15 Mile Warm up for Marathon Man McDowell
It was third time lucky for Richard McDowell as he won the 65th Orion 15 mile cross country race, staged by Orion Harriers, a traditional end of the season event, in Epping Forest on March 30. He finished third two years ago and runner-up last year but this year his victory was impressive as he won by a record margin of more than four minutes in 1:31.27 seconds, significantly faster than his previous best time of 1:34:05 in 2017, despite the figure-of-eight course being a 'surprise kilometre longer than in previous years'.
After a period of no rain, the undulating woodland course was much drier and therefore faster than usual and in the conditions the short spikes that McDowell chose proved an ideal selection. He took the race out soon after the start and after five miles eased away from those athletes in the 357-strong field who attempted to stay with his pace, to run the rest of the race solo.
“There were plenty of undulations to test the legs and still a fair amount of mud despite the overall dry conditions, said McDowell, who has now headed off to India 'for a couple of weeks of warm-weather training before tapering off' in preparation for the Virgin Money London Marathon where he will be running just nine days after turning 40. His goal is a top three finish in his age group and an improvement on last year's time of 2:27:56.
Go, Jonny, Go...
Organised by the Club's Performance Director and coach, Ben Noad, primarily as a warm up for the National 12-Stage Relays, the Club held a low-key 'Mob Match' against a handful of rival clubs including Highgate Harriers and Kent AC on Wednesday, 29 March, at Wimbledon Park. 24 of the 33 athletes who competed in the two high class 5000m races achieved pbs. Best of the bunch was HW's Jonny Cornish who, in his first track race of the year, sliced 11 seconds off his pb winning the second race in 14:47.7. Although there were no pacemakers, the leading six runners took turns at the front for the 12 and a half laps. Cornish emerged from that leading group at the bell and pulled ahead to win by around 15 metres. Charlie Eastaugh, running in his first 5000m on the track, clocked 15:05.9 to finish seventh out of 19 competitors. Jonny Earl improved on his previous best by seven seconds, finishing 10th in 15:20.0.
More Masters Medals
Two HW supervets gained medals in the World Masters Indoor championships in Torin, Poland. Alison Murray was third in the W50 pole vault, clearing 2.80m, while Dominic Bokor-Ingram (left, centre) also took bronze in the M50 400m in 54.12. Anna Garnier, the British Masters W60 champion over the 1500m, was sixth over the distance in 5:49.06 and fifth in the 8km Cross Country Championship in 39:00.
David Lewin headed home a 556-strong field in Saturday’s Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun in 18:12 with club mate Ellen Weir finishing second in the women’s race in a pb of 19:36, taking seven seconds off her previous best. Twenty HW runners were in action. Justin Reid headed home a 392-strong field in Highbury Fields in 17:37, posting the top age-graded performance of the day and improving on his 18:16 set on his debut appearance in the event a fortnight earlier.
Gina Galbraith made it a hat-trick of Hercules Wimbledon parkrun wins as she took the women’s race in Bishop’s Park, Fulham, in a pb of 18:03, taking nine seconds off her previous best. She also posted the top age-graded performance. Clubmate Elena Dauster was second in the women’s race in 18:52, a big improvement on the 19:33 she clocked over the course last September. Fastest of nine HW runners taking part was M5 Peter Collins who finished seventh out of 589 runners in a pb of 17:25, the top male age-graded effort of the day.