Manchester to Blackpool Memories: 1964-1965
Having won the Bradford Walk in the previous month and done a 4:30:57 PB in the National 50km at Enfield a fortnight earlier, I was very confident for this race. It rained incessantly throughout. After 15 miles Frank O’Reilly was leading with Mick Holliman & I lay just behind with teammate John Hampshire in 6th place. At 18 miles we left Frank and at halfway we were a minute & a half up. I managed to get a 10 yards gap on Mick approaching Preston with John still 6th, but beginning to get a touch of cramp. The rain started to descend more heavily and I passed 35 miles in 5h 25m, John getting there in 5h 35m before retiring with a bad attack of cramp. I’d got away from Mick but when I got to St Annes I began to tire badly. However, I managed to hang on for a win.
1 G Goodair (Wakefield) 8.16.54 2 M Holliman (Highgate) 8.21.59 3 F O’Reilly (Lozells) 8.38.02
Team Sheffield 24 pts, 38 finished
Wakefield had a full team this year and a Wakefield runner, Barry Fletcher looked after us – three weeks later I reciprocated by looking after Barry when he won the Liverpool to Blackpool Road Running race. There was a bunch of five early on but after 15 miles Mick Holliman & I drew away with George Barras & John Hampshire not far behind.
George Barras had an unsettling moment in Chorley when he was almost knocked over by a car coming out of a side street and had to jump on the car’s front fender to avoid being knocked down! Once we’d passed Preston we faced a tremendous headwind which made progress hard work. The difficulties increased after St Annes when drifting sand kept blowing across the road into our eyes as well as sticking to the Vaseline we’d put on our nipples and armpits, acting like sandpaper.
Mick & I were still ‘neck & neck’ after the South Pier then Mick looked round for his attendant – the lady on the bike in the photo. Barry, my attendant, immediately screamed at me “Go, Go – you’ve got him!” I tried to increase my pace and managed to open up a 200-yard gap which I held to the finish. Wakefield packed well with George Barras 4th.
The race report in the Daily Telegraph by Peter Keeling referred to me as ‘Goodair,
bespectacled and slightly built’. For years afterwards every time Chris Bolton rang me he
would enquire if he was speaking to ‘the bespectacled and slightly built Goodair’!
1 G Goodair (Wakefield) 8.29.07 2 M Holliman (Highgate) 8.30.05 3 K Abolins (Royal Sutton Coldfield) 8.43.11
Team Wakefield 17 pts, 44 finished
Footnote from Tony Taylor
Given the conditions described by Guy in 1965, especially the vicious cross wind off the sea on the last 6 miles into Blackpool, the lass on the bike must have been a hardy soul. Do we know who she was?