BY TOM POLLAK
Veteran long-distance runner Richard McDowell headed home the Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club contingent in Sunday’s London Marathon with a personal best performance.
Running in the London race for the fifth time, the 42-year-old ran a fairly even-paced race covering the first 13.1 miles in 1:09:49. He completed the second half of the course in a slightly slower 1:13:17 to reach the finishing line just past Buckingham Palace in. 2:23:06.
McDowell was delighted to post a personal best time, albeit just a two second improvement on his efforts the last time the marathon was staged as a mass participation race in 2019. He was ninth in the men’s race and second veteran over-40 finisher.
Alex Milne, who the previous day competed in a parkrun, was the second Hercules runner to reach The Mall. He was 99th in 2:33:04, completing the second half of the race slightly faster than the first. He reached halfway, near Tower Bridge, in 1:17:05 and completed the second half of the race in a faster 1:15:59. He was considerably slower than his best time of 2:20:08, set in finishing fourth in the London race in 2019.
Robbie Hynes was 290th of almost 36,000 finishers in a PB of 2:38:06. He reached the halfway point in 1:19:06. His time was an improvement of more than 12 minute on his PB London time of 2:50:29, set in finishing 257th in 2018.
Husband and wife David and Claire Grima finished 411th and 1,026th respectively. David improved on his PB by 23 seconds (2:40:29) in finishing 91st veteran over-40. Claire was seventh woman veteran over-40 in 2:50:30.
The fourth Hercules Wimbledon runner to finish was also the oldest from the club. Supervet Tom Cheetham, 54, who is approaching completing 200 marathons, was 213th over-50 veteran in 3:04:53, not far off his best time of 2:59:37 set in London in 2015.
He ran his first London Marathon in 2010 and, apart from 2011 and 2020, when it wasn’t held, run in the race every year since.
Running his first marathon, Ross Franks was 3,607th in 3:14:06 while Alex Binley was 709th in the women’s race in 3:37:47.
Milne warmed up for the marathon by running in the Bushy Park 5km parkrun the previous day.
He was third out of 1,163 finishers in 16:03.
Peter Collins was the best of 12 Hercules Wimbledon runners in the Wimbledon Common parkrun finishing 30th out of 403 runners in 20:54. He was also the third veteran over-50 finisher. Lisa Thomas was second in the women’s race in 21:19, one second faster than her time the previous weekend.
Helen Davies was the top woman over-50 finisher in the East Surrey League five miles cross country race staged in pouring rain at Lloyd Park, Croydon, on Saturday. She was 53rd of the 86 finishers in 38:31. She finished a few minutes behind husband Malcolm, who was fourth over-50 runner in 34:42.
Hercules Wimbledon are sending two teams to compete in the English men’s six-stage road relay championship in Sutton Park, Birmingham tomorrow.
The club’s older runners are in action in the Surrey Masters cross country championships in Morden Park on the same day. The two-lap women’s race over 6.3km, which also includes the men’s over-60 championship, starts at 1.45pm. The men’s over-40 and over-50 9.3km championship race over three laps starts an hour later.
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