The recent success of Rhyl’s first Triathalon reminded me of the old adage “there ain’t nothing new”, as I thought about the “Great Walk from Liverpool to Rhyl”, in 1903.
Almost exactly 110 years ago, on June 13th 1903, the Rhyl Record and Advertiser reported the great walk:
THE GREAT WALK from Liverpool to Rhyl
“”Rhyl was, on Friday last, the culminating scene of a novel and most interesting competition, the development of the recent craze among businessmen for long distance walks. It originated with the London Stock Exchange race to Brighton which was won by Mr Edgar F. Broad. Then followed the Manchester Stock Exchange Walk to Southport which was won by Mr A. Ormrod who covered the distance of forty one and a half miles in seven hours, eleven minutes and eight seconds. The example set by these two great exchanges was followed on Friday by the Liverpool Cotton Exchange. The route was from Liverpool to Rhyl a distance of forty two and a quarter miles and traversing country of much picturesqueness and charm.”
The race started at the New Ferry Tram Terminus, and then to Bromborough, Eastham and then down the Welsh Road to Queensferry. Then on to Mold, Nannerch and on past Caerwys Station to Trefnant, St. Asaph and Rhuddlan. They entered Rhyl via Vale Road finishing on the Promenade at the top of High Street, opposite the Westminster Hotel.
The newspaper goes on to say:
“The competitors were accompanied by Oxo Motor Cars who supplied them gratis with “refreshments without waiting” in order to provide them with the necessary sustenance for their great effort of endurance, the menu being as follows: Oxo Athlete’s Flask (containing Oxo ready for consumption while walking), Oxo hot and cold, Oxo and Soda, Oxo and Champagne,, Rice Pudding (made of milk, eggs and rice), Cheese, Butter, Biscuits, Bananas, Apples, Brandy, Whisky, Champagne, Eau de Cologne and Sponges. In addition they supplied each competitor with a pair of corks such as is usually carried by pedestrians in walking competitions.
At Rhyl the council had barricaded from High Street to the Westminster Hotel where the winning post was fixed, so that the competitors should not be impeded by the crowds which had gathered to witness their arrivals. The following were the conditions of the race: “The regulation heel and toe shall be observed.” “Any competitor found running by the stewards will be disqualified” “All competitors must wear numbers which will be provided: these must be worn on back and front.”
“A great crowd witnessed the arrival at Rhyl, and the telegraphic reports of the progress of the walkers at various stages were scanned with eager interest. The Vale Road Bridge and all along High Street, right up to the finishing point at the end of the Belvoir Hotel was lined with thousands of spectators, the route from the top of High street to the culminating point of the journey being lined with ropes.”
“A great cheer about 3.10 announced the approach of the first arrival, Stopford Taylor, who passed the Post Office at 3.12 and the winning post with a fine swinging pace evidently in the pink of condition at 3.14 being greeted by a tremendous ovation and the warm handshaking of his friends, his victory evidently being a popular one”
Stopford Taylor of Liverpool walked the distance in 7 hours 35 and a half minutes. Celebrations took place at the Queen’s Palace, Stopford Taylor was presented with a flower bowl on the large verandah in front of thousands of people and to the strains of “See the Conquering hero comes” played by the band.
In June 2013, at Rhyl’s first Triathalon, there were many competitors from Merseyside and beyond but it was won by local man Glenn Parry Jones.
The British Triathalon website describes the event:
- “A new sprint and standard distance triathlon based at the Marine Lake in Rhyl. A 750m or 1500m open water swim in the picturesque Marine Lake is followed by a 20km or 40km cycle and finished with a 5 or 10km run along the sea front. Great facilities and great racing awaits you.”
Let’s wish the event a long and successful future.