McDowell's Winning Warm-up

Richard McDowell heads the start of the Veteran Athletic Club Cross Country Championships and Masters Open on Wimbledon Common. Photograph by Cliff Hide.

Richard McDowell heads the start of the Veteran Athletic Club Cross Country Championships and Masters Open on Wimbledon Common. Photograph by Cliff Hide.

Richard McDowell regained his Veteran Athletic Club Cross Country Championships and Masters Open title on Wimbledon Common last Saturday in a race which formed part of his preparations for this weekend’s South of England Championships.

McDowell set off at a moderate pace and was happy to allow Paul Cheetham of Thames Hare & Hounds to take the lead. Cheetham stayed in front until halfway round the second lap on an uphill section of the course, when McDowell went ahead to finish the 4.5 mile course in 25:55 seconds, 13 seconds ahead of Cheetham.

The race came at the end of a tough training week for McDowell during which he covered 173 km, a record for him. He and Cheetham warmed down by completing a third lap of the course before McDowell ran to his Colliers Wood home to complete 21 kilometres on the day. “I plan a slightly easier week to be a bit fresher for the Southerns,” he promised.

His ultimate goal for 2019 is to achieve an age group medal in the M40 category at the Virgin Money London Marathon. He turns 40 on April 19th, nine days before the 26.2 miles race, so he’ll be hoping for a belated birthday present. “I’m following a fairly relentless programme to try and knock a few minutes off my current PB to achieve a podium finish,” he added.

The Vets Championship also saw the return to racing of Peter Giles, after a five month break. Giles, 74, retained his M70 title in 35:25 to complete a quartet of wins. Second HW finisher was Malcolm Davies who took the silver medal in the M50 category in 28:47, with Tom Cheetham third in the M55 category in 31:03. Tom Morris took the M60 bronze medal in 35:34.

Anna Garner took the W60 gold medal in 34:08 while Helen Davies was second in the W45 category in 32:48.

Meanwhile at Reigate 11-year old Benjy Street took the U13 Boys title in the Surrey Schools Cross Country Championships in which 22 HW athletes took part. Lauren Armitage was seventh of 103 runners in the Junior Girls Championship, with Lulu Weisz 14th and Millie Thorpe 19th; while in the Junior Boys Championship Thomas Beare and Connor Foley were 25th and 27th of 80 runners. In the Intermediate Girls Championship, Ellen Weir was 12th of 67 runners, with Niamh Thompson and Selma Hegvold 20th and 23rd. Henry Silverstein was 13th of 48 runners in the Senior Boys Championships.

At the South of England  Indoor Championship at Lee Valley on Sunday, Ryan Facey posted a personal best 22.99 in qualifying for the semi-finals of the 200m.

Stuart Fraser was the best of seven Hercules Wimbledon runners competing in an inter-club 4.5 miles cross country match in Richmond Park on Saturday. He was 10th out of the field of 73 in 28:49.


Saturday, 19 January: Veteran Athletic Club Cross Country Championships and Masters Open, Wimbledon Common Power of Ten
Saturday, 19 January: Surrey Schools Cross Country Championships, Reigate  Power of Ten


Georgie Clarke continued her comeback after injury by winning the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun on Saturday in 20:30. She was among 21 HW runners in action. Best of the group was David Lewin who was second of the 499 field in 17:05, with Adam Harwood fourth in 18:04.

Vikki Filsell was second woman home in 21:17. Justin Reid was sixth out of 1514 runners in Bushy Park in 16:51. Eloise Davies finished second in the women’s race in 23:02 on her debut appearance in the Wormwood Scrubs event. Daniel Clarke took more than a minute off his previous best when he finished eight out of 340 runners at Kingston in 19:01. Andrew Davies was third in the Halewood event on Merseyside in 19:52 and Peter Collins third in the Porterstown event in Dublin in 18:01.

Hercules Wimbledon