In recognition of the high standard of running that Ron Barlow has attained 'over the country' this winter, he bas bee rewarded with a trip to Chartre (near Paris) this week-end, when in company with E. Storey (Bristol), T. Brialt (London), and M. Batty (Thurrock), he competes tomorrow in an international race of approximately six miles.
As a warm-up run he put paid to a field of 90 runners in the West Lancashire championships at St. Helens last Saturday. Without really extending himself, he covered the nine-mile course in 42 mins. 27 secs. (3 mins. 45 secs. faster than his winning time last year), and left P. Hall (Barrow) over 100 yards behind at the tape.
John Wright was Wallasey's second man home in 13th place,whilst an unfit S. O. Else was 37th as third counter. Doug Hanna stepped up from the junior team to take 63rd place, and Len Durkin 67th and Hugh Pritchard (82nd) completed the team.
The boys' race was tinged with drama as defending champion D. Buckley of Warrington; fought manfully to retain his title against a determined attack by Wallasey's Dave Lockley, who led for much of the two-mile race, with Buckley at his elbow, and then passing him half-a-mile from home.
The sprint for the tape had spectators shouting themselves hoarse as Lockley closed the gap foot by foot, but the gallant Buckley (a flu victim the previous week) was not to be denied and got home with 2ft. to spare.
If Lockley could be faulted it would hairy been at the half-way point when he was going smoothly and his rival was seen to be struggling a little. Here the strategy was to open a gap with a burst of speed to test his opponent's stamina and perhaps draw his sting at the same time, but Dave will learn and his superior running action will give him an advantage in the future.
Johnny Jones was having his first competitive run since he broke his foot three months ago and showed that it will not be long before he is to be reckoned with again, a plucky run taking, him into 18th place, Paul Barrie was close behind in 19th position.
With only four to count, the last place in the team was a coveted one and it went to fast finishing Melvin Schless, who scored in 24th place, with Steve Walker just one place behind, Les Watcham 33rd and Philip Wealthy 37th were the other Wallasey runners.
In the youths' race over a three-mile circuit Ken Roscoe had a good run, taking tenth place with Mike McNamee 18th, Bobby McCaig 40th and Stewart Carson 41st in support. This is the first time this season that Wallasey have finished a full youths' team and whilst they were only sixth with 109 points they should have added confidence for their next outing.
The evening before the West Lancs. over 140 athletics enthusiasts converged on the Oldershaw Grammar School where Mr. D. C. V. Watts (the national coach for the North of England) showed film which he took at the Tokyo Olympic Games, followed by instructional loop films of famous international athletes.
Wallasey send a team to Wales today for the St. Asaph to Rhyl 6 1/2 mile road race. This year's team will be without defending holder Ron Barlow as he runs in France tomorrow, and it will be chosen from Brian Woolford, John Wright, Barrie Smith, Doug Hanna, Len Durkin and Carl Gee.