Friday, 26 June 2009

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.

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