Hercules Wimbledon senior men’s coach Maurice Sharp attributed their gold medal performance at last weekend’s Surrey county cross-country championship to the club’s all-embracing ethos.
Ben Toomer, Liam White, Kieran White, James Davis, Robert Tuer and Matthew Sharp led the men’s team to glory at Denbies Vineyard in Dorking for the first time in 35 years.
Leading the gold medal-winning contingent over the 12km course was debutant Toomer who finished 15th in 45 minutes 10 seconds.
Not far behind and running a superb race after recovering from injury came the youngest member of the squad, 21-year-old Liam White, in 17th in 45:27.
Kieran White, 37, was the only member of the team who was alive the last time Hercules Wimbledon won, and he finished 19th in 45:31.
Davis (46:11), Tuer (46:21) and Sharp (46:30) then finished in a line in 24th, 25th and 26th position to complete the scoring team and clinch the gold medals.
Sharp said: “A lot of hard work goes into the team’s efforts, and it was an exhilerating day – especially as the field of 249 runners was the largest ever in the competition’s history, and Denbies is such a popular venue.
“But the win is testimony to the club’s all embracing attitude to welcoming new comers – we have a real mix of age and experience.
“Some of our best runners have not been with us long. Ben [Toomer] has been with us less than a year and has only just taken up athletics.”
He added: “You could say it is down to the training they get, but the old adage is that it is five per cent training, 95 per cent athlete.”
Sharp has the next targets in sight when the southern (January 25) and national championships (February 22) roll into view.
“As good as the Surrey performance was, it is the southerns and nationals where we want to be scoring wins, that is the ultimate goal.”
Winners: Five of the six Hercules heroes Ben Toomer, Matt Sharp, Kieran White, Liam White and Rob Tuer (26th)