A small group of Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s older athletes were in tremendous form in the British Masters indoor championships over the weekend and returned with a bagful of medals, writes Tom Pollak.


At the other end of the age range, some of Hercules Wimbledon’s younger runners were in action in the penultimate East Surrey League race of the season at Croydon.


Best of the five Hercules Wimbledon runners in action at the Masters Championships at Lee Valley was Peter Giles who gained a hat-trick of gold medals. Giles, who only took up running when he was 44, was the outstanding 75-year-old at the championships winning the 1500m on Saturday in five minutes 36.94 seconds and then on Sunday going on to take the 800m in 3:15.12, just 0.54 seconds clear of the runner-up, and the 3000m in 12:07.08. He tops this year’s UK rankings in his age group at 800 and 1500m and is ranked second over 3000m.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Anna Garnier is another top ranked Hercules Wimbledon athlete. She went into the over 65 1500m firm favourite as her winning time at last month’s South of England Masters indoor championships at the same venue topped the 2020 UK rankings. She confirmed her top rating by taking the title in 5:56.57, just outside her season’s best.


The small Hercules Wimbledon contingent at the national championships managed to win seven gold medals. Paul Wignall had a busy weekend taking gold in the over 65 200m on Sunday in 29.78 after picking up a bronze medal in the 60m the previous day. He was also fourth in the 400m.


Lisa Thomas won a pair of medals taking gold in the women’s over 50 400m on Saturday in 65.89, finishing more than two seconds clear of the runner-up and then taking the silver medal in the 800m on Sunday in 2:35.50.


Justin Reid, the youngest of the five-strong group won the gold medal in the over 50 3000m on Sunday in 9:45.87 after taking the bronze medal in the 1500m on the previous day in 4:28.78.


Another of Hercules Wimbledon’s older athletes, Tom Cheetham, is getting close to completing his 100th marathon. Cheetham, 53, finished 16th in testing conditions in the Thames Meander marathon along the Thames towpath from Kingston to Barnes and back in 3:14:54. He was fifth in his age group in what was his 92nd marathon.


It was part of his build-up for next month’s Virgin MoneyLondon Marathon which may be under threat because of the coronavirus epidemic.


Meanwhile, at the other end of the age scale, two Hercules Wimbledon youngsters represented Surrey in the UK Inter-Counties cross country championships at Loughborough’s Prestwold Hall and a small contingent of Hercules Wimbledon athletes were in action in the penultimate East Surrey League cross country meeting in Croydon’s Lloyd Park.


Teenagers Ellen Weir and Georgie Clarke posted below-par efforts at Loughborough after recovering from seasonal colds. Clarke showed she is well on the road to her best form by finishing 45th of almost 300 runners in the under 17 championship in 23:18 while Weir, winner of the Surrey title in January, was not at her best finishing 85th in 24:09. 


Over at Croydon, Hector Revill was second under 17 finisher in the young athletes 2.5 miles race in 14:52 with Adam Hammadi second under 15 runner across the line in 16:18. Ronan McArdle was fourth in the under 13 race in 16:27.


Forty Hercules Wimbledon runners took part in various parkrun 5km events on Saturday. Adam Harwood headed home a 37-strong field on Wimbledon Common in 18:37. It was the 227th time he had taken part in the event in which he made his debut in June 2009 and only his ninth win. Over 55 veteran Richard Evans posted the top men’s age-graded performance in finishing ninth in 21:03, 15 seconds behind his Hercules Wimbledon clubmate Simon Woodley.


David Lewin was third out of 1504 runners in Bushy Park in a personal best of 16:52. He sliced six seconds off his previous best set in September 2018. Alex Binley was third woman finisher in Kettering in 20:54 while Matthew Sharp was seventh out of 555 runners in Dulwich Park in 16:06. Teenager Millie Doyle was second woman finisher in the Fulham Palace event in a personal best of 19:35, an improvement of more than  two minutes on her previous best set in December 2018.