BY TOM POLLAK
Andrew Penney gained a historic victory in the Financial Services cross country championships in Richmond Park when he became the first athlete from the club to take the title.
Penney, 27, was competing in the event for the first time and was among three runners who broke away from the 200-strong field soon after the start of the 5.75 miles race before edging away to win by nine seconds in 30:11.
He led BlackRock, who were also contesting the championship for the first time, to fifth team place.
Most of the club’s top runners gave the South of the Thames 5 Miles Cross Country race a miss. Richard McDowell led the men’s team home in eighth.
Joe Clark was 21st (28:15) with teenager Zac Purnell, third U20 finisher, two places further behind in 28:33. Rob Tuer completed the team, taking 35th place in 29:43. Hercules Wimbledon were fifth team.
Others in the men’s race were James Miller (62nd in 30:54), over-50 veteran Stuart Fraser (65th in 31:00), over 4 veteran Simon Woodley (100th in 33:04) and over-50 veteran Mark Livingstone (122nd in 34:39), who completed the B team which finished 21st of the 40 teams. Over 55 veterans were Richard Evans (123rd in 34:45) and Charles Hampden-Smith (129th in 35:08) with over-50 veteran Gordon Lilly clocking 35:49 (139th).
The all-veteran women’s team finished fifth. They were led in by over-40 Gina Galbraith, seventh in 32:17. Over-50 veteran Lisa Thomas, who earlier in the day had run in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun was14th in 34:50. Over-45 veteran Fran Clarke was 30th in 36:41 and over-55 veteran Alison Purnell 33rd in 37:37.
Other Hercules Wimbledon runners were Monika Crouse (44th in 38:45), Hannah Fernando (55th in 40:31), Marilena de Luca (57th in 40:53) and Rowena Hornshaw (70th in 44:56).
Jonny Cornish and Claire Grima had strong runs in the Bushy Park 5km parkrun on Saturday morning with Cornish taking second place out of 1,118 runners in 15:18 and Grima third in the women’s race in 18:13. Justin Reid was first over-45 veteran in 17:14, posting the top male age-graded performance of the day.
Hercules Wimbledon had three runners among the top six finishers on Wimbledon Common with David Lewin leading the 17-strong club contingent home in 17:41. Teenager Hector Revill was fifth in 18:09 with Joe Toomey sixth in 18:32.
Richard Evans, who ran in Morden Park later in the day, was top over-55 veteran finishing 15th in 19:58. Albane Fery was sixth woman finisher and Lisa Thomas ninth.
Alexie Calvert-Ansari was seventh out of 449 runners in his first appearance for 15 months in the Fulham Palace event in 17:01, just 17 seconds slower than his best.