A week ago, whilst tens of thousands pounded the streets of London, four hundred or so determined souls glided back and forth down a sun-basked promenade in the Blackpool Marathon. The challenge was the same for competitors, both North and South – the famous distance of 26 miles 385 yards. And, unbeknown to us, one of our club’s stalwarts was out on the road in the latter event. I suspect that we might never have known anything about the exploit of our Club Secretary, except our roving, raving reporter was on the scene.
John Pouncy – great to hear from him – informs us:
Roy Gunnett racewalked to a superbly consistent performance in the Blackpool Marathon on the 23rd of April.
The full distance was completed and his times were noticeable for his extremely steady pace – his judgement in that respect showing the benefit of his huge experience. He must be strong mentally because his surrounding competitors varied hugely as the race went on. At the start there were so many alongside that it must have been difficult to keep a steady line and not be tripped. However, towards the finish Roy’s area could have felt somewhat lonely as there were few (race)walkers. But behind Roy, there were some runners who had got their pacing wrong and were struggling to finish, whereas Roy maintained his steady pace throughout and thus beat them. This workout must stand him in good stead for races in the summer and his stamina is remarkable. The weather was perfect – warm but not too much so, and windless. The sunshine was beautiful and typical of Spring. The incoming tide was gently lapping at the sand. And from a personal point of view, it was great to see a club comrade at all, let alone one performing so well.
Roy finished in 6:13:18 and was fourth in the Over 70 category. Bravo!
To fill out the national picture Dave Ainsworth reports that four people race walked the London event.
- Former Scottish International, Centurion 858 Stuart Bennett finished in 5:33.07 (2:32.49 at half marathon). He raised funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
- Former GB International, Centurion 590 octogenarian Ed Shillabeer, who is still UK 100 Kilometres Walk record holder was delighted to complete the distance in 7:36.09 (3:39.44 at half marathon). Ed raised funds for SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association).
- Benfleet resident, Centurion 1020 Kim Howard, completed her 22nd London Marathon in 5:47.46 (2:46.00 at half marathon). It was her 112th marathon in total.
- Leicester’s M70 George Smolinski who completed 90 miles at the Bury St. Edmunds 100 Miles, clocked 5:34.12 (2:46.04 at half marathon).
Double Olympian Lithuanian race walker Neringa Masilioniene, a member of Ilford AC since 2011, who ran it, was 76th woman in 2:53.10 (1:21.40 at half-marathon).
Well done Roy! And all the other marathon walkers.