Roubaix 28 hours and 24 hour relay race 2009
19th - 20th September 2009
Individuals 28 hour race
John Constandinou, Karen Davies, Kevin Marshall, Bob & Ken Watts.
Team 24 hour Relay
This year also saw a GBR team in the 24 hour relay - a first (and hopefully not the last time) The Lightening Ladies (Les Femmes Vitesse d' Eclair)
Sue Clements, Kathy Crilley, Norma Grimsey.
Team manager: Kathy Crilley,
Tent Meister: Phill Long.
Chefs de cuisine: Joyce, Tony and Peter
28 hour race-individual
The weather was very hot (possibly too hot for those who started the 28 hour race at 1pm), but it made the night section very comfortable indeed.
Zoltan Czukor (HUN) led for well over half the race with Osipov (RUS) biding his time in 3rd place. But true to form, Osipov outclassed the lot of them. Giles Letessier (FRA) worked his way up the leader board to a very credible 2nd place
Th GBR/CYP contingency held their own amongst stiff opposition. Kevin was tired after his Trans Slovenia walk a couple of weeks before and this showed. Nevertheless, he put up a good performance and held 18th position until he retired with 103km under his belt.
Ken and Bob Watts walked relentlessly as ever until the end and both managed to complete over 100 miles.
John Constandinou and Karen Davies didn't quite make the 100 mile mark but both walked very steadily throughout the 28 hours.
Kora Boufflert amazingly was in 4th place overall after 3 hours and moved into 3rd position and was still there after 11 hours but slowly dropping a few places to finish 6th overall. A superb race by Kora.
The 24 hour Team Relay
The relay race has only been part of the Roubaix Paris Colmar qualifiers for a couple of years
The relay race in Roubaix started at 5pm Saturday, thus missing out the big 19km circuit (no loss there!) Eight teams were entered - a combination of all female, all male and mixed.
The Lightning Ladies:
Kathy Crilley (Surrey WC)
Norma Grimsey (Enfield H)
Sue and Kathy have competed in many 100 miles/24 hours plus Roubaix 28 hours over the years. Norma was a relatively newcomer to race walking and had not even raced over 15km before. Not that it showed (Norma - not Sue and Kathy!)
"Never having done this before we had no idea of what the best game plan should be. In the end, we decided we would do 3 hours each to start with then drop to 2 hours each, then for the last few hours 1 hour/2 laps. Each lap was 3.475km so we were looking at somewhere between 25-30 minutes per lap.
We decided at the outset that if Norma felt tired - then we would take over. No need!"
"No matter how many laps we were going to do - we decided we would give it a bit of welly!"
After a lap or two the Lightning Ladies were in 5th position and gradually, after a bit of swapping the laps around the team maximised their performance by moving into 4th place. The leading team were an all male team who were moving rather swiftly - Les Eclaireurs (Lightning Men?) so no chance of catching them. The team kept their 4th place to the end.
All in all it was brilliant weekend - the relay race was probably the most enjoyable!
Whilst Kevin pulled out of the 28 hour it must be said that he continued the race by way of support for the Lightning Ladies. Kevin kept up the lap recording and provided support throughout the rest of race making sure we were well fed and watered. We couldn't have done without him.
The French rely on foreign entrants (as much as we do for own 100 miles/24 hour championship) and they do of course offer generous expenses to cover the cost of travel and accommodation. The 28 hour is a very tough race and one not to be undertaken lightly.
Also, the circuit is held in arguably not the best part of town either. However, this year's course was much improved and did go around the more quieter streets. The circuit is well marshalled and patrolled by the civil guard and municipal police. Nevertheless, the race depends on sponsors and many of the prizes come from the local shops, therefore the race must go up the "high street" where it has to be said, not much interest is really shown in the race itself. Generally speaking though, the shopping public certainly did not get in the way of the walkers (this year anyway). The people of Roubaix are very friendly and have always welcomed walkers (and there is a sporting culture with the world famous Paris-Roubaix cycle race which takes place every year)