More than 50 Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club cross country runners were in action at Parliament Hill Fields on Saturday competing in the London Youth Games and London championships with the senior men, who have medalled in the team event in two of the last three years, narrowly missing out on taking medals this time, while the club’s senior women posted their best-ever team performance, writes Tom Pollak.
Several of the club’s top runners decided to take a break after lifting the team honours in the second of this season’s Start Fitness Surrey League meeting staged in torrential rain on Wimbledon Common the previous weekend, although the runner who led them to victory, Finn Johnson, chose not to rest and continued his impressive season by again leading the Hercules Wimbledon team home.
Competing in more pleasant dry weather and sunshine, albeit with a biting easterly wind, Johnson, who failed to make the scoring Hercules Wimbledon team in 2017 when he was Hercules Wimbledon’s fifth finisher, showed much improved form as he took 11th place of the 460 runners covering the 10km course in 36 minutes 23 seconds.
Jonny Cornish, the only member of Hercules Wimbledon’s 2017 silver medal-winning team running in this year’s race, was 22nd in 37:21 with Joe Clark 28th in 37:48 and David Lewin 48th in 38:58 to complete the scoring team. It finished in fourth spot just outside the bronze medal position but had the consolation of being the first team from South London and Surrey. Other Hercules Wimbledon runners to finish in the top 100 were Neil Fraser (57th in 39:27), teenager Henry Silverstein (70th in 40:10) and Dave Grima (88th in 41:02).
Earlier, Dave’s wife Claire had led the Hercules Wimbledon quartet to their best ever team placing in the women’s 6km championship finishing a fine seventh of the 310 runners in 23:12. With Gina Galbraith 22nd in 24:16, Eileen Brandley 29th in 24:44 and Lisa Thomas 81st in 26:26, Hercules Wimbledon were seventh in the team stake, improving on their previous best of eighth in 2016.
Almost 30 Hercules Wimbledon youngsters were in action in the London Youth Games cross country contests which were staged before the senior races. Best performing youngster from the club was Ellen Weir who finished sixth representing Merton in the girls under 15 race in 7:46. Lulu Weisz, also representing Merton, was 21st in 7:58 with Georgie Clarke, running for Wandsworth, one second slower in 22nd place. The previous weekend, Weir had led the Wimbledon High School team home in the English Schools Cross Country Cup Regional Final at Tonbridge finishing fourth of the 59 runners.
Lauren Armitage led the Merton team home in the girls under 13 race finishing 12th of the 247 runners with Hercules Wimbledon club mate Anya Montgomerie the first finisher from Sutton taking 19th place.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Justin Reid was in action for Northern Ireland in the British and Irish Masters cross country championships in Swansea on Saturday. He was 18th over 45 veteran covering the 8km course in 28:34.
Jonny Earl headed home a 294-strong field in the Kingston 5km parkrun in a personal best of 15:53 to slice nine seconds off his previous best set in winning the event last month. It was his fifth victory in six appearances since July 2017. Susie Alway was 11th woman finisher in a personal 24:18. Teenager Johanna Tofte made an impressive debut in the Bushy Park 5km parkrun finishing 38th of the 1325 runners and second in the women’s race in 18:46. Another teenager, Daniel Clarke, the son of Hercules Wimbledon chairman Dave Clarke, posted a personal best of 20:20 in finishing 15th out of 376 runners in the Richmond event.
This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are competing nearer home in the South of the Thames five miles team race which is being held in Morden Park. The race for both men and women starts from the Bandstand at 2pm.
- Hercules Wimbledon hold track training sessions at Wimbledon Park on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.30pm and on Sunday mornings starting at 9.15am. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club hold mid-week road running training sessions for marathon, cross country and road runners from Lauriston Cottage, 6a Southside, Wimbledon Common, at the junction with Lauriston Road, every Wednesday evening from 7pm. Contact: email@example.com.