Marathon Years

This booklet looks back over the first twenty-five Tanners Marathons and I came in on the third one. I well remember camping on the back lawn of Tanners Hatch Youth Hostel where there was hardly an inch between tents and doing my first camp cooking - a fried egg in a Billy with no fat! In the early days when we started and finished at Tanners we had a good campfire on the Saturday evening and groans when Jim Chaplin tried to get everyone up in time for the start on Sunday morning - only the 9 o’clock start in those days. I can well remember us all falling over ourselves in the Member's kitchen trying to serve through the windows tea and orange to all finishers and the horrible job of clearing up the hostel late on Sunday night when most of the dead bodies had been removed! Ugh!

The drinks we have provided walkers with over the years have gone through drastic changes too. When we were at Tanners Hatch Barbara Blatchford and I used to go down to Bagden Farm and collect milk churns to mix the squash in for the Tanners check point. A few years later we had Home counties Dairies delivering crates of orange bottles before we once again went back to mixing our own. AS the years went on I owned a Hillman Imp and my task on the Saturday of Tanners was to go to Sainsbury’s and buy 100 bottles of squash. With the engine in the back of the car and boxes of bottles, the car nearly stood on end when I drew away from traffic lights!! The half gallon bottles today are a great improvement.
Many of you will have seen me over the years either at checkpoints or at the end selling you magazines, badges, etc. and in latter years T-shirts. In the early times of Tanners I thought it marvellous to have taken £10 at the finish and £50 meant we were really in the big time. Nowadays I take well in excess of £500 and the variety of things for sale grows all the time.

For many years I typed all the Marathon bumf from Alan Blatchford's writing and when he purchased his first Type-writer it made life so much easier even if he did split words when he ran out of space - "t" at the end of a line with "he “on the next!! After typing the magazine and blurb for about 15 years I decided it was time to retire and was presented with a gift voucher by Alan - the picture I purchased graces our lounge wall! Unfortunately you DO NOT retire from Tanners! After a typing break of about five years I am back typing the magazine and on the committee again.
The Marathon itself we would never miss, the atmosphere is so good, so many faces that you see every year - although you haven't a clue who they are - and it I always good to see old and young mixing well and people from all walks of life - a really good day out.

The first couple of Marathons after Alan died seemed so strange without him and all enquiries and queries had been redirected to Andy Young. We had spent a long time at Committee meetings debating whether we should celebrate the twenty-first Marathon or the twenty-fifth and finally decided on the twenty-fifth. It seems sad to to think that if we had celebrated the twenty-first Alan would have been there. The Tanners Marathon was the first major walking event that Alan organised and we like to think the one closest to his heart so it is very appropriate that Barbara has routed the Marathon over Blatchford Down for this special 25th event.

Vivienne Kellaway