Macclesfield Shield Ten Miles – April Fools Day, 2023

Spring in Sutton

Dave Evans reports:

With a cool edge to the weather, a field of nine walkers faced the starter on April Fools’ Day. The presence of Graham Jackson (Northern Vets) and Dave Hoben (Surrey WC) certainly added more interest to the proceedings. Dave is a regular visitor to our events and on this occasion managed to out-manoeuvre Network Rail which was due to suspend rail services until fairly recently.

Adrian leads Graham

From the start, it was clear that Adrian Edwards would take the lead and his absence from club races from shortly after the Centurions 100 told initially until he got into his stride. Graham walked stylishly and shadowed Centurion number 1216 throughout the race. Despite the cold conditions, every walker showed absolute concentration and as the race unravelled a number seemed to revive after a somewhat steady start.

Adrian beginning to take control
Graham stylish and solid

Octogenarian Andrea Lennon is a fine example of how important sport can be in the life of an older athlete. Early in the morning, she was tail-walking at the Heaton Park parkrun and here she was 4 hours later facing the prospect of covering a not-inconsiderable distance for a race walker – let alone someone of a certain age. At 6 miles Adrian sprung into life and there was a clear difference in his walking cadence. Graham was still walking well but Adrian is a real competitor and he must have sensed the moment to increase his tempo. As the final miles unfurled there were some interesting changes behind our leading two performers with patience accounting for improved positions.

Roy safe as ever
Phil giving everyone a start
Joe looking relaxed

At this point, I have to offer my very grateful thanks to a number of individuals who made today’s race a success. Glyn Jones, Honorary Chairman of the RWA, a very regular walker and supporter, manned the turnaround point. Tony Taylor, former GB International, manned a critical junction and no doubt like Glyn, encouraged club colleagues. Chris Bolton, Tony Malone, Ian Hilditch and Irene Pike joined the support teams on route and Greg Smith, our regular photographer, all contributed to a successful day. It was also good to see Mark Byrne, a great supporter of walking, around the course and an invitation is extended to him and walking colleagues for our events in future. As usual, our refreshments at Sutton Macclesfield were provided by Marshall Barnard, a supporter of our club for over 50 years, either personally or through members of his family.

Graham receives the Macclesfield Shield from Marshall

Results (10 miles)

  1. Adrian Edwards 102 mins 10
  2. Graham Jackson 103 mins 08
  3. Roy Gunnett 124 mins 22
  4. Joe Hardy 124 mins 32
  5. Phil McCullagh 126 mins 38
  6. Dave Hoben 127 mins 03
  7. Sailash Shah 128 mins 13
The indomitable Andrea

Results (8.05 miles Andrea Lennon 112 mins 10
Results(6.11 miles) Pat Evans 77 mins 32
Results (5.5 km) Greg Smith 43 minutes 58

All the way from Surrey, Dave graced us with his presence
In his own word, Sailash found it ‘tough going’


  1. Graham Jackson 98 mins 38
  2. Adrian Edwards 100 mins 40
  3. Dave Hoben 107 mins 03
  4. Phil McCullagh 107 mins 08
  5. Roy Gunnett 108 mins 22
  6. Joe Hardy 108 mins 32
  7. Sailash Shah 110 mins 13
  8. Andrew Lennon
  9. Pat Evans
  10. Greg Smith
In her words. Pat ‘going through the motions’
Post-race socialising, including Eric Horwill’s 90th birthday cake. Congratlations to Eric, who couldn’t be with us


As ever it was brilliant to see everybody. Although everyone seemed to be of the opinion that I would have been better off racing rather than marshalling. Indeed it was cold, especially for a lad, whose blood has been thinned by the Cretan sun! Nevertheless I was kept warm, courtesy of Irene Pike’s gloves and a chance meeting with a couple of ageing Sutton residents. They were so pleased to see athletes on the roads and began to reminisce about the past when Sutton was a hot-bed of race walking. Recollecting names seemed to be a problem until I mentioned Don Warren and the memory banks opened – Albert Rigby and Bill Pointon, of course. And, as for courses themselves, they pondered a diversity of circuits that had been used, including an out-and-back to Langley and its reservoir.

Mention of Don Warren, in particular, and the tough Langley route, together with meeting Chris Bolton and Tony Malone back in the club last Saturday found me in a nostalgic vein. In 1969 the Northern 10 miles championship was held from the Ex-Service Men’s Club. Jim Hackwood of Sheffield United Harriers, the Northern Area correspondent for the Race Walking Record reported.

I believe the race was a significant moment in the history of the club. It signalled the resurrection of Ron’s career after the disappointment of failing to make the Mexico Olympics. In the next few years he was to become again a dominant figure on the British race walking scene. It underlined the growing strength of the club itself. It was stylish Don Warren’s first Northern winning team medal, as it was for Dave Vickers. On a personal level it constituted something of a breakthrough, even though I suffered from trying to keep pace with the up and coming Sheffield star, Jake Warhurst. In retrospect, it’s consoling that my dad, Alf, camera in hand, was there to witness my performance. Sadly, he died, aged 52, only a few weeks later. Frustratingly the movie film of the race disappeared without trace. It would have been a touching memory.

Grateful thanks to Greg Smith and Irene Pike for the splendid images.

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