PRESS RELEASES for Hercules Wimbledon AC  

 

26-09-17 - GOLD AND SILVER MEDAL WINS

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club had an outstanding and historic day at the South of England road relay championships at Crystal Palace on Sunday, writes Tom Pollak.

Hercules Wimbledon’s veterans over 40 women’s team were surprise winners of the gold medals while the men’s veterans over 50 squad took silver. It was not only the golden oldies who shone on a brilliantly sunny autumn day - the senior men’s squad finished fifth, their best-ever placing in the South of England six-stage road relay.

The women’s veterans gold medal-winning quartet got off to a strong start with Claire Grima bringing them home in the lead at the end of the first leg clocking 13 minutes 9 seconds, the fastest time of the team. Fran Clarke (15:06), Gina Galbraith (14:43) and Anne Hegvold (14:37) kept them in front to easily take the title for the first time in the club’s history. It was also the first time in almost half-a-century that Hercules Wimbledon had won a South of England team title - only one of the team had been born when Hercules Wimbledon’s senior men took the 12-stage road relay title in Wimbledon Village in 1972.

It was double celebration for the Clarke family as Fran’s husband Dave, three times a former English cross country champion and now the Hercules Wimbledon chairman, anchored the men’s veterans over 50 team to silver medals. He clocked 17:56 for the 5km circuit, the fastest time of the quartet. His younger brother Pete ran the opening leg with Stuart Fraser and Peter Lee making up the medal-winning squad.

The stand-out performance, though, came from the senior men who although unable to make it a hat-trick of medals for Hercules Wimbledon, posted the club’s best-ever performance in the six-stage relay to finish in fifth place - the top Surrey and South West London club.

Fred Slemeck brought the team home in 16th place on the opening 5km leg clocking 15:28. Andrew Penney ran a storming second leg to lift the Hercules Wimbledon to ninth place posting the best time of the team, 15:03. Jonny Earl (16:01) slipped to 11th before Belal Ahmed (15:27) lifted the team to ninth and then Jonny Cornish (15:14) got up to fourth before Ben Toomer was passed by Southampton on the anchor leg clocking 15:16. Highgate, Tonbridge and Aldershot filled the top three places.

There was also a fine performance from the Hercules Wimbledon girls under 15 squad which finished ninth, a big improvement on their 27th place last year. Rebekah Riches covered the opening leg in 10:12 handing over to Ellen Weir (10:15) before Georgie Clarke proved the best of the trio anchoring the team home with a storming 9:54 leg.

Hercules Wimbledon veteran Andrew Davies had a busy day starting off running in the Ealing half-marathon where he finished 46th out of more than 4000 runners in 1:22:53 and then dashed across to Crystal Palace where he ran the second leg for the Hercules Wimbledon over 40 team.

Elsewhere, Alex Binley was the first woman to finish the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun in 19:36 finishing ahead of the 15 Hercules Wimbledon men. She was 11th overall out of 536 runners. Also on Wimbledon Common Dimo Evangelidis won the Suunto Run Half Marathon multi-terrain event by almost five minutes in 1:17:56 while Richard Clark was top veteran over 60 finisher in the 10.55km multi-terrain event. Tom Cheetham was second over 50 finisher in the Folkestone half-marathon on Sunday in 1:29:45, finishing 13th out of almost 600 runners.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon runners open their cross country season by competing in the East Surrey League cross country races in Lloyd Park, Croydon, on Saturday. On Sunday, the club’s youngsters from the 7ups ’n’ overs group take part in their mini Olympics at Wimbledon Park track starting at 9am.


Three of the gold medal winning women's over 40 team left to right Fran Clarke, Gina Galbraith, Claire Grima. Anne Hegvold is missing


The large happy Hercules Wimbledon contingent after a successful day at Crystal Palace


Senior men's team left to right:-
Fred Slemeck, Andrew Penney, Jonny Earl, Belal Ahmed, Jonny Cornish, Ben Toomer


Silver medal winning men's over 50 team
Left to right: Peter Lee, Stuart Fraser, Dave Clarke, Pete Clarke

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18-09-17 - QUARTET OF PARKRUN WINNERS

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s men’s runners warmed up for next Sunday’s South of England road relay championships at Crystal Palace with a quartet of parkrun 5km winners on Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.

Leading the way was Jonathan Cornish who raced away from an 1194-strong field to win the Bushy Park event in 15 minutes 45 seconds finishing 12 seconds ahead of his Hercules Wimbledon team-mate Fred Slemeck who sliced 27 seconds off his previous best for the course which was set on his only previous appearance there almost five years ago in November 2012.

Claire Grima, who will lead the Hercules Wimbledon women’s team at Crystal Palace, posted the top age-graded performance in finishing 20th overall and first woman over the line in a women’s veterans over 40 course record of 17:50. Lower down the large field, Richard Clark was first veteran over 60 finisher in 20:39.

Richard McDowell headed home 25 Hercules Wimbledon runners as he led home 521 runners on Wimbledon Common in 17:22, 17 seconds clear of the runner-up. Felix Allen had an impressive run in finishing fourth. He was first over 45 veteran in a personal best of 17:51, slicing a 38 seconds off his previous best set in August 2013. Adam Harwood was fifth in 17:52, teenager Henry Silverstein eighth in 18:11 and over 40 veteran Andrew Davies eighth in 18:30. Richard Evans was first veteran over 55 in 18:37 posting the event’s top age-graded performance. Alex Binley was second woman in 20:08.

Jonny Earl, who was also warming up for Crystal Palace, beat almost 200 runners in the Kingston event winning by 72 seconds in a personal best of 16:31 slicing three seconds off his previous best set on his debut appearance in July. The fourth Hercules Wimbledon winner was Russell Price at Stamford Park, Staybridge, Greater Manchester, where he was making his debut.

Hercules Wimbledon runners were in action in eight other parkrun events on Saturday. Elizabeth Staverski was first woman finisher in Burgess Park in 19:18, where Anna Garner was top woman over 60 finisher in 21:45, Francesca Clarke was second woman finisher in Richmond Park and Darren Keane was sixth out off 104 runners in Cabinteenly Park, Dublin.

Ben Toomer, who anchored Hercules Wimbledon to the silver medals in the Surrey road relay championships at Wimbledon Park earlier this month, showed good form last Wednesday evening, when he completed his racing programme for next Sunday’s South of England relays by winning a 5000m track race at Ladywell Park in 14:48.7, just outside his best time of 14:46.99 set in the Hercules Wimbledon Night of 5000m’s at Wimbledon Park last month.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Matthew Sharp clocked a lifetime best of 1:10:32 in the Copenhagen half-marathon on Sunday where he finished 62nd out of more than 18700 runners. Sharp, who was fourth British runner over the line, took 72 seconds off his previous best time set in a marathon in The Hague in March. Nearer home, former international race walker Estle Viljoen, was first woman finisher in the Run Through 10km road race in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 43:10. Three days earlier, racing at the same venue, her Hercules Wimbledon club mate Felix Allen was the first veteran over 40 finisher in the Chase the Sun 5km road race in 17:31.

Hercules Wimbledon had almost a dozen winners in their final Lily B League match of the season at Kingsmeadow Stadium. Darcey O’Shea was a double winner taking the under 13 100m and high jump, Mabel Rose-Scales the 200m and Millie Doyle and Cate Coverley the 1500m A and B races.Olivia Drigui took the under 17 100m, Selma Hegvold and Rebekah Riches the under 15 300m A and B races with Riches taking the 800m A race and Hegvold the B race over the same distance.

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12-09-17 - HAT-TRICK FOR WALKER TOR-IVAR

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s supervet Tor-Ivar Guttulsrod completed a hat-trick of wins when he comfortably retained his Surrey 3000m track walking title at the David Weir Leisure Centre, Carshalton, on Sunday, writes Tom Pollak.

Guttulsrod, 53, added to the gold medals he won in the previous two years when he posted his third consecutive win in 15 minutes 54.02 seconds to win by more than two minutes. Guttulsroad is a rarity in athletics, excelling at walking and also competing as a runner.

This year, he has competed in eight parkruns as well as the Richmond 10km road race. The Surrey event at Carshalton was only his second walking race of 2017. His only other walking outing was in the London 10km road walking championship in Uxbridge at the beginning of February where he was fifth out of 20 competitors and winner of the over 50 category in 55:35.

Another Hercules Wimbledon supervet, Dave Orchard, was second in the over 55 category in the Masters Men’s Pentathlon with 1415 points. The best of his five disciplines was the discus where he threw 28.02 metres to score 486 points towards his total of 1415.

It marked the end of a busy season for Orchard in which he successfully led the club’s men’s team to victory in the South London division of the Southern Veterans League for the second successive year to secure a place in the finals at Ashford, Kent. There, Orchard had a busy time competing in nine events. His best placing came in the over 50 shot where he was third with 9.20m.

At the other end of the age-range, 12-year-old Darcey O’Shea made an impressive pentathlon debut in finishing fifth out of 25 athletes in the Surrey girls under 13 championship, just over 100 points off the medals. The best of her five individual disciplines came in the high jump where she cleared 1.41m for 529 points and third place. She was competing in three events for the first time, scoring more than 400 points in the 70m hurdles where she clocked 13.57 and also putting the shot 6.59m and completing the final event, the 800m in 3:00.59.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Jim Carrington headed home a 115-strong field to gain a runaway win in the MCC promotions 10km multi-terrain event on Wimbledon Common on Saturday in 38:40. He finished more than 10 minutes ahead of the second runner.

Hercules Wimbledon runners were in action in 12 parkrun 5km events on Saturday. Best individual efforts came from Claire Grima and Alex Binley who won the women’s categories in Bushey Park and on Wimbledon Common. Grima was 21st overall out of 1292 runners in Bushey Park in 18:04 to post the top age-graded performance of the day. It was also the fifth time she has won the women’s event in the 10 times she has competed at Bushey Park since January 2013.

Binley was just one second outside her best time for the course as she took the women’s honours in 19:12 finishing 10th overall out of 509 runners to post her ninth victory on Wimbledon Common this year. She was one of 18 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action on the common. Top Hercules Wimbledon finisher was Adam Harwood who was third in 17:57 with teenager Henry Silverstein fourth in 18:13. Jesse Coulson was fifth woman finisher in the Seaton parkrun in 24:15.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Cate Coverley was top girl finisher in the Wimbledon Park 2km junior parkrun on Sunday morning in 8:26 finishing fourth overall out of 171 runners.

  
Claire Grima women's winner in Bushey Park - Jim Carrington after winning the MCC promotions 10km event

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5-09-17 - SILVER MEDAL-WINNING RELAY RUN

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s senior men’s team went one better than last year’s bronzes by taking the silver medals in the Surrey road relay championships at Wimbledon Park on Saturday where they also provided two of the three fastest runners in the event, writes Tom Pollak.

Marathon runner David Grima got the team off to a modest start on the first of the six three mile legs handing over in 16th place in 16 minutes 22 seconds. Fred Slemeck then raced through the field passing seven runners, clocking 14:57 for the three miles, the third fastest Hercules Wimbledon time of the day and moving up to ninth place.

Next off was Andrew Penney who was returning to the venue where he had finished third in the Surrey 5km road running championships three weeks earlier. Penney put in a storming run as he took the team into a medal-winning position handing over in third place just half-a-minute behind the leaders. He clocked 14:08 for the hilly circuit, the fastest Hercules Wimbledon time and the second fastest overall on the day.

Fourth leg runner Dimos Evangelides boosted Hercules Wimbledon’s medal-winning hopes as he raced round the course in 15:33 moving up a place into the silver medal position. Justin Reid kept the team in second place with another strong 15:59 run on the penultimate leg before Ben Toomer brought Hercules Wimbledon home in second place with a storming 14:12 anchor leg. His was the second fastest Hercules Wimbledon time of the day and the third best time overall.

Hercules Wimbledon, who were hosting the annual county road relays at their Wimbledon Park track, just missed out on three further sets of medals. Claire Grima, a regular contestant in the annual London marathon, anchored the senior women’s team to fourth place just 11 seconds behind the bronze medallists. She actually clocked the fastest women’s veterans over 35 time of the day of 17:14 but was not eligible to take the award as she was not competing in the over 35 category.

Over 50 veteran Anne Hegvold was 10th on the first leg in 18:46 before Alex Binley lifted the team to fifth with a 17:54 second leg. Eileen Brandley held onto fifth with 18:49 before Grim’s fine anchor run.

Hercules Wimbledon’s men’s over 50 team was also fourth with Stuart Fraser clocking the fastest individual time of the quartet with 16:47 on the second leg. Pete Clarke handed over in third spot after a strong opening 16:55 leg before Fraser moved up to second place. Peter Lee kept the team in medal contention retaining second place with a 17:17 third leg but then Tom Cheetham slipped out of medal contention with 18:49 on the final stage.

Hercules Wimbledon’s men’s over 60 team also missed out on medals finishing fourth of the 10 teams. Richard Clarke was the fastest of the trip finishing fourth on the opening leg in 19:48, just nine seconds behind bronze medal position. However, Charles Laurie (21:44) and Tony Austin (23:36) were unable to make any impression on the medallists as they remained in fourth place.

First leg runner Peter Collins was the fastest member of the veterans over 40 team finishing fifth on the opening leg in 16:46. Andrew Davies (16:57) moved up to third place while Stewart Bond (18:19) slipped to fifth of the 15 teams and Simon Woodley (18:28) to sixth on the anchor leg.

Hercules Wimbledon runners were also in action in 13 parkrun events on Saturday. Jonny Cornish completed a hat-trick of Nonsuch Park wins as he headed home the 620-strong field in 16:03 to also post the top age-graded performance of the day. Richard McDowell was second of 350 runners at Alice Holt Forest, Farnham, in 17:52, just five seconds behind the winner. Ellen Weir was also fourth woman finisher on Wimbledon Common where she was one 16 Hercules Wimbledon runners among the 578 in action.


Hercules Wimbledon's women's team L-R Eileen Brandley, Alex Binley, Claire Grima, Lisa Thomas

Four of Hércules Wimbledon's silver medal-winning men's team L-R Dimos Evangelides, Ben Toomer, Andrew Penney, Justin Reid. David Grima and Fred Slemeck are missing

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29-08-17 - GOLDEN DOUBLE TO END SEASON

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s top young sprinter, Jaleel Roper, ended an outstanding season for both himself and his athletic club with a gold medal-winning double at the England Athletics Championships at Bedford over the weekend, writes Tom Pollak.

Jaleel posted two lifetime best times in taking the boys under 15 100 and 200m titles, equalling the British record in the longer sprint. It means that in 36 races he contested during the year he was unbeaten in major championships lifting four English, three South of England, the English and Surrey schools 100m and two Surrey County titles during a remarkable year.

He began his weekend at Bedford by winning his 100m heat in a personal best 11.16, then dipping inside 11 seconds for the first time in taking his semi-final in another lifetime best of 10.97 and winning the final by just one-hundredths of a second in 11.01. He managed to edge out Colchester’s Graig Anya-Joseph who had clocked a faster 10.94 in winning his semi-final. On Sunday, Roper conserved his energy by qualifying in second place in hi 200m heat in 22.71 and then switched up a gear to win the final in a personal best of 22.13 to equal the British record set in 2002, the year before Roper was born.

His golden double at Bedford also ended an outstanding year for Hercules Wimbledon with athletes competing in all the major international championships. Dwayne Cowan was the fastest member of Britain’s 4x400m bronze medal-winning quartet at the IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium, Theo Etienne ran the opening leg for the silver medal-winning British sprint relay team at the European under 23 championships in Poland, Chad Miller took the 200m bronze medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas and was a member of the silver medal-winning relay team while his brother, Rechmial, competed in the European junior 100m championship in Italy.

Hercules Wimbledon’s top sprint coach Paul Miller said of Roper’s double gold at Bedford: “Jaleel like other members in our group has worked really hard this year. Jaleel ran eight races in the last two weeks and finished his last race with a British 200m record. If Jaleel stays focus and continues to work hard his future in the sport is guaranteed.”

Miller added: “This year has been so exceptional in so  many ways. We’ve had international representation at every major championship. This is a great way to finish the track season in the last major championship.”

A week before his double gold at Bedford, Roper won the South of England boys under 15 100m title at Crystal Palace in 11.23 after winning his heat in 11.36.

At the same meeting, 12-year-old Darcy O’Shea gained a silver medal in the high jump. She was just pipped for the girls under 13 title where she cleared a lifetime best of 1.50m, the same height as the winner, to be just edged out of the gold medal on count back.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Rob Tuer warmed-up for his wedding later in the day by running with members of his family and Hercules Wimbledon clubmates in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun one Saturday morning. He finished 10th out of 447 runners in 19:24 with Hercules Wimbledon runners Ben Toomer (18:06), Matt Sharp (18:16) and Joe Toomey (18:18) filling the top three places. Eileen Brandley was second woman home in 22:06. Fourteen Hercules Wimbledon runners took part.

Elsewhere, Fred Slemeck headed home a 390-strong field in 16:56 on his debut appearance at Newbury and Alex Binley finished 10th out of 338 runners and first woman at Torbay Velopark in 18:42. Hercules Wimbledon chairman Dave Clarke, the former British international who won the English senior men’s cross country title three times, ran with wife Fran in the Kingston event. He posted the third best age-graded performance finishing 27th out of 206 runners in 20.45. Nick Wright was runner-up in the Chippenham parkrun, Alexie Calvert-Ansar was third out of 379 runners in Bishop’s Park, Fulham, and Ellen Weir was third woman finisher on the Isle of Wight.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon host the annual Surrey County road relay championships from their Wimbledon Park headquarters on Saturday, starting at 12noon.


Jaleel Roper tops the podium after his narrow 100m win at Bedford

Darcy O'Shea with her high jump silver medal

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22-08-17 - COWAN’S SUPERB DIAMOND DEBUT

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s Dwayne Cowan followed up his IAAF World Athletics Championships bronze medal-winning 4x400m relay performance in London with a superb victory in the international-studded 400m race at the prestigious Diamond League Grand Prix meeting in Birmingham on Sunday, writes Tom Pollak.

It was the first time Cowan, 32, had competed in the Diamond League but he timed his effort to perfection not only winning the race but also posting a lifetime best of 45.34 seconds, slicing two-hundredths of a second off his previous best time. Running in lane six, Cowan came into the final straight several metres down on his rivals but, he seemed to switch into another gear as he edged past them in the final 100 metres to beat American Vernon Norwood, who has clocked 44.4, by more than a metre.

Delighted in posting the biggest win of his career, Cowan, who switched to athletics from playing football with Fisher Athletic in 2012, said: “This was my first Diamond League race and I got the win. I am so happy. I got a pb. I think it’s my last 400 of the year, it was my last chance, so I am over the moon. I wanted to get in the 44’s but I had pb’s three times this year so I’ll take that. I got a bronze in the 4x4 the first time I did the relay. I am so happy.”

He added: “I thought I might get the win today so I'm very happy to have done it. I know I have even more to come. I'm pleased to set a PB but maybe I could have run 44 something. I never run quickly here but that doesn't mean I'm not happy, I'll take it. I finished really quickly so I know that was the strongest part of my race. Winning a bronze medal at the Worlds was amazing - not many people win one of those, so it may be my biggest career high.

“Next year I want more of the same but maybe I'll focus on more of the 200m alongside the 400m. It is all about the Commonwealth's and Europeans next year but I'm looking forward to a break. It is hard combining working and training so I need to rest up and be ready for next year's challenges.”

BBC commentator Steve Cram said: “Cowan was the rock of the British 4x400m bronze medal-winning relay team at the World Championships. He’s 32 years of age and started his career late but he’s having a brilliant season. His season just gets better and better.”

Cram went on: “At the beginning of the year he couldn’t have dreamt what was ahead of him in 2017. He went to the British championships having got the qualifying time and then got selected for the World championships. Up to now Lloyd Cowan (the Olympic hurdler and Dwayne’s dad) was the best known member of the family but Dwayne is fast writing his own story.”

TV presenter Gabby Logan added: “Cowan is one of the great success stories of the season in the way he’s come through.”

Hercules Wimbledon’s Dominic Kiralyfi headed home a 249-strong field to win the Hvar half-marathon in Croatia on Saturday in 1:17:38 with club mate Finn Johnson fourth in 1:22:33. Tom Cheetham was top veteran over 50 finisher in the Nice Work 10km road race in Bushy Park on Sunday.

Fresh from holidaying in Italy, Hercules Wimbledon’s London marathon runner Claire Grima achieved a record-breaking double in the Rosenheim League women’s final at Kingsmeadow. She posted time of 5:05:49 and 10:38.14 in the 1500 and 3000m respectively to beat the Hercules Wimbledon women’s over 40 marks.

Georgina Clarke was the top woman finisher in the Richmond Park 5km parkrun on Saturday while Alex Binley was second woman on Wimbledon Common and Felix Allen was second out of more than 200 runners in the Kingston event. Adam Harwood was the best of the 20 Hercules Wimbledon runners in the Wimbledon Common event finishing third out of 442 runners.Sophia Anderson was the first girl to finish in the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun on Sunday where she was 10th out of 133 runners.


Dwayne Cowan winning the Diamond League Grand Prix 400m in Birmingham


Dominic Kiralyfi raises the sizeable winner's trophy after taking the Hvar half-marathon in Croatia

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15-08-17 - COWAN WINS WORLD RELAY BRONZE

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s Dwayne Cowan made history when he became the first athlete from the club to win a World Athletics Championships medal at the London Stadium, Stratford, on Sunday. He did so when he ran a superb second leg in the men’s 4x400m relay to put the Great Britain quartet on the road to winning the bronze medals behind Trinidad and Tobago and the USA, writes Tom Pollak.

Cowan, 32, who only took up athletics five years ago after being inspired at the London Olympics, was the fastest member of the team completing his leg in 44.2 seconds to help the quartet go inside three minutes with 2:59.00, the fastest time this summer by a British 4x400m relay team. It was a fine conclusion to his competing in the biggest competition of his life, after earlier reaching the individual 400m semi-finals.

Television pundit Michael Johnson, a former winner of the World 200 and 400m titles, commented: “I’m impressed with Dwayne Cowan.” His fellow commentator, Steve Cram, a former World 1500m champion, also praised the Hercules Wimbledon runner’s performances during the 10-day championships.

Hercules Wimbledon chairman, David Clarke, himself a former cross country international and former British team manager, said: “We’re obviously delighted for Dwayne that he was able to perform at his best in the World Championships and get a medal. People also need to be aware that, unlike most of the British team, Dwayne receives no funding from British Athletics and my club has been supporting him financially to enable him to compete in meetings around the world to qualify for the GB team.”

Clarke, himself an outstanding athlete, winning the English senior men’s cross country title three times in 1982, 1987 and 1988, the Stockholm marathon in 1989, and running in the World Championships 5000m in Helsinki in 1983 added: “Cowan has fully justified the support Hercules Wimbledon has given him and as I see it,  his performances at the World Championships were a good return for the investment we made. Well done Dwayne. We’re extremely proud of you.”

Cowan’s next competition will be at the televised British Grand Prix meeting in Birmingham on Sunday. The 4x400m relay team is the headline act on the British Athletics website promoting the event. It states: “Britain’s world 4x400m relay heroes will be among a stellar line up of 19 London 2017 world champions and 40 medallists, competing at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham this Sunday.”

Hercules Wimbledon’s Andrew Penney celebrated his 26th birthday on Sunday morning by taking the bronze medal in the Surrey 5km road running championship which was staged in conjunction with the Perseverance Hercules Wimbledon Dash at Wimbledon Park athletics stadium. More than 200 runners took part with Penney posting a lifetime best of 15:22 behind Croydon’s Peter Chambers who broke the course record by six seconds with a winning time of 15:00 and Belgrave’s Phil Wicks who was also inside the previous mark with 15:05. There was a thrilling finish to the race as Chambers overhauled Wicks in the final 300m on the track after entering the stadium about 40 metres down.

Making his Hercules Wimbledon debut Robbie Hynes was the second runner from the club to finish in 16:57 in 19th place with Zac Purnell the first of five Hercules Wimbledon teenagers in 17:18 in 24th place.

Elsewhere, Ben Toomer headed home a 995-strong field to win the Pride 10km road race in Victoria Park, North London, on Saturday in a personal best of 31:53, shaving just one second off his previous best set in the London 10km event on May 29th. Tom Cheetham was first over 50 finisher in the Thames Meander marathon in Kingston where he was sixth overall out of 170 runners.

Rob Tuer led in 442 runners, including 15 from Hercules Wimbledon,  in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun on Saturday in 17:30 with Alex Binley top woman finisher in 19:58. Teenager Ellen Weir was top female finisher in the Isle of Wight event while further afield Richard Clark was fourth in Cork, Ireland, Samuel Masters seventh in Calgary, Canada and Jessame Coulson was 84th out of 722 runners in Johannesburg, South Africa. Meanwhile, Morgan Rennie headed home a 129-strong field in the Wimbledon Park junior 2km parkrun on Sunday.

Hercules Wimbledon face a busy weekend with the senior men’s and women’s team making the trip to Hastings on Saturday for their final Southern Athletics League meeting of the season, some of the club’s top youngsters competing in the South of England age group championships at Crystal Palace on both days, and other youngsters competing in the South London Athletics Network Super 8 meeting at the David Weir Leisure Centre on Sunday starting at 10am.


Dwayne Cowan (second from right) celebrating with his team-mates after winning the 4x400m bronze medal for Britain

Cowan is congratulated by his dad and coach, Lloyd, the former Olympic hurdler

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8-08-17 - COWAN REACHES WORLD SEMIS

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s top one lap runner Dwayne Cowan gave another impressive performance to reach the 400m semi-finals at the IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium, Stratford, writes Tom Pollak.

Cowan, who was inspired to take up athletics after watching the 2012 London Olympics in the same stadium, started cautiously but then powered down the home straight to snatch the third automatic qualifying place in his heat in 45.39 seconds, just three-hundredths of a second outside his lifetime best time achieved a few weeks earlier at the London Diamond League meeting at the same venue.

He was the only one of the three British athletes in the event to gain automatic qualification. He said afterwards: “I had a few weeks off so I was a bit rusty getting into a race pattern again, so I went through the 300m a bit too slow. Hopefully in the semi-finals I can go faster.”

He found the atmosphere in the London stadium quite inspiring. “When the crowd heard my name, and the big roar, I was like ‘Wow,’ I have to turn up and do something. I did that by getting through to the semi-finals.” Cowan, competing in the biggest competition of his athletics career, added: “I hope to go a bit harder and a bit faster in the next round. I started athletics very late, when I was 28 years old. I am still young and the message to everyone out there is to never give up hope.

“I’m 32 years old but I keep up in training with the 18 and 20-year-olds. My whole aim today was to get through the first round and reach the semi-finals which I’ve done.”

However, in Sunday evening’s semi-final round, Cowan tried different tactics. He went off really fast but faded in the home straight to trail home in eighth place in a slightly slower 45.96. Cowan, who had a large plaster on his right calf, had no regrets about his choice of tactics. “I felt good, so there are no excuses. I don’t know what happened. I think I went out too fast and I paid for it.

“I was trying to do something different, because if I’d ran the way I ran yesterday I would have been out anyway, so I thought I’d try and go for it. It didn’t work but at least I went for it. No regrets. I had to do something different from the first round.”

Meanwhile, Anna Garner won a second gold medal when she took the women’s over 60 5000m title at the World Masters Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. Her winning time of  21:18.53 also broke her own Hercules Wimbledon club record of 22:12.2 set in a Southern Veterans League match at Wimbledon Park on June last year. She previously won the 1500m gold. Making it a hat-trick of Hercules Wimbledon golds in Denmark was pole vaulter Alison Murray who took the over 50 title with a 2.90m clearance.

Dominic Bokor-Ingram picked up a pair of silver medals in the men’s over 45 400 and 800m events breaking his own Hercules Wimbledon over 40 club record with 51.74 in the 400m. It bettered his previous mark of 52.04 set in the British Masters championships in Birmingham in June. He also competed in the 200m where he finished eighth in the final. There was a family record-breaking double as his wife, Emilie, broke her own women’s over 35 400m mark with 61.48 in finishing seventh. She previously set the record of 62.1 at a Rosenheim League meeting at Tooting Bec last month.

Her Hercules Wimbledon clubmate, Mark White, just missed out on a medal in the over 50 400m where he finished fourth in a personal best of 54.85.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Fred Slemeck headed home a 553-strong field to win the Newcastle-upon-Tyne 5km parkrun while teenager Ellen Weir was second female finisher in the Isle of Wight event. Another youngster, Alexander Buchanan, finished third out of 96 runners in the Wimbledon Park junior parkrun on Sunday in a personal best of 8:12.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon host the Surrey 5km road running championship from their Wimbledon Park track headquarters, starting at 9.30am. Next Wednesday evening (Augusy 16th), Hercules Wimbledon women’s team compete in the Rosenheim League finals at Kingsmeadow Stadium, starting at 6.30pm.


Dominic Bokor-Ingram who won two silver medals at the Word Masters championships


Dwayne Cowan in action in the 400m heats

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1-08-17 - EURO GOLD FOR VETERAN ANNA

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s Anna Garnier made a winning debut in the European Masters track and field championships when she took the women’s over 60 1500 metres title in Aarhaus, Denmark, on Sunday, writes Tom Pollak.

Garnier, 63, gained a narrow victory in the metric mile beating two German athletes to the gold medal. She crossed the finishing line in 5 minutes 46.93 seconds to win by just over half-a-second from Rita Schubert. “It was a really tight finish and I had to battle all the way to the line,” said Anna, “but I’m really thrilled to have won a gold medal on my first European Masters track Championships.”

Garnier, 63, was competing in her third European Masters championships meeting. She made her debut back in 2009 when she finished just outside the medals in fourth spot in the European Masters women’s over 55 cross country championship in Ancona, Italy, then, two years ago, she took gold in the European Masters over 60 cross country championship in Torun, Poland.

Anna was the first of a quartet of Hercules Wimbledon golden oldies in Denmark to strike gold. The other three all looked set to pick up medals as they progressed through the qualifying rounds of their events.

Husband and wife Dominic and Emilie Bokor-Ingram looked set to pick up medals as they reached their respective 400m finals. Dominic was the fastest qualifier for the men’s over 45 400m final as he won his semi-final on Monday in 52.30, only just outside his lifetime best of 52.04 set in taking the silver medal in the British Masters Championships in Birmingham in June. Earlier, he easily won his heat in a comfortable 53.96. He also reached the 100 final where he was a disappointing eighth in 12.12 after posting faster times of 11.84 and 11.94 in finishing second and fourth in his heat and semi-final.

Emilie also reached the women’s over 35 400m final in finishing fourth in her heat on Monday in 62.36. Earlier, she bettered her Hercules Wimbledon club age group 100m record of 13.7 in finishing fifth in her heat in 13.68. A fourth Hercules Wimbledon athlete in Denmark, Mark White, also reached the men’s over 50 400m final. He was the third fastest qualifier going through the rounds on Monday winning his heat in 55.32 and was second in his semi-final in a slightly slower 55.82.

Performing impressively on the international stage by these Hercules Wimbledon veterans followed closely on the heels on their younger clubmates Chad Miller and Theo Etienne who  last month won medals in the Commonwealth Youth Games and European under 23 championships and Rechmial Miller who raced for Britain in the European under 20 championships.

Four of the Hercules Wimbledon’s youngest athletes linked up to win the girls under 11 4x100m relax in the South London Athletics Network’s meeting at Coulsdon on Sunday. The winning quartet was Willow Scales, Chinelo Onyejekwe, Ezinwa Onyejekwe and Mabel Rose-Scales. Earlier Chinelo and Willow won their individual 100 and 200m races.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Surrey 100m champion Nkasi Onyejekwe helped Surrey to finish third out of 13 teams in the Derek Crookes under 13 inter-counties meeting at Kingsmeadow Stadium on Saturday when she ran the anchor leg for the third placed Surrey 4x100m relay team. She also finished fourth in her 100m race. She was in action again on Sunday winning her 100m race at Coulsdon.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Claire Grima was forced to give way to Olympic marathon runner Mara Yamauchi for the veterans over 40 prize in the Wedding Day 7km event in Bushy Park own Friday night. Grima was 35th out of 580 runners and fourth woman in 26:10.

Hercules Wimbledon had a hat-trick of parkrun winners over the weekend. Joe Toomey headed home a 386-strong field on Wimbledon Common and Jonathan Cornish won at Abingdon while Lauren Ermitage beat 87 other youngsters to win the junior parkrun in Wimbledon Park.


Anna Garnier tops the medal rostrum after winning the over 60 1500 metres


The winning under 11 girls relay quartet at Coulsdon

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25-07-17 - MEDAL-WINNING BRACE FOR CHAD

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s teenage sprinter Chad Miller gained an impressive-winning double at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas over the weekend, writes Tom Pollak.

Competing in the biggest competition of his young life, 17-year-old Miller raced to bronze in a closely contested 200 metres final and then helped the mixed 4x200m relay team to silver medals. He looked set for a medal after finishing third in his first round heat in Nassau on Friday in 21.76 seconds, the third fastest time recorded by competitors in the event. He then  again clocked 21.76 in finishing third in his semi-final the following day. Then, in a very competitive final on Sunday, he snatched the bronze medal in a faster 21.65 racing into a stiff 1.6 metres per second headwind to finish just four hundredths of a second behind the silver medallist and eight-hundredths of a second behind the gold medal winner.

Later, he ran the opening leg for the mixed 4x200m relay team which took the silver medals just 0.27 seconds behind the winning team from the Bahamas. Chad was following in the footsteps of his elder brother Rechmial who in 2015 took the 100m silver medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.

His father and coach Paul Miller said: “Getting two medals on the biggest stage he has performed on is an excellent result. Both races were very tight and he only just missed out on silver in the individual 200m. It is a just reward for the hard work he has put in this year.”

There were mixed performances for the Miller family over the weekend. Elder brother Rechmial also looked set for a medal in the European under 20 championships in Grosetto, Italy, after posting the third fastest time in the 100m heats. Miller, 19, was the first of three British sprinters in action  at the championships and comfortably won his heat in 10.55, the third fastest time of the round, from the outside lane. However, in his semi-final, he pulled up with a calf-muscle twinge and trailed home in a disappointing eighth place in a 10.94.

Hercules Wimbledon’s women’s team is celebrating winning the Rosenheim League Eastern division title for the fourth successive season. They clinched victory by winning the final match at Tooting Bec on Wednesday of last week. Outstanding member of the team was Emilie Bokor-Ingram who won the 100m in a club veterans over 35 record-breaking 13.7 and 200m in 28.2 before setting another veterans over 35 club record in finishing runner-up in the 00m. She ended a successful meeting by running the opening leg for the winning 4x200m relay team. Other members of the quartet were Amy Sedghi, Eileen Brandley and Zoe Leake. Earlier, Brandley had finished third in both the 1500 and 3000m and Leake was third in the discus, hammer and long jump. Alison Murray won the pole vault with 2.90m while team captain Heather Letley was second in the 400m hurdles.

Match result: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 57pts; 2 Serpentine 46; 3 Herne Hill 45; 4 Belgrave 41; 5 Croydon 10. Final standings: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 26; 2 Serpentine 25; 3 Belgrave 20; 4 Herne Hill 18; 5 Croydon 10; 6 Holland Sports 3.

Hercules Wimbledon will now contest the Rosenheim League women’s final at Kingsmeadow Stadium on August 16 alongside the top western division teams.

The day after celebrating her 40th birthday, Hercules Wimbledon’s Claire Grima set her first club record in the age group when she was top woman finisher in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun on Saturday in 18:41Clubmate Harris Mier was second out of 445 runners in 16:45. Joe Toomey was also runner-up of 453 runners in the Tooting Bec event while Russell Price was fourth out of 233 runners in the parkrun in Portrush, County Antrim.

On the road, Hercules Wimbledon’s Peter Giles smashed his own club veterans over 70 10 miles record in the Elmbridge event at Walton on Sunday with a time of 41:17. It bettered by almost two minutes the time he achieved in Richmond just over a year ago. Tom Cheetham was the top veteran over 50 finisher in the Royal Parks Summer Series 10km race in Regents Park also on Sunday.

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18-07-17 - YOUNG AND OLD MAKING HISTORY

This has been an amazing few weeks in Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s history. Four of its athletes have been selected for the top four international meetings this summer - the IAAF World, European under 23 and European junior championships and the Commonwealth Youth Games - while, at the other end of the age scale, winning all four of their men’s Southern Counties Veterans Athletics League meetings for the first time, writes Tom Pollak.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Theo Etienne ran the opening leg for the British 4x100m relay team which was just pipped for gold medals in the European under 23 championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Sunday. The quartet were edged out by Germany in the tightest of finishes in which both the British and German teams clocked the same time of 39.11 seconds.

After missing the England under 20 championships at Bedford earlier this month, the trial event for the European junior championships in Mannheim, Germany, Hercules Wimbledon’s Rechmial Miller has secured selection for the championships with an impressive 100m win in the Bauhaus Junioren Gala meeting earlier this month to clinch the third 100m sprint spot in the British team.

Meanwhile, Dwayne Cowan has been selected for the 400m and 4x400m relay in next month’s IAAF World Championships in London and 17-year-old Chad Miller is in the English squad for the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.

Hercules Wimbledon’s top sprint coach Paul Miller, himself three times winner of the Surrey senior men’s 100m title two decades ago, commented: “Hercules Wimbledon is truly on the map and is represented in every major competition this year. That is an impressive achievement.”

Hercules Wimbledon’s men’s team completed a quartet of victories in the Southern Counties Veterans League in winning their final match at Croydon with a record score of 150 points to comfortably retain the South London division title and qualify for the finals at Ashford, Kent, on September 3rd.

The team secured 10 individual wins including victory in the javelin by the club’s oldest athlete, John Webster, 78 at the end of June. Webster, who has been competing since a teenager at school, was also runner-up in the high jump and long jump There were a hat-trick of club records, the best of which was the over 60 13.4 100m victory by Geoff Walcott. The other record-breakers were Victor Ray and Richard Weston in the 2000m walk where Weston set a club over 70 record.

Dominic Bokor-Ingram gained a double victory in the over 35 100 and 400m with Mike Amsden taking the B races, Stuart Milton took the shot and discus and Dean Cheeseman the high jump. Mark White won the over 50 100 and 400m and team manager Dave Orchard, leading by example, the over 50 javelin as well as picking up valuable points in the high jump, long jump and shot.

Hercules Wimbledon’s women’s team produced their best team performance of the season in finishing runners-up and were just edged out of second overall spot. Seven club records were set. Annette Barrett broke the over 55 triple jump record, Lisa Thomas set an over 50 record in the 2000m walk, Maria Kirkbride set two over 55 records in the 2000m walk and high jump, Anna Garnier broke the over 60 100m record and Harsha Naik set two over 50 records in the 100m and triple jump.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Peter Giles was also in record-breaking form in the Veteran Athletic Club’s 5km road running championship in Battersea Park. Giles, 73 last month, set an over 70 course record and Hercules Wimbledon club record of 19:25. It smashed both his own club record of 19:57 set in Bushy Park in November 2014 and his course record of 20:07 set in July 2016.

Also on the road, Hercules Wimbledon’s Claire Grima was first woman finisher in the Elmore 7 miles race in Chipstead while Hercules Wimbledon provided both men’s and women’s winners in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun on Saturday with Joe Toomey heading home the 496-strong field in 17:02 and Alex Bindley first woman in 19:11.


Successful women's veteran team members left to right Emilie Bokor-Ingram, Gina Galbraith, Lisa Thomas, Harsha Naik and Anna Garnier

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11-07-17 - COWAN MAKES WORLDS CHAMPS TEAM

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s top one-lap runner Dwayne Cowan produced the best form of his life at the Diamond League meeting at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on Sunday to clinch a place in Britain’s team for the IAAF World Athletics Championships which are being staged at the same venue next month, writes Tom Pollak.

Despite drawing the difficult outside lane in the 400 metres, Cowan used all his experience to run a sensible race. He kept something in store over the first 300 metres and, as his British rivals gathered to pick him off as they drew level entering the home straight, he stepped up a gear to finish third behind two USA runners but, more crucially, was the top British finisher in a lifetime best time of 45.36 seconds. His time took one-tenth of a second off his previous best set when winning the European team championship 400m in Lille, France, a fortnight earlier and lifts him to second in this year’s British rankings.

“Being given the outside lane was always going to make my task of getting into the team more difficult. I was really pleased to run a pb in this important selection race and I hope I’ve done enough to make the team,’ said Cowan, who was one of only three British runners to have achieved the 400 metres qualifying standard of 45.50. Cowan, 32, who has been knocking on the door of international selection for many years, has finally shown his true potential and carries the good wishes of his Hercules Wimbledon clubmates at the World Championships.

In the team that was announced on Tuesday, Cowan was one of three British athletes selected for the individual 400 metres as well as being in the squad for the 4x400m relay. A second Hercules Wimbledon athlete in action at Sunday’s prestigious meeting at the Olympic Stadium was Theo Etienne who ran the opening leg for the British under 23 team in the 4x100 metres relay. Etienne has been selected for the sprint relay squad for the European Championships being held in Poland later this month.

Another Hercules Wimbledon young sprinter Jaleel Roper raced to victory in the English schools championships at Birmingham on Saturday. Roper, 14, lifted gold in the junior boys 100 metres championship in 11.09 after posting a lifetime best and Hercules Wimbledon club record time of 11.04 in winning his semi-final. His best time before Birmingham was a wind-assisted 11.11 at Lee Valley last August. His best legal 100 time before last weekend was 11.23 in finishing fourth in the England championships at Bedford in August last year.

Young sprinters Jeremy Miller-Annor and Andrew Sarong were double winners in the third of this season’s Ebbisham League meetings at Woodcote School, Coulsdon, on Sunday winning the under 15 100 and 200 metres A and B races. Another doubt winner was Edward Newton who took the triple jump and 800 metres B race.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Alex Binley was top woman finisher in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun on Saturday in a personal best of 19:30. She sliced 11 seconds off her previous best set in May. Adam Harwood was the fastest of 14 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action finishing fifth out of 383 runners in 17:55. Eileen Brandleyw as second woman finisher in the Northampton 5km parkrun  also in a personal best of 19:59. She chopped two minutes 25 seconds off her previous best set in October 2015 in finishing 13th out of 516 runners.

Hercules Wimbledon’s men’s and women’s teams compete in their final Rosenheim League Eastern division fixture of the season at Tooting Bec next Wednesday (July 19th). The meeting starts at 6.45pm. The top four men’s and top three women’s teams qualify for the final at Kingsmeadow on August 16th.


Dwayne Cowan heads British contingent home in 400m in the Olympic stadium

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4-07-17 - MILLER IN FOR COMMONWEALTH TEAM

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s teenage sprinter Chad Miller faces the biggest competition of his young life when he competes in the Commonwealth Youth Games being held in the Bahamas, starting in July 18th, writes Tom Pollak.

Miller, 17, will be making his international debut as one of 25 track and field athletes in the England team which will be competing against 70 other Commonwealth countries. He has been selected for the 200 metres following an outstanding run in the England under 20 championships at Bedford last month where he finished fifth in the personal best of 21.34 seconds to confirm himself as the top UK under 18-year-old over the distance this season.

Chad will be following in the footsteps of his elder brother Rechmial who took the 100m silver medal at the last Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in 2015.

“It must be unique for two brothers to compete in the Commonwealth Youth Games and Chad’s selection is the reward for all his hard work this year in which he has managed to post lifetime bests for both the 100 and 200 metres”, said his father and coach Paul, himself a three times Surrey senior 100 metres champion.

Meanwhile, another Hercules Wimbledon athlete, Dwayne Cowan, faced a nailbiting 48 hours to find out whether he had done enough to make Britain’s team for next month’s IAAF World Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London after finishing fourth in the British Championships, which incorporated the UK trials, in Birmingham on Sunday.

There was heartbreak for Cowan who just missed out on a medal by one-hundredths of a second and a third place in Birmingham would have been enough to make the individual event as he was only one of three British athletes to have achieved the qualifying time. Cowan, who the previous weekend won the European team championship 400m in Lille, France, looked favourite for a medal after he was the fastest of the eight qualifiers for the final winning his heat on Saturday in 45.87 seconds from the tight inside lane. But, despite getting one of the favoured middle lanes in the final, he was unable to repeat his fine form in the heat as he was just edged out of third place clocking 46.12 seconds.

Cowan, 32, had to wait on the selectors to see whether they would pick him for the 4x400m relay squad.

The elder of the Miller brothers, Rechmial, was hoping he had done enough to convince the British team selectors of his fitness after winning his 100m race in the Bauhaus Junioren Gala meeting in Mannheim on Saturday in an impressive 10.28 seconds. Miller, 19, pulled out of the trial event in Bedford last month because of a muscle twinge and was targeting the third 100m place in the team for Mannheim.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Heather Jones helped Surrey to victory in the senior women’s inter-counties meeting at Kingsmeadow Stadium on Sunday by winning the 400m hurdles B race while Ben Toomer and Fred Slemeck helped the county win the combined team trophy by finishing second and first, respectively, in the men’s 5000m A and B races. A fourth Hercules Wimbledon athlete in action, Sean Hall, was a comfortable winner of the 800m A race.

Toomer warmed up for his race on Sunday by beating a 405-strong field to win the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun one Saturday while Jonny Earl won at Kingston.

Hercules Wimbledon’s women’s team are heading for this year’s Rosenheim League finals at Kingsmeadow Stadium on August 16th after finishing runners up in their fourth Eastern division match of the season at Battersea Park. Emilie Bokor-Ingram win the 100 metres while Laura Wignall took the 200 metres and they then inked up to help the club win the 4x200 metres relay.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon’s athletes travel to Horsham for their fourth Southern Athletics League meeting of the season on Saturday, while on Sunday, the club compete in the third of this season’s Ebbisham Boys League meetings at Woodcote School, Coulsdon. On Monday, at the other end of the age scales, the club’s older athletes contest their fourth and final Southern Veterans League meeting at Croydon Sports Arena where the men are poised to retain their South London division team title. 


Dwayne Cowan on his way to fourth in the British 400 metres final

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