GARAGE PEEL TO DOUGLAS WALK ON SUNDAY
winner Steve Taylor previews
This Sunday see the staging
of the final classic walking event of the calendar
year, the Empire Garages Peel to Douglas. Whilst
the winter league events so far this winter have
been thin on the ground a large field is expected
for this race on the back of the success of the
rejuvenated End to End.
Starting at 9am outside the
Peek Town Hall, this years course incorporates a
lap "around the block" at the start prior
to leaving Peel and finishes on the TT Access Road
which negates the need for a lap of the NSC roadway
and of crossing the busy road at the Quarter Bridge.
The distance is an accurate 10 miles.
Peter Kaneen has won the race
for the last two years and will no doubt look to
join Graham Young, Murray Lambden, Steve Partington
and Hayden Gawne in the illustrious band of athletes
those who have scored a hat-trick of wins in the
event. He will however be up against arguably the
Islands finest race walker to date in Steve Partington
who has returned to racing only this winter but
has already dipped below 45 minutes twice for 10km.
Both men are in heavy mileage at the moment and
train together regularly as they prepare for an
early season 50km so this may be too early for either
of them but would give an early indication to how
their training was going. Behind them young Neil
Bates (see footnote)
will be aiming to get onto the rostrum in
his first ever Peel to Douglas and how shown good
speed in recent races and has tackled the longer
20km already this year. I feel though that he will
lose out to Kevin Walmsley who has made a welcome
return to the race walking scene this year and has
already broken 50 minutes for 10km and no one can
question his staying power after his superb Parish
Walk debut back in June.
Behind these main protagonists
Allan Callow (see
footnote) would normally fill the void but I
believe that this race has come too soon after a
lengthy lay off due to illness. Instead Sean Hands
is likely to come through from the ranks ahead of
such notable regulars as Dougie Allan and John Stubbs.
Dave Griffiths isn’t likely to sit back and let
the others get away and will be in close contention
throughout the race as will Ian Callister and Simon
Cox if he decides to compete.
One of the big disappointments
in the local race walking scene for me has been
the absence of Cal Partington and it is unlikely
that she will be tempted to toe the line on Sunday.
Jane Gibson has also been lost over the last few
years so it will be down to Marie Latham to lead
the ladies home on Sunday. No woman has ever won
the race outright, Bridget Kaneen has finished third
in the last two years but Marie will have to be
at her best to get close to emulating this feat.
With Bridget still out injured it should be a clear
run for Marie with a close battle behind for second
between Jan Hodgson, Anne Oates, Jane Leece and
Karen Locking all capable of taking the spoils.
There could be a surprise in store for these four
however if Maureen Cox has recovered from a broken
toe or if Margie Killey and Sue Biggart decided
to give it a go.
All in all a great days racing
is in store throughout the field for those who get
up to watch the 43rd staging of this classic event.
Course. Starts outside Peel
Town Hall. Progress up Derby Road for 50 yards and
turn right on to Albany Road. At the end of Albany
Road turn right down Tynwald Road and take the second
right on to Atholl Street. (opposite Whitehouse
Hotel). Turn right at the end of the road and up
Tynwald Road past he Town Hall and turn right on
to Albany Road again. At the end of Albany Road
turn left onto the Douglas Road. Follow the main
road out of Peel and head for Douglas passing through
St. Johns, Ballacraine, Crosby, Union Mills, Braddan
Bridge to the Quarter Bridge. Turn right on to the
New Castletown Road and then immediately right on
to the TT Access Road. The race will finish 60 yards
along the TT Access Road .
The presentation of awards
and refreshments will be available in the Manx Harriers
club house in the NSC after the race.
Update from Allan
Callow: "Neil Bates wont be competing as he is away at the
National potential squad and I am going too. On Saturday we
are at the conference on @ " MORE WALKERS , BETTER WALKERS in Birmingham."
TO TAKE PART
No 1 for the
past two years. Can Peter Kaneen complete a hat-trick
on Sunday? (ML)