PRESS RELEASES for Hercules Wimbledon AC  

October 2017

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Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s cross country runners followed up on their best men’s performance in the English road relay championship for more than 40 years the previous weekend with a solid start in both the men’s and women’s Surrey cross country leagues at Reigate on Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.

The Hercules Wimbledon men produced their best start since winning the opening match in 1978 by finishing runners-up in the Division One match, just seven points behind the winners. The club’s senior women’s runners were not to be outshone as they finished fourth of the 15 Division One teams, their strongest opening match performance since winning the first match in 2011.

The senior men were led in by a trio of runners - Jonathan Cornish, Fred Slemeck and Ben Toomer, who finished fifth, sixth and seventh of the 196 runners covering the five miles in 27 minutes 24 seconds, 28:04 and 28:06. Finn Johnson (21st in 29:04), Demons Evangelidis (26th in 29:30 and third over 40 veteran), Richard McDowell (31st in 29:41), Jonny Earl (47th in 30:22) Kieran White (49th in 30:29), Justin Reid (52nd in 30:43) and Neil Fraser (78th in 31:40) completed the scoring team of 10. Twenty-one Hercules Wimbledon senior men were in action.

More than two hours earlier, the Hercules Wimbledon senior women had raced over the undulating Reigate Priory circuit to throw down the gauntlet to their male clubmates by finishing a good fourth in the Division One match. They were led in by newcomer Cheryl Nolan making her debut in the gold and red Hercules Wimbledon vest who finished fifth of the 243 runners covering the six kilometres in 24:04. Claire Grima was eighth and top veteran over 40 in 24:40 followed by Eileen Brandley (29th in 26:30), Zoe Pike (45th in 27:18) and Anne Hegvold (51st in 27:30).16:53.

Hercules Wimbledon’s youngsters also gave a good showing finishing third in the girls under 15 team race with Johanna Tofte leading the team home finishing sixth of the 54 runners in 16:33. Georgina Clarke was ninth in 16:53, Rebekah Riches 16th in 17:47 and Ellen Weir 22nd in 18:17. Best of the Hercules Wimbledon under 13 runners was Lauren Ermitage who was 10th of the 80 finishers.

Richard McDowell, who helped the senior men to a strong team effort, was continuing his return to racing after almost four months out with a foot injury. The previous weekend he raced in the Chester Marathon sporting an England vest. This was because he was competing in the England over 35 age group championship for which he qualified in the Bournemouth marathon 12 months earlier. He finished 32nd of the 2587 runners in a very respectable 2:42:24.

“I toed the line after three weeks light training,” said Richard. “I was just planning on trotting round in around three hours so was making a concerted effort to take it easy at the start. Hitting the half-way mark in one hour 23 minutes, slightly quicker than anticipated, I was feeling incredibly fresh so decided to empty the tank overtaking dozens of runners and was pretty pleased with my time after the slow start.” He completed the second half of the race four minutes faster than the first 13 miles.

Claire Grima completed a busy weekend winning the women’s veterans over 40 category in the Cabbage Patch 10 miles road race at Twickenham on Sunday in 1:01:34, her best time for the distance since 2014. She was also fourth in the women’s race. Ben Toomer also racing the second time over the weekend was fifth out of 1558 runners in 54:02.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Matt Sharp was second British finisher in the Chicago Marathon, where there were more than 44500 runners, in 2:29:19.

Elsewhere, Hercules Wimbledon’s Alex Binley was top woman finisher in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun in 19:39, taking fifth overall out of 415 runners and leading 15 Hercules Wimbledon runners home. Teenager Ben Tatters was third out of 487 runners in the Richmond Park event while Georgina Carrington was top girl finisher in the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s runners compete in the Surrey Veterans cross country championships in Richmond Park. The races start near Pembroke Lodge with the women and over 60 men off at 3.30pm covering 6km and the main men’s 10km race starting at 4.15pm.

Hercules Wimbledon's happy men's squad after their best ever start

The successful girls under 15 squad left to right Anya Stacey, Georgina Clarke, Ellen Weir, Albane Fery, Selma Hegvold, Johanna Tofte and Rebekah Riches


Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s road runners posted their best performance for more than 40 years in the English  senior men’s six-stage road relay championship at Sutton Park, Birmingham, on Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.

The six runners gave an impressive showing finishing 17th out of the 82 teams,  and the top Surrey and South West London club. It was Hercules Wimbledon’s best performance in the championship since finishing 11th out of 25 teams in 1974 when the event was held at Wimbledon.

Fred Slemeck made a strong start for Hercules Wimbledon covering the opening six kilometres leg in 18 minutes 50 seconds to hand over in 50th place. Then came another strong run by Andrew Penney who clocked 18:04, the fastest Hercules Wimbledon time, to storm through the field overtaking 18 teams handing over in 32nd place.

Finn Johnson (19:09) gained a further two places on the third stage before Belal Ahmed (18:44) moved up to 26th place. Penultimate runner Jonny Cornish posted the third best Hercules Wimbledon time of 18:14 to gain a further five places before Ben Toomer, clocking the second best team time on the anchor leg (18:06), race past another four teams.

Toomer and Ahmed completed a busy weekend by taking part in the Oxford half-marathon on Sunday. Ahmed was fourth out of 8357 runners in 69:40 just eight seconds outside his personal best.Toomer was 16th in 1:14:11 with David Grima 48th in 1:19:12 and his wife Claire 74th and first woman veteran over 40 in 1:20:45.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Dominic Kiralyfi was just two seconds outside his lifetime best set in 2015 when he finished runner-up in the Royal Parks half-marathon in Hyde Park on Sunday in 1:11:37. There were almost 16500 finishers.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Gina Galbraith gained a runaway victory in the women’s 40-45 category in the London half-duathlon event in Richmond Park in 1:29:37. She finished nine minutes clear of the runner-up.

It was 33rd time lucky for Hercules Wimbledon’s Thomas Whorton in the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun on Sunday. He posted his first victory since making his debut in the event in February 2016 after finishing runner-up three times. He clocked 7:52, one second slower than his best time as he headed a 212-strong field home with clubmate Thomas Beare third in 8:01.

Meanwhile, Hercules Wimbledon’s senior runners gained a hat-trick of wins on International parkrun day on Saturday. David Lewin headed home a 338-strong field to win for the fourth time in Finsbury Park in 17:45. Felix Allen made a winning debut at Southport in 17:53, beating almost 400 runners.

Allen completed a busy weekend by competing in the West Coast half-marathon in Fylde on Sunday where he was second veteran over 45 finisher in 1:23:33 finishing ninth out of 269 runners. Amy Aronson was top woman finisher in the Wimbledon Common parkrun finishing 13th out of 416 runners in 19:43. Top Hercules Wimbledon finisher was Adam Harwood who was third in 17:53.

Seven Hercules Wimbledon athletes were among 1465 runners who took part in the 13th anniversary Bushy Park parkrun. First Hercules Wimbledon finisher was Justin Reid who was fifth in 16:51. Russell Price was fourth out of 284 runners in the Sale Water Park event in 18:46.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country runners are heading to Priory Park, Reigate, on Saturday for the opening Surrey Men’s and Ladies Leagues meetings of the season. The women’s programme starts at 12noon with the senior race while the men’s programme starts at 2.30pm with the young athletes 2.5 miles race followed at 3pm by the senior men’s five miles.

Left - Belal Ahmed who ran in the English six-stage road relay on Saturday and then finished fourth in the Oxford half-marathon on Sunday
Right - Dominic Kiralyfi after finishing runner-up in the Royal Parks half-marathon

Hercules Wimbledon's England six-stage road relay team from left Andrew Penney, Jonny Cornish, Belal Ahmed, Finn Johnson, Ben Toomer, Fred Slemeck



Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s women’s cross country team made a winning start to the new season with a convincing victory in their opening match of the season at Lloyd Park, Croydon, on Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.

They were led to success by over 40 veteran Liz Stavreski  who was top woman finisher in the five miles race in 33 minutes 23 seconds. Teenager Charlotte Clover, making an impressive Hercules Wimbledon debut, was second finisher from the club and top under 20 runner in 34:48, eight seconds ahead of over 50 veteran Anne Hegvold. Completing the winning team was fellow over 50 veteran Lisa Thomas in 36:25. The other Hercules Wimbledon women finishers were Vikki Filsell (36:52), Alison Purnell (38:32), and Monika Crouse (38:52).

Women’s team: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 20pts; 2 Herne Hill 60; 3 Striders of Croydon 62; 4 Hercules Wimbledon B 63; 5 Epsom & Ewell 65.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Jonathan Cornish found it tough going in the men’s race where he was second in 27:05, nine seconds behind the winner. Another Hercules Wimbledon debutant, David Lewin, was 11th out of the 105 runners in 30:42, with Chris Coles 25th (32:36) and Simon Woodley 32nd (33:08). The men’s team finished fourth.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Henry Silverstein was top under 17 finisher in the young athletes two miles race where he was fourth out of 93 runners in 11:25, leading the team to fourth place. Georgina Clarke also made a useful start to her cross country season finishing second in the girls race in 12:16 with Ellen Weir fifth (12:33), Lauren Armitage 16th (13:24) and fourth under 13 finisher and Selma Hegvold 17th (13:34). The team was third.

Hercules Wimbledon had a hat-trick of parkrun 5km winners. Matt Sharp posted a personal best time as he headed home a 345-strong field at Dulwich Park in 15:45. It was his 13th win in 21 appearances in Dulwich Park were he made his debut on June 30th 2012, and took six seconds off his previous best set in June 2013.

Ben Toomer, who anchored the Hercules Wimbledon team to a fine fifth place in the South of England road relay championships the previous weekend, won the Chipping Sodbury event in 15:48 with Eileen Brandley ninth overall out of the 355 runners and first woman finisher in a personal best of 19:24. Her time chopped 89 seconds off her previous best set in April.

Elsewhere, Fred Slemeck was sixth out of 1229 runners in Bushy Park in 16:40 while Adam Harwood was the best of 14 Hercules Wimbledon finishers in the Wimbledon Common event finishing fourth out of 462 runners in 18:15 and Andrew Davies was sixth out of 416 runners in Bishop’s Park in 18:07. Harwood completed a busy weekend when he won the AFC Wimbledon Minthon 5km event in New Malden in 17:48 on Sunday.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Sam Masters beat a 161-strong field to win the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun on Sunday by more than a minute in 7:38 while Richard Evans was first veteran over 55 finisher in the Run Through half-marathon on Wimbledon Common.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon are competing in the England six-stage men’s road relay championship at Sutton Park, Birmingham, on Saturday. The team qualified by finishing fifth, the top Surrey and South London club, in the South of England championships at Crystal Palace last month. 

Hercules Wimbledon's winning women's team L-R Alison Purnell, Lisa Thomas, Monika Crouse, Anne Hegvold, Vikki Filsell, Liz Stavreski, Charlotte Clover

Some Hercules Wimbledon youngsters at Croydon


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