Winter League Race 3 and Soup & Roll League Event
Dalton, North Yorks 26 Nov 2017
Sunday morning dawned cold, crispy and clear with a few icy patches on the race circuit of undulating, twisting country lanes that required coning off. Otherwise an interesting 5km route was clear and practically free of vehicle traffic. This small, scenic village nestled in upper Teesdale, was the venue of our first Soup & Roll League promotion nearly four years ago.
Eight different clubs were represented overall, 11 in each 5 and 10km tests, and eleven (precisely half of the walkers) were complete newcomers. A few usual stalwarts were absent. We were delighted to introduce the novel concept of Race Walking to members of the Catterick parkrun volunteer team, and to the Walker family from Sedgefield Harriers who were to eventually earn themselves three prizes to take home including a signed copy of Chris Maddocks’ book.
Travelling an awfully long way to support the promotion (Crete is hardly next door) was the always impressive Tony Taylor. After some technical issues occasioned by an injury-hit year he visibly relaxed on his second lap to take the 10km (and league handicap win too) by a good margin from 100 Mile legend Martin Fisher. Sharon Gayter got the better of Dennis Jackson for 3rd, and was overjoyed to see husband Bill achieve 1st Novice place in his very first race walk.
In the 5km Pat Evans used her good experience of the course followed by venerable Winter League secretary Alan Brooks of the hosting club. In third was 14 year old Abbie Walker who, having began with homework in hand, and then strolled for a bit admiring the view, thought she might as well give the race some attention too. She was to finish in 37 mins barely out of breath, looking as if it was as much effort as putting the kettle on. One can only wonder at the potential.
All Novices were presented with certificates by ex-World Record holder Marion Fawkes.
A free lunch of home-made vegetable soup and crusty rolls left little cleaning up. Our very entertaining parkrun friends from the Gurkha community completely dominated the presentation with their insistence on photos with everything and everybody, and gave a fantastic reminder that family participation and FUN should be keystones in everything.
And the club gained another three new members.
The afternoon saw an EA officials Level 1 module in Race Walking in the village hall meeting room, under the control of top judge Ian Richards; those present were able to get some practical experience from the racing earlier.
So that was it. A ‘taster’ day with fresh air, RW book stall, nice food, an attractive venue, and responses at short notice from local community, Athletic clubs, parkrun brigade, England Athletics and different generations of age / family participation, in order to introduce Race Walking. Much could be done better but It was all privately sponsored and gives an idea of what might be achieved with support from official bodies.
Report by T McDermot
Race photos at onedrive
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