After taking sixth place in the South of England championships a fortnight ago, Hercules Wimbledon senior men’s team are aiming for a top 12 finish in the English National six-stage road relay championship at Birmingham’s Sutton Park on Saturday, writes Tom Pollak.

Alex Milne, who made his Hercules Wimbledon debut in the Southern event, warmed up for Birmingham by finishing just outside there frame in the Windsor half-marathon on Sunday. He was fourth out of 3861 finishers in one hour nine minutes 59 seconds, running his fourth race over the 13.1 miles half-marathon distance of 2019.

The other five members of the squad that ran at Crystal Palace, Jonny Cornish, who was Hercules Wimbledon’s fastest runner, Fred Slemeck, Richard McDowell, Ross Franks and anchor leg runner Charlie Eastaugh all took a break from racing to be in top form for the national title challenge.

Hercules Wimbledon will also be fielding a second team in the National event after their B team of Tom Drayton, Dimos Evangelidis, Finn Johnston, Joe Clark, Tom Jervis and David Lewin finished in the top 25 at Crystal Palace to secure a qualifying place for Birmingham.

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Hercules Wimbledon’s Peter Giles made an impressive start to his winter cross country season when he was top over 75 finisher in the English Masters inter-area cross country match at Bury St Edmunds on Sunday. He covered the 5.7km course in 26:42 to beat the second runner in his age group by almost minute.

Two places behind Giles was his Hercules Wimbledon clubmate Helen Davies who was competing in the women’s veterans over 50 category where she was fifth in 27:08. Husband Malcolm was also fifth in the over 50 category in the men’s 8km race in 33:45.

Peter Giles was among a quartet of Hercules Wimbledon runners competing in the Veterans 10000m track championships at Battersea Park. He was top over 75 finisher in 42:33.84, more than 10 minutes faster than the second runner in his age group. Over 50 veteran Darren Franks clocked a personal best 38:55.64, over 45 veteran Jaran Finn a personal best of 39:47.17 and supervet Malcolm Davies a personal best of 39:48.26.

There were mixed fortunes for the two Hercules Wimbledon runners among more than 24000 competitors in the Berlin marathon on Sunday. Over 45 veteran Felix Allen clocked a personal best time of 2:53:49, running the second half of the race over a notoriously flat course in the German capital in 1:26:09, slightly faster than his first half of 1:27:40. His time took exactly a minute off his previous best for the testing 26.2 miles marathon distance posted in finishing fourth in his age category in the Brighton marathon in April last year. There was misfortune for his Hercules Wimbledon clubmate Belal Ahmed, a regular in the London race, who was forced to drop out around 5km.

Hercules Wimbledon teenager Ben Tatters made a winning return to racing after more than a year’s absence when he headed home a 477-strong field in the Richmond 5km parkrun on Saturday in a personal best of 17:28. It was his first race since finishing fourth in the same event in September 2018 in a slower 18:25. His time took five seconds off his previous best set as a 13-year-old in December 2014. He won by 19 seconds.

Supervet Lisa Thomas, who was among 17 Hercules Wimbledon runners on Wimbledon Common, posted the top age-graded performance with her time of 20:41. Top Hercules Wimbledon finisher was John Siddall who was eighth of the 544 runners in 18:31. Another teenager, Gabriel Durand, was eighth out of 131 runners in Old Deer Park in 20:25. Rob Tuer was fifth out of 398 finishers in Dulwich Park in 17:16 while over 40 veteran Gina Galbraith was third woman in 18:35. David Lewin was seventh out of 528 runners on his debut appearance in Bishop’s Park in 17:48.

Elsewhere, Elena Dauster made her debut appearance in the Portobello event in Edinburgh where she was second in the women’s race in 19:40 and Simon Woodley was seventh out of 202 runners at Blandford, Dorset.

Hercules Wimbledon open their winter cross country programme when they compete in the East Surrey League cross country meeting in Croydon’s Lloyd Park on Sunday. The two miles race for under 13 boys and girls starts at midday with youngsters in the under 15 and under 17 2.5 miles event off at 12.30pm and the senior five miles race starting at 1pm.