YORK CIU walker Richard Cole claimed eighth place in an international 100-mile race in Holland.

The Dringhouses-based athlete was delighted with his performance in the competition at Schiedam, clocking a time of 22 hours 48 minutes and three seconds.

The 59-year-old, who had not completed a 100-mile walk for 20 years, was the third oldest walker to finish the race, which attracted 54 entrants.

Cole said: “The race was held in a park over a 2.5-mile circuit of 40 laps, which included uneven cobbles that produced blisters.

“The extremely hot weather conditions - 84 degrees - took their toll and nearly 75 per cent of walkers retired or did not complete the 100 miles within the 24-hour time limit.

“Despite having asthma, I coped well with the extreme heat. I walked within myself at a pace that controlled blisters and hotspots, ensuring that I finished the full 100 miles. “I even managed to sprint the last mile and still felt very strong at the finish. A distance of 100 miles is a long way but hard to visualise. It is broadly equivalent to running eight consecutive half-marathons.”

Cole added: “I was pleased that during the 100 mile walk I maintained the correct race-walking technique and style. I was taught the importance of walking this way by Mick Munday at the old INL Club in York, more than 30 years ago. “Mick was a very well known and liked character in York and a good walker. He sadly died recently of cancer at age 75 and I want to dedicate my walking successes in Holland to Mick.”

Only one other British walker finished the 100-mile race, 65-year-old Sandra Brown, who was third. Cole said: “She is widely respected for completing close to 200 races of 100 miles or more, and for setting numerous world records and world best times.”

York has a long tradition of Centurion walkers, who must walk 100 miles in an organised race in this country in 24 hours. Cole became the first York walker to hold a separate GB Centurion and Continental Centurion qualification in Holland.