Friday, 3 September 2010


It's 3 weeks since the 4 miler up in the Yorkshire Dales at Arncliffe.  I haven't entered a race this weekend but I've been consulting websites which I'm pretty sure most of you also use.  The most comprehensive one for us northerners is surely John Schofield's site . Then there is , and . A good insight into north eastern races can be gained at  The internet has quickly become taken for granted for so many things including searching for and entering races. The latter being a process which  I   find tends to take more time and effort than filling out and posting off an entry form. Besides I like having my number before the day and many races make online entrants collect number on the day.  
But how did we go about finding out about races  before these the sites listed above came into being?  The magazines were obviously a key source and way back in the '60s that meant mainly the back page of  Athletics Weekly.   This one is the back of the 5th August 1967 edition  mainly advertising September races. You will note that all the races are scheduled for Saturday afternoon or evening .  The Freckleton half marathon in 1967 started at 7 p.m.(!); possible because only 57 ran . The winner ran 67:35, the 56th 93:33 but a 14 minute wait then for the last straggler in 1:47.  The last runner of the 532 competitors in the 2010 took 2:51.29.   Ben Fish won in 2010 in 68:27 not much slower than the 1967 winner but 2nd in 2010 (75:03) would only have been good enough for 20th. position in 1967.  
Confirming once again that despite the numbers of runners increasing 10 fold the quality at the sharp end has diminished.  ( We'll leave reason why to another blog, Rogan!)
Check out the entry fees as well.  For example, the 7 mile road race on the Fylde Coast at Thornton Cleveleys will set runners back the grand sum of 2/6.....12 1/2 p in new money!  Interesting the prize for the winner is 40 times the entry fee!  Similarly with the 5/- (25p) entry fee for Ben Nevis race with £10 for the winner. Not many races today where you pay, say,  £10 to enter with a £400 prize up for grabs!
By coincidence there is a race on the Fylde Coast this first weekend in September.  The BLACKPOOL  ILLUMINATIONS 10K will run from the north pier up to Bispham just south of Thornton Cleveleys and back.   Puzzling title for the race really. With the event starting at 11 a.m. there'll be a long wait before dusk when the lights will come on.  Fair enough for those making a weekend of it, I suppose.   With a journey booked to Manchester on Sunday, the Blackpool race looks my best bet.
I leave you with the front cover of that 1967 Athletics Weekly....the blue period...

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