Five days before the start of the World famous Wimbledon tennis fortnight athletics took centre stage in the town with the staging of a series of highly competitive 3000 metres races at Wimbledon Park Athletics stadium, within sight of the All England Tennis Club, Tom Pollak reports.

This was a true feast of athletics with 124 runners taking part in nine races on an ideally balmy evening. Of these, 77 posted lifetime bests and a further 47 season’s bests.

There were also two UK age records. Hercules Wimbledon’s guitar-playing Peter Giles, who celebrated his 75th birthday nine days before the evening, set new figures for a UK Veteran over 75 of 12 minutes 1.82 seconds. This bettered the 12:28.07 time set by Victor Shirley of the Northern Masters Club in taking the men’s over 75 silver medal in the World Masters Indoor Championships in Torin, Poland, in March.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Clare Elms from Dulwich Runners set a new mark for an over 55 woman with 10:11.24 improving on the 10:13.8 posted by Scot Sandra Branney of the Victoria Park/City of Glasgow club in Edinburgh at the end of May 2009.

Fastest time of the night was posted by Owen Hinds of Kent AC who won the fastest and last of the nine races in 8:21.00.

Best of the 26 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action was Jonny Cornish who finished fourth behind Hinds in a personal best of 8:25.33, a big improvement on his previous best of 8:37.11 set at Tooting Bec in May 2017. Second fastest Hercules Wimbledon runner was Ross Franks who clocked 8:32:43, a 23 second improvement in his previous best time for the distance set in a Southern League match in July 2017.

Hercules Wimbledon’s top teenage sprinter Chad Miller, who took the gold medal last season, had to settle for bronze in the England under 20 100m championship at Bedford International Stadium this year. He is hoping it is enough to make the British team for the European Junior Championships being held in Boras, Sweden, later this month.

He was second in his heat in 10.88, third in his semi-final in a faster 10.70 and then third in the final into a stiff 2.2 metres per second headwind in 10.90. He boosted his hopes of European selection in posting his best time this season of 10.43 in an international meeting in Germany at the end of June. His time was well inside the 10.55 qualifying time set by the British selectors and puts him third in the UK under 20 rankings this summer.

His older brother Rechmial finished fifth in the under 23 100m championship in 10.78, racing into a stiff headwind. He was slightly below his best time of the season of 10.41 achieved at the same Bedford track at the start of June when he took silver in the South of England senior championships. Rechmial reached the under 23 finals after winning his heat in 10.68 and finishing second in his semi-final in 10.77, both faster than the time b=he posted in the final. He is fourth in the under 23 rankings for his event this season.

A third Hercules Wimbledon sprinter in action at Bedford was Ryan Facey who reached the semi-finals of the under 23 100m championship. He was fourth in his heat in 11.08 and eighth in his semi-final in a slower 11.28.

Hercules Wimbledon’s Alex Binley was the the top woman finisher in the Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun on Saturday in 19:08. Best of the 13 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action was Adam Harwood who was second out of 577 runners in 17:47. Jonny Earl was second out of 553 runners in making his debut in the Worthing event in 16:13. Annmarie Seymour was second woman finisher in Kesgrave, Suffolk, in 22:18.

Several Hercules Wimbledon runners will be in action in Highgate Harriers Night of 10000m PBs at Parliament Hill Fields on Saturday.This year, in addition to being the British championships, the event also incorporates the European 10000m Cup. Hercules Wimbledon youngsters are competing in their third Lily B Girls League match of the season at the Spectrum Leisure Centre, Guildford, on Sunday while on Monday the club’s older athletes compete in the last of this season’s Southern Veterans League matches at Croydon.