My best-laid plans thwarted. I intended to post a personal reminiscence this evening celebrating the inspirational impact of Ron Wallwork on the life of the Lancashire Walking Club – from the late 50s through to the mid-1970s. It was half-finished. However a flood in the bathroom has created chaos, spilling into the study, my illusory refuge from a turbulent world, threatening even the riches of my CD collection. In a bid to calm down I’m scribbling this apology to the soothing strains of Erik Satie.
For now a couple of recollections and some images will have to suffice.
Ron’s first title was to see him the Northern ‘Junior’ 10 miles champion in February 1959 at the Hindley Green Labour Club, Leigh. Only a mile way from my home I was a diminutive spectator. The Junior title had nothing to do with age. It meant merely that competitors had neither won individual or team Senior medals. Ironically a few weeks later Ron was prevented from racing in the Northern Senior 10 at Sheffield as at 17 years of age he was too young.
Less than a decade later he was the Commonwealth 20 miles champion and in 1967 a double national victor at 10 miles and 20 kilometres.
In 1970, save the presence of West German, Wilf Wesch he would have been a triple champion, 10 miles, 20 kilometres and 20 miles.
And, of course in 1971 he was to break Ken Matthews’ 2 hour track record.
To the astonishment of his supporters, Wallwork’s 15 miles time constituted a new national record, a Commonwealth best performance and was only 5.8 seconds outside the Czech Bilek’s world best of 1:50:46.6. Never faltering Ron pressed on to the 25 kilometres mark, reached in 1:55:00.8, where he was again faster than both Matthews and Allsop. The 16 miles point came in 118:40.0 and in the last 80 seconds Ron covered 315 yards to complete a remarkable walk.
RON’S PERSONAL BESTS
2 miles track 13.35 (converts to something like 12.45 3km)
10km track 43.07
7 miles track 49.50/road 49.38 (Highgate)
10 miles 72.13
20 miles 2.35.18
100 miles 22.26.07
There is much more to tell about Ron’s inspirational contribution to our club and I hope to add some colour to the history in my delayed reminiscence. Hopefully, it will be available at the latest at the beginning of next week.
For now I am sure that all of us at the club are united in wishing Ron, a grand lad as my grandma would say, a beltin’ birthday.