We’d just had our first child so I didn’t enter this year
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.
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.
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,
[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]