In these doom-mongering times some research we can all agree with, even if we’re a touch biased! Last week I was laying the fire with some very old newspapers donated by a neighbour and at the last minute rescued this 2019 article. I wonder if our New Zealand friend, Mike Parker can shed any more light on the study, which was evidently carried out in Dunedin. Any road we can all puff out our chests, knowing we’re a clever lot! Or can we?
Harking back to our previous post, in which Ron Wallwork revisited the club’s exploits in 1957, young Chris Bolton has got in touch with this lovely anecdote.
A Happy New Year to you and thank you for the feature showing results from 1957.
It brought back many memories since it was the year I joined Lancashire Walking Club.
My first event is not featured but it was the Lancashire County One Mile Track Championship at White City. There were only two competitors, Fred Pearce and myself. Fred won in about 8-27 and I was a minute adrift. As I crossed the line I was only partially comforted by the comment of the chief judge, Harold Willcox, “well done lad, I could see you weren’t trained.”
My next effort was the Manchester to Blackpool walk where Vic Murray’s sister was my attendant. At Freckleton, I told her I was retiring and a lovely couple took me into their house to await my collection. After providing me with a plate of sandwiches, a pot of tea and a bowl of hot water in which to bathe my feet it became apparent that I had been abandoned. The only solution was to put my shoes back on and walk the remaining twelve miles to Blackpool. I struggled to finish in 11 hours 3 minutes, last again.
Therefore in my first two races, one at one mile and one at 51.75 miles, I finished last. Quite a range of talent I’m sure you will agree!
Each following year, on the Blackpool Walk, a sandwich and a cup of tea awaited me at Freckleton as I passed through. Five years after my first adventure I finished fourth and on the way home I stopped at Freckleton to show my supporters the team trophy and to thank them and recognise their part in my survival.
Continuing the Blackpool theme here is a group of photos from the early 1950s. There are no details with the images so I’ve tried to make my best guess as to the dates. I think the first two are from 1952 with Percy Reading [Polytechnic Harriers] completing a hat-trick of wins with George Lamb [Lancashire WC] second. Just marvel at the crowds lining the approach to the finish at Blackpool Town Hall.
The following two images are of the same two athletes finishing first and second respectively once more in the previous year 1951. How frustrating for George, trying I think to be the club’s first winner of this Classic event. I need to do some more homework as that sounds improbable. Certainly it looks as if George had walked himself to a standstill. Is he being given smelling salts whilst the St John’s Ambulance is at hand?!
I’ll be back next week with more odds and soda plus thoughts on the future. Have a beltin’ weekend, noisy or quiet.
The photo of my dad receiving attention from all and sundry, was perhaps the year he got drugged at Squires gate when he was leading by a big margin.
Fascinating, Dave. Can you add any more to the story? As soon as you mention it I have a memory from long ago of hearing about this happening. Cheers.
There had been a lot of betting on the race because Percy was going for a hat trick. My dad who was well in front at Squires Gate was offered a drink of shandy of mostly lemonmade, the man said, my dad took it and by the time he got to the archway over the road a little further on Percy had passed him. His brother, who was his attendant had stopped for a drink thinking that all would be well, because he was so far in front, but that proved to be a false hope. Those betting on the race got their way and dad struggled that last 3 or 4 miles, as you can see from the photo. I don’t think he ever fully recovered from that shock, as his times after that never came anywhere near what he would have acheived that day had he not taken that drink.
I should have said that the shandy had been spiked with something. The result was a great disappointment not only to dad but also LWC as this would have been their first win in this race. I only learned of the drugging, when I asked mum about the year she left us on our own on the coach full of LWC supporters, which was following the race. She told us that walk officials came to pick her up to go and watch dad win the race. All she got to see was a staggering George almost unable to put one foot in front of the other.