BY TOM POLLAK
Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club teenager Conor Kelly made an impressive international debut when he helped England take the boys’ U16 team title in the Home Countries schools indoor international pentathlon match against Scotland, Wales and Ireland, at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow.
He came away with five personal bests as well as two medals, one individual bronze and a team gold.
The 14-year-old Wimbledon College student, in only his first year in the sport, long jumped 6.03metres, ran the 800m in 2:12.66, was second in the 60m hurdles in 6.79, all PBs, and ran the 200m in an indoor best of 23.46.
Kelly, who made his debut in the Surrey Schools Combined Events meeting at Kingsmeadow at the end of May, has made enormous strides since then under the tutelage of Hercules Wimbledon coach and former Surrey sprint champion Paul Miller.
He took bronze in the English Schools pentathlon championship in September and won the Surrey U15 200m championship in July, taking silver in the South of England 200m championship in August.
The annual Lauriston Runners Club’s 30-minute Paarlauf returned on Christmas Day with a somewhat reduced field due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Just 12 pairs of runners took part in this traditional event which was launched back in 1954 by the late Arthur Whitehead who lived in Lauriston Cottage, now the headquarters of Lauriston Runners Club, which he founded.
The club stages the event each Christmas Day – apart from last year when it was cancelled for the first time in its 67-year history.
On an overcast morning with a chilly wind, the 12 pairs of athletes ran alternately for 30 minutes round a circuit near Rushmere Lake on Wimbledon Common along a course which takes in Southside, The Green, The Causeway, Cannizaro Road and the West Side of the Common.
The Hercules Wimbledon duo of Charlie Eastaugh and Knut Hegvold dominated, leading all the way to win, covering five miles 1,266 yards in the time slot.
They covered 200 yards more than runners-up Felix Allen and Daniel Clarke, also from Hercules Wimbledon. Another Hercules Wimbledon pairing, veterans Kieran White and prodigious marathon runner Tom Cheetham, were third with 5:472.
Daniel Clarke was one of four members of his family to take part.
His dad Dave, three-time English senior men’s cross country champion as well as being a cross country and track international, and now Hercules Wimbledon’s chairman, linked up with club-mate James Runnicles. They were eighth with 4:1336 while his mum, Fran, partnered Richard Evans to finish ninth covering 4:1425. His uncle Peter partnered Tony Austin to finish 10th covering 4:1425.
Hercules Wimbledon chairman Dave Clarke said: “It was a good turnout considering we deliberately decided not to publicise the event due to the pandemic.”
Twenty-two Hercules Wimbledon runners were in action in 15 parkruns on Christmas Day, gaining a hat-trick of wins.
Veteran Gina Galbraith was top woman finisher in Richmond in a PB of 18:58 which was also the event’s top age-graded performance.
Alex Milne headed home a 327-strong field in Gunnersbury Park while Ben Toomer, back from New York for Christmas, led in 289 runners at Chipping Sodbury in 16:27, winning by half-a-minute. Robbie Hynes was pipped in Canons Park, north London, finishing two seconds behind the winner in 17:55.
Brothers Nick and Jonny Earl were first and second out of 353 runners in Melbourne in 15:09 and 15:48 respectively.
Alex Binley was second woman in the Bath Skyline event in 30:43.
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