Congratulations to Surrey Walking Club. Back In 1908 the Southern Counties instigated the first ever National Championship at 20 Miles, initially as a Team event only, and the first three editions were won by them. Today in the 21st Century they travelled all the way to Sheffield in support of the Men and Womens National 20kms, both of which Team Events they proceeded to win, with the help of the consistent Martin couple, stalwart Chris Flint, legendary Sandra Brown, and Shaun Lightman whose achievements over many decades are far to numerous to mention. Can any other club hope to challenge them in the near future? Their presence today also included past RWA Presidents Pam Ficken and Mark Easton in official Feeding Station and Photographic roles respectively.
All races were held on a testing 1km circuit in blustery conditions, and credit is also due to participants from the Isle of Man who had to depart so quickly afterwards, and the very promising youngsters from Cambridge Harriers.
Individually, today was notable for the walking of the Under 13 Birchfield girls, the disqualification of Sheffield's Under 15 Ana Garcia - who will only emerge stronger for the experience - an extremely competitive and fascinating Under 17 5km race, the usual well-paced race from Callum Wilkinson and an intriguing battle between Ellie Dooley and Emma Allchurch in the Under 20 10km.
The Senior Mens 20km soon saw Ben Wears, two Spanish prospects and Ian Rayson (Australia) at the front of affairs. After going through 10kms in under 45 mins, it was great to see the Redcar RWC man led the field home for another National 20km win, chased home by a technically impressive Fabian Bernabe.
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