A good mix of walkers and ages for last Sunday’s RWA Festival of Walking at Hillingdon. The highlight was Commonwealth Champion Jo Atkinson’s return back to form in a domestic 20km with a season’s best of 93:43, while Bethan Davies (96:07) showed continued improvement as they outclassed the international opposition. Indeed Jo's performance would have surely been worth a Rio qualifying time on most other courses.
With a string of UK Masters' victories to his name, Francisco Reis assumed control soon after the 10am start on what would turn out to be a quite a warm October day with no shade and hardly any cloud cover. This cycle circuit is regularly used for National Champs. but is usually slow with a slight camber, long gradual slope and not ideal road surface. The blustery wind that so affected athletes at the 20km/YAG Champs in April was fortunately missing this time. Nevertheless the distance walkers also had to contend with a hundred turns every 500m.
An hour or so in saw the addition of faster walkers on the course for the other events, and the judges were making their presence felt with a welter of cautions and cards. Indeed, former winner Steve Allen had raised his pace in chasing Reis to soon find himself DQ'd.
With the completion of the other races we were well into the second half of the 50km and things were changing. Francisco was struggling, then really losing speed and finally retired at 30km. This left Edwards striding on in his usual fine style with a good lead on the field but still much work to do. All the remaining Masters continued to gut it out and and keep within the race cut-off speed. As more withdrawals occured Leicester's Colin Vesty was in second place although slowing with back trouble, the consistent Maureen Noel began pulling through to provide the best performance of the race while Sarah Lightman (daughter of ex-international Shaun) was having a tough time with stomach trouble but, as befits a Centurion, always likely to finish regardless.
Through 40km and more retirements. Legs were getting very tired and it was no cooler. Adrian took a well-deserved victory to once again take the historic Neville Trophy to good applause. Dave Crompton was closing in on Vesty, and Roy Gunnett soon followed to cap an excellent season for him. Lancs WC provided three of the eventual 4 finishers; having brought the impressive Horlicks Trophy on the long journey to London they got to take it home again for another year. And very well done to the ladies too.
It was very encouraging to see the youngsters stepping up in distance throughout the supporting programme in preparation for their Championships next year.
|RWA Senior Men 50km Championship|
|1||Adrian Edwards (M50)||Lancashire WC||5:39:26|
|2||Colin Vesty (M50)||Leicester WC||5:57:19|
|3||David Crompton (M50)||Lancashire WC||6:04:37|
|4||Roy Gunnett (M65)||Lancashire WC||6:07:44|
|DNF||Ed Shillabeer (M75)||Ilford AC|
|DNF||Mark Culshaw (M45)||Belgrave H|
|DNF||Francisco Reis (M55)||Southern Counties VAC|
|DNF||Sean Pender (M60)||Enfield & HAC|
|DNF||John Borgars (M65)||Loughton AC|
|DQ||Steve Allen (M55)||Barnet & DAC|
|DQ||John Constandinou (M45)||Birchfield H|
|DQ||Keith Vallis (M45)||Overton H|
|RWA Senior Men 50km Team Championship|
|RWA Senior Women 50km Championship|
|1||Maureen Noel (W50)||Belgrave H||5:55:00|
|2||Sarah Lightman (W45)||Leicester WC||6:09:00|
|2||Malcolm Martin (M60)||Surrey WC||1:55:46|
|DNF||Graham Chapman (M60)||Headington RR|
|DNF||Russell Vroobel (M55)||Hillingdon AC|
|DQ||Jonathon Hobbs (U23M)||Ashford AC|
|1||Jo Atkinson||Middlesbrough & CAC||1:33:43|
|2||Bethan Davies||Cardiff AAC||1:36:07|
|5||Penelope Cummings (W35)||Aldershot F&DAC||2:04:15|
|6||Ann Wheeler (W55)||Leicester WC||2:20:59|
|7||Angela Martin (W50)||Surrey WC||2:22:53|
|8||Noel Blatchford (W65)||Abingdon AC||2:24:28|
|9||Judy Howard (W55)||Abingdon AC||2:24:28|
|Under 20 Men 15km|
|1||Tim Snook (U20M)||Aldershot F&DAC||79:11|
|1||Chris Snook (U17M)||Aldershot F&DAC||50:27|
|2||Steve Uttley (M55)||Ilford AC||57:49|
|3||Peter Boszko (M65)||Birchfield H||59:59|
|4||Oliver Hopkins (U17M)||Lewes AC||60:51|
|5||Dwane Butterley (M45)||Leicester WC||61:17|
|DQ||Colin Zack (U20M)||Aldershot F&DAC|
|1||Emma Achurch (U20W)||Leicester WC||54:00|
|2||Kate Donaldson (W45)||Leicester WC||56:20|
|3||Lynn Jones (W50)||Enfield & HAC||71:03|
|4||Sue Davies (W50)||Aldershot F&DAC||71:40|
|Under 17 Men / Women 5km|
|1||Ben Allen (U17M)||Leicester WC||29:27|
|2||Abigail Jennings (U17W)||Aldershot F&DAC||33:56|