England Athletics Webinar – endurance training and technique videos plus Q& A on April 8 and 13

Late notice but Andi Drake, our National Events coach, is fronting two web broadcasts in the next few days.

Andi Drake

Wednesday, April 8th

England Athletics Webinar: Endurance walks warm-up (part 1) followed by Q&A from 17.30 -18.30. Hosted by Andi Drake to be found at:


Monday, April 13th

England Athletics Webinar: Race Walk technique video followed by Q&A from 17.30 -18.30. Hosted by Andi Drake to be found at:


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REMINISCENCES 3 ; Tony Bell looks back

Many thanks to Tony for the third in our series of reminiscences.

Tony, safe as houses, in the 2019 AGM 5k

What prompted you to take up race walking? When and where was your first race?

I have been a runner since 1983, my running “style” has always been a marathon shuffle with a short stride never getting that far off the ground. Running clubmates would make jokes that I was “lifting” as I ran along. 

When I went up to Cambridge in 1995 I met my future wife Shelley, who is also a runner. Shelley was a good masters middle distance track runner for her age group, good enough to win age group medals in national championships. I would accompany her to masters championships where I saw racewalking. Shelley’s middle distance events were too short for me as a marathon runner.

In 2001 there was an open track and field meeting in Bury St. Edmunds which included a 1000m race walk, organised by Mick Graham (coach of Callum Wilkinson). Shelley ran 800m and I did 7.37 for 1000m off hardly any training. For many years I had a 1000m pb at a slower pace than my 50km pb, until I walked 5.32 for 1000m in 2018.

What’s your favourite race and why?

When I turned 40 in 2003 I was then old enough to compete with Shelley in masters competitions. I then started to do more racewalking in training to go with my running, as I was still living in Cambridge I would go down to London every month to do the Enfield League (organised by our friend Ron Wallwork). I learned a lot about racewalking at Enfield, I would go every month until I moved back home to Cheshire in 2005. I still miss the Enfield League, I was last there for the Friendship Walk during the London 2017 World Championships.

Which performance has given you the greatest satisfaction?

In 2011, even though I was living in Germany, I returned home to take part in the test event for the London 2012 Olympics. I did 20km, mostly in pouring rain, up and down The Mall past Buckingham Palace. I was used to walking on quiet country lanes or round parks, walking in the centre of London was somewhat surreal. I set my lifetime pb of 2h03.11, just about avoiding the cut off time of 1h50 at 18km.

Attached photo shows me on The Mall (number 24) with Cath Duhig (58) and Colin Vesty (27).

1 year later I was back on the Olympic course as a spectator.

Tony Bell

Scientist. runner, race walker and cat-lover

Sheffield, UK



Adrian Edwards informs us of the inevitable.

I hope you’re all surviving the current situation, managing to stay well, and maintain a degree of fitness.I’m contacting everyone i have e-mail addresses for regarding the 5K masters road walk. As some of you may have seen on their website the Horwich festival of racing has been cancelled; it will hopefully take place next year 2021.

There were a couple of options available; finding an alternative venue, or a new date. An alternative venue could still leave us having to cancel at short notice; and a lot of the people we need to contact regarding permissions etc. are not currently working. Unfortunately every event cancelled over the last few months is looking for a new date; it will be impossible to avoid a clash, and officials will be over worked when athletics does start up again.

Horwich is a particularly magical event which will be impossible to recreate elsewhere; the decision has therefore been made to cancel the 5K road walk this year; but we hope to return as part of the Horwich festival on Sunday 20th June 2021.There are a few people who always enter by post, that I don’t have e-mail addresses for, so if you see friends please spread the word.

Sorry! Hope to see as many as possible in 2021.

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Reminiscences Two : Guy Goodair reflects

What prompted you to take up race walking? When and where was your first race?

I was a member of Wakefield Harriers and we’d heard all about the famous Star Walk in Sheffield held every year on Whit Tuesday. Now although there were other races over Whitsun there were no local running races on the Tuesday so four of us decided to enter. The Star Walk was for ‘novices’ (those who hadn’t won a prize at race walking) although Sheffield United Harriers ‘groomed’ likely winners by telling potential winners to make sure they didn’t get into SUH’s medal or prize winning teams in the months before the race. The race was 11.5 miles long which was a long way for novices but luckily for us we’d done lots of long running races including marathons so the distance didn’t bother us. There were big crowds at the start and we were well back but gradually started catching the early leaders once we’d got past Hillsborough and climbing up Halifax Road.

Start of the 1958 Star Walk

Our lack of real race walking technique saw us losing ground on the descents and gaining on the climbs. Eventually John Hampshire and myself found ourselves in equal 4th spot approaching the finish at Corporation Street Baths – the officials at the end were trying to seperate us (think they only had 4 prizes ready) but we held hands and went over the line together for 4th place the race being won by Derek Slinn. John and I both got a prize at the lunch afterwards. Didn’t walk again until Northern Junior in 1961. [Editor’s note – Guy was second in the said race to Mick Grayson (Sheffield UH) with Ivor Percival of our club third, Fred Pearce was sixth.]

As Guy puts it, the certificate uses his Sunday name.

What’s your favourite race and why?

Manchester to Blackpool  – don’t really know why but as far as I was concerned once I’d got to Preston docks I’d ‘cracked it’ even though there was still 20 miles or so to go.

A knackered Guy, head leaning even more than ever to his left, finishing first in 1964, outside the Town Hall, the throng of enthusiastic female spectators kept back by the local constabulary.

Very proud of my race record here – 12 races between 1961 and 1974 – 6th on my first attempt and 6th on the last race otherwise never out of the first three (3 x 1st, 5 x 2nd and 2 x 3rd)

If you haven’t already seen these, follow the links below for an enthralling insight into Guy’s exploits in our club’s Blue Riband event, the Manchester-Blackpool, the like of which will never be seen again.






Which performance has given you the greatest satisfaction?

Winning Bradford Walk in 1964 – felt really strong all the way round.

[Another Editor’s note – in truth I was deeply disappointed to find that Guy did not say that his finest hour was out sprinting yours truly in the Northern 2 miles championships on a loose cinder track in Bolton, July 27, 1968. Result: 1.Phil Bannan [Isle of Man] 14:16.8 2. Guy Goodair [Wakefield] 14:24.0 3. Tony Taylor [LWC] 14:.24.0. I still don’t know how they separated us!]

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Reminiscences One : Dave Evans looks back

It’s fitting that Dave Evans, our indefatigible Chair, should be the first to share his memories in what we hope will be a series of revelations in the coming weeks, even months. Dave has been at the heart of holding the club together following the tragic loss of the much loved Fred Pearce.

Dave Evans finding time to shelter Tony Malone from the storm, whilst Eric Horwill has come as ever well-prepared

Like many of my club colleagues I came into race walking from another branch of Athletics , namely Track and Field. I joined the Civil Service in 1966 and quickly became involved with my department’s Athletic club.  When I eventually became Secretary of the club in 1979 I was both a competitive athlete and team selector. This role normally involved filling in when “vacancies” appeared in teams for the Civil Service championships. In the early 1990’s I had picked a squad for our race walking team from amongst our regular contingent only to find a shortage of bodies at the last minute.

I decided that being a strong runner I would fill the gap thinking the 7 mile race would be “easy” . My pride and confidence took a large knock when I finished the race almost last ! How could I, a sub 31 minute 10k performer, be beaten by around 20 walkers who between them , running in a relay team of six, would probably not have completed 10k before me. I came down to earth with a large bang and deservedly so.

My admiration for walkers began on that day and is still with me now even though my walking days are behind me. After realising that technique is the key aspect of the event I , along with Pat, decided to hunt down a club where we could learn and develop our “poor” walking style into something more “professional”.  The Lancashire Walking club seemed to fit the bill and before too long we were heel toeing with the leading aspirants of the time. Dick Maxwell was the club administrator with Ronnie Marsden supported as judges by Albert Rigby and Derek, the pieman !

Being a new boy I did not understand the strategy employed by the club savants. You are lulled into a sense of security and given a lot of encouragement by the older walkers not realising that all of this was to prepare you for the Manchester to Blackpool ! I’ve done 4 or 5 including one around Stanley Park in Blackpool and reflect on these with some pride and pain.

Dave hits the Lytham promenade – not far to go! Sadly he missed the final Saturday postal collection.

Having managed to cope with my first venture into long distance walking it was inevitable that I would be tempted to join the illustrious list of Lancashire Walking club centurions. I was finally convinced I should give it a go after John Payn became the oldest ever debutante at 67. In 2003 I completed my one and only 100 in a steady 23 hours 40 mins and as they say that’s history.

Since my entry into the world of race walking I have been surprised by the times I’ve done given I am not very flexible . A sub 50 for 10k and a 5k time just under 24. Fred Pearce acted as a mentor in the latter years of my racing career but I finally concluded that walking with a questionable technique was not for me so helping him with the Admin side became my main function. My running is still my main activity and despite advancing years ran 43 16 for 10k when I was 69 and clocked a 21 09 for the parkrun shortly after reaching 70.

I really appreciate the camaraderie in our club and look forward to meeting up each time even if just to hear more of Sailash’s ideas about racing on the M6 or around the coast of Great Britain. A latter day Leonardo da Vinci ! Despite our ages the sense of achievement and brotherhood keeps us together and we all hold dear the club motto of Health the First Wealth. Fond memories of Fred, Dave Crompton and Dick Maxwell, three of our heroes.


Thanks to Dave for setting us off down Memory Lane. We’ve already got more waiting in the wings so please don’t be shy about coming forward with your memories.

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COVID-19 Further Race Postponements, but Let’s Stay Connected

As I write the Covid-19 crisis shows no signs of abating, a scenario within which sport is revealed as hardly a matter of life or death.

Therefore it will come as no surprise to hear that we must postpone both the May and June fixtures, namely the Dave Crompton Memorial 7 miles on May 9 and the Dick and Zena Smith 10/5k on June 8. The British Masters 5k on June 21 is also in jeopardy. In truth further postponements are likely. Indeed the Race Walking Association fixture list is beset by cancellations through to August.

The start of the British Masters 5k 2019. Unlikely to held this year.

You will have noticed that we are talking about postponements rather than cancellations in terms of our club events. For the time being we wish to retain some room for manouevre in terms of what might be a revised late Summer/Autumn/Winter fixture list. Two considerations come to mind.

Dave and Fred in their element. Still sorely missed.
  1. We feel there will be much support for ensuring that new dates are found for the Dave Crompton Memorial Trophy and the Fred Pearce Relay. Sadly we suspect the latter will fall foul of the lock down
  2. So too we think we should explore fitting as many races as practical into a revised schedule as soon as we get the green light. In this way we can renew our face-to-face friendships and rekindle our collective club spirit.

Interestingly, even provocatively, Greg Smith draws our attention to the advice of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries, who suggests:

“I might, actually though, put a more optimistic view as well, which is if people are not going out to work, and, often, that creates quite a stress in terms of travel time, they have more free time to themselves.

And it might be the best opportunity the whole country has to say I’m going to use my one exercise session every day to ensure by the time this is over I am super fit and so is my family.

This is a challenge. On this basis we should all be turning up to the next race in the time-honoured phrase, ‘fit as a butcher’s dog!’ Personal bests all round!

This said, a few of our stalwarts are in the government’s vulnerable group and perhaps in receipt of a letter instructing them to stay in the house for three months. Chris Bolton, 81 years young with COPD is in this category and sends this warning from Glossop after putting his head out of doors. Evidently taking the bins out can be construed as an offence! Fair enough we’ve made that up!

Chris ‘I was only putting bins out’ Bolton heading towards Blackpool in 1962

Joking aside and remembering the club motto, let’s all stay safe and healthy in the coming months.

In this context, given we’re not going to see one another for a goodly time, we can perhaps use this web site to keep people in touch and whet our appetite for a return to the roads. Thus we are encouraging you to respond to one or all of the following prompts or indeed any additional questions that strike you. It would be brilliant if you’ve any photos to accompany your anecdotes.

What prompted you to take up race walking? When and where was your first race?

What’s your favourite race and why?

Which performance has given you the greatest satisfaction?

A couple of people have already agreed to contribute and to give you further inspiration here are a couple of stories from Maurice Ireland we posted a few years ago. By the way Maurice is recovering slowly from his stroke and is managing to walk slowly 2-3 miles a day. We look forward to seeing him when we recommence our activities.

My membership of the club goes back to about 1960 and I have many photographs etc. so if I can help them please let me know. 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 and 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 winning 1978 NW GPO 15k in 74:12

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 me 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. 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.

Here’s hoping that we can share more fascinating insights of this kind across the coming months.

SEND YOUR STORIES/PHOTOS to Tony at tonymtaylor@gmail.com

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Martin conquers the Chorley hills in the last race at St Peter’s

STOP PRESS TWO – Given the following advice from England Athletics we have called off the April 11 Sutton race, Watch this space for updates and some historical pieces to tickle your palate,

England Athletics advises that all face-to-face activity such as club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to-face meetings, athlete camps, running groups and social events should be suspended until at least the end of April.

STOP PRESS – As of Monday, March 16 we have not cancelled the April 11 Macclesfield Shield 10 miles at Sutton. We are the monitoring the fast-moving situation, although one wit has suggested that most of us, being elderly and allegedly vulnerable, are likely to be confined to barracks and unable to attend! It’s a bit rich when politicians, who have spent decades undermining public services and extolling the private sector, discover suddenly that the market and the common good are utterly at odds. In the present crisis, who do we turn to? Nurses and doctors or entrepreneurs? Enough of my ranting, take care of both yourself and others. Watch this space for more info.

Sadly the St Peters Club, which has been our much-loved home in Chorley is to close. However, Eric Crompton believes that the church will offer us the church hall on Harpers Lane as an alternative venue, for which we are most grateful. Hence this last group photo is one for the history books.

Dave Evans reports:

The first race at Chorley in 2020 was a quiet affair with 9 walkers toeing the starting line facing probably one of the hilliest courses in the UK. The weather was cool and breezy with perhaps the threat of rain which did not materialise. With the absence of the fastest club walkers the likely winner of the scratch race was anyone’s guess and this made the race more enjoyable.

Glyn leads the field into the infamous climb at the beginning of the circuit

As the field embarked on the regular 2.4 mile circuit after one mile the top seven exponents were less than 35 seconds apart and then they began the long uphill section which separates the great from the good. Glyn Jones of Coventry Godiva , a very regular visitor, endeavoured to put some distance between himself and his pursuers and managed , save for new Lancashire WC member, Martin Payne, a Centurion in 2015, who shadowed to the end of lap 1 after which he stretched a 2 second deficit to a 45 second lead at the end of lap 2. 

Martin rock solid, beginning to take control

As the walkers passed the 10k , both Glyn and Martin were over 3 minutes in advance of the rest of the field with Joe Hardy and Ian Hilditch leading that trailing group. At the end it was youth over experience as Martin confirmed his superiority with a 4 minute lead over Glyn who was himself nearly three minutes ahead of Ian Hilditch and Joe. Pat Evans and Andrea Lennon walked very well and although walking the lesser distance (2 laps instead of 3) still did very acceptable times.

A determined Sailash making an early bid to drop Joe and Ian

Full results:-

1. Martin Payne  100 mins 48
2. Glyn Jones 104 mins 52
3. Ian Hilditch 107 mins 19
4. Joe Hardy 108 mins 34
5. Phil McCullagh 112 mins 28
6. Sailash Shah 113 mins 47
7. Roy Gunnett 117 mins 00

Is that a smile or pain on Pat’s face?

1. Pat Evans 81 mins 37
2. Andrea Lennon 96 mins 13

Phil beginning to put Roy under pressure

As ever thanks to Greg Smith for the excellent photos.

Roy Gunnett’s report and detailed spreadsheet to follow.

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Andrea Lennon, a well-deserved winner of the Sam Shoebottom Trophy

Andrea triumphant!

SAM SHOEBOTTOM TROPHY 10k held at SIMISTER, February 8, 2020 – RWA Permit 20013 – 1

Dave Evans reports:

The first Lancashire WC event of the year was a tremendous boost to our hopes of starting the year on a high point.  Not only did we see our President in Exile, Tony Taylor, but our great supporters and friends from the Midlands and Yorkshire, Eric Horwill, Glyn Jones and Martin Fisher.

Dave Evans and Eric Horwill sort things out

The weather was cool but not too windy despite the impending storm coming from the Atlantic. 13 aspirants toed the starting line to race the 10k and 3 walked the shorter 5k distance. Tony Taylor, one of three of the same title, led the field to the park turnaround marshalled by Glyn Jones and as the faster walkers arrived at the 5k point the watch was barely over 27 minutes as Tony T recorded a swift 27 10 followed by Adrian Edwards in 29 mins 46, Martin Fisher 29 48 and Tony Malone 29 51. Tony Bell and new club member Martin Payne passed through in a good 32 mins 36 and 33 mins respectively with the remaining seven 10k exponents not too far in arrears. The 5k performers were in the mix at halfway with Greg Smith posting a relaxed 35 18 followed by Pat Evans in 35 20 and Irene Pike 40 02. Irene has spent more than 12 months recovering from a foot problem which although not totally cured has healed enough to allow her to heel and toe again. Welcome back.

Tony Bell pleased to finish!

Tony Taylor continued to extend his lead on the final stage of the race and recorded a tremendous time of 54 42. He was well clear of Adrian (59 44), Martin (60 05)and Tony Malone (60 15). Despite the potentially inclement weather everyone walked well and the handicapper has some material to work with for the next event to be held at Chorley on March 7th.

Andrea Lennon won the handicap by 4 seconds and has waited 17 years to repeat her earlier win. Amongst the spectators was former GB International Chris Harvey who was one of Tony Taylor’s adversaries in the 1970’s. Chris holds the fastest ever 20k time by a Lancashire WC member, clocking an excellent 88:26 over 30 years ago at the 1979 World Cup in Eschborn. Tony is planning to do an interview with Chris about his career in the near future.

Glyn Jones returning from imposing his authority at the Heaton Park turn. Much appreciated.

Many thanks must be given to Eric Horwill for doing the timekeeping and Glyn Jones for foregoing his race to marshal for us. True examples of camaraderie and sportsmanship. Thank you gentlemen.

Roy Gunnett adds:

There was an excellent turnout of 16 walkers for the first club race of the year. The walkers had to cope with cold and windy conditions on the two lap ‘out and back’ course. Thankfully the torrential rain of the preceding few days had abated.

Soon after the start of the race the field sorted itself out into a number of small groups. Out in front, on his own, was Tony Taylor, who put in an impressive performance to come home the clear winner by nearly five minutes. His time of 54 minutes 42 seconds ranks highly in his age group.

There was a tight finish behind with three walkers, namely Adrian Edwards, Martin Fisher and Tony Malone close together. Besides trying to beat one another, all three were vying for a sub-60 minute performance. Adrian achieved this with a 59 minutes 41 second clocking, whilst Martin and Tony were only a few seconds adrift.

John Crahan’s blistering finish had the crowd on its feet!

Guest Walker Martin Payne put in a solid performance in his first LWC club race.

Encouraging debut indeed from Martin Payne

Andrea Lennon’s sterling effort resulted in her winning the handicap and thus the Sam Shoebottom Trophy.


Information in the bracket indicates h’cap allowance; h’cap time; h’cap position; h’cap points and age-graded performance.

I. Tony Taylor M70 LWC 54: 42 (0:00; 54: 42; 2; 24; 95.29%)

2. Adrian Edwards M55 LWC 59: 44 (1:15; 58:29; 7; 19; 74.98

3. Martin Fisher M55 Redcar WC 60:05 (1:45; 58: 20; Guest; 74.53%)

4. Tony Malone M65 LWC 60: 15 (2:30; 57:45; 6; 20; 81.45%)

5. Tony Bell M55 LWC 66: 31 (6:15; 60:16; 9; 17; 73.33%)

6. Martin Payne M55 Unattached 68:16 (0.00; 68:16; Guest)

7. John Crahan M70 LWC 69: 20 (11.45; 57:35; 5; 21; 74.33%)

8. Joe Hardy M75 LWC 69:23 (12.45; 56:38; 3; 23; 80.44%)

9. Phil McCullagh M60 LWC 70:01 [12:45; 57:16; 4 ; 22; 67.12%)

10. Sailash Shah M50 LWC 70: 06 (4:45; 66:29; 11; 15; 63.31%)

Il. Ian Hilditch M75 72: 20 (13:25; 58:55; 8; 18; 79.51%)

12. Roy Gunnett M70 72: 38 (11:15; 61:23; 10; 16; 72.70%)

13. Andrea Lennon W75 82: 23 (27: 4S; 54:38; 1; 25; 83.72%}


Information in the bracket indicates h’cap points and age-graded performance.

1. Greg Smith M65 LWC 35:18) (14; 68.47%)

2. Pat Evans W65 LWC 36: 20 (13: 77.47%

3. Irene Pike W65 LWC 40:02 (12; 68.38%)

Post-race analysis from Adrian Edwards and Tony Taylor

Enormous thanks to Greg Smith for the evocative photos.

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