Town’s trio of top race walkers

Keith Harrison (left) and Terry Payne discuss their grandfathers, race walkers Ralph Harrison and Tommy Payne.
Keith Harrison (left) and Terry Payne discuss their grandfathers, race walkers Ralph Harrison and Tommy Payne.
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Great sportsmen of the past have been remembered in a meeting of their grandsons.

Terry Payne and Keith Harrison shared their memories of champions Tommy Payne and Ralph Harrison when they met at the Northern 50k race walking festival in Kirkby Fleetham, Yorkshire.

Tommy represented both North and South Shields in race walking, winning many national and world titles in the early 1900s, while Ralph, of North Shields, represented Great Britain in the 1908 Olympics, but despite being favourite for a medal he had to miss the final when the race was delayed as he had to return to work.

Another North Shields resident Marion Fawkes was guest of honour at the festival in recognition of her achievement in being the first World and European race walking champion in 1979.

She was also a multi world record holder in the sport.