Marathon Madness

Having been asked to contribute a few words about the last twenty-five years of the Tanners Hatch Marathon Walks, it seems only to easy to start at the very beginning and to say straight away that it was never really my intention to do the first TM let alone the 25th one. Having seen an advertisement in the Youth Hosteller for a clerical assistant for the organiser of the Voluntary Labour Bureau, Brian Wood, I called at his home one evening in Chessington to see him and found that there were some funny looking characters there planning some sort of walk in a few weeks' time and calling each other members of Epsom & Ewell YHA Group.

I was soon "persuaded" to have a go and duly on the first Sunday in July arrived at Tanners Hatch Youth Hostel with my best friend and together with just over one hundred other souls set out at nine on the first TM. I was very pleased to finish fairly near the front of the field after having got lost several times. My friend failed to finish in the time allowed but was duly back the next year and we both actually trained for this one. He got his certificate and I slipped two place down the field.

Well the years have flown since then, marriage and two children both born a week before Tanners, holidays, house moves and job changes have all failed to happily prevent what has been over the years always a most enjoyable walk. Now the pace is more leisurely the aches much greater afterwards and the weather is not always as good, but still the pleasure at getting that piece of paper with the magic words .... completed the Tanners Hatch Marathon Walk in under ten hours, is still as great as ever.

To all of those people who over the years have walked or taken part in the organization of the event I say a personal thank you, without them we would not be celebrating this anniversary and looking forward another twenty five years to the fiftieth Tanners Walk.

Alan Melsom