A cracking start to Christmas

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Nearly 90 athletes kick-started the festive season by taking part in the Christmas Cracker relay on December 11th. Teams of three runners ran alternately for 200m wearing Santa hats with a Christmas Cracker acting as the baton. The winning trio were Anya Montgomerie, Gabriel Durand and Mark Andrews.

The previous weekend (Saturday, 8 December), Claire Grima and Gina Galbraith were among the winning Surrey Senior Women's team at the South of England Inter-counties Cross Country Championships in Oxford. Claire was top V40 finisher, taking 15th place of the 71 runners in the 6km Championship in 23:58 with Gina third V40 in 37th place in 24:55.

Teenager Johanna Tofte helped the Women’s U17 team take silver medals with the best run of her young life. She was the third scoring member of the Surrey team in a high-standard contest in which she covered the 5km course in 18:52,  to finish 13th of the 98 runners. Two other Club athletes also made their Surrey debuts in the U17 Championship with Selma Hegvold taking 74th place in 21:15 and Rebekah Riches finishing 76th in 21:23.

Ellen Weir was 38th out of 111 runners in the U15 4km championship in 16:19, the fifth Surrey finisher on the day, while the youngest Hercules Wimbledon runner in action was Lauren Armitage who finished 40th out of 111 runners in the U13 3km Championship in 12:53.

Elsewhere, on the following day, Jonny Cornish soared to third on the HW All Time 10km Road Ranking list when he finished 18th of 1244 runners in the Telford 10km road race in 30:06.


Anna Garnier was first W60 home in the South of the Thames Cross Country at Beckenham Park in horrendous conditions last Saturday.

Saturday, 8 December: South of England Inter-counties Cross Country Championships, Oxford.  ResultsPower of Ten

Sunday, 9 December:Telford 10km Results

Parkrun, 15 December

HW's cross country runners started their build-up for next month's County Championships with a hat-trick of parkrun wins. Jonny Cornish and Claire Grima triumphed in Bushy Park while Fred Slemeck headed home the field on Clapham Common.

Cornish, who is likely to run in next month’s Oxfordshire Championships at Horspath, Oxford, posted his 20th victory in Bushy Park where he led in 1107 runners to cross the line 12 seconds clear of Scot Andrew Christy in 16:36. 

Claire posted the day’s top age-graded performance in winning the women’s race, finishing 21st overall, in 18:15, 18 seconds ahead of Olympic marathon runner Mara Yamauchi, of Thames Hare & Hounds. 

Meanwhile on Clapham Common, Slemeck slugged it out with clubmate Finn Johnson to snatch victory by just two seconds in 16:21 on his debut appearance in the event, and pull Johnson to a pb in which he improved on his previous best, set in August, by five seconds.

HW athletes filled three of the top six places in Dulwich Park where Ben Toomer, competing in the event for the first time, was second of the 274 runners in 15:07. Charlie Eastaugh, also making his debut appearance, was third in 15:45, with Matt Sharp, having his first race for more than 10 months, finishing sixth in 16:53. Eileen Toomer, also running in the event for the first time, was second woman finisher in 18:38. 

Stuart Fraser posted the top age-graded performance in the Wimbledon Common event where he was fourth of the 384 runners in 18:10. Second of the 18 HW runners was M55 Richard Evans who was 14th in 20:12 with Lulu Weisz second in the women’s race in 20:12. Belal Ahmed was runner-up of 253 runners in 16:15 on his debut appearance at Mile End. He also posted the top age-graded performance. Teenager Henry Silverstein was the best of eight HW athletes in Bishop’s Park, finishing 11th of the 408 runners in 17:30.

Saturday, December 8

HW runners filled three of the top four places on Wimbledon Common with a total of 21 runners from the Club in action. Zac Purnell was second of the 345 finishers in 17:11 ahead of fellow teenager Henry Silverstein (17:58) with Adam Harwood fourth in 18:21. Richard Evans was top M55 in 20:22 with Lulu Weisz second in the women’s race in 20:35, posting the top female age-graded performance of the day.

Justin Reid posted the top age-graded performance in finishing seventh out of 1203 runners at Bushy Park in 17:15 ahead of club mates Alexie Calvert-Ansari (17:16) and Dave Grima (17:18) who were eighth and ninth. Calvert-Ansari, competing in the event for the first time since 2011, sliced 10 seconds off his previous best. Rob Tuer was ninth out of 328 runners in the Dulwich Park event in 17:27. Eloise Davies was eighth woman finisher in Bishop’s Park, Fulham, in 21:33. Overall, she was 79th out of 393 runners.

Hercules Wimbledon