Veteran Athlete John Borgars completed the Redcar 100 mile Race Walk on the weekend of 6th and 7th August to become Herts Phoenix' first Centurion Race Walker.
Early in 2015 John learnt that the 2016 Race Walking Association 100 mile race would be staged in Redcar near to where he was born just after the end of the Second World War and having decided to enter began his long build up of training last summer interspersed with a series of short distance races of up to 10 km during the autumn and early winter. He trained regularly along the Lee Valley towpath walking progressively longer distances until he was walking end to end which is about 56 miles wearing a backpack containing his bottles of drink and a waterproof jacket before having to add a there and back diversion along the New River path from Rye House to increase his mileage. To check on his progress with training he competed in the RWA 20k Championships at Hillingdon on 23rd April where he finished in 2 hours 23 minutes 45 seconds and then on 29th May he tackled the Yorkshire Race Walking Club’s “Bradford Holt” 50k where he was 3rd man and first in his age-category in 6 hours 9 minutes 5 seconds, he followed this with 5th place overall and again first in his age category in the British Masters 30k Championships in Coventry on 10th July in 3 hours 35 minutes 32 seconds to set a new personal best time for the distance.
So, with his preparation complete he travelled to Redcar to tackle the100 mile race which took place over a 2 mile multi-lap course along the promenade, which was free of traffic but unfortunately not free of the many holiday makers, pram pushers and dog walkers most of whom respected the race walkers and made way for them. The race conditions were far from perfect with high temperatures and very strong winds during the daylight hours (the walkers have to continue through the night without a rest)for the 30 starters in the 100 mile race, there were a further 20 competitors racing over the shorter distances of 50 miles and 20 miles. Only 10 athletes managed to complete the full distance and John eventually finished in an excellent time of 22 hours 31 minutes 52 seconds for seventh place overall but won the bronze medal for third placed British male athlete as well as the Ken Smith Memorial Trophy for "Most Meritorious Performance"