Club quartet in big London race

FOUR runners from Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club were among the many thousands taking part in the Vitality London 10 kilometres road race through the streets of Central London.

While much attention was focused on Sir Mo Farah’s return to racing and his surprise defeat by Aldershot’s relatively unknown Ellis Cross, Hercules Wimbledon’s Tom Jervis also enjoyed some exposure on TV screens as her ran alongside and overtook Scottish Olympic runner Eilish McColgan. She was attempting to beat her mother de ella, Liz’s, Scottish record for the distance and Paula Radcliffe’s British mark.

In the end she achieved the former and came tantalizingly close to the latter, while Jervis rounded off his impressive road racing season with yet another personal best in finishing 23rd out of 7218 runners in the men’s race in 30 minutes 57 seconds. His time was a big improvement on his 31:26 set in winning the Morrisons’ Birmingham Great 10km road race in May 2015 when he was a student in the city’s university.

Finn Johnson, who also had his moment on screen at the finish, was 70th in 33:04, while Hercules Wimbledon newcomer Matilde Lomba was a fantastic 29th out of 6317 runners in the women’s race and sixth woman veteran over the line in a personal best of 37:08. It was also a big improvement on her previous best of 38:07 set in Battersea Park in November 2018. The fourth Hercules Wimbledon runner, Andy Greenleaf, was 29th in 31:17.

The previous day top Hercules Wimbledon veteran Richard McDowell was one of several runners from the club in action in the Vitality Westminster Mile – a mere snip of a race for Richard, given his appetite for tackling distances up to 100 miles! Pounding the London streets he knows so well as a regular in the London marathon, he was top veteran Over-40 finisher and 12th overall, in 4:32.

Another great new addition to Hercules Wimbledon’s women’s squad, Bettina Urlbauer, was third in the women’s race, and 76th overall, in 5:31.

Hercules Wimbledon veteran Felix Allen was 10th in the Over-45 category and 59th overall in the men’s race in 5:23, with Tom Cheetham 12th M55 in 115th – both have been notching up marathons recently with Cheetham planning to complete his 100th race over the grueling 26.2 miles distance later this year. He finished in 6:10 with Over-50 veteran Gary Forde clocking the same time, one place behind and eighth in his category.

Anna Garnier was the first woman veteran Over-65 and 23rd in the women’s race in 6:24, while Club distance coach, Tony Austin, was sixth Over-65 veteran and 144th in the men’s race, in 6:53.

Thirty-four Hercules Wimbledon runners took part in 15 different 5km parkruns on Saturday. Fastest of the club’s runners was Over-50 veteran Justin Reid who was sixth of the 1181 finishers in 17:16, his fastest time in 108 appearances in Bushy Park since the end of July last year. Clubmate Ross Franks was 15th in 17:42.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon athletes will be out in force in the Surrey tracks and field championships at Kingsmeadow Stadium on Saturday and Sunday, with half-a-dozen Hercules Wimbledon runners in action in the Night of 10,000 meter races at Parliament Hill, Highgate, on Saturday evening.

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