The first event in the Bank Of Scotland/Halifax winter racewalking league was held
at the Bowl on Sunday in excellent conditions for the time of year, reports
number of regular competitors were absent on the day but an influx of new faces
meant that a large field of forty athletes toed the line. The Island’s number one
racewalker Peter Kaneen was one of those missing but the return Steve Partington
and Kevin Walmsley meant that Neil Bates didn’t have things his own way. Steve
was competing in his first walking race since April and only his third since the
2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester last July. However it was soon a familiar
sight for onlookers as he went straight to the front of the field and was never
in danger of being caught. Despite the long layoff Steve produced one of the
quickest times for 10km by local walkers this year and will no doubt improve as
his gets back into regular training and competition.
Neil Bates hasn’t walked
since his 20km effort two weeks ago and only decided at the last minute to race
over 10km rather than 5km. It was a decision if may well have regretted as he
struggled over the second half of the race but will still be pleased to break 50
minutes yet again. Kevin Walmsley looked as smooth as ever and with some more
miles under his belt will no doubt break through 50 minutes before the end of
the winter series.
There were a number of fine
performances throughout the field so forgive me for mentioning only two. Sean
Hands who only just lost out in the End to End to Robbie Callister showed that
it isn’t all miles for him with a new personal best and looking technically much
better than those around him looks like he will be soon be pushing close to the
magical 50 minute barrier. Jan Hodgson has been attending the weekly training
sessions with the junior walkers and set herself a target of 70 minutes on
Sunday. Looking much more comfortable and smoother technically she smashed
through her target barrier and ended up under 67 minutes.
The 5km was dominated by our top junior walker
Robert Moore. Robert broke through during the winter league last year and
continued where he left off with a clear victory in his best time since March
for the distance. Robert has suffered through the summer with various ailments
so it is good to see him back at his best. Next on the road was Enid Watson who
has dropped back down to 5km this year, who was almost half a lap ahead of Geoff
Farrant in third. The Kaneen, Partington and Taylor children have all been
dragged along to walking races and today it was the Holgate’s turn. Sally
competed over 5km and appeared to enjoy the outing.
The junior races were thin on the ground with only
three in each race no doubt due the half term holidays. Callum Taylor made the
effort to go with the seniors as he sped around 2km in under 11 minutes. Such
has been the improvement of the juniors this year that he was disappointed with
his time even though it was faster than anything he did in last years winter
league. There was a close race for second between Kirsty Taylor and Emily Ashe
with each taking turns to lead throughout the race but Kirsty got her nose in
front over the last 400m to hold on by 2 seconds. In the 1km Adam Cowin was way
ahead of tiny tots Will and Jenny Farrant who had mum Catriona for company
throughout until Will broke for the line to beat his sister by 3 seconds.
The next race in the series in on Sunday 16th
November at Andreas. Meet at Ayre United FC clubhouse for a 10am start.