Hercules Wimbledon target high placing in English National six-stage road relay championship

BY TOM POLLAK

After taking sixth place in the South of England championships a fortnight ago, Hercules Wimbledon senior men’s team are aiming for a top 12 finish in the English National six-stage road relay championship at Birmingham’s Sutton Park on Saturday.

Alex Milne, who made his Hercules Wimbledon debut in the Southern event, warmed up for Birmingham by finishing fourth out of 3,861 finishers in the Windsor half-marathon on Sunday.

He clocked  one hour nine minutes and 59 seconds, running his fourth race over the 13.1 miles half-marathon distance of 2019.

The other five members of the squad that ran at Crystal Palace were Jonny Cornish, who was Hercules Wimbledon’s fastest runner, Fred Slemeck, Richard McDowell, Ross Franks and anchor leg runner Charlie Eastaugh all took a break from racing to be in top form for the national title challenge.

The club will also field a second team in the National event after Tom Drayton, Dimos Evangelidis, Finn Johnston, Joe Clark, Tom Jervis and David Lewin finished in the top 25 at Crystal Palace to secure a qualifying place for Birmingham.

Peter Giles made an impressive start to his winter season when he was top over-75 finisher in the English Masters inter-area cross country match at Bury St Edmunds on Sunday. He covered the 5.7km course in 26:42 to beat the second runner in his age group by almost minute.

Peter Giles

Two places behind Giles was his Hercules Wimbledon club mate Helen Davies, competing in the women’s veterans over-50 category where she was fifth in 27:08. Husband Malcolm was fifth in the over-50 category in the men’s 8km race in 33:45.

Peter Giles was among a quartet of Hercules Wimbledon runners competing in the Veterans 10,000m track championships at Battersea Park. He was top over-75 finisher in 42:33.84, more than 10 minutes faster than the second runner in his age group. Over-50 veteran Darren Franks clocked a PB 38:55.64, over-45 veteran Jaran Finn a PB of 39:47.17 and supervet Malcolm Davies a PB of 39:48.26.

There were mixed fortunes for the two Hercules Wimbledon runners among more than 24,000 competitors in the Berlin marathon on Sunday.

Over-45 veteran Felix Allen clocked a PB of 2:53:49, running the second half of notoriously flat course in the German capital in 1:26:09, slightly faster than his first half of 1:27:40. There was misfortune for Belal Ahmed, a regular in the London race, who was forced to drop out around 5km.

Belal Ahmed

Ben Tatters made a winning return to racing after more than a year’s absence when he headed home a 477-strong field in the Richmond 5km parkrun on Saturday in a PB of 17:28. It was his first race since finishing fourth in the same event in September 2018 in a slower 18:25. His time took five seconds off his previous best set as a 13-year-old in December 2014. He won by 19 seconds.

Supervet Lisa Thomas, who was among 17 Hercules Wimbledon runners on Wimbledon Common, posted the top age-graded performance with her time of 20:41. John Siddall  was eighth of the 544 runners in 18:31. Another teenager, Gabriel Durand, was eighth out of 131 runners in Old Deer Park in 20:25. Rob Tuer was fifth out of 398 finishers in Dulwich Park in 17:16 while over-40 veteran Gina Galbraith was third woman in 18:35. David Lewin was seventh out of 528 runners on his debut appearance in Bishop’s Park in 17:48.

Elena Dauster made her debut appearance in the Portobello event in Edinburgh where she was second in the women’s race  in 19:40 and Simon Woodley was seventh out of 202 runners at Blandford, Dorset.

Hercules Wimbledon open their winter cross country programme when they compete in the East Surrey League cross country meeting in Croydon’s Lloyd Park on Sunday. The two miles race for U13 boys and girls starts at midday with youngsters in the U15 and U17 2.5 miles event off at 12.30pm and the senior five miles race starting at 1pm.

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