Hercules takes titles

Runners from Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club enjoyed a successful time in the East Surrey League cross country races staged under strict Covid-19 conditions at Croydon’s Lloyd Park on Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.

The senior men and girls led the way with convincing team wins while the boys were runners-up and the senior women took third spot making Hercules Wimbledon the most successful of the 10 clubs in action.

Under the new rules, runners went off in waves of 10 at three minute intervals.

First off were the young athletes and here teenagers Adam Hammadi and Georgie Clarke led the way by winning their age group sections.

Hammadi and Clarke were top under-17 finishers in the 2.5 miles race in 15 minutes 27 seconds and 16:11, respectively.

Clarke was in action in the first of the five girls races and ran strongly to win by 16 seconds leading Hercules Wimbledon to the individual and team double.

Fellow under-17 teenager Ellen Weir was third in 16:30, just three seconds ahead of another under-17-year-old Albane Fery in fourth place.

Lulu Weisz completed the winning quartet in finishing ninth of the 50 girls in 17:09.

Other leading Hercules Wimbledon finishers were Millie Thorpe (11th in 17:34), Grace Eminson (14th and fourth under 15 in 18:04), Charlotte Conway (17th and sixth under 15 in 18:09) and Sophia Anderson (21st and ninth under 15 in 18:38).

Girls Teams: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 17pts; 2 Epsom & Ewell (26); 3 Herne Hill (43); 4 Croydon (104).

Hammadi was in the first group of 10 runners in the boys young athletes races where he was a convincing winner, 44 seconds ahead of his Hercules Wimbledon club mate Ronan McArdle, who was sixth overall in the under-15 age group.

Top Hercules Wimbledon under-15 boy was Ibrahim Mohamed Achchi in 16:02.

Oliver Warbey completed the scoring team of four in finishing 15th of the 93 runners and ninth in the under 15 age group in 16:23.

Boys teams: 1 Herne Hill 22; 2 Hercules Wimbledon 34; 3 Epsom & Ewell (35); 4 Croydon (113).

Hercules Wimbledon duo Fred Slemeck and Richard McDowell fought a personal battle for the minor placings as Croydon’s Dominic Nolan ran away with the senior men’s 3.2 miles race, staged in gusty conditions, in 16:42.

Slemeck managed to get the better of his Hercules Wimbledon clubmate to reach the finish line in 17:02, just five seconds ahead of over 40 veteran McDowell.

Hercules were packing well in the men’s race which involved 16 waves of runners going off at three minute intervals.

Ed Mallett was fifth in 17:31 just nine seconds ahead of Tom Drayton in sixth place with Jamie Bannister 11th in 18:18, Xavier Grout and top veteran over 35, sharing 13th place with Hercules Wimbledon clubmate David Lewin in 18:22.

A few places behind, Joe Clark was 16th of the 151 finishers and second veteran over 35 in 18:28.

A dozen Hercules Wimbledon runners completed the men’s race.

Men’s Teams: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 16; 2 Epsom & Ewell 53; 3 Croydon 54; 4 Herne Hill 74; 5 Striders of Croydon 97.5; 6 Sutton 121.

Teenager Niamh Thompson made a successful senior debut when she led the Hercules Wimbledon women’s team to third team spot.

She finished 10th in the women’s race in 22:08 with supervet Lisa Thomas second Hercules Wimbledon finisher in 12th place in 22:25.

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