STEVE TAYLOR POPS THE QUESTIONS IN ONE
OF THE MOST DETAILED INTERVIEWS TO DATE PUBLISHED
Over the weekend of January 17/18th
local athletes were fortunate enough to benefit from having Martin Rush,
National Performance Co-ordinator (South West) and Peter Marlow (IAAF race
walking judge here on the Island offering advice and opinions on aspects of
race walking including coaching, judging, training, conditioning, development
and racing tactics.
It is always been a pleasure to make the
acquaintance of Martin Rush who belies his 39 years, still looking like the 18
year old schoolboy who won the English Schools title here on the Isle of Man.
Martin competed in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona having achieved the
qualifying standard at the Bowl in a classic encounter which was probably the
last great race between all of Britains finest as they all chased the Olympic
qualifying standard (5th place was 1.25.32!!!) Martins time that
day of 83.24 for 20km still stands as his personal best. It also places him
joint fourth on Britains all time list with Andy Penn and behind one time
regular visitors to the Isle of Man Ian McCombie, Chris Maddocks and Steve
Martin is also a very accomplished runner
having run sub 50 minutes for 10 miles and 2.34 for the marathon, a time that
incidentally he says that he was very disappointed with. He suffered during the
second half of the race and as many of our locals may have experienced pace
judgement early on in the marathon is vitally important.
Having made the efforts to get Peter Marlow
to visit the Island to conduct a race walking judging seminar and I can say
that after the event that it has been a privileged to have spent the weekend in
his company. Peter is an International race walking judge and was elected chief
judge for the recent World Athletic Championships in Paris and will again be
chief judge for this years Olympics in Athens.
Peter was one of the main organisers of the
Lugano Cup and Eschborn Trophy races when held on the Isle of Man back in 1985.
He was also the team manager when I first represented Great Britain back in
Peter has been a member of the IAAF walking
committee for over 27 years and is the longest serving member on the IAF
council. He is also chairman of the European Athletic Association race walking
A few local race walkers spent a most
enjoyable evening with both Peter and Martin on Saturday where we were
entertained with stories some serious some interesting but mostly hilarious
from both, relating to their experiences both home and abroad in racing,
training and officiating. If you get the chance ask Steve Partington about his
trip to Moscow with Peter Marlow and John Cocker.
I took time out to ask Peter some specific
questions and here they are.
How did you first get involved with
At school in London through the race
walking events that they organised.
Did you do any other athletic
No it was only ever race walking.
What do you consider to be you finest
achievements when you were competing?
Without a doubt it has to be competing in
the 1972 Munich Olympics where I finished 17th.
So when did you retire from competition?
I retired from international competition in
1976 but only stopped competing two years ago when I was diagnosed with ME.
How and when did you move into judging?
I moved into judging in 1980 but I had
already been elected to the IAAF walking committee back in 1976.
How long did it take you to reach grade
I made grade 1 in 1984 which was the same
year I was elected on to the IAAF panel of judges. Although by virtue of my
membership of the IAAF walking committee I was already considered to be an
You have been on the panel for over 27
years now, what are your personal achievements in that time?
Being chief judge at the 1988 Seoul
Olympics and instigating the IAAF race walking judging examination.
And the achievements of your committee?
The Grand Prix of race walking, which
started in 2003. (Gillian OSullivan won the womens event)
There has been a lot of media coverage over
the years of powers struggles within the IAAF, do you believe that despite this
athletics has always been at the forefront of their attentions and therefore
has never suffered because of it?
We know from experience that sport is
heavily influenced by politics and the sport itself is political, particularly
at the higher levels. Between 1993 and 1999 I didnt receive a single
appointment to officiate by the IAAF for what I believe were political reasons
but at the same time I received great support form the EAA who elected me
chairman of their race walking commission.
Have you experienced any power struggles
for any position that you hold?
I wish there was but sadly like the number
of competitors the number of officials has declined over the years. My
positions with the IAAF and EAA whilst appearing glamorous are very time
consuming and incur a lot of personal expense.
Who did you look up to when you started
out in race walking?
Stan Vickers. (European 20km gold 1958 and
Olympic 20km bronze 1960) See also
Who sticks out in your mind as being the
finest race walker in your era, British and world?
Paul Nihill without any shadow of a doubt.
(World record holder for 20km set at the Bowl in Douglas 1972, Olympic 50km
silver 1964, European 20km gold 1969 and European 20km bronze 1971)
I am sure that he is featured in the
following link but it is under going maintenance at the moment.
And in todays arena?
How important do you see the Manx
Harriers invitation meetings in the British calendar, and what message would
you send out to British walkers who aspire to compete in international
competitions about the Manx Harriers event?
The message is simple, do this race! This
event is so important to us in Britain and I lambasted the National Coach last
year because not one of the GB squad competed here. All the majors are becoming
earlier in the year so an early season time is of paramount importance to the
athlete. The invitation event has a great history of fast times and British
athletes need to make the most of these opportunities on home soil (since 1983
every 20km race (19 of them) has been won in a time of sub 90 minutes, in 2003
only one GB man managed to break through this barrier)
What do you see as the problem with 50km
walking in this country at the moment?
I think that similar to marathon running no
is prepared to do the work required in order to achieve success at the
Have you ever put a card in for, or as
chief had to disqualify a British competitor from a major championship?
Yes and I have no problems with it, as a
judge you have to be impartial. I recall being invited to judge at an
international meeting and I sent a DQ card for a British competitor. The chief
judge, who was of the host country, sent it back to me believing that I had
made a mistake. I told him that the card was correct and he was genuinely
shocked that I had put a card in for someone from my own country.
Do you see British walking ever being
able to compete on the world stage at any distance?
Not in the next ten years.
If so what is it going to take and do any
of our current youngsters stand out as having extreme potential?
I am not sure what exactly it is going to
take but Nick Ball stands out head and shoulders above the rest, he is an
athlete with huge potential.
You were chief judge at the recent world
championships and will be chief again for the Olympics in 2004. Would this be a
suitable time for you to retire?
Probably, I was elected to the IAAF panel
for a four-year term this time round and when that finishes I will be 66 and I
think that I will have done all I can by then.
So what is next for you?
I would like to think that I would lecture
full time on race walking hopefully working for the IAAF and EAA.
Peter on behalf of all in Manx athletics I
would like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions and for
being so honest with your replies. Now I do think that its your round so get
the beers in.