Thursday, 3 April 2008

Lets Give Sarah a Fitting Memorial

Had I been less idiotic, the career for me would surely have been sports journalism. What more can a man (or lady for that matter) ask for than to travel the world watching football, cricket, rugby, athletics etc. AND getting paid for it.

So I thought I'd have a go at a preview for Sunday's Sarah Killey Memorial Walk, formerly known as Seven Stations Challenge. Apart from Peter McElroy informing the world that it's on the wrong date, it seems to have been totally ignored by the media, though I'm not certain they have all received the entry list.

The other excuse for the newspapers is that it's very difficult write about this when you don't know how far everyone intends to walk. However, using my network of contacts (as a professional journalist, I never reveal my source) I think I have a fair idea of who's going where.

Of the top walkers, I can see in the entry list, rumour has it that Sean Hands, Chris Cale, Marie Jackson, Sue Biggart are not, like me completing the full course while Ray Pitts and Dave Mackey are believed to be injured.

The two outstanding favourites in my opinion, are Mark Hempsall and Jock Waddington and what a battle it would seem to be. A true contrast of styles: Mark the ultimate 'PowerWalker,' Jock, the stylish 'Race Walker.' They had a very good dice in last year's End to End and despite some initial concerns over Mark's technique, he settled down to finish the deserved victor in the race behind Robbie. Since then, Jock has had a succession of P.B.s culminating with a blistering 5k last Thursday night when he dipped under 24 minutes for the first time (incidentally that's 6 seconds better than mine, so I might have to leg him up on Sunday.)

On the other hand, Mark hasn't raced since his second place breakthrough walk, concentrating instead on his base fitness in preparation for events such as this one.

At any distance up to 20 miles, I think Jock would emerge in front but I believe that Mark's extra fitness will triumph over his superior technique.

Behind them could be also interesting with Alan Cowin and Terry Moffatt also having excellent Parish pedigree. Andy Green and Vinny may also feature, though I'm not sure that they have enough miles on the road on this occasion.

Although I haven't spoken to Tony Okell since I noticed his Parish Walk entry, I cannot see an athlete of his calibre just making up the numbers, though I have no idea what to expect.

The Ladies race is even more difficult to predict but I anticipate Terri Salmon and Marie Gilbertson will be the main protagonists though Bethany Clague seems to be competing in every endurance race known to man at present. It will also be nice to see Maureen Cox take a well earned break (ha ha, change is as good as a rest) from judging duties.

Fingers crossed Adrian Cowin's arranged for good weather, so good luck and see you there.

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