Challenge 2012 results
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The 15th A Coventry Way Challenge
15th April 2012
15th A Coventry Way Challenge Story - by Bob
The 2012 event was to be a special event, taking place
only days after the death of Cyril Bean. Cyril painstakingly
devised the 40 mile route and without Cyril's foresight and
determination we would not have held this year the 15th A Coventry
Way Challenge, enjoyed by so many. This is such a legacy for
us to make use of and we must be thankful to Cyril for
it. It was good to see Iris, Nicky, Paul with Ella and
Nina come along and join in the celebration.
With a limit of 250 and an eventual start list of 311
this year, I can only recommend that you enter straight away for
2013 when the entries open in September.
For the past 366 days Bob Carey and his team have been
working towards the successful day along A Coventry Way. Bob
is supported by John Green and the work put in by Peter Page on the
route book and on the website is invaluable. You will have
seen both flitting about throughout the day. Peter will have
taken some wonderful photographs to add to our
collection. The Challenge takes a lot of had work to put
on, and so it is very pleasing to see so many enjoy their day out in
the countryside around Coventry. The only blemish in the
proceedings being the incidents with the cattle a little beyond
Wolston. Read below just one account by Mike Langrish of his
experiences at Marston Mill. Read also the letter
received from Brian Gregory.
Lawrence and Caroline welcomed us all back to the
Queens Head where we could take up residence for the day in their
marquee. On the Saturday John Green, Bob C and Roger
Brown had been putting up the smaller tent and generally getting
things ready. Meanwhile over in Earlsdon Anne Wade was putting
the final touches to the refreshments for each checkpoint and also
to the meal for the finishers. Anne's Mum and Dad, Maud and
David were assisting - Maud having made her celebrated date-slice
for you lucky participants. Role of honour for those
making filled rolls - Chris Hollings + wife (cp. 1); Bill and
Tina Eve (cp. 2); Greta Greenall and Sue Hallett (cp. 3); Debbie and
Aimee Morse (cp. 3); John and Anne Aylmer (cp. 3); Maureen
Chapman (cp. 5); Vron Nicholas (cp. 6); Bernard Roebuck
So early on Sunday morning saw Bob Carey open
registration some time well before 5am, with Roger Brown parking the
cars that were beginning to appear up the drive out of the
darkness, Bill Eve was to join in the parking. It was
A little later in the sunshine Ulli Ull and Miranda
Aston opened up the Kenilworth checkpoint. Those arriving here
commenting on how pleasant the lead into Kenilworth now was.
The new foot/cycle bridge put in by 'Sustrans' over the Coventry
Road now extended the dismantled railway route into Kenilworth
Common and alongside Finham Brook to checkpoint 1
Tina and Bill Eve were back at the village hall in
Bubbenhall this year looking after check point 2, having been
ousted by the 'dog people' in 2011. Despite us booking the
hall, the dogs were there again !?! However we are
grateful to the villagers and Bev Goddard in particular for letting
us make use of the hall.
Suzanne Humphries was on hand to assist Tim & Bob
Brandon at Wolston Leisure and Community Centre where participants
were now almost half way round. Here they had the opportunity
to sit down and make a hot drink. Chairman Derek of the Centre
made us most welcome and is 'on' for next year. I heard
Suzanne say that she is considering completing the full 40 in
As news came in of the incidents at Marston Mill, Jo
Carey was quickly dispatched to send participants another Way to
avoid the cattle. Thank you Jo. Several were attacked by
the cattle - causing black and blue bruises and one broken collar
bone. One commented that had the cattle have horns it would
have been a lot worse. In the 4 days following the Challenge
Bob C has been investigating the incidents and helping the Health
& Safely Executive with their enquiries.
Now moving on to Brinklow where this year, without
Frank Tonkinson (Golden Wedding Anniversary trip with wife), the
breakfast Club stalwarts were lead by Doug Shelton with the support
of Terry Lewins and Dave Lewis. Terry thought the efforts of
everybody concerned was very praiseworthy and he said that he had
met some really lovely people. Here the villagers were more
than helpful with Sylvia Cree providing tea, coffee and toilets as
usual to the marshals. Thanks are also due to those at Crook
House who provided access to a water supply throughout the day.
For those taking part for the first time, the
impromptu water stop put on by Mick & Marie at Ansty was a
blessing, after the stretch along the Oxford canal. As was
that of Irene Rogers who had set up her surprise refreshment stall
in the village of Barnacle.
At the Bedworth home of Maureen & Jim Chapman a
welcome to all in their front garden. Here assisted by Sue
Bicknell. Now with 10 miles to go, the checkpoints come thick,
if not fast.
At Breach Oak Lane were Vron and Ken Nicholas tending
to people's needs and offering encouragement to all who now had
under 7 miles to go.
The final checkpoint at Corley Moor where, David
Burrin and family were assisted by Mary Hewison and also, for their
first Challenge, by Pam & Paul Cavendish. It is sad to
report the death of Judith's mum, Barbara who had been a stalwart at
the Windmill Lane checkpoint when the Challenge was in its
infancy. Pam and Paul had recently organised the 50 mile
Coventry Pilgrimage. http://www.coventrycathedral.org.uk/downloads/publications/492.pdf
Meanwhile back at Meriden things were starting to get
busy. Bob C was to be joined by John & Anne Aylmer, Rob
Rainsley, Sheila Dunn, Bill Eve and Roger Brown who helped with the
time keeping, certificates, badges and T-shirts in particular to
those who had not taken part before and could now wear it with
David & Maud had also taken up residence in the
marquee to be assisted by Debbie Morse who had spent the morning
driving the Henrys relay team around the route. Here the feast
can begin as the finishers relax and enjoy a bite whilst cheering in
those still arriving.
Mention must be made of Martin Townend who completed
his 10th Challenge, a little behind Mark Swift (now on 12).
Martin was presented with a special T-shirt.
"From the early days when you could spend hours without seeing
anybody, there is now always somebody in front, behind or walking
alongside. Many walkers coming from far and wide, all commenting on
how well this is organised inc., Route, maps, food etc. etc. - even
a great pub at the finish. Many others also saying never never again
- but they seem to keep coming back !!! - bit like us
really. So, what's our next target incentive :-) - we
noticed Bob B was sporting a natty little CW Baseball cap, possibly
the sort of thing that someone, who, may just improbably, complete
15CWs ;-) who knows, stranger things have happened."
to say to Martin, Mark (and others) that the ACW baseball cap kicks
in at 20 years. We have in mind a sprig of broccoli for the
I was said to have a strange look on my face upon
entering the pub. This was because I had just heard the church
clock strike eleven, it was Sunday and would Dave Burrin get
served. But yes, I got my pint and as I did so I overheard
Lawrence say to Bob Carey that he was going to take part next
year. Yes ! A perfect end to a busy weekend.
On behalf of those taking part a big thank you to Bob
Carey and everyone involved in the 15th A Coventry Way - Cyril's
The Battle of Marston Mill
The Battle of Marston Mill shares many
similarities with the better known Battle of Marston Moor, as both
had decisive consequences for the defeated parties. The battle of
Marston MOOR was fought on 2nd of July 1644 between the
Parliamentarian forces led by the Earl of Leven, and the Royalist
forces led by Prince Rupert of the Rhine. The Royalists were utterly
routed by the Parliamentarians, resulting in a major turning point
in the English Civil War.
The Battle of Marston Mill was fought on 15th
April 2012 between a small group of innocent walkers led on this
brief occasion by Mike Langrish, and an overwhelming force of cows
led by a particularly determined female. The walkers were routed and
chased from the battlefield after a brief skirmish.
The elderly Mike Langrish is a veteran of many
successful challenges in the English Lake District, but on this
occasion his ambitions exceeded his abilities and he suffered a
severe beating resulting in many bruises and wounds to mind and
body. At the head of his small "army", he made a tactical error by
foolishly advancing on the opposition before assessing their true
strength and abilities. After a short battle his force were driven
from the battlefield with their "leader" licking his wounds.
The arrival of reinforcements to the walkers
"army" failed to defeat the opposition, leading to further serious
injuries to one campaigner. This required a truce to be called
allowing the injured to be evacuated by Air Ambulance from the
battlefield, leaving the victors pawing the ground and snorting
The lesson to be learnt here must be to have a
healthy respect for large cows, especially when accompanied by their
frisky young children.
(Scarred and bruised, but very
pleased to escape without serious injury).
Letter from Brian Gregory
On Sunday I took part in the
"Coventry Way Challenge" and I simply feel that I had to write to
drop you a short note to say how much I enjoyed the event. I hadn't
taken part in it before but was encouraged to enter by a friend of
mine who had already sent in his application form. He then found
that he couldn't come along after all. So, left on my own and with
some anxiety and trepidation I arrived on the cold and frosted field
at 5.45am to find it already a bustle of activity. I joined the
queue for registration, slowly getting closer to the tent and the
tables, but also getting colder because of the inactivity. I was
keen to complete the formalities and get off on the walk and join
all the others leaving the field.
Patience prevailed, and then
it was my turn. Suddenly things seemed to warm up as an energetic
friendly man received, documented and clocked me off with a pleasant
smile and wave of good luck. I wasn't a MISTER somebody, I was
Brian to him as if we'd been friends for life. Indeed everyone else
was referred to by Christian name too.
On the way round, at each
checkpoint it remained "Brian"!. Now, is this a "Coventry Way"
policy or perhaps the sheer friendliness of everyone in this
pleasant part of the country? It felt good.
Now without doubt this was one
of the best organised and friendliest events that I have
participated in, right from the beginning to the end. The reception
at every check point was supportive, understanding, helpful,
encouraging and hospitable, with the food available laid out like a
banquet to temp the most delicate of appetites. A lot of thought,
care and consideration had obviously gone into the provision of the
refreshments, each table laid with appealing and enticing fare.
At the end as I closed in on
the finish, mounting the steps to the field, a whistle was blown
alerting everyone to the fact that another walker had completed the
event. I was met by a round of supportive clapping from those
present making me feel like an Olympic athlete, and I was able to
raise a gallop from my tired legs as the aches and pains magically
fell away. And yes. I thought, "these people understand and they
care, and appreciate the effort".
My experience throughout was a
memorable one, sufficient to draw me back next year and to recommend
the event to everyone.
Two factors really encourage
me to write:-
Please let all the
volunteers who gave up so much of their time to make the Challenge
such a pleasurable event. Without you there is no event. We simply
roll up, do the walk and head off home. Job done!! That's
the easy part. Your efforts are over such a longer period of time;
before, during and long after we've gone home. One can only
speculate upon the time, meetings, negotiations, organisation etc
that has to take place to make for a successful trouble free
event; and then the poor Check point volunteers who have to stand
for hours, even into the night until the last man's home. Your
efforts deserve recognition too. We go away with a badge and a
certificate. You all deserve a medal!!
The route description
booklet was minutely detailed; every field, every stile, gate,
bridge, hedge lane, even tree was mentioned. I'm sure that even
the great man himself, A.W. Wainwright would have been impressed.
It was the most comprehensive and detailed route description that
I've ever held in my hand. A word of praise to whoever was
Mind you, I still managed to
get lost as I foolishly followed a couple of hikers for miles,
confident that they were on the "Challenge". Never mind the book,
these guys new where they were going and I was on their tail UNTIL
they suddenly disappeared into a pub. They were just out for a
Sunday walk!! Panic. Where was I? I'd been
gently drawn off route. Out with the OS map, a quick referral back
to "the book", left me retracing my steps sheepishly to a point of
recognition, cursing myself for the time that I'd lost. I'll
never do that again; but of course I will. We never learn do we?
So there; your efforts are
appreciated and understood also, and thank you.
I had a good friend once who
asked me how he could get fit. I told him that he'd have to start
walking, doing 10 miles a day, every day. He obviously accepted my
advice because I haven't seen him since. No-one knows where he is,
he's simply disappeared. Mind you, he was a bit simple as well
as being overweight.
Remember too, you're never too
old to walk, you grow old only when you stop
See you next year ...
15th April 2012
Results: Individuals Relays