Pictured at the time of his 21st and last Church Walk in 1978
Eric W Waldron was twice a winner of the Guernsey Church to Church Walk almost 50 years ago and is remembered today via the trophy bearing his name which he donated in 1964 to the Guernsey Island Amateur Athletic Club for a 2 miles walk.
Eric`s claim to road walking fame was his 21 year consecutive finishes in the annual Church to Church 19.4 miles walk which came to an end in 1979 when his first love of cricket clashed with the walk. The cricket final in England won the day.
His two wins came in 1958 when he clocked 3.23.15 and 1960 in 3.15.15, which was to remain his best time. In the year between he came second to Vic Richer, a full seven minutes behind.
Legend had it that Eric walked over a car in one of his Church walks when a vehicle blocked his way.
This was confirmed in 1999 when the Guernsey Press were doing a feature on the walk. They had spoken to me and said Eric was next on their list, so I asked them to confirm the story.
Eric said to the reporter ” I was going through Torteval down a narrow lane towards St Peter`s Church. My way was completely blocked by a Mini. I didn`t want to slow down so I walked straight over – I tried to be as careful as possible”
The report went on that in the late 50`s early 60`s the Chuch to Church was seen as the most gruelling experience that people could take on locally. Even so the challenge of the winding course was not always simply a physical one.
Eric said ” In the early days, I`d never have found my way round without a friend on a bike. The Upper Parishes were like Swahili to me”
This was all in an island measuring around 9 miles by 5!
Eric also produced a Guernsey Athletic Stats book in 1964 and was a regular contributor to Athletics weekly.
His list of Church to Church walks are reproduced below:
He was never a regular year round race walker but turned up each year for the trip around the churches, with his only other walk appearances being in Inter Firms events over 3 miles, representing Salem Methodist Youth Club.
Although never joining the Sarnia Walking Club, he was a member of the GIAAC where he competed as a runner.
His Personal Bests were:
440 yds 54.3 in 1960
880 yds 2.07.9 in1958
1 mile 4.52.5 in 1960
2 miles 10.27 in 1958
3 miles 16.11 in 1958
7 miles road run in 40.08 in 1960
Eric now works at weekends within sight of the start and finish line for his road victories all those years ago.
By Rob Elliott March 2008