Wallasey A.C.'s Christmas Handicap race was run under almost ideal conditions. The weather was fine and there was no wind. Twenty four runners turned out, this being a rather smaller number than anticipated. K. Westmore, ex-University champion, and R. Leach a club member who has been putting up some fine performances in the South of England were among the starters. The club was also very happy to welcome its president, Mr. A. G. Nicholson, a very prominent figure in the athletic world, and several vice-presidents, who turned up to lend their support for this special occasion.
Mr. Nicholson acted as starter and the first runner, R. Hyde, got away shortly after 3.30, the others following at varying intervals. J. Edwards, the club champion, was off scratch, 6 mins. behind the first man, and he was conceding 15 secs. to K. Westmore and 30 secs. to R. Leach. The course, save for a short stretch along the beach, was an all-road one, in length about 41/2 miles.
Along Leasowe Road the runners were well spread out with J. Pritchard, off 3 mins., rapidly closing the gap between him and the leaders. Sharp right on to the Leasowe embankment and then a short stretch along the beach. Pritchard had now taken the lead and though the back-markers were coming through rapidly, it was doubtful if they could make up the leeway. On to the Wallasey promenade, Pritchard was still running very strongly with J. Rimmer - (off 3.30) gamely hanging on 20 yards behind. At this stage, J. Richardson who had come through in a manner quite surprising for him, challenged the leader, and at the turn on to the path over the golf links he was only 5 yds. behind. He could not draw out the necessary effort and Pritchard once more got away. Leasowe Road and the final half-mile run in saw him with a lead of 60 yards and though Richardson ran hard in the closing stages, the leeway was too much and Pritchard was a worthy winner by the narrow margin of 3 seconds.
Meanwhile the backmarkers had come up amazingly well. G. K. Andrew (off 1.15), put in some fine running to finish third, overhauling Rimmer in the final stretch and feeing a very short distance behind Richardson. The handicap for the race had been framed very well for after Rimmer, the runners came in close together and some fine finishes were seen. It speaks well for the committee's knowledge of the runners' abilities that there was only 1 min. 12 secs. between the 1st and the 15th man home. Special praise is due to J. Edwards, the popular club secretary and champion, who came up from scratch into 9th place and with 24 mins. 5 sees, returned easily the best time of the day. Andrew is also to be congratulated on a splendid performance with an actual time of 24 mins. 32 secs., he was the second fastest runner. R. Leach also came up well though he could not get among the leaders, but K. Westmore, who was obviously unfit had an off day and was well down the list. After the prize presentation, when a most unathletic display of whisky, port, cigarettes, chocolates etc., had disappeared, the afternoon closed with a short address by Mr. Nicholson. He commented upon the remarkable success that the club had enjoyed this season and said that there was every prospect that Wallasey A.C. would shortly be a leading force not only on Merseyside but even in National athletics. He was proud to be associated with a Club which had such enthusiastic and promising runners and he urged upon all the necessity of keeping absolutely fit so as to be able to give one's best to the team in the grandest of all sports.