Guernsey Race Walking : Sarnia Walking Club

The Under 20`s story

This page is about Guernsey’s young walkers up to the age of 20 years and their impact on walking in the island of Guernsey.

 

From the “Press”

 

Looking back in the old local newspapers it is possible to see results of walking races scattered amongst various athletic meetings and school sports.

For example the Weekly Press of June 1926 mentions an Intermedian Walking Race.

Three years later a half mile handicap walk is held at the same titled meeting. R. Laine winning in 4.16 from Geraghty and Duquemin.

This meeting seems to have a walk every year as in 1935 the Weekly Press shows a photo of the walk with at least 24 walkers on show, Mitchell winning from Mann and Horne.

 

Guernsey’s first Young Star?

 

 

The first young star must to my mind have been the 16 year old Basil J Bisson who won the first Church to Church Walk race in 1936 in 3 hours 18 minutes only 5 yards ahead of Jersey’s H G Taylor, who was described as an experienced walker.

After the walk it was thought that he wasn’t entitled to the cup as he had only entered the junior walk. However the Lt. Governor gave him a trophy at a later date.

 

Broughton, Le Cheminant

 

The 1947 walk brought another young walker out in the form of 17 year old John Broughton who won the walk in 3.23.54. He won again in 1949 improving to 3.13.30.

That year he also walked in the 6 and a half miles Sylvans Sports Clubs walk from Grandes Rocques to Pleinmont winning in 56 minutes 50 seconds.

Nineteen year old Terry Le Cheminant won the corresponding walk in 1950 in 63 minutes, also taking the Church title in 3.27.33, retaining it the following year.

 

Searson v Archer

 

The under 20`s were really into walking at this time as in 1952 John Searson 19, beat Nigel Archer 17 in the Church Walk 3.23.00. to 3.26.50. A year on and positions were the same although both produced quicker times.

Nigel Archer did get his win, although he had to wait until 1955.

 

Start of regular walks by GIAAC

 

On to the sixties and a 14 year old A J Bisson completes the Church Walk in 3 and a half hours.

In 1963 the Guernsey Island Amateur Athletic Club were holding more regular walk events and a scan of the papers shows a 2 miles track walk, with an under 19 winner being D Bourgaize in 21.08.

He was well behind the under 16 victor D Williams in 18.33.4. An allcomers record of the time is down as only slightly faster namely 18 minutes 31.9 seconds.  

 

GIAAC to Sarnia Walking Club

 

At the end of March in the new walking clubs first season (1965), a “junior schools”  event was put on with a late charge by Barry Marley bringing him home first by 7 seconds. He walked the 3 miles course in 29 minutes 08 seconds.

 

John Brouard, walker of the 60`s

 

From the formation of the Sarnia Walking Club in 1965 to 1968 the most outstanding junior was John Brouard who before his 17th birthday had set Island Best  Allcomer times for 6 and 7 miles of 49.34 and 57.06.

In the Sarnia Walking Clubs first season he finished in 3rd position in the first road walk recording 42.41 for 5 miles.

Apart from his record times he competed at all distances, walking 10 miles in 86.07, 20 kms in 105.14, 2 miles track in 15.46 and the 20 miles West Show in 3 hours 02 minutes 51 seconds.

In conversation with John he reckoned this was his best race. The story that emerged from this race via both John and winner Len Duquemin was that they were together for around 15 miles when John asked Len “if he could stop for a rest as he was feeling tired”. Len, probably taken back by this said it was up to him but John Moullin was close at hand.

I don’t think he had his rest as Brouard`s father Harry told him in so many words to get on with it. I think that the older Len was a much respected walker amongst the younger ones.

 

Days before his 17th birthday he walked 7 miles in 56.48 in a handicap walk which was won by his younger brother Roy, who was given a “specially struck trophy” for his efforts. Roy`s name can be seen on the trophy used today for a 7 miles race, namely the “Chilcott and Sons Cup”.

The same year John Brouard went to the neighbouring island of Jersey for their annual 7 miles walk finishing 2nd equal with team mates Duquemin and Moullin, breaking the hour in the process.

Weeks after his birthday he finished 3rd in the Church Walk in 3.02.58. and whilst still a Youth under 20 walker finished 4th at Battersea Park, England in the 3 miles National Championship in 24.41.

He was a member of the winning Sarnia team in the “Garnet” cup in 1967, and competed in the 1968 Chippenham to Calne, walking a time of 49.23.  Other notable times, which have, since been broken in the 17 to 20 years age group include 50 kms with a 5 hours 32.51 clocking, 10 miles 84.14, 6 miles 49.09 and an agonisingly close to 3 hours time for the Church Walk of 3.00.11.

John retired from walking probably before his 20th birthday but left behind many records in the Under 17 group. He can be seen nowadays delivering papers as he has done since his schooldays working from his base at the newspaper stand at the Bus Terminus or selling lottery tickets in the High Street outside the Arcade.

He made a one off appearance in the Church Walk in 1977 finishing in 3.14.11 for 5th place. My memory is off John running up to the line from his newspaper kiosk some 200 yards away, whilst everybody else was on the line, doing the walk, then returning to work!

 

Dave Chalker

 

Dave Chalker, a few months younger than John Brouard, started walking before the Sarnia Walking Club came into being, recording 56.21 for 6 miles and like other youngsters took part in the Church Walk, his effort as an almost 16 year old being a 3.36 clocking.

In Sarnia`s first season he improved his 6 miles down to 51.37 before hitting his 17th birthday. Once 17 he went on to finish the Church Walk in 2.59.40 for a 3rd place in 1966.

Other long distance efforts were 2 hours 13 minutes for 15 miles and 3.15.15 for the West Show 20 miles.

The following year he walked for the Sarnia Walking Club in the “Garnet” 10 miles, which as already mentioned was victorious. His times improved resulting in 5 miles in 41.01 and 7 miles in 59.10 when finishing in 3rd in the annual match against Jersey.

Months earlier he had recorded a slightly faster 58.46. Dave was another walker to give up whilst young but returned on the odd occasion to compete in the Church Walk and events like the old North Regatta.

 

Graham Mann

 

The late Graham Mann, another excellent young walker who became Sarnia`s first Treasurer set the inaugural record for 5 miles in the GIAAC Champs in 1963 finishing in 45.29. The following year walking 6 miles in 56 minutes in a race put on for the National coach Alf Cotton who was holding a coaching weekend. Graham who tragically died whilst still young is remembered today in a walk put on in his memory every year.

 

Tony Mudge, Ken Waldron

 

Tony Mudge gets into this section as another youngster with potential, walking 50 kms in 5 hours 28 minutes back in 1967. He also walked under 26 minutes for 5 kms and 105 minutes for 20 kms.

Junior Champion in 1968 was Ken Waldron who during his time as a walker pulled of a win in the Hill Climb, could walk 6 miles in 53.30, finished the 20 miles West Show in 3.28.40 and had a Church Walk best of 3 hours 15 minutes.

 

Future Champion Le Heron

 

In 2nd place in the Junior Championship was the tall, long striding Andy Le Heron, a Schoolboy Champion and a talent for the future. Before his 17th birthday he had a time of 50.20 for 6 miles to his name as well as a 59.47 for 7 miles when breaking the hour for the first time.

Whilst in the Under 20 year’s group he decided to go to England and work for German International walker Willi Wesch who ran a hotel. He would join up with Guernseymen Duquemin and Moullin and walk for London club Belgrave Harriers.

In England he competed in the popular Chippenham event and won a Southern title in 47.53. He was walking times of around the low 80`s for 10 miles.

On return to Guernsey and still under 20 he walked the Church Walk in 3.04.27 for 3rd place.

Months before his 20th birthday he became the 3rd fastest all time Guernsey walker over 20 kms when walking a fast 101.58. Andy carried on in the sport after leaving the Under 20 group progressing to Sarnia WC Champion.

 

THE UNDER 17 YEAR OLDS

 

 Wickenden and Farnham, Hampshire success

 

In the early 70`s there were two race walking sections operating in the island with SWC founder Eddie Robins looking after a group at Les Beaucamps School resulting in many fine walkers coming along.

Graham Wickenden after the Schools Walk held on the Island was sent to the Hampshire Championships in the United Kingdom, returning with a 9 minutes 35 seconds clocking for 2,000 metres in a race which was expected to be over 3,000.

The next month he finished a 3,000 metre walk in 15.56.

At this time Chris Farnham, Schoolboy Champion in 1971 when walking the 3,000 metres in 15.50, was making his mark and went on to win the Hampshire Schools Walk over 3,000 metres in 15.23.

For this performance he was chosen to walk for the County in the All England Championships where he recorded a personal best of 14.59 in finishing in 6th position.

That same year Farnham got the better of Wickenden in the F H Best Trophy in a 3,000 metre walk at the Grammar School grass track. His winning time was 15.53.

Both walkers still have records to their name almost 30 years later.

 

 

 

 

Sarnia walks Bulwer Avenue 70 / 71

Future Winners Start Out

 

Another group started in the late months of 1970 with the Sarnia WC organising a series of walks and looked after by the late Wyndham Mann and Doreen Mitchell.

Graham Wickenden was the dominant junior, with Farnham not competing.

That series saw the start of the walk careers of Mick Perrio and the young Elliott’s, names that were to stay in the sport for many years.

Perrio ended the season with a 2,000 metres time of around 10.25, with the younger Rob Elliott (12 yrs old) on 11.35. Rob’s brothers Mark and Ian also made their debut at the same time, with the then 7 year old Mark going on to faster things.

Rob Elliott, Mark Elliott and Mick Perrio went on to Church Walk victories. Perrio has the honour of winning both the walk and run version.

He walked the Church to Church event many times as a youngster and walked in both junior and the longer senior walks club walks. Rob Elliott, Schools Champion in 74, covered the 3,000 metres in 17.06 winning easily from Kendall and Douglas Wright.

By 17 years old he could walk a mile in 7.36 and 2 in 15.34. Even today he is holder of the majority of the 17 to 20 years age group bests. Brother Mark also has records to his name.

 

Together at L`ancresse

 

Into a new season and the action moved from Bulwer Avenue to L`ancresse with walkers from both “ camps” walking against each other. Chris Farnham was breaking records, one being a reduction of 24 seconds from the 3 year old 2 miles record held by a Philip Barbe.

Farnhams time was 16.51 improving to 16.12 in his next 2 miler. Some of his records still stand today.

Les Beaucamps walker Dave Le Prevost was on the scene walking 16.33 for 3,000 metres to take the 1972 Schools Walk title from team mate Peter De Laune and Rob Elliott.

De Laune and Elliott dead heated for 2nd place half a minute behind. The previous year Le Prevost had finished in 3rd only 6 seconds slower. Graham Wickenden and Chris Farnham were now off the scene leaving Dave Le Prevost almost unbeatable. None of this trio progressed into the senior ranks.

 

 

Boom Time for Under 17`s

 

Boom time for the Under 17 junior section was from the mid 70`s to mid 80`s. The Wright family had a few years earlier started in walking, with Jayne, Douglas and Janice competing and father Bob organising the races.

Others, some still record holders at their various ages, came into walking during this period, notably tiny Paul Ingrouille who recorded 56.25 for 6 miles at the age of 12 years.

Whilst still in the Under 15 group he could walk 16.16 for 3,000 metres, 26.09 for 3 miles, 55.08 for 6 miles and 65.25 for 7 miles. He even completed the Church Walk in 3.28.43.

 

Paul Ingrouille

 

Paul disappeared from walking whilst still a junior, turning his attention to running, in which he has represented Guernsey in the Island Games. He walked a 10 mile event in December 1999 after a long gap from his last walk and finished in 97 minutes. He is still an active athlete in 2008.

Back to the mid 70`s and a young Steven Kendall walked a 1 mile race in under 8 minutes, with friend Geoff Greening, who was not as fast but stayed in the sport longer achieving a 60.42 in the National Junior Championships held in Coventry. Darren Lynch was another walker who moved for a while into the seniors but not for long, not as fast as some of his competitors but a solid walker.

 

The Grammar Girls

 

The girls walking at this time were as well as Jayne Wright  (who later married another young walker Kevin Le Noury), Linda Hughes, Jan Yates and Sally Smart (who married Rob Elliott). As well as walking the junior walks Jayne won the Ladies section in the Church Walk of 1976 in 4.01.21 at the age of 16. She won again the following year although somewhat slower.

 

Bonners

 

 Sean Bonner was the pick of his family going on as a senior to win the Chilcott Cup, West Show 10 miles and first local in the Church Walk in 1983 at age 19 years.

As a junior he recorded 10.12 for 2,000 metres. At only 14 years old and walking for the Sarnia WC against the RAF he walked 10 miles in under 100 minutes. Brother Andrew and sister Debbie also competed.

 

 

Junior walkers at this time from the mid 70`s to mid 80`s probably numbered around about 30, as results of this number can be found in the club’s record books, but this article is only recalling the faster ones, although in an ideal world all who have walked would be mentioned, no matter how fast they were.

 

Bougourd and Amy

 

Into the 80`s and it seemed as if you had one member of a family involved it wasn’t long before all of them came along. The Bougourd family of Brian, Patricia and Antoinette were one such unit with Antoinette in particular showing well in the Under 11 group recording 11.49 for 2,000 metres and 19.30 for 3,000.

Brian’s claim to fame is a long standing Hill Climb best of 5.11.

Nic Amy was also one to beat who even as short as he was could really move as his record times show; 2,000 metres in 11.13 and 17.51 for 3,000 metres and all before his 11th birthday.

Alas all of these only walked for a few seasons with Nic taking up running and Brian turned to boxing.

Future senior record holder Carl Thomson also walked during this period but never really showed his potential until returning years later as a senior although he did have some good times, before turning to boxing.

 

Tostevin Sisters

 

Kathryn Tostevin

 

The two Tostevin sisters Kathryn and Jenny stared out at this time with the younger Kathryn quickly showing the way recording a 10.56 for 2,000 metres and 17.31 for 3,000 metres whilst still under 13 years old.

Kathryn also won the girls section in the Schools Walk. Her last appearance was in the Church Walk in 1988 for a “one off”walk.

Jenny who was not as quick at this time soon made up ground to create new age bests as well as dominating the Church Walk for years. Whist still 16 she walked the Church Walk in 3.40.01 winning the women’s section.

Still in this age group she had times of 10.44, 17.20 and 29.54 for 2,000, 3,000 and 5,000 metres respectively. Jenny went on to marry Mark Elliott of the race walking family.

The Gallienne sisters were in action at this time with the younger Lisa walking 36 minutes for 5,000 metres at under 11 years of age.

 

Lisa Gallienne

 

Le Cras

 

Jonathon Le Cras

 

Jonathon Le Cras was another walker with potential but who never got into the senior section. He was victorious at Schools Walk Level and could walk 7 miles in 68 minutes before he was 13 years old.

His best at 2,000 metres was 10.18 with an impressive 2 miles time of 16.05 still at under 13. He has finished the Church Walk in 3.31.33.

 

 

 

 

 

Juniors Decline

 

Shortly after this mid 80`s period the junior’s for whatever reason started to disappear, Mark Renouf was one who stuck at it and walked in senior races and is still a Hill Climb record holder. Mark moved into the senior section for a while and could walk  6 miles in 54 minutes.

He competed for SWC in the Chippenham to Calne Walk in England and finished the Church to Church Walk.

He soon moved into athletics in general having success at 400 and 800 metres, representing the Island as well.

Darren Lynch was another walker who as a result of the junior section progressed to break the 6 miles an hour barrier.

 

Darren Lynch

 

 

 Schools Walks

 

The Schools Walk was still held almost every year gradually moving from the road where the senior walk (11 to 16 yrs) was held, to the track once the junior schools (under 11 yrs) were involved. Walkers turned up in good numbers for this event with the difficulty being holding on to them as future walkers.

Of the ones to stay for a while were the Rouxel brothers with Douglas, the keener one, having many tussles with the older Stephen. Both could walk 1,500 metres in just outside 8 minutes. Another brother Shaun also took part occasionally.

 

New Hopes into 2000

 

Sarnia WC offspring lifted the juniors section, when at a very young age the Le Noury`s and the Elliott’s in the shape of Stuart, Jason and Matthew started in “ walks “ of a few hundred metres held whilst seniors chatted after their event. Jason and Stuart still walk now in 2008, whilst Matthew’s sister Lynsey also walked for a while, alas no more.

Various relations and friends of these have had a go but not stuck at it, whilst the Le Noury`s had wins at Schools Walk Championships.

The Le Lacheur family with Jennifer, Lucy and Tim walked for a few seasons with Tim close to the Le Noury`s. Sister Lucy Le Lacheur was multi talented and as well as walking, represented Guernsey at Inter Insular level for athletics.

 

Championships

 

Various Championships for the juniors over the period from 1970 on have been used. For the Mann / Mitchell period age groups were formed and prize vouchers given out with a mixture of straight and handicap races.

There was a mixture for the L`ancresse season and from the mid 70`s onwards the Championship was decided on a handicap basis covering walkers from 7 to 17 years old.

Hence on the trophy you may not see the faster walkers names. Walkers today, again on handicap race for the Under 17 years Boys or Girls Trophy with the addition of a Boys and Girls Under 11 years Trophy sponsored by Kevin and Jayne Le Noury and Bob Wright and Pam Falliaze respectively.

The Schools Walks, which have been held almost every year since Barry Marley won in 1965, have always been “straight” walks only varying in distance at both senior and junior school age.

The earlier walks were over 3 miles, and then 2 miles, then in 1971 went metric to 3,000 metres.

The junior schools until 1999 walked at 2,000 metres on the track, but with large numbers and difficulty in lap recording it went down in distance to 1,500 metres. Senior and junior were 1,500 metres in 1999.

 

2003

 

Into 2003 the hopes of Guernsey youngsters rest with the Le Noury brothers with Stuart and Jason. Jason is rapidly improving with a 16.30 3 kms and a sub 30 minute 5 kms to his credit. Stuart has just completed his first senior championship season.

 

By Rob Elliott, from original 2003 report

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