HW's Senior Men's cross country runners took a commanding lead in the Start Fitness Surrey League Division One battle on Saturday in torrential rain and mud, while some of the Club’s younger athletes also triumphed in contrastingly beautiful sunny weather in the Ladies League.
After winning last month’s opening match in Richmond Park by just 30 points, the Senior Men were determined to take full advantage of running over the Club's home course, although little could have prepared them for the atrocious sodden and slippery conditions after the skies opened just before the start of the earlier Young Athletes' race. In the end they ran out comfortable winners by more than 100 points, taking an overall 141 point lead at the half-way stage in this season’s competition, with high hopes of clinching the League title for the first time since 1965.
A record 41 HW runners were in action with the 10 scorers all packing into the top 28 (and the first eight all in the top 20). Once again it was a triumph of strength in depth, as although reigning champions Kent AC took the top two positions, their 10 scorers ranged over 54 places.
As a result the team posted a record low score of 148 points. Take a bow Finn Johnson – actually he did: several! – who led the charge through the lashing rain to finish in a superb fifth position overall in 26:26 seconds, just six seconds ahead of Howell Craske, who had let the team home in the opening match in Richmond Park. He was followed by Tom Jervis (ninth in 26:40), Andy Greenleaf (11th in 26:47), Ross Matheson (12th in 26:50), Fred Slemeck (14th in 26:56), Andrew Penney (16th in 26:59), Jonny Cornish (20th in 27:19), Richard McDowell (27th in 27:28) and Charlie Eastaugh (28th) in 27:30).
HW also won the B team contest, taking the top five places. Their 10 runners scored 93pts to beat Kent AC (134) and Thames Hare & Hounds (412). First home for the B team was Belal Ahmed, who finished just behind the last A team scorer in 30th, clocking 27:32). The team was completed by Jonny Earl (45th in 28:07), Joe Clark (48th in 28:08), Will Russell (50th in 28:10) Kieran White (60th in 28:36), Joe Toomey (79th in 29:00), U20 Zac Purnell (82nd in 29:04), U20 Henry Silverstein (84th in 29:12), Neil Fraser (94th in 29:33) and Richard Jones (2nd claim; 99th in 30:00).
Teams: 1 Hercules Wimbledon (148pts); 2 Kent AC 259; 3 Thames Hare & Hounds (371); 4 Guildford & Godalming (438); 5 South London Harriers (462); 6 Herne Hill 493; 7 Belgrave (525); 8 Ranelagh (568); 9 Striders of Croydon (831).
Standings after two matches: 1 Hercules Wimbledon (331); 2 Kent AC (472); 3 Thames Hare & Hounds (718); 4 Guildford & Godalming (823); 5 Herne Hill (980); 6 Belgrave (991); 7 South London Harriers (1040); 8 Ranelagh (1183); 9 Striders of Croydon (1652).
In the bright morning sunshine the Club’s younger athletes showed their metal in the Start Fitness Surrey Ladies League contest in historic Nonsuch Park. Despite carrying a foot injury, Georgie Clarke led the Girls U15 team to victory with 35 points, just 2 points ahead of Guildford & Godalming. Georgie finished third out of 44 runners in 20:28, followed by Lulu Weisz (fifth in 20:54), Millie Thorpe (12th in 21:57) and Millie Doyle (15th in 22:12).
The U13 team also performed well, finishing runners-up in their contest, led in by Indira Isabella Ferree (16th in 13:23), with Anna Barker (21st in 13:42), Cliona O’Brien (22nd in 13:47) and Sophie Thorpe (24th in 13:51) completing the team.
The Senior Women’s team finished fourth in their match. They were led in by Claire Grima, who was 11th of the 245 finishers in 24:23, with Gina Galbraith 13th in 24:39 – finishing just ahead of Mara Yamauchi, the UK’s second fastest female marathon runner of all time and a two-time Olympian. Zoe Pike (26th in 25:17), Mara Johnson (39th in 25:47) and Eileen Toomer (53rd) in 26:17 completed the scoring team.
Saturday, 10th November: Start Fitness Surrey Men's League, Division 1, Match 2, Wimbledon Common
Senior Men Full results
Young Athletes Full results
Saturday, 10th November: Start Fitness Surrey Ladies League, Division 1, Match 2, Nonsuch Park
Senior Women Provisional results
U15 Girls/Senior Women Full results
U13 Girls Full results
Andrew Davies posted his fastest marathon time of the year in the Ljubljana Marathon in the Slovenian capital, finishing eighth M40 in 2:58:49.
Despite the large turnout in the League races, there were still 11 Hercules Wimbledon runners in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun in bright sunshine earlier in the day. Once again they were led in by Adam Adam Harwood whom was second in 17:39.