Big honour for Littlewood

Croydon Guardian: David Littlewood  Picture: Osman Deen SP29595 David Littlewood Picture: Osman Deen SP29595

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club members received an unexpected New Year boost with the club president David Littlewood being made an MBE in the Queen's New Year's honours.

Littlewood, an indefatigable worker for the sport received the award for "volunteer service to athletics". Despite regularly officiating at international meetings and sitting on the technical committee of the International Association of Athletic Federations, his first officiating event after the award was announced was to act as the recorder at the grass roots Lauriston Runners Club's five miles multi-terrain event last Saturday.

Littlewood, 72, has been a lifelong member of Hercules Wimbledon and served as treasurer of the club for a record 43 years before being elected president in 2004. He joined the former Hercules club as a teenager and was a competent sprinter and long jumper in the 1950's. He finished fourth in the long jump representing London at the English schools championships and represented Surrey as a junior in various events.

Littlewood is one of Britain's best known athletics officials. He has been chairman of the British Technical Officials' committee since 1981 and has officiated at well over 100 international meetings in the UK as track judge, track referee, chief photofinish judge or meeting manager. He also regularly officiates at international meetings around the World and was one of three British officials at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and was among the officials at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

He has been men's race referee at the London marathon for 25 years and will again being in action in that role for the 30th staging of the event in April.

In addition to being the UK representative on the IAAF technical committee, he is also secretary of the Rules and Records group of UK Athletics, a post he has held since 1981, and is responsible for publishing the sport's rule book. He has also been secretary of the English Schools Athletics Association since 1992.

Despite his regular attendance at international events, Littlewood never forgets about athletics' grass roots and this weekend he will be among the judges at the annual Surrey cross country championships at Lloyd Park, Croydon. His next international officiating duty will be at the Aviva indoor international at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, at the end of the month where he will be among the photo-finish judges.

"I am very pleased indeed and deeply honoured to have received the award," said Littlewood.

Hercules Wimbledon's Liam White warmed up for this weekend's Surrey cross country championships at Lloyd Park, Croydon, with a record-breaking run in the Bushy Park parkrun five kilometres event last Saturday. White, who will be challenging for the men's under 17 title, finished seventh in a top class field out of almost 500 runners, in 15:47, a Hercules Wimbledon under 20 record and third on the club's senior all-time list behind Adrian Marriott (15:09) and Dereje Kebede (15:17). White's previous best time for the distance was 16:12 achieved in the BUPA Great Capital Run in Regent's Park in September.

Hercules Wimbledon runners filled two of the top three places in the Lauriston Runners Club's five miles multi-terrain race on Saturday. Kieran White and Alex Bruce-Littlewood were second and third in 25:57 and 26:01. Mike Halman was sixth in 27:28, teenager Ed Saywell ninth in 28:41, Jamie Helmer 10th in 28:53, Joe Toomey 11th in 29:00 and Rory McMahon 14th in 29:26 out of a record 51 finishers.

Halman and McMahon completed a busy weekend when they joined more than 600 runners in the Tadworth 10 miles multi-terrain race on Epsom Downs on Sunday. Halman was seventh in 58:32 with McMahon 40th in 1:05:46. Another Hercules Wimbledon runner, Maurice Sharp, was sixth over 60 veteran in 1:16:54.

This weekend, Hercules Wimbledon runners are in action in the Surrey cross country championships at Lloyd Park, Croydon, tomorrow (Saturday), starting at 11am.

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