Dave Evans reports on a year tinged with sadness

You will find below our Chairman’s moving and informative report on the year 2018 to 2019. As John Crahan noted at the AGM held last Saturday Dave Evans has been a tower of strength in holding things together since the tragic loss of Fred Pearce.


Before presenting my annual report of the life of the club in the last 12 months I need to honour the achievements of Fred Pearce, the longest serving member of the Lancashire walking club in its 112 year history. Despite suffering from increasingly poor health in his last 12 months he maintained his enthusiasm for the sport and was solely responsible for the continued existence of the club. Fred’s involvement with the sport goes back to his teenage years and he became a member of the Lancashire Walking club in the early 1950’s. He was a very stylish walker throughout his competitive years and even in recent times was able to display all of the skills of a proper exponent of race walking before one of our Bury track races. He will be greatly missed by the club especially as he was a steady hand, an excellent communicator and extremely hard worker in the name of the club. We now have to continue to manage the club as best we can and keep our national profile at a decent level. In praising Fred’s unrivalled expertise we must not forget that behind the scenes he was supported magnificently by Chris and her family and we hope the Pearce family will continue to visit us as often as they can.

Chris accepts graciously the request from Dave Evans that she steps into Fred’s shoes as our President.for the rest of 2019

I will start my annual report by confirming that our club has maintained its membership at around 35 comparing very favourably with most of the country’s prominent race walking clubs. Whilst we continue to promote our monthly races I would like to give special thanks to our regular guest walkers and officials, these being Glyn Jones, Eric Horwill, Stuart Edgar, Dan Maskell and Martin Fisher. Both Glyn and Eric either hold or have held high office in the RWA so their presence has kept us in touch with what is going on further afield. 

            The championship highlight of this year’s walking  programme was the BMAF event at HORWICH in June supported by the Lancashire Walking club in substantial numbers.  Adrian Edwards was the race co-ordinator and with the assistance of Eric Horwill the race was a great success. We had 4 individual gold medallists with Andrea Lennon securing the womens V75 title, Tony Malone the V65 , Joe Hardy the V75 and John Payn the V85 crown. Silver medals went to Tony Taylor(V70), Sailash Shah(V50), Phil McCullagh(V60) and Ian Hilditch(V75). Sole bronze medallist from the club was Greg Smith in the V65 category.  Tony Taylor was a member of the winning English national team and Tony Malone a silver medallist in the Irish team. Despite performing with distinction John Crahan, Roy Gunnett and Steve Sargent found themselves in the age group with the most competitors and finished 5th, 6th and 7th in the V70. Tony Taylor recorded an age graded performance of 90.7 % and Andrea an excellent 80%. 

                              In the last 12 months we have had 12 club races with fields ranging from 5 through to 20, the latter being Fred’s relay event.  Overall we have maintained a decent turnout at races although very slightly less than in 2018. We have had 144 walkers in total at our races with guests accounting for a quarter of the field. Whilst the numbers are slightly less than in 2017/18 I must point out that 2 or 3 club members officiated at the events but did not walk.  Our guests have continued to support us and we owe them a debt of gratitude given they have travelled from the Midlands, Yorkshire and the South to be with us. Dan Maskell, Glyn Jones, Eric Horwill, Stuart Edgar and Martin Fisher have kept us on our toes, sorry heels, and we hope they will continue to walk and/or officiate at our fixtures. Although not all are Lancs WC club members they are considered very much part of our infrastructure. 

                               While we turn up each month to contest another club race I think I should use this opportunity to thank a number of people for their part in the life of the organisation.  Roy Gunnett has taken over full responsibility for our fixtures and the finances. All of our events have to be given a racing permit and this requires Roy to obtain authorisation and where necessary a risk assessment. He does all of this quietly and has ensured that the club meets all of its financial responsibilities. Registering club members is a large part of the job and Roy has done this efficiently. The finances are in safe hands.  Tony Taylor is always with us in spirit developing our club website from Crete and very fortunately for us in person when he can get a suitable flight back to the UK. The site has gone from a fairly mundane display to a gradually evolving collection of interesting articles, statistics, photos and comments on the walking fraternity and related issues. We appreciate the work which has gone into its development and hope people will have a look at it regularly and if required send articles to Tony for publication.  Greg Smith is the quiet man of the club going about his business without prompt and although still very capable of racing will always marshal if we’re short. He is a steadying influence and I hope he manages to get back into racing on a regular basis to stir the competition. As AGM secretary he does quite a bit behind the scenes and his expertise is greatly appreciated. Our races are spread between 4 venues, most of which we have used for many years, thanks to the goodwill of our hosts. Eric Crompton and Louise have continued to allow us to operate from St Peter’s club at Chorley, Marshall Barnard and Kath have entertained us at the Ex Serviceman’s club at Macclesfield, both venues at no charge with provided refreshment for free.  Emma, one of the “trustees” of today’s location, has always looked after us and just recently when we had to transfer our race from Macclesfield, made sure we could use her school. She even makes a financial adjustment if we can’t use all of the normally available facilities. Even the full cost of this is minimal. Pat, our resident caterer, has done a great job providing refreshments at Simister, and I would like to thank her for looking after everyone including our vegetarians.  Our final venue in the round is the Bury Athletic club track where Roger, a retired” athlete always makes us welcome and provides very good changing rooms with showers and plenty of room to do post race activities.  

Tony Malone powers away in the Fred Pearce Relay

                                                        Having found his Irish roots a few years ago Tony Malone is now able to walk in their national championships and in the Masters event he walked a solid 29 mins 53 for 5th place. 

                                                        In   the Centurions 100 mile, an event we have hosted in the past , our two aspirants were Adrian Edwards and Sailash Shah. The Isle of Man, was this year’s venue, and both of our colleagues were ready to do battle. In the first 12 hours both Adrian and Sailash were on target but in the next hour or so the wheels started to come off.  Adrian had done all of the right sort of training but a large blister on his heel gradually brought him to a stop having walked 59 miles in 13 hours 9 minutes of walking . Sailash was walking particularly well as he entered his 50th mile but not too long afterwards he experienced increasing problems with his system which meant his body not holding onto its fluid content. He gradually started to dehydrate and eventually was taken to hospital and was lucky not to have suffered any permanent damage.He still managed a very reputable 53 miles in 14 hours 8 minutes.   Looks like it might be 2020 for our next attack on the Centurions event which I think could be in Colchester. Hopefully we can get some supporters down there to second both challengers and any other club walkers who want to have a go at this iconic challenge. 

                                                             Prior to the 100 Sailash competed in the NARWA 10k championships where he finished third.  Generally we do not manage to field any really numbers in the championships which by and large are category A events. 

Chris Bolton

Chris Bolton, one of our oldest members completed yet another Nijmegen walk, this one being his 18th. Chris first started doing these marches in 1958. 

It has come to my notice recently  that Maurice Ireland, one of our oldest members has recently been in hospital following a stroke and I know you will all join me in wishing him well. Tony Taylor put a nice article on the club website highlighting Maurice’s ability to lead most races regardless of standard so in common with his usual race practice we wish him a speedy recovery. 

                                                 Amongst a number of interesting facts which arise during bits of research conducted by me and my ever vigilant colleagues are the following:-

  1. The running shoes worn by Roger Bannister when he broke the world mile record in 1954 were designed by Eustace Thomas, a member of the Lancashire Walking club.
  2. The Lancashire walking club was founded in 1907 under the direction of Mr W Coles of the Manchester Athletic club who wanted to inaugurate a club which would have as its objective the promotion of walking as an exercise and sport in Lancashire.  The title of Lancashire Walking club was decided upon and a Mr A Edwards was elected our first honorary secretary. The meetings were held in late November 1907 at the Sherwood Hotel in Fallowfield. 40 walkers had expressed an interest in joining the club from Liverpool, Bolton, Chorley, Stockport, Altrincham, Sale and Manchester. The annual subscription was set at 5 shillings.  Within 1 month a group of walkers were already planning a stroll from Manchester to Blackpool a precursor of the famous race over that course and by complete coincidence another name appears, mirrored in the present day. A Mr Crompton no less who with Mr Edwards and a third party completed the stroll with I read, meals on route at the 16 mile point, then Preston and finally Lytham.  6 months later the club arranged a Whit tour of London which in itself is not too exceptional but when you do it on foot from Manchester the exercise is a different challenge. They covered 190 miles stopping at Congleton, Rugeley, Coventry, Towcester and St Albans. They finished at Marble Arch and by all accounts were guided from St Albans to London by a cluster of London walkers and on finishing were entertained with a substantial dinner at a London hotel. 

Dave Evans, Chair of Lancashire Walking Club

Race result, photos and more information to follow.

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Greg Smith, our AGM Secretary writes:

Dear Lancashire Walking Club members and friends,

The Annual General Meeting of Lancashire Walking Club will be held on Saturday 2nd November 2019 at Lady Wilton Hall, Simister. As is our custom, it will be preceded by a 5kms race walk, starting at 1.30pm.

Dave Evans attempts to bring order to the proceedings at Bury as he will have to do at the AGM!

Attached please find:

  1. A letter of invitation from the Chairman
  2. The agenda for the 2019 AGM
  3. The minutes of the 2018 AGM.

I do hope you will be able to participate and I look forward to seeing you on Saturday 2nd.

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Maurice Ireland – Best wishes for a speedy recovery

It is with much concern we report that Maurice Ireland, a club stalwart and member since 1960, a former Chairman and President, not to mention the organiser of many a splendid Annual Dinner, was struck by an unexpected stroke last Saturday. At the time of writing he is still in hospital and recovering slowly. In his prime Maurice was well-known for his audaciously fast starts to races. In truth, being a senior manager in the Post Office, he never had the time to fulfil his undoubted potential.

Maurice winning 1978 NW GPO Champs 15k in 74:12

Supported by his dear friend, Chris Bolton we wish Maurice the speediest of recoveries and look forward to seeing him out and about in the near future. Maurice, what about racing the Masters 5k at Horwich, June 2020?

See Maurice’s lovely contribution to our historical musings back in 2016 ‘Joining the daft beggars’.

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Phil McCullagh takes the Albert Rigby Trophy with a strong second half

The Albert Rigby trophy race had to be moved at late notice from Sutton Macclesfield to Simister.

Dave Evans reports:

Overcast skies with a slight breeze greeted the fourteen strong field of walkers with all but Adrian Edwards setting off together. Adrian gave the main body of the field a 5 minute start. Tony Bell had a bit of a cold (too late to affect my handicapping!) so let Roy Gunnett tow the field along with Dan Maskell, Tony himself and Glyn Jones in close contention. Joe Hardy was in a bit of a void at 5k with nearly a minute between him and his pursuers and a gap of 47 seconds to the athlete ahead of him. Four others, Dave Hoben (Surrey Walking club), Pat Evans, Ian Hilditch and Phil McCullagh were all in close proximity to each other with Sailash Shah and John Crahan bringing up the rear of the 10k group.

Roy Gunnett, immaculately straight on contact, said to be towing the field in Dave’s report

Andrea Lennon had chosen to walk just the opening 5k stage with John Payn opting for the same distance. They walked times of 42 mins 59 and 44 mins 35 respectively.

Glyn Jones, whose support for our races and race walking in general, is second to none.

The second 5k saw Adrian pull through to post a comfortable final time of 59 mins 32 with Tony Bell a decent 65 mins 56. Roy Gunnett clocked 66 mins 08 for one of his fastest 10k’s in recent times and Dan Maskell walked with some style to record a good 66 mins 30. Glyn Jones walked well but also found himself in a gap leading the next big group by nearly 2 minutes. He walked a time of 67 minutes 03.

Joe Hardy wondering how his beloved City have gone on.

The next five did some decent racing and were rewarded with times of 69 19(Joe Hardy), 69 35(Phil McCullagh), 69 36(Dave Hoben), 69 41(Pat Evans) and 69 52(Ian Hilditch). Sailash walked a steady 71 04 with John Crahan maintaining a decent pace with 72 mins  59.

Phil McCullagh, the deserved winner of the Albert Rigby Shield

The handicap results produced a win for Phil McCullagh ( a great second 5k), with Pat Evans 2nd and Ian Hilditch 3rd. The remaining positions were:- 4th Joe Hardy, 5th Dan Maskell, 6th Adrian Edwards, 7th Roy Gunnett, 8th Sailash Shah, 9th Tony Bell, 10th John Crahan.

Chris Pearce presented the Albert Rigby Shield to Phil MCullagh.

STOP PRESS : Back in Crete we’ve procured a spare key to our PO Box so I’ll be able to post Roy’s thoughts and his official results sheets.

FURTHER STOP PRESS: The Dick Maxwell Memorial race and pre-Xmas shindig has been moved from November 30 to December 7 – still on the Nightmare course, as best I know!

Once again thanks to Greg Smith for the excellent photos.

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STOP PRESS: Albert Rigby Trophy race – change of venue for October 5

Note from Dave Evans:

Roy Gunnett has been contacted by Marshall Barnard , the steward at our Macclesfield venue, apologising for double booking a 21st on the day of our event which means we have to go to option B. Roy has already spoken to Emma at Simister who thought the school would be available on 5th October but she would have to speak to her boss. She promised to establish quickly if we were safe to use the normal Simister venue. Fingers crossed. As things stand Macclesfield is not available but hopefully Simister will be the stand in venue. As soon as we know for certain we will circulate the club members with the venue confirmation. Watch this space.


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Tony Bell strides to victory in the One Hour Lambert Trophy race at Bury

What did we do before smart watches? Dave sounds the klaxon, Eric starts his watch and John prepares to record the exploits

Dave Evans reveals all, while Roy Gunnett’s report and detailed results sheet remains trapped in our post box in the village square, to which we have lost the key. A replacement in Greek time is allegedly on its way!

The weather was kind with pleasant sunshine and no wind. The line up was interesting with Adrian on the sidelines still recovering from his centurion challenge. Tony Bell was the likely winner with Roy and Glyn Jones vying for minor honours.

Tony Bell on his way to victory

Dan Maskell, our regular south coast support squad member, made the long journey from Brighton and walked very fluently and fairly, to squeeze between Roy and Glyn mid race and at the end the pre race favourite was first with 9420 metres, Roy Gunnett a disciplined second with 9040 metres and Dan third with 8920 metres.

Dan Maskell, chased by Glyn Jones, displaying good technique

Glyn slowed a little in the last couple of miles but was still a solid 4th with 8834 metres. John Crahan started steadily but by halfway was picking off adversaries. He was in 5th place at the close recording a distance of 8667 metres. Joe Hardy is ultra consistent but the track is not his natural home aside from mentioning that he joined the Centurions brotherhood by covering 100 miles on a track in just shy of 22 hours. His 8476 metre distance was fine hanging onto 6th place from fellow septuagenarian by only 56 metres. Ian Hilditch was the pursuer and his 8420 metres was a good walk reflecting his return to fitness.

Hopefully a hydrated Sailash

Sailash Shah, despite hospitalisation during the Centurions 100 miler in the Isle of Man, walked well and was taking fluid for most of the race, to ensure he did not suffer the same problems as in the 100. Phil McCullagh always applies himself but on this occasion his usual second half speed was absent but he still covered 8271 metres.

The irrepressible, indomitable Andrea

Andrea Lennon, our lady septuagenarian, stepped onto to the track with her arm in a sling. An operation for carpal tunnel syndrome could not deter her from supporting the event and her final distance of 7131 metres was excellent in the circumstances although not pain free.

Metronomic Pat acknowledges applause before dashing off to make the tea!

With catering duties calling her, Pat Evans decided to do the 5k and with metronomic precision she rattled off every lap but the last two in either 2 50 or 2 51.

Thanks to Eric Horwill (timekeeping), Adrian Edwards, John Payn, Irene Pike and Greg Smith for doing the lap recording so efficiently. A successful day all round. Cheers.

PS For the record Adrian’s bold effort to join the Centurion ranks fell foul of badly blistered feet caused by an excess of Vaseline in his socks and shoes.

Last but not least, thanks to Greg Smith for the photos.

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Roy Gunnett and Ian Hilditch, the winners at Chorley

GOODWIN CUP 1OK, CHORLEY, AUGUST 17 (Race Permit RWA 9032-1)

Roy Gunnett reports:

The turnout for this race was down on usual for a number of reasons, including Adrian Edwards and Sailash Shah taking part in the IOM 100 miles race.

Roy Gunnett racing at Bury a few weeks later

Those who did enter had a very enjoyable race over the tough Chorley course – with the first 4 finishers in close proximity to each other throughout the race. John Crahan was not going to walk due to injury – gladly, however he took part to make up the numbers.

John Crahan defying injury, pictured here at Bury

Times were a little down on the usual due to the warm weather and hilly course. Roy Gunnett won the scratch race and Ian Hilditch the handicap and Goodwin Cup.

Ian Hilditch, winner of the Goodwin Cup, pictured here at Bury

Dave Evans, our handicapper, remarks:

Nice weather but a very small field as Adrian and Sailash were in the Isle of Man and others decided to give it a miss. The race was almost more interesting as Roy Gunnett, Joe Hardy, Ian Hilditch, Pat Evans and John Crahan toed the starting line. At the end of the first lap (2.8 miles)only 42 seconds separated the first 4 and everyone was in sight. As the second lap unwound the places stayed more or less the same but Roy managed to squeeze out a small gap and finally outwalked the field by 12 seconds. Ian and Pat had a bit of a battle in 3rd and 4th place.


  1. Roy Gunnett M70 LWC 71:36 [H’cap 11:00 H’cap time 60:36 H’cap Pos 4 Points 22 Age Grade% 73.75]
  2. Joe Hardy M75 LWC 71:48 [14:00 ; 57:48 ; 3 ; 23; 76.63%]
  3. Ian Hilditch M75 LWC 72: 0l [17:00; 55: 01; 1 ; 25; 79.86%]
  4. Pat Evans W65 LWC 72: 45 [15:00; 57: 45; 2 ; 24; 72.16%]
  5. John Crahan M70 LWC 79:06 [10:45; 68: 21; 5 ; 21; 65.06%]

A big thank you to Greg Smith for the photos, which he took a few weeks later at Bury. Much appreciated and more to come.

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