It was a misty, moist afternoon around Heapey and White Coppice as we braved what one competitor described euphemistically as a ‘characterful’ course. Star of the show was a svelte John Crahan, fresh from the gym, who knocked minutes off his best time in winning the Allison Handicap Trophy. Thanks are due to Dave Evans for stepping so expertly into Fred Pearce’s shoes, Dave and Louise for sorting the venue and refreshments, together with John, Jane and Dave for marshalling the troops.
See my personal reflection on the race below.
Allison Trophy 15K @ Chorley 12th March 2016 (Race Permit No:RWA6022-1)
1 Tony Taylor Lancs WC M65 83.25
2 Adrian Edwards Lancs WC M50 88.57
3 Roy Gunnett Lancs WC M65 98.17
4 Greg Smith Lancs WC M60 100.27
5 Joe Hardy Lancs WC M70 101.20
6 Ian Hilditch Lancs WC M70 101.40
7 Pat Evans Lancs WC W60 101.48
7 John Crahan Lancs WC M65 101.48
9 Sailash Shah Lancs WC M50 104.55
10 Phil McCullagh Lancs WC M55 106.30
11 Irene Pike Lancs WC W60 108.08
12 Claire Goulden Lancs WC W50 111.07
1 John Payn Lancs WC M80 87.19
2 Andrea Lennon Lancs WC W70 95.56
Let me begin by saying I have the fondest memories of the roads on which we raced on Saturday. Back in the late 60’s and 70’s this beautiful part of Lancashire was central to the Sunday morning sessions those of us living in the Bolton area got up early to do. Later when I lived in Horwich one of my sporadic comeback years saw me in White Coppice more than once. However, although the Allison Trophy course may well be character-building, great for getting the hard miles in, I’m not sure it helps us to become better at race walking.
The uphill stretches are often so steep as to make locking the knee very difficult and the downhills so steep as to make contact problematic at any sort of speed. On the first lap I got in a right mess, trying to push it, on a right angle left-hand bend after the flattish section from the former Railway pub. The road fell away quickly, the problem worsened by an awkward camber. Nearly tripping over my own feet I was admonished by a passing motorist, who didn’t think much of my mode of progression. Hopefully I gathered my wits after that and returned to earth for the rest of the race. In a nutshell I’m suggesting that if you try to walk quickly on the course you are going to have real technical problems. Hence, in the circumstances, I’m not really sure what to think of my decent time.
Of course we don’t want to lose great venues and characterful challenges of this type. However, looking to the future and the 2017 season , I do think we need a couple of races a year on flat, well-surfaced roads based on a 1 kilometre lap or out and back, where we can try to walk as fast as we can and be scrutinised much more closely than on our present portfolio of courses.
Your thoughts and criticisms welcomed.