Yesterday afternoon I climbed off my bike tired after the inevitably hilly ride round our way And as cyclists are fond of saying, ‘I didn’t have the legs’. However the last hour witnessed the arrival of bubbling clouds from the mountains. My Garmin watch as usual provided far too much information but I noticed the temperature was down to 26 degrees – cool for August. Little did I know that the Goodwin Cup was taking place in a baking Chorley and I’d been blessed with cover and a gentle breeze.
Dave Evans reports.
Although the current heatwave is due to dissolve in the next couple of days it was still in place as 7 club members set out on their 10k on one of the country’s hilliest courses. While the group negotiated the first of the hills 3 separate teams of helpers drove off to the marshalling points on the route with buckets of water and sponges. At the 1 mile point, Roy Gunnett headed the field passing this marker in 11 mins 32 with Steven Wilde and Glyn Jones just 8 seconds adrift. The remaining walkers were fairly close at hand but obviously wary of walking too quickly under the mid-afternoon sun. The course followed the same route as the Dave Crompton event but being a bit shorter at 10k meant an earlier turnaround.
As the walkers emerged from the leafy lanes, high above Chorley, Steven had closed on Roy and both passed the halfway marker in 35 mins 22. Glyn Jones was the next to show at 35 53 and it was another minute and a half before the “really careful” trio arrived for their well-earned water station refreshments. The first 5k involves rather more ups than downs so as athletes headed back to the finish thoughts may well have turned to a less arduous second half. This might have been a logical conclusion except the thermometer was registering around 29 degrees and shade was at a premium.
As the officials were topping up water for the finishers the first walker came in sight and it was Steven who was recording his first ever win in the club outside of the handicap. His 70 mins 59 was excellent in the circumstances. Roy Gunnett had raised his game in the hot sunshine and was only 28 seconds adrift. In third place and almost out on his feet was Glyn Jones, proving that octogenarians are still capable of posting great results. Glyn ducked under 72 minutes but suffered quite badly with the extremely warm temperatures. He gradually recovered after quite a few dunkings of cold water and sponges but might initially have given a lobster a run for its money. Everyone else arrived safely and after some refreshments were able to behave normally!
Thanks to the club members and supporters who manned the sponge stations and the two Eric’s, Horwill and Crompton, who provided accurate timings and a very comfortable venue for the changing and post-race presentation. Louise Whaite, Dave Crompton’s partner, provided her usual excellent support in a variety of ways, particularly with the provision of mid-race watering facilities and post-race refreshments. Eric Horwill continues to be a real asset to our club despite having to journey from the Midlands on many occasions, usually by public transport. On this occasion, Glyn very kindly brought him by car and we are very grateful for their goodwill towards the Lancashire Walking club.
One of the final agenda issues at Chorley was the Centurions 100 at Middlesbrough in which we have 4 current club walkers and a former member in the guise of Hazel Fairhurst. We offer our best wishes to Adrian Edwards, Martin Payne, Sailash Shah, Martin Fisher and Hazel .
1. Steven Wilde (11 40/35 22) 70 59
2. Roy Gunnett(11 32/35 22) 71 27
3. Glyn Jones(11 40/35 53) 71 51
4. Joe Hardy(12 09/37 27) 74 12
5. Ian Hilditch(12 29/37 43) 74 39
6. Pat Evans(12 29/37 51) 75 13
7. Greg Smith(12 29/39 05) 78 23
1. Steven Wilde 63 24
2. Roy Gunnett 63 37
3. Glyn Jones 64 46
4. Joe Hardy 67 37
5. Pat Evans 68 08
6. Ian Hilditch 70 19
7. Greg Smith 70 33
I should add that Sailash walked on the Chorley course today to complete his training for the Centurions 100 but was wise not to have got involved in the race proper.
Thanks to Martin Payne for the photos.