Friday, 2 May 2008

Fabulous Walk by Marie Jackson while Mr. Hirsuite Wows the Locals

The people of Stockton and the supporters were generally very good to the racewalkers who had taken over their park and I only witnessed one instance of a competitor nearly tripping over somebody.

Some of the kids were doing impressions wiggling their hips and I eventually made great friends with one young lad whose mum it turned out worked at the Cafe, so he was there right until the end. It was a real boost to have him cheering me on and wanting high fives every lap.

There was one gang of kids who didn't seem quite so friendly but I had to laugh when one of the girls shouted, 'Ya heery bastud!' when I passed them. Perhaps I shouldn't wear a vest, showing off my great gorilla suit.

During the early to middle parts of the race, I saw Marie quite regularly and the first time I overtook her, she was down in third place but in no panic, walking with great technique. Even that first time, she wasn't far behind Cath Duhig but Maureen Noel took me quite a while to catch.

By comparison with Marie, Maureen was working very hard using a great deal of upper body strength. By the second occasion, probably about 20k into the race, Marie still looked very composed and at this stage had moved into second place. This time the contrast between them was even more marked, despite the Belgrave Harrier being now some 2 minutes clear, her breathing showed that her pace and style were taking their toll. She probably knew already but it was great to be able to report to Marie that she just had to remain patient and the race would be hers.

I think that was the last time I passed Marie because she had obviously used far more racing nous than me despite this being her 50k debut. Indeed she looked so good right until the end that it wouldn't have surprised me if she had unlapped herself by overtaking me.

She took the lead at the around the 40k mark and didn't look back, finishing in 5:37:32 and pulling some 7 minutes out on the second placed lady and now former champion, Maureen Noel.

As I informed you in the previous post, the course had a stiff little hill, so it was a measure of how brilliant Marie's victory was in that it was the 7th fastest ever by a UK walker, scoring 936 IAAF points (compared with my paltry 839.) Thanks to Cal Partington for that information and it is perhaps even more remarkable that 5 of the top ten fastest lady's times have been set by IOM racers.

Lastly, a massive thank you to Paul Jackson and Irene George who were brilliant supporting, feeding and timing us, never complaining about being there for six hours for a good part in the rain.

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