Horwich Clarification and Middlesborough News


As I understand the situation there was a bit of confusion at Chorley about the arrangements for the revived BMAF 5 kilometres championships at Horwich on Sunday, June 18th

Adrian Edwards, who has done so much to get the event back on the calendar, offers the following clarification.

Unfortunately, people can’t just turn up on the day. If they let me have all their details and tell me they’re coming they can pay on the day if necessary.

Ideally, I need an entry form and cheque ASAP. (No later than 16th June). If people no longer have cheque books and can’t do online banking/transfers then they can bring the cash/card on the day, but I need all the details beforehand. As well as allocating numbers, with a masters competition we need to put people in the correct category; that will just take too much time on the day.

I’m hoping to be in Bury for the track race on the 10th of June so people can give me entries then. I can get to Bury on the bus at a reasonable time if there’s another train strike.


Horwich Festival of Racing – 5K Race Walk (A – Road)

(British Masters Athletics Federation 5k road walking championship)

Sunday 18th June 2023 – race starts at 11am

Bolton Arena, Arena Approach, off Burnden Way, BL6 6LB


Date of Birth…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Contact Details (email, or postal address if you prefer written confirmation/no computer)



Masters Area Club ……………………………………………………………………………………….

UK Athletics registration number (if applicable)…………………………………………..

Entry Fee £12

(Cheques payable to Horwich Festival of Racing)

Further Details, including other payment methods, from:-

Adrian Edwards, 12 Dean Moor Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport. SK7 5LL

Or email Stockportracewalking@gmail.com

Thanks to John Constandinou you can download and print out the entry form from this link.


Thanks to Martin Fisher for the following information

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The End of Race Walking?

A photo of Ken Matthews – just for the sake of it

The following information about the proposed Marathon Race Walk Mixed Relay has been ‘leaked’ by a concerned insider. I’ve received a copy and Tim Erickson has featured the news in the VRWAC Newsletter.

At this moment I’m not able to respond at length to this bizarre proposal, which strikes me as composed by someone deeply hostile to race-walking. They hope that in particular the admission that ‘due to the fast pace, proper and consistent judging could be challenging’ will encourage ridicule across athletics, never mind in the wider sporting community. See below – Tim Erickson is more sanguine than me. I fear this is a profound setback in the struggle to defend race-walking as an integral and significant element in the make-up of international athletics. But then I can be a miserable old bugger!

  1. Marathon Race Walk Mixed Relay

Further to the approval and announcement of the new Marathon Race Walk Mixed Relay, a specific Working Group in representation of athletes, coaches, judges and Member Federations was appointed to discuss the detailed format of the new event and the qualification pathway of the 25 teams to Paris 2024. Council was presented with the recommendations which were approved as follows.

2.1 Qualification Pathway to Paris 2024

  • The Marathon Race Walk Mixed Relay will replace the 35km at the 2024 World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships in Antalya (TUR).
  • The Top 22 finishing teams in Antalya will qualify automatically for Paris.
  • Up to 5 of these 22 teams can be from a second team of the same country (NOC).
  • 3 additional teams (which cannot be from a country already qualified from Antalya 2024) will qualify through the Marathon Race Walk Mixed Relay top performance lists in the qualification period (31/12/2022 – 30/06/2024).
  • To be considered for qualification purposes, these Marathon Race Walk Mixed Relay events must comply with the following:
    • Be held on a World Athletics Certified Course.
    • Minimum three International or Area Race Walking Judges must officiate at the competition.
    • Minimum two international teams, representing at least two countries, must compete in the race.
    • Each athlete must walk a minimum of 20km between their two legs. For information, in Paris, the 4 legs (M+W+M+W) will be: 11.45km, 10km, 10km, 10.745km.
    • Be conducted at a competition which is published on the World Athletics Global Calendar.

Member Federations and / or other governing bodies interested in staging a Marathon Race Walk Mixed Relay as a qualification opportunity for Paris 2024 are invited to contact our Competitions Department (competition@worldathletics.org) for more details.

2.2 Judging

This is a new event which is based on team participation only. It is also an event over 10km legs which, due to the fast pace, could make proper and consistent judging challenging. The priority is to allow every team to finish while ensuring that no team gets an advantage by walking irregularly and therefore time penalties will replace disqualifications in case of additional red cards for the team. [My emphasis]

The judging for this event, which will also be implemented in Antalya 2024 and in Paris 2024, will be according to the following principles:

  • Judging will be on a Team / NOC basis rather than on the individual athlete.
  • No athlete/team can be disqualified based on poor race-walking technique and therefore red cards will not lead to DQ but, rather, to additional time penalties as follows: [My emphasis]
    • 3 red cards for the Team = 3 min penalty
    • 4th red card for the team = 4 min cumulative penalty (1 additional minute)
    • 5th red card for the team = 5 min cumulative penalty (1 additional minute)
    • Etc.

To note that, in Paris, there will be a cut off time of 3h20m and teams who have not completed the marathon distance will be classified at the position at which they cross the finish line after the cut-off time.

World Athletics reserves the right to review all aspects of this event including judging, after Antalya 2024.

Tim Erickson comments:

And just who is this handpicked “Working Group of athletes, coaches, judges and Member Federations”. No prizes for guessing that it will have been handpicked from those who supported the proposal. It’s a case of choosing the people who will do what you want and ignoring the vast majority who want to maintain the status quo. If this was politics, we would call it gerrymandering.  

WA has even acknowledged in their latest press release that it will be just about impossible to judge: “It is also an event over 10km legs which, due to the fast pace, could make proper and consistent judging challenging.” I pity the judges having to participate in this charade. 

In my opinion, this is not yet the end game, but just a further nail in the coffin by the anti-walking forces in WA and the IOC. They got rid of the 50km, now they have got rid of the 35km and we can guess how long this relay will last. It won’t work and will be dropped after one Olympic cycle and we will be left with one walk (the 20km), which is what they have always been working towards. 

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Roy Gunnett’s clean pair of heels in the Dave Crompton Memorial race

The misleading rural prettiness of the Chorley course. Ta to Greg

Dave Evans reports promptly as ever. He would have been a great sports journalist meeting the Saturday ‘Pink’ or ‘Buff’ deadlines!!

On your marks or rather start the watch. Ta to Greg

Having just attained his 76th birthday Roy Gunnett showed a clean pair of heels to his fellow club rivals on the warmest day of the year so far and on the club’s hilliest course. The rail strike prevented at least 4 regular performers from toeing the starting line and others were sidelined with injuries and other walking events. Right from the gun it was clear what Roy’s tactics would be and he passed the timekeeper at 1 mile with a lead of 26 seconds in a comfortable 11 mins 18. From this point the course heads for the sky and after a further mile thankfully levels out before the helter-skelter downhill section now newly resurfaced. Behind Roy, the tight field was sighted within view of each other and the race was well and truly on. At halfway water and sponges were at the ready with the prospect of the return journey being less arduous than the opening 3 1/2 miles. Roy had established a lead of 44 seconds and as he headed back completing the same journey but in reverse, his rivals were able to assess their chances of making up ground on the leader and fellow walkers.

Roy showing his heels. Ta to Greg
Joe leads the chase ahead of Ian and Pat. Ta to Greg

At the turnaround, 3 minutes covered all but one of the competitors, and the focus for all would be on reducing any gaps. The return journey is not all plain sailing with a substantial climb to a “summit” at which point the brakes come off and any inherent speed is released. At the finish, it was closer than expected, a number of aspirants making up big deficits between miles 4 and 7. Steven Wilde proved to be the biggest “improver” and although still recovering from the London Marathon he closed down his deficit to only 9 seconds from a peak of 44 seconds. In deference to Roy, he too had completed a recent marathon. At the finish only 4 minutes covered the 6 completists, all of whom had walked with style in very warm conditions.

Sailash desperate for a drink! Ta to Dave

Greg Smith, our roving cameraman, appeared around the course to capture some decent photos, and in turn completed nearly 6k in a time of 46 mins 36. Dave Crompton’s daughter, Emma, used this opportunity to celebrate her dad’s contribution to the sport by covering the course as part of her training for the Manchester half marathon.

A relaxed Emma preparing for the half-marathon. Dave would be proud. Ta to Greg

1. Roy Gunnett 84 mins 25(11:18, 41:41, 84:25)
2. Steven Wilde 84:34(11:44, 42:25,84:34)
3. Joe Hardy 87:31(12:13, 44:20,87:32)
4. Sailash Shah 87:48(11:45, 43:27,87:48)
5. Ian Hilditch 88:11(12:07, 44:30,88:11)
6. Pat Evans 88:40(12:24, 44:42, 88:40)
7. Andrew Lennon 91:21(13:42,91:22) distance completed 8.5k
8. Greg Smith 46:36(13:30) distance completed 5.51k

Eric and Louise on feeding station duty. Ta to Dave

1. Roy Gunnett 77:10
2. Steven Wilde 78:34
3. Pat Evans 78:40
4. Joe Hardy 79:31
5. Sailash Shah 80:48
6. Ian Hilditch 85:11
7 Andrea Lennon
8 Greg Smith

Sadly the St Peter’s Club, the scene of so many races, will soon be but a memory
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Dave Crompton Memorial Trophy, May 13th

Dave in full flow

It’s a special day on our calendar, come the 13th of this month. We’ll be remembering with great affection the much-missed Dave Crompton as we contest over 7 miles the trophy honouring his name. As usual, it will be very helpful if you could let Dave Evans at dave.evans08@hotmail.co.uk know if you are able to attend and in what capacity. The event will start at 1.00 p.m. The venue will be the St Peter’s Church Hall, Harpers Lane, PR6 0HP.

Word on the streets is that we may have friends from the Scotia RWC competing, certainly the club’s mainstay, Bill McFadden. We dearly hope so.

Bill sharing a joke with Dave Evans, About what we might never know!?

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Who race walked a marathon in sunny Blackpool last Sunday?

Start of the Blackpool Marathon, Thanks to mybestruns.com

A week ago, whilst tens of thousands pounded the streets of London, four hundred or so determined souls glided back and forth down a sun-basked promenade in the Blackpool Marathon. The challenge was the same for competitors, both North and South – the famous distance of 26 miles 385 yards. And, unbeknown to us, one of our club’s stalwarts was out on the road in the latter event. I suspect that we might never have known anything about the exploit of our Club Secretary, except our roving, raving reporter was on the scene.

John Pouncy – great to hear from him – informs us:

Roy Gunnett racewalked to a superbly consistent performance in the Blackpool Marathon on the 23rd of April.

Roy – immaculate as ever

The full distance was completed and his times were noticeable for his extremely steady pace – his judgement in that respect showing the benefit of his huge experience. He must be strong mentally because his surrounding competitors varied hugely as the race went on. At the start there were so many alongside that it must have been difficult to keep a steady line and not be tripped. However, towards the finish Roy’s area could have felt somewhat lonely as there were few (race)walkers. But behind Roy, there were some runners who had got their pacing wrong and were struggling to finish, whereas Roy maintained his steady pace throughout and thus beat them. This workout must stand him in good stead for races in the summer and his stamina is remarkable. The weather was perfect – warm but not too much so, and windless. The sunshine was beautiful and typical of Spring. The incoming tide was gently lapping at the sand. And from a personal point of view, it was great to see a club comrade at all, let alone one performing so well.

Roy finished in 6:13:18 and was fourth in the Over 70 category. Bravo!

To fill out the national picture Dave Ainsworth reports that four people race walked the London event.

  • Former Scottish International, Centurion 858 Stuart Bennett finished in 5:33.07 (2:32.49 at half marathon).  He raised funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
  • Former GB International, Centurion 590 octogenarian Ed Shillabeer, who is still UK 100 Kilometres Walk record holder was delighted to complete the distance in 7:36.09 (3:39.44 at half marathon).  Ed raised funds for SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association).
  • Benfleet resident, Centurion 1020 Kim Howard, completed her 22nd London Marathon in 5:47.46 (2:46.00 at half marathon). It was her 112th marathon in total.
  • Leicester’s M70 George Smolinski who completed 90 miles at the Bury St. Edmunds 100 Miles, clocked 5:34.12 (2:46.04 at half marathon).

Double Olympian Lithuanian race walker Neringa Masilioniene, a member of Ilford AC since 2011, who ran it, was 76th woman in 2:53.10 (1:21.40 at half-marathon). 

NERINGA MASILIONIENE- OLYMPICS 2012 and 2016. Thanks to Ilford AC for the photo
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Horwich Festival and BMAF 5 kilometre race back on the calendar – Sunday, June 18th

Start of the BMAF 5km, 2019

Thanks in no small measure to the sterling efforts of Eric Horwill and Adrian Edwards the British Masters 5k championships held in conjunction with the Horwich Festival is back on the racing calendar. The event will take place on a new course, courtesy of footpaths around the Bolton Arena. In the pre-COVID era, Lancashire Walking Club was a powerful force in these championships – see the last race in 2019, where we won a number of individual medals and the Over 70s team competition.

Mixed BMAF 5km

1 Patrick Murphy M55 Castleisland A.C./IRL 25:05
2 Ian Richards M70 Steyning Athletic Club 26:00
3 Tony Taylor M70 Lancashire Walking Club 27:20
4 Carolyn Derbyshire W45 Nuneaton Harriers 27:49
5 Bill McFadden M55 Scotia Race Walking Club/SCO 27:52
6 Mark Williams M50 Birchfield Harriers 28:09
7 John Constandinou M45 Birchfield Harriers 29:37
8 Tony Malone M65 Lancashire Walking Club/IRL 29:38
9 Martin Fisher M55 Redcar Race Walking Club 29:45
10 Wendy Kane W50 Notts Athletic Club 30:08
11 Sean McMullen M70 Mullingar Harriers/IRL 30:23
12 Julie Bellfield W50 Halesowen Athletic & Cycle Club 30:29
13 Ann Wheeler W60 Nuneaton Harriers 31:12
14 Ian Torode M60 South West Vets A.C. 31:26
15 Ray Robinson M40 Redcar Race Walking Club 31:28
16 Roger Michell M70 Surrey Walking Club 32:02
17 Noel Blatchford W70 Abingdon Athletics Club 32:48
18 Louisa Davidson W35 Birchfield Harriers 32:52
19 John Crahan M70 Lancashire Walking Club 32:52
20 John Cooke M65 Cannock & Stafford AC 32:52
21 Roy Gunnett M70 Lancashire Walking Club 33:14
22 Lynn Bellfield W50 Halesowen Athletic & Cycle Club 33:14
23 Gerard McConnell M55 Scotia Race Walking Club/SCO 34:43
24 Joe Hardy M75 Lancashire Walking Club 34:53
25 Sailash Shah M50 Lancashire Walking Club 35:14
26 Shirley Simpson W60 Scotia Race Walking Club/SCO 35:40
27 Stephen Sergeant M70 Lancashire Walking Club 35:41
28 Philip McCullagh M60 Lancashire Walking Club 36:19
29 Ian Hilditch M75 Lancashire Walking Club 36:50
30 Rosemary Hill W70 Scotia Race Walking Club/SCO 37:01
31 Greg Smith M65 Lancashire Walking Club 37:06
32 Ron Stewart M75 North Shields Poly 39:55
33 Andrea Lennon W70 Lancashire Walking Club 40:18
34 John Payn M85 Lancashire Walking Club 40:56


Horwich Festival of Racing – 5K Race Walk (A – Road)

(British Masters Athletics Federation 5k road walking championship)

Sunday 18th June 2023 – race starts at 11am

Bolton Arena, Arena Approach, off Burnden Way, BL6 6LB


Date of Birth…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Contact Details (email, or postal address if you prefer written confirmation/no computer)



Masters Area Club ……………………………………………………………………………………….

UK Athletics registration number (if applicable)…………………………………………..

Entry Fee £12

(Cheques payable to Horwich Festival of Racing)

Further Details, including other payment methods, from:-

Adrian Edwards, 12 Dean Moor Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport. SK7 5LL

Or email Stockportracewalking@gmail.com

Thanks to John Constandinou you can download and print out the entry form from this link.


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Macclesfield Shield Ten Miles – April Fools Day, 2023

Spring in Sutton

Dave Evans reports:

With a cool edge to the weather, a field of nine walkers faced the starter on April Fools’ Day. The presence of Graham Jackson (Northern Vets) and Dave Hoben (Surrey WC) certainly added more interest to the proceedings. Dave is a regular visitor to our events and on this occasion managed to out-manoeuvre Network Rail which was due to suspend rail services until fairly recently.

Adrian leads Graham

From the start, it was clear that Adrian Edwards would take the lead and his absence from club races from shortly after the Centurions 100 told initially until he got into his stride. Graham walked stylishly and shadowed Centurion number 1216 throughout the race. Despite the cold conditions, every walker showed absolute concentration and as the race unravelled a number seemed to revive after a somewhat steady start.

Adrian beginning to take control
Graham stylish and solid

Octogenarian Andrea Lennon is a fine example of how important sport can be in the life of an older athlete. Early in the morning, she was tail-walking at the Heaton Park parkrun and here she was 4 hours later facing the prospect of covering a not-inconsiderable distance for a race walker – let alone someone of a certain age. At 6 miles Adrian sprung into life and there was a clear difference in his walking cadence. Graham was still walking well but Adrian is a real competitor and he must have sensed the moment to increase his tempo. As the final miles unfurled there were some interesting changes behind our leading two performers with patience accounting for improved positions.

Roy safe as ever
Phil giving everyone a start
Joe looking relaxed

At this point, I have to offer my very grateful thanks to a number of individuals who made today’s race a success. Glyn Jones, Honorary Chairman of the RWA, a very regular walker and supporter, manned the turnaround point. Tony Taylor, former GB International, manned a critical junction and no doubt like Glyn, encouraged club colleagues. Chris Bolton, Tony Malone, Ian Hilditch and Irene Pike joined the support teams on route and Greg Smith, our regular photographer, all contributed to a successful day. It was also good to see Mark Byrne, a great supporter of walking, around the course and an invitation is extended to him and walking colleagues for our events in future. As usual, our refreshments at Sutton Macclesfield were provided by Marshall Barnard, a supporter of our club for over 50 years, either personally or through members of his family.

Graham receives the Macclesfield Shield from Marshall

Results (10 miles)

  1. Adrian Edwards 102 mins 10
  2. Graham Jackson 103 mins 08
  3. Roy Gunnett 124 mins 22
  4. Joe Hardy 124 mins 32
  5. Phil McCullagh 126 mins 38
  6. Dave Hoben 127 mins 03
  7. Sailash Shah 128 mins 13
The indomitable Andrea

Results (8.05 miles Andrea Lennon 112 mins 10
Results(6.11 miles) Pat Evans 77 mins 32
Results (5.5 km) Greg Smith 43 minutes 58

All the way from Surrey, Dave graced us with his presence
In his own word, Sailash found it ‘tough going’


  1. Graham Jackson 98 mins 38
  2. Adrian Edwards 100 mins 40
  3. Dave Hoben 107 mins 03
  4. Phil McCullagh 107 mins 08
  5. Roy Gunnett 108 mins 22
  6. Joe Hardy 108 mins 32
  7. Sailash Shah 110 mins 13
  8. Andrew Lennon
  9. Pat Evans
  10. Greg Smith
In her words. Pat ‘going through the motions’
Post-race socialising, including Eric Horwill’s 90th birthday cake. Congratlations to Eric, who couldn’t be with us


As ever it was brilliant to see everybody. Although everyone seemed to be of the opinion that I would have been better off racing rather than marshalling. Indeed it was cold, especially for a lad, whose blood has been thinned by the Cretan sun! Nevertheless I was kept warm, courtesy of Irene Pike’s gloves and a chance meeting with a couple of ageing Sutton residents. They were so pleased to see athletes on the roads and began to reminisce about the past when Sutton was a hot-bed of race walking. Recollecting names seemed to be a problem until I mentioned Don Warren and the memory banks opened – Albert Rigby and Bill Pointon, of course. And, as for courses themselves, they pondered a diversity of circuits that had been used, including an out-and-back to Langley and its reservoir.

Mention of Don Warren, in particular, and the tough Langley route, together with meeting Chris Bolton and Tony Malone back in the club last Saturday found me in a nostalgic vein. In 1969 the Northern 10 miles championship was held from the Ex-Service Men’s Club. Jim Hackwood of Sheffield United Harriers, the Northern Area correspondent for the Race Walking Record reported.

I believe the race was a significant moment in the history of the club. It signalled the resurrection of Ron’s career after the disappointment of failing to make the Mexico Olympics. In the next few years he was to become again a dominant figure on the British race walking scene. It underlined the growing strength of the club itself. It was stylish Don Warren’s first Northern winning team medal, as it was for Dave Vickers. On a personal level it constituted something of a breakthrough, even though I suffered from trying to keep pace with the up and coming Sheffield star, Jake Warhurst. In retrospect, it’s consoling that my dad, Alf, camera in hand, was there to witness my performance. Sadly, he died, aged 52, only a few weeks later. Frustratingly the movie film of the race disappeared without trace. It would have been a touching memory.

Grateful thanks to Greg Smith and Irene Pike for the splendid images.

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Maurice Ireland RIP – yet another wonderful daft beggar

Maurice relaxing after the Marbella Four Days Walk with Chris Bolton

Let the first word be Maurice’s.

My membership of the club goes back to about 1960. My initial involvement with the sport and LWC is from 1954; at that time we lived on Bolton Road, Pendlebury and my father had regaled me with stories of his involvement with the Club and how he competed in such races as the Manchester to Blackpool in the late 1920s. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with silicosis when he was 33 years of age which brought an end to his athletic career. However, on a particular night in 1954, I was “dragged” from my bed by my most excited father who had spotted race walkers going past our shop and found that the Manchester to Blackpool and back (100 miles) race was in progress. He had set up a feed station and I was directed to assist by running to meet approaching walkers, determine their “needs”, run back then deliver as he prepared them. This continued for some hours. The weather was atrocious, it rained continuously. Needless to say, it did not attract me to the sport but I did admire the fortitude and competitive spirit along with the camaraderie of the many people I met throughout the night. Also, from the records, I think you will find that Joe Lambert qualified as a centurion in this event. As far as I was concerned, this was my first and last involvement with the “daft beggars” who wished to inflict such agonies on themselves.

[ Maurice was indeed right about the weather conditions. The Race Walking Record reported that ” the first few miles were along the sea-front. In normal conditions, this would have been very pleasant, especially as vast crowds of holiday-makers would have cheered the walkers on their way. On the occasion of the race the sea-front was deserted, the roads were underwater, there was heavy rain and great winds shoreward blew. As a result, the competitors were drenched and chilled to the bone before they had covered the first few miles. The rain continued for thirteen hours and resulted in the 42 starters being gradually reduced to 20.” Joe Lambert did indeed become Centurion No. 223, finishing in 21:44:00, just behind Albert Rigby, the stalwart of Sutton Macclesfield, walking in that club’s colours, Centurion No. 222. Further up the field, the club welcomed two other new Centurions, George J.Birchall, No. 220, dead-heating incredibly with his father, George P. Birchall in 19:32:27 and T.M.L. Dally, No. 221 in 20:37:19. To complete the picture the last man was E.E.Riddell of Lancashire, yet another new Centurion, No. 228 in 23:20:27. The race was won by Vic Stone [Polytechnic Harriers] in an impressive 17:22:26, well over an hour ahead of the second-placed John Hartley [Sheffield U.H.]. Lancashire dominated the team race.]

All of the finishers were clearly daft, but indomitable beggars.

Maurice continues,

However, and as if predestined, my fate was sealed. in 1960 whilst returning from an engineering training course (old GPO) a person by the name of Chris Bolton, travelling in the same car, was prattling on about how he had raced in the Manchester to Blackpool event. I joined the conversation by stating that my father had also done that event and on how I had assisted in the “100”; I think Chris was a little taken aback by finding that I was aware of the sport and such events. Shortly after this meeting Chris and I were sent to work in the same Telecoms Centre and I frequently heard stories about his recent races; this gave me the opportunity to pull his leg about race walking and how anybody could walk at the speed of 6 miles in an hour. However, and as you would expect, Chris planned his revenge, one particular day he set me up in front of our colleagues to the point where he said that I could not walk 6 miles in the hour as I was boasting. Obviously I laughed at him until he said that he had entered me on the next Saturday afternoon to compete at Worsley with LWC; I was trapped. The year 1961. Needless to say, I had to turn out, but I am very proud of the fact that I did manage to beat the hour (by 30 seconds) and was awarded the 6 Miles in the Hour badge from the RWA; this was the start of my race walking career and thanks to Chris, many, many hours of superb sports involvement.

In fact, Maurice with Chris at his side beat the Hour by only 5 seconds!
In the same year, Maurice finished 3rs in the famous Star Walk

Maurice is remembered with great affection by those of us, who knew him back in the 60s and 70s.

Ron Wallwork – I happened to be working on club results for 1964 when the sad news arrived and have noted that he finished in that year’s Club AGM handicap. It was always a funny distance twice around a lap that took in Princess Parkway. He clocked 39.24 with Tony Taylor 21 seconds behind him. This fits in with my memory of him appearing in the early to mid-sixties. I remember him instigating (with Chris Bolton) Club Dinners at the Midland Hotel of which there were perhaps three. I think he tended not to travel to national races, probably due to his work commitments but was a regular leading finisher in club events.

On the theme of the club dinners, Mike Entwistle recalls one in particular, for which Maurice being the great organiser was responsible. During the musical chairs game, Maurice and I were the last two standing or sitting. I ghosted right up his back and we ended up on the floor! Funny the things you recall! He became a good friend who spent a lot of time encouraging me. I recall my very first 6-mile club race at Bolton. Maurice spent most of the event coaching me and improving my action – in particular my habit of leaning my head to one side. I felt bad as his advice allowed me to leave him towards the end.

Probably 1969 – a club race at a cold Leverhulme Park, Bolton. From the left Dave Vickers, Tony Taylor, Maurice still in his tracksuit, Mick Entwistle, Dave Ward and Ron Wallwork

Dave Vickers – Tony, very sad news about Maurice. I’ve got some fond memories of walking with you and Maurice in the Harwood area, back in the early seventies. When Ronnie introduced me to great people like Maurice and yourself, I knew I had to give race walking a try, giving myself a rest from steeplechasing. Reliving some great memories Tony, from that great Wallwork era, we had some fantastic club gatherings at championship meetings. I’ll never forget those great training sessions we had around the Wayo and Entwistle reservoirs. Give my sincere regards to Maurice’s family

David Lamb – I remember Maurice with great affection, always willing to pass the time of day with you and offer advice at all times.

Tony Malone – Big M was one of the 3 amigos [Maurice, Fred Pearce and Chris Bolton] who got me walking. Forever grateful.

Chris Harvey – He was one of my heroes. RIP Maurice. It took me a while to beat him – just couldn’t get past him. He was a great cyclist and should have gone to the Olympics way back. He had a crash and turned to walking. He was a stalwart in every sense of the word.

Maurice off to a fast start in the group chasing from the left Dave Vickers, Shaun Lightman, Jake Warhurst and George Chaplin. He is in the second group – from the right Brian Adams, Mal Tolley, Alec Banyard, Maurice in the white vest and Charlie Fogg. Some uncertainty about the event and year.

Tony Taylor – As with Ron and Mike, I remember Maurice as the Social Secretary Supreme, along with Fred and Chris, part of the forward-looking Mancunian caucus, encouraging the club to look outwards and upwards. On the road, it was clear that Maurice never fulfilled his potential. He was well-known for his fluent, fast starts. There is no doubt that his management responsibilities at work prevented him from training as he would have liked. As for what might have been I met him last at the 2012 Masters Horwich 5 kilometres. We shared a nostalgic conversation. He seemed in good nick and just getting back into the swing of things. He had finished first in the Over 75 years category, clocking 33:21, 80.16% age-graded. Impressive.

And, let the last word be left to Chris Bolton. Maurice’s dear friend.

Chris with Maurice on one of their long-distance exploits

I am still devastated by Maurice’s death, we shared so much over 65 years of friendship.

We first met in 1957 when we worked together in what was then GPO telephones.
Of course, I persuaded Maurice, who had been a very good track cyclist before crashing at the Fallowfield track, to try race walking.

His results must speak for themselves but they were impressive.

Maurice, showing excellent technique, winning the 1978 NW GPO Champs in 74:12

My close relationship with Maurice was through our work. He got promoted but as soon as I got promoted he went one higher and so it went on throughout all our working life. However, so close did he rely on my support that when he was offered the position of Project Director for a large contract in Nigeria he would only accept if I would go as his deputy. During that time we did try to teach the Nigerians Race Walking but since they thought it was hilarious we failed miserably

Beyond race walking we shared many adventures walking together in many non-competitive events such as the Coast to Coast, Offas Dyke and Skipton to Penrith walks. Each year we would choose a different event.

[Dave Hoben, Surrey WC – I spent a day with Maurice, and Chris Bolton too, at the RAF Cosford Marches a number of years ago, it was part of their prep for that year’s Nijmegen Marches.Great company, the miles went quickly. He will be remembered.}

After a friendship of 65 years, I’m sure you will understand the loss I feel. However, my thoughts are now with his extended family. He was a father, grandfather and great grandfather and his influence will long be felt.

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Macclesfield Shield 10 miles at Sutton, April 1st – treading in Lol Allen’s footsteps

Our next club race is the Macclesfield Shield 10 miles, which will take place from our Sutton venue, which has a special place in the history of Northern and National race walking. As you can see below our club, together with Sutton WC hosted the National Championship in 1951. We can tread in the great Lol Allen’s footsteps, starting at 1.00 pm. from the Ex-Service Men’s Club next Saturday, April 1st. As usual, it will be really helpful if you could let Dave Evans at dave.evans08@hotmail.co.uk know if you are attending and in what capacity. Coming together will offer us also the opportunity to pay our respects to Maurice Ireland, a stalwart of yesteryear., whose funeral took place this week.

Lol Allen [114] on his way to victory a fortnight later in the Metropolitan 15 miles at Regents Park. George Coleman [Highgate Harriers] wears number 62

Stirred by this memory Ron Wallwork reminds us of his 1958 debut in the Sutton Macclesfield Open 10 miles and the array of talent drawn to the race – Matthews, Allen and the LWC legend, Joe Barraclough. It’s a story, which captures the spirit of the time.

I’m not sure if you can read Ron’s final comment in the fading blue.

I wasn’t to know then that five years later I would have the privilege of being one of Ken’s GB victorious Lugano Cup teammates.

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Martin Payne victorious at a chilly. hilly Chorley


Chilly and bloody hilly – that’s Chorley!

Dave Evans reports:

Early notice of the impending arrival of more beasts from the east met the 9 hardy individuals and although there was the usual raw enthusiasm it met its match in the wind chill!

Martin puts down his marker

The course included a combination of roller coaster roads leaving the performers with insufficient time to recover from one ascent before being hit with another. Passing the first time keeping point at 1 mile it was clear that Martin Payne had put down his marker clocking a swift 11 minutes 01 almost 40 seconds clear of Tony Bell and Roy Gunnett. Having passed this first checkpoint the real work begins with a continuous climb of roughly half a mile but it feels further. The next section offers those tired legs a reprieve akin to a ski jump after which the terrain switches to more regular variations. While most would accept these testing surfaces with good grace the prospect of 3 circuits is mentally debilitating. As the leading performers at roughly 3 1/2 miles cruised past the voluble Eric Horwill the positions were changing and the demands of the cold weather and the tough climbs and descents had an effect. At 5.8 miles the times reflected an acceptable 10k clocking and there was still 5k to go. Pat Evans was “protecting” a recent knee problem so stood down at this point and Greg Smith, who provides most of the club action photos, did a short 4K walk and added more action sequences for current use and the future.

Tony leads Roy, Sailash and Ian up yet another climb
Roy cresting a climb with Sailash, Ian and Joe in pursuit
Pat protecting her knee

As the walkers crested the final hill a number of aspirants had picked up while others had lost a little ground. A hot cup of tea and light refreshments met the field back at the changing facility and the soon-to-be nonagenarian, Eric Horwill, provided some very well-received chocolate cake.

Ian looking strong

Club colleagues were very pleased to see John Payn attending today who is also attaining his 90th year soon. Following last month’s double booking with La Bamba at the changing rooms and have-a-go drummer Sailash, our erstwhile comedic commentator John Crahan has rechristened him as Ringo Shah.

A determined Ringo Shah

Results(1 mile/3.4 miles/5.8 miles/Finish

1. Martin Payne(11:01,25:42,61:05) 97 mins 26
2. Tony Bell(11:38,40:25,68:20) 108 mins 38
3. Roy Gunnett(11:40,40:50,71:33) 114 mins 31
4. Joe Hardy(12:38,43:37,73:41) 114 mins 40
5. Ian Hilditch(12:02,41:24,71:46) 115 mins 15
6. Sailash Shah(11:56, 41:11, 71:25) 117 mins 29
7. Phil McCullagh(13:00,43:28,73:17) 118 mins 39
8. Pat Evans(13:00,43:44,74:36)
9. Greg Smith 4K in 33:04

Roy on his way to first in the handicap


1. Roy Gunnett 92 mins 31
2. Joe Hardy 94 mins 40
3. Martin Payne 94 mins 56
4. Sailash Shah 99mins 29
5. Tony Bell 102 mins 38
6. Phil McCullagh 102 mins 39
7. Ian Hilditch 103 mins 05
8. Pat Evans
9. Greg Smith

Phil leads Joe through halfway on the testing course
This must be an optical illusion!!

Grateful thanks to Greg Smith for some great images

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