The cine film for this race can be found here on youtube. The story below relating to the Guernsey interest.
Dave Dorey and Rob Elliott (pictured left in September 1977 after Church Walk) from the Sarnia Walking Club were two walkers hoping to secure a place in the Guernsey team for the 1978 Edmonton,Canada, Commonwealth Games. Both contested the English Commonwealth Games trial and National 30kms Championships held in Sheffield in a bid to try and beat the Guernsey qualifying time of 2 hours 34 minutes.
Dave Dorey, who had walked for Guernsey in the 1970 Games over 20 miles, had a 30kms best time of 2.42.38 set in 1975 and a 19.4 miles time of 2.46.47 in the Church to Church Walk. Probably now past his best he was clocking 30 kms walks around 2.45.22 to 2.49.
Rob Elliott , at nineteen years old had walked four times in Guernseyat 30kms with times ranging from 2.37.08 to 2.39. There was a realistic chance that with competition in the English trial he could get close to the qualifying time.
Another Guernsey walker Len Duquemin at 48 years old, representing Belgrave Harriers, had walked for Guernsey in the previous two Games, with a 6th position in 1970, was also walking but not with any intention of attacking 2.34.00. He called it a day during the race with a non finish. Both the others failed to beat 2.34.00 on the day, but could both be pleased by good walks on a not too easy three lap course.
Dorey had travelled up from London with walkers based there, whilst Elliott, who had based himself inYork for the week, had support from a van load of relations from the city as well as his father Mick.
From memory Rob (No 990 in green shorts,white top) at 1.00 time in video, remembers that he and Dorey (No 998 in green shorts, white top) were in a group of walkers holding positions in the mid 20`s of the field before Dorey dropped back. Rob had the company of two of the Isle of Man walkers he would face four years later in the Brisbane, Australia, Commonwealth Games as well as a future York Postal team mate Barry Graham.
Another memory from Elliott is of being encouraged by Bill Sutherland, who had medalled in the 1970 Games, as well as being aware of Guernsey walkers through his few races on the island. He, on encouraging Elliott in the latter stages had told him to “hang on to Adrian (James)”, on paper the faster walker. Elliott obliged by going straight past James without a second glance!
Rob crossed the line in 2.37.49 for 29th place, not far outside his personal best time with Dave 46th in 2.46.54. Both had walked close to their years best times.
This cine film is from the 1978 National 30 kms Championships held at Chapeltown, Sheffield. It was titled the First National 30kms and replaced the slightly longer 20 miles Championship. The walk also doubled up as the English Trial for the Commonwealth Games 30kms walk to be held shortly afterwards in Canada.
Olly Flynn, who went on to win the Commonwealth title, was first across the line in 2.21.54, ahead of Brian Adams 2.22.26 and Amos Seddon 2.25.26. Guernsey walker Rob Elliott was 29th in 2.37.49 and Dave Dorey 46th in 2.46.54. Guernsey had set a consideration time of 2.34.00 for the Commonwealth team.
A look down the finishers list for 1978 sees walkers who went on to the 1982 Games where Guernsey had an interest.
In 15th place in 2.34.13 was Steve Barry fromWales. He won the 1982 Games walk in 2.10.16.
Roger Mills (England) 4th in 2.27.11, 7th in 2.21.54 in 1982.
Graham Young 26th (Isle of Man) 2.37.39, 11th in 1982 in 2.27.04.
Rob Lambie (Isle of Man) 28th in 2.37.47, DQ in 1982.
Rob Elliott (Guernsey) 29th 2.37.49, 2.24.28 in 1982.
Paul Blagg (England) 38th in 2.43.21, 13th in 2.30.42 in 1982.
Murray Lambden (Isle of Man) 57th in 2.52.29, 8th in 2.22.18 in 1982