By Tom Pollak
Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s athletes are facing a busy weekend competing in two national championships at Parliament Hill Fields and Sheffield.
They 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 women’s 3,000metres 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 60m 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 60m in 8.40 while Andrew Sarpong was fifth in the junior men’s long jump with 5.78m.
Four 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 60m and 200m while Miller, who warmed up for Sheffield with a lifetime best 60m run of 6.88 seconds at an indoor meeting in Newham, contests the under-20 400m. Teenager Zipporah Golding will be aiming to improve on her fourth place last year when she competes in the under-15 girls 60m, while South of England finalist Robert Philpott goes in the under-17 60m.
A large contingent of Hercules Wimbledon runners will be heading for Parliament Hill Fields, often dubbed the spiritual home of English cross country, 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.
Kieran White was the top veteran finisher in the Inter-Services cross country championships at RAF, Halton. 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. Ellen Weir, 14, was top female finisher in the Medena 5km parkrun on the Isle of Wight. She was 11th of 247 runners.