Rugby League and Race Walking – contact sports of a very different kind

I hope you’ll forgive this indulgent post about my grandson’s burgeoning rugby league career but I rather liked my reference to both rugby league and race walking being contact sports.

Back in 1947, I was born into the working class world of Rugby League – the Lancashire side of the Pennines. During my teenage years, I lived in a classic two-up, two-down terraced house, only a drop kick away from Hilton Park, the rickety home of Leigh RLFC. My dad, like many a miner, tried his hand, playing a couple of games as a hooker for the ‘A’ team. And, in 1957, I played for Newton West Park against the Twelve Apostles in the Leigh Primary Schools final on the hallowed ground of the town’s professional team. The muddy pitch was so big it was a wonder either team got near the opposition’s try line. It ended 3 points all in a dour draw. I ended up with a bloody nose, which was sorted by my father, running on with the ‘magic sponge’ and the instruction, ‘ger on wi’it’.

Hilton Park. Leigh

Like many a young lad, I dreamed of playing for Leigh. My hero was the rampaging Mick Martyn. However, I was neither tough nor quick enough to emulate his exploits. Never mind that I went to grammar school, where class pretension meant rugby union was the name of a game, where writhing about on the ground was a necessity. kicking obligatory and passing almost unheard of. I became a race walker, where the only necessary contact was with the ground rather than with hurtling bodies – in retrospect far safer. Indeed it used to be a huge compliment to be told post-race by knowledgeable spectators and eagle-eyed judges alike that your style meant you were ‘as safe as houses’.

Roland Hardy – safe as houses

In 1989 I found myself living in a ‘posher’ house close to the middle of Wigan, this time only a spiralling pass from Central Park, the atmospheric home of Wigan RLFC, Leigh’s fiercest rivals. My love for the game was reignited. To the dismay, I’m sure of loyal ‘Leythers’, with my wife being a ‘Wigginer’, I rationalised following both the Leigh and Wigan teams, the latter in its pomp. Ellery Hanley, Shaun Edwards and Andy Farrell were amongst our heroes. It was an exhilarating period of dramatic matches, of incredible skills and courage, interspersed on our part with many a pint of Pendle Witch or Timothy Taylor’s Landlord consumed in characterful pubs across the North-West of England. During a couple of summers, I even found myself playing touch rugby for my local, the Tudor House, the oldest, slowest, but perhaps fittest in the team. On a couple of occasions my daughter’s soon-to-be husband, Bob Astley contributed to our efforts, startling us with his blistering pace.

Central Park, Wigan

Bob’s fast-twitch fibres were to be of more than passing importance. Having emigrated to Crete. Marilyn and I were not present at Logan’s birth so we can’t confirm the rumour that he was born with a rugby ball between his thighs. We can though vouch for the fact that from an early age he went to bed with ball in hand. Indeed when we visited we found the living room had been transformed into a rugby pitch with two couches set at a right angle, comprising the grandstands. From thence on the ruffled carpet was host to passes, short and long, delicate grubber kicks and crunching tackles with Sonny, Logan’s younger brother in the heat of affairs. It’s a wonder the room remains roughly in one piece. Recently, Tubby, the family dog has found himself buffetted in the thick of things and, apprenticeship served, is able now to bark with authority, ‘Grr ’em onside’.

A magical try from Logan in his younger days!

Outside of the Astley’s private training ground, Logan has made his way successfully through the competitive age groups of the local amateur rugby scene, often in the colours of the Wigan St Patrick’s club, earning consistent praise for his talents. Possessed of an exhilarating turn of speed, inherited from his dad and perchance a willingness to do the hard miles reminiscent of my athletic dedication he has stood out from the pack. He’s been on the books of Wigan Warriors [ don’t get me started on the daft, unnecessary brand name!] for the past few years and has made his first team debut. Where it goes from here is not anyone’s guess. He is gifted and committed, telling his mum, ‘how lucky he is to be paid for doing something he loves’ but the sport is cruel. Many an exciting prospect falls by the wayside, sometimes through career-threatening injury, sometimes by losing the plot. In his favour is a laid-back and unpretentious disposition. He’s certainly not too big for his own boots. For now, a proud grandad I’ll wallow in the moment described below and leave tomorrow for another day.

Astley leads the way as Warriors take title



Robin Park, Sunday, September 18, 2022

BEN O’KEEFE grabbed a hat-trick of tries and kicked four goals as Wigan claimed the second-string crown with a comfortable victory.

The winger completed his treble in the first half as the hosts led 18-6 at the break after bossing the bulk of the action.

The Warriors raced into a 14-0 lead with O’Keefe scoring twice on either side of a Kieran Tyrer try (O’Keefe improved that effort).

But Robbie Butterworth got Wakefield on the board with a try out of nothing, to which he added the two, as the visitors started to grow into the contest.

However, O’Keefe’s score on the hooter settled the home side, who were slowly allowing Trinity to get into the game.

A 51st-minute score from Josh Phillips, also converted by O’Keefe, gave Wakefield fresh hope as the deficit was cut to six points.

But a brace of tries from Sam Halsall and scores by Alex Sutton and Logan Astley, plus three O’Keefe goals, saw Wigan home.

It was not a great start from them as Umlya Hanley put the ball out on the full from the kick-off, and they then conceded a drop-out as Wakefield looked to gain an early advantage.

But Tyrer turned the tide as he found touch from the drop-out and it was Wigan now on the front foot.

They made that count as Astley took the ball left and found Halsall in space to send O’Keefe in at the corner.

Wigan extended their lead in the 15th minute when Tyrer collected a short ball, threw a dummy and went in under the posts unopposed.

Jack Bibby and Tyrer went close before Astley and Halsall combined once again to send O’Keefe in for his second try – and a 14-0 lead.

Great defence from Robbie Mann and Rob Butler prevented Wigan from scoring their fourth try.

The Yorkshire side took heart from that, went up the other end, and scored their first.

A towering kick was collected by Hanley, but he was met with a monster hit and spilled possession, leaving Butterworth to pick up and touch down. Wigan were reduced to twelve men with James McDonnell sent to the sin bin for a professional foul, and Wakefield started to cause problems.

Jay Haywood-Scriven came close to grabbing a second, but he was held just short.

Wigan managed to soak up a lot of pressure and O’Keefe crossed for his hat-trick just before the interval following another neat pass from Astley.

Wakefield enjoyed a lot of possession at the start of the second half as they camped on Wigan’s line, and they got their reward with Phillips forcing his way over from close range.

Wigan were now struggling to create chances as Wakefield were taking the game to them, but a poor pass was intercepted by Halsall, who raced 80 metres to help put Wigan twelve points in front with 23 minutes to go.

Halsall then put the game out of Wakefield’s reach with another long range effort. Junior Nsemba – who was brilliant all afternoon – combined with Astley and O’Keefe, with the latter turning it inside for the scorer to race away.

Wigan’s seventh try came from Sutton as he was on the end on another passing move started by Astley, who then capped a marvellous performance with a try of his own.

GAMESTAR: Ben O’Keefe, Sam Halsall and Junior Nsemba were brilliant, but scrum-half Logan Astley was the one pulling the strings.

GAMEBREAKER: Sam Halsall’s 57th-minute interception try pushed Wigan ahead by twelve points and they were never in danger of losing the game after that.

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Lambert Trophy contested on the road rather than the track

Dave Evans reports and reveals hidden talents as a photographer and caption writer!

Having just recovered from the Centurions 100, another 100 raised its head in the form of 10 walkers completing 10k. The original event for this date was a track race at Bury but a refurbishment of the track meant us cancelling our 1-hour outing and replacing it with a road 10k on our regular course at Simister in the same borough. With a number of absentees, we were wary about having sufficient personnel to police the event but long-time member Chris Bolton appeared and we were A-OK to go ahead. Eric Horwill made the journey from the Midlands to secure our timekeeping team so the journey could begin and competition set underway.

The race field. Martin is having a quiet moment while Pat is telling Joe not to pass her en route and his facial expression suggests he might ignore the challenge. Ta to Dave Evans

Tony Bell and Martin Payne, the latter some 4 weeks after walking 94 miles in the Centurions 24-hour enactment, set the pace followed quite closely by 8 other aspirants, all bar one wearing the club colours. Glyn Jones was attired in those of Coventry Godiva. At halfway Tony and Martin clocked a steady 34 mins 20, neither wanting to throw a glove on the floor and go for broke. In the next two minutes or so most of the rest of the field approached the 5k point, all looking fresh and no doubt considering their next move.

Being an out-and-back course offers all participants the chance to assess their tactics mid-race and as the second half unwound several tentative first-halfers chose to press the go button! As the weather was clement and a bit humid conditions were ideal. As the race neared its end Tony pulled away stretching his lead to 7 seconds and great credit to Martin for producing a very decent time after his long walk four weeks earlier. Phil McCullagh picked up two places in the second half employing his usual second-half improvement but in places rather than times.



  1. Tony Bell. 66:45(34.20)
  2. Martin Payne 66:52(34.20)
  3. Roy Gunnett 72:08(34.51)
  4. Sailash Shah 72:34(35.54)
  5. Glyn Jones 73:08(36.55)
  6. Phil McCullagh 74:07(36.59)
  7. Joe Hardy 74:23(36.56)
  8. Pat Evans 74:26(36.57)
  9. Ian Hilditch 74:26(37.00)
  10. Greg Smith 77:15(37.02)


  1. Roy Gunnett 61:38
  2. Martin Payne 62:22
  3. Pat Evans 62:56
  4. Sailash Shah 63:04
  5. Tony Bell 63:15
  6. Joe Hardy 64:23
  7. Ian Hilditch 65:26
  8. Phil McCullagh 66:07
  9. Glyn Jones 66:23
  10. Greg Smith 66:45

Dave Ainsworth gets in touch with this fascinating tale about Mick Barker from Sheffield, who appeared out of the blue to participate successfully in the BMAF races at Horwich a few years ago. Hopefully Mick is well on the way to recovery.

The previous issue of “Essex Walker” did a write-up on a television programme which featured a Northern Walker (mentioned only as Mick) who was taken to Barnsley Hospital A&E. “Essex Walker” asked if any readers could identify this unfortunate patient? To save you all looking further, he was identified by Sheffield-based Brian Adams. I had, more-or-less, thought along the same lines – but wasn’t sure, hence I asked for him to be properly identified for certain. In any case, I consider myself a bit of a northerner as I resided in Bolton (Sharples Avenue, Astley Bridge) in 1966, the year I took up race walking when my late father was Manager of the Co-op Pharmacy in Bolton Town Centre.


Our previous edition featured this Channel 5 “fly-on-the-wall” programme, filmed at a busy Barnsley Hospital, where into A&E was brought Mick (in Nike racing pumps) – a race walker who’d suffered a heart attack at 16-and-half miles while training. We saw him receive treatment and put on a road to recovery. We added a direct link to Channel 5’s programme “catch-up” service – which is still available for viewing. It’s an hour long, but Mick’s case is fairly early on. We asked if any readers knew this patient’s name and details?

We thank Sheffield-based Olympian and Centurion of Leicester Walking Club fame, Brian Adams, for providing us with the answers – he writes :

Mick,, the octogenarian walker from Barnsley is Mick Barker who won the Sheffield Star Walk in 1964 and joined Sheffield United Harriers. He joined us for a short time in January 2019. In 2018 he won the British Masters M75 10,000m & 5km Champs and finished 4th in the World 5,000m champs…. with a broken Arm!! Walk with Jesus Brian

It is Paul Nhill’s birthday today. He would have been 83 years of age. In remembering this great athlete, see this atmospheric early photo of him competing in wintry conditions. It’s tempting to think it’s one of the famous London Seven Mile races.

Important message from Mark Easton, the RWA Treasurer

Athletes, officials and supporters are encouraged to join the RWA 200 Club, which raises much-needed finance for the Association

It is £12 per number per year payable by standing order on the 1st Oct.

If people need more details they can contact me by Email at

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Lambert Trophy event now at Simister on September 3


There are some changes to our fixtures for the remaining part of the year, including the cancellation of the Bury track race this coming Saturday, September 3rd due to resurfacing of the track. The Lambert Trophy will now be contested at Simister on the same day and will be a 10k race, starting at 1.00 p.m. As is now usual it would be really helpful to let Dave Evans know in attendance if you are attending. It is much appreciated.

Thanks to Ray Colley foe a great picture of Olly Flynn with Joe Lambert timekeeping and Frank O’Neill recording

The October race, originally scheduled to be held at Macclesfield on the first of the month is moving back a week, to allow club walkers to contest a 6-hour race at Chorley on that date. So amend your diary entries to show October 8th, Albert Rigby 10k, at Macclesfield.

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Heroic Adrian triumphs over adversity to join the Centurions

Dave Evans [Centurion 998] sends this revealing and emotional report of a dramatic day.


Jonathan Hobbs’ father presents Adrian with the Ken Munro Trophy for the most meritorious performance of the day. Thanks to Dave Appleyard

The weekend of the 20/21st of August was chosen by the Centurions to host their 100-mile walk and on this occasion the venue was a 976 metre-long cycle track at the Middlesbrough sports village. The weather forecast indicated fairly warm conditions with winds of 15 mph or thereabouts on Saturday, a gentler breeze on Sunday, and relatively dry conditions. Bells began to chime as the “team” tent was being erected just before midday on Saturday. Flysheets on some tents were beginning to dance about so it was clear we might encounter some disturbance.

Pat and Dave outside the LWC Race HQ. Ta to Roy Gunnett

Lancashire Walking Club owns 40 Centurions going back to Tommy Payne, numbered 18, who achieved this feat way back in the 1910-20 era. I was the latest centurion from our club just under 20 years ago awarded with number 998, and we have waited with bated breath for another achiever to enhance our chance of becoming the most successful club in the history of the Centurions Organisation. The 2022 celebration brought together walkers from the UK, Australia, USA and Northern Europe numbering just under 40 in total. We had 3 first claim members registered to compete, one second claim member and one former member and of these, 3 had already won their wings at earlier enactments of the race. Martin Payne, Martin Fisher and Hazel Fairhurst formed this last trio while Adrian Edwards and Sailash Shah were looking to add their names to the roll of honour.

Hazel poses before the start!! Ta to Charlotte
And they’re off. Only a hundred miles to go! Ta to Charlotte

Warm sunshine saw the field embark on their task of completing 166 laps of the cycle circuit most of which was flat but with an ‘interesting’ section of an up and a down! Initially, a light breeze accompanied the walkers metamorphosing into a troublesome wind as the marathon journey unfolded.
This year’s entourage of ultra distance enthusiasts included one British international class exponent over much shorter distances and an American whose personal best over 20km, achieved 3 decades ago, would have gained selection for all of the major games. An interesting point to note here is whether this ability over ‘sprint’ distances is of any advantage in the 100. The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ which I will explain in due course! Generally, the experience of the other participants was over traditional ultra mileages.

The diminutive Hazel showing excellent technique. Ta to Charlotte.

After 5 hours positions were beginning to establish but the weather had decided to inflict some havoc on the ‘tent city’. Guy ropes were tensioned but there were always the unpredictable gusts to unsettle those hanging onto tent pegs and the main body of sheeted accommodation. All of the walkers were battle-hardened so normal bad weather is treated as an inconvenience, however, the sheets of driven rain and high winds were beginning to unsettle all walkers intent on centurion ‘ennoblement’. How many stayed upright and tents alike continue to elude me but it cast a shadow over the first part of the challenge. There were moments of calm during the late evening and night but not enough to allow the majority of performers incident-free passage.

Sadly Sailash fell foul of the conditions

The first ‘casualty’ for us was the retirement of Sailash, who at around 6 stone, found the wet driving rain very depressing and movement restricting. Few things bother him normally but the weather and some conditioning issues prompted him to take some time out stepping off the course to weigh up his options. The rain continued to hammer down and surprisingly not all competitors donned wet weather gear. Sailash finally chose to close his challenge after walking extremely well for 33 miles. A further 17 miles later Martin Fisher decided to step away from the ‘race’ after a health check. A veteran of many 100 miles, Martin knows himself best, so to live to fight another day he decided to finish his 2022 challenge at this point.

Not to be this time for Martin. He’ll be back.

It seemed like a long night and our supporters were intent on encouraging their colleagues to stick with the task despite the miserable conditions. Up to 12 hours or thereabouts our squad were showing no signs of being distressed and while we were busy nipping in and out of cover they were chasing the dream. Early morning and the first signs of the sun rising and a positive improvement in mood. Adrian and Martin were walking well and sensibly. I make this comment after watching the USA, former international, Ray Sharp, circumnavigating the 1000-metre loop, with a very clean and super race walking technique, almost oblivious of the fact that this was a 100 mile race and not the much shorter events where he was an exceptional performer. He was making attempt number 5 or 6 at the 100 and yet to succeed. Ray was seconded by a young lady who he coaches and despite her comments that he should slow down and not burn out he continued to crack on. Ray retired during the night and flew back to the States a day later with another DNF, very sad for his pupil and the Centurions’ fraternity who wanted him to succeed.

Hazel Fairhurst finishing in style – twenty years on from her last Hundred and forty minutes faster! Ta to Roy Gunnett
Prior to the race Hazel tells her dad, ” I’ll give it a go, then stop and give a hand to others”. Ta to Roy Gunnett.

Hazel was truly amazing. She has apparently been doing some ultra-running events but no walking. She smiled throughout the race and was the epitome of efficiency in her walking style and was supported by one of her daughters who probably hadn’t signed up for this task on the basis that she would have to get out of her tent so regularly! She did very well for a youngster. Hazel’s reward was second place in the ladies category a mere 7 minutes behind the winner who we understand has walked in most of the major Centurion races on the world stage.

Martin looking worse for wear but hanging on. Ta to Roy Gunnett

We were greatly heartened by the sight of our club colleagues walking with good style and comfort but over the weekend there was a time early morning when both Martin and Adrian started to show the first signs of ‘weakness’ Martin is already a Centurion so has this accolade up his sleeve, however, every 100 is different and there was a time mid-morning when he faltered and possibly wondered if he should press on. He is made of stern stuff and with the vocal encouragement of us lot he regained his composure and even regained some of his normal walking posture, lost sometimes when the body starts to weaken and the mental control goes out of the window.

Adrian gritting his teeth as he gets ever nearer, Ta to Roy Gunnett

I believe the most memorable part of our weekend was the heroic performance by Adrian who began to show the signs of possible collapse with about 25 miles to go. Normally a very upright and textbook style performer he was losing his posture and beginning to adopt a completely different stance. His head was down and he was leaning forward. It transpires that he was partly protecting his feet which were worrying him. Visiting the team tent for a sit-down and a foot examination Adrian unrolled his socks and exposed what was concerning him. A flap of skin covering his heel and part of his arch had almost detached itself. How on earth he had got this far suffering such pain and discomfort is a real tribute to this fortitude. What did he do? He changed his socks! Moving off we wished him the best and he rejoined the circuit very gingerly. Time has a horrible way of being lost so Roy and I were trying to work out how far he had left to walk and what timescale was available. As Adrian made his way off onto the next lap we established that he had a cushion of some 30-45 minutes as long as he could maintain a reasonable loop time of around 10 minutes for the roughly 1k circuit. The very painful feet were clearly troubling Adrian as he almost tiptoed down the tarmac at one point. He eventually seems to control the pain but his head was still down and he was trying to support his back with his hands as he walked with a forward lean. With about 3 hours to go the target of 100 miles in 24 hours was looking a bit blurry. Adrian was stopping at intervals on the roadside and while we thought he was perhaps being ill it transpires he was stretching his back. In the last couple of hours, there were moments when he nearly collapsed onto the grass verge alongside the roadway. By this time everyone was becoming very concerned. Even the officials were doing what they could to encourage and help him. Just like the 1908 Olympic Marathon where personnel helped Dorando Pietri over the finishing line we knew he mustn’t get physical help if he fell. He did tumble and with supporters around to comfort him, he got up and walked on.

A poignant post-race photo of Adrian under a blanket and the club colours. Ta to Roy Gunnett
Adrian proudly shows his medal, Ta to Dave Appleyard

I can’t remember a more emotional two hours for me in sport. One of your club colleagues in obvious distress and all you could do was say a few kind words and try to inspire that part of the brain that prompts a positive reaction. Everyone in the club at Middlesbrough and other watchers wanted Adrian to make it. They all tried to protect him and to watch someone on each circuit struggling to move forward without falling drained the emotions of us all. We all wanted the final handful of laps to arrive so we could endeavour to get him home safely. Martin caught him up on some of the latter circuits and will have given him a psychological lift and even a walking “partner”. Two laps to go and he was if anything raising his game with the Centurions’ victory in his sight. Another bit of a falter and a fall into the grass verge a short distance after the lap end. Quite a number of folk raced down to make sure he was ok. He mustn’t be helped up but slowly he managed to get onto his knees and regained his upright stance. He was off again with maybe a mile and a bit to go. Positioned around the course his club friends and others shouted encouragement so when he reached the bell for his final lap we all kept our fingers crossed that he would get round safely. I know a number of officials were particularly helpful and they too encouraged him although not normally “allowed” to do this . With 400 metres to go we could all see Adrian controlling his forward lean on the opposite side of the grassy area where we were camped and as long as he stayed upright he would achieve his ambition. He turned the final bend of the loop and the well-wishers were gathered ready to cheer him home. He crossed the line and collapsed into the arms of one of the helpers. He had made it and I can’t think of any other occasion when we were so delighted to see someone surmount so many problems and succeed. The icing on the cake was not only Adrian winning his Centurions’ badge, number 1216 (he was actually wearing number 216 for the race) but the awarding by the Centurions of the special Ken Munro trophy for the most meritorious competitor on the day.

Our primary focus was Adrian for obvious reasons but Martin was a hero in his own right. He could have stepped off the circuit late in the day after he started to lose speed and be outside the schedule to do the 100 miles. He walked on, helped Adrian and managed to cover 95 miles.

Adrian – magnificent in adversity

We must offer a very big thank you to all of our walkers, our supporters, and the officials, notably Sue Clements for a great weekend and particularly Adrian for his tenacity and pure guts in achieving his Centurion status under such adversity.

Back in Crete, I followed the last few hours on a live stream with sparse information. The timings board was not keeping up-to-date. However, it was increasingly clear that Adrian was suffering badly. I doubted whether he would make it. It is deeply humbling to know that he did so and very much against the odds. Bravo, Adrian. grit personified, Martin, loyal to the end and Hazel, a picture of style and aplomb, together with all the LWC entourage. Adrian and Fred Pearce travelled together to so many races across the years. Fred would have been so proud.

And a closing word from Ron Wallwork [Centurion 893]

Dear Adrian,

Just a line to say Congratulations on joining the brotherhood.

I think you are the 41st LWC member to do it.

Savour the moment and I hope your recovery is swift.

Best wishes Brother – Ron


[Thanks to John Constandinou]

1st – Rotterdamse Wandelsport 482,802m (Van Der Gulik, Meints, Leijtens)
2nd – Lancashire Walking Club 364,651m (Edwards, Payne, Shah)
3rd – Everbeekse Wandeltochten 244,728m (Van Nieuwenhove, Vankerkhove)
4th – IOMVAC 226,176m (Titley, Moore)

1st – BELGIUM 482,802m (Asselman, Van Nieuwenhove, Janssens)
2nd – NETHERLANDS 482,802m (Van der Gulik, Meints, Leijtens
3rd – ENGLAND 471,957m (Hobbs, Edwards, Payne)
4th – ISLE OF MAN 273,282m (Titley, Moore, Kenna)

1st – ENGLAND 265,294m (Fairhurst, Middleton)


  1. Sharon Scholz W45 Australia 160934 metres 22:42:43 7.086 km
  2. Hazel Fairhurst W55 Lancs WC 160934 metres 22:50:28 7.046 km/h
  3. Jacqueline Van Drongelen W50 Netherlands 160934 metres 23:35:38 6.821 km/h
  4. Helen Middleton W55 E&H 104300 metres 14:42:47 7.089 km/h


1 Jonathan Hobbs SM Ashf 160934 metres 18:44:32 8.587 km/h
2 Peter Asselman M40 Belgium 160934 metres 19:57:43 8.062 km/h
3 Diederik Van Nieuwenhove M50 Belgium 160934 metres 20:18:47 7.923 km/h
4 Kim Janssens M45 Belgium 160934 metres 21:45:14 7.398 km/h
5 Andrew Titley M55 IOMVAC 160934 metres 21:45:15 7.398 km/h
6 Frank van der Gulik M40 Netherlands 160934 metres 22:16:30 7.225 km/h
7 Justin Scholz M45 Australia 160934 metres 22:42:43 7.086 km/h
8 Gunter Luypaerts M45 Belgium 160934 metres 22:44:33 7.076 km/h
9 Johan Stesmans M40 Belgium 160934 metres 22:54:55 7.023 km/h
10 Jantinus Meints M60 Netherlands 160934 metres 23:19:38 6.899 km/h
11 Frans Leijtens M45 Netherlands 160934 metres 23:22:45 6.884 km/h
12 Adrian Edwards M60 Lancs WC 160934 metres 23:29:28 6.851 km/h
13 Boetje Huliselan M65 Netherlands 160934 metres 23:34:39 6.826 km/h
14 Richard McChesney M50 New Zealand 160934 metres 23:45:21 6.775 km/h
15 Martin Payne M60 Lancs WC 151169 metres 23:51:40 6.335 km/h
16 Philip Wilson M70 unatt 148240 metres 23:45:34 6.239 km/h
17 Kevin Marshall M60 Ilf 133593 metres 19:15:16 6.938 km/h
18 Arjan Bogerd M50 Netherlands 132617 metres 22:07:21 5.995 km/h
19 Bob Thomas M70 unatt 111135 metres 23:45:34 4.678 km/h
20 Ray Sharp M60 USA 107229 metres 14:28:18 7.410 km/h
21 Mike Vankerkhove M35 Belgium 83794 metres 11:50:21 7.078 km/h
22 Graham Jackson M50 N Vets 80865 metres 10:43:16 7.543 km/h
23 Martin Fisher M55 Redcar 79888 metres 11:59:21 6.663 km/h
24 John Borgars M75 Phoe 74030 metres 10:00:19 7.399 km/h
25 John Constandinou M50 Bir 73053 metres 12:12:14 5.986 km/h
26 Colin Moore M60 IOMVAC 65242 metres 10:19:48 6.316 km/h
27 Arjan Lukken M55 Netherlands 54501 metres 08:21:29 6.521 km/h
28 Chris Flint M75 Sy WC 53524 metres 09:14:36 5.791 km/h
29 Sailash Shah M55 Lancs WC 52548 metres 08:51:34 5.931 km/h
30 Haydn Mark Kenna M60 unatt 47666 metres 09:58:59 4.775 km/h

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Best Wishes to All for the Hundred from Dave Ainsworth and LIVE info from Sue Clements

Dave, Centurion 540 writes:

I extend my best wishes to all involved, for an enjoyable and successful meeting on the occasion of our 100 Miles – which is being held in tribute to Centurion 370 Ken Munro, a giant in the world of race walking officiating and “behind the scenes” work, who among many positions held in the sport, served as The Centurions’ Honorary Secretary and also as Honorary Merchandising Officer.

My personal best wishes are offered to :

. A hard-working Organising Committee.
. All Officials in whatever capacities their duties are during this event.
. All helpers, no matter what their work entails.
. All competitors, some of whom will have travelled from afar.
. For Centurions, may their efforts see them adding another completion to their tally.
. Those aspiring to join “The Centurions”, may all successfully achieve their aim.
. To all supporters who come to urge on competitors; as such course-side assistance so often provides an extra fillip when most needed.

This race is also our Race Walking Association’s official Long Distance Championship, with individual and team awards to be competed for.

Venue: Middlesbrough Sports Village in Alan Peacock Way, Middlesbrough. TS4 3AE. (Note: Alan Peacock Way is named in honour of a now octogenarian legendary Middlesbrough & England International footballer, who for many years was Brian Clough’s Middlesbrough strike partner). It has a car park. There’s an on-site cafe; if more is required, a short distance away is a Shell Filling Station (with shop) and a Sainsburys “Local”.

I hope the weather over the weekend will be conducive to ultra-distance race walking, so benefiting all present, in whatever capacity. As race walking fields continually see fewer participants, all who organise, officiate, compete and support the Middlesbrough 100 Miles are to be congratulated for keeping our tradition of frequent ultra-distance races going.

My profound thanks and best wishes to one-and-all.

Clare Bass 2019 Hundred in IOM

Sue Clements advises us on how to follow the Middlesbrough 100 Miles :


For more information visit

For live results on the day visit 

Sue Clements :  01223 292 155 home or 07940 524 716 mobile.

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Cooler in Crete than Chorley – Goodwin Cup 10k

Yesterday afternoon I climbed off my bike tired after the inevitably hilly ride round our way And as cyclists are fond of saying, ‘I didn’t have the legs’. However the last hour witnessed the arrival of bubbling clouds from the mountains. My Garmin watch as usual provided far too much information but I noticed the temperature was down to 26 degrees – cool for August. Little did I know that the Goodwin Cup was taking place in a baking Chorley and I’d been blessed with cover and a gentle breeze.

Dave Evans reports.

Roy leads the way ahead of Steven

Although the current heatwave is due to dissolve in the next couple of days it was still in place as 7 club members set out on their 10k on one of the country’s hilliest courses.  While the group negotiated the first of the hills 3 separate teams of helpers drove off to the marshalling points on the route with buckets of water and sponges. At the 1 mile point, Roy Gunnett headed the field passing this marker in 11 mins 32 with Steven Wilde and Glyn Jones just 8 seconds adrift. The remaining walkers were fairly close at hand but obviously wary of walking too quickly under the mid-afternoon sun. The course followed the same route as the Dave Crompton event but being a bit shorter at 10k meant an earlier turnaround.

Glyn surviving the elements

As the walkers emerged from the leafy lanes, high above Chorley, Steven had closed on Roy and both passed the halfway marker in 35 mins 22. Glyn Jones was the next to show at 35 53 and it was another minute and a half before the “really careful” trio arrived for their well-earned water station refreshments. The first 5k involves rather more ups than downs so as athletes headed back to the finish thoughts may well have turned to a less arduous second half. This might have been a logical conclusion except the thermometer was registering around 29 degrees and shade was at a premium.

Joe leads Ian and Pat through a dappled section of the course

As the officials were topping up water for the finishers the first walker came in sight and it was Steven who was recording his first ever win in the club outside of the handicap. His 70 mins 59 was excellent in the circumstances.  Roy Gunnett had raised his game in the hot sunshine and was only 28 seconds adrift. In third place and almost out on his feet was Glyn Jones, proving that octogenarians are still capable of posting great results. Glyn ducked under 72 minutes but suffered quite badly with the extremely warm temperatures. He gradually recovered after quite a few dunkings of cold water and sponges but might initially have given a lobster a run for its money. Everyone else arrived safely and after some refreshments were able to behave normally!

Steven strides to his first win

Thanks to the club members and supporters who manned the sponge stations and the two Eric’s, Horwill and Crompton, who provided accurate timings and a very comfortable venue for the changing and post-race presentation. Louise Whaite, Dave Crompton’s partner, provided her usual excellent support in a variety of ways, particularly with the provision of mid-race watering facilities and post-race refreshments. Eric Horwill continues to be a real asset to our club despite having to journey from the Midlands on many occasions, usually by public transport. On this occasion, Glyn very kindly brought him by car and we are very grateful for their goodwill towards the Lancashire Walking club.

Pat pleased to finish
Ian closes in
Greg eases home

One of the final agenda issues at Chorley was the Centurions 100 at Middlesbrough in which we have 4 current club walkers and a former member in the guise of Hazel Fairhurst. We offer our best wishes to Adrian Edwards,  Martin Payne, Sailash Shah, Martin Fisher and Hazel .

1. Steven Wilde (11 40/35 22) 70 59
2. Roy Gunnett(11 32/35 22) 71 27
3. Glyn Jones(11 40/35 53) 71 51
4. Joe Hardy(12 09/37 27) 74 12
5. Ian Hilditch(12 29/37 43) 74 39
6. Pat Evans(12 29/37 51) 75 13
7. Greg Smith(12 29/39 05) 78 23

1. Steven Wilde 63 24
2. Roy Gunnett 63 37
3. Glyn Jones 64 46
4. Joe Hardy 67 37
5. Pat Evans 68 08
6. Ian Hilditch 70 19
7. Greg Smith 70 33

Sailash with one eye on the Hundred

I should add that Sailash walked on the Chorley course today to complete his training for the Centurions 100 but was wise not to have got involved in the race proper.

Thanks to Martin Payne for the photos.

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What about a Lancashire WC team at the 2023 Nijmegen Walks ?!?!

Further to Chris Bolton’s excellent report on his recent Nijmegen experience, he cheekily asks if we could raise a team for next year’s 4 Days event. The dream is inspired by Ron Wallwork unearthing a couple of nostalgic photos from 1961.

LWC team Nijmegen 1961

We made it!
???. Bill Cowley, Bert Butterworth, RonW, Martin Trotman, Ted Watkins, ???
Piet DeBree, Johnny Grocott, Dick Smith, Eddie Blakemoor, Chris Bolton, Tommy Dunn
I understand that Piet was a Dutch LWC member and I know that Martin Trotman was 1st Claim Surrey WC
Outside Amsterdam central station
Tommy Dunn, RonW, Johnny Grocott, Martin Trotman, Dick Smith,??, Ted Watkins & Bill Cowley
Carol Smith (Joe Smith’s daughter), Zena Smith, ???

And returning to 1958 and 1960 with more names

LWC with RWA at Nijmegen 1958

Leader: Joe Lambert
Front Row; L to R. Horace Ball (Birmingham), Fred Plumb (Brighton), Arthur Spicer.
Second Row. Bill Lashmar (Brighton), Tommy Dunn (LWC), John Burns (Leyland)
Third Row. Harry Holmes (Yorkshire), Forgotten, Fred Griffiths (Surrey & South London Harriers)
I am behind Harry Holmes and Pete DeBree is behind Fred Griffiths.

LWC with RWA at Nijmegen 1960

Horace Ball, Harry Tetlow, Reg Andrews, Jim Marriott, Fred Plumb, Ernie Ludlum (Yorkshire),
Tommy Dunn, Bill Watson.
Seated, Chris Bolton, Pete DeBree, Ron Wallwork, Eddie Blakemore.

Sincere thanks to Chris and Ron for the research.

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Looking Forward to the Goodwin Cup, the Middlesborough Hundred and remembering Flo Payn

Reg Goodwin 1948 Olympic judge

This coming Saturday, August 13 the Goodwin Cup 10 kilometres will take place in Chorley, changing facilities at St Peter’s Church Hall, Harpers Lane, PR6 0HP – start at 1.00 p.m. As is now customary it would be helpful, if you are able, to let Dave Evans know if you are attending and in what capacity.

A week later Adrian Edwards, Martin Payne and Sailash Shah will be endeavouring to join the hallowed ranks of the Centurions, All being well there will be three club members in support – although a rail strike is planned for Saturday, August 20th. Our very best wishes accompany the trio in their endeavours. Fingers crossed we will be hailing three new Centurions.

The 2019 Hundred at Castletown, Isle of Man. Thanks to for the photo.

The Middlesbrough 100 mile Challenge

The Centurions are proud to announce they are organising the 2022 Centurion – qualifying race walk on the Cycle Circuit at Middlesbrough Sports Village (Alan Peacock Way, Marton Road, Middlesbrough TS4 3AE). The course is a wide flat tarmac cycle track of just under 1 km. It will have 24-hour lighting, space for support tents, power supply for chip timing, parking, and many other facilities.

The race starts at 12 noon and will be held under Category ‘B’ race walking rules. Minimum age 20 years old. The rules stipulate walkers must maintain contact with the ground and satisfy the judges they are walking.

Walkers who complete 100 miles within 24 hours will be eligible to become Centurions, a unique athletic body open only to those who have achieved this remarkable feat. The Centurions were formed in 1911 and to date 1209 have qualified and joined this unique group of athletes. We look forward to welcoming walkers from the UK and overseas.

The race will incorporate the RWA National Long Distance Championship. UKA-affiliated walkers will be eligible to enter. Important note: walkers already qualified as a Centurion in Britain must be a member of a club affiliated to UKA. See the website for updates


In this photo from 2017 John was in charge of the dog whilst Flo is stood between Pat and Irene

Thanks to Roy Gunnett for this close-up of the photo taken at the 2 Hours race at Bury

A few weeks ago Flo, the wife of John Payn, our oldest member, passed away. Flo is fondly remembered for her regular presence at our races, often walking part of the course encouraging our efforts, almost always accompanied by her beloved dog. In addition, she was often to be seen assisting Pat Evans with the post-race refreshments. Sadly because of COVID and growing illness, we’ve not seen her for quite a long time but she will be sorely missed. We send our deepest condolences to John and the family.

A delightful photo of Flo and John at the 2019 Fred Pearce Relay
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Chris Bolton’s 19th Nijmegen – he was only there for the beer!

A couple of years ago I vowed to accompany Chris on his latest Nijmegen exploit but COVID intervened. Little did I know that he sneaked off this year to add to his tally. Wonderfully bonkers, Read on.

Chris reports.

This year I completed my nineteenth Nijmegen Vierdaagse and without doubt it was
the hardest of all.

A newspaper cutting celebrating Chris’s 17th Nijmegen

The temperature at the beginning of the week was over 40 degrees C ( 104 F) and the
organisers were fearful of fatalities. Consequently, they decided to cancel the first day
and make it a three-day event.

A thirsty crowd these walkers!
Just one more before tomorrow!

Forty-Two thousand started on the Wednesday with the temperature still close to 40 degrees and I therefore started the twenty-one mile challenge slowly. By fifteen miles the
heat was a real problem and I started to suffer badly. Making it to the finish I was
exhausted with heat stroke and was grabbed by the Red Cross officials. They sent for
a doctor and I realised that I was in real trouble. Had a doctor seen me he would have
torn up my start card for the next day and my challenge would have been over.
I plotted my escape and asked for more water. As soon as they were out of sight I
escaped and legged it but it was a close call!!

The next day of nineteen miles was cooler but we were hit with thunderstorms and
torrential rain. Again, I finished in poor shape and this time with blisters on both feet.

The last day of nineteen miles is one of celebration and the weather was better. The
problem now was that suffering from the lasting effects of covid and not having
walked more than three miles in training I was badly prepared and there was no gas
left in the tank. The crowds over the final eight kilometres are typical of the spirit of Nijmegen.
Walkers are cheered on and nearing the finish are presented with flowers, but running
on empty and with bad blisters I’m afraid I found it difficult to think of anything but
reaching the finishing line which never seemed to get nearer.

In cooler times 1958 Joe Lambert of LWC leads the Race Walking Association team with Chris in the background

Yes it was hard, yes it was painful but I have booked my hotel for next year when I
hope to complete my twentieth Nijmegen Vierdaagse.

This lovely 1960 photo of the RWA team sees a youthful Chris and Ron Wallwork sitting on the floor, In those days participants had to cover 55 kilometres on each of the Four Days.
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A close ‘walk’ thing in the Fred Pearce Relay, July 22

Dave Evans reports:

Pat, Christine and Dave prior to the race. Ta to Greg Smith

The Fred Pearce relays produced the closest finish yet with all 4 teams on the final approach within sight of each other, three closing in within a minute. The handicapper had some last-minute repositioning to contend with but in the end, this made the event more competitive in the light drizzly conditions. It was a nice surprise to have visitors from afar and the presence of multi-centurion Martin Fisher and sidekick Phil Carroll made the race more difficult to predict.

Waiting in expectation. Ta to Greg

 To get the race underway club secretary Roy Gunnett set off on his 5k with no company and it was 11 minutes before the first leg set off for teams two, three and four. At the end of the first out and back, Roy remained in first place with Tony Bell in hot pursuit and Adrian Edwards, sharpening his pace for the centurions 100 miles a mere 10 seconds adrift.  Bringing up the rear but still walking well was Sailash Shah.

Roy gets the race off to a lonely start. Ta to Greg
Keeping close company – Steven, Ian and Phil McCullagh. Ta to Martin Payne

 Leg two saw Martin Fisher shoot off from the start with the intention of moving his team from 4th to a higher position and it was no surprise to see him completing his 5k foray in the day’s best time and in second place. All competitors managed to record times around their seasonal bests so what would happen on the final anchor leg. Phil Carroll kept his cool despite setting off with a 5-minute 45 seconds advantage and showed that he has retained a very effective style which saw him enter the final straight of the finish with a lead of nearly two minutes. The other three teams made a real race of it with the trio closing on each other towards the finish.

Martin Fisher on his way to the fastest leg. Ta to Roy Gunnett
Phil Carroll turning back the clock holds off his pursuers. Ta to Greg.
Joe, Pat and Martin in titanic struggle. Ta to Greg
Congratulations all round. Ta to Greg

Chris Pearce provided the walkers and supporters with a lovely buffet and prizes and a fitting tribute to Fred who kept the club together during his tenure and is still sorely missed as an official and mentor.

Pat, Christine and Pam discuss tactics. Ta to Roy

A special mention must be made of Eric Horwill who has continued to support Lancashire Walking club for many years making the journey from the Midlands by public transport and offering his very welcome support and advice. On this occasion, he was accompanied by Pam who is herself a very respected official and still a British race walking record holder as a veteran.

As ever Dave and the indefatigible Eric Horwill keep everything in order. Ta to Greg.

On a more sombre note, we have just been informed that Flo, the wife of our oldest member, John Payn has recently passed away and we send our sincere condolences to John and his family.

Results of the relay

Greg in full stride. Ta to Roy

1st team  Roy Gunnett.     36 mins 58

                 Greg Smith        35 mins 02

                 Phil Carroll.        39 mins 04

Steven safe as houses on a good straight leg. Ta to Roy

2nd team Sailash Shah.    36 mins 11

                  Martin Fisher    30 mins 21

                  Steven Wilde.   34 mins 54

Ian Hildifch continues his good form. Ta to Greg

3rd team

Tony Bell.          31 mins 37

  Pat Evans.       35 mins 13

                  Ian Hilditch.       34 mins 50

Adrian preparing for the Hundred. Ta to Martin

4th team.

Adrian Edwards 30 mins 57

                  Joe Hardy.         34 mins 52

                   Phil McCullagh 36 mins 03

Our only photo of Tony sees him seated with Roy quaffing a post-race cup of tea. Ta to Martin


There are some changes to our fixtures for the remaining part of the year, including the cancellation of the Bury track race on September 3rd due to resurfacing of the track. The fixture will now be at Simister on the same day and will be a 10k.

The October race, originally scheduled to be held at Macclesfield on the first of the month is moving back a week, to allow club walkers to contest a 6-hour race at Chorley on that date. So amend your diary entries to show October 8th, Albert Rigby 10k, at Macclesfield.

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