Summer is here and there has already been plenty of activity and successes amongst Centurions. And still plenty to look forward to over the coming months.
In March, several Centurions took on the French at Chateau Thierry - and won! Suzanne Beardsmore won the ladies race completing 173,791km in 24 hours. Close on her heels was Manx walker Karen Lawrie with 171,986km. This was Karen’s second race in France within a month. Both Suzanne and Karen were invited to participate in the 2015 Paris Alsace (formerly Paris Colmar). Centurion Richard McChesney also took part with a finishing distance of 162.514km. The weather was not kind and the results showed this. A report and results are on the website at:
Next on the racing calendar came Weert (Netherlands) which was the Continental Centurions qualifying race organised by Club OLAT.
On the start line for the 100 miles/24 hours were Centurions Martin Fisher, Chris Flint, Suzanne Beardsmore, Sue Clements and of course many Dutch (Centurion) walkers. Kathy Crilley took part in the 100km race. It was a mixed bag of results as, once again, the weather took its toll. However, success did come to Martin Fisher who gained his Continental Centurion “spurs” and to Frans Leijtens who won the 24 hour race.
Early June saw Centurions, Suzanne Beardsmore, Kathy Crilley, Sarah Lightman and Mick Barnbrook set off for France to support Karen Lawrie (and non-Centurion Tony Mackintosh) on the the Paris Alsace. Karen and Tony were the first Manx walkers to start this prestigious race.
Karen completed this amazing endurance race (309.5km) in 47h 17m, 53s in 5th place. For a report of this race see the Centurions website at http://www.centurions1911.org.uk/2015-paris- alsace.html
A few weeks later, a good number of Centurions completed the Parish Walk in the Isle of Man. Those of you who have already done it will know it a very tough race indeed! Amazingly, Centurion Richard Gerrard set a new record of 14 hours 40 minutes. And after a good nights sleep came back very early in the morning to greet and congratulate the slower walkers, as did Vinny Lynch, ￼Jane Farquhar and many others. Thank you - it was very much appreciated by this slow walker! The top results, both men and ladies boasted many Centurions. Edmund Shillabeer took the record of the oldest finisher - well done Ed. First timer, Kathy Crilley finished in 22h 54m 98s.
On the home front, Centurions have competed in a wide range of domestic races. from the Vets AC races in London’s Battersea Park to the Moulton 5 (Centurions are always welcomed by organiser Ron Wallwork) with Centurion Dom King winning the event for the 3rd time. The RWA 10km championship at the end of June saw Centurion Ian Richards of Steyning finishing 3rd in 52:52.
Jack Thomas Honoured
On July 4th at Cardiff International Sports Stadium Centurions' Vice President Jack Thomas (C. 606) was formally presented with the Welsh Athletics' Meritorious Award for his services to athletics in the Principality. His racing span as an active race walker in Welsh athletics was long; his time spent as a Senior Judge is also long and still ongoing. Jack's served for decades as Honorary Welsh Walking Secretary and, as a sports' historian, penned an informative chapter on Welsh race walking for both the Athletics Association of Wales Millennium Handbook and the RWA's Centenary Handbook.
On the social walks scene, Chris Flint was the lone Centurion walker at the Langport Walks (Somerset). The walks are organised by Centurion Hans Rennie and attracts a great number of walkers from home and abroad.
Do keep an eye on the Centurions website for all future social walks
The main fixture has to be the “100” This year it is being held in Castletown on the Isle of Man on 15-16 August. Also on offer over this weekend are two additional races - a 20 mile race and a 50 miles race - so no excuses!
Check the website http://www.isleofman100milewalk.co.uk/index.html
There is travel package available (ferry + hotel); flights to the Isle of Man can be booked from many English airports (Southend, London City, Stansted, Gatwick etc)
To date (early July) there are 69 entries which includes 15 Centurions and 8 Continental Centurions (non British Centurions).
Before the 100 there are a couple of events where Centurions are taking part: Suzanne Beardsmore and Kathy Crilley are competing in the 6 Jours de France with Centurion Richard McChesney competing in the 72 hour race. This race, which started as a running race and now in it’s 10th year, will be held in Privas and has a record number of race walkers competing.
As usual, Centurions will be taking part in the Nijmegen Marches (the Vierdaagse). The walks, which range from 30km to 50km, takes place 21-24 July.
Following on from the Isle of Man 100, the new season of French 24 hours starts with the classic Roubaix 28 hours which incorporates a 24 hour relay. Details are currently being finalised, but it appears there is a major expo on at the same weekend - which means hotel accommodation is at a premium, so please contact Kathy Crilley asap if you are thinking of taking part. As ever, keep an eye on the Centurions website for details.
The first weekend in October is the St Thibault des Vignes 24 hours race.
Centurions (and non Centurions) will be participating in both these events and if anyone is interested in joining the travelling party whether to compete or support - please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) it will be great to see you there!
Forthcoming domestic fixtures include the British Athletics (and RWA) 20km and 50km walks on the 4th October at Minet Park, Hillingdon.
Last, but not least: social media.
Not everybody’s cup of tea, but when it comes to getting the message across - you just can’t beat it| Whilst supporting Karen Lawrie on the Paris Alsace your Captain was posting progress reports with photos. The response was amazing. At times, the posts were reaching well over 300 people. All the good wishes were passed on to Karen “on the hoof” which meant an awful lot to her and I’m sure it spurred her on.
So watch out for updates of the 6 Jours de France and the Isle of Man 100 on the Centurions1911 Facebook page.