The best of Merseyside athletes travelled to Warley, Birmingham, last Saturday, to compete in an event which was almost a dress rehearsal for the English Schools track and field championships. Wallasey Athletic Club was represented with six of its membere in the large Merseyside contingent.
This special inter-county meeting produced some excellent results for Merseyside and Wallasey athletes.
First to race for Wallasey was 100m sprinter Ian Macleod, the Cheshire 100 and 200m champion: he did not produce his best form on the day, despite his good start, and only managed 6th place in the A race, returning 11.6 seconds.
Barbara Jones, on the other hand recorded a personal best time in her 800m finishing a strong 3rd in 2m 19.6s.
Janet McGee equalled her best time, recorded whilst leading the way home in the Merseyside championship. Her time of 2m 19s was a new personal best performance and drew a large applause from cthe enthusiastic crowd.
Another 800m runner on show from Wallasey was Rob Heap. He led his from gun to tape, finishing 50m ahead of ins nearest rival in a disappointing time of 1m 59s.
The most exciting race in any athletics meeting is 1500m, or metric mile. The race was no exception at Warley and was won by last year's all-England schools winner in 3m 58.7.
There is an apparent lack of hurdling ability in Merseyside schools. Neil Tunstall could find no competitors to race against in either the Wirral schools or the Merseyside schools, so had to wait until this day to find the opportunity to gain the qualifying standard for the English Schools. He did not quite manage this but did record yet another personal best when finishing in 6th place in the 400m hurdles recording 61.8s.
Wallasey residents should be proud of its athletic club which has produced so many talented athletes under great difficulties. It is almost certain, the required qualifying standards having been attained, that five Wallasey A.C. members will be competing in the English Schools at Nottingham on July 6/7. These are Barbara Jones, Janet McGee, Rob Heap, Kevin McGee and Ian Macleod.
Wallasey has the seventh fastest 800m senior in the North. Pete Jones, running in the Northern championships at Stretford against such competition as Sebastian Coe, recorded a personal beat rime of 1m 55.6s.
The price of success is high and burdensome on young athletes and their parents.
Two Wallasey athletes have been selected to compete in Dublin for Merseyside and one, Kevin McGee to represent England in the English Catholic Schools team in international in Italy.