Guernsey Race Walking : Sarnia Walking Club

April 28, 2012

Castleisland RWC in Guernsey in 1990`s

Filed under: 10 miles, 20kms, 3 kilometres, church to church, Uncategorized — sarnia @ 1:06 pm

Castleisland RWC by Rob Elliott

In response to a recent comment from Joseph Malone on the Church to Church website, I was prompted to go back in time to the early 1990`s (results here) when walkers from Eire and the Castleisland RWC took part in Guernsey walks.

The SWC received a phonecall from a walker from that club indicating they would be over for the Church to Church walk. A lot of information as to names may have been lost in the telephone conversation with a broad Irish accent talking to  a Guernsey one!

In these pre internet days I had looked through old athletics magazines etc to find any Irish walkers names to see what sort of competition would arrive.

Church walk morning arrived and two Castleisland walkers were at the start.

Patrick Murphy (No 44 in photo above) and James O`Sullivan were duly introduced and then we found out that Pat was of International standard with a sub 90 minutes 20 kms to his name as well as 4 hours 23 in his debut walk at 50 kms. Straight away we knew he was the favourite for the Church to Church 1993!

Pat Murphy walked strongly and romped home an easy winner in 2.33.00 for the 19.4 miles course, going through the 10 miles point in 78 minutes to go to third in the all time rankings for the event. Colin Bradley was an isolated second some 17 minutes behind. Local walker Rob Elliott was fourth in 3.08.48, but held on to his second place in the all time rankings, with his best time set eleven years earlier.

A year later and John Cox from Castleisland (in photo finishing Church to Church) joined the two walkers from the year before. 

They competed three times whilst in the island. Once over 10 miles the Sunday before the Church to Church, a 3 kms road walk on the Friday before the Church and the Church itself.

But they made things difficult for themselves. The evening before the 10 miles and a phone call from them to say they were on the way to Guernsey fromFranceand no idea when they would arrive!

Problem. The race was due to start at 10 am.

Problem. There were two boats due in to the island fromFrance early to mid morning and we had no idea as to which one they were on!

Problem solved. I went to the harbour to wait for the arrival of the first boat and hope they were on it. As luck would have it they were and we could get straight to the start which had been put back an hour in anticipation of their arrival. In this pre mobile time, I was communicating with club members some seven miles away at the start via a phone box at the harbour and one almost on the start line!

A quick drive to the start, putting on numbers and racing kit whilst in the car, saw them ready to roll.

There was no time for warm ups as other walkers had already been kept waiting at the start, so 25 minutes after arriving they and the rest of the walkers were on their way walking from Imperial Hotel to Lancresse.

Pat Murphy easily won in 78.19 from Guernseywalker Carl Thomson in 80.53. John Cox walked 92.17 and James O`Sullivan 100.53.

Once settled in Guernseyand staying within a mile of the 3 kilometres course, things were a little bit more relaxed for their second race.

Pat Murphy blasted out an 11.45 time for the two lap course, with John Cox recording 15.33 and James O`Sullivan 16.34.

Murphy repeated his Church success of the year before finishing in 2.34.25, John Cox finished 8th in 3.17.34 and James O`Sullivan 9th in 3.19.12.

Six walkers broke the three hours barrier, Murphy winning from Colin Bradley 2.49.28, Carl Thomson (Guernsey) 2.52.59, Rob Elliott (Guernsey) 2.53.52, Steve Allwood 2.59.12 and John Paddick 2.59.47.

Pat Murphy walked to his third victory in 1995, slowing down to 2.39.25 with team mate Joe Malone, in his only walk on Guernsey to date in fifth place in 3.18.27. Local Guernseywalker Rob Elliott was second in 2.49.11.

Pat Murphy raced to his fourth victory in 1999 on a stiflingly hot day in 2.56.23.

With four wins out of four starts Pat Murphy is one of the most successful ever Church to Church walk competitors and even to date has the 4th fastest time  as well as three performances in the Top 12 times.

Added to his other wins at 10 miles and 3 kms he also won a local 20 kms walk in 101.44 in 1997, walking in borrowed kit and shoes after his had been lost en route to the island!

Never a dull moment with the likeable walkers from Castleisland RWC.

Rob Elliott April 2012

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