-old Ellen Weir was top female finisher the Medena 5km parkrun on the Isle of Wight. She was 11th of 247 runners.


A quartet of Hercules Wimbledon youngsters who performed well in the final Downs League meeting from left: Sam Masters, William Belton, Hector Revill and Morgan Rennie
 
Cheryl Nolan who smashed the 52-year-old Hercules Wimbledon's women's 3000 metres championship in the Irish indoor championships
Mabel-Rose Scales, daughter of ex-Wimbledon footballer John Scales, took silver in the Surrey indoor girls under 13 long jump championship.

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13-02-18 - NEWEST SIGNING LEADS TEAM HOME

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s latest signing, Scottish international Ross Matheson, slithered his way through the drizzle and mud of Wimbledon Common on Saturday to head the team home in the final Start Fitness Surrey Cross Country League Division One match, writes Tom Pollak.
 
Matheson, 25, who ran for Britain in the junior race at the 2011 World cross country championships in Spain, has been living in Putney for the past two year and has been training in Battersea Park with Hercules Wimbledon’s Belal Ahmed and Fred Slemeck.
“As we were training together and I didn’t have a club in England they suggested I should join Hercules Wimbledon,” said Matheson. “I took a break two years ago but decided to get back into it. This was my second cross country race this year.” Team manager Fred Green completed the paperwork just in time for Saturday’s  final league match of the season into which Hercules Wimbledon went with a narrow 14 point lead over defending champions Kent AC, and aiming to lift the league title for the first time in a generation.
 
In 2014 and 2015, Matheson was based in the USA where he was a student at New Mexico University. Last season he was eighth in the Scottish championships and fifth in the Home Countries international. He will again race in the Scottish championships at the end of the month and  then represent Eastern Scotland in the UK Inter-Counties championships in Loughborough next month before competing for Hercules Wimbledon in the National 12-stage road relay in Milton Keynes and the Edinburgh half-marathon in May.
 
As it turned out, Hercules Wimbledon just failed to hang onto their lead but the arrival of Matheson gave the team a big boost as he finished fourth of the 244 runners covering the five testing miles in 28 minutes 54 seconds, less than a minute behind the winner, Andy Maud from Clapham Chasers. A record 45 Hercules Wimbledon runners turned out in the club’s quest for team honours with Ben Toomer (ninth in 29:16), Andrew Penney (10th in 29:27), Alex Robinson (14th in 29:34), Fred Slemeck (19th in 29:53), Jonny Cornish 24th in 30:14), Dimos Evangeldis (26th in 30:19), Matt Sharp (28th in 30:33), Belel Ahmed (39th in 30:51) and Richard McDowell (40th in 30:52) completing the 10 scorers. Not far behind and in the top 50 were three other Hercules Wimbledon runners - Kieran White (42nd in 30:55), Will Russell (45th in 31:05), Dominic Kiralyfi (46th in 31:07) and Finn Johnson (47th in 31:08).
 
Match result: 1 Kent AC 173pts; 2 Hercules Wimbledon 211; 3 Ranelagh 385; 4 South London Harriers 70; 5 Clapham Chasers 490; 6 Thames Hare & Hounds 517; 7 Herne Hill 517; 8 Belgrave 647; 9 Reigate Priory 740.
 
Final standings: 1 Kent AC 922; 2 Hercules Wimbledon 946; 3 Thames Hare & Hounds 1499; 4 Herne Hill 1763; 5 Ranelagh 1942; 6 South London Harriers 2004; 7 Belgrave 2118; 8 Clapham Chasers 2134; 9 Reigate Priory 3052.
 
With many of the club’s youngsters away skiing, only four Hercules Wimbledon athletes were in action in the young athletes 2.5 miles race with Hector Revill ninth under 15 finisher, Sam Masters 20th and Edward Newton 23rd.
 
Hercules Wimbledon’s women  also finished strongly in their final league match in nearby Richmond Park with sixth Division One team spot. They were led in by marathon runner Claire Grima who was seventh of the 233 Division One runners and first over 40 in 31:32 with Eileen Brandley (17th in 33:14), Lucy Werthheim (44th in 34:45), Anne Hegvold (53rd in 35:31) and Gina Galbraith (59th in 35:42) completing the scoring team. They beat the Surrey champions and silver medallists, Herne Hill and Guildford & Godalming, respectively.
 
Hercules Wimbledon’s Surrey medal-winning under 15 girls team continued their impressive season by taking the team honours. Georgie Clarke was fifth in 18:30, Johanna Tofte sixth in 18:37, Ellen Weir ninth in 18:53 and Niamh Thomson 16th in 19:54.
 

New signing Ross Matheson up with the leaders soon after the start

Winning under 15 girls team under starters orders. 398 Georgie Clarke and 403 Johanna Tofte were leading finishers

The Hercules Wimbledon senior women's team which performed strongly in Richmond Park.

A quartet of Hercules Wimbledon youngsters on Wimbledon common. L-R Edward Newton, Hector Revill, Sam Masters and Morgan Rennie

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6-02-18 - TOP TRIO IN LINE FOR SPORTS AWARDS

Three of Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s top athletes have been shortlisted for the Active Wandsworth Sports Awards for their performances in 2017, writes Tom Pollak.
 
The trio is headed by teenage sprinter Jaleel Roper who went through the entire 2017 season unbeaten in championship races. Roper, who will celebrate his 15th birthday on Saturday, the day after the glittering awards ceremony in the Civic Suite at Wandsworth Town Hall, lifted the England boys under 15 100 and 200 metres titles at Bedford in August to cap an outstanding season. Earlier, he won the English schools and South of England 100 metres titles, the South-East Schools inte-counties 100m event, the Surrey Schools and Surrey County 100m titles.
 
Roper gave an indication of the outstanding summer season he was to enjoy as he lifted the England indoor 60 and 200 metres titles in Sheffield in February, a week after lifting the Surrey indoor 60 metres title at Carshalton. He began 2017 by winning the South of England 60 and 200 metres gold medals at Lee Valley on the first weekend in January. He topped the UK under 15 60 and 200 metres rankings in 2017 and was second fastest for his age group over 100 metres. Roper has been shortlisted for the Junior Sports Person of the Year award.
 
Two Hercules Wimbledon athletes - Chad Miller and Theo Etienne - have been shortlisted for the Sports Person of the Year Award. Miller, 17, made a big breakthrough in 2017 when he was selected to represent England in the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in July where he took the individual bronze medal in the 200 metres and was a member of the silver medal-winning mixed sprint relay quartet. Earlier in the year he managed to finish fifth in the England under 20 200 metres championship at Bedford in June, running against athletes much older than him.
 
Etienne made a flying start to 2017 by finishing a fine runner-up in the British indoor 60 metres championship in Sheffield to gain selection for the European indoor championships in Belgrade where he got through to the final finishing fifth. He secured selection for the sprint relay for the European under 23 championships in Poland in July after finishing seventh in the England under 23 championships in Bedford the previous month and helped the British quartet win the silver medals.
 
In addition to the three athletes being shortlisted, Hercules Wimbledon’s newly appointed officials secretary, Gary Forde has been shortlisted for the Voluntary Services to Sport and Physical Education category.
 
Hercules Wimbledon’s senior men’s cross country runners will be going flat out to win the Start Fitness Surrey Men’s cross country league title on Wimbledon Common on Saturday for the first time for many years. The squad, which has been enjoying an outstanding season and posted their best South of England performance since 1974 in Brighton earlier this month, go into the final match with a slender 14 point lead over defending champions Kent AC. The senior men’s five miles race starts from the Richardson Evans Memorial Playing Fields, Putney Vale at 3pm. The young athletes race over half the distance starts at 2.30pm.
 
Meanwhile, Hercules Wimbledon’s women’s cross country runners are in action in the final Start Fitness Surrey Ladies League match in Richmond Park. The races start close to Pembroke Lodge with the under 15 and under 17 girls at 12 noon, the under 13 girls at 1230 and the senior women at 1pm.
 
Hercules Wimbledon had two parkrun winners last Saturday. David Lewin headed home a 438-strong field on Wimbledon Common to post his second win of the year.  There were 13 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action. Rob Tuer won the Lismore event down-under in New South Wales.
 
 
Theo Etienne finishing fifth in the British indoor 60m championship
Chad Miller with the silver medal-winning Commonwealth Games mixed relay team
 
Two shots of Jaleel Roper

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30-01-18 - BEST TEAM EFFORT FOR HALF-A-CENTURY

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s senior men’s cross country team, which recently completed a hat-trick of wins in the Surrey championships at Dorking, posted their best team effort for almost half-a-century when they finished a fine fifth in the South of England cross country championships over a quagmire of a course and in pouring rain at Stanmer Park, Brighton, on Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.
 
Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners confirmed their top Surrey rating in the most testing conditions. None of the team was born in 1974 when Hercules Wimbledon finished third in the South of England championships at Parliament Hill Fields led home by Frank Briscoe who took the individual title 44 years ago.
 
Competing in the most testing conditions in which runners slid, slithered and fell all over the place, Hercules Wimbledon confimed their rating as the top Surrey cross country club and continued an outstanding cross country season in which they not only retained their Surrey senior team title but will go into the final Start Fitness Surrey cross country league Division One match on Wimbledon Common with a narrow lead over holders Kent AC.
 
Once again the team was led in by Ben Toomer who finished 31st of the 733 runners to complete the challenging 15km three lap course. Toomer, who led the club to victory in he Surrey championships, was followed by Fred Slemeck (49th), Andrew Penney (57th), Alex Robinson (62nd), Dimos Evangelidis (63rd) with Matt Sharp (65th) completing the scoring six. There was plenty of back up for the scoring team with William Russell 81st, Jonny Cornish 89th, Finn Johnson 99th and Jonny Earl 146th. A total of 14 Hercules Wimbledon runners took part in the senior race.
 
Team manager Fred Green said: “It was a tremendous result in absolutely awful conditions. It was dry for the first lap but the the skies opened and it poured down. Runners were sliding, slipping and falling all over the place. It was real cross country but our team showed their strength in the most testing conditions.”
 
Hercules Wimbledon’s under 15 girls team were the second best Surrey quartet. Georgina Clarke was 36th, just one second ahead of Ellen Weir (38th)with Johanna Tofte (44th) and Selma Hegvold (118th). Lloyd Hodgson was the top Hercules Wimbledon finisher in the under 13 boys race in 66th place out of 260 runners with Sam Spencer, two days after finishing a fine seventh in the Middlesex Schools Championships at Harrow, 99th.
 
Hercules Wimbledon were top Surrey team in the men’s under 17 championship with Zac Purnell 51st, Henry Silverstein 73rd, Sam Barker 98th and Daniel Illis 138th out of 169 finishers. The under 13 girls team was third from Surrey. It was led in by Lulu Weisz (25th) with Lauren Armitage (37th), Millie Thorpe (68th) and Bailey O’Leary (132nd) completing the team.
 
London marathon exponent Claire Grima led the senior women’s team home finishing 33rd of 351 runners. Eileen Brandley was 60th, Anna Hegvold 110th and Lisa Thomas 166th to complete the scoring quartet.
 
This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s youngsters are competing in the Wandsworth trials for the London mini-marathon in Battersea Park on Sunday morning. Races start and finish outside the athletics track. The registration desk opens at 8.30am with the girls race off at 9.30am and the boys at 10am.


Hercules Wimbledon's top Surrey finishing men's under 17 team in Brighton.
L-R Alexander Abraham, Daniel Illis, Gabriel Durand, Sam Barker, Henry Silverstein and Zachary Purnell

Ben Toomer who led Hercules Wimbledon to their best senior men's team placing since 1974

Hercules Wimbledon's under 13 boys squad in Brighton

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23-01-18 - SPRINTERS SHOW FINE INDOOR FORM

Hard on the heels of the success achieved by the club’s cross country runners, Hercules Wimbledon’s sprinters have been successfully flexing their muscles and showing their speed on the indoor circuit, writes Tom Pollak.

Despite suffering from the effects of a cold, teenager Jaleel Roper, who went through the whole of last season unbeaten in all the championships he contested, made a good start as he moved up to the men’s under 17 age group in the London Indoor Games at Lee Valley Athletics Centre, North London, on Saturday. Roper, who won the Surrey, South of England, England and Surrey and English Schools 100 metres titles in 2017, was not far off his best time of 7.09 seconds set in winning the English indoor 60m title in Sheffield last February, as he clocked 7.11 and 7.13 in finishing third and second in his 60m races at Lee Valley.

He was down to also compete in the 200m but his coach, Paul Miller, himself a three times Surrey 100m champion, decided against his competing. “Jaleel is still suffering from the effects of a cold but he will run a lot faster in the next few weeks,” said Miller. “We are looking to make sure he peaks for the national indoors next month.”

Two weeks earlier, Roper reached the South of England men’s under 17 60 metres final, also at Lee Valley.  In his first races since winning the England under 15 100 and 200 metres titles at Bedford last August, Roper won his heat in 7.22 and his semi-final in 7.20 before pulling out of the final. However, he showed much faster form in the London Indoor Games last weekend.

In other ways too, it’s proved a great start to the year for 14-year-old Roper. He has been shortlisted for Junior Sports Person of the Year in the Active Wandsworth Awards for his unbeaten record in 2017 and also been selected to take the best boys under 15 Surrey championship award for his 60m sprint win last February.

Also at Lee Valley, Hercules Wimbledon’s 2017 European indoor 60m finalist, Theo Etienne, took the silver medal in the South of England senior men’s 60m final in  6.67 after winning his heat and semi-final in 6.77 and 6.76, respectively. Hercules Wimbledon’s Nimi Kolade clocked a personal best of 7.00 in finishing sixth in his semi-final after taking third place in his heat in 7.05.

Robert Philpott finished fifth in the South of England under 17 200m final in 23.47 after winning his heat in 23.62 and finishing second in his semi-final in 23.36. He was also fourth in his 60m semi-final in 7.38 after clocking a faster 7.36 in finishing third in his heat.

Newcomer Ryan Facey, 18, who has switched to athletics from football, where was a forward with the Metropolitan Police youth team, made an impressive debut just failing to reach the South of England under 20 60m final in finishing third in his semi-final in 7.02 after taking second in his heat in 7.05. “He’s a raw talent. I’ve been training him for a month and he did’t even know how to use starting blocks when he came to me. I’m very impressed with him,” said Miller.

Elsewhere, Ellen Weir was Hercules Wimbledon’s best performer in the Surrey Schools cross country championships staged in pouring rain at Priory Park, Reigate, on Saturday, where she was fifth in the junior girls race to gain selection for the English schools championships in Temple Newsam Park, Leeds, on March 17th. Lauren Ermitage was seventh in the girls under 13 race with Lloyd Hodgson fifth in the under 13 boys championship. Sam Barker and Henry Silverstein were 12th and 13th in the senior boys championship.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are making the trip to the South Coast to compete in the South of England cross country championships in Stanmer Park, Brighton. The senior men, who completed a hat-trick of Surrey team wins at Denbies Vineyard, Dorking, at the start of the year, are putting in a strong challenge for medals.


Theo Etienne (317) after receiving his South of England 60 metres silver medal
 
Hercules Wimbledon newcomer Ryan Facey
Jaleel Roper who made an impressive start to his 2018 programme

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16-01-18 - BOYS AND GIRLS SHINE IN LEAGUES

Following their hat-trick of team medals in the Surrey cross country championships the previous weekend, Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s cross country runners enjoyed another successful day as the league programme resumed after the Christmas break at Coulsdon and on Wimbledon Common, writes Tom Pollak.
 
The Surrey bronze medal-winning under 15 girls and under 17 men’s teams excelled while the senior men confirmed their rating as top Surrey team. In his first appearance in the Surrey League for more than a year, teenager Zac Purnell underpinned his fine run at Dorking the previous weekend, where he was 11th in the Surrey under 17 championship, to hang on to win the under 17 2.5 miles league race by just one second in 15 minutes 26 seconds fending off South London Harriers’ Nick Smith, running over his home course.
 
It was Purnell's first-ever Surrey League win improving on his third place over the same testing, undulating Farthing Downs course in a Surrey League race in November 2016. Just as he had done the previous week, he led Hercules Wimbledon to third team place. Fellow Surrey team bronze medallist Henry Silverstein was sixth 15:41, Hector Revell 25th in 16:47, Morgan Rennie 34th (17:17), Fred Jimack 38th (17:22) and Edward Newton 40th (17:24).
 
Hercules Wimbledon’s under 15 girls managed to outshine their male teenagers by taking the team honours in their match on Wimbledon Common reversing the finishing positions at Dorking the previous weekend by beating the Surrey silver and gold medallists Guildford and Godalming and Herne Hill. Once again Johanna Tofte led the way home finishing fourth of the 50 runners in 16:28 with Georgina Clarke 11th (17:02), Ellen Weir 13th (17:39) and Rebekah Riches 21st (18:34). The Surrey bronze medal-winning Hercules Wimbledon quartet took the team honours with 49 points ahead of Guildford & Godalming (76) and Herne Hill (91).
 
The Hercules Wimbledon under 13 girls team were third team to close in once again led in by Lauren Armitage 10th (11:17) with Lulu Weisz 13th (11:22), Millie Doyle 15th (11:31) and Millie Thorpe 19th (11:39).
 
Missing Alex Binley and Zoe Pike who helped Hercules Wimbledon finish fourth in the Surrey championship, the weakened senior women’s team finished down the field. They were once again led in by Claire Grima who was eighth  with Eileen Brandley 19th, Anne Hegvold 69th,  Gina Galbraith 72nd and Fran Clarke 99th of the 263 Division One runners.
 
Hercules Wimbledon’s senior men will go into next month’s final Surrey League match on Wimbledon Common with the slenderest of leads after just missing out to Kent AC on Farthing Downs. Ben Toomer, who led Hercules Wimbledon to team gold at Dorking once again led the gold and red vested Hercules Wimbledon runners home finishing fifth of the 210 Division One finishers in 28:56, just two seconds ahead of club mate Andrew Penney with Jonny Cornish, who the previous weekend took the silver medal in the Oxfordshire championships, 10th in 29:23. A trio of Hercules Wimbledon runners, Fred Slemeck, Belal Ahmed and Alex Robinson, finished in a line in 17th, 18th and 19th positions, with Dimos Evangelides (28th), Richard McDonnell (29th), Finn Johnson (31st) and Will Russell (39th) completing the scoring team.
 
Match result: 1 Kent AC 183pts; 2 Hercules Wimbledon 202; 3 Thames Hare & Hounds 346; 4 Ranelagh 480; 5 Clapham Chasers 484; 6 Herne Hill 516; 7 South London Harriers 558; 8 Belgrave 570; 9 Reigate Priory 756. Standings after three matches: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 735; 2 Kent AC 749; 3 Thames Hare & Hounds 982; 4 Herne Hill 1246; 5 Belgrave 1471; 6 Ranelagh 1557; 7 South London Harriers 1589; 8 Clapham Chasers 1644; 9 Reigate Priory 2312.
 
This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon compete in an inter-club match hosted by the Bank of England in Richmond Park on Saturday. It starts from near Roehampton Gate at 2.30pm.
 

Hercules Wimbledongold and red-vested runners prominent at the start of the Surrey League race at Coulson with Finn Johnson, Andrew Penney and Jonny Cornish to the fore

Claire Grima on her way to eight place in the Surrey Ladies League race on Wimbledon Common
 
Zac Purnell, winner of the young athletes race at Coulson.
Andrew Penney, second Hercules Wimbledon finisher in the senior men's race at Coulsdon.
 

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9-01-18 - SENIOR MEN COMPLETE HAT-TRICK

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s senior men cross country runners showed superb consistency when they completed a hat-trick of wins in comfortably retaining their Surrey cross country title in chilly conditions at Denbies Vineyard, Dorking, on Sunday, with two of the younger teams making it a good start to 2018 by also getting among the medals, writes Tom Pollak.
 
Ploughing through the muddy three lap course, the red and gold hoop vested Hercules Wimbledon squad dominated the senior men’s 12km course from the start and packed solidly to get their scoring six runners across the line among the top 21 finishers.
 
Leading the way as he did two years ago when Hercules Wimbledon managed to gain their first win at Denbies was Ben Toomer who ran a steady race and just missed out on an individual medal in finishing fourth of the 220 runners in the senior men’s race in 39 minutes 51 seconds. However, it was a big improvement on the ninth place he managed at Denbies in 2016. Second Hercules Wimbledon finisher was Andrew Penney, who was competing in the Surrey championships for the first time since 2013. He was 11th in 41:21 with Surrey debutant Finn Johnson 15th in 41:47 and Richard McDowell improving on his 23rd place at Dorking two years ago crossing the line in 17th place in 42:00, an improvement on his 23rd place at Dorking in 2016.
 
Fifth Hercules Wimbledon finisher was Matt Sharp who was 20th in 42:18 and the only member of last year’s winning Hercules Wimbledon team at Croydon to make this year’s scoring six. Completing the winning team was Alex Robinson who was 21st in 42:20 and was competing in the event for the first time since finishing 48th at Croydon in 2015.
 
Team manager Fred Green said: “My confidence that we would retain the title was fully justified and we comfortably took the team honours. We were in control from the start but it was interesting that this year’s winning six contained only one member of last year’s gold medal winners.”
 
Just behind Robinson was Fred Slemeck who, 12 months ago at Croydon, led the team to victory by finishing 11th of the 209 runners. This time he was 23rd in 42:34. Other leading Hercules Wimbledon runners outside the scoring six included Will Russell, making his Surrey debut, finishing 33rd in 43:42 and Joe Clark, the sixth member of the winning team at Croydon, who was 34th in 43:46. Another Hercules Wimbledon runner in the first 50 was Robbie Hynes who finished 46th in 44:53. Twenty-one Hercules Wimbledon runners completed the senior men’s race.
 
The senior women just missed out on medals in finishing fourth, a big improvement on the eight place at Croydon last year. Marathon runner Claire Grima returned to lead the team home after missing the 2017 championship and finished eighth of the 113 runners covering the 8km course in 31:38. Alex Binley, who won the Wimbledon Common parkrun women’s event the previous day, was 20th in 33:15 with Eileen Brandley 22nd in 33:19 and Zoe Pike, competing in the championships for the first time since 2013, 28th in 34:34.
 
Johanna Tofte led the girls under 15 team to the bronze medals finishing sixth of the 60 runners with Ellen Weir 10th, Georgina Clarke 11th and Rebekah Riches 32nd. Zac Purnell led the men’s under 17 team to the bronze medals finishing 11th of the 49 competitors with Henry Silverstein 12th, Sam Barker 17th and Daniel Illis 42nd. The under 13 girls team just missed out on medals finishing fourth. They were led home by Lauren Ermitage (10th) with Lulu Weisz (20th), Millie Thorpe (26th) and Millie Doyle (27th) completing the team.
 
This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s senior men’s cross country runners will be out to retain their position at the top of  of Start Fitness Surrey men’s cross country league when they compete in the third match at Farthing Downs, Culsdon, on Saturday. The senior men’s five miles race starts half-an-hour earlier than usual at 2.30pm with the young athletes race over half the distance starting at 2.30pm. The club’s women cross country runners are competing in the third Start Fitness Surrey Ladies League race on Wimbledon Common with the seniors starting at 12noon.
 

Hercules Wimbledon's winning senior mens' team
L-R Alex Robinson (21st), Richard McDowell (17th), Finn Johnson (15th), Ben Toomer (4th), Matt Sharp (20th), Andrew Penney (11th)

Three of the bronze medal winning under 15 girls team L-R Ellen Weir, Rebekah Riches and Georgina Clark. Johanna Tofte is missing.

Two of the men's under 17 men's team bronze medallists Sam Barker and Henry Silverstein receiving their medals from county president Sue Shilling. Missing are Zac Purnell and Daniel Illis. 

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2-01-18 - SENIOR MEN AIMING FOR HAT-TRICK

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s cross country runners will be making a flying start to 2018 when they compete in the annual Surrey County Cross Country Championships at Denbies Vineyard, Dorking, on Sunday, writes Tom Pollak.
 
The senior men will be going flat out for the hat-trick after winning at Dorking in 2016 and retaining their team title at Lloyd Park, Croydon, last year. The squad finalised their preparations for the testing and undulating Dorking circuit with a 15-mile training run on Wimbledon Common and in Richmond Park last Sunday and team manager Fred Green is confident the hat-trick can be achieved.
 
“In many ways the team is stronger than the one we fielded last year as some of the squad are running better than those who scored 12 months ago,” said Green.
 
Ben Toomer, who led the Hercules Wimbledon team to victory the last time the championships were staged at Dorking in 2016, returns to lead the attack and improve on the ninth individual place he managed two years ago. Fred Slemeck, Matt Sharp, and Joe Clark, who helped secure the gold medals at Croydon last January, are racing again while the team is strengthened by the return of Andrew Penney and Alex Robinson as well as the inclusion of Finn Johnson, making his county championships debut, who was sixth Hercules Wimbledon scorer in the last Surrey League race on Mitcham Common. Another top Hercules Wimbledon cross country runner Jonny Cornish, who led Hercules Wimbledon to a league team victory on Mitcham Common, competes in the Oxfordshire championships this weekend. He took the silver medal 12 months ago.
 
Hercules Wimbledon’s women will also be aiming to get among the medals as they strive to improve on their eighth team place last year. London marathon runner Claire Grima returns to head the yellow and red-sashed Hercules Wimbledon squad over the 8km course after missing last year’s championships at Croydon. Fran Clarke, who won her parkrun event at Beeston, Nottinghamshire, last weekend, a much improved Eileen Brandley and Surrey debutante Alex Binley, who also won the women’s event at the Ashton Court, Bristol, parkrun, combine to provide a strong Hercules Wimbledon challenge.
 
Hercules Wimbledon will also be looking for medals in some of the youngsters’ races. Georgina Clarke, Rebekah Riches, Selma Hegvold and Niamh Thompson, who led Hercules Wimbledon under 15 squad to third team place in the last Surrey League meeting in November are hopeful of team medals as are the girls under 13 squad led by Lauren Armitage, Millie Thorpe, Bailey O’Leary,  Eleanor Griffin and Anna Barker, who finished just outside the frame in their last league race. The under 17 men led by Zac Purnell, fresh from his Christmas Day Wimbledon Common parkrun victory, Henry Silverstein, second in the last Wimbledon Common parkrun of 2017 and Alexander Abraham, and the under 13 boys squad led by Lloyd Hodgson, Hans Hinde, Reuben Gallagher and Joseph Willis, who helped take third team place in the last Surrey League match, are also gunning for team medals.
 
Teenager Hector Revill was the best of 11 Hercules Wimbledon runners in the New Year’s Day Wimbledon Common parkrun event, beating his coach Mark Livingstone in finishing ninth of the 304 runners in 18:02. It was a big improvement on his 20:17 nine days earlier. Livingstone was two places behind in 20:07 and over 55 veteran Richard Evans 13th in 20:30. Two days earlier, Livingstone senior was beaten by his son Tim in the Albert event in Middlesbrough where he was 11th out of 180 runners in 21:06 with Tim finishing second in 19:31.
 
Two members of Hercules Wimbledon’s senior women’s squad in action at Dorking this weekend won their last parkruns of the old year. Alex Binley triumphed at Ashton Gate, Bristol, in 21:27 and Fran Clarke won at Beeston in 21:36. Meanwhile, another member of the squad, Eileen Brandley was first woman to finish the Hercules Wimbledon/Lauriston Runners’ Club’s five miles multi-terrain race on Wimbledon Common on Saturday.
 
This weekend, some of Hercules Wimbledon’s track and field athletes get the chance to test their form in the SLAN open indoor meeting at the David Weir Leisure Centre, Carshalton, starting at 12noon on Saturday.
 

Start of the Hercules Wimbledon/Lauriston five miles multi-0terrain race on Wimbledon Common
  
Eileen Brandley top woman finisher.
Alex Binley, winner of the parkrun at Ashton Gate, Bristol.
Georgina Clarke, who leads the Hercules Wimbledon girls under 15 squad at Dorking

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Results of 9 April 2017