The English cross-country championships to be held at West Bromwich today are the culmination of a winter's hard training and racing for some 3,000 athletes and runners from all over the country will be converging on the Dartmouth Park for most of the morning and early afternoon.
Wallasey A.C. will be strongly represented, though unfortunately the club as yet will not present any great threat to the strong Sheffield, South London and Portsmouth teams. However, the past three years have seen an upsurge in local interest, and I feel sure that another three yearn will see, Wallasey amongst, the leading English senior teams.
For the present, we shall have to aim for as high positions as possible in the three team races - youths (three miles), juniors (six miles) and seniors (nine miles).
Theo form of our leading runners has been disappointing lately, for after thrashing some very strong teams early in the season they seem to, have fallen off and it would he unwise to forecast any sort of positions for our stars John Wright and Ron Barlow. John, who but for an attack of jaundice last year would have gained an international vest, is already County and District champion this year, but I have not as yet detected that fire which carried him to a brilliant tenth position in the inter-county championships a year last January. Though to finish in the first say. 25 will be quite, an achievement today when it is borne in mind that there will be 900 runners thundering across the football field that will be used for the start, and some 50 of them will be internationals of some sort.
The enigmatical Ron Barlow is oven more difficult to sum up, he has beaten Mike Turner, the Cambridge undergraduate from Liverpool, who is rated my many as the best junior in the country, and two years ago at Arrowe Park. Birkenhead, Ron was sixth, yet in January of this year he could not finish in the first dozen in the Cheshire championships. Last week, however, he led the
us! Among the rest of the senior team, I feel that positions in the first hundred are not too much to hope for for Brian Woolford and Pete White. The juniors led by Ron Barlow could do well, as Phil Townsend, Dave White and John Young' have both trained' very hard during the past few months'. But I fear they will miss Tony Townsend, at present serving in Cyprus, and Brian Chalton, suffering from a badly sprained ankle.