Looking Back’ards and For’ards with Sadness and Optimism

There are two elements to this post. The first part looks to the past in remembering one of the great characters of Northern race walking and athletics. Guy Goodair takes up the story.

Ken Bingley passed away last Thursday after a short illness He was 89 years old.

He was a legend at the Pontefract Park run, always manning the same spot. It became known as Ken’s Corner. He volunteered a grand total of 262 times, 228 times at Pontefract, 32 at Frickley and 2 at Nostell. He ran a total of 112 park runs, all at Pontefract.

Ken’s best race walking times were 7 miles: 60.01, 10 miles: 85.15, 20miles: 3.12.59, 20km:113.47 and 50km: 5.24.41. He was a member of Wakefield’s winning team in both the 1966 and 1967 IOM TT Walks and won medals in the Northern 10 miles from1962 to 1966, the Northern 20 miles in 1964 and 1967 and the Northern 50km in 1962.

1962 NARWA 10 miles championship

Ken was also an accomplished road and fell runner ( Three Peaks, Three Towers and numerous short fell races. Rest In Peace, Ken.

Given our club’s proud Centurions’ history, it is fitting also to include this poem scribed by the lately departed Ray Platt of Southend AC, C939. I suspect its contents resonate with all of the hardy souls, who have attempted and completed the Hundred. Deep respect to all. Thanks to Dave Ainsworth for the link.

By Ray Platt

The sun shone proudly from cloudless skies
Hats, sweat and sunglasses protect our eyes
We check our watches as the time nears one
For we know we walk and dare not run

One hundred miles or more or less
My legs will venture with some distress
Remember the training, remember the pain
Each strike of the foot again and again

The hours pass and my legs are strong
Lonely thoughts, lonely time are helped by song
My back held straight, tired arms are swinging
To the gentle song my head is singing

Great shock as I peer at my swollen hands
Blood congealed and congested like swollen glands
The torture and pain one suffers for glory
Will open the pages of life’s full story

The sun has gone, the moon appears
Long hours have passed since starting cheers
My thoughts travel briefly of forthcoming night
Long shadows, dark trees cast daunting a sight

Dawn, sunrise appears once again
My body sways with onslaught of pain
My lips are dry, I search for water
Without such fluid my body will falter

My legs recover by body strong
The speed increases, I march along
I search for reasons of knowing why
One hundred miles do or die.

The second part focuses on our activities on the ground over the next few weeks.

Firstly it’s not long before we reach the deadline of January 31st for submitting your times for the Virtual 5 Kilometres Handicap. The decision to include this in the Annual Handicap competition was made at the AGM. As an incentive to be involved I attach Dave’s handicap allowances. As the old saying goes, ‘can you beat the handicapper?’ This thought takes me back to an era when there were many more Open events and the need to send your entry form in advance. The form asked always for your most recent time at the distance involved. Armed with this information and having their nose to the ground the handicapper would draw up their list of allowances. Almost always handwritten this subjective but considered opinion was pinned to the door of the dressing room on the day of the race. On arrival competitors would crowd around to see how much of an allowance they had been granted – a signal for much pre-race banter!


Tony Bell 04 00
Chris Bolton 11 15
John Crahan 07 00
Peter Crahan 08 15
Eric Crompton 14 15
Stuart Edgar 04 00
Adrian Edwards 02 00
Dave Evans 05 30
Pat Evans 07 00
Guy Goodair 11 15
Roy Gunnett 07 45
Joe Hardy 06 15
Ian Hilditch 04 00
Andrea Lennon 13 45
Dan Maskell 05 15
Tony Malone 02 30
Phil McCullagh 06 30
John Payn 14 15
Martin Payne 03 25
Irene Pike 06 45
John Pouncy 10 00
Jane Pouncy 13 00
Steve Sargent 07 15
Sailash Shah 06 55
Alf Short 07 45
Greg Smith 04 15
Tony Taylor 00 00
Ron Wallwork 16 15
Steve Walker 02 00
Stephen Wilde 07 00
Glyn Jones 06 25

Your 5km clockings to Tony at tonymtaylor@gmail.com by January 31st


The Sam Shoebotton 2020. Will this finish ever be excelled?

Secondly, to much relief and anticipation, the Sam Shoebottom Trophy 10 kilometres race will go ahead on Saturday, February 5th at Simister. Roy Gunnett is to be thanked for making all the necessary arrangements. There is one very important departure from the normal. As decided at the AGM this year’s races will start at 1.00 p.m. There is some concern that members using public transport might be effected adversely by this decision. Thus latecomers will be allowed to start and will be included in the handicap results.

As ever I wish I could be with you but travel abroad has been fraught with issues, although the situation may be improving. As it is getting around on Crete is hazardous. Snow is sweeping across the landscape.The South of the island is cut off from the North. So much for warm weather training!

Crossing fingers the weather in Simister will be mild and calm with personal bests abounding.

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