A Golden Moment in the lives of the legendary Sandra and Richard Brown

STOP PRESS – See responses below from Richard and Sandra plus photos and the mention of an intriguing mystery!

Given our club’s proud Centurion tradition it is fitting and proper that we celebrate a milestone in the lives of Richard and Sandra Brown, those legendary ultra-distance walkers and record holders – their Golden Wedding Anniversary. According to Dave Ainsworth, in keeping with their reputation they celebrated by going out for a walk together and collecting a “take awayon the return to enjoy at home. 



Tim Erickson, a great historian of our sport. has written two fascinating tributes to the couple, which reveal in detail their astonishing careers.


At one point he asks Sandra what might be her best performances. She replies.

The performances, all judged race-walking, I’m probably most pleased with are:
◦ 18.36.29 in my second UK Centurion 100 at Leicester in 1984, the British ladies’ best time
◦ 200kms in 24.04.20 at Vallorbe in 1991, a world best
50 miles in 7.54.54 in the Manchester to Blackpool in 1991
◦ 50kms in 4.50.51 at Basildon in 1991, then a world best and still the W45 age group record
◦ 189.949kms at Wadelincourt [Belgian 24h championship] in 2014, the W65 24h record
◦ 51 completions [to date] of proper Centurion races worldwide, including 31 in the UK; 20 of these 51 in a first class time [under 20 hrs for 100 miles] including 14 in the UK
◦ Winning outright various Centurion 100s in the UK and elsewhere
◦ Winning over 30 Paris-Colmar/Alsace qualifying events [no. 30 was Wadelincourt 2014 and I have won others since]
◦ 191 completions of 100 miles or more, to date.


Sandra and Richard together in the Isle of Man

Just to give you a flavour of Richard’s feats.

He has 25 finishes in official Centurion walks, with a best of 16:50:28, and has won the British Centurions race a record 10 times. Apart from his British best time, he has 4 further times under 18 hours and 6 further times under 19 hours.

21:03:49 24/06/1983 Ewhurst GBR UK760
18:50:23 27/07/1984 Leicester GBR
18:33:52 18/05/1985 Sint-Oedenrode NED CN144
19:00:09 10/05/1986 Sint-Oedenrode NED
18:17:17 25/07/1986 Leicester-Congerstone GBR
17:00:35 29/07/1988 Leicester-Congerstone GBR
17:54:28 28/07/1990 Hungarton (Leicester) GBR
17:52:47 28/06/1991 Ewhurst GBR
18:50:29 21/07/1992 Leicester GBR
16:50:28 22/05/1993 Sint-Oedenrode NED
17:58:17 21/07/1993 London-Battersea GBR
18:39:42 29/07/1994 Hungarton (Leicester) GBR
19:23:16 05/08/1995 London GBR
18:12:04 03/08/1996 Colchester GBR
19:22:26 20/06/1998 Douglas IOM
19:08:16 14/08/1999 London GBR
20:29:45 24/09/2000 Golden,CO USA US49
19:50:39 04/08/2001 Colchester GBR

177.772 25/08/2001 Genting Highlands MA MC820:31:59 07/05/2005 Weert NED
20:33:00 30/07/2005 Kings Lynn GBR
20:12:44 11/07/2009 Newmarket GBR
21:23:10 22/-9/2012 Colchester GBR
21:45:23 15/08/2015 Castletown IOM
22:48:55 06/08/2017 Bury St Edmunds GBR

Both of them are remarkable. Their achievements almost beyond my comprehension.

Much more fascinating information on their web site – the ultrabrowns


Richard replies:

How very kind of you to help us celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary with such a lovely addition to the Lancashire Walking Club website.

It has been 50 years full of adventures and none more enjoyable than our races here in Britain and overseas. Although we were quite late coming to the sport of race-walking and, for both of us, our first race was at 100 miles, we’ve enjoyed racing at every distance and have enjoyed every minute. The camaraderie and friendship within the walking community, and the encouragement and support from so many people, have been truly amazing and we could not have achieved anything without that friendship from across the walking fraternity.

In 1986 a watering can comes to the rescue!

So a huge thank you to everyone, and what memories we share….including of the Manchester to Blackpool, which was one of our favourite events. We shall always remember the very special support along the route, running the gauntlet of kids, grannies and donkeys as we aimed for Blackpool Tower over that last golden mile, the blissful baths, followed by the wonderful presentation and high tea! Happy days! We attach some of our treasured photos from the M-B events.

In 1986 the Mayor and Mayoress present Richard with the trophy watched by John Eddershaw

Since she is too modest to say this, Sandra has now successfully completed over 200 events of 100 miles or above – itself another world record….by miles!

In 1991 Sandra dogs the footsteps of Andy Trigg
Double victors in 1993 with the Mayoress on the promenade

Our thanks again and best wishes to you and all at Lancashire Walking Club.

Intriguingly in another message Richard speaks about the crucial role played by roadside supporters.

The helpers are always the vital and too often unsung heroes of the road. We well remember a Lancs supporter in his Jag with scented sponges and Tizer on offer. Wonderful…. and a real lift when you had that experience.

And Sandra adds her reminiscence.

We both remember those eau-de-cologne scented sponges and how refreshing they were, on a warm August afternoon, along that long road through Lytham St Annes. Maybe this good Samaritan lived in that area? There was another supporter, somewhere around half way I think, who provided delicious little jellies set in small cake cases. They used to slip down so nicely!

I’m afraid that I wasn’t at the 1986 race. Indeed our daughter was still a baby then and I did little racing for a couple of years. So I don’t have records for that. Maybe the RWA website or someone else who did the race can help? I do have in my records a page from a programme in the 1990s where it appears that only 6 men’s winning times bettered the 7h 54.54 that I did when coming second to Andy Trigg in 1991. It was my bad luck to be narrowly beaten by him that year and Richard another year when I did 8.02. In 1991, Richard and our young Vicky were in a car trying to give me drinks but had real problems finding places to stop. At one roundabout, they parked just as I sped by, and I could hear Vicky calling after me “Come back for your drink Mummy!”

Thank you again so much for your and the club’s friendship and all your wonderful events over the years. Such memories we share!

Can anyone shed light on the identity of the Jag-driving, Tizer-loving, scented Lancastrian? I’ve got an idea!

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4 Responses to A Golden Moment in the lives of the legendary Sandra and Richard Brown

  1. William SUTHERLAND says:

    Wholeheartedly agree and they richly deserve to be awarded a Sporting Honour in the Queen’s Official Honours List. Congratulations too on their Golden Wedding Anniversary a remarkable mile stone indeed! Kind Regards, Bill and Kath Sutherland

  2. Len Ruddock says:

    Many congrats on your Golden Wedding Anniversary and thanks for combined illustrious athletic careers. All good wishes, Len Ruddock

  3. David Turner says:

    A Great Read
    (as Expected from. The Author),
    Richard and Sandra. .
    Congratulations on your 50th Wedding Anniversary.
    Major Achievement in itself!
    And on Your Many Combined..
    Will only make one Extra Comment,..
    Only ever been beaten by a Lady,
    .on the road,..
    (So far..)
    But to 2 Major Quality
    (and Likable), Athlete’s.
    The other being Delhi Commonwealth Gold Medalist,..
    Jo Jackson.
    (A Gentleman Had..
    to make sure she was safe on the Bingley road,
    (Dick Hudson’s Walk).

  4. Chris Maddocks says:

    Legendary ultra walkers, lovely couple…

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