Athletics: Hercules Wimbledon veteran Felix Allen races around Britain’s oldest cycling track

Just weeks after winning the Polar Circle Marathon in sub-zero temperatures, Felix Allen turned out in a more temperate climate to win the Velothon Track Marathon in Brighton, writes Tom Pollak.

Allen had to complete the 579 metres circuit of the ancient velodrome more than 72 times to complete the 26 miles 385 yards marathon distance.

Racing round Britain’s oldest cycling track – it was built in 1877 – proved no problem for the 45-year-old, who won by more than three minutes in 2:53:01.

Allen said: “The track marathon sounds like most people’s idea of hell but there were some real benefits. Seventy-two laps meant 72 aid stations and somewhere to leave all your supplies rather than carrying them,  and at any given time you know exactly where all of the other competitors are.

“I’ve got nothing too extravagant planned for the rest of this year, just a couple of marathons.  Mind you, one of those is in Senegal and that involves a 7,000-mile round journey.”

Monika Crouse, another of Hercules Wimbledon’s ultra-distance runners, also completed a daunting challenge in Northumberland when she completed a half-marathon and marathon on successive days.

Monika Crouse

The Wooler Trail half-marathon on Saturday involved running more than 14 miles and climbing almost 2,500 feet in the Cheviot Hills. She was the third woman veteran over-45 in 2:25:43.

The 40-year-old was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to compete in the Wooler Trail marathon over a 28.5 miles course and climbing more than 6,000 feet. She was 64th out of 226 runners in 6:50:50 and was fourth veteran finisher.

Cheryl Nolan competed in the Irish National women’s 8km cross country championship in Dublin’s National Sports Campus. She finished 19th in 30:27.

Cheryl Nolan in Ireland

The 28-year-old said: “There was a small patch that was dry but we were going through a lot of muddy areas. It was pretty brutal on the legs but I managed.”

Alex Binley just missed out on a medal in the South of the Thames five miles race in Beckenham Place Park on Saturday, finishing fourth in the women’s category in 34:30.

Georgina Clarke celebrated her selection to run for Surrey in the South of England inter-counties cross-country championships in Oxford by setting a Hercules Wimbledon club record in finishing second female in the Bishop’s Park 5km parkrun in Fulham on Saturday. Her 18:57 time was the 16th fastest by an under-15 girl in British parkruns this year. Adam Harwood was the best of 15 Hercules runners in the Wimbledon Common parkrun, finishing third out of 381 runners in 18:05. Justin Reid clocked a faster 16:42 in finishing ninth out of 1,100 runners in Bushy Park.

Hercules Wimbledon’s youngsters took the honours in Sunday’s Wimbledon Park 2km parkrun with Thomas Whorton heading home the 127-strong field in 8:13 and Cate Coverley first girl in 8:48.

Pete Giles, 72, was first over-70 finisher in the England Masters inter-area match in Bournemouth covering the 7.5km in 30:59.


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