Clifton heads Hercules' marathon finishers
A record 49 Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club runners were in action in the Virgin London Marathon and Mini Marathon on Sunday.
Heading home a record 26 club runners in the main event was Ruth Clifton who was 22nd out of more than 13000 runners in the women's championship in two hours 53 minutes 47 seconds. Her time took more than 12 minutes off her previous best of 3:06:13 set in her only previous marathon race in London in 2008.
Zoe Pike set a Hercules Wimbledon veterans over 40 record of 3:00:44 in finishing 60th in 3:00:44, narrowly missing out on beating the three hour barrier. She was 13th in her age category. Making her marathon debut, Lisa Blythe-Wood was 455th in 3:31:54 while Alison Purnell set a Hercules Wimbledon women's over 45 record in finishing 1365th in 3:45:52. She took more than three minutes off her previous best time set on her marathon debut in London last year.
Pat Wright, 28, raced to a personal best time as he finished 95th out of the 23600 runners in the men's championship in 2:35:36. His time chopped almost four minutes off his previous best time of 2:39:16 set in the Liverpool Marathon in October last year.
Hussain Ahmed, who was competing in his first marathon since running in the London in 2009, was 130th in 2:37:47, somewhat slower than his 2:34:20 set three years ago. Tactically, Ahmed ran a sound race completing the second half of the race slightly faster than the first. Phil Glynn also ran an almost even paced race on his marathon debut completing the second half four minutes slower than the first to finish 465th in 2:48:44.
David Grima also posted a lifetime marathon best time in finishing 562nd in 2:51:25 taking almost two minutes off his 2:53:08 set on his marathon debut in London last year. Former English cross country champion Dave Clarke achieved his ambition of completing the course inside three hours as he took 590th place in 2:52:11, the same time as Peter Lee who was the next to finish. Clarke was 18th in the veterans over 50 category while Lee was 51st over 45 veteran.
Charles Hampden-Smith was 1600th in 3:06:30, chopping almost three minutes off his previous best to post the fourth best time ever recorded by a Hercules Wimbledon over 50 veteran.
Teenagers Isabella Padt and Zoe Ellis headed the record 23 Hercules Wimbledon runners in the mini marathon races which were staged over the final three miles of the main marathon course from Old Billingsgate to The Mall. Both representing Wandsworth, Padt was sixth out of more than 250 runners in the girls under 13 race in 19:11 to lead Wandsworth to second team place while Illis was seventh in the girls under 15 event in 18:43, leading Wandsworth to fourth team place out of the 33 London boroughs. Another Hercules Wimbledon runners in the Wandsworth team was Emma Headley who was 18th in 19:36.
Ella Dobson was 44th out of more than 200 runners in the girls under 17 race in 21:40 while Aideen Boyle and Beatrice Affan were 64th and 82nd in the girls under 15 race in 21:15 and 22:06.
Best performing Hercules Wimbledon runners in the three boys mini marathon races were Tim Livingstone and Alex Lloyd-Jones who both finished 17th. Livingstone led Wandsworth to eighth team place in the under 17 event where he clocked 16:11 just holding off his Hercules Wimbledon clubmate Johnnie Bland who was 18th for Wandsworth in 16:14. Ben Palmer, running for Merton, was 33rd in 16:48 with Augustin Mallon, representing Kensington and Chelsea 73rd in 17:59.
Lloyd-Jones clocked 17:01 in the under 15 race to lead Richmond to second team place. Ross Vance, representing Wandsworth, was 56th in 17:56.
Hercules Wimbledon's senior women open their summer track programme with a home Southern Women's League Division One match at Sutton Arena on Saturday. The match starts at 12.15pm with the women's hammer. The opening track event, the under 17 300m hurdles is at 1.30pm and the final track event, the 4x400m relay is at 5pm.