Thursday, 27 May 2010

205 special cheers

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an electronic copy of the Scottish Widows Parish Walk programme from Bridson & Horrox just after 8 this morning. I managed to get it published and linked to both the and sites more or less straightaway. Karen Kneale, the committee member who allocates the numbers (and does lot of other things besides) had still been working on this on Monday evening.

For me, and I am sure a lot of other people, the programme remains a great source of information, especially to identify walkers from their numbers on the day of the race.

In 1990, long before the site was even a thought, I worked to improve the information as part of the package to which Clerical Medical signed up for (initially) a five year deal. For the first time we recorded whether an entrant was a previous finisher so that people using the programme to follow the race could recognise someone with a proven record. It also gave recognition to the handful of people who had ever walked 85 miles.

Little did any of us think that by 2010 there would be 205 in that category. And what a job it is to reconcile those finishes. Unfortunately two of them are not among the list and one name (the same as a previous finisher) has been included in error.

There were only 4 winners of the Parish Walk in the “noughties” and twice winner Peter Kaneen has not entered. That left defending champion Jock Waddington, course record holder Sean Hands and the winner of five of the last nine events, Robbie Callister, to take the top three numbers. Who could possibly argue with those three having such a special status?

Beyond that does it really matter what order they are listed? I don’t think so although I did send the list to Karen in fastest order number as one objective criteria. She has used this as a starting point but moved a few people up or down. John Cannell is still the only person to have won the race six times no matter what number he has.

For people who need more information than is printed in the programme then they can use the website – that is why I produce the stats. For anyone who thinks that last year’s result is much more significant than any other year then that is why the result is printed in the programme for the current year (another 1990 innovation).

For anyone else wanting a top three number for next year they will need to lift the trophy at around 11 pm on Saturday 26 June. To do that they will need to have trained hard, developed a sound technique and have the mental capacity to stay the distance at a sub 16 hour pace.

The public know that if your number is below 205, with one exception, you have already done all of those things except going sub-16. I respect all 205 of you.

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