Hercules Wimbledon AC round-up: Record 10 runners in action in Oxford tomorrow 

A record 10 Hercules Wimbledon runners will represent Surrey in the South of England inter-counties cross country championships in Oxford on Saturday – and several of them warmed up for the weekend’s races by competing in unpleasant wet and windy conditions last Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.

Jonny Earl defied the unpleasant conditions to win the Grizzly Bear 10km road race in Battersea Park in – his time of 31:52 chopped a hefty 46 seconds off his previous best set in Norwich at the end of October.

In heading home the 158-strong field, Earl posted his fifth PB for 10km this year. His best time for the distance before 2018 was 33:39.

Tom Cheetham was first veteran over-50 finisher in 41:22 ahead of club-mate Gary Forde (42:07). Richard Steed was second over-55 finisher (48:49) while Mick Leigh celebrated his 75th birthday by winning his age group.

Cheetham was second veteran over-50 finisher in the Mornington Chasers 10km road race in Regents Park on Sunday in 40:57.

Several Hercules Wimbledon youngsters who will be competing for Surrey this weekend were among 15 runners from the club in action in the Richmond Park 5km parkrun in last Saturday’s wind and rain.

Over-55 veteran Knut Hegvold posted the top age-graded performance in finishing 11th of the 288 runners in 19:27. Lulu Weisz, who just missed out making the Surrey teams for Oxford, posted the top female age-graded effort of the day in finishing 19th and second in the women’s race in 20:12.

Lauren Armitage, who runs for Surrey in the U13 championship was fifth female in 20:52, two seconds ahead of Millie Thorpe with Millie Doyle eighth in 21:31, Ore Adele ninth in 21:43 and Niamh Thompson 10th female finisher in 21:44, 10 seconds ahead of Basil O’Leary who was 12th.

Joining Armitage in representing Surrey this weekend are Georgie Clarke and Ellen Weir in the girls’ U15 championship and Selma Hegvold, Joanna Tofte and Rebekah Riches in the women’s U17 event.

Eloise Dauster runs in the women’s U20 championship while a trio of runners – Claire Grima, Eileen Toomer and Gina Galbraith – compete in the senior championship.

Galbraith warmed up for Oxford by racing through the rain to take the women’s honours in the Wimbledon Common parkrun in 19:46. Once again, Adam Harwood was the first of 13 Hercules Wimbledon runners,  finishing fourth out of the 226-strong field in 18:22. Richard Evans was top veteran over-55 finisher in 20:56.

Justin Reid was third out of 697 runners in Bushy Park in 17:39 with club-mate David Grima fifth in 17:50. Stuart Fraser posted the top age-graded performance in the Fulham Palace event where he was top over-50 finisher, taking sixth place out of 241 runners in 18:05.

In his first competition since July, Freddie Arkell gained an impressive hat-trick in the Lee Valley indoor open meeting on Sunday. He won his two U15 60m races in 7.42 and 7.44 – plus the 300m in 38.10.

Kyra Stone posted a PB in winning her girls U15 60m race in 8.84. Kaura Lopez made an impressive debut by finishing second in her girls’ U15 60m race in a slightly faster 8.80.

Dhanisha Banee swept to a lifetime best of 43.78 in winning her senior women’s 300m race in 43.78, her first race over the distance.

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