Hercules Wimbledon reign supreme in the county championships

Wandsworth Guardian: Winners: Five of the six Hercules heroes Ben Toomer, Matt Sharp, Kieran White, Liam White and Rob Tuer (26th) Winners: Five of the six Hercules heroes Ben Toomer, Matt Sharp, Kieran White, Liam White and Rob Tuer (26th)

Hercules Wimbledon's senior men's cross-country runners made history when they won the Surrey team cross-country title on Saturday for the first time in more than three decades.

All but one of the six-strong team had yet to be born when the yellow and red-hoop vested Hercules Wimbledon runners last won the title back in January 1979 at Lloyd Park, Croydon.

The glory came despite the club missing two of their top runners in Fred Selmeck and Alex Robinson – however, Ben Toomer, Liam White, Kieran White, James Davis, Robert Tuer and Matthew Sharp were more than up to the task.

In the end, victory at Denbies Vineyard in Dorking came by 44 points ahead of Herne Hill Harriers in second, and Belgrave Harriers in third.

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.

Backing up the scoring six were Joe Toomey and Joe Clark who were 39th and 40th in 47:39 and 47:43. Hercules Wimbledon had a total of 18 runners in the senior men's race.

Other fine running shows came from Claire Grima who clinched a place in the Surrey team to compete in the UK inter-counties championships at Birmingham in March, by finishing sixth out of 149 runners in the senior women's 8km championship in 34:04.

The over-45 veteran Lisa Thomas, running in the championships for the first time, finished a useful 35th in 38:09, with Gina Galbraith 56th in 39:46 and marathon running Fran Clarke 62nd in 40:10.

Matthew Gibbons also clinched a place in the Surrey team by finishing fourth out of 71 runners in the boys U15 4.2km championship in 15:45, less than half-a-minute behind the winner.

Cassian Hyde may also have done enough to compete for Surrey in Birmingham by finishing seventh in the men's U17 6.5km championship in 22:29, just over a minute behind the winner.

Oscar White, who was a member of Surrey's bronze medal-winning team in the South of England inter-counties meeting at Biggleswade last month, will have to wait to see whether he will be running in Birmingham after finishing eighth out of almost 100 runners in the boys U13 2.8km championship in 11:26. Peter Riches was 29th in 12:09

Alice Veevers was ninth in the women's U20 championship in 29:41, with Zoe Illis and Emma Headley clocking faster times of 26:55 and 27:07 finishing 11th and 12th in the U17 women's championship over the same 4.8km course

Hercules Wimbledon's track and field training sessions take place at Wimbledon Park athletics stadium on Tuesday and Thursday evenings starting at 6.30pm and Sunday mornings at 10.30am. Further details from coaching coordinator Maurice Sharp on 020 8337 8707.

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