Four Centurions (of three nationalities) took part in the EMU 6 day race in Balatonfured Hungary 9th-15th May 2019.
Primarily a running event, but needs must, this race does attract several race walkers each year. This year, Centurions from the UK were Richard Brown and Kathy Crilley and along with Ivo Majetic (USA/Aus); Justin Sholz (AUS/UK/Continental) made up the Centurion contingent. Dave Hoben (Surrey WC) completed the race walking party in 2019.
The race was held at a campsite on the shores of Lake Balaton and the recently re-surfaced paths made it a perfect venue.
However, the weather was pretty depressing... it started in rain and finished in the rain with just one day where it didn't rain! Severe weather warnings were issued for Monday and Tuesday which didn't bode well... well Ok just like home....
Justin and Ivo led the way for the race walkers in first 24 hours with Justin completing 100 miles in under 23 hours. Ivo walked very strongly and his aim was to get to 500 miles having missed this target in 2018 (489 miles and 3rd overall!) Alas, Ivo came into the 2019 with an injury and had to abandon 2 days into the race after completing just over 231 km.
So, Justin became the lead Centurion despite suffering from the usual foot problems (blisters, aching feet, tired legs..). Nevertheless, he soldiered on coming 27th out of 97 with 572,127 km. Breaking a coule of Australian race walking records along the way.
Richard opted to run the race interspersed with walking and completed 565.360k setting new M70 category 48 hour and 6 day national records, coming 29th.
Kathyy Crilley, a little slower.... completed 404.66km in 69th postion and achieving the W70 category 48 hour and 6 day national records, and in addition a W70 6 day world best for walking.
David Hoben walked a total of 353.118k in 74th place overall.
It has to be said that many of the runners, once they see race walkers in action, realise that they are missing out and say "I wish that I could walk as fast as you...". Some do put on a very good show of race walking and their technique would not get them DQ'd in an official race walk. So, how can we lure them into race walking?
6 Day Races
Once a staple of UK ultra race walking and indeed Centurion Paddy Dowling held the record for many decades (until 2015).
These days, there are only a few 6 day races around the world each year. The race in Privas, France is the only one with an official walking category with judges, so results are official in the race walking world. But the weather gets rather very hot and the course is on a dirt track.
Balatonfured, Hungary – an almost flat asphalt course with cabins provided to racers and their helpers. Many runners set their personal best there and is becoming popular with race walkers despite the lack of judges.
A race in Italy (details unknown) and another in Milwaukee USA (indoors).