National 20 km championships, 21st Mar 04
Once again the British Race Walking Association decided, following previous successful events to combine their largest Championships with international events for the different age groups male and female at Leamington Spa. Among the several races one rather lighter 1 mile event was put on for “Legends of Race Walking” with many former Commonwealth, Olympic and other UK stars including Surrey Walking Club’s 1968 Olympian – Shaun Lightman. Shaun also did the main Men’s event straight afterwards which may account for his slightly slower time. As far as the Club’s current fastest performer, Chris Cheeseman , was concerned there was already enough to contend with. It may give some indication of the conditions to note that there were no trains running South out of Birmingham and bus replacements were being used. In some unsheltered places on the circular park course the walkers were often blown backwards by the gusts. In addition Chris had to attempt to match the speed of the very quick Spanish and Italian competitors and shoe problems which caused him to walk one lap with only one shoe. Nevertheless he achieved a creditable 7th place even though the times were all inevitably slow which was unfortunate for a World Cup qualifying race. Shaun and Peter Hannell struggled for a considerably longer time but both completed the course so Surrey finished 5th team which with tight judging and several disqualifications and an unusually high number of “did not finish” entries on the results sheet. At least there was some satisfaction among those that did but not on account of the times!. Let us hope that our European friends will return to battle the English weather next year....

Results:
7. C.Cheeseman 99 m 55s; 19. P.King 123 m 14s; 20. C.Flint 125m 30s; 22.P.Hannell 129m 31s; 23. S.Lightman 129m 52s.

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