REMINISCENCES 11: CHRIS HARVEY, THE FASTEST EVER LWC ATHLETE

Following Ron Wallwork’s exploration of the club’s team successes at a national level and the barren years after the early 70s it is revealing to mark Chris Harvey’s individual victories in the Junior 10 kilometres in 1978 and Senior 10 miles in 1979. The painful irony is that as Chris’s talent blossomed the nucleus of the competitive teams of 1969/70/71 pursued an abortive attempt to create a Blackburn Harriers Walking section. This brief, even ignominious adventure, usually brushed under the carpet, will get some serious attention in the near future. For now it left Chris, apart from Tony Malone, without the back up necessary for the club to mount a challenge in the team competitions. Indeed such was their frustration that Chris and Tony joined for a time the then up and coming York Postal Race Walking Club.

Chris muses:

I used to do high jump at school and sprints but couldn’t break through until I did the walk and won it. The two boys in front kept running behind the buildings to build up a lead but I shouted to my dad, who informed the judge, who collared them in the act!

I started walking seriously at school because my dad was coaching a local lad, who finished 6th in the English Schools in 1971. I finished 3rd in the 1973 3 kilometres behind Mike Dunion and Dave Cotton. I went on to be the National Boys Club national champion from 1975-1977. 

Chris in action at Longford Park, Stretford

HONOURS, CHAMPIONSHIP AND OPEN VICTORIES AND PLACINGS

1974 3rd National Junior 5 Miles

1977 3rd National Junior 10 kilometres

1978 1st National Junior 10 kilometres

1978 6th National 10 miles

1978 GB International, Spanish 20 kilometres, Barcelona

1978 GB Junior International v Italy

1979 1st National 10 miles

1979 GB International in the Lugano World Cup Championship

1979 1st York Postal Open 7 miles

1980 GB International, Spanish 20 kilometres, Barcelona [finished 3rd in 89.12 and of the top 6 I was the only one not go to the Olympics in Moscow]

1980 3rd Inter-Counties 10 kilometres

1980 1st York Open 20 kilometres

Missing from this list at the moment are Northern Junior and Senior titles and placings.

Press cutting after his great victory in the 1979 National 10 miles at York

PERSONAL BESTS

TRACK

3 kilometres 12:12 [1980] – perhaps my best single performance

10 kilometres 43:19 [1980]

ROAD

7 miles 48:47 [1979]

10 miles 71:25 [1979]

20 kilometres 88:26 [1979]

35 kilometres 2:59;16 [1980]

Marathon 3:45:00 [1982]

RUNNING [ROAD]

Half Marathon 76:25

Press cutting acclaiming Chris’s selection for the GB team in 1979

In 2020 Chris has been less than well, but he hopes to be on the road in 2021. Thus his comments on his career are limited, but hopefully he will fill out the above sketch of his accomplishments in the near future. In his own words he concludes.

As I withdrew from serious competition I coached at the local Vale Royal athletics club. I carried on running but not much walking, although I did a 10 mile in Bury in 76 minutes around 1985, along with a 69 minutess for 15k in Stockport  but it came to nought.  

I did some walking after my Dad died in 1997 but it was proper rubbish so I retired to be plagued by bad knees and thence two knee transplants in 2005 & 2012.

Oh by the way Tony Taylor and Mick Holmes are two of the best walkers I’ve come across. The hardest to beat when I was a junior were Maurice Ireland  and Ken Harding. The most impossible to get past was Amos Seddon, a legend. And I saw Paul Nihill, what a stylist and of course Roger Mills. Not forgetting my good friend Steve Uttley with whom I’ve laughed and laughed!

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1 Response to REMINISCENCES 11: CHRIS HARVEY, THE FASTEST EVER LWC ATHLETE

  1. Ron Wallwork says:

    I was so pleased that Chris has put down on paper some of his experiences. He was to my knowledge the last of six senior Lancashire internationals. The others were Bobby Bridge, Thomas Dumbill, Joe Hopkins (all Olympians), myself, Tony and Chris.
    But the Club’s longevity is the result of the scores (among them 41 Centurions) who never made the limelight (who also have interesting tales to tell and I hope they will do just that

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