|Whilst the course was virtual traffic free (and therefore stress free) the weather was a major cause for concern.
Cool temperatures (14C) and light showers /rain were forecast, but it's good to know that the weather in France is just as unpredictable as in England. During the afternoon and early evening, the sun was as strong as the wind, but the rain showers were short lived. But then, close to midnight and catching everyone by surprise, the temperature plummeted to zero. Mistakes were made on dress - not nearly enough clothes for several athletes resulting in near hypothermia and combined with (literally) instant ice cold drinks hitting cold stomachs the weather took its toll on many an athlete.
Teams were selected on the basis of performances at the 2005 UK 100 miles championship, subject to availability.
men: Ian Statter (SWC), Dave Jones, Richard Brown (SWC)
women: Sandra Brown (SWC), Rosemarie Crellin, Cath Duhig
In addition to these six walkers, a further four decided to walk in this well-organised and enjoyable event. These included SWC members Kathy Crilley, Jill Green and Chris Flint.
The event was a very successful promotion by the Asptt Club, Bar le Duc. The French were delighted with the participation and performances of the English teams. This event incorporated the French national championship, and French walkers were in strong attendance. The best French ladies took part, with the notable exception of Kora Boufflert who felt the race was too close to the early June Paris-Colmar walk and might affect her preparations. Nevertheless, the French Ladies Champion, Sylvie Maison, walked an excellent race, maintaining her style to the end. In the menís race, the Bar le Duc results also included good performances by some of the French athletes. The ladies' team won the European trophy with an excellent team performance. Sandra Brown won the ladies' race in the good time of 20.49.11 for 170kms. The second and third placed ladies (stylish and experienced Belorus and Russian walkers) were both well over an hour behind the winner. French ladies took 4th and 5th places. Rosemarie Crellin (6th) and Cath Duhig (8th) both walked very well to strong finishing positions and performances, giving Englandís ladies the winning team performance over France in second place.
The England men's team achieved third European team place behind France and Belgium. Richard Brown led home the English men with 177.5 kms.
Ian Statter developed a very painful back after several hours of good walking, and retired.
Kathy Crilley always planned to walk around 50kms and then help the teams. All eight of those remaining on the road achieved over 100 miles (161 kms) in 24 hours.
The small support crew rose brilliantly to the challenge of having eight walkers on the 2.5kms road circuit for most of the 24 hours. Kathy and Ian, after their own exertions, joined the other soigneurs in providing the support which is vital for successful performances.
19. R.Brown (Eng) 177.5km 23 hr 56 min 23 sec; 21. K.Marshall (Eng) 177.5km 24 hr 16 min 42 sec; 24. D. Jones (Eng) 172.5km 24 hr 03 min 28 sec; 25. C.Flint (Eng) 167.5 km 24 hr 10 min 23 sec;
I. Statter (Eng) 52.5km (ret)
Men: England 3rd Team
1. S.Brown (Eng) 170km 20hr 49 mins 11 sec;6. R. Crellin (Eng) 170km 22hr 44 min 14 sec; 8. C. Duhig (Eng) 170 23hr 31 min 12 sec; 10. J.Green (Eng) 167.5km 24hr 10min 22 sec;
19. K.Crilley (Eng) 55km (ret)
Ladies: England 1st Team