Southend 100 miles Garon Park
2-3 August 2014
It must be a first... it didn't rain! However, the wind, at times, more than made up for it.....
The general concensus: Southend 100 miles was one of the most successful and enjoyable 100 mile races in recent times.
Southend AC, through the enthusiam and professionalism of June Cork, John Brock, Pam Dawson and Ray Pearce, provided competitors, supporters and spectators alike with a good venue, good organisation and a jolly good race.
We had the press, BBC East and the Mayor and Mayoress of Southend visit Garon Park over the weekend.
It was a good event. Conditions not always easy (despite the lack off rain!) as the temperature did drop considerably through the night.
A track 100 miles is not an easy race. Not much by way of changing scenery and you are back where you started some 3 to 4 minutes later. Will power and the determination to rise to the challenge is what keeps everyone going. Easier said than done. Best intentions are what we all start off with, but sometimes those gremlins get in the way and it is not to be. Still, we all salute all those who didn't make it - for whatever reason. To sign up, start and make the effort is what it is all about.
Richard Gerrard from the Isle of Man was favourite. Richard qualified as a Centurion last year at the isle of Man 100 miles. He has also had many successes in the prestigious IoM Parish Walk more than once. Richard also qualified as a Continental Centurion in Schiedam (Rotterdam) only a seven weeks before the Southend race. As did relative newcomer to ultra race walking, Jayne Farquhar. Amazing on both counts. Richard went in to the lead from the start and kept it throughout the entire race. Walking wth fellow Isle of Man walker, Vinny - they showed the way for an awful long time.
Sandra Brown (Surrey Walking Club) always has to live up to the expectation of being favourite in the ladies race. And true to form, she delivered the goods again - and broke the women's age 65 year record as well.
It was good to see a few newcomers to race walking who wanted to take up the challenge of completing 100 miles in 24 hours. Tony Hill and Mark Haynes are welcome additions to the Brotherhood of Centurions. Let's hope they will come back each year and take up new challenges in the race walking calendar. Richard McChesney, already a New Zealand Centurion (a first to have a NZ Centurion in one of our races?) walked consistently throughout and was ably supported by his young son Zac.
Then there were the stalwarts - Martin Fisher, Frans Leitjens, Frank van der Gulik, Jaap Visser who seem to like this kind of thing. It was good to see Centurions - Robert de Wolf, Sarah Lightman, Chris Cattano also step up for the challenge- again.
Other newcomers such as Kim Reed, Martin Payne, Joyce Crawford , came oh so tantalising close to doing it. Please do come back to try again - you won't regret it!
Richard Brown, Chris Flint, Paull King, Olly Brown, Vinny Lynch - all experienced Centurion walkers who sadly had problems on the day - it does happen. So they didn't make the 100 miles this tme. Tribute to Chris Flint who was on the organising Committee and had put in an awful lot of time making the race a success - including on the morning of the race - still busy helping set things up and no time to prepare.
Our thanks go to:
- Linda and Trevor McDermott, Mark Denby, Sue Rey, Kate Donaldson, Steve Allen (Southend) and others who kept the walkers fed and watered throughout the 24 hours.
- The lap recorders (who never really complained of the cold - even though they were) and who wrote down all the lap times (402 laps!!) Pam Ficken, David Hoben, Herwen Westrate, Guy Barnes, Cath Duhig, Bob Watts, Ken Watts, Ken Munro, Ken Livermore, Carol and Mal Blyth, Jon May, Ann Sayer.
- The judges - led by Chief Judge Jack Thomas - who kept everyone on the straight and narrow according to the rules. Judges: Peter Cassidy, Bob Dobson, Mick Graham, Chris Hobbs, Sean Pender, Mark Wall, Pauline Wilson.
- The referee and time keepers - Ray Pearce, Peter Selby and Brian Cox for staying awake for 24 hours.
- Starter Elwyn Roberts. Did you know that the bullet in the gun of the starter costs #5.40? Thanks go to Elwyn Roberts who travelled to Southend to start the race.
- Pam Dawson (Southend AC) who kept all the officials and volunteers fed and watered (plus support crews) with some very, very nice food!
- Essex Medics who eased those tired muscles throughout the race.
- Essex and Suffolk Water for donating the water. Kept the thirst at bay!
- Dave Ainsworth, Commentator - who kept everyone up to date with what was going on throughout Saturday and Sunday.
- Thanks also to the Mayor and Mayoress of Southend for making everyone welcome in Southend.
Have I missed anyone out? If I have - apololgies. Basically everyone who was there at Southend during the weekend played a huge part in making it such a successful event.
Kathy Crilley C933