THE five Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club runners competing for Surrey in the UK Inter-Counties cross country championships at Loughborough on Saturday enjoyed considerable success as they returned with a hat-trick of team medals.

Best of the quintet was teenage international Ellen Weir who raced to individual silver in finishing runner-up in the Under-20 women’s 6km race to help Surrey take team gold. She was just 13 seconds behind her Surrey team-mate and rival Pippa Roessler from Aldershot as she crossed the finishing line in 25 minutes 44 seconds. With her Hercules Wimbledon clubmate Albane Fery making an impressive Surrey debut in finishing 23rd of the 135 runners in 28:11, Surrey comfortably took the team gold medals ahead of Yorkshire and Merseyside. It was an impressive debut for Fery.

Hercules Wimbledon’s cross country captain Freddie Slemeck also helped Surrey to team gold in the senior men’s 10km championship. He was 42nd of the 289 finishers in 35:35 and was the fourth scoring member of the six-strong winning team. His finishing position was a big improvement on his 130th place in the championship in 2019.

Hercules Wimbledon teenager Benjy Street, making his representative debut for Surrey, was the fourth scoring member of the silver medal-winning boys Under-15 team. He was 39th of the 301 finishers in the 4km championship in 15:02.

Two other Hercules Wimbledon runners in action for Surrey were Lulu Weisz and Millie Thorpe who finished 123rd and 128th in 23:44 and 23:50, respectively, in the women’s Under-17 5km championship. They were the fifth and sixth Surrey runners to finish. A total of 256 runners finished the race.

Four Hercules Wimbledon athletes will be in action in the English Schools cross country championships at Paddock Wood, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, on Saturday (March 19). The quartet is being led by junior international Ellen Weir who heads a trio of Hercules Wimbledon runners in the senior girls championship. The race will mark the end of an outstanding winter season for the 18-year-old Wimbledon High School pupil in which she helped Britain to take the women’s Under-20 team bronze medals in the European championships,

The two other Hercules Wimbledon runners in the Surrey senior girls team are KCS, Wimbledon, pupil Albane Fery, who was fourth in the county championship at Reigate in January and Kiara Valkenberg who goes to the City of London Freeman School, Ashtead, who finished just behind her Hercules Wimbledon clubmate in fifth place. A fourth Hercules Wimbledon runner, Lulu Weisz, who goes to Reed’s School, Cobham, just missed out on selection, finishing just two seconds behind the sixth finisher, who has made the team.

A fourth Hercules Wimbledon runner in action in the championships is Ava McAndie, a pupil at Ashcroft Academy, Putney, who has been selected for London after finishing fourth in the junior girls championship on Wormwood Scrubs last month.

Hercules Wimbledon youngsters will be targeting four of the six team titles when they contest the final Downs Young Athletes cross country league races of the season on Epsom Downs on Sunday (March 20). They go into the match leading in the boys and girls Under-13 and Under-15 team competitions.

One of Hercules Wimbledon’s latest signings, Bradley Goater, made a winning start with his new club as he headed home 131 runners in the Wimbledon 5km Dash under an overcast sky at Wimbledon Park on Sunday. He won in 15:17 to win by seven seconds from Walton’s Alex Kilby. Other leading Hercules Wimbledon finishers were Ed Mallett (fourth in 15:29), Joe Croft (sixth in 15:47), William Leslie (10th in 16:17) and Simon Wade (16th and first veteran Over-40 in 16:55). Hercules Wimbledon’s Justin Reid was top veteran over 50 in 17:32. Ten Hercules Wimbledon runners completed the course.