PRESS RELEASES for Hercules Wimbledon AC  

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016




















Two of Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners, Joe Toomey and Matthew Sharp, kept up an impressive record of performances when they won their respective 5km parkrun races on Saturday.
Toomey headed home a 424-strong field in the Wimbledon Common event in a personal best of 16 minutes 32 seconds, a comfortable half-a-minute ahead of Hercules Wimbledon clubmate Richard McDowell, to slice just three seconds off his previous best time set back in August 2015 when he also won.
Toomey, 24, has now won eight of the 28 Wimbledon Common parkrun events he has contested since his debut appearance in January 2007 when, as a 14-year-old, he finished fourth in 20:52. Twenty-six Hercules Wimbledon runners were in action on Wimbledon Common on Saturday
Russell Price was 11th in 18:44, Richard Evans 13th and second veteran over 55 in 18:47 and Mark Cahill 15th and second veteran over 40 in a personal best of 18:55, a big improvement on his previous fastest time of 19:35 set in September. Adam May also improved on his previous best in finishing 20th in 19:10, eight seconds better than the time he achieved in September.
Next Hercules Wimbledon finisher, Gina Galbraith, broke her own club women’s veteran over 40 record in finishing 23rd and second woman in 19:28 . She sliced just one second off the time she set on Wimbledon Common three months ago and finished just one place ahead of  Hercules Wimbledon’s David Scrimshaw who was 24th in 19:32. One of the youngest runners in the race, Sam Masters, 12, also clocked a personal best in finishing 27th in 19:52, beating the 20-minute barrier for the first time with a 33 seconds improvement on his previous best set in September.
Young Masters completed a busy and successful weekend when he won the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun on Sunday in a personal best of 7:32. He also posted the top age-graded performance in slicing six seconds off his previous best and winning the event by 53 seconds. His Hercules Wimbledon clubmate Cate Coverley was the first girl of the 85 youngsters to finish taking third place in 8:51.
Over in Dulwich Park, Sharp, competing in his first race for a month, beat a smaller 168-strong field to win that event in 16:20 on Saturday to post his 12th win in 18 appearances there. He completed a hat-trick of wins with previous successful appearances in March and August this year. Sharp, 37, posted his best time for the course of 15:51 back in June 2013.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Jonathan Cornish took runners-up spot out of 957 runners in the Bushy Park event. He clocked 15:44, 17 seconds outside his best time for the course set in October, and 34 seconds behind Bradley Goater from Windsor.
Meanwhile, Felix Allen, 44, won the December Crystal Palace Canter 5km event in Crystal Palace Park by half-a-minute in 19:23. On Sunday, he was 27th out of more than 1000 runners in the Portsmouth Waterside Coastal marathon in 3:07:17 with veteran over 50 clubmate Tom Cheetham 36th in 3:10:26.
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s runners have the chance of build up their Christmas lunch appetites by competing in the Lauriston Runners’ Club’s 30-minute paarlauf on Christmas Day. The event starts at 11am on Wimbledon Common just off Southside and opposite its junction with Lauriston Road. It involves pairs of athletes running alternately for 30-minutes and the pair that runs the farthest are the winners. Following the paarlauf there will be seasonal refreshments of mince pies and mulled wine in Lauriston Runners’ Club’s headquarters.


Two of Hercules Wimbledon’s youngsters, Rebekah Riches and Chad Miller, have shown good form with impressive performances on the country and indoors.
Rebekah was the top girls under 15 finisher in Hercules Wimbledon’s inter-club 2.5 miles young athletes race on Wimbledon Common on Saturday, a week after she repeated her first match victory to win the second Downs League under 15 girls race on Epsom Downs by a narrow five seconds.
Meanwhile, Miller was showing the best form of his young life as he raced to second place in the Southern England Students indoor men’s 60m championships at Lee Valley, North London, in 6.95 seconds to beat the seven seconds barrier for the first time. In fact, he improved on his previous best twice as he won his semi-final in 7.07 to better his 7.12 set in the Jablonec Indoor Gala meeting in the Czech Republic back in March.
Meanwhile, another Hercules Wimbledon youngster, second claim member Harris Mier has also been showing top form with victories in the British Athletics Cross Challenge boys under 15 3km event in Liverpool and the English Schools Cup Final under 15 boys race in Formby, Lancashire.
There was a record turn out of more than 200 runners for Hercules Wimbledon’s annual pre-Christmas five miles cross country race on Wimbledon Common on Saturday with the club’s runners taking the team honours in both the senior and young athletes sections.
Fred Slemeck led the seniors to a comfortable team victory in finishing second out of 147 runners in 26 minutes 56 seconds. Although he was second in the race behind Serpentine’s Andy Greenleaf (26:32), he lifted the Wimbledon Borough News Cup as the winner of the Hercules Wimbledon club championship.
With Belal Ahmed fourth in 27:22, Joe Toomey sixth in 27:37 and Finn Johnson eighth in 27:58, Hercules Wimbledon comfortably won the four-to-score inter-club match. A total of 37 Hercules Wimbledon runners took part in the race. Other leading finishers were Rhys Boorman (ninth in 28:19), Neil Fraser (10th in 29:55) and Khalid Diaw 15th and top veteran over 45 in 30:31.
Peter Lee was first veteran over 50 in 31:45 with Knut Hegvold, first veteran over 55, in 32:55. Alex Binley was the top woman finisher in 33:49 ahead of over 40 veteran Gina Galbraith (34:14) and over 50 veteran Lisa Thomas (35:39).
Match result: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 20; 2 Milocarians 74; 3 Epsom & Ewell 81; 4 Herne Hill Harriers 86; 5 Striders of Croydon 92; 6 Croydon Harriers 113.
Hercules Wimbledon also dominated the young athletes 2.5 miles race with 25 of the 77 runners. Under 17 runner Sam Barker won in 14:44 five seconds clear of Alexander Abraham, who wass the first under 15 finisher. Rebekah Riches was top girl in 16:10, two seconds ahead of Georgina Clarke, who wass first in the under 13 category.
Young athletes match result: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 26; 2 Herne Hill Harriers 28; 3 Epsom & Ewell 54; 4 Sutton & District 81; 5 Croydon Harriers 128.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Anna Garnier won the South of England Masters over 60 women’s 6km cross country title at Horspath, Oxford, on Saturday in 25:49, finishing 16 seconds clear of the second runner. At the same venue, Claire Grima was Surrey’s sixth finisher in the South of England senior women’s inter-county match covering the 6km in 22:47. Ellen Weir was seventh Surrey finisher in the girls under 13 championship wile Zac Purnell was 11th Surrey runner in the men’s under 17 race.
Adam Harwood was the best of 16 Hercules Wimbledon runners in Saturday’s Wimbledon Common 5km  parkrun finishing fourth out of 337 runners before competing in the inter-club match less than two hours later.
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s runners are in action in the South of the Thames senior seven-and-a-half miles cross country championships in Beckenham Place Park, South-East London, starting at 2pm.

Hercules Wimbledon team-winning youngsters 

Hercules Wimbledon's winning senior squad


Three Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club athletes have been selected to fly the flag for Surrey in this weekend’s South of England inter-counties cross country championships at Horspath, Oxford, on Saturday.
Heading the trio is London marathon exponent Claire Grima who competes in the senior women’s event with Zac Purnell selected for the men’s under 17 team and Ellen Weir in the girls under 13 squad.
Grima warmed up for this weekend’s contest with a strong performance in the second of this season’s 2XU Surrey Ladies Cross Country League Division One race on Mitcham Common. She finished ninth out of 204 runners in 22 minutes 14 seconds to lead the team to a solid eighth place. Other members of the all-veteran scoring team were Gina Galbraith   (42nd in 24:05), Anne Hegvold (45th in 24:21), Fran Clarke (68th in 25:07) and Lisa Thomas (71st in 25:22).
Georgina Clarke made an impressive Surrey Ladies League debut when she finished third in the girls under 13 race in 11:16, just seven seconds behind the winner. Ellen Weir, also warming up for this weekend’s inter-county event, was not far behind, finishing sixth in 11:31. Rebekah Riches was 10th in the girls under 15 race with Selma Hegvold 22nd.
Hegvold completed a busy weekend when she headed home a 79-strong field of boys and girls to win the junior 2km parkrun in Wimbledon Park on Sunday morning. It was the first time she has won the event after competing it it 19 times since January 2014. Her previous best placing was third in May this year. On Sunday, she won by a comfortable 17 seconds in  winning time was 8:32. Hercules Wimbledon took the top three places in the girls race with Scarlett Miller second in a personal best of 9:36, chopping 36 seconds off her previous best set the last time she contest the event in June, and Hannah Hegvold third in 10:06.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Jonathan Cornish followed up his fine run in the South of the Thames event the previous weekend with a runaway victory in the Bushy Park 5km parkrun on Saturday. He crossed the line in 15:42, 40 seconds ahead of the runner-up. It was his 11th victory in 15 appearances at Bushy Park since June last year. Cornish headed home a sizeable 975-strong field.
Meanwhile, Jonny Earl was the best of 18 Hercules Wimbledon runners in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun where he was runner-up out of  365 runners in 17:18. Peter Collins was top over 45 veteran in 18:18 with Stewart Bond second in the river 45 category in 19:00. Over in the Burgess Park 5km parkrun, in South-East London, Hercules Wimbledon’s Chris Ore was fourth out of 194 runners in 18:26.
While most of her club mates were racing over conventional distances, Hercules Wimbledon veteran Monika Crouse was involved in a rather more challenging encounter on the south coast. She was competing in one of the longest races of her life, the Endurance Life Coastal Ultra Marathon over a testing 35 miles, at Lulworth Cove in Dorset. She was the third woman to cross the finishing line completing the course in just over six hours. Her precise time was 6:08:39 and she finished 27th overall out of 120 men and women, Monika has run further though. Her longest race was competing in the gruelling Comrades Marathon in South Africa in May last year over 87.7km, 54.5 miles.
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon stage a five miles inter-club cross country match on Wimbledon Common which incorporates the five miles championship for the Borough News Cup. The race starts at 11am from the Thatched Cottage.

The Hercules Wimbledon senior contingent at the Surrey ladies League meeting on Mitchum Common


Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s Jonathan Cornish produced the club’s best individual performance for more than a decade in the annual South of the Thames five miles team cross country race at picturesque Polesden Lacey in Bookham, Surrey, on Saturday.
Cornish finished fifth out of more than 300 runners at the end of the undulating one lap course in 26 minutes 42 seconds, just 42 seconds behind the winner. It was the best Hercules Wimbledon performance in the event since Dereje Kebede won the race in 2004 and Ian Horrocks finished third in 2005.
With Joe Toomey 33rd in 29:37, Neil Fraser 47th in 30:28 and George Longworth 46th in 30:32, Hercules Wimbledon were sixth in the team contest out of 36 teams.
Hercules Wimbledon were also fourth in the eight-to-score team event for the Brent Shield with Rob Tuer 63rd in 31:22, Khalid Diaw 65th in 31:38 and Phil Glynn 71st in 31:46.
Veteran Gina Galbraith led the Hercules Wimbledon women’s team home finishing 15th out of more than 100 runners in 35:19 with fellow veteran Fran Clarke 31st in 36:52, over 50 veteran Lisa Thomas, having her second race of the day, 33rd in 36:58 and Eileen Brandley 69th in 41:10.
Earlier in the day, Lisa was among 20 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun. Leading the contingent home was Adam Harwood who finished fourth out of 370 runners in 18:08 with Russell Price seventh in 18:45 and over 45 veteran Peter Collins 10th in 19:05. Over in Bushy Park, Hercules Wimbledon’s David Grima posted a personal best of 17:31 in finishing second out of more than a 1000 runners. His time took six seconds off his previous best set in September.
Twelve-year-old Valerie Parocki became the youngest-ever Hercules Wimbledon winner of a senior parkrun category when she took the women’s event at the Lloyd Park event in Croydon on Saturday in 23:04. Although her time was well outside her best of 22:02 for the course set in October, she finished more than  a minute ahead of the second woman.
Parocki has been trying to regain full fitness after suffering an injury 10 months ago and her win in Croydon was a big boost to her hopes of taking part in the Surrey cross country championships which are being held in Lloyd Park on January 7th. Her victory came after finishing runner-up in senior parkruns three times and third on six occasions.
Meanwhile, another Hercules Wimbledon youngster, Samuel Masters posted his second win in four appearances in the junior 2km parkrun in Wimbledon Park on Sunday when he headed home an 88-strong field in 7:47. Ellen Weir shaved three seconds off her personal best in winning the girls race in 7:56. Her previous best was set in May when she was the overall winner of the event. It was Ellen’s second race of the weekend. The previous day she made her debut appearance in the Bishop’s Park senior 5km parkrun in Bishop’s Park, Fulham, where she was eighth in the women’s race in 20:58.
On the road, Stuart Fraser was top veteran over 50 finisher in the Kingston 10km event on Sunday in 35:51while James Forde was top under 16 finisher in the Sri Chimney 10km event in Battersea Park the previous day.
Former Hercules Wimbledon member John Holt, who was general secretary of the International Association of Athletics Federations for 15 years, has died from a heart attack aged 77. He was a talented athlete and won  the AAA junior 440 yards title and the 800m silver medal at the World Student Games in 1959. “Holt was at the helm of the IAAF at a time of immense change for the association and athletics as a whole,” said IAAF president Seb Coe. “His professional management, passion and dedication for the sport he loved was widely admired and helped guide athletics from amateurism to an increasingly professional era.” Holt clocked a useful 2:52:00 when he ran in Hercules Wimbledon colours in the 1984 London marathon.
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are in action in the second of this season’s 2XU Surrey Ladies cross country league meetings on Mitcham Common on Saturday, starting at 12noon, with the youngsters competing in the second Downs League meeting on Epsom Downs on Sunday morning where the first race for under 11’s is at 10.45am.


Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s Belal Ahmed celebrated his 30th birthday on Sunday with a runway victory in the Gulf Bank 642 marathon in Kuwait City the previous day.
While many of his clubmates were competing in chilly conditions at London’s Parliament Hill Fields, in contrast, Ahmed was having to contend with sweltering temperatures. “It was ridiculously hot there,” said Ahmed. It was 30 degrees centigrade from one mile on and I just managed to run two hours 36 seconds.” He won in 2:36:11, a massive thirteen and a half minutes ahead of the second finisher. He was someway off his best marathon time of 2:27:47 set just three weeks earlier in the Frankfurt marathon in Germany. He also clocked a faster 2:29:57 in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon.
More than 50 Hercules Wimbledon cross country runners were in action in the London cross country and London Youth Games championships at Parliament Hill Fields, often dubbed the spiritual home of English cross country running because of its testing hills.

Best of the 37 youngsters in action were Lloyd Hodgson and Thomas Beare who were second and third in the boys under 11 1.5km race, both in 6.09, and leading Merton to a team victory. Alex Forbes was ninth in the under 13 boys 2km race and the second scoring member of the winning Wandsworth team. Also representing Wandsworth, Zac Purnell was 19th in the under 17 4.5km race.

Highest placed of the Hercules Wimbledon girls was Lauren Armitage who finished 11th out of 117 runners in the under 11 girls 1.5km race. Ellen Weir was 14th out of 219 runners in the girls under 13 2km race representing Merton with club mate Georgina Clarke, running for Wandsworth, 20th. Rebekah Riches was 18th out of 178 runners in the under 15 girls 2km race representing Merton.

The youngsters were followed by the seniors and there Hercules Wimbledon’s women’s squad posted their best-ever team performance in the London Championships finishing eighth, a big improvement on their 14th place in 2015. They were led in by Claire Grima who took eighth individual position out of 250 runners in the 6km race in 22:59 with Anne Hegvold 46th, Lisa Thomas 81st and Chloe Binley 97th.

Fred Slemeck was best of the 13 Hercules Wimbledon runners in the senior men’s 10km championship finishing eighth of 325 runners in 32:15 ahead of Jonathan Cornish (10th in 32:15) and Ben Toomer (11th in 32:18). David Grima finishing 98th in 37:14 was the fourth scoring member of the team which finished fifth. It was the second from Surrey and South West London.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Richard McDowell made a long trip north of the border to make a winning debut in the Portobello 5km parkrun in Edinburgh in 16:52, heading home a 218-strong field and also posting the event’s top age-graded performance. He won by more than a minute. Nearer home, Joe Toomey headed home the 353-strong field on Wimbledon Common in 17:12 to post his first win in the event since May. He finished 15 seconds ahead off the second runner with club mates Adam Harwood, Peter Collins and Stewart Bond, fourth, eighth and 10th, respectively. Lisa Thomas warmed up for her run in the London Championships in the afternoon by finishing 18th in the women’s race.

Elsewhere, Chris Ore was third out of 225 runners in Burgess Park in 18:00 and Ksenia Musatova was second girl to finish in the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun on Sunday.

This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are in action in the annual South of the Thames five miles cross country race at Polesden Lacey, near Leatherhead. Both men and women race together and the race starts at 2pm.



Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s top young sprinter Rechmial Miller, who was Britain’s fastest under 20 100m performer this summer, has been included by British Athletics in a 32-strong  “Futures Programme” squad.
The “Futures Programme” identifies talented young athletes and their coaches as the next generation of British senior internationals with more targeted support for physiotherapy and other services. Miller will be aiming to compete in the European Junior Championships in 2017 which are being held in Grissetto, Italy, next July.
Miller, who has not raced since he pulled up with a hamstring injury in the IAAF World Junior Championships 100m final in Poland in July, where he was a strong favourite to get a medal, has now almost fully recovered from the injury and has resumed full training.
Miller, 18, gained selection for the World championships in Poland by winning the England junior men’s 100m title at Bedford in 10.47 seconds in June after clocking a faster wind-assisted 10.43 in winning his heat. His fastest time of the summer was at an international meeting in Germany, also in June, when he clocked a lifetime best of 10.23 to win his race with the help of a slight following wind.
Had he been able to replicate this time in the World Championships in Poland, he would have taken the silver medal instead of limping in a disappointed last in the final with a hamstring problem.
Miller’s dad, Paul, himself a former Surrey 100m sprint champion, who introduced his son to athletics when he was 12, was delighted with Rechmial’s recognition. “It underpins his standing as the champion junior 100m runner in England. It’s a great boost to his confidence and it is also good news that he has almost fully recovered from the setback he experienced during the summer.”
Paul, who is one of Hercules Wimbledon’s sprint coaches, but who no longer coaches his son, went on: “ His training has been going very well and we are hopeful he will improve again in 2017.” In 2016, Rechmial  made a significant improvement to his best 100m time from 10.35 to 10.23 seconds.
Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners continued their solid start in this season's the 2XU Surrey men’s cross country league programme when they beat first race winners South London Harriers to again take second team place in the second match of the season at Farthing Downs, Coulsdon, on Saturday.
Despite missing some of their top runners, Hercules Wimbledon were strongly represented near the front of the field with five runners in the top 20. The 25 Hercules Wimbledon runners to complete the testing five miles course were led in by Jonathan Cornish who was fifth of the 193 finishers in 29:09. Eight seconds behind in seventh place was Ben Toomer with Richard McDowell 13th in 29:50 and Matt Sharp 18th in 30:17. The rest of the scoring team of 10 were Joe Toomey, who had a good run to finish 25th in 30:39, Joe Clark (30th in 30:52), Finn Johnson (42nd in 31:29), Justin Reid (49th in 31:45), Jonny Earl (65th in 32:16) and Chris Wright (71st in 32:24).
Zac Purnell and Henry Silverstein had strong runs in the young athletes 2.5 miles race finishing third and fifth respectively in the under 17 age group in 15:43 and 15:57 also leading Hercules Wimbledon to second team place.
At the other end of the age scale, Pete Giles led the England over 70 team to victory in the Masters Home Countries cross country international in Glasgow finishing in individual fourth place. Anna Garner was third scoring member of the England team which took bronze medals in the women’s over 60 match.
Elsewhere, Dimos Evangelidis was third in the Greek marathon championship in Athens, and Claire Grima and Gina Galbraith were top women finishers in the Bushy Park and Wimbledon Common 5km parkruns. On Sunday, Bella Williams and Ophelia Lanfranchi were second and third girls to finish in the Wimbledon Park 2km junior parkrun.
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are in action in the annual London cross country championships at Parliament Hill Fields, North London, on Saturday. The women’s race starts at 2.30pm with the men off at 3pm. Earlier in the day some of the club’s younger athletes will be in action for Merton, Wandsworth and other London borough teams in the London Youth Games cross country championships.

Hercules Wimbledon's senior men's cross country squad at Coulsdon

Hercules Wimbledon's youngsters at Coulsdon


Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club teenager Rebekah Riches made a winning debut when she competed in the Downs Young Athletes cross country league on Epsom Downs on Sunday. Rebekah won the girls under 15 2.5km race in 12 minutes 35 seconds to win her category by four seconds.
Hercules Wimbledon had 24 youngsters in action on the club’s first appearance in the Downs League. Madeleine Orenstein was fifth behind Rebekah in 13:22 with Alexander Abraham fifth in the boys under 15 race in 11:26. Abraham led Hercules Wimbledon to third team place.
Georgina Clarke, who has shown good form in recent parkrun events, was the top Hercules Wimbledon finisher in the girls under 13 category finishing fourth in 13:15 while Lloyd Hodgson was third in the under 11 boys category in 10:54.
Hercules Wimbledon provided both the men’s and women’s individual winners in an inter-club 4.9 miles cross country match hosted by the Bank of England in Richmond Park on Saturday. The match is the club’s oldest fixture with the former Wimbledon Athletic Club taking part in the event for the first time 60 years ago in 1959.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Richard McDowell ran out a comfortable winner heading home the 46-strong field in 25:10, 43 seconds ahead of the second runner. George Longworth was fifth in 28:12, just ahead of club mate Rob Tuer with Adam Harwood seventh in 25:10 and Fraser Hagell 14th in 30:05. Jennifer Fernando was first woman finisher in 30:53 with Lisa Thomas first veteran over 50 woman to cross the finishing line in 32:35.
Hercules Wimbledon chairman Dave Clarke, three times English cross country champion some 20 years ago, was the first veteran over 55 finisher running alongside his wife Fran with both of them clocking 34:04.
Three of the 21 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action in Richmond Park were taking part in their second race of the day. A few hours earlier Adam Harwood, Adam Fenton and Lisa Thomas took part in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun where Harwood was eighth out of 445 runners in 16:20. Over 50 veteran Stuart Fraser was the first Hercules Wimbledon finisher taking fourth place in 17:48, the top age-graded performance of the day.
Veteran Gina Galbraith was top woman finisher in 19:30 with 13-year-old Ellen Weir second female finisher in  a personal best of 20:48. Her time took a massive 48 seconds off her previous best set in April. Ellen was in action again on Sunday morning when she was first girl to finish in the Wimbledon Park 2km parkrun in 8:02, just three seconds slower than her best for the course. Eloise Davies was second girl in 9:28 while Daniel Clarke was third boy in 8:26, just one second outside his personal best.
Hercules Wimbledon provided both the boys and girls winners the previous week with Thomas Beare (:44) and Cate Cleverly (8:19) taking the honours. Eloise was again runner-up in the girls event in a faster 8:54.
On the road, Chris Coles as eighth out of 161 runners in the Ronhill Surrey Classic 10km event in Nonsuch Park on Sunday in 38:31.
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are in action in the second of this season’s 2XU Surrey Men’s cross country league meetings of the season at Farthing Downs, Coulsdon, on Saturday. The senior men will be aiming to improve on their strong start in the opening fixture in Richmond Park last month when they finished seconds of the nine competing teams to make their best-ever start in the league. The young athletes race starts at 2.30pm with the seniors off at 3pm.




Racing over 10km might be a tough enough challenge in itself, but marathon running Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club couple Dave and Claire Grima faced one of the most challenging races of their lives when they took the honours in the Chepstow Stampede event in Wiltshire.
It was clearly no race for the faint-hearted. The event website states that the course includes man-made horse hurdles and maximises natural obstacles including ditches and mud pits, steep banks, leg-burning hills and waist deep water.
Dave and Claire, who have been regular competitors in the Virgin Money London Marathon, were cheered on by their two young children Luca and Jasper as they raced to victory from the 414-strong field. Dave won by 10 seconds in 45 minutes 8 seconds with Claire first woman finisher and fifth overall in 49:36, five minutes ahead of the second woman.
Dave said: “We were in Wales for a friend's 40th and part of the weekend's festivities was to take part in the Chepstow Stampede. Claire and I ran the 10k distance, which was effectively a pretty tough cross country run through part of the Chepstow Race Course and some surrounding wooded area. The route included obstacles such as clambering over 2.5 metre high wooden walls, equally high hay stacks and crawling through water - not the sort of thing we'd normally go in for but it was actually really good fun and surprisingly energy sapping.”
Hercules Wimbledon’s Jonny Cornish had an outstanding run in the Bushy Park 5km parkrun on Saturday when he smashed his personal best by 13 seconds and headed home an 1136-strong field to win by eight seconds in 15:27. He set his previous best in March and his win brings to eight the number of times he has led home the Bushy Park event  this year.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Ellen Weir gave herself an early birthday present when she also posted a personal best time in winning the female event in the Medina, Isle of Wight, parkrun in 20:41, 16 seconds better than her previous best also set in March. She celebrated her 13th birthday two days later. Over 50 veteran Lisa Thomas and Caroline Jackson were second women finishers in the Wimbledon Common and Reading parkruns in 20:52 and 21:26.
Adam Harwood was the fastest of 22 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action in the Wimbledon Common event finishing third of the 410 runners in a personal best of 17:42, slicing four seconds off his previous best set in July.
Only Hercules Wimbledon team medallists in the Surrey Masters cross country championships in Richmond Park was the men’s over 60 squad who took silver. The medal-winning trio were led in by Martin Miller who was fifth in the over 65 category 6km race in 29:17 and also included Tony Austin, 16th over 60 finisher in 30:59 and Charles Laurie, 10th over 65 in 31:16.
A trio of Hercules Wimbledon seasoned athletes also medalled in the Jekyll & Hyde Duathlon in Hyde Park on Sunday. Richard Evans was top veteran over 55 in 1:23:16 followed by club mate Charles Hampden-Smith (1:26:34) with Jeremy Purnell third in the over 50 category in 1:25:13.
A sizeable contingent of Hercules Wimbledon youngsters took part in the Bruce Judd cross country relays in Stoke Park, Guildford, on Sunday.Best of the bunch was Henry Silverstein who clocked 7:22 on the opening leg for the under 17 team. Fastest under 15 runner was Gon Declercq with 7:30 on the opening leg. First leg runner Georgina Clarke (8:24) was fastest of the girls under 13 trio which finished eighth.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Belal Aly clocked a personal best of 2:27:47 in the Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday.
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are in action in an inter-club match hosted by the Bank of England in Richmond Park on Saturday. The race starts from close to Roehampton Gate at 3pm.


Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s men’s and  women’s veteran cross-country runners returned from the Surrey Masters cross country championships in Richmond Park last Saturday with a bagful of medals. There were a record 28 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action in the event.
Hercules Wimbledon women runners in the Surrey Masters Championships in Richmond Park           Some of Hercules Wimbledon's veteran men runners who raced in Richmond Park
Left to Right Estle Viljoen (2nd over 45), Lisa Thomas (over 50 winner), Monika Crouse,
Rowena Hornshaw, Gina Galbraith (3rd over 40)
Heading the haul was a hat-trick of individual titles with Lisa Thomas bagging the women’s over 50 gold medal in winning her age group 6km race by more than a minute in 26 minutes 3 seconds. Anna Garnier was an even more convincing winner of the women’s over 60 title in 26:54, almost one-and-a-half minutes clear of the second runner in that category, while the oldest Hercules Wimbledon runner in action, 72-year-old Pete Giles, took the men’s over 70 title in 26:35.
Giles, who was more than a minute clear of former Inter-Counties 20 miles road running champion Graham Taylor from Dorking & Mole Valley, was using the race as a build up for the British and Irish Masters cross country international in Glasgow next month where he will be the defending over 70 men’s champion following his victory in the event in Dublin last year. Hercules Wimbledon’s Dennis Williams took the over 70 bronze medal in 35:07 in Saturday’s championship.
No 32 Gina Galbraith on her way to winning bronze
Other medallists were walking international Estle Viljoen who took silver in the over 45 age group in 25:53 and Gina Galbraith who was third in the over 40 event in 25:23. Hercules Wimbledon’s hopes to medalling in the women’s veterans over 35 team event suffered a setback when Marilena de Luca took a tumble on the second lap and had to be taken back to the finish area by ambulance. The trio of Galbraith, Monika Crouse and Rowena Hornshaw finished fifth.
At the other end of the age range Georgina Clarke showed a dramatic improvement when she smashed her own Hercules Wimbledon under 13 record in the Bishops Park 5km parkrun in Fulham on Saturday. She was the second female finisher, taking 34th place overall out of 351 runners, in 19:53, a big improvement on her 20:13 set four weeks earlier. She became the first Hercules Wimbledon under 13 girl to break the 20 minute barrier for the parkrun. Meanwhile, another Hercules Wimbledon youngster, 12-year-old Ellen Weir, was the top female finisher in the Newport, Isle of Wight parkrun in 21:22.
Another Hercules Wimbledon record-breaker in Bishops Park was Carmelina Hancock who set a new mark for a women over 65 of 35:20.
Hercules Wimbledon provided both the men’s and women’s winners in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun on Saturday. Jonny Earl headed home a 399-strong field in 17:07, winning by 23 seconds while Alex Binley won the women’s event by more than  a minute in 20:01. Teenagers James Forde and Rory Fraser clocked personal bests of 19:10 and 19:32 in 16th and 22nd places. One of the youngest runners in the field, 10-year-old Lloyd Hodgson, also clocks a lifetime best of 19:47 in finishing 27th.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Zac Purnell, taking a break from triathlons and duathlons, finished second on his debut appearance in the Chichester 5km parkrun. He clocked 18:17, six seconds behind the winner. His dad, Jeremy, also competing in the event for the first time, was ninth out of the 133 finishers in 20:15.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Cate Coverley was the top girl finisher in the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun on Sunday in 8:49. Thomas Beare was second in the boy’s race in 8:00 ahead of clubmate Charlie Hunt (8:10). Reigate Priory’s Felix Vaughan who broke the course record by winning in 6:46 heading home a 101-strong field.
The previous weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s William Schneider was the winner in 7:49 with Daniel Clarke, the son of club chairman Dave Clarke, himself a former triple winner of the English senior men’s cross country title, third in a personal best of 8:25.
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s younger runners are in action in the Bruce Judd Surrey Young Athletes cross country relay championships at Stoke Park, Guildford, on Saturday.


Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s men’s and  women’s cross-country runners got off to a flying start to their cross country league programmes with solid performances in their opening matches in Richmond Park and Nonsuch Park.

The men finished ahead of defending champions Kent AC in their opener in Richmond Park while the women were the first team to close in their scoring five runners in Nonsuch Park.
Fresh from her runaway victory in the SOMO marathon in Florida the previous weekend where she won by more than half-an-hour, Claire Grima led Hercules Wimbledon to a good third team place in Nonsuch Park, their best opening league performance since 2011.
Grima finished sixth of the 226 runners in the Division One match in 23 minutes 34 seconds, less than a minute behind the race winner. Alex Binley made an impressive 2XU Surrey Ladies League debut in finishing 19th in 25:00 and with fellow debutante Victoria Johnston 26th (25:22) and veterans Gina Galbraith and Anne Hegvold 28th and 35th in 25:25 and 25:44. Hercules Wimbledon packed solidly to get their scoring five runners in before any other team despite having to settle for third place on the day. Hercules Wimbledon had 16 runners out in the senior race.
 Best of the youngsters were Rebekah Riches who was 11th in the under 15 race and Ellen Weir and Georgina Clarke who finished ninth and 13th in the under 13 contest.
Not only did the men beat the league champions but their second place in Richmond Park was the best ever opening league match team effort since the formation of Hercules Wimbledon in 1967. However, just before the merger, Hercules AC secured opening match team wins in 1965 and 1966.
Leading the way home was Ben Toomer who finished seventh in 29:10 just ahead of Fred Slemeck (eighth in 29:27) with Jonathan Cornish 11th (29:40), Dimos Evangelidis 14th (29:50), Richard McDowell 18th (30:20), Chris Wright 21st (30:24) and Matthew Sharp 24th (30:29). Completing the scoring team of 10 in the 2XU Surrey Men’s League Division One match in Richmond Park were Joe Clark (35th in 31:02), Joe Toomey (45th in 31:35) and Kieran White (66th in 32:20). Hercules Wimbledon had the second squad of the nine competing clubs in action with 35 runners taking part.
Zac Purnell was the best of the Hercules Wimbledon youngsters finishing sixth in the joint under 15 and under 17 race in 15:42. He was fourth under 17 runner. Henry Silverstein was 19th in 16:20. Caspar Parsons had a strong run in the under 13 race finishing seventh in 17:08 with William Sneider 17th in 17:48, Lloyd Hodgson 18th in 17:54 and Conor Foley 19th in 17:55. A record 22 Hercules Wimbledon youngsters took part in the 2.74 miles race with the under 13 boys taking runners-up spot in the team contest and the joint under 17 and under 15 team finishing fourth.
Ben Toomer, who led the team home in Richmond Park was in action again on Sunday when he finished 10th out of 1449 runners in the Cabbage Patch 10 miles road race at Twickenham in 53:42, beaten his previous best for the distance by almost three minutes. David Grima, who also ran on Saturday, was 48th fun 59:45 and Peter Clarke 101st in 64:04.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Richard Evans won the Sprint Duathlon in Bedford on Sunday by more than a minute in 62:48 with over 50 veteran Charles Hampden-Smith fifth in 65:41. Veteran Peter Lee won there Oulton Park Autumn Duathlon by almost two minutes in 1:50:58.
In her first race for five months, Hercules Wimbledon’s Steph Robson was women’s winner in the Skipton parkrun 5km event in 21:19 while Adam Harwood and Stuart Fraser were second and third out of 374 runners in the Wimbledon Common event in 18:07 and 18:14.
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s older runners are in action in the Surrey Masters cross country championships in Richmond Park. The first race women and over 60 men starts at 3.30pm with the main men’s race starting at 4.15pm.  Races start and finish near Pembroke Lodge.


Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s women’s marathon runner Claire Grima has been making the headlines across The Pond where she beat the entire field of 179 men and women to win the SOMO marathon in Key West, Florida, on Saturday, by a massive 33 minutes.

Claire’s victory in an event known as the Southern Most Marathon was reported on the front page of  The Citizen, Florida Keys’ only daily newspaper on Sunday with a full report and results on the paper’s sports pages. The front page had a picture of Claire crossing the finishing line with her arms aloft with the strapline “Claire roars to SOMO victory”.
Her winning time of three hours 5 minutes 26 seconds was relatively slow by Claire’s standards - she has a best of 2:42:51 set in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon - but it came on the back of four energy-sapping days on which she spent up to six hours walking the 27 miles from Key Largo to Key West each day, setting off at around 5am to avoid the heat.

The five days of completing marathons was part of a challenge known as the Beast where Claire had coached a large group known as the Breakfast Club to walk four marathons before competing in an actual race.

Happily, it seems Florida Keys completely escaped hurricane Matthew much to the relief of Claire’s mum who was anxiously following events back home in England.

Nearer home, Hercules Wimbledon were the top finishing Surrey and South London team in the England six-stage road relay championship at Sutton Park, Birmingham, on Saturday. Their combined time of 1:53:44 was the a record for a Hercules Wimbledon team beating the previous best set in 2014 by 58 seconds.

Fastest of the sextet was first leg runner Belal Ahmed who clocked 18:12 for the 5.8km leg. Second fastest was Ben Toomer with 18:22 on the penultimate leg with Fred Slemeck the only other member of the team to clock inside 19 minutes with 18:49 on stage three. Other members of the team were Richard McDoell (19:16), Andrew Penney (19:19) and Rob Tuer  (19:46).

Slemeck warmed up for the England road relay championship by finishing fourth and first non-Ethiopian in the Malmo Half Marathon in Sweden the previous weekend in a lifetime best of 1:12:47. It eclipsed his previous best of 1:14:16 set in Basingstoke in 2012. His Hercules Wimbledon clubmate Jonathan Cornish posted a faster 1:10:10 in finishing sixth out of 7645 runners in the Vitality Half Marathon in Oxford. Joe Toomey finished fifth out of 15980 runners in the Royal Parks Half Marathon in Hyde Park in 1:15:50 on Sunday.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Justin Reid was top veteran over 45 finisher in the England Masters inter-area cross country match on Wimbledon Common on Saturday while Peter Giles won the over 70 category in the British Masters  one mile road running championships in Cardiff.

Also on Wimbledon Common, over 50 veteran Stuart Fraser posted the top age-graded performance in finishing second out off 402 runners in Saturday’s parkrun 5km event in 18:01 with  teenager Henry Silverstein third in 18:04, Adam Harwood fifth (18:07) and Russell Price seventh (18:15). Gina Galbraith as first woman in the Chichester event in 19:59. Chris Ore was fourth out of 217 runners in Brockwell Park in 18:06.

William Schneider beat a 147-strong field to win the Wimbledon Park 2km junior parkrun on Sunday in 7:28 beating clubmate Thomas Beare by nine seconds with Samuel Masters third in 7:39.

This weekend Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners open their league programmes with the women in action in the 2XU Surrey Ladies League meeting at Nonsuch Park, Cheam, and the men in the 2XU Surrey Men’s League meeting in Richmond Park. The first race at Cheam, for seniors, is at 12noon followed by age group races. The meeting in Richmond Park starts with the young athletes race at 3.30pm followed by the seniors at 4pm. The start and finish are near Pembroke Lodge.



Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s young athletes dominated the opening East Surrey League cross country meeting of the season when they took the team honours at Lloyd Park, Croydon, on Saturday, packing three of the top four placings.
Zac Purnell, 15, taking a break from duathlons and in his first cross country race since running in the South of England Championships at Parliament Hill Fields back in January, showed fine form to finish just three seconds behind Surrey and South of England champion Harley Norman from Epsom in the two miles race, to lead Hercules Wimbledon to team victory. Purcell clocked 10 minutes 56 seconds and with Henry Silverstein third in 11:05, Sam Barker fourth in 11:16 and Lucas Jeffs seventh in 11:27, Hercules Wimbledon comfortably took the team honours with 16 points from Herne Hill (31) and Sutton & District (57).
Hercules Wimbledon had 15 youngsters in action with Lloyd Hodgson and Lauren Armitage, in their first cross country races top under 11 boy and girl finishers, respectively, in 12:30 and 14:14.
Returning to Hercules Wimbledon after a six-year break, Chris Coles celebrated his 37th birthday by leading the club’s team home in the senior five miles race finishing 21st out of 95 runners in 32:14. Alex Binley was top woman finisher in 32:21 with Lisa Thomas first woman veteran over 40 in 36:07.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Richard McDowell was the second UK finisher in the Bournemouth marathon on Sunday taking seventh place out of more than 2000 runners in a personal best of 2:40:09. His time improved on his 2:42:16 in this year’s Virgin Money London race back in April. “I was the first finisher from the non-elite pen and managed to pick off a runner with a sprint finish over the last 50 metres or so,” said a satisfied McDowell.
Another Hercules Wimbledon runner to show good form on the road was Belal Ahmed who took almost two minutes off his lifetime best in the Cardiff University half-marathon on Sunday. Ahmed, who was using the race as part of his preparation for the Frankfurt Marathon at the end of the month, finished 17th out of more than 17000 runners in 1:09:32 to improve on the 1:1:29 he posted representing Egypt in the IAAF World half-marathon championships, also in Cardiff, back in March.
Hercules Wimbledon had a quartet of parkrun winners over the weekend. Rob Tuer travelled to Taunton where he was a narrow winner of the Longrun Meadow event in 17:28, heading home a 226-strong field by three seconds. Gina Galbraith was first woman finisher on Tooting Common in 19:40, posting the top age-graded performance of the event, while Georgina Clarke as first female finisher in Richmond Park in 20:38 where clubmate Ben Tatters was third overall out of 372 runners in 18:06. Ewan White managed to snatch victory in the junior 2km parkrun in Wimbledon Park on Sunday in 7:50, the same time was the runner-up.
Elsewhere, Joe Toomey was second out of 383 runners on Wimbledon Common in 17:47 with Adam Harwood fifth in 18:19. and over 60 veteran Anna Garner top age graded performer finishing fourth in the women’s race fun 22:33.  Valerie Parocki was second female finisher in Lloyd Park, Croydon, in 22:33.
This weekend Hercules Wimbledon are in action in the England men’s six-stage road relay championship at Sutton Park, Birmingham, after finishing top Surrey team in the qualifying South of England championship at Bedford. 

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The next Hercules
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April 2018
Results of 9 April 2017