Ilford AC were represented at race No.2 of the 12-event 2014 Enfield Walking League, which was a 5 Miles race around 5 laps of a traffic-free circuit inside the town’s King George V Playing Fields on a mild Saturday afternoon. The contest didn’t get off to a good start for Ilford’s Walking Captain STEVE UTTLEY as he slipped on a tight spiral staircase at the dressing room on his way to the start line. Changing rooms at this location are a listed building and those wearing anoraks actually make pilgrimages to admire the said wrought iron spiral staircase…the Ilford Captain’s opinion of it isn’t printable! After a sit down, during which he contemplated scratching, he limped to the start line and hoped his discomfort would wear off as he made progress. From the “off” a good sized field were able to see 16 year old wonder-kid CALLUM WILKINSON of the host Club Enfield disappear into the distance leaving the rest challenging for 2nd spot. Ilford’s FRANCISCO REIS took a firm hold on 2nd place and secured it by powering his way to a 40 minutes and 35 seconds completion, easily beating old rival FABIAN DEUTER (Hillingdon AC) who was 3rd in 42.09. In 4th came PETE RYAN who was in top form as he succeeded in putting some good “scalps” in his wake. He took a tumble during the closing staging, cutting his face, an arm and a hand. He quickly rose saying that as he was going so well and had some good names chasing him, he just had to finish – which he did in an excellent 43.35. After treatment and a night’s sleep, come Sunday morning the hardy athlete was back on his feet training! Finishing in 6th spot with a 44.09 timing, was Uttley who’d experienced another tumble on his 4th lap before continuing unscathed. In 16th position came consistent STUART BENNETT with 49.33 on the stopwatch while STEVE ALLEN filled 19th position in 50.56 in his first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury in early November. Pride of place went to Club runner IAN KNIGHT who switched codes to make a sound race walking debut. Completing the race in 53.31 saw him gain 27th place and draw praise from both Club colleagues and rivals alike.The main talking point afterwards was of 4 competitors taking tumbles during the race, due to poor maintenance of footpaths inside this large public park, and as to whether more athletics should be staged there before improvements are made? Issued by Ilford AC Walking Section (01780-377382)
TEAM WIN FOR 4TH SUCCESSIVE YEAR
Ilford sent a team to contest the 87th Annual Enfield Open 7 Miles’ Walk at Lee Valley on Saturday afternoon. On route to the venue it was windy with heavy rain descending and entrants assumed they’ be in for an uncomfortable afternoon with a drenching. As it turned out just minutes before the “off”, nothing could have been further from the truth as clouds passed and wind abated leaving faint sunshine, making perfect athletics conditions!From the start on a pleasant 3 times’ “out-and-back” course along a canal bank, Ilford’s Captain STEVE UTTLEY tucked-in behind the leading trio and was ready to pounce should any fail to maintain their pace. But that never occurred so Uttley raced for 4th spot, and had to work hard gaining that position as the race’s closing stages saw the event’s leading lady competitor, Lithuanian GRAZINA NARVILIENE (Belgrave Harriers) launch a grandstand finish to draw level with Uttley and then forge slightly ahead within yards of the finish line. One last gasp from Ilford’s man as both sped across the line saw them jointly timed at 60 minutes and 17 seconds with Uttley getting 4th place by the width of his singlet!In close order came twice-former event winner PETE RYAN with 61.50 on the stopwatch to fill 8th spot, while former Scottish international STUART BENNETT was 17th in a sound 67.21. Closing home the team in 18th position was STEVE ALLEN in 68.42, which was a remarkable performance as he’d started with a hamstring injury but didn’t want to let the team down by not appearing! Ilford narrowly won 1st team prizes, for a 4th successive year, but were hard-pressed by hosts Enfield & Harringey AC.
Issued by Ilford AC Walking Section (01708-377382)
IN THE FRAME
Ilford AC walkers filled 2 places in the frame at Saturday afternoon’s London Inter-Club Challenge 5,000 metres at North London’s Allianz Park Track in North London. From the “off” in slight drizzle, Hillingdon AC’s Polish walker Fabian Deuter and Ilford’s Francisco Reis disputed the lead until the West London athlete edged ahead after 3 circuits to open up a gap he would enjoy until finishing in 23.28, with the Ilford man 2nd in 24.23 by which time drizzle had progressed to rain! Ilford’s Captain Steve Uttley came 3rd in 26.26 while solid performances were put by Stuart Bennett & Steve Allen who were always close when filling 7th & 8th spots clocking 29.02 & 29.12 respectively.
An Ilford AC walker has become Civil Service champion in their annual well-established 3,000 metres walk. Ilford’s Walking Section Captain STEVE UTTLEY journeyed to his native north-west to contest the title at Manchester on Wednesday, and maintained his current fine form. From the start he took command being unchallenged on route to breaking the tape in 15 minutes and 29 seconds, well ahead of silver medallist JOHN HALL who clocked 15.53. Issued by Ilford AC Walking Section (01708-377382).
OVER 4 DECADES ON – THE MEDALS KEEP COMING
Ilford AC Life member BOB DOBSON, lived up to his status as an evergreen 50
Kilometres expert on a hot Saturday in Coventry when clinching a hard earned
National bronze medal in the ultra-distance event. Former European and
Commonwealth Games representative Dobson’s 1st National medal was a gold one in
the same Championship event at East Ewell in 1970 – and 43 years later he’s
still being called onto the presentation podium. The distance, 31 miles and 121
yards, to those unfamiliar with metric measurements is the longest athletics
event in the Olympics – being 5 miles further than a marathon. It’s a killer
event at the best of times, but Saturday’s conditions were unbearable and many
retired leaving only the hardy making progress on a multi-lap course around the
University of Warwick campus in Coventry with a sharp incline for good measure!
In an event which brings disqualification if 3 judges object to a walker’s mode
of progression, it proved to be a mental test and a trial of stamina. Dobson had
2 red cards against his name on the hour mark, which left him with 5 hours on
his feet without daring to transgress as he finished 3rd British finisher in 6
hours 4 minute and 19 seconds, well inside a 6-and-a-quarter hour deadline.
Issued by Ilford AC Walking Section (01708-377372)