Ready for the Challenge!
Good luck to the contingent of HW runners who will be in action in Saturday's Virgin Money London Marathon and Mini-Marathon (over the last three miles of the course from Old Billingsgate to The Mall).
Among those to look out for are Belal Ahmed, who has a best marathon time of 2:23:11 set in Berlin last year where he finished 37th. He last competed in London in 2016 when he finished in the top 100 in 2:29:57, and has been training at altitude in Morocco in a bid to achieve a pb tomorrow.
Husband and wife Claire and Dave Grima will be be competing in the event for the 13th and 10th time, respectively and once again will be setting off from the same start-line. Claire first competed in London in 2004 clocking a modest 3:15.33 while Dave made his debut in 2009 with 3:10:56. Since then they have competed together seven times and dramatically improved their times. Both ran their (very similar) personal best times in 2016, when Dave finished in 2:43:50 and Claire in 2:42:51, and at one time they held the Guinness world record for the fastest combined marathon time by a married couple. Claire has finished eighth in the women’s race for the past two years and last year she was also the W40 winner.
Richard McDowell, who has just turned forty, is hoping for a top three finish in his age category. He is competing in London for the fourth time and prepared for this year’s race with altitude training in India. He posted his best London performance last year when he finished 15th in the British Championship race in 2:27:56, but has a best time of 2:26.49 set in the Bournemouth Marathon last year.
Dimos Evangelidis will be competing in London for the fourth time and is also in the V40 category. He finished just ahead of McDowell last year in 14th place and was fourth M40 in 2:27:39. His best time of 2:25.38 was set in 2016 in Manchester.
The oldest HW runner in action will be 72-year-old Maurice Sharp, running his first marathon since 2015 when he was 40th V65 finisher in London in 3:48:11, however he set his pb of 3:36:25 in 2013. Tom Cheetham, 52, who has completed more than 50 marathons, is also due to run on Sunday.
Teenagers Georgie Clarke, representing Wandsworth, and Ellen Weir running for Merton, spearhead the HW runners in action in the mini-marathon which is completed before the start of the big race.
Despite many Club athletes being away at Easter, there were successes in the middle distance events in the first Lily B League match of the series at Ewell Court on Easter Monday. Lulu Weisz (A) and Millie Doyle ( B) took maximum points in the U15G 1500m races in 05:02.1 and 05:11.9 respectively. Georgie Clarke (A) was second in the U17W 1500m in 04:59.0, while Niamh Thompson won the B race in 05:21.8. In the U13G 800m Indira Ferree (A) and Sophie Thorpe (B) both finished second in 02:36.2 and 02:47.5 respectively, while Selma Hegvold was second in the U17W 800m A race in 02:33.8. As consistent as ever, Mabel-Rose Scales won the U13G high jump with yet another 1.50m leap, as well as winning the 100m B race in 14.00 – Laura Lopes was second in the A race in 13.4. Mabel-Rose's younger sister Willow was second in the U13 Javelin (14.51), while Cora Barnett also took second place in the U15G (A) long jump with 4.25. Overall the team finished in fifth position.
Claire and Dave Grima showed they are both in good form for the Virgin Money London Marathon, posting personal best times in the Exmouth parkrun last weekend. Dave was fifth in the men’s race in 16:37, taking 75 seconds off his previous best for the course, with Claire top woman finisher in 17:24, an improvement of more than a minute on her previous pb. Richard McDowell also warmed-up for London with a pb, heading home a 361-strong field on Clapham Common in 15:35, a huge improvement on his previous best of 17:08 set last September.
HW runners once again dominated the Wimbledon Common parkrun filling two of the top three men’s places and providing the women’s winner. David Lewin was the best of the 22 Hercules Wimbledon runners in the event, finishing second in 17:40, five seconds ahead of teenager Hector Revill. Teenager Lulu Weisz led the women home in a personal best of 19:55, slicing just three seconds off her previous best time set the previous week. There were a total of 296 finishers.
Elsewhere, Fred Slemeck made a winning debut in the Preston parkrun in 16:28, heading home a 469-strong field. Robbie Hynes also won on his debut at Wotton in 17:32, finishing well over two minutes ahead of the second runner. Gina Galbraith won the women’s race at Chichester in 18:20, the day’s top age-graded performance, taking a massive 57 second off her previous best.