1967 London to Brighton & Back

This was the 19th edition of the Brighton and Back.  The number of starters, 44, was slightly down on recent editions but  everything else seemed to be perfect.  The race was held on the weekend of the longest day, with a full moon thrown in for good measure, but someone forgot to arrange the weather which had been fine for the previous two months.

At the start of the race, rain was coming down by the bucketful which eventually eased on the return from Westminster Bridge and had stopped by the time the walkers got back to Croydon.  By this time some of those who had started in a motley collection of protection against the elements, ranging from bicycle capes and sou’westers to plastic bags, had already retired.  The night passed without incident except for the retirement of John Lees, the early leader, leaving the way clear for Gerd Nickel of Germany who went on to win and become the first German member of the Centurions.  By the afternoon the rain had returned in the form of thunderstorms, but unlike the 1963 race it did not abate the constant flow of traffic on the Brighton Road.

In total only 13 finished the full distance with 3 others retiring at 100 miles.  5, including the winner became new Centurions.  Soon after this race, the Surrey Walking Club took the regrettable but inevitable decision to end this famous series of races.  The traffic conditions and their inherent danger which had been mentioned by Henry Colldén as far back as 1921, had now become intolerable.  This meant that Billy Baker’s record from 1926 would now last for all time, a fitting tribute to a superb athlete, but more importantly, if Surrey Walking Club were to fulfil their obligation to promote a race every four years, a new course would have to be found for 1971.


1967 London to Brighton & Back – Programme

1967 London to Brighton & Back – Results