1951 London to Brighton & Back

For the first time this race was sponsored by the “Sunday Dispatch” newspaper who also publicised the race.

45 entered of whom 36 started. 25 competitors completed 100 miles, 20 of them continuing for the full distance of 104 miles. Out of the 25, four were existing Centurions. L.E. Lambert C133 was the only one to retire at the 100 mile mark.

One of the 36 competitors in this race was the 50km champion of France, Claude Hubert, who in finishing 4th became the 3rd overseas athlete to join the ranks of the Centurions.

The winner of the race was A.J. Stirling-Wakeley C143, in 18 hours 46 minutes, thus becoming a winner on both road and track (a feat that had only been achieved previously by Tom Hammond C10 in 1907 and 1908). His intention had been to break Billy Baker’s 1926 record, and although he started well he had a very bad patch just before the dawn, when Stan Horton had closed to within 2 minutes and actually had him in sight, however Jack Wakeley rallied and secured his victory. He won not only the Hammond Cup but also the Hammond-Neville trophy, as this was a Surrey Walking Club. He also became the first holder of a splendid 12 inch diameter silver punchbowl presented by the “Sunday Dispatch”.

Four hours after finishing and having a bath and short nap, Jack dressed in full evening dress and took his position as chief percussionist in the orchestra pit of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

1951 London to Brighton & Back