Friday, 28 December 2007

Parish Walkers did first Millennium Way Relay

The picture above was taken after the finish of the 1976 Parish Walk. I was 19 at the time (yellow top and long hair!) and I finished second to John Cannell (the first of his 6 wins). Also pictured are timekeepers Ian Turnbull (right) and the late Dennis Lace. Many a story to be told (yet) about all of the above on another day.

Today's little story though is how John and I, together with two of the other top walkers of the time, teamed up in the very first Millennium Way Relay in 1979 and gave the other a competitors a "run for their money".

It may surprise you to know that the other walkers I refer to are Tony Varley and Terry "Beggar" Evans. Tony spent two or three years as a race walker with finishes in the TT Course Walk and Parish Walk of 1978 before concentrating on fell running, where he was to become one of our best ever fell runners. Terry also completed the TT Course and many other walks before switching to running.

In contrast to later years when runners (including myself) would practice over the course beforehand, I can honestly say that I had never taken a step on the course before I set off from Skye Hill in the inaugural Millennium Way Relay.

It was Andrew Horne (Southern AC) who set the early pace with Steven Mackie (Manx AC juniors) and Dave Newton (Foresters Arms and Legs) also getting distance from me (Boundary Harriers). The only other runner was John Wright (Mature Gentlemen) with twelve cyclists trying to race against us, including riding ther first section, on road bikes.

I couldn't believe how long the climb was but I stuck in and passed Andrew near the top of the main climb. He dropped back drastically to finish in 75.00. I eventually got up with Steven and Dave and we ran pretty close together until the final climb.

This may come as a surprise to Dave Newton if he is reading this (he insisted yesterday that he ran the second leg) as he pulled ahead in the last mile to record 58.34!

The junior, Steven Mackie, a fantastically talented athlete who was to die through illness just a few years later, finished just 12 seconds behind. It still brings tears to my eyes to write this as I remember Steven beating the seniors in some of the cross country races of the era.

I took 59.13 and handed over to Tony Varley. Graham Young, who held the Parish Walk record until seven months before this time, had driven my car and after I had recovered and changed he drove me and third leg runner John Cannell around to St Lukes Church to await the runners. We waited several minutes before the penny dropped - they had already gone through!

So we rushed down to Crosby to find that Terry had taken John's place on the third leg and John would have to run the final leg.

Keith Callister (Foresters) ran 38.26 on the second leg and according to the newspaper report I am reading his next man (Phil Cain) was not ready and so they lost time (I do not recall this but wonder whether they were also with us at St Lukes). Chris Quine (juniors) took 39.24 while Tony Varley clawed back for Boundary with 38.57. Tony has competed every year since (I think).

Phil's time of 32.30 on the third leg does suggest that he lost time at the start and John Butterworth (26.50) stormed into the lead for the juniors. Despite not planning to run the third leg, Terry Evans (27.55) was not far behind.

So without spending too much time on the mental arithmetic, it seems that Steve Kelly set off around four and a half minutes behind the leaders for the Foresters team (the Foresters was a pub in Hope Street, now demolished, where many of the athletes of the time socialised). It was Steve who arranged with the late Stuart Slack to take up the challenge against the cyclists but he had not quite expected such a big one from the junior runners and walkers. But he rose to it and his time of 35.58 brought him home 2.10 ahead of (according to the newspaper) Gary Clarke (but surely this was Graham) who ran 42.32 and a further 1.18 ahead of John Cannell (42.35).

Later to be British professional cycling champion Steve Joughin (who has just sent me an email this afternoon promoting his clothing range http://www.provisionclothing.co.uk/ ) put in a fantastic effort over the final stages to overtake two of the relay teams and his time of 2.57.13 riding or carrying his bike all the way was some 38 minutes faster than Peter Kennaugh (father of current international cyclist of the same name).

Derek Harrison and Graham Young also put in some good running performances in other events but in the first MWR it was left to John, Tony, Terry and I to enable three teams to finish three minutes apart.

Oh, and by the way for those that talk of the tradition of holding the event on Boxing Day. Boxing Day in 1979 was on Wednesday and the relay was held on Sunday.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

2001 Parish Walk video

In addition to linking Stuart's 2004 video to the Parish Walk site on http://www.parishwalk.co.uk/Videos.htm

I've also published a new video using Peter Kaneen's film from 2001.

This was the first year that Robbie Callister won. Although Robbie features prominently in the film, I accidently edited his entry into Peel out of the film so here it is.

video

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Robbie Callister not among the favourites for 2008?

Watch the video to find out who is tipped for success.


video

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Parish Walk on Christmas Day agenda

Happy Christmas everyone. I hope that everyone with an interest in the Parish Walk enjoys Christmas Day, the Christmas period and is looking forward to the year ahead.

Its my 52nd Christmas Day and, like most people who have been around for a good few, I can remember many happy Christmas times and quite a few others that have been less than happy because of illness or sadness affecting family or friends. This one falls into the former category for me but I know plenty of people who have problems in their lives and so I shall be thinking of them as well.

So much for the sermon! How many of you received new trainers or training tops for Christmas?

The main reason for adding to my blog on Christmas Day is to maintain the momentum that has gathered during the past three and a half weeks since the launch of the http://www.parishwalk.com/ website for 2008.

I'm amazed to see that an average of 50 people are visiting the site each day even at this time of the year. 2 so far this morning at 9.45!

I've got unlimited plans for the website and some of you will know from conversations that I have had that I planned to do features on certain people by this stage in proceedings. One thing that I sometimes do, however, to keep my website hobby interesting, is to spend time on doing something that I had not planned. I don't want to spend my whole life working a "to do" list.
So in the week leading up to Christmas, instead of doing the things I planned, whilst I was tidying up my video collection, I finally took the opprtunity to watch the video of the 2004 Parish Walk featuring Robbie Callister. Stuart, the producer, had given it to me at the time of the 2007 Parish Walk but with so many other things on, I did not even finish watching it never mind publishing it on the website.

So my Christmas project became the publication of this video. Its now available in four parts on the http://www.manxathletics.com/ website and I am just about to put it onto the http://www.parishwalk.com/ site.

So if you get bored with TV today, turn to http://www.parishwalk.com/ for 35 minutes of Stuart's video!

Here is my picture of Stuart and Craig (Robbie Callister'ssupport team) the night before the 2007 Clerical Medical Parish Walk.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Drinking too much maybe the start of your training

Over the years, I have been asked by many people who have not exercised regularly for a long time what is the best way to get fit. Well, some of you professional advisors who read this may disagree but I tell advise them against enrolling at a trendy gym or buying all the latest sportsgear.

I am always amazed at how many people who work in offices will use the lift to go up two floors. Or will drive the car half a mile to work. My advice is always to start with basics like this. Use the stairs, walk to work, give the dog a walk.

A lot of people, sensibly, leave their cars at work at this time of the year when they have been drinking alcohol. It gives them a good reason to walk the next day to collect the car. If they can do it one day why not repeat it regularly (the walking too and from work that is, not necessarily the drinking).

I just hope that you don't see me sneaking on the bus to work on Friday morning!

Before I signoff, how about a few people who are reading this spending a couple of minutes completing their online entry or persuading their friends and family to do so. You can all help to make the 2008 Clerical Medical Parish Walk the biggest and best yet by keeping the momentum going. If we can increase the number of entries from 31 to at least 100 before Christmas it keeps the event in the news.

Get the credit card out!

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

6 times winner of Parish Walk creates a big splash and gets chocolates for his 26 seconds of fame....


I took several hundred photos of the Peel to Douglas walk a couple of weeks ago. It was for moments like these that I finally ended my two years of deliberations in June (in time for the Parish Walk) and upgraded to an SLR camera as I was able to take these seven shots in 26 seconds.
As John Cannell passed me, I remember saying "I'm sorry that you got soaked John but you have just given me a great picture". The most dramatic one was to be featured over half of the back page of the Manx Independent.
Opinions varied when the picture was seen. My wife's first comment as she saw me about to publish it was on the http://www.manxathletics.com/ website was "Oh don't put that on as everyone will think that race walker's are mad". Well, as I used to be one I knew it to be true so Marie didn't manage to stop me. Quite a few people questioned whether the event should have been held in such circumstances but another person told Marie that, as the registration plate of the car was visible, the police ought to prosecute the driver for driving without due care and attention.
Well I'm delighted to say that the soaking has a happy ending.
The car driver, Sue Sayle, was devastated when she realised that she had soaked JC and left a box of chocolates at his house. John was keen to demonstrate that he was not vindictive and tried to track down a woman of that name by phoning all of the S Sayles listed in the phone book who lived west of Quarter Bridge! But later in the week, in the bar at the Woodbourne Hotel, a friend suggested that it might be Sue Sayle who worked at the town hall. John called on her to say how pleased he was that she was so remorseful and intends to frame her letter of apology and the photo of the big splash.
I've just ordered A4 sized copies of the whole of the above sequence for JC.
No one has ever won the Parish Walk more times than John Cannell. No race walking story has ever made a bigger splash.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Noel Cringle - President of Tynwald, Manx Harriers and so much more...


Noel Cringle is 70 today. Not only is Mr Cringle President of Tynwald (the Manx Parliament) but he has also been President of Manx Harriers since their formation in 1991 (when Manx AC merged his club Boundary Harriers). He has competed in the Parish Walk at least 19 times and, as the photo shows, also used to compete in the cross country leagues – always in his ordinary white shirt!

I believe (although I have not researched this) that Noel took part in the early race walking events staged in the Isle of Man in the early 1960s as a member of Malew Beagles. I wouldn’t be surprised if he also ran cross country as most of the athletes were all rounders in those days.

It was when younger son Mark started competing in the English Schools Walks and for Boundary Harriers that Noel returned to the fray.

His Parish Walk career was revived in 1979 and this is his record since then:

German 1979 07:45:00
Michael 1980 08:02:00
Michael 1981 08:06:00
German 1982 06:34:01
Rushen 1983 03:46:00
German 1993 07:18:04
St Johns 1994 07:00:51
German 1995 07:00:13
Rushen 1996 03:50:00
German 1998 07:20:45
German 1999 07:08:56
German 2000 07:28:56
German 2001 07:57:58
German 2002 07:26:53
German 2003 07:38:32
German 2004 07:49:40
Rushen 2006 04:14:00
Rushen 2007 04:19:44

The photo was taken at a round of the cross country at Tromode in October 1979.
Noel was elected to the House of Keys at a bye election in 1974, retained his seat at the general election in 1976. After serving as the equivalent as Minister for Home Affairs he lost his seat in the following general election five years later.
In one of the greatest comebacks in Manx political history, he regained his seat in 1981 and in the past 26 years he has served as Minister for Education and Speaker of the House of Keys before being elected as President of Tynwald.
It was during the early part of this period that he contributed massively with his vision of a year of a sport which he initiated and Geoff Corlett delivered. The start of the Island Games owed everything to this vision.
Although I have added to this original post, as always with my writing, I am not trying to deliver the full history of any of the subjects, only to provide an interesting read and possibly start a discussion. Thanks to Ady Cowin for starting the feedback.

I’ve known Noel for the best part of 30 years but only once I have spent the whole day in his company – and what a hectic day it was. The 13th Morecambe 20 Walk on 13 September 1980 was bound to be unlucky and so it proved to be. A team was booked to travel on the early morning Manxline ferry to Heysham but at 7 am we learnt that (true to form) it was to be delayed for several hours.

Noel took over the role of team manager and arranged for us to travel on the Steam Packet sailing to Liverpool and he hired a car in Liverpool. The schedule was very tight and we knew that it was not certain we would make the start. I think this was a while before Nigel Mansell came to live on the Island but I don’t think that the Formula 1 World Champion could have made he journey much faster! To this day, whenever I travel between Lancaster and the M6 I recall Noel’s driving – just “slightly” over the 40 mph limit.

In those days there used to be two newspaper groups and I wrote the report for one in which it was stated that we arrived in Morecambe just 30 minutes before the start. The other writer was more dramatic and reported it as 10! Still, it was a successful day. I won the individual event and with future Parish Walk winner Willile Corkill, Harry Holmes and Mark Cringle we won the team award. Better still, 16 year old Mark won the novice award. But then we faced another “seat of our pants” drive back to Liverpool and a rough crossing. I intended to drink to my success but after a sip of my beer I had to lie down to avoid seasickness.

We can’t raise a beer glass to Noel either as he is strictly tea total. We can, however, thank Noel for all the good he has done in our community in his first 70 years and wish him a long and prosperous life. The omens are good as his Mother is well past her century already.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Very little to do with the Parish Walk

I used to have an occassional feature on my other website, http://www.manxathletics.com/ called "nothing to do with athletics" when I would write about something that I had been doing (or if I had a decent picture) so this is a bit a revival of that idea.

I went to watch Squeeze at the Villa Marina last night. The venue was packed which must have meant somewhere in the region of 1400. That's about the same number of people who are expected to start the Parish Walk in June and it looked an awful lot. The Villa Marina is also where the Clerical Medical Parish Walk prize presentation is held and the only other link I could find was that there must have been people there last night who will also be taking part in the Parish Walk who will back in the Villa Marina for the presentation in six months time!

The last time I saw Squeeze frontman Glenn Tilbrook was when he performed at WH Smith in Douglas. Yes, as part of a part of a promotion for a solo concert at the Venue on a Sunday evening in 2001 he played a promotional session in a Douglas shop. He burst in from Strand Street singing a track from his (then) new solo album "This is Where You Ain't" and for the vast majority of people that was apt. There were probably 30 people at most there to see him but we sucumbed to his album and the autographed copy became a great favourite, even though I wasn't able to make the real concert.

The last time I saw Squeeze was either in 1978 or 1979 (I'm having a dispute with myself on this one) at Victoria Hall in Hanley, Stoke on Trent. I was a student in Stoke between 1975 and 1979.

Thanks to one of the stars of last week's cross country video, Nigel Armstrong (the speed at which he went through the river crossing was awesome) for getting the tickets last night. More importantly, thanks to the promoter (Triskel Promotions) for bringing the band to the Island. The sound was a bit lacking again in the early stages but once that settled down they were great. Here is a picture.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Don’t use the entry forms!

Another milestone has been reached in the countdown to the start of the 2008 Clerical Medical Parish Walk. You can now download most of the usual documents for the http://www.parishwalk.com/ website or even directly from here:

Invite
Rules
Map
Route
Entry form
Team entry
Sponsor form

But I would urge you to enter online directly from the website for the following reasons:

Your entry is immediately acknowledged by email.

The list of entries is in real time and so it adds to the information available to everyone to see your name immediately added to the list.

You don’t have to post your entry.

You have responsibility for your own personal details and they don’t have to be typed by anyone else.

The cheques do not have to be reconciled and banked.

You can enter any time day or night.

The data can be transferred directly to the results database.

You can receive free text messages keeping you up to date.

You can arrange for your helpers or families to receive text messages containing your time within seconds of you passing each church.

There can be absolutely no argument that you have entered (every year someone claims to have sent an entry that didn’t arrive and in nearly every case the reason was the same – it was never sent!)

The organisers wanted to maintain the traditional entry method for a final year but, although I introduced the idea in 1990 of sending an entry pack to all of the previous year’s entrants, I think that it will be totally wasteful this year to do so.

Prove the point. Help the environment, help the organisers, help yourself and help those that enjoy seeing the list of entrants online – ENTER ONLINE TODAY.

If you haven’t already discovered it on the front page of the http://www.parishwalk.com/ website, you can check the latest list of entrants here:
https://www.sportident.co.uk/entries/list.php?event_id=107

Go on, get that credit or debit card out now and add your name to the list:

https://www.sportident.co.uk/entries/event.php?event_id=107

Thanks.

Murray

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Is 40,60, 70 or 80 too old for the Parish Walk?

If you read the history of the Parish Walk (and where better to go than Dermot O’Toole’s great book “A Walk Through Time”) you will notice that the profile of the walker has changed greatly between 1960 and 2007.

In 1960 it was the young men of the Isle of Man who rose to the challenge of an 85 mile walk around the Isle of Man’s 17 parishes.

Until 1989 only six women completed the course. For the record, they were:

Name
Time
Year
Eunice Davies
20:51:24
1963
Irene Corlett
22:51:19
1963
Heather Murphey
22:37:35
1964
Ann Sayer
17:51:17
1978
Irene Corlett
17:41:40
1980
Caroline Convery
23:36:46
1983

(I've just discovered that tables don't work but hopefully you can work out the above).

The few women who entered each year were only expected to reach Peel at best. Those that went beyond Peel did so for many years unofficially as the rules quite clearly stated that their event ended there.

Men over 40 had similar restrictions. Veterans who wished to continue beyond Peel could be asked to produce a medical certificate that they were fit enough for the challenge.

Until three years ago the awards for women and veterans were determined by their time at Peel. They could continue to walk as far as they liked but the official result was determined at Peel.

There was confusion. For example, when someone like Derek Harrison won the overall walk he was omitted from the veterans’ class. This was incorrect. What was supposed to happen (under the one individual prize per person applied in most athletic events), was that he should forfeit his veterans prize by winning the overall prize if its value was greater. In my very clear view (and it was still happening in Robbie Callister’s day) he also won the veterans race (as opposed to prize).

The number of finishers from these two categories grew and grew making a nonsense of the idea that they weren’t strong enough to go the whole way. My coverage on the website always concentrated in the full course and eventually the races to Peel were abandoned.

Until the early 90s, when a walker reached the age of 60 he was not allowed to walk beyond Peel. It took a separate campaign to get this rule changed.

In 2002 a visiting walker, Fred Baker, completed the course. Somehow a story got around that he was 73.

In 2006 former record holder Derek Harrison, despite the handicap of a stroke and hip replacement, completed the course at the age of 71, albeit outside the 24 hour time limit.

In 2007, Michael Gray, set a record by completing the full course 46 years after his previous finish in 1961. Previously no walker had left more than 35 years between their full course walks.

Michael was 72 years old at the time and I asked (on the website) whether it was true that Fred Baker had been 73 when he had finished. I have been advised (via a reliable source) that the latter was “only” 69 when he walked the 85 miles which would suggest that Michael actually set a second record last year. I don’t have the ages of every finisher so I can’t say this officially, but it seems likely that Michael did not get the full recognition that he deserved.

So if 40 was not too old, and 60 wasn’t either, then 70 has been proved to be young enough. How long before we see an 80 year old finishing on Douglas Promenade?

Friday, 7 December 2007

Parish Walk among the winners


Well, this news is fairly hot off the presses. In fact, Isle of Man Newspapers who organised and sponsored the Awards for Excellence at the Gaiety Theatre last night will not be rolling their presses until Monday morning.


The first prize to be awarded was the Sefton Group Award for Innovation and Independent thinking and was presented by Sir Miles Walker. There is a story behind the man who made the presentation even in that the company he and cousin Bruce (husband of one of our greatest ever Manx athletes Brenda) sold to Isle of Man Creameries recently, Walker Brothers, were one of the longest running (pun intended) sponsors of Manx athletics. They sponsored several road and off road events organised by just about all of the clubs on the Isle of Man. And during several of those years, Sir Miles just happened to be the Isle of Man's Chief Minister.


Anyway, the man he presented the award to was Tom Meageen of Manx Telecom. To quote from the programme: "..it's (Manx Telecom's) technological input enabled parish walkers to obtain real-time results, reduce traffic congestion and increase race safety in the event. A solution provided at no cost to the Parish Walk".


Well done to Manx Telecom on winning this award and it says so much for the status of the Parish Walk that just about everyone in the room knew what the Parish Walk was without explanation. All of us who enjoyed and were amazed at how smoothly the technology was introduced will surely agree with the praise.


I've always been a bit sceptical about such events as these as it would appear that some of the companies make awards and then the same company wins another company's awards. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.


So I have Stuart Watson of co-sponsors Royal Bank of Scotland International to thank for taking my wife Marie and I last night among the bank's many guests. Whilst you could also leave the event with the opinion that I went there with, there is no doubt that many people deserve to be recognised for what they do for our economy and our community.


None more so than Geoff Karran whose award of Lifetime Achiever concluded the evening. I can't do him justice here but his 40 year career with advocates Dickinson Cruickshank was highlighted alongside his work for charity, many individual sports and the Sports Council. And all this of this while staying at the heart of a strong family. His wife is an aunt of our great middle distance athletes Keith Gerrard who this weekend represents Great Britain in the European Cross Country Championships.


Well done to everyone for putting on the awards night. As Geoff competed in the Parish Walk this year (see picture at the top of this post) I managed to leave with my own thoughts turning back yet again to the Parish Walk.


Among the nominations last night was Olga Gray, principally for her work through Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Her husband Michael made history this year as the person with the biggest gap between Parish Walk finishes. He completed the course in 1961 and then did the entire 85 miles for a second time in 2007!


Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Arthur Jones remembered

It was Arthur Jones who kept the Parish Walk going for so many years.

I have decided to republish the obituaries that were published on www.manxathletics.com in June 2001.

Richie Stevenson

The whole of the local athletics community was deeply saddened last week at the news of the death of Arthur Jones.

Fast approaching his 90th year, Arthur seemed indestructible, although the constant ill health that he suffered without complaint for the last few years was obvious taking its toll. Arthur had been involved with fell running and walking for over 30 years. dating back to 1970 when he took part in the Inaugural Manx Mountain Marathon. He was persuaded to join the organising team in 1974, probably one of the best moves the organisers ever made, where he organised the marshals and then in 1977 became race secretary, a posi­tion he held with great success for over 20 years.

His influence on the local fell scene over a great number of years as MMMO secretary has been immense. His commit­ment, drive and passion - tem­pered with a great sense of fairness - provided the foundation upon which the whole sport has been built, winning him the respect of everyone.

Arthur was heavily involved in many other activities and he was able to use his gently persuasive talents to enlist many of his friends to marshal and officiate in the races he organ­ised. Many of these people have no particular interest in run­ning or race walking but will­ingly give up their time because of their fondness for Arthur. First and foremost he was a lovely man who did not have a bad word for anyone. His organisational skills were superb and the systems he put in place many years ago to ensure the smooth running of his events are still very effec­tive today.

Arthur was a tine gentleman and we are very fortunate that he became involved with the fells. He wilt be greatly missed by all who knew him. Everyone involved with ath­letics sends their thoughts to Arthur’s devoted wife Neil, and to Michael, Rosa, Doug, Barbara and grandchildren Juan and Chris.

Steve Partington

I shall always think of Arthur sitting behind a fold-up table at fell races. He and Walter Kennaugh were like Morecambe and Wise. Arthur was the straightman - doing the paperwork and handing the numbers out, while Walter took your money, slapped you on the back and grinned a lot. Whether a novice or an expert - their welcome was always enthusiastic and genuine. In races Arthur organised, nothing was left to chance. There used to be a race called the Port Erin Regatta Fell Race which went from Port Erin to the Sound and back. A straightforward six or seven miles in all. The last year it was held Arthur had a massed a team of a dozen officials and marshals!

Murray Lambden

The Parish Walk must be one of the only events where you have to hand your number in to be used next year and the year after and the year after......

This tradition goes back to the husbandry of Arthur Jones who maintained the Parish Walk after the “I don’t believe it can be done” early years until it became the mass participation event it is today. He hand wrote the numbers, reinforced them with tape, cut up a sheet of reflective strip and attached a piece to each one and, best of all, attached a piece of kitchen lino which had all the churches names hand written on.

In those days your card (or flooring) was clipped at each church and handed in at the end as proof that you had not merely driven around the course. I remember my fear as an 19 year old in 1976 when I suddenly realised as I approached Maughold that I had lost my card. As Arthur drove past me in the early morning sun (I wasn’t that slow - we didn’t used to start until 3 pm!) I wondered whether my blisters were all in vain and I would be disqualified. When I approached him beside his Ford Anglia (yes he did have a car before the Ford Fiesta was invented) I told him my story and I learnt that for all his ruthless efficiency, he also had a heart - I was allowed to suffered the final 18 miles or so as a concession!

It was always during the lonely parts of the Parish Walk you would see Arthur. He was a great delegator - so long as he had a purpose! If he didn’t set up his team of helpers (mostly his own age) to do the checking in at the churches he would not be able to slog the 32+ miles to Peel. This was a man in his 70’s that I recall ( a little later than the story above). He would get changed, collect all the result boards from the various churches (before computers) and sit at Lonan Church writing out the certificates for the evening prize presentation. In those days there was only four hours from the end of the walk until the presentation and Arthur would do a 7 hour session at Lonan. Mind you, there is a tale or two to be told of the walkers who had to knock on his car window to wake him up!

The Parish Walk was not always the success it is today ( I hope to publish some statistics before Saturday) and it was Arthur C Jones who kept it going. Sure, there were a lot of other people involved but no one wanted the responsibility of organising the event on behalf of Boundary Harriers. He continued to use his trusty duplicator, complete with stencils, long after photocopiers arrived on the scene. Never a man to spend 2p when 1p was enough, the supply of course instructions and entry forms were always a scarce commodity. I was involved in 1990 when CMI were brought in as sponsors. In return for what was, and I believe still is, one of the biggest sports sponsorships on the Island, I committed Boundary Harriers to a professional image in keeping with the superb organisation. I managed to obtain a course instruction sheet from Arthur and set about a rewrite complete with CMI corporate logos. I was amazed to discover that the course instructions still asked walkers to turn right past the shop at Patrick (which had closed some 20 years earlier) and walk over the level crossing at Ballaugh which had also ceased to exist in 1967!

I don’t think he enjoyed some of the changes - his daughter Rosa had provided the first computerised results a little earlier, when Skanco provided both software and hardware for the results, entry fees went up considerably, the number of walkers became a bit extreme for his helpers and eventually he stepped aside, although he continued his involvement with Fell Running for many years.

Another memory I have of Arthur is at the check in. Before we moved the start to the Villa Marina Gardens never mind the NSC, we used to start in the Villa Marina Arcade. We never had posh tables to lay out the numbers, but Arthur would stand over one of the high backed benches, his own number already pinned on, handing out the numbers before he joined the start line.

He dreamt of walking to Peel as an 80 year old but had his family persuaded him (!) not to try, he may not have reached the ripe old age of 89. Others will have written about Arthur’s contribution to the Arts, to Badminton, to the Southern 100, to the Southern Agricultural Show, his career with the Isle of Man Bank as a manager and the devotion to his family described by Richie.

For the past 10 years or so, I have always thought when I hear the honours list, that Arthur should be among them. Even on Saturday, when I was unaware of his death, the thought of finding out how to nominate him crossed my mind. What a shame that he was never honoured for his service to the community. While we talked about doing things, he got on and did them.

Arthur’s Family - Our Dad

It was just wonderful to see "Arthur" on the Parish Walk web site. Only three days before he died, he was checking with Doug and me that we would be able to take him to follow this year's Parish Walk. He was really looking forward to it - it was so good that, despite his debilitating illness, he was still able to look forward with pleasure to such events.His involvment in the organisation of the Manx Mountain Marathon never stopped. Only two weeks ago he was up at the Bungalow, looking at the course and considering ways of solving a potential problem caused by a newly erected fence.

When participating and organising sporting events became too difficult for him, he still retained his love of sport by following the progress of athletes, young (and not so young!), reading the sporting pages in the Manx press and attending the matches of Rushen United Football team, and, to his great delight he saw them win the Hospital Cup last month!

Now, Arthur's family would like to add an anecdote about the "trusty " duplicator referred to by you! This dreadful machine used to drive his wife, Nell, to despair! It mechanical eccentricities meant that it either threw out 20 sheets in one go, or nothing at all, and frequently the entire room appeared to be covered with black ink. Arthur would get into quite a rage with it - a rare side of him, possibly only ever seen by his wife and family and even then reserved soley for this particular machine! He could not get it to behave and so often Nell was left, quite literally, to pick up the pieces.

After his home was flooded in 1982, the family hoped against hope that this machine, which they had left, quite deliberately, to rust away in a warehouse while the house was being dried out and fixed, would be damaged beyond repair. But sadly no! It was cleaned, de-rusted and worked even more erratically than before. The situation was only saved in 1988 when the family bought a second hand photocopier as a Golden Wedding Anniversary present. Arthur thought it was for him - in fact it was really for Nell so that she could enjoy a little more calm in her life!

On a personal note, Arthur was always very fond of you, Murray, and was absolutely delighted when you took over the reins of the Parish Walk. We know he would feel very honoured by your tribute to him. With all best wishesNell, Michael, Barbara, Rosa and Doug

Monday, 3 December 2007

10 out of 10

Raymond Cox, the race director of the Clerical Medical Parish Walk, called around to see me last week to brief me on the developments for the 2008 event. I took the opportunity to interview him for the www.parishwalk.com site.

We got talking about a few things before I realised that he had never seen the paper I wrote in 1990 just a few weeks after Clerical Medical’s first sponsorship.

Entitled “The CMI Parish Walk – the Biggest and Best Walking Race in Great Britain for the 1990’s” it was my vision of how the event could be much bigger than it was at the time. I’ll refer back to this from time to time for reference, but as Ray and I glanced over it, one of my suggestions caught my eye.

In the month’s ahead I will make many a mention to the late Arthur Jones, the secretary of the event for around 25 years. I consider Arthur to be one of the most marvellous community spirited people not to have received an honour. But Arthur’s strength was in his administration and he was not a marketing person. The event was there for everyone and entry forms were always available a few weeks before the Parish Walk and this information was always published in the press.

I felt that the event would grow more if it was promoted much earlier and suggested as point number 6 that advertising should be placed in the local press the week after Easter!

I would never have dreamt that entries would open on 1 December.

In fairness to me, point number 3 was that advertising should commence in the Race Walking Record in December each year.

Well, the website and the online entries were launched at midnight on 1 December and Richard Wild was the first to enter on his way home from the pub! The first ten to enter (all by 2 December) were (in alphabetical order):

Chris Cale
Roger Hammond Cave
Bob Corrin
Keith Green
Alan Johnston
Lee Kelly
Dave Mackey
Trudi Telling
Jock Waddington
Richard Wild

Another bit of Parish Walk history.