Hercules Wimbledon AC round-up: London Marathon plans change as runners factor in delay due to coronavirus pandemic

BY TOM POLLAK

A large contingent of Hercules Wimbledon runners were due to take part in next month’s London Marathon from Blackheath to The Mall but their plans have been put on hold following the postponement of the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Heading the marathon runners for the South London club were due to be husband and wife David and Claire Grima. who will be pounding the roads of London for the 11th and 14th time respectively.

They would have set off from the elite start on Blackheath on the original marathon day – April 26.

They have now had to restructure their training schedules for the new date of October 4. They are past holders of the Guinness Book of World records for the fastest combined marathons run by a married couple.

Claire first competed in the London Marathon in 2004, clocking a modest 3:15:33 while David made his debut in 2009 in an equally modest 3:10:56. Since then, they have significantly improved their times.

Last year, Claire clocked a best time of 2:40:38 to finish eighth in the women’s championship race and top woman veteran over 40. Her time improved on 2:42:51 when she finished ninth in the women’s race in 2016. She was also top woman veteran in 2018.

David also clocked a best London time and marathon PB of 2:40:42 last year when he finished four seconds and five places behind his wife. His previous best London time was also in 2016 when he clocked 2:43:50.

The couple had shown they were in good form for this year’s 26.2 miles London race with fine runs in the Bath half-marathon staged in pouring rain earlier this month. David clocked a PB of  1:14:35 for the 13.1 miles, improving on his 1:15:08 set at Reading in March last year. Claire was second woman veteran over-40 in 1:17:26 and fourth overall in the women’s race.

David said: “I was glad to have got a good race in before everything else was cancelled.

“With London being pushed back to early October I’ll be ticking over for a few weeks, then building back up again to start hitting the miles in June. It will be interesting training through the summer.  As nice as it seems, it’s not typically a time that I’ve been able to train as well, as there’s always so much more happening in the summer in terms of weekends away and holidays.”

The club had five runners in action in the Bath race. Leading finisher was Jonny Cornish, who clocked a PB of 1:05:16 to finish third of more than 6,800 runners. Alex Milne also posting a PB to finish sixth in 1:06:08. Robbie Hynes was 143rd in 1:18:29.

In keeping with government instructions, Hercules Wimbledon’s regular training sessions have been cancelled until further notice. Coaches have prepared training schedules for individual athletes.


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