2018 Roubaix 28 hours - Centurions1911

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2018 Roubaix 28 hours

Race Walking > Results
Roubaix 28 hour individual and 24 hour team relay
15th-16th September 2018: Parc Barbieux, Roubaix.
Qualifying race for Paris Alsace 2019

British athletes have competed at Roubaix in both the individual 28 hours for decades and lately, the 24 hour team relay. Ken and Bob Watts have notched up at least  29 years both competing and lap scoring for the event. Last year we had two athletes in the 28 hour race and only 1 relay team  (but it did win the ladies team race...)

This year (2018) there were no British athletes in the 28 hour race, and only one team in the 24 hour relay. However, there was a sprinklng of Centurions from Belgium and Holland to fly the flag: Guido Vermeir, Chris van Cauwenberghe, Johan Koning (all doing the 28 hour race) and Ad Leermaker in the 24 hour relay. Bob Watts came along for a spot of lap recording as well.

Race venue:
Parc Barbieux is a beautiful park just 3km or so outside the centre of Roubaix. A straight forward journey by car... and the park is also on the tram route from the Ibis.

The race start times:
28 hours - 11:00
24H relay - 14:00

The set up in the park
Competitors/support crew in both races need to get to the park early to set up base camp in the "Village Marcheurs".  A slightly different course to last years race but it made it an easy 2,000 metres lap to count!
If you don't have a support crew/tent/car to support yourself - there is usually a large marquee to place your kit bag and supplies. For teams - there is a cafe just 10 minutes walk outside of the park for a late breakfast/ early lunch.

the 28 hour race

The men's race is usually a foregone conclusion as to the outcome: Dmitri Osipov has won the race for a good number of years. This year he did have some strong competition in David Vandercoilden (FRA) (5th in the 2018 Parish Walk), Emmanuel Lassalle (FRA), Guido Vermeir (BEL) Ivo Majetic (USA). Ivo is a US and Australian Centurion and he won the 6 day race in Hungary in May this year. Many Centurions will remember Ivo, originally from Czechoslovakia, when he competed in many French races in the early 1990s.  It was also good to see Aleksey Rodionov back racing as well. Aleksey, a winner of previous Roubaix races, qualified as a British Centurion (C.901) in Battersea Park in 1993 with a time of 17:32:30.
It was a very small field in the ladies race with only 7 walkers competing. Tatiana Maslova vs Irina Poutintseva? Plus regulars, Martine Sonnois, Christine David along with newcomer to 28 hours, Marie Cain. As ever, Tatiana walked a measured race pace and took no notice of those who sped past her. For Irina, this was to be her last race as she had announced her retirement beforehand.  
As a relay competitor, with no time to sleep, "spectating" at the 28 hour race was very exciting this year. Anything could happen. And it did....

Quite a few of the walkers went out really hard and fast and as usual, paid the price for doing just that.  It was fascinating watching how the race was unfolding. As usual, there was a live feed from the race and it was easy to log on with the mobile to see where everyone was ....when some walkers moved up the field and others slipping down...
It was good to be able to cheer on fellow Centurions as well. Mention must be made of Rudy Schoors and Caroline Mestagh who were supporting Guido and Chris and we were neighbours in the Village Marcheurs! So plenty to chat about in between tours.
David Vandercoilden eventually won the race with Lassalle 2nd and Dmitri in 3rd place.  To great cheers from the crowd at the finish line, they all walked in together. Slightly propping up David as is was leaning very badly!  
Tatiana prevailed to take the ladies race with Irina in 2nd place. A surpise 3rd place for Marie Cain who only took up race walking last year. She did tire badly in the last 6 hours or so and was  "helped" by relay wakers Josy and Magalie Pannier whose 3rd team member Cedric Varain had pulled out sick, so they continued with the relay but walked with Marie. In fact, many of the walkers were ill during the night....

the 24 hour team relay
the 24 hour relay is hard work - but it is exciting!
In 2017, the ladies team -  "The Lightening Ladies" won the ladies team race and it was touch and go whether they would win overall. Sadly not - but boy, the last few hours were extremely tense!! And we battled it out to the last! Well second place.
The 2018 relay race had 5 teams and the Lightening Ladies (Suzanne Beardsmore, Norma Grimsey and Kathy Crilley) were the only all-female team but we fought hard and gave it our all and so did very well to come 4th - but still 1st ladies team...
As usual, we stuck to our tried and tested routine of one lap each throughout the race. This year we had bought a new tent with plenty of room inside for 3 chairs and the food table. Cooking, well boiling the kettle, was done outside! We also took a small tent for Ivo to store his bags.

The presentation was held on Sunday at 5pm in the park. It was really a bit of a shambles, though. Hopefully it will be back at the Hotel de Ville next year.

Guido (far left) and Chris receiving their trophies.


1st David Vandercoilden 225,907km
2nd Emmanuel Lassalle  223,859km
3rd Dmitri Osipov  217,907km
4th Guido Vermeir 213,164km
7th Chris van Cauwenberghe 195,832km
14th Aleksey Rodionov
23rd Johan Koning

Full results

So, fancy your chances next year?  Handy hints on the race below...


Getting to Roubaix
  • car: Ferry to Dunkirk or Calais and just 90 minutes or so drive to Roubaix; or take the Shuttle to Calais for a faster journey ...
  • train: Eurostar to Lille then tram or metro to Roubaix. The Ibis hotel in Roubaix centre is just a few minutes walk from the metro.

The organisers take care of booking hotels (Ibis) for both Friday and Sunday (as long as you tell them your plans!)
You don't have to stay at the Ibis - but you will have to pay your own hotel bill if you don't.

Generally, a meal is provided for "foreign" athletes and the officials on Friday evening in a local restaurant.
In 2018, the team relay paid 70 euros for accommodation at the Ibis (2 rooms) dinner and hotel breakfast (for 3 people).
There is often some travel subsistence money (as long as qualifying distances have been reached and walkers cross the finish line at 24/28hours) and a bit of prize money as well.

Shopping (food!)
The Geant supermarket is a 10 minute walk from the hotel and there is a small Casino supermaket near the park.
We buy the basics - water, coke, buns, biscuits, bread, cheese, soup etc, to keep us going throughout the race - no time to slow down at the official feeding station. In fact, there didn't look to be very much on the official feeding station this year.

For the statistically minded - Guy Legrand (FRA) has compiled an amazing list of all Roubaix performances.
Provisional count (at 2017)..
  • 107 men have walked more than 203km in 28 hours.
  • 13 women have walked more than 203km in 28 hours.
Delighted to say many of these are Centurions.

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