By Tom Pollak
Richard McDowell was the leading Hercules Wimbledon runner in the London Marathon from Blackheath to The Mall, reaching the halfway point near Tower Bridge in one hour 13 minutes 15 seconds.
McDowell was 48 seconds ahead of club-mate Dimos Evangelidis. McDowell slowed over the second half of the race while Evangelidis completed the second half of the 26.2 miles race 27 seconds faster than the first.
Evangelidis managed to pass McDowell at Big Ben with about a mile to go to finish 14th in the championship race in 2:27:39. McDowell, who celebrated his 39th birthday three days earlier, one place and 17 seconds behind.
McDowell chopped seven minutes and 21 seconds off his PB set in last year’s London.
Evangelidis said: “It’s always great to run negative splits. My plan generally is to approach the marathon conservatively. I was extra cautious as I’d had a sore throat and cough and had been feeling under the weather the previous week, plus the expected heat – which I can’t stand despite being Greek.”
Third Hercules finisher was Robbie Hynes – 457th out of more than 40,000 runners in 2:50:29 on his London debut. He took almost five minutes off his PB set in York last year.
Claire Grima, running the London marathon for the 12th time, achieved her aim of being the top veteran woman over-40 finisher. She was eighth in the women’s championship in 2:53:13.
She said: “That was the toughest marathon to date. I’m pretty disappointed with my time. I was really hoping to get a PB, but it just wasn’t my day. The W40 win was a silver lining and I placed eighth which was the same as last year, so I have some positives to take from it.”
Claire’s best marathon time of 2:42:51 was set in London in 2016.
Neil Fraser was the next of the 20 Hercules Wimbledon finishers, taking 576th place in2:53:21 with David Grima clocking 2:54:51 in 643rd.
Hercules Wimbledon had 21 youngsters in the mini-marathon over the last three miles of the main course from Old Billingsgate.
Zac Purnell, running for Wandsworth, was 11th in the boys under-17 race in 15:52.
Sam Barker, running for Merton, and Henry Silverstein (Wandsworth) finished 18th and 57th in the same category in 16:07 and 17:16.
Fastest of the 13 Hercules Wimbledon girls was Georgie Clarke, fifth in the under-15 race for Wandsworth in 18:06. Ellen Weir, representing Merton, was 16th in the under-15 race in 18:51.
Lauren Ermitage, also running for Merton, was 21st in the under-13 race in 19:44.
Pictured: McDowell and Evangelidis (right)
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