Finn-ishing Power

First man for HW, Finn Johnson, forging on at the County Championships. Photograph by Nigel Bramley

First man for HW, Finn Johnson, forging on at the County Championships. Photograph by Nigel Bramley

The Senior Men’s team have vowed to bounce back and strengthen their grip on the Start Fitness Surrey Cross Country League title on Mitcham Common this Saturday, following a disappointing Surrey County Championships.

Finn Johnson led a depleted Senior Men's team to 4th place, finishing 11th of the 240 runners and covering the 12km in 39:57. He was followed in by Fred Slemeck (15th in 40:26), Richard McDowell (19th in 40:47), Joe Clark (35th in 42:01), Will Russell (39th in 42:24) and David Grima (64th in 44:38). Unfortunately the Club’s attempt to win the team title for the fourth successive year was thwarted by too many absentees nursing injury concerns ahead of this Saturday's crucial League match, including a disappointed Ben Toomer, who, having flown in from the US, was unable to run due to an achilles tendon problem. Meanwhile, at the Oxfordshire Championships the bad luck continued for Jonny Cornish who was also unable to defend his title, due to an untimely bout of severe earache.

But now for the good news: injury niggles have been shrugged off, athletes who were away have returned, morale is high and the team is looking strong for Saturday. Having won the first two of this season’s matches in Richmond Park (by 30 points) and Wimbledon Common in lashing rain (by 111 points) the men go into this third fixture of four with a lead of 141 points over defending champions Kent AC, in a bid to stay on course to win the title for the first time since Hercules AC were triumphant in the 1964/5 season –  two years before Hercules AC and Wimbledon AC merged to form Hercules Wimbledon in 1967. In that campaign Bob Holt (pictured at the end of this newsletter) was the individual winner in the third of the four matches.

Although there were strong individual performances in the bitterly cold conditions at Lloyd Park there were no medals for the Club across the board this year. The HW joint women’s U17 and U20 team just missed out, finishing fourth. They were led in by Elena Dauster who was eighth in the U20 5.7 km race in 22:59, with U17s Johanna Tofte (seventh in 23:12) and Selma Hegvold (17th in 24:41) racing over 5.7km to complete the team.

In the U15G Championships Ellen Weir finished 11th of the 71 runners, covering the 4km in 16:03 to lead the team to sixth place.  Lulu Weisz was 18th in 16:26, Millie Thorpe 21st in 16:33 and Eloise Davies 33rd in 17:12 to complete the team. Lauren Armitage was the first home in the U13 Girls 3km race finishing 19th of the 197 runners in 11:54.

In the Senior Women's race Claire Grima finished 12th of the 138 runners covering the 8km in 30:58. Gina Galbraith (23rd in 32:16), Eileen Toomer (30th in 32:45) and Fran Clarke (57th in 35:54) completed the scoring quartet, which finished in seventh place.

Sam Barker was 10th in the 6k U20 Men's Race in 20:58, with Henry Silverstein the only other HW representative in 13th place in 21:08. In the 6km U17 event Daniel Illis was first HW home in 34th place in 23:03; Morgan Rennie was first in of the U15 Boys team in 38th (14:57) over the 4km course; while Hans Hinde (11:36) was the first HW athlete home in 39th in the U13 Boys Championship over 3km.

While the Senior Men are in action on Mitcham Common this weekend, the women's team must wait until February 9 for their third Surrey League fixture in Richmond Park, when the men will be back at Lloyd Park for their final match.

While the Club's endurance runners were battling across country, many of HW's sprinters were competing over 60m and 200m in rather warmer conditions.  At the London Indoor Games for the U13/U15 and U17 age groups at Lee Valley on Saturday Mabel-Rose Scales matched her pb of 1.50m to win the U13 high jump, and there were wins over 60m for U13s Shawn Bell (in a pb of 8.46) and Elizabeth Adetu. Although her time of 8.70 was outside her personal best, she clocked a pb over 200m to take second place in 30.18. Teenager David Odumeru showed impressive form in returning to sprinting after a three year absence to win his 60m race with a pb of 7.52, while Andrew Sarpong won his U17 400m race in 55.97.

A handful of the Club's sprinters were also in action on Sunday at the South London Athletics Network indoor meeting at Carshalton, including sprinters Ryan Facey, Armani Thomas and Devonte Casely-Hayford who were warming up for the Southern Indoor U20 and Senior Championships at Lee Valley on January 19/20. Competing over 60m for the first time in a year Thomas clocked identical times of 7.40 to finish third in both of his races.

Several HW young athletes will be at Lee Valley again this weekend competing in Southern Indoor Championships for the U13, U15 and U17 age groups, including (below): U17 Jaleel Roper, who goes in both the 60m and 200m, U13 Mabel-Rose Scales in the high jump, and Zipporah Golding, who competes in the U17W 60m.


Sat 5 January: Surrey County Cross Country Championships, Lloyd Park, Croydon    Full results

Sat 5-Sun 6 January: London U13/U15/U17 Games, Lee Valley  Full results

Sun 6 January: South London Athletic Network Open Meeting, Carshalton  Full results


David Lewin headed home a 626-strong field to win Saturday’s Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun in 17:09 to post his fourth win since his debut appearance in October 2016. He was the best of 12 HW runners. Peter Collins was top M45 in 18:14 with Richard Evans top M55 in 19:49.  Alex Binley, competing in the event for the first time since the end of September, was second in the women’s race in 20:28. Rob Tuer was sixth out of 473 runners in Dulwich Park in 17:00, Millie Doyle fifth in the women’s race in Richmond Park in 22:04 and Georgie Clarke fourth in the women’s race at Parke, Devon, in 23:48.

Hercules Wimbledon