Barlow ran a magnificent race in his first attempt at the distance to finish second behind Ron Hill (Bolton) the England cross country international and well ahead of Fred Howe (Blackpool). Hill was the favourite for the race but few would have given Barlow a chance even for a place in the first ten. Ron has been plagued by injury for over a year and his running has suffered because of it.
Barlow was in the leading group from the start of the four lap race but Brian Woolford was more slowly into his running and came past in the second group at the end of the first lap. Brian Chalton, Frank Ledward and John Lynch all started but Frank retired at the end of lap.
On the second lap the field began to split up and Hill, Howe and Highton (Pembroke) led the other runners. At nine miles coming through Huyton Village, Hill was just in front with Howe and Barlow running very comfortably was in fifth position, with Woolford starting to make ground a few places further back. At this stage in a race it is unusual for the positions to alter a great deal and many gaps between runners usually increase in size but Barlow refused to accept the situation and at thirteen miles he had moved through the field to Hill's shoulder and was running more smoothly than before. Brian Woolford moved past some rapidly tiring athletes to come into fifth place. Brian Chalton and John Lynch continued to run very steadily, but Lynch who was catching Chalton up nine miles began to fall back a little at thirteen miles.
Over the last five miles Hill managed to pull away from Barlow, who was troubled by a leg muscle, to finish in a new record time of 1 hr. 42 mins. 28 secs. from Barlow, who returned
1 hr. 42 mins. 53 secs. and Howe 1 hr. 43 mins. 19 secs. Woolford recorded 1 hr. 43 mins. 27 secs. in 4th place.
It is a tribute to the quality of the running that the record which was broken was that of Fred Norris, who turned a time of 1 hr. 45 mins. 50 secs. for the course Norris holds all the
British records from the Hour Run to twenty miles and is ranked as one of the world's great long distance runners.
Brian Chalton ran a fine race to record 1 hr 59 mins. 18 secs., like Woolford and Barlow this was Brian's first 20 mile race. Kevin Mather was chosen to represent the Amateur Athletic Association against Oxford on 17th May, and despite the poor conditions ran a fast mile to finish second to Brian Hall in 4 mins. 11.8 secs. Hall recorded 4 mins. 8.5 secs.
Last Saturday at Blackpool however, Kevin improved his time to a fine 4 mins 7.6 secs. to take third place behind Derek Ibbotson, who won in 4 mins. 4.8 secs the fastest time if Britain this year and Peter Keeling of Hallamshire who returned 4 mins. 6.6 secs.