Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club's silver medal-winning Surrey road relay team defied appalling weather conditions on Sunday to qualify for the England road relay championships and beat the Surrey champions in the process.
Rain poured throughout the meeting at Aldershot's Rushmoor Arena making conditions difficult to cope with, but the Hercules Wimbledon squad rose to the challenge to finish in the top 25 in a faster time than they managed last year, when the team took 19th spot.
First-leg runner Kieran White got the team off to a solid start as he came in 30th of the 66 teams in 19 minutes, 34 seconds, the joint fastest Hercules Wimbledon time of the miserable day.
James Davis (19:58) slipped to 33rd place, a position held by Matt Sharp (20:21) on his second race of the weekend.
Alex Robinson, the fastest member of the Surrey title winning team in 2011, who missed this year's Surrey championship because of a calf injury, was clearly not fully recovered as he completed the fourth leg in 20:15, well below the 18:52 he clocked last season, hanging onto 33rd place.
Hercules Wimbledon had two strong runners on the final two legs. Liam White (19:43), who the previous week had anchored the team to silver medal position in the Surrey championships, gained eight places as he hoisted them into 25th on the penultimate leg with the third best Hercules Wimbledon time of the day, 19:43, before Andrew Penney equalled the best Hercules Wimbledon time of the day of 19:34 to lift the team to 23rd place, four places ahead of Surrey champions Herne Hill.
Their total time was 1 hour, 59:25, four seconds faster than the Hercules Wimbledon team clocked in 2011 when they were 19th.
Rob Tuer (20:21), also having his second race of the weekend, was the fastest member of the Hercules Wimbledon B team which finished 46th in 2:08:28. First-leg runner Phil Glynn was second fastest with 20:32.
Hercules Wimbledon's veterans over-40s team, winners of the silver medals at the Surrey championships, produced their best ever performance in the event in finishing 13th out of 26 teams. Anchor leg runner Peter Lee (22:10) clocked the fastest individual time.
Other members of the team were Peter Collins (22:26), who ran in the Wimbledon Common parkrun the previous day, Stewart Bond (23:09) and Frank Wood (24:59).
Hercules Wimbledon's track and field training sessions take place at Wimbledon Park athletics stadium on Tuesday and Thursday evenings starting at 6.30pm and Sunday morning at 10.30am. Further details from coaching co-ordinator Maurice Sharp on 020 8337 8707.
Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club hold mid-week road running training sessions for marathon, cross country and road runners from Lauriston Cottage, 6a Southside, Wimbledon Common, at the junction with Lauriston Road, every Wednesday evening from 7pm. Contact Pete Mulholland on 020 8761 4308 for more details.