Friday, 29 February 2008

Probably not

That’s the answer to the first of Dave Mackey’s questions.

The question was “can I see myself ever competing in the Parish Walk” again?

I would love to of course.

So I’ll try and reason why not, as much with myself as for Dave or anyone else reading this.

My involvement in race walking came about in three ways.

Firstly, my elder brother Martin did the old Parish Relay and TT Relay Walks and I was desperate to have a go. I did the last leg of the TT relay Walk when I was 12 or 13 and I trained three or four times for the Parish Relay Walk the year it was cancelled.

Secondly, we used to do walking at school as part of the wonderful Walls AAA 5 star scheme. If it was only throwing and jumping I would probably have been in the 1 star category but the walk and the 1500 metres pulled me up a bit. Brian King, Head of PE at the old Douglas High School for Boys suggested that I did the English Schools Walks. I went to Redditch in 1974 and Sheffield in 1975.

Thirdly, as a kid I always tried to walk or cycle as far as I could and the Parish Walk was something I wanted to do. Refer to my earlier posts about entering under age.

Having won the Parish Walk in 1978 I should have stopped there. Graham Young was starting to influence me and even though I knew that I was not ready for the Commonwealth Games that year, he and all the other Boundary Harriers walkers and officials sowed the seeds for trying for that goal.

I spent six months working in the North West between April and October 1978 as part of my Business Studies degree and indeed I have a few tales to tell from this era yet such as when various athletes stayed with me in Manchester.

But for six weeks I was based in Preston. I had been doing loads of races without training that summer and although I won the Parish, the other events caught up with me. I still recall the evening in Preston when I decided that I wasn’t doing myself justice in this way. The Commonwealth Games were on at the time and I decided that, once I graduated the following year, I would start training properly and try and make the 1982 Commonwealth Games team.

This was what I did and by doing so achieved a lot of other things beyond my wildest dreams. I still did the 1979 Parish Walk (when I failed miserably) but that was just before I started my training.

Once I started competing at the sharp end of British championships and walking in Europe, the Parish Walk became an irrelevance to my own career although I loved following it still.

I’ll never know what I could done if I had entered the Parish Walk in 1981 or 1982 but despite being a much better athlete, I don’t think I would have had the motivation to go such a long way.

I retired at the end of 1983 because my back would not stand the level of training I was attempting.

Many times I have considered the possibility of doing the Parish again based on once a week training. I’ve run a 2.43 marathon on less than 30 miles a week training so I think that it is quality that would count over quantity. My thoughts were on doing long walks at the weekend in between getting my head into gear.

The thoughts often start with the idea of completing the course inside 24 hours. But in no time I think, if so and so can do it in 19 hours I think I could. I fear that when I start the walk I would go too fast and drop out it would take me at least two attempts to get it right.

Then my thoughts go back to the website.

I won’t say never but it would have to be a special reason such as walking it with others for charity. It that way I would be obliged to walk at someone else’s pace and I would be forced to ditch stupid thoughts that I could still go fast but drop out.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Now here is a statistic you've never had before - 9 hours 41 minutes 2 seconds

One of the frustrating things about compiling statistics is that as soon as you release them someone asks you another question that you can't answer.

I'm not sure if I have been over this bit before in public, but I first started compiling my Parish Walk statistics on a typewriter in the early 1980s.

The late Kevin Madigan produced a list of all finishers by year as part of the 1979 Parish Walk programme. I typed them out in fastest time order.

The following year I would start typing all over again - but the list would be a bit longer!

I don't think that many young people are likely to be reading here but yes, believe it or not, there was a time when we didn't have word processors.

When I bought my first computer in 1987, I could at least store the data.

But then people would ask me how far around the course someone had gone or how many times someone had started the walk.

I also used to hear people in the pub claim that they "had done the Parish Walk" when they were not on the list. So I decided to research a list of all walkers who had started the walk. I recorded their finishing point and time. Many of the times were typed into the database copied from my press cuttings whilst I had to visit the musuem for others. The quality of the input depended upon the quality of the typesettings and my own typing. Names were spelt differently in different years and I am still ironing a few bugs out.

Unfortunately I was never able to locate the times (other than finishers) before 1974. Arthur Jones had taken the very practical view that the old result sheets were history and not required anymore. The newspapers only published the finishers names (we don't realise how lucky we are now).

So the lists got bigger and bigger and eventually, in December 2000, I published them on the internet.

But still couldn't provide enough statistics for some people. "Do you know what time I went through Jurby in three years ago? You know the year I finished at Andreas" would be the typical question.

Thanks to the brilliance of the organising committee, the sponsorship of Manx Telecom and the quality of the service provided by SportIdent, the electronic timing provides masses of new statistics.

So for once I am going to give you a couple of new statistics BEFORE you ask for them:

Last year's walkers were on their feet for a total of 10,913 hours 46 minutes and 53 seconds - that is an average of 9 hours 41 minutes and 2 seconds.

Were you going to ask that one?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

David Griffiths in the Parish Walk

If you follow the links from the Parish Walk website to and the forum you will often find the name of David Griffiths.

He is incredibly enthusiastic about all aspects of athletics and provides results, comment and advice on the forum. He is often busy with his video camera and I have used quite a few of his films on my YouTube channel.

We don't always get the chance to put names to faces (or should it be faces to names) and, as I just stumbled upon a nice picture I took of him in the 2003 Parish Walk, I though I would use it for today's short update.

He has been been plagued by injuries in recent years but is hopeful that he is going to be able to do more of something, running or walking, in the future.

Here is his Parish Walk record:

Ballaugh 1982 10:59:00
Lezayre 1985 15:51:00
Jurby 1997 10:36:00
Maughold 1998 15:45:00
Andreas 199912:42:00
Finish 200021:26:25
Rushen 2001 03:18:00
German 2002 06:10:36
German 2003 05:48:10
Rushen 2007 03:32:51

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

More paper entries

I also received the latest list of paper entries from Elizabeth Corran (race secretary) last night.

There are an extra 26 entries.

That takes the list to 109 and together with the 214 online entries up to 323.

I am expecting another 1277 in total, or to put it another way, we have received 21.5% of the 1500 that I have been predicting.

Here are the 26 extra names.

Lynne Quayle
Tara Slinger
Regina Ripamonti
Alan Pilling
Karen Sharpe
Geoff Sharpe
William Aleander
Nikki Salmon
Peter Storey
Gemma Sharp
Pamela Scott
Hannah King
Craig Riley
Sonya Mercer
Raymond Myles
Peter Lewis
Geoff Cowle
Ian Dunbar
Gary Merrill
Kim Duncan
Janette Gledhill
Remo Ricardo
Alan Cooper
Ian Marshall
Jane Crowe
Julian Thomas

1 a day is not good enough

Since I last analysed the online entries 11 days ago, there have only been 12 additional online entries.

If you are reading this, intend to take part but have not yet entered - shame on you! Get your entry in now.

The men have been particularly slack in this time and the female entrants account for two thirds of the additions.

The 12 new names are:

Charlene Smithies
Craig Jenkinson
Dean Sowerby
Erica Bellhouse
Graihagh Shimmin
Jill Carter
John Hotchkiss
Lesley Joyce
Nicky Cormode
Patrick Quinney
Rebecca Straw
Sonia Grainger

Thank you for entering.

Monday, 25 February 2008

This is the BBC calling

Although I have not received the link yet, I'm pleased to announce that the third blog to be written by a Parish Walk entrant, is to be by Kerry Sharpe one of the BBC journalists on the Isle of Man.

I'll have the link of the website as soon as I receive it and I shall look forward to reading it myself.

I have only got a minute to spare today but I'll be back with a few more yarns during the week. If you want to read the properly written stuff, watch out for the new blog.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Pregnant excuses

I apologise that, since launching the at midnight on 1 December last year, there has been a missing link on the blog section "coming soon ....??".

It was originally supposed to be a mystery but any element of suspense has been well and truly lost after 11 weeks!

I was very grateful for all three of last years volunteers to write blogs. You may remember that my idea was to get three contrasting ambitions. Someone who was trying very seriously to get near the front, someone who had said "never again" but had given into the bug, and someone who was entering the event for the first time.

So thanks again to Steve Partington, Mark Hempsall and Dave Mackey for adding a new dimension to the website.

Women were very reluctant to write in the same open way as the men and, good as last year's bloggers were, they were all people taking the event fairly seriously.

So I wanted to try and get a bit more variety this year both in terms of someone that the novices could relate to - and preferably a woman.

Michael George is writing an excellent blog in the Steve Partington mould and I think Richard Wild's one brings a different approach. But I still wanted to find someone who would perhaps encourage people to open a dialogue with and to offer tips to rather than the tips coming from the blog.

About a month ago I found someone who said that they would write a blog if they got medical clearance to take part.

That person is a woman, a first timer and she is already making excuses! What more do we want? Well she is a professional journalist and last year she had the best excuse of all for not taking part after entering.

She got pregnant.

She has ben cleared to take part and she has kindly agreed to write the blog. It will be on the web at the weekend.

Maybe I can create a bit of suspense for that long.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Why I haven't got the latest Parish Walk news

For the past three years at least, Clerical Medical have hosted a buffet lunch in their boardroom to which they invite representatives from the co-sponsors of the event - the companies that provide feeding stations etc as well as Manx Telecom. Also in attendance are the media, the organising committee and a couple of the top walkers. Last year I was invited for my website involvement and an enjoyable day it was too.

I was also invited to this year's event which was held yesterday but I had to decline. So there you are, I can't bring the latest news, or any photos or videos, How I wish I could.

I very rarely go out for lunch but it just happened to be one of those days when I had a prior engagement. In fact I decided to take a day off work for the first time this year to fulfill the other obligation. I hoped that by taking the day off I would end up with a bit of extra time for website and athletic interests but in fact it was one of the few days in recent months when I didn't update any of my athletic websites. To ensure that I was not shaking too much with withdrawal symptoms, I did update a non sporting site late last night.

Some of those reading will know that our elder son, Robbie who is 22, has endured considerable difficulties during the last 9 years or so brought about by an autistic spectrum disorder.

Having an autistic member of the family has a profound effect on families, particulary siblings. We have done our best to learn about the causes of autism and some years ago Marie (my wife) learnt about the work of Paul Shattock at the University of Sunderland, arguably one of the world's leading authorities on autism. She made contact with him and as a result Robbie has been on a dairy free diet which has made life a lot more endurable for him.

At Marie's initiation, yesterday she brought Paul Shattock to the Isle of Man. Organised by Autism in Mann, she obtained sponsorship from Barclays Wealth which enabled two meetings to be free for all who attended.

The most important meeting was at at the lecture theatre at Nobles Hospital yesterday lunchtime. It is not only lay people who lack detailed knowledge of autism but few people in the medical profession, who are stretched in so many ways, have an in depth knowledge. Whilst the medical profession only formed a part of the audience, it was extremely valuable to have the interface.

When that meeting was fully subscribed, Marie organised a second meeting at the Promenade Methodist Church which was open to anyone with an interest.

So, I spent a good part of the day yesterday attending both these sessions and taking photos and videos. I was also helping Marie with lifts for the speaker and acting as her assistant for a very worthwhile effort. The video will not be in the public domain but will be made available to anyone with an interest in Paul Shattock's talk. Some of the photos are on the which was the only one of my websites to receive any love and attention yesterday. The evening session was also recorded by Manx Radio and an edited version of the presentation will be broadcast in the near future.

I make no apology for writing about autism on this Parish Walk blog because education and understanding are so important. Whilst undoubtedly some people in the past were not diagnosed when they should have been, it is hardly likely that 97% of autistic cases were missed. There has been a massive increase in the incidence and my hat is certainly in the Paul Shattock camp. The way we are treating the world, particularly with the use of chemicals, is putting many more people at risk of autism than previously. If you don't already know anyone with these problems, you will do in the next few years unless we change the way we produce food.

By taking the day off work I managed to get my training session, planned for the evening, out of the way in the daylight of the NSC at around 10 am.

But you should know that I could find a couple of Parish Walk links to the day.

I saw the smiling face of one of the greatest Parish Walkers of all time at the lunchtime seminar. Sue Biggart was there but I didn't manage to get to talk to her or I am sure I would have had some "skeet".

I also saw Dave Mackey out training at around 4 pm (he didn't see me as he sped past the old bus station) and when I got home I found he had asked me a couple of questions in the comment section of the blog. They have got me thinking for future blog posting and ensured that whenever my attention was flagging last night (hearing the talk for the second time) I didn't stop thinking of the Parish Walk.

Monday, 18 February 2008

What do I have in common with Robbie Callister and Steve Kelly?

You might want to rename this post as "today's bit of useless information"!

On the other hand, if you think like that you probably shouldn't be reading this blog in the first place.

I doubt if there is anyone reading this (don't stop there) who does not know who Robbie Callister is for his Parish Walk and End to End Walk successes. In my view he actually achieved more as a runner. He sneaked inside 2.29 in 1994 and, although not the fastest Manxmen, he could stake a claim to be the most successful marathon runner of all time. He certainly has many under 2.35 and even more under 2.40.

A person with an even greater claim to that honour would be Steve Kelly. Although he did not achieve quite such a quick time as his 20 mile and half marathon times would suggest he would, he ran 2.27 and ran under 2.30 on x times. For the record, the Manx record still stands to Dave Cowell from 1974.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I made my Parish Walk debut in 1974 aged 17.

Robbie and Steve made their debuts on the same day!

I think that Robbie would be 19 and Steve 21.

I only realised this at the weekend when doing some further research.

It really was a tortoise and hare story as far as I can tell. Of the three of us, I reached Kirk Michael first and stopped. Steve reached Ballaugh before Robbie but retired. Robbie made it to Jurby (correction).

I'm not planning to repeat this blog next year, so I'm using it as an excuse to use up all my remaining Parish Walk photos from the archives - the ones that are not quite interesting enough to go on a real website. Inevitably, because they are taken from our family archives, they are going to involve me. but I'll mix the 1974 photos up with the list of the results from that year.

The first photo is from the Oatlands Road. My mum (Gwelda) is running alongside and behind me is Kevin Knox who walked to Peel.

There were only 94 starters in 1974. See whose names you recognise.
The first to retire were the following at Santon:

Ian Wrigley 02:20:00
Alan Pye 02:33:00
Philip Faragher 02:38:00
Kevin Kelly 02:42:00
Alan Ogden 03:02:00
Gregory Joughin 03:22:00
Nigel Kewley 03:22:00
Three more fell by the wayside at Malew:
Martyn Gawne 03:20:00
Bruce Walker 03:35:00
David Clague 03:58:00
and two more at Arbory:
William Stevenson 03:31:00
Peter Quilliam 03:35:00
I'm still going at Arbory (poor mum has to run again!)

Here is the list that reached Rushen:

Peter Lewthwaite 03:57:00
Patrick Miller 04:05:00
Juan Gale 04:08:00
James Robson 04:12:00
Ken Crellin 04:16:00
AA Quayle 04:16:00
Graham Skinner 04:16:00
Chris Kelly 04:21:00
Paul Baker 04:23:00
Roy Cregeen 04:23:00
Adrian Jackson 04:25:00
Paul Jennings 04:29:00
Brian Leece 04:36:00
Graham Barron 04:39:00
Gordon Haughton 04:39:00
Juan Hudson 04:39:00
Trevor Taubman 04:40:00
Tommy Daugherty 04:41:00
P Howland 04:41:00
Michael Oates 04:44:00
V J Christian 05:15:00
Brian Condon 05:15:00

Up the Sloc (photos by the late Bill Lambden)

Two retired at Patrick:

John McBride 07:55:00
T J Westwood 08:10:00
And Peel was the stopping point for most:

Graham Young 05:29:05
Derek Harrison 05:34:35
Daryl Gribbin 06:26:00
Alex MacDonald 06:28:00
Kevin Skinner 06:52:00
Cyril Evans 07:04:35
Juan Gill 07:09:00
Kevin Knox 07:11:00
Noel Walls 07:12:00
Heather Staley 07:17:10
Eric Costain 07:33:00
Lol Jenkins 07:33:00
Arthur Walmsley 07:40:00
J W Brew 07:43:00
Albert Lowe 07:45:00
Jeff Black 07:58:00
Eric Clague 07:58:00
Colin Jones 08:01:00
Kevin Gleave 08:02:00
James Brown 08:04:00
Geoff Clague 08:06:00
Les Gale 08:11:00
Roberta Moore 08:13:45
Peter Cannell 08:14:00
David Jones 08:14:00
Bruce Kirkham 08:16:00
John Cringle 08:21:00
Jimmy Thompson 08:22:00
Norma Gardner 08:25:30
Kevin Brennan 08:27:00
William Thompson 08:37:00
Jennifer Corlett 08:42:00
Marylyn Hughes 08:42:00
N J Voyle 08:42:00
Tom Menice 08:47:00
Maureen Turnbull 08:56:00
Sylvia Walmsley 08:56:00
Graham Young and Derek Harrison, who both competed in the 1974 Commonwealth Games earlier in the year (there is a separate story there) were clearly well ahead when retiring at peel. Only 21 went beyond Peel with Sheffield Harrier John "Paddy" Dowling taking the honours from Ian Turnbull.
Here are the names that walked past Peel (or at least reached Kirk Michael or beyond):
Murray Lambden 08:25:00 Michael
Richard Haddock 09:00:00Michael
John E Cannell 09:15:00 Michael
Tim Crispin 10:10:00Michael
Phil Brooks 10:44:00 Michael
Alan Walls 09:40:00 Ballaugh
Kevin Walls 09:40:00 Ballaugh
Arthur Jones 09:55:00 Ballaugh
Steve Kelly 09:58:00 Ballaugh
Alec Oates 11:00:00 Ballaugh
Robbie Callister 10:15:00 Jurby
Peter Corris 10:50:00 Jurby
Colin Goldsmith 10:50:00 Jurby
Barry Corris 11:10:00 Jurby
John Corrin 12:55:00 Bride
George Peach 14:15:00 Bride
Stewart Watterson 14:28:00 Bride
David Christian 14:40:00 Bride
John Dowling 16:40:07 Finish
Ian Turnbull 17:06:52 Finish
Ron Ronan 20:40:34 Finish

Friday, 15 February 2008

Mistaken identity

Try this link to hear a Manx Radio interview from 2005. You may need broadband but please give it a go and let me have your feedback. It is another new addition to my websites to try and provide audio. Like every new feature at the development stage there has been more swearing than rejoicing tonight.

Women on top this week!

Yes, there have been 17 online entries by women in the past 9 days and only 16 by men.

It takes the online total to 202 (115 men and 87 women).

I'm fairly sure there will be over 300 entries in total by now. I'm sure I'll have another update from Elizabeth in the next few days. Enter online if you can - it saves a lot of work.

Here are the 33 new names in the online category:

Ann Henrard
Ann Newman
Antony Atkinson
Chris Balmer
Chris Wilson
Dean Martin
Emma Shimmin
Eric Jones
Frances Brook
Jane Thacker
Jeanette Sheridan
Julia Page
Karen Williams
Kerry Beattie
Kirk McCarthy
Liz Hunter
Margaret Willard
Marie Gilbertson
Mark Freeman
Martyn Oates
Neil Cracknell
Pam Hewins
Patrick Reid
Paul Devaney
Pauline Beattie
Rod Leonard
Roy McLean
Sarah Cretney
Sarah Kelly
Siobhan Pirrie
Steven Cannon
Steven Kimmins
Steven Stanley

I should point out that all my analysis is unofficial.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Website finding its target

I'll do another piece at another point about the number of people using the website over the years, but I was amazed (when just checking the stats) that there were 455 page hits on yesterday alone.

125 different people viewed the site yesterday taking the average up to 92 for the week ending yesterday.

I must stop though as I have just realised that this is the third post to this blog in less than 24 hours. Addicted again!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Latest offline entries

In addition to the list of online entries, race secretary Elizabeth Corran has kindly forwarded a list of walkers who have used the conventional method of entry - 83 up to yesterday (Sunday).

There is now a link on the front page but, unlike the online version, it will not be updated immediately upon receipt of entry. It will be updated in batches.

Here are the first 83:

Adrian Moore
Alastair Gillespie
Alison Crompton
Andrew Hartley
Annie Kneale
Ben Constable
Ben Harris
Billy McCoubrey
Bob Noonan
Brian Sinden
Carl Wilson
Carole Staples
Catherine Close
Cedric Quayle
Christopher Burn
Daniel Evans
Darren Taylor
David John Kinrade
Debbie Rogers
Elliott Davies
Emma Jayne Keig
Emma McGreevy
Fenella Street
G Morphet
Gaye Miller
Geofaray Doggrell
Gill Senogles
Glyn Evans
Graeham Quilliam
Helen Done
Helen Flanders
Ian Ashcroft
Ian Lenandowskyj
Jayne Bowman
John Shimmin
John Street
Julie Cannon
Julie Hill
Karen Lawrie
Katie Wilkinson
Kelly Haynes
Ken Harding
Ken Mitchell
kenny Valerga
Kerryann Cassidy
Kevin Shimmin
Laura Clarkson
Lindsay Grant
Louise Cain
Lynn McKibbin
Malcolm Davies
Mark Saunders
Matthew Quayle
Melanie Curwen
Michael Killey
Mike Berry
Natasha Richards
Nicholas Stephenson
Nicola Clarkson
Nicola Teare
Patrick Hartley
Paul Lorenzo Camarda
Paul Morgans
Pauline Winkless
Penny Craighill
Peter Russell
Ray Hughes
Robbie Stockton
Ros Cubbon
Samantha Cubbon
Sheila Davies
Sinead Venus
Stephen O'Hare
Steve Bassil
Steve Curtis
Steve Green
Steve Handford
Steve Wilmott
Stuart Fenton
Sue Furner
Sue Jewell
Terrence Lundin
Vicki Craighill

New feature on Roy and Stella Corlett (and how they helped me)

I hope that you like the latest feature on the site on Roy and Stella Corlett.

I must admit that, as usual, I have been in danger this year of biting off more than I can chew with the site. Although I have created a bit more time for my passion of athletics in the past 6 months, by changing my working environment and being free from my summer role of cleaning our holiday cottage each Saturday, that time has been used several times over with the YouTube videos and many other things that I have been doing on the site - and of course writing this blog.

The old YouTube videos are definitely a "one off" - or least part of a "two-off" if I can recover some of the films from the early 80s which are not currently in my possession. At least this exercise brings more immediate enjoyment to those that watch the videos rather than the much more tedious task I undertook a few years ago when I compiled the statistics which formed the main content of my websites in the early years. I typed all of the names from the Parish Walk from newspaper cuttings and notes of my visits to the museum for the majority of the years, in addition to similar exercises for the Northern 10 miles (still not finished), the Peel to Douglas, the Syd Quirk half marathon and the Manx Harriers open.

So as I was saying, the features page has not been changed frequently and I am only up to number three. Please don't feel offended if you are not included or if someone you know isn't - they are not selected from a ranking list but intended to be interesting to me as well as you. There may well be someone else equally interesting but they may appear another year. Apart from anything else, I want to enjoy compiling the website content and so I will decide which projects I work on.

It was as I was worrying about how I would find the time to update the PW site in the middle of the night last week that I thought that I could write something about Roy and Stella Corlett.

I'm so glad I did.

I arranged to meet them yesterday and when I called at their house in Inner Circle, Douglas, it was the first time that I had been there for more than 20 years even though they had been great friends of mine.

As the feature mentions, Roy had to drop out of athletics competiton due to injury and he dropped out of the administrative side over the direction some of us took his club, Boundary Harriers. He did not support the building of clubhouse in Douglas or the merger of Boundary Harriers with Manx AC. I most passionately did.

But I will forever be grateful for the support that Roy gave me towards the latter stages of my race walking career. I had always been (still am?) pretty stubborn about doing things in my own way and although I had benefitted greatly from the advice offered from Graham Young and Allan Callow, I had never had anyone who I discussed every training session with and planned every race with. Roy took on this role in 1983.

Unfortunately, the punishment I gave my body through the winter of 1982 (I set myself the target of trying to reach the 1984 Olympics) on top of what I had done for the previous 3 years brought about my demise and 1983 was not my most successful year. I also suffered in the early part of the year from a recurring virus (again it was probably my body saying "enough is enough") and by November 1983 I had retired.

In April I failed to finish the York 50km - the race I had planned (for the umpeenth time) to go under 4.10 and failed. The only real success I can remember was, having foresaken my beloved Bradford 50km for the Leicester Mercury 20 miles I won the 50th edition and added my name to the list of winners which included Olympic champions.

But with no time recorded for 50km, if I was going to make the British team for the World Cup, never mind the Olympics the following year, I had to win the National 50km in July at Enfield as three out of four places had already been taken.

Roy and Stella went with me for this "win or bust" race.

I've never been very good in the heat and there was a heatwave. I walked with one of my heros from a few years earlier, Roger Mills in the early stages (Roger used to always win the AAA title when it was the only race walking to appear on TV) and Amos Seddon, who I still meet up with each year on the Bournes Sports stand at the London Marathon exhibition.

Trying to maintain a decent pace, I then pushed on by myself but inevitably "hit the wall". Barry Graham was to win the race and the most experienced 50km walker of all times, Bob Dobson, took second. If I remember correctly, I finished third well over 4.30. It was win or bust. There was no win and on this occasion it was the failure and not the time I remember. I never walked another 50km.

I regret not walking another 50km but I regret not having the time to spend with old friends like Roy and Stella even more.

Friday on the Steam Packet with Roy.

Early stages at Enfield with Roger Mills and Amos Seddon.

The wheels are off but Roy keeps me going.

My impression of Olive Loughnane (see the YouTube videos if you don't understand that one!).

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


My sums do not look right but they are.

When I analysed the entries last week there were 142 names among those that had entered online.

There are 18 new names this week but the total still only adds up to 159 as one entry has disappeared!

Here are the 18 new entries (Joan Bradley is no longer on the list):

Caroline Corteen
Chris Reynolds
Donna Gregson
Helen Fitz-Gerald
Jane Smith
John Ashton
John Currie
Jonathan Hebden
Leila Ashton
Nick Bowden
Patrick Crowe
Perry Downward
Peter Bradley
Rachele Quayle
Shaun Nesbitt
Steven Callister
Tim Knott
Victoria Hill

Tell your friends, tell your children, tell your parents, brothers, sisters and anyone you know - ENTER THE PARISH WALK ONLINE NOW!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Don't go too far too soon (like I did!)

Ban him! A 17 year old approaches Malew in 1974. The Ford Anglia belonged to the late Arthur Jones and the Mini Clubman to my parents.

For many years there has been an age limit of 21 for men to walk beyond Peel in the Parish Walk and indeed, until recently, for women to go beyond Rushen.

As someone who forged their age and entered the event as a 17 year old in 1974, I am probably not the best person to say that there are good reasons for these rules – but there are!

You’ve got your whole life ahead of you when you are 18, 19 and 20 and, as has been demonstrated so many times in recent years, you don’t have to be young to win.

Find your feet (so to speak) in your first three years, try and develop a good technique, try and get used to the pain but, most of all, don’t do too much too soon and risk missing out on the golden years because you do yourself long term damage.

Not only did I enter under age but I went as far as Kirk Michael when I was 17 but my best anecdotal tale comes from the following year in 1975.

It has to be said that the standard was at its lowest level in that era. I walked to Peel with my school friend Allen Moore but he retired in his home town. I pushed on after that, overtook one or two people and caught the three leaders (I think) between Kirk Michael and Ballaugh. Local man Steve Gardner was with two Leicester walkers Ted Warner and Bill Roe. They were stopping and starting quite a bit and I ended up going ahead of them.

I was still feeling good past Ballaugh Old Church but it seemed a bit irresponsible to be leading the race at 18 years of age and not using the experience of three aforementioned walkers. So I decided to turn back and walk in the opposite direction until I met them! I had forgotten that I had done this until I was chatting to Steve Gardner at Dermot O’Toole’s book launch a couple of years ago and he said that he could still vividly remember his disbelief at seeing me walking the wrong way back towards Ballaugh.

Soon after, I pushed ahead for a second time but fatigue set in around the Lhen and, after my first taste of that seemingly never ending road to Bride, I called it a day at Bride. I was proud to tell my school friends on Monday that I had been leading the Parish Walk when I retired but I didn’t tell them that I had added a bit to the course.

I completed the whole course the following year (second to John Cannell) but I recognised that it was unrealistic for someone under the age of 21 to stand a chance of winning, even if at that time they were allowed to. My family donated a modest trophy to be awarded to provide some recognition to future youngsters. Maybe its time to increase the award but definitely not the distance.

Friday, 1 February 2008

The men have it

Michael "Blogger" George -among the latest entries.

There have been a further 30 online entries since I last analysed them - 18 men and 12 women. With 60% of the latest entries being of the male variety, they now represent 58% of the total entry.

Here is a lst of the new additions:

Abbie Corkish
David Anderson
David Tyler
Dot Saunders
Ed Burn
Emma Morter
Graham Webb
Irene George
James Head
Jonathan Keel
Juan Garrett
Katie Young
Kevin Ford
Kingsley Lambert
Leanne Whybrew
Maria Dimsdale
Mark Stewart
Matthew Haddock
Maxine Barlow
Michael George
Nicola Gardner
Pam Giles
Pete Russell
Peter Beighton
Peter Hartley
Ray Pitts
Rob Cannell
Sacha Rice
Sarah Joughin
Stephen Kelly