Herne Hill claim Surrey 5km team bragging rights in Wimbledon

On Saturday the Hercules Wimbledon 5K Team Road Race provided a new style event within the bounds of providing a Covid secure racing environment at which the Herne Hill Harriers women were the overall team winners while Highgate Harriers from north of the river won the men’s team race, with Herne Hill second overall and the first Surrey men’s team. With Belgrave Harriers second in the women’s event and Kent AC third in both women’s and men’s, Herne Hill became unofficial double county champions within the overall open race.

The event was not a relay, but a road race held close to the All England Tennis Club starting and finishing with laps on the Wimbledon Park athletics track. There were ten men’s teams of ten runners each and ten women’s teams of six in separate races with all runners to score. One athlete per team started together in waves going off at one minute intervals, so there were ten runners per wave, with the team results based on aggregate team times, with chip timing. 

The Herne Hill women’s victory margin was around two minutes led by Georgie Grgec who, fresh from a 9:20.11 track 3000m PB at Bromley the previous weekend ran away from international Naomi Taschimowitz of Shaftesbury Barnet in the second half of the opening fastest wave to record the fastest women’s time of the day 16:35.

The team packed very well with Sarah Grover placing tenth in 18:44, Martha Reynolds in her Harriers debut twelfth in 18:55, Fiona de Mauny seventeenth in 19:08, team captain Julia Wedmore eighteenth in 19:12 and Olivia Zeltner 28th in 19:22 in the overall individual standings.

Highgate dominated the men’s race with five of the fastest fourteen overall, but as with the Herne Hill women’s team, superior packing for the men compared to Kent and Belgrave saw them finish comfortably ahead of these two clubs as the second placed team.

The men’s team was spearheaded by Nick Dewar clocking 14:58 for fourth on a strong first wave and sixth overall. Next was Lewis Laylee 11th overall in 15:11, then Brandon Dewar 19th in 15:33, Nick Bester 20th in 15:34, captain Angus Butler 25th in 15:42, Andrew Grigg 42nd in 16:07, Jack Brotchie shrugging off injury 43rd in 16:08, Andrew Warburton, a late call up after an end of season break 53rd in 16:14, Jeff Cunningham 60th in 16:35 and Simon Coombes 67th in 16:51, with all placing well on their waves on a successful day for the senior distance runners.

On Sunday at the Bedford Autodrome Marathon Myles Preston finally got to run a marathon in 2020 after a difficult and long build up due to several previous race cancellations. The Bedford event was a chance to put his hard consistent training to the test and his PB time of 2:38.41 was his first time under 2:40 and represents very encouraging progress.

Geoff Jerwood