One thing that always impresses within the sport is when people who would much rather be competing but are unable to do, turn out to support other athletes. Pictured above at the Barrule Fell Race (ML) are (left to right): Last year's winner, Andy Cannell (sidelined with a knee injury), course record holder Steve Partington ("saving" himself for his 6th Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next year, and looking after Tom and Finn on the night), and "Mr Publicity" himself, David Griffiths who doesn't know anything but a positive word (long term injury).
The most amazing example is Parish Walk winner Robbie Callister who despite his extremely controversial disqualification in the 100 mile walk, spent 20 odd hours supporting his team mates, took the picture below and wrote a glowing report of his teammates performances.
Keith Wilkinson, Eammon Harkin, Sean Hands, Roey Crellin, Dermot O'Toole & Selwyn Callister (Pic by Robbie Callister)
It was a pleasure and an honour to watch ALL the
Isle of Man competitors taking part. I was witness to an amazing performance by
the Manx Team.
Sean's walk was perfect. Lapping the whole field in
the first quarter of the race. It was then up to the best in the UK,
Holland,Belgium,and Denmark to chase him. When Sandra Brown attempted to unlap
herself. Sean allowed her to pass him, then just sat on her shoulder for some 60
miles. During the remaining 60 miles, Sean controlled the race. Numerous times
Sandra made effort after effort to lose Sean and unlap herself but Sean covered
every move. He remained relaxed and focused at every stage.
Sandra's final attempt to break away from Sean came
around the 94 mile mark, she put some daylight between her and Sean but it was
nothing to get stressed about.
Sean coasted home and crossed the line just over
the 19hr mark.
Next of the team to finish were, Roey & Eammon,
walking the whole 100 miles together. Their performance was solid and
calculated. There was never any doubt about their ability to finish this
extremely challenging event. "Superb"
As for the 3 remaining Manx walkers still left to
finish. Words such as, gutsy,awesome,inspirational and brilliant would not
really give an indication of how well these guys walked. All three knew they
were up against it from the start. Comparing their completion times for The
Parish. Against the extra mileage for the 100, it was always going to be a hard
slog. These three Heroes were, Keith Wilkinson, Dermot O'toole and Selwyn
Callister. They battled and battled their way around. They had some very low
points, especially during, what was a very unpleasant cold,wet,windy night.
There were times when they doubted themselves. There were times when they were
extremely tired and times when the pain was almost too much. You only have to
look at Selwyn's feet to have some idea of how hard they pushed themselves. And
how determined they were to achieve their goal. Their performances were truly
As I said before..It was with pleasure and an
honour, to have witnessed these 6 amazing athletes.
I must also mention the performance of John Stubbs
and Alan Kinvig. They were an absolute credit to the Team. They struggled all
through the night with very painful back and ankle problems. Finally throwing
the towel in, in the early morning, when it was clear they would be timed
Finally, Ray Pitt's performance in the 20 mile race
during the early evening was astounding. Being dropped, in what was a very fast
looking race. Pulling himself back into joint lead, going neck and neck with
another UK walker. On the last lap with no real daylight between Ray and the UK
walker, Ray turned onto the track and unleashed a sprint finish, the likes of,
I've never seen before. Tough on Simon Cox being DQ'd in the same race, he
was walking really well.
Final, finally........no walker could ask for a
better back up team than the one we had....like the Isle of Man Team.....they're
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