Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s senior men were narrowly edged into silver in the Surrey Road Relays on Sunday, writes George Mallett.
The event held in Wimbledon Park saw the county’s best road runners arrive for six legs of approximately 4.6km, with teams made up entirely of athletes born or living within the county borders.
Andrew Penney got Hercules off to the perfect start, running 13:54 to lead South London Harriers by nine seconds.
Penney’s was the fastest of the day, one second ahead of Peter Chambers of Croydon Harriers.
Penney handed over to Joe Croft, a seasoned relay runner who has won the event on nine separate occasions. The race had quickly developed into a two-horse race with Ollie Garrod running the sixth fastest of the day to give South London Harriers a 25-second lead heading to the third of six.
A tremendous run by Finn Johnson (14:26) helped close the gap to South London before on the fourth leg Hercules hit the front, George Mallett running 14:25 to give a small lead heading into the final two legs.
Richard McDowell made a valiant effort on the fifth leg but was overhauled close to the finish. McDowell, a decorated ultra runner, was the second fastest in this race last year but has been battling injury and illness in recent weeks.
He also had raced for the M40s just half an hour before.
It set up an enthralling final stage with Hercules five seconds back. Ed Mallett closed the gap by the bottom of Church Road hill – setting up a 3km race for the title. Tom Higgs had saved energy for a powerful finish which would saw South London win the honours. Higgs’ time of 14.01 was the fourth fastest of the day.
Hercules’ M40s quartet of McDowell, Keith Scofield, Simon Woodington and David Grima won silver behind Guildford & Godalming. McDowell’s 15:13 was the fastest in his category.
Matt De Freitas, Brian Lynch, Tom Cheetham and Peter Clarke (M50s) took bronze. De Freitas’ time of 16.01 was the third fastest in his age group.
Maximillian Dew racked up 109.5 miles in the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 24-Hour Track Race at Battersea Park.
This event sees competitors run continually around the 400m track.
Dew finished in 11th place overall, in the process running the first 100k in 8 hours 10 minutes and six seconds, a personal best by more than four hours.
Dew revealed that training involved much pram running with his two-year-old son Dylan and a successful seventh place in the Run to the Sea 50k in the build-up.
Dew plans to run again in 2023.