Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter Walking League - Part One

No training last week, as I was mostly trapped in the very snowy, but beautiful city of York, where the main skill was just in standing up....

So, the Winter League....

To break twenty hours I need a little bit more speed, and to avoid the injuries I definitely need a better technique.

I noticed from the Parish Blogs of recent years how many walkers joined the Winter Walking League and how most of them showed rapid improvement and several went on to become Famous, with sub 20 hour times.

And over the years several experts have attempted to persuade me that my arm movement needs to be honed down from my random gangly stabs and swings into something fit to take home to meet your mother.

Then Maureen Cox, who looked after me in my time with Social Services, joined in the subtle persuasion and so I decided to have a go.

I had one training walk - 5 miles from Laxey to my home in Onchan, in 1 hour 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Not great, but as it included the hills out of Laxey and Baldrine and Whitebridge Hill, it seemed reasonable for my first walk for over a year...... I felt ready.....

The first round I entered was at the TT Access Road in October. A mass start and I quickly realised I didn’t have the technique or speed to be better than a middle ranker. Ahead of me were two doughty veterans, Ron Ronan and Dave Wilkinson, who definitely had the technique, but as they were a lot older than me, I was SURE that in the last couple of laps I would be able to blast past them. Also just ahead of me was Colin Moore, who I had walked with in training a couple of years earlier, and I KNEW I was a lot quicker than him.


I just watched them get further and further ahead of me, and no matter how much I put my foot down, they just receded into the distance. I learned then that endurance was definitely not enough and a lot more work was needed. Watching Steve Partington glide (by that I mean he seemed to float about the ground) past and lap us several times was like watching a magician whose tricks just could not be rationally explained.

My time was 1.12.20 for the 10k - a marker to improve on.

And a Little Bit of History....

My first memory of involvement in the Parish Walk was of a Parish Walk Relay race - either 1963 or 1964. I was a young Police Cadet, bundled into a van with a group of others to take turns pacemaking in the night between Jurby and the Finish.

Was there really a Parish Walk Relay? I have not noticed any mention on the athletics sites of such an event, but I am sure I am not dreaming. Does Murray have any info on them? And I heard today from Noel Cringle of a similar event called the "Harvest Moon Relay" using the full Parish Course. Any info on that?

I am not sure of the Police Team that night, but it included Albert Lowe, who did a lot of walking in the early days of the walking revival, Peter Corrin, John Platt and George Haring. I walked through the night, a few miles at a time with George to the finish, by which time he was staggering like Jim Peters. Little did I know that forty years later I would be staggering in the same way.....


  1. Apparently, it was stopped because somebody was killed near the Devil's Elbow.

    Murray published a photo from it a couple of years ago, asking someone to name the walker and the race.
    Robbie Lambie, of course, knew the answers and we were treated to some of its history but this is probably now lost on the old Forum.

    Unfortunately, you missed an opportunity for a walking masterclass from Kevin Walmsley who was superb on Sunday.

    Next race Andreas in three weeks.

    Keep blogging and training!

  2. I 'googled' Parish Walk Relay and found an entry from Robbie, which was part of an old athletics forum thread, but most of it was missing. I remember the lad who was killed at Devil's Elbow.

    I didn't make Sunday, as I had been away all week, had done no training, had a stinking cold and knew I couldn't get a PB. Not improving would have been disappointing - next time though....