Firstly here is Fred Pearce’s report on the proceedings.
On a cold & breezy day 11 competitors set off on this exacting 15-mile race at Chorley.
The winner receiving the magnificent Allen Trophy , which is silver, stands over 50 cm tall, is 85 yrs old (1932) and is one of Lancashire Walking Clubs most prestigious trophies.
From the start it became a battle between Adrian and Bill ( our guest from Scotland) and lasted for most of the race with Adrian dominating the uphill and on the flat (?), and Bill catching up on the downhill. Bill finally broke away at approx 13miles on a downhill section then continued on to win. There was then another battle between two of our regular guests Glyn & Stuart, with Stuart getting the best of Glyn as the encountered the last uphill to the finish.
Huge congratulations to all 9 competitors who completed this picturesque, but hilly and demanding course around Chorley.
1 Bill McFadden Scotia RWC M55 2:21:36
2 Adrian Edwards Lancs WC M55 2:23:42
3 Stuart Edgar Dudley & Stourbridge M45 2:50:51
4 Glyn Jones Coventry Godiva M70 2:51:04
5 Joe Hardy Lancs WC M70 2:51:54
6 Dave Crompton Lancs WC M50 2:52:15
7 Sailash Shah Lancs WC M50 3:02:36
8 Ian Hilditch Lancs WC M75 3:02:46
9 Phil McCullagh Lancs WC M60 3:13:25
Pat Evans Lady Lancs WC W65 86:35
John Payn Lancs WC M80 66:21
And to add to the feel for this highlight of the season here is Trevor McDermot’s eloquent portrayal of the day. More than a few people have got in touch to say how pleased they were to have Trevor and Linda back on board.
Another spring day in beautiful West Pennines country, overlooked by cairn-capped moorlands.
Another afternoons engagement by the old Railway pub at the brow of Coppice Lane, where apparitions of sundry quarrymen and farmworkers may conceivably still gather to quaff the latest shared gossip and seal one more ghostly working day. Bronze Age peoples once settled this area, a Roman Empire oversaw lead mining, cotton mills powered by water wheels had performed their daily duty, and the new Anglezarke hub of reservoirs sent that most vital of all resources from rolling green-pastured store to the burgeoning population of Liverpool.
Another race for the Allen Trophy – in existence for many a decade – promoted by the Lancashire Walking Club over a distance of 15 Miles.
It was a cloudy Chorley lunchtime as the field assembled and lined up for their testing sojourn in the hills. We were suddenly entertained by a minicab that blocked their path. Two occupants disgorged, a gentleman and his Italian lady companion expecting a rather different kind of rural perambulation, were handled by Fred and Christine with customary efficiency, and all set off on their tasks. The couple were last seen a few hours later when, looking quite happy and freshly provisioned with water, they decided to once again explore the dog leg whence Eric had long departed his station. We wish them well.
Suitable drinks, buckets and sponging tables set up, we soon encountered the competitors on their first lap. Regular guesting friends from the Midlands – Glyn Jones and Stuart Edgar – were at the head of affairs, followed by the recognisable figures of bantering stalwarts Joe Hardy, Dave Crompton, and that unique action of everybody’s favourite tin soldier, little Sailash Shah. Not wearing his signature overcoat on this occasion, but looking as if he could carry on all night and tomorrow morning, and one of these days he will.
Pat Evans and venerable John Payn were embarking on lesser distances, with no less a demonstration of excellent physical fitness than their clubmates. Ian Hilditch and Phil McCullagh bringing up the rear were to suffer yet make it manfully to the end, smiling throughout their struggle. Also bobbing around in general support were John Pouncy minus Jane, and club handicapper Dave Evans. Roy Gunnett was missing for the very good reason of a seventieth Birthday celebration, while various Crahans, Horwills and Tony Taylor had sent their apologies.
A few battles in recent years have been witnessed between those great friends and rivals Adrian Edwards and Bill McFadden. Although very different stylistically, both are as fair technicians as can be found. One is well known to carry himself straight-backed and marches quickly with great strength, the other with a busier, more fluid action utilising the hips fully. In each case we see every definition of walking fully complied with besides those categories yet to be invented. Giving a head start to the rest, within the early miles they had soon overhauled and we were then given quite a treat.
First one then the other led through the quiet, winding lanes bedecked with massed spectators of forget-me-nots, cow parsley and scattered bluebells. No part of this testing circuit is flat, the competitors go either up or down and need to amend their business accordingly. In the last five miles Bill forged ahead to finish a couple of minutes clear in a very decent 2hrs 21, and these twin performances over 15 miles should be treated with every respect given the environment and ages involved.
We congratulate both participants for whom there rightfully exists great respect at all levels within British race walking. Both are well regarded modest individuals and qualified Coaches in their own right who contribute a great deal to Athletics, for all ages, outside of their individual racing endeavours.
In particular, Bill continues to work single-handed with almost herculean effort amidst the Strathclyde region for the benefit of walking and arrived at the venue today from his long train journey breathless with the excitement of gaining a new member this week to one of his training groups. Anything that can be offered by way of assistance or support to this most deserving figure is encouraged. Even to get adequate racing opportunities requires long hours of travel. His plans for the near future include assaults on the NE England and Northern Ireland track championships, a little short for his true capabilities but still good tests of speed.
Post-race and back at the parish club we welcomed a cup of tea and general catch-up before the presentation. Congratulations are due to Lancashire WC for hosting an enjoyable event again, we thoroughly appreciate and applaud the efforts shown by all involved. It is difficult to imagine another mainland club turning out as many members to walk such a distance. There will be hundreds of different competitions taking place up and down the country this weekend; it can be stated with pleasure that this friendly offering in a lovely, scenic corner of the North West was equally valuable in enhancing the spirit of our sport as any other.