Kirkby Fleetham – Open 50km – Open 35km inc. Northern Area RWA Champs- Soup & Roll League 5/10/15/20km – Primary Schools Athletics inc. 600m Race Walk

Kirkby Fleetham - Open 50km - Open 35km inc. Northern Area RWA Champs- Soup & Roll League 5/10/15/20km - Primary Schools Athletics inc. 600m Race Walk

Open 50km, Open 35km inc. Northern Area Champs – Soup & Roll League Event 12 (5/10/15 and 20km walks) also 5+ 10km Runs and Primary Schools Athletics on the Village Green featuring a 600m Race Walk.






It may have been merely a good tempo session for Rhydian Cowley (AUS/Glenhuntly AC) and our Junior International Cameron Curbishley (Medway & M), but for children living in the scenic village of Kirkby Fleetham in Yorkshire it was very exciting to witness for the first time actually how fast an athlete could walk.

With Cameron stepping off the circuit at 15km (72:48) Rhydian continued for another lap to record 96:24 at 20km and take first place in the Soup & Roll League Event 12. Consistent Brenda Gannon (IRE/Hyde Park H) won the 10km in 54:45 and Under 15 Pagen Spooner (Wetherby Runners) the 5km on her debut (30:00).

Good support from Redcar RWC here with six in the first eight, including newcomer Emma Hughes,  awarded a special prize as first Novice in 38:30. We welcome Emma to Race Walking and wish her the very best for future development. Ten novices in all raced on the 5km circuit that, although not hilly, is not entirely flat either.

Special mention must be made of Sheffield’s Edwin Grocock who recently celebrated his 90th birthday and finished a wonderful 10th in the 5km in 42:35. Awards were also made to Parent/Child teams. Jane Richards (wife of Dr. Ian) pushing our youngest ever prize winner Harry in the buggy ahead of Anji and young Mila Taylor-Hanlon, the latter were full of enthusiasm and contributed greatly to the day.

On a mildish Spring morning, Adrian Edwards took an early lead in the 35km race with Scotia’s Bill McFadden impressing with his technique in second. Greg Smith actually started 60 mins later with the shorter events but would have been a clear third at this point. By 15km Leicester’s Colin Vesty was slightly ahead of Smith with Dave Evans hanging on and Dave Crompton getting the better of his race-long battle with Graham Jackson. Behind, Mark Byrne was starting to suffer which gave encouragement to Phil McCullagh making his first attempt at the distance.

At 25km Edwards had extended his margin over McFadden, the other positions were close together except that Evans was losing ground. Smith called it a day at 30km and McCullagh had overtaken Byrne. McFadden now produced a 32.24 last lap to close the gap on a tiring Edwards to just over a minute. Vesty, affected by asthma, managed to hang on to third from Jackson walking at his fastest of the whole race, with Crompton not far away. The other positions remained the same.

With Vesty unable to continue it was York CIU’s Graham Jackson who strode on to the 50km win in 5:51:58, so soon after his April performance at the Sara Killey. Graham was noticeably stricken with cramp before the finish but received a warm reception by the crowd on his victory lap in the sun around the Green, ending with a big smile on his face. He had certainly walked solidly throughout and with good pace judgement.

Congratulations to Adrian for his 35km win and in retaining his Northern crown, also leading Lancashire WC to team victory again with the two Dave’s.  Great support from them on this traditional ‘Bradford’ weekend, in the Soup & Roll League races too, and with other essential roles.

Chief Judge was John Paddick, helped by Russ Jackson, Dave Jones, John Payn and Michael Hague. It is a pity that the 50km could not be promoted as a combined Category A/B race on this occasion as was originally intended but we certainly expect this to happen next year. It is planned that the judging panel decide each competitor’s category during the race via information sent in on their cards, and with the use of two DQ boards informing all. ‘A’ category finishers to take precedence over ‘B’, irrespective of times. 

Graham Jackson’s walking was certainly worthy of an ‘A’ grade performance, and the same can safely be said of the first three in the 35km. All competitors received individual prizes – made up baskets of local Yorkshire farm produce – besides the usual Area awards.

The Under 12’s 600m on the village green was admirably controlled by our overall Race Referee Sean Pender. He gave a full instruction, followed by a couple of practice laps on the laid out 200m circuit. The race was stopped after one lap for further explanation before being re-timed for the remaining distance. This was a sensible and practical introduction to our discipline for this age group. Sean also supervised the following Shot Put, 200m Run, Long Jump, Relay events, and then the kids organised various egg+ spoon/ 3-legged / sack races themselves.  Overall a decent introduction to Athletics (via Race Walking) with medals for all on a podium.

Contacts are now made among School staff and parents and after the big leaflet campaign beforehand we hope to build a small Primary Schools League in the North Yorkshire region.    

A challenging but rewarding event for the promoters, with over 60 participants and many novices, no sponsorship and a good number of prizes and plenty of free Yorkshire hospitality (!) including lunch and late afternoon buffet. We thank all involved  –  walkers (a few runners too) and continually multi-tasking officials  –  who contributed so much to the day. The local Village committee are also most helpful and welcoming.

 In particular the sincere thanks of Yorkshire RWC go to Rhydian, Cameron, and to Andi Drake and his international crew from the Leeds set-up for once again supporting and inspiring these promotions. At the end of a long day children could be seen practising race walking on their own and no better compliment can be paid than that.


Pictured is our youngest ever prize winner, one year-old Harry Richards with mum Jane who pushed the buggy !