While most people were relaxing in the Whit weekend sunshine, Wallasey A.C. runners Ron Barlow, Brian Woolford and Kevin Mather travelled to London to represent Cheshire in an Inter-Counties Athletic Championships in which the Cheshire team succeeded in winning the Minor Counties Championship.
A weighty contribution to this success was made by Barlow and Woolford who in company with Wirral A.C.'s Martin Cranny, gained their anticipated victory in the 20 mile championship, raced over 8 laps of London's Victoria Park when they finished 2nd, 7th and 14th to give Cheshire a most convincing team win.
Barlow was immediately in the leading group which, as the race progressed in very hot conditions, gradually dwindled until his only rivals were Alder of Northumberland and Roath of Surrey. When the 15 mile point was reached Roath also had been dropped, to leave the battle between Alder and Barlow.
With only one lap to go Barlow was showing signs of distress and Alder soon opened a gap of over a hundred yards, with Cheshire supporters now anxious as to his ability to finish in the extreme heat particularly as Woolford also was evidently feeling the after affects of his great run in the Pembroke 20 a week earlier.
In the event there was no need for anxiety as both Wallasey runners fought gamely on to the finish, with Barlow making a great effort to catch Alder and he was only 40 yards behind when the full 20 miles had been covered.
A great effort by both Barlow and Woolford and their future performances will be watched with interest, particularly, after they have had more experience over long distances.
In the mile at White City, Kevin Mather made a bold effort to reach the final but in a heat in which two of the three runners beat him finished in the first three in the final behind top miler Alan Simpson, he had to be content with a fourth place, with only three from each of the three heats to pass into the final.
The race, as heats usually are, was a tactical one and when Mather found himself in the lead on the first lap none of the other ten runners was prepared to take over and there he had to stay until with 200 yards to go, he was passed by Brown, Roseman and international Tony Harris.
Mather's time was 4 minutes 14 seconds and when one saw the next heat won by international Alan Simpson in 4 minutes and 16 seconds with only two other runners close up to make the qualifying three, it can he seen that some luck is required as well as tactical experience to got through heats which each include a varying number of top-class runners.
However, the experience of these championships will surely be of value to all three Wallasey athletes when they again have a tilt at the Country's best in the A.A.A. Championships in July.