I can’t recommend enough that we all spend some time reflecting on this challenging contribution from Chris Bolton. Back in the mid-1960s Chris was a leading light in the transformation of the club’s sense of itself, shifting it from being inward-looking to viewing itself as a major force on the national scene. This change was symbolised by the creation of the club’s very own magazine, CONTACT’. It is to his great credit that almost sixty years on he is still concerned about the club’s future and creative in his recommendations.
For the moment I’ll desist from having my pennyworth and hope very much that our members/readers/supporters will be involved in the necessary and vital discussion opened up by Chris.
The future of Lancashire Walking Club
Tony Malone’s story has prompted me to give a lot of thought to how we can improve the fortunes of Lancashire Walking Club.
Tony came to race walking from his attendance at a young athletes’ course and in his first road race finished thirteenth well inside the hour for six miles. That means of course that there were at least thirteen novices inside the hour; how times have changed. These young athletes are however still there and we must do all we can to attract them.
Our immediate problem is that we have an aging membership and don’t seem able to attract younger members. We are not seen as athletes and are no longer part of the athletic scene. When our HQ was at Longford Park we were included in the Stretford Track League events and we were seen and accepted as athletes, sadly this has been lost.
Many athletic clubs In our area have a membership of over five hundred and we are missing out.
Additionally, I believe that race walking in general has suffered from the demise of the six and seven in the hour badge schemes. The slogan of the novice walk was “Can you walk six miles in an hour?” I wrote to every affiliated athletic club in the area and it attracted huge interest – Dave Vickers, the winner, of course came from Bolton United Harriers.
I believe that we should now make our One Hour Track Walk our flagship event and promote it to every club in our catchment area. If you agree I will supply and pay for an initial supply of cloth embroidered badges, maybe for wearing on tracksuits. They would recognise achievements of nine, ten and eleven Kms in the hour and could possibly be classed as Bronze, Silver and Gold standards. My first stab at a design is attached.
Although controversial I believe that we must seriously consider a move of HQ to a venue with a track, parking facilities and situated adjacent to paths or roads suitable for race walking.
Even more controversial I think we should eventually consider changing the club name to Lancashire Race Walking Club.
Without being too pessimistic I see the club stagnating. We must do something before it is too late or we shall be composing the funeral hymn of this great club.
I do trust that you will understand that I am trying to be constructive and truly have the interest of the club at heart.
Chris Bolton. C332.