C893 Ron Wallwork - Centurions Worldwide Community

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C893 Ron Wallwork MBE
Ron has been an active athletics participant since the 1950s, when becoming a double-champion on the same afternoon at the Lancashire County AA Track & Field Championships.

First of all, he won his County Junior discus title, then broke the tape in the County junior walk. We are fortunate that he decided to stick with race walking as opposed to the discus circle!
Back in 1959 Ron was 3rd in the AAA Junior Mile at Watford clocking 7:13.4 in a race won by Southend's Peter Marlow in 7.05.4 with clubmate Alec Banyard 4th in 7:36.8.
A year later at Hurlingham Ron won in 6.59.1 with Peter 2nd in 7:03.2. The next 3 positions were filled by Maurice Fullager (Surrey AC), Alec Banyard and Dave Delaney (London Vidarians) who respectively were timed at 7:28.3, 7:32.1 and 7:44.0. The aforementioned medals were won as a Bolton United Harrier. Also in 1960 Ron won the  Race Walking Association (RWA) Youths 5 Miles' Championship at Mitcham, so claiming the 'Sidney Schofield Shield' in 39.02, this time on the programme as a Lancashire Walking Club member.
Of course, Ron's most famous victory was when winning the inaugural 20 Miles' Walk in Jamaica at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games  in 2:44.42.8 leading home Ray Middleton, Norman Read and Don Thompson who recorded 2:45.19.0, 2:46.28.2 and 2:46.30.0 respectively.
The following year Ron won an RWA National Championship double, at 10 Miles in his home town of Bolton with 75.06 on the stopwatch and at Ewell in the 20K in 97.21. 1970 saw him back in British Commonwealth Games (now called) action at Edinburgh where he made a determined bid, in poor weather, to retain his title by making a worthy attempt to keep up with pace-making Australian duo Noel Freeman and Bob Gardiner who were to cross the line 2:33.33 and 2:35.55 claiming gold and silver medals respectively. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games (yet another name change) on the Australian Gold Coast Bob met up again with Ron. Three well-known names filled 3rd/4th/5th positions: Centurion Bill Sutherland bronze in 2:37.24 - Scotland's first athletics medal of those Games), Centurion Bob Dobson in 2:39.55 (who'd led them out of Meadowbank Stadium on his International debut) and Ron, 5th in 2:40.10.
Another of Ron's major moments came on 3 July at Blackburn sodden track in blustery conditions when he set a new UK 2 hours record of 16 miles 315 yards - which was to be a long standing achievement. He beat the previous record of 15 miles 1,556 yards (set by the late Ken Matthews) by a large margin of 519 yards. 2nd/3rd that day were fellow Lancastrians Tony Taylor (Lancs WC 14.755) and Eric Crompton (Leyland Motors 13.765).
Another of Ron's major moments came on 3 July at Blackburn sodden track in blustery conditions when he set a new UK 2 hours record of 16 miles 315 yards - which was to be a long standing achievement. He beat the previous record of 15 miles 1,556 yards (set by the late Ken Matthews) by a large margin of 519 yards. 2nd/3rd that day were fellow Lancastrians Tony Taylor (Lancs WC 14.755) and Eric Crompton (Leyland Motors 13.765).
1966 British Empire & Commonwealth Games
Ron was an Olympic trialist in 1968 and was one of those under consideration by selectors in the "smoke filled room" come 1972. He was equally content to appear on both road and track and supported all our National Championships and many 'Classic' and open races - such as the Bradford 50K, Leicester Mercury and all the famous London 7s.(miles)open during times when so many "big names" were always there on race days. He's on the esteemed list of those who've recorded the fastest times in the very long running, but sadly now defunct, London Postal Region Open 9K yacht handicap races at hilly Blackheath Park - his qualifying performance was in a midweek race in the colours Essex Police (one of his previous Clubs).
QBR 2014 Commonwealth Games
To list all his successes would indeed take up much space. Needless to say, he's worn International vests on many occasions, and was appointed Team Manager for a long-distance International event at Bar-le-Duc. He's also Suffolk County AA Honorary Walking Secretary. On his list of achievements is staging successful National Championships for seniors and veterans/masters. When the (RWA) Northern Area held a wonderful Diamond Jubilee Celebration in Bolton - they asked Ron to be their guest-of-honour for that weekend, which proved a wise choice. Ron has also served as a Race Walking Association Vice President.

Ron successfully completed the 1992 Leicester WC 100 Miles on a tough Hungarton course in 22:26.07 becoming Centurion No 893. Fellow Moulton villager and Lancashire Walking Club member Ian Garmston completed the distance, in 23:16.24, to become Centurion No 899 - they'd spent many hours training together in preparation for their arduous task.

In 2014, Ron  took part in the Queen's Baton Relay prior to the start of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Pictured left - Baton bearer Ron holds the Queen's Baton in front of crowds at Newmarket Racecourse on 9th June  2014.
Key race organiser
Ron became a key organiser, with well supported 10K events at Newmarket's Rowley Mile racecourse before it moved to nearby Moulton village and later on was reduced to 5 miles. Large fields assembled, including on occasions, overseas touring race walkers of note. As fields began falling in number, Ron's annual Moulton kept its success going to become the South's best supported domestic race for year-after- year. So many wanted to make a journey to the delightful Suffolk countryside for traditional Saturday afternoon race walking on the Queen's highway.

Ron's desire, in organisng races, was to book a personage of note to be the Starter and make presentations. Two great epic distance events stand out : The 2000 'Captain Barclay Millennium Challenge' (4 races in one: 50 miles/100 kilometres/100 miles/1000 furlongs - to those unfamiliar with the turf it's 125 miles). In addition was an allcomers' 10K race plus a mass fun walk for the town's local folk on Sunday morning, in which protagonists of the horse racing game turned out. Before the action had been a memorable evening reception at Newmarket Town Hall attended by the Mayor and Town's MP.

In 2009 Ron promoted the 'Captain Barclay Bicentenary Challenge' which saw famous jockey Richard Dunwoody MBE emulate Captain Barclay's feat of 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours. The day after this wonderful achievement, which was attended by so many walkers during its 42 days' duration as well as rich Middle East racehorse owners, a 100 miles race commenced at the Rowley Mile.
Ron had much involvement with the Centurions, serving on their Committee and producing the "Wallwork Report" which recommended reducing such races to every other year (as opposed to annually). We now have a situation where it'll be 3 successive years without a 100 miles race on the UK mainland, though matters are somewhat beyond our control on that aspect of athletics.
Ron had horse racing industry connections as he managed Newmarket's New Astley Club in the town centre, which is a welfare organisation for those in the racing game. It became a centre for race walking functions and after our races, visits were organised to local "yards" where trainers would give hot tips straight from the proverbial horse's mouth. When Ron retired the horse racing community staged a special race in his honour at a packed evening meeting: "The Thank You Ron Wallwork Stakes".

Ron took over from visionary Martin Oliver as Enfield Walking League top man, as it's gone from strength to strength with its friendly 'B' race shorter distance format. Let's face it, race walking in the South of England) would be nearly extinct but for races at Donkey Lane, Lee Valley and Moulton village. Ron is assisted by long serving committed helpers. Twice when Ron submitted RWA AGM resolutions to extend his successful format to most other races, it certainly boosted attendance figures! - yet another feather in Ron's cap.

Ron will celebrate his 80th birthday at the end of May and he still contributes to our chosen athletics discipline in many ways, including participating in 'virtual' races in the Enfield League series.
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