Better late than never I have the greatest pleasure in posting the first instalment of Guy Goodair’s evocative memories of his exploits in our club’s ‘Blue Riband’ event.
Manchester to Blackpool Memories
I first started serious race walking in February 1961 in the Northern ‘Junior’ Championships at Bradford and liked it so much I entered the Manchester to Blackpool race some 4 months later. It became my favourite race even more so than the Bradford Walk which was much more local to me. For some reason, the actual distance never fazed me and as far as I was concerned once I’d got past Preston I knew I’d ‘cracked it’.
After our first race in March John Hampshire & I did 1x18ml, 2 x 19 mls and 1 x 20 mls
training spins before the Manchester to Blackpool. We had John Grundy , (who the previous year had finished 2nd on the Butlins John o’Groats to Land’s End race) looking after us. It was a very sticky warm day but there were a few showers to cool us down. John Edgington & Frank O’Reilly went off early on and at the halfway I was 4th (4hrs 10min) & John 15th. I was starting to get blisters but tried to stay with John Todd and Hughie Neilson but I dropped back in the latter stages and finished 6th (8h 56m 13s) and John moved up to 10th. Lancashire won the team race with 33pts and 57 finished from 70 starters.
1 J Edgington (Coventry Godiva) 8.25.24 2 F O’Reilly (Lozells) 8.28.31 3 C Colman (Lancashire WC) 8.33.54
I wanted to become a Centurion (Leicester to Skegness) so unlike Chris Bolton (a glutton for punishment) I didn’t enter this year. See this earlier post on Chris’s gluttony.
1 H Neilson (Woodford Green) 8.53.22 2 N Hopkinson (Sheffield UH) 9.07.13 3 J Eddershaw (Sheffield UH) 9.11.45
Team Lancashire 19 pts 33 finished
It rained heavily early on then it fined up. I took the lead at Horwich and went through 23 miles in 3h 23m and halfway in 3h 55m then once again began to blister badly. Frank O’Reilly pulled away over the last 16 miles to win easily and I managed to hold onto 2nd from a fast finishing Karl Abolins. Headlines in one Sunday Newspaper was ‘O’Reilly wins with a Worry’.
Frank & I became good friends afterwards and he gave me lots of good advice and tips for ultra-distance races.
1 F O’Reilly (Lozells) 8.14.25 2 G Goodair (Wakefield) 8.33.04 3 K Abolins (Royal Sutton Coldfield) 8.35.20
Team Sheffield 40 pts 54 finished
Memories of 1964 and 1965 coming soon.