Friday, 26 June 2009

and now a drink

I was going to tell you why but now its too late as I planned to finish at 9 pm.

I'm going to have my first alcoholic drink for 7 weeks.

Raise your glasses to "The Parish Walk".

See you in December.

Let's not forget Arthur Jones

Only a short write up this time, but I always stop to think about the late Arthur Jones, who passed away in 2001.

He organised the event in the days when it had a very low profile. Without him there would not be a Parish Walk and we would be saying "remember when they used to walk 85 miles".

The most important thanks

Thank you to my wife, Marie.

She has to put up with me getting up early and heading for the computer, disappearing at every opportunity to update the site and forgetting lots of important things that continue regardless of the Parish Walk.

She is busy still in the first year of her new job planning for Tynwald weekend. After that we will finally get a couple of nights away in Manchester to watch those aging rockers: 1) Crosby Stills & Nash & 2) The Eagles.

Oh, we are also going to the Jackson concert. Not that one, but the one at the Gaiety Theatre tomorrow night. The Gathering have Ray Jackson, formerly of Lindisfarne among them. My sister, Margaid, who have I just spoken to, used to be a big Lindisfarne fan and even named one of her cats after him - "Jacka".

The most important statistic

Everyone survived.

That is not a joke. It is dangerous to walk on public roads, much more so when some people, connected to the event or otherwise, take risks.

If we are to have this same vital statistic in future years, people have got to start behaving sensibly. Much more on next year's website.

The committee should take a bow

In case you don't know, or have forgotten, the committee consists of:

Raymomd Cox
Elizabeth Corran
Karen Kneale
Allan Callow
Kevin Walmsley
Martin Lambden
Winston Liu
Tracy Cook
Debbie Surgeon
Geoff Walmsley

They do a great job and the stability that they have brought to the event has been wonderful.

But they have not been afraid of change either. During the time that most of them have been involved, the start has moved from the Villa Marina to the NSC, the route has been changed through Ballasalla, the start time has been brought forward from lunchtime (in stages) to 8 am, electronic timing has been introduced and online entries.

So nothing will ever standstill.

Don't ever be afraid of constructive criticism. That's how the event is as good as it is.

When I grow up I want to be a Parish Walk statistician

You always hope that role models in sport will encourage kids to emulate them and it would be wonderful if in a few years time a young person won the Parish Walk and said that as a child they had seen Janice Quirk or Robbie Callister or whoever winning and wished to follow in their footsteps.

I was certainly inspired when I used to watch the Parish Relay Walk in the late 60s and early 70s and wanted to be like the people taking part in that. I remember seeing one of the stragglers in the real thing one Sunday morning when I cycled from the top of Kirk Michael to Bishopcourt farm at 5.30 am where I used to help with the milk round for five years when I was at school.

When I passed my test at 16 I took my mates out to follow the walk around, even if we were somewhat juvenile with our shouts of "Hey boy" as we passed them by.

I entered the walk for the first time (under age) when I was 17 and reached Kirk Michael.

But I don't remember ever dreaming of being a statistician, although I did used to have a fascination with cricket stats.

What got me into the PW stats was seeing the list of finishers for each year that the late Kevin Madigan produced in the 1979 programme. I set about typing them out into fastest order sequence.

And then the following year I would have to do it again - with the extra names. No way to save the list in those days, especially with my pre-war typewriter (I am not joking there either, some of you may remember the old Boundary Harriers newsletters that I produced with Allan Callow on it).

But I still got fed up with people saying "I've done the Parish" when their name was not on the list. So I went about researching all the people who got to intermediate distances.

In 1987 I bought an Amstrad Word Processor so at least I could save the lists and in 1989 came my first PC. But I still typed out all the names until about 10 or 12 years ago when I was given access to the data electronically by the committee.

I never set out to spend so much of my time manipulating data. I have produced some extra lists this year and I think I have taken it about as far as I can.

What is Dermot going to reveal?

I had a long chat with Dermot O'Toole, the author of the Parish Walk "A Walk Through Time." He is pictured above on his way to his 15th consecutive finish.
He is planning a second edition of the book to be published in the autumn of 2010 and naturally I am making my statistics and photos available to him.
The news of his second book may be news to some but not to others.
The real shock was that he has finally bought a computer this week - but he's not using it yet!
He still has a few copies of version 1 of his book (published in 2004). You can order them directly from him at he reduced price of £15 by telephoning 428123.