Nine teams of eight runners each, took part in the race, every may covering 1 lap of the course - approximately 3 miles 475 yards. The total distance was 26 miles 385 yards. As expected, Pembroke Harriers won quite easily and their time of 2 hours 18 mins. 33 secs. represents a very remarkable performance, it was over 5 mins. faster than that of Sefton Harriers (second) and 71/2 mins. better than Wallasey. Pembroke will thus hold the Neville White Trophy for the event during the next year.
The first lap of the race saw some brilliant running. R. Jones of Sefton, A. Frost of Pembroke and K Westmore of Wallasey set a terrific pace and they finished in the order given, Jones putting up a lap record of 16 mins. 40 secs. (an average of 5 min. 1 sec. for each mile). This time was not equalled during the afternoon. Jones was 1 sec. ahead of Frost and 10 secs. ahead of Westmore, but he was rather fortunate to beat the latter. The Wallasey runner led for the greater part of the distance, but a quarter of a mile from the end, he was told by a spectator that the finish was just round the bend in the road. He spurted ahead only to find that he had another 200 yards to go. He had made his big effort too soon and on the run in, he was passed by his two rivals. Behind Westmore, the representative of Liverpool Harriers was a minute slower in fourth positions leading Wirral and Boundary by a narrow margin.
The second lap of the race was equally exciting. E. Jones of Sefton and R. Nolan of Pembroke were together for over 21/2 miles with N. Marples, the Wallasey junior captain 50 yards behind. On the last half mile, Nolan finishing with a fine burst of speed, got away to give his club a lead of 12 secs. at the start of the third lap.
Marples was unable to reduce the leeway and he was 11 secs. behind Jones at the end. However, his time of 17 mins. 32 secs. was a very fine effort for such a young runner and he had the satisfaction of doing the second fastest lap for Wallasey.
From this point Pembroke went steadily ahead and the gap between them and the second club gradually widened until eventually they ran out easy winners. Much of the interest in the race now centred on the struggle for second place and for a long time it seemed as though Wallasey might spring a surprise by beating Sefton to it. C. Peers on the third lap lost a little ground on his opponent but had no reason to be dissatisfied with his time of 19 mins. 14 secs. Then came W. Richardson, the Wallasey captain (time 18 mins. 34 secs) and W. Davey (18.19) to put the club
into a good position once more, only29 secs. behind the Sefton team. At this stage, the fourth place was being fought out between Pembroke 'A', Liverpool Harriers and Boundary, but they were too for back to challenge the leaders.
The sixth and seventh laps saw the end of Wallasey's bid for second position. D. Grisdale (18.50) ran gallantly and for over half the distance actually cut down the lead, of the Sefton man ahead. He could not quite keep up the pace, however, and when J. Williams took over the 7th leg, Sefton led by 53 secs. Williams did not produce the form of which he is capable and Wallasey fell still further behind. Edwards, the club champion, on the last lap could not hope to make up the leeway and his time of 17 mins. 43 secs. was therefore unavailing.
Nevertheless, Wallasey A. C. had every reason to be satisfied with their performance in this the final race of the cross-country season. To finish third out of nine competing teams shows the tremendous improvement that has taken place in their running since last October last when, in too road race subsequently declared void, they could do no better than sixth.
Undoubtedly the ability exists - the enthusiasm is there also. Next season, if the Club's brilliant young runners fulfil their present promise, Wallasey A. C. can look forward with confidence to regaining her old position of pre-eminence in Merseyside athletics.
Results of Marathon Race.
1. N. Jones (Pembroke) 16-59 2- 18- 34
2. J. Robinson (Sefton) 17-44 2 -23 -49
3. J. Edwards (Wallasey) 17-43 2 -26 -03
4. T. Mahoney (L'pool Harriers) 18-30 2- 26- 33
5. C. Bourne (Pemboke) B 18-50 2 -28 -32
6. D. Onions (Boundary) 18-50 2- 29 -12