RWA 100 mile Championship and qualifier for the Brotherhood of Centurions
Redcar, 6-7 August 2016
UKA Race Permit RWA6019-1 (Category B Rules)
Local Organising Committee: Redcar RWC - David Jones (Race Organiser) and Trevor McDermot (Race Secretary)
What a memorable weekend!!
Redcar welcomed long distance walking to the north east over the weekend of 6-7 August 2016. It was, in fact, the furthest north this event has been held. But despite the distance, walkers, supporters, officials and volunteers from England, Isle of Man, Holland, Belgium and the USA made the long journey.
The course (see map
) was a 2 mile lap up and down the sea front with a 90 metre grassy stretch on "The Stray" at the turn point and where the tented village and feeding station were located.
It was, after the event, acknowledged as a difficult course. Whilst we all want race walking to be in the public eye, a busy sea front can be a bit fraught with lots of towns folk, holiday makers with children, dogs, prams, etc, making the most of a sunny day.... Not to mention scaffolding and hoardings, street furniture and a childrens' fun fair restricting the pavement to an even narrower walk way,...whew.... how did anyone survive all this? Well survive and thrive, they did!
There were 30 starters on the line for the 100 mile race. Some known and many unknown contenders. As ever, a race of this distance does throw up some good (and interesting) results!!
Seasoned walker and previous winner of several 100 miles races in England was Frank van der Gulik. This quiet and unassuming athlete does the Netherlands and race walking proud. Frank led for almost the whole of the race (difficult to tell without the programme of who was doing what distance). Frank, with his style never faltering throughout, went on to win the race overall by just under 9 minutes! It was so touch and go as newcomer to the 100 miles, Colin Vesty, looked at one point, that he would indeed catch Frank and take the lead. A few tense moments in the later stages of the race as Frank slowed slightly, but as ever, sensing the danger Frank calmly raced on to win.
Frank also won the Centurions trophy as the youngest (yet again!!) Centurion to finish.
The ladies race
Can one say a 100 mile result is always predictable? However, Sandra Brown just never ceases to amaze. Style and a consistant pace ... makes a winner.
So yes, Sandra was the first lady home in this 100 mile race. Contender, Suzanne Beardsmore was a late entrant, but having suffered some weeks of illness, Suzanne just wanted to flex her muscles for a few miles and then enjoy the event and support everyone. True Centurion camaraderie!
Kim Reed came so close to the 100 miles at Southend two years ago. And yes we thought in the latter stages of the race that it was touch and go again!!! But Kim proved us all wrong. Thankfully.
Did ever a walker walk with such a measured pace and with such composure. Supported by Centurion and fellow club member Tony Hill, Kim did it and with a fulll 35 minutes to spare. Well done Kim!!!
Talking of Tony Hill.... we have Tony to thank for sponsoring the cost of the chip timing in operation at this event. Thank you Tony.
A new RWA 100 mile Champion
Welcome to Colin Vesty not only as the 2016 RWA 100 miles champion but also to the Brotherhood of Centurions as C1167.
Colin is the Hon Secretary of the Race Walking Association and this was his first attempt at 100 miles. And didn't he do well?
With only 9 minutes between Colin and Frank, the future looks bright for Colin to try to get under the magical 20 hours. Go for it Colin!
Welcoming new Centurions
Well for us, it's what it's all about really.
As ever, there were walkers who were attempting this 100 miles challenge for the first time. Also, a few walkers who were having another "go" to try and get that prestigious Centurion number! And, of course, those Centurions who just cannot resist yet another 100 mile race....
It was also a great pleasure to welcome overseas newcomers to the UK - from the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA. What a great contribution they all made to the race. Please do come back next year!
So welcome to our new Centurions:
C 1167 Colin Vesty (GB)
C 1168 Jimmy Millard (NED)
C 1169 Rob Robertson (USA)
C 1170 John Borgars (GB)
C 1171 Kim Reed (GB)
C 1172 Gino Masto (BEL)
It musd be noted that John Borgars is the oldest male walker to achieve 100 miles n 24 hours.
Support crews and volunteers
.. for without these we would be nowhere. So thank you everyone.
In these uncertain times, it is truly rewarding to see everyone pull together and help out fellow athletes and their supporters to make it all work. But then, that is what the race walking fraternity and the Brotherhood of Centurions is all about. Together, they embody what is good in life and people - the walkers, friends, family... all celebrating and demonstrating that together we can do it.
The "tented village" for the walkers' support was located at The Stray - a grassy area located almost a mile from the start/finish area. The feeding station was also located here and many thanks to Kate Donaldson and Chris Berwick for manning this for endless hours through out the event.
Also Marion and Peter Fawkes on the sponge station. The unknown couple who manned the water station on Saturday afternoon (they just happened to be passing and volunteered...) Also on the water station were Dave Foster, Lauren Lax, Dave Jones and daughter Helena (Redcar RWC),
The judges, the lap recorders - Bob Watts, Morag, Pam Ficken; marshalls - Sailesh Shah, Dwayne (who also helped out on the lap recording at the Stray - as did Ann Wheeler after her 20 mile race) And as did many others who just turned up and helped. (If you read this and you are not mentioned - please get in touch and you will be!). The Centurions are always very grateful for the help and supoprt that everyone gives in making these races happen. So a very big THANK YOU!
Oh... did I mention the weather?
For the north east, it was a bit of a mini heatwave with temperatures in the low to mid 20s. A slight breeze during Saturday made the heat more bearable but it was deceptive as sun burn and dehydration caught many walkers out. Surprisingly, the temperature overnight was quite warm - around 17-18 degrees. But.. and a big BUT... the wind arrived. No wonder they have wind turbines off the coast in Redcar. For the support crews it became a matter of battening down the hatches and then hanging on to the tents. More than one tent tried to fly off to cross the North Sea (including the feeding station tent). With an up and down route, wallkers met the wind head on which ever direction they were walking! Sunday morning brought the sun back out but the temperature had dropped ..unfortiunately the wind hadn't. So the remaining walkers were rather sand blasted as well.... Sadly, as tents were dismantled (or blown away!!) the tented village looked a bit of a sorry place. But we tried to make up for it with our loud cheers for everyone who was still walking.
The Centurions have not been notified of the Official results - so the results here are taken from the chip timing results website and partially amended where possible from the Power of 10 website and the Race Walking Record. Dated 21 September 2016