|The National Road 10km in Coventry was viewed with mixed emotions by the Surrey Walking Club team. Before the start the competitors, officials and many spectators paused for a short while as Brian Ficken, who had died at the beginning of the week, was remembered. Brian was not only a member and Past President of Surrey Walking Club but also a Past President of the English Race Walking Association and so very well known and respected by the whole group assembled in Coventry. The end of the race was somewhat different as the Surrey WC team celebrated winning the National team event, a feat not achieved for many years for the short and medium distance events. The rain which greeted the teamís arrival and continued for most of the womenís race suddenly stopped to be replaced by hot sunshine which, though very welcome, made the race, on a course with no shade, quite hard work. With six starters SWC were always likely to be among the first few teams even though some distance behind the leaders. The first few finishers in both races comprised members of the English team going to India for the Commonwealth team who all honoured us with their presence and of whom a close encounter was enjoyed by all Ė as they lapped the SWC members more than once in some cases! The winnerís excellent 42 minute time contrasted sharply with
our first man in at 56 minutes but with all four places from 16 to 19 filled by Surrey and our first, Roger Michell, in 11th, the team competition became a very tight affair. The individuals ahead scored well but were handicapped as their other, slower scorers finishing behind our first 5. The two non-scorers Mick Harran and Gary Macdonald did good work in keeping near those ahead and without them we should have fallen behind as we were only four points ahead of 3rd in the final scoring. Rogerís time was excellent in the conditions as he gave quite a few years to the leaders and he was well clear of those of a similar age. Another notable performance came from Ian Statter to hold his position in spite of an enforced lack of training.
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|1. A.Wright (Bels) 42 min 38 sec; 2. B.Boyce (Coventry) 45 min 55 sec; 3. Dan King (Colchester) 46 min 25 sec; 11.
R.Michell (SyWC) 56 min 11 sec; 16. P.Hannell (SyWC) 1 hr 2 min 24 sec; 17.
I.Statter (SyWC) 1 hr 3 min 34 sec; 18. M.Harran (SyWC) 1 hr 3 min 40 sec; 19.
G.Macdonald (SyWC) 1 hr 3 min 41 sec.
Team result: 1.Surrey Walking Club 256 pts; 2.Birchfield Harriers 253 pts;3.Redcar RWC 252 pts.