. One of my first questions in those early days was always "Have you found me a copy of your book yet?" In October '97 I received a letter from him, addressed to 'Fellrunner, Hebden', telling me that Peter Knott had unexpectedly found five copies of 'Stud Marks on the Summits' and would I contact him immediately. I did and the book has become a treasured possession. Bill began writing this history of amateur fell racing in 1978 thinking it would finish up the size of a Dalesman paperback, but things got a bit out of hand. When finally published in 1985 it was quite a hefty tome with 582 pages of text, maps and photographs.
In his younger days Bill played Sunday League football and followed Everton F.C. but also did a bit of fell walking. Long distance events like the Fellsman Hike and Todmorden Boundary walk, where runners competed too, aroused his interest in fell running and it wasn't long before he became hooked on fell racing and said goodbye to football. His interest soon bordered on obsession. If he wasn't racing or training he was either researching and writing about fell racing or marshalling at far-flung events at which he'd invariably arrived by public transport - all the way from Liverpool. His encouraging words to runners at strategic points during races have lifted many a flagging spirit, including mine.
He'd little interest in other forms of racing though he'd run about ten road races including the Derwentwater '10', Windermere to Kendal '10' and the 22 mile Buttermere Round. The only road marathon he ever did was at Barnsley where he'd expected to finish in two hours thirty or two hours forty. "After about seven miles I lost interest and began daydreaming" he said. "I'm afraid I found it very boring after what I was used to and eventually finished in three hours five minutes". On one occasion when I broached the subject of road racing I was cut short in mid sentence with a curt "Gordon, I'm only interested in fell racing".
He was a true gentleman, a dedicated sportsman, a talented writer and a name that will live forever in the annals of fell racing history.
Rest in peace Bill - and thanks for all the wonderful memories.
That's a super nice tribute to your friend.ReplyDelete
I read about his death on Runners' Forum. Very sad that he died in such a way. What an amazing man - RIP.ReplyDelete
I was so sad to read of his death in such circumstances.
I bet he's already running somewhere up there... great tribute.ReplyDelete
such a sad story ! mu sympathies. I guess you want to say he died doing what he loved, but somehow it sounds tragic...ReplyDelete
Sounds like a good man, a special friend, and someone who KNEW what he did/did not want to spend his time doing- A person I would have like to know.ReplyDelete