Club History

History Achievements London to Brighton Obituaries

Founded in 1899, Surrey Walking Club was the first athletics club in the UK (and probably the first in the world) to specialise in walking. From the start, members took part in “racewalking” and in country “strolls” together at weekends – and we still do!
The club is proud of its distinguished history both of nurturing international talent, and equally 
proud of all its members, whatever their age and experience. Club members have excelled at all distances, and include many national and international record holders. The achievements section lists many of these of whom the most notable is Paul Nihill M.B.E. who gained the Silver medal in the 1964 Olympic Games.
From the start the Club was an enthusiastic promoter of walking and organiser of races. The Club’s London to Brighton 52 mile race, held annually until the 1980s, quickly became world famous and attracted the best walkers of their day. The Club has always had a special place in the history of long distance walking. Club members were instrumental in founding the Race Walking Association of Great Britain in 1907, and in 1911 the Centurions, whose membership is confined to those who have walked 100 miles within 24 hours. The Club’s London to Brighton and back race, and its successors, continue to give members and others the opportunity to qualify for Centurion membership.
If the Club has excelled at the sharp end of competitive racewalking, its members have shown an equal talent for fun and companionship. The Club’s regular full-day (and occasional long weekend) country strolls include convivial pub stops at lunchtime, and later for tea. Participants in the Club’s races are assured of the hospitality of the clubhouse for tea, cakes and a bar. Social events are held during the year, including the annual Gazette Night when funds are raised to support the Club’s magazine.
A history of over 100 years provides many fascinating stories and amusing anecdotes. Many of these are told in the Club’s centenary history “Unbroken Contact,” which tells the story of Surrey Walking Club, and of walking for athletics and recreation, from the days of the celebrated pedestrians to the present day. (“Unbroken Contact” is available from the Hon Secretary.)
The Club Bone, thought to be the thigh bone of an ox, was presented to the Club in 1913, and is still passed to each new President on taking office for use as a gavel at committee meetings. The Club’s badge for nearly 40 years was the swastika, an ancient symbol of good fortune. Unfortunately the Club was not alone in its choice, and resented the adoption of its cherished emblem by those with less sportsmanlike intentions. The Club's new badge reflects the fact that members have enjoyed walking the broad road and the narrow country path as symbolised by the broad and narrow bands