Roy Gunnett’s clean pair of heels in the Dave Crompton Memorial race

The misleading rural prettiness of the Chorley course. Ta to Greg

Dave Evans reports promptly as ever. He would have been a great sports journalist meeting the Saturday ‘Pink’ or ‘Buff’ deadlines!!

On your marks or rather start the watch. Ta to Greg

Having just attained his 76th birthday Roy Gunnett showed a clean pair of heels to his fellow club rivals on the warmest day of the year so far and on the club’s hilliest course. The rail strike prevented at least 4 regular performers from toeing the starting line and others were sidelined with injuries and other walking events. Right from the gun it was clear what Roy’s tactics would be and he passed the timekeeper at 1 mile with a lead of 26 seconds in a comfortable 11 mins 18. From this point the course heads for the sky and after a further mile thankfully levels out before the helter-skelter downhill section now newly resurfaced. Behind Roy, the tight field was sighted within view of each other and the race was well and truly on. At halfway water and sponges were at the ready with the prospect of the return journey being less arduous than the opening 3 1/2 miles. Roy had established a lead of 44 seconds and as he headed back completing the same journey but in reverse, his rivals were able to assess their chances of making up ground on the leader and fellow walkers.

Roy showing his heels. Ta to Greg
Joe leads the chase ahead of Ian and Pat. Ta to Greg

At the turnaround, 3 minutes covered all but one of the competitors, and the focus for all would be on reducing any gaps. The return journey is not all plain sailing with a substantial climb to a “summit” at which point the brakes come off and any inherent speed is released. At the finish, it was closer than expected, a number of aspirants making up big deficits between miles 4 and 7. Steven Wilde proved to be the biggest “improver” and although still recovering from the London Marathon he closed down his deficit to only 9 seconds from a peak of 44 seconds. In deference to Roy, he too had completed a recent marathon. At the finish only 4 minutes covered the 6 completists, all of whom had walked with style in very warm conditions.

Sailash desperate for a drink! Ta to Dave

Greg Smith, our roving cameraman, appeared around the course to capture some decent photos, and in turn completed nearly 6k in a time of 46 mins 36. Dave Crompton’s daughter, Emma, used this opportunity to celebrate her dad’s contribution to the sport by covering the course as part of her training for the Manchester half marathon.

A relaxed Emma preparing for the half-marathon. Dave would be proud. Ta to Greg

1. Roy Gunnett 84 mins 25(11:18, 41:41, 84:25)
2. Steven Wilde 84:34(11:44, 42:25,84:34)
3. Joe Hardy 87:31(12:13, 44:20,87:32)
4. Sailash Shah 87:48(11:45, 43:27,87:48)
5. Ian Hilditch 88:11(12:07, 44:30,88:11)
6. Pat Evans 88:40(12:24, 44:42, 88:40)
7. Andrew Lennon 91:21(13:42,91:22) distance completed 8.5k
8. Greg Smith 46:36(13:30) distance completed 5.51k

Eric and Louise on feeding station duty. Ta to Dave

1. Roy Gunnett 77:10
2. Steven Wilde 78:34
3. Pat Evans 78:40
4. Joe Hardy 79:31
5. Sailash Shah 80:48
6. Ian Hilditch 85:11
7 Andrea Lennon
8 Greg Smith

Sadly the St Peter’s Club, the scene of so many races, will soon be but a memory
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