Driving along the M4 at 6.30am I just knew it was going to be a good day at the office….and what a scorcher it was!
Last Sunday (6/9/15) was the 3rd British Nordic Walking Challenge of the 2015 season, and was held in glorious sunshine at the beautiful Lydiard Park on our doorstep near Swindon. Once again I had the honour of being Course Director and organised the event with Dave Robinsons’ assistance. An event of this magnitude could not happen without the army of willing and enthusiastic volunteers (Margaret, Stella, Nicky, Kevin, Bernadette, Chris, Carol, Rhiannon (Queen of Timing), Alix & Roy, Helen & Paul, John, Fiona & Keith) that helped set the course up…some of whom flew in from the Azores to help and compete, and others who had the previous day finished a week of the equally as impressive Coast-to-Coast walk. By 9am, we were ready and raring to go! Thank you so much to the Gemini Outdoor members who occupied 14 of the 18 Marshall positions, I am extremely grateful for the kind offer of their time in order to make the event happen.
At 9.30am, I set the first category off; the 20km was well represented by Gemini Outdoor with Keith, Roy and Fiona, who went on to win the Ladies category; all our team put in a mammoth shift to try and haul down the Mens race winner Gareth Davies from Staffordshire, but in the end he was too strong and finished in a great time. An hour later, we set off multiple waves of 10km racers, as Roy described after the event “I saw them about to start as I was coming around for another lap (of the 20km) and was determined to stay ahead of the crowd”. Once again this was a very strongly contested field, with great times being recorded by all of our Members (Meriel, Diana, Helen, Paul, Helen, Chris, and new to the team, Cath & Gareth who only started Nordic Walking less than a month ago). Our final category, was the 5km starting at 11am, and with only last years ladies champion representing Gemini Outdoor, Pam had a battle on her hands against the combined efforts of the rising sunny temperature and a very strong field; however, as always she gave it everything and left nothing on the course. Well done to all our Members (volunteers and racers) and of course, those that are not!
The next and final British Nordic Walking Challenge of 2015 will be at Black Park, Bucks (nr Pinewood Studios) on Sunday 15th November. Entries are now being taken, see our website for the link.
Steve Ellis – Sep ’15