By George Mallett
Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club secured top-flight safety as a third-place finish in the final fixture of the Southern Athletics League Division One at Tooting Bec saw them steer well clear of the relegation places.
Hercules were only beaten on the day by Chelmsford and Blackheath and Bromley. The club brought out many of their bigger hitters, excelling in the distance and sprint events.
Freddie Arkell has had a productive summer, having already run a new personal best over the 100m in 10.79s earlier in August. He backed that up on Saturday with a 10.85s win in the A string 100m with Marcus Gayle securing more points through a second-place finish in the B string (11.34s).
For the women, Kyra Stone and Cora Barnett took second places in the A and B strings with 12.43s and 13.02s respectively.
The two would make up half of the 4x100m team that again finished runners-up a few hours later, this time in a time of 49.90s.
Arkell returned over 200m, an event where he recently won English Schools silver, duly winning the B string in 21.72s. GB international Chad Miller ran 21.92s to take maximum points in the A string.
Miller and Arkell would combine for the second fastest 4x100m in Hercules history, running 41.70s to secure the victory.
Over the distance events Charlie Eastaugh led the way with a dominant win in the 1500m A string, running 4:01.32 to win by over ten seconds with Chris McIlroy securing third in the B string thanks to a 4:20.33 clocking.
Alex Milne and Henry Silverstein worked together in the men’s 5000m, being separated by less than half a second to take maximum points in the A and B string respectively. Silverstein was rewarded with a big personal best of 15:05.49, an almost 15 second improvement on his previous best.
Strength over the distance events was continued by Hercules women, Claire Grima finishing third in the A string with Poppy Robson winning the B string. Robson in the process improved her personal best by less than a tenth of a second to 19:19.25.
Andrew Penney, despite running a new personal best of 1:55.07, was second in the men’s 800m A string, one of the rare events that showed real depth. He was supported by Isaac Lutaya who was second in the B string with 2:04.17.
A notable mention should go to the impressive Laura Duke who scored heavily in four different events. All in the A string, Duke was second in the shot put (10.01m) and hammer (44.13m) and fifth in both the discus (25.40m) and javelin (23.83m).
With safety secured Hercules will now look to 2024 and a second successive season in the Southern Athletics League Division One.
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