BY TOM POLLAK
Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club made a superb start to this winter’s Surrey Cross Country League programme when their men took both the A and B team contests in the opening match in Richmond Park on Saturday.
Packing their 10 scoring runners among the first 48, the club were runaway winners of the team event with 164 points, well ahead of Belgrave (319), holders Kent AC (345), Thames Hare & Hounds (382), Guildford & Godalming (444) and South London Harriers (465) in the first league match since February 2020.
Heading the team to victory was Charlie Eastaugh, who finished fourth after covering the 8.3km in 26:11. He was closely followed by Tom Jervis (sixth in 26:35), Alex Robinson (ninth in 26:34) and veteran Richard McDowell (10th in 26:38).
Close behind was Andrew Penney (12th in 26:39), Fred Slemeck (13th in 26:42), Oliver Carrington (18th in 26:55), George Mallett (19th in 26:57) and Alex Milne (27th in 27:27) with Finn Johnson (46th in 28:27) completing the winning team.
Joe Toomey led Hercules’ B team to victory, finishing 57th of the 242 runners in 28:39. Jack Bibbings (64th in 28:52), and Sam Todd (72nd in 29:09) were other leading members of the side.
Sam Dyson made an impressive cross country debut when he finished third out of 57 runners in the U13 3.2km race in 11:21, 22 seconds behind the winner. He led Hercules Wimbledon to third team place.
Preceding the men’s and boys’ races was the opening Surrey Ladies League fixture. The U13 girls picked up a team victory, led by Ava McAndie (second in 12:02) and Isabella Harrison (third in 12:08).
Their youngsters also did well in the U17 4.7km race, filling three of the top six places, to take second team place. Leading Hercules finishers were Lulu Weisz (second in 18:33), Emily Grey (third in 18:50) and Millie Thorpe (sixth in 19:16).
In the opening race of the day, London Marathon veteran Claire Grima led the senior women’s team home finishing 27th of the 252 runners clocking 25:57 for the 6.5km course.
Hercules Wimbledon had two winners in parkrun 5km events on the South Coast on Saturday.
Rhys Boorman posted his 36th win in 41 appearances at Hastings when he headed home a 285-strong field in 15:51. It was his best time this year and only 10 seconds slower than his best ever for the course set in May 2019.
It was third time lucky for Hercules Wimbledon’s Adam May as he led in a 157-strong field at Littlehampton in 18:22 after finishing runner-up and 19th on his two previous appearances in the event.
Lisa Thomas was top woman finisher in 20:54 on Wimbledon Common.
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