Sunday, 9 March 2014


So for me, the very word Lugano conjures up a whole range of memories and emotions.

It was the name of the race walking World Cup as Lugano was the first city to host it in 1961.  It was also hosted there in 1973.

The "Lugano Cup".

In September 1985, just after my 15th birthday, the Lugano Cup came to the Isle of Man.  It was held at St Johns.  All of the world finest race walkers came to the Isle of Man and as a 15 year old race walker, this was the most incredible thing I had ever seen.

Martin Young and I used to go down the promenade in Douglas every night where the international teams were training.  I don't think they could believe their eyes when these two kids were matching them stride for stride - albeit for a few hundred yards - absolutely killing ourselves to do so!

The 20k was won by the Spaniard Jose Marin and in second place was the Italian Maurizio Da Milano - two of the biggest names in race walking history.  The 50k was won by the big East German Hartwig Gauder.

It was both inspirational and formative.  The memories are etched forever.

Jose Marin (58) and Maurizio Da Minano(38) coming into St Johns from Peel

Hartwig Gauder(22) the 50k winner in St Johns.

So for me, the very word "Lugano" is synonymous with race walking.  It is, of course, a stunning city in Southern Switzerland close to the Italian border.  The city itself is on the edge of Lake Lugano, set in the Alps.

Every year, there is a large international race walking even in the city, around the shore of the lake.  It attracts the best race walkers in the world.  A flat fast course in stunning surroundings.

I do not count myself amongst this elite by any stretch of the imagination, however - I have the qualifying time.  All of my friend from Leeds are either going or have been given an international selection and...


So I am off on Friday to race in the 20km on Sunday.  I will probably be last but I will have the best seat in the house to watch the race and I may just get a personal best as well, inspired by the occasion.

This week has been less hectic than last week as I have started to taper for the race.  I have to admit I was pretty tired for most of the week after last weekends efforts!

I did manage an up-tempo 15km this morning and got round comfortably in 1hour 25.

My weekly total was a mere 61km this week and average pace was exactly 6mins/km.

I went to watch the Ascot Hotel Manx 20km yesterday.  I didn't compete as I am saving myself for next weekend.  I saw some solid personal bests set.  I though the 20 walk of the day was from my fellow blogger and four times Parish Walk winner Jock Waddington.  Jock has had a lot time out of the saddle and only recently been getting his strength back.  To have put in a 1:45 shows real quality and some serious strength.  It was very windy and he effectively doubled his 10k time from only a few weeks earlier.  The other spectacular performance for me was from from young Tom Partington.  25:00 for 5km.  He would have beaten me.  I think Birmingham was the last time I will ever beat that young man.  Following in his parent's footsteps, a thoroughbred if there ever was one!

I also had a good chat with Richard Gerrard - Parish Walk joint course record holder.  Rich was also spectating arriving in late from a Michael Buble concert.  .  He patiently let me quiz him for ages.  I was privileged to be able to tap into his knowledge and experience - trying to pick up tips for the big day.  A big thanks to him.

So, next time I post it will be back to serious distance training.  Of course, I will try and get lots of "selfies" with me and the stars of walking for my next post.  I can't think of anything more blatantly self indulgent. 

Can't wait!!

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