Guy Goodair’s Manchester-Blackpool Memories completed: 1972-1974

We’d just had our first child so I didn’t enter this year



The much respected ‘Gentleman’ John Eddershaw

1 J Eddershaw (Sheffield UH) 8.16.10 2 P Markham (Leicester WC) 8.17.41 3 E Crompton (Leyland) 8.24.16

Team Leyland Motors 24 pts, 38 finished

[A remarkable victory for Leyland Motors, led by Eric Crompton. Who were the other scoring competitors? TT]

Wakefield no longer had a walking section and I had joined Blackburn Harriers along with Ron Wallwork, Tony Taylor, Julian Hopkins and Chris Bolton [of which scandal, I’ll do a post in the future! TT]. Early on in the race, there were four of us in the lead – Eric Crompton, Peter Markham, Joe Toehill and myself. By Preston Joe & I had got clear (through halfway in 3h 51m) only for me to stop at 37 miles to burst a blister and again at 40 miles to change my socks. I caught Joe approaching the Central Pier and finished 3 minutes in front whilst John Lees just held off a fast-finishing Roger Michell.



A smiling, victorious Guy


1 G Goodair (Blackburn) 8.07.45 2 J Toehill )YWC) 8.10.06 3 J Lees (Brighton) 8.31.22

Team Yorks WC 23 pts 39 finished

By now we had two young boys and my training had gone to pot and I was doing less than 20 miles per week. I set off in the lead with Eric Crompton but shortly after Bolton I started to blister. I stopped at Lostock to burst them but by Chorley I was wanting to pack in. Only my attendant, Brian Pickersgill kept me going. Eric Crompton meanwhile still had a 5 minute lead at halfway but the hot day took its toll and he retired at 37 miles leaving Ken Harding an easy winner. Peter Markham pushed past John May to take 2nd
place and Roger Michel held onto 4th place even though he had a bad time over the last few miles. Peter Worth caught me towards the end and I eventually finished in 8h 53m 22s. So I ended my Manchester to Blackpool race sequence as I began – in 6th place.



Ken Harding

1 K Harding (RSC) 8.08.51 2 P Markham (Leics) 8.33.55 3 J May (Met) 8.34.56 

Team Yorks WC [No result in Race Walking Record]

As I look back nostalgically to those years I think with affection at the camaraderie on the road, the anticipated refreshing hot bath at Derby Baths after the race, tempered by the stinging salt water if you’d suffered from a burst blister en-route. The great times celebrating at the reception at the Winter Gardens and the memorable overseas trips I had with fellow Manchester to Blackpool rivals – George Barras, Chris Bolton, Bill Cowley, Pat Duncan, Mick Holliman, Harry Holmes, Eric Lee, Ray Manning, John Paterson & Roy Thorpe.

Thanks for the Memories,
Guy Goodair

[And sincere thanks to Guy for this enthralling glimpse into a collective past, easily dismissed and forgotten, the like of which will not be seen again, TT]

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15 Responses to Guy Goodair’s Manchester-Blackpool Memories completed: 1972-1974

  1. john william cannell says:

    The photo of john eddershaw was taken in the 1964 tt walk at the bottom of bray hill.

  2. john william cannell says:

    What about your memories of the tt walk guy,you did a lot of them.

  3. Tony Malone says:

    I remember Guy and Wakefield’s performances very well brings back memories of doing the half way house feeding station. I remember Pat Duncan sitting out side Cocker Street Baths after completing the race in under 8 hours. Pat was wearing large baggy woollen jumper and corduroy trousers and a chap came up to him and barrated him for just sitting their while all these blokes had just walked from Manchester!!!.
    Guy why not give your memories of Lugano?

  4. John Paddick says:

    Fascinating to read Guy Goodair’s account of the 1966 Manchester to Blackpool. I remember it well! It was my first 50 miles and I had no idea what to do. Royal Sutton had persuaded me to enter even though my maximum training distance was 9 miles. Why I agreed to walk I will never know. I will leave my memories of this event another day. It was an epic from start to finish!

  5. John Paddick says:

    Well, here it is! Stayed at the YMCA and was woken very early by walkers getting ready. Did not have breakfast -Too early! Just a cup of black coffee and went to the start with my back-up team of Arthur Wilkins and his son, Andy. Soon we were away and I found myself in the lead. Went through 7 miles in around 57 minutes and was well in front. Arrived at the drink station at Bolton but it was not open – Probably earlier than expected. Now needed the loo! Fortunately there was one of those downstairs ones in the middle of the road in Bolton so I went down to relieve myself. Found out later they did it down their legs and did not stop. Anyway, coming up from the bowels of the earth I met the leading group who I walked with for around 10 minutes before taking off on my own again.

    I did begin to wonder where the back-up team was because I had not seen them at all. So, on I went on my own through half-way and then Chorley. By now I was feeling none too good as I had not had a drink since the cup of coffee at the start. I remember a time check at 50k which was 4 hours 30 something but still no drinks. Where on earth was my attendant? Then I saw Dick Kerr’s works and a bus full of women on a day out to going to Blackpool. They were parked in a lay-by. I got onto the bus and begged a drink. All they had was beer so I had a pint bottle of Guinness which I drank immediately and then took another opened with me. I now felt much worse than before and my legs began to buckle. After the bottles of Guinness and considerably further down the road, I managed to buy a large bottle of pop at shop near a time check and was told I was 2 miles in front of the second walker. I made the pop last as long as possible and just walked slowly on towards Blackpool.

    I had been told that the windmill was 7 miles from the finish and when I got there I found my attendant who had come in a taxi to tell me the car broke down at the start. They gave me a drink and a Woodbine so I sat down and enjoyed both. All of a sudden, one of them shouted, ‘Get up John there is a walker coming’. Of course, you all know, it was Guy Goodair who had easily made up the two mile deficit. It was not long before I was caught but had the idea that I must try to hang on which I did until we arrived at Blackpool Promenade to be subjected to all of the ribald comments from the drunks enjoying a bit of fun. The last mile was hard but I remember pulling away from Guy as I was faster over a short distance. Finally, the finish was there and the hot bath welcome.

    I have no idea why I agreed to do this race and did not return for another 15 years – The memory was so horrific! The next attempt was also a win but I got lost several times on the way but that is another story.

    Best wishes to you all

  6. Tony Taylor says:

    No wonder you didn’t return for a decade and a half. Two bottles of Guinness – I feel queasy at the thought….. Brilliant – a tale never to be repeated! Much appreciated.

    • John Paddick says:

      Tony – Wasn’t sure where to put this lot on your website – It was 1966 – I just thought that the story should not be lost for ever – When I get a chance I will write up the day the Lancashire officials all went searching for me when I went off course twice and covered around 55 miles

  7. Tony Taylor says:

    John – Really chuffed you wrote up the magnificently crazy story. Is it OK to copy and paste it into a fresh post on the site? That way it will hopefully gain a wider readership. As for you getting lost I was a mobile feeding station that day and remember it well. You went up the Chorley Old rather than the New road – a much hillier route to Horwich, where the roads met at a roundabout. Look forward to your rendition. Hoping you’re in good fettle. I’m sat here with a boot on a broken foot. Best wishes.

    • John Paddick says:

      Tony – You can post it wherever you like – If it gives people a laugh I am all for that – Regarding the day I got lost, it was TWICE. Apart from the diversion you mention, I also went to Preston, via the railway station I think and definitely onto a motorway where I walked down the hard shoulder towards Blackpool, eventually joining the correct route = 55 miles. Maybe more. Hope you soon recover and post more impressive times.

  8. Tony Taylor says:

    Cheers. I’ll wait with anticipation your story of the 55 miles Blackpool!! The foot is still booted with the doctor talking of months before I can train again. Time perchance to stick to the bike. Hoping to see you in the winter if not before. Best as ever.

    • John Paddick says:

      Tony – There are actually other interesting events too – One that comes to mind is the Manchester to Blackpool on the day that the wind was so bad that the trams stopped running because the tracks were covered in sand blown up from the beach – We had a gale against us all the way from Manchester – Times were slow and I know I was a long way in front of second place – Probably 20 minutes or more – There is an advantage in being bigger than all other competitors on a day like that

  9. John Paddick says:

    Tony – I have a team photo for you all – Before the start of the 1966 Blackpool – How do I upload it ? – You might all try to identify the 10 walkers we had out on that day.

  10. Tony Taylor says:

    John – I think you will need to send it to my e-mail – – so I can upload it. Look forward to getting it. Cheers.

  11. Martin Payne says:

    I recently met Sailash Shah before our walking escapade at Schiedam.
    He mentioned your walking club. I’m based in Sheffield but grew up in Stockport.
    My race walking technique is non existent but I’d be interested in trying to race walk some 10k ( or further ) events on your side of the Pennines if that were possible so long as I wouldn’t be disqualified after 5 minutes !
    Any information you can provide would be appreciated please.
    Martin Payne

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