Barefoot Ninjas!

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Barefoot Ninjas!

Post  Ninj on Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:20 am

Memory Lane

Sensei Professor Phil Milner First Record
1971 Barefoot Run Story
Sensei Edgar Auckland Hanshi

The IBA and Phil’s Forum are the only websites to reach out to nostalgic martial arts lovers with authentic photos and storys of Phil and his students. These easy to read memories will fascinate the young and the old alike. Hence, sit back and read the Web-sites and think of warm thoughts of happy days gone by. As a nostalgia buff you can count on Joan and myself to keep Phil’s memory alive and we do hope Sensei Josh, sometime in the future will have Phil’s memories published.

Bearfoot Run Story

I came across an old newspaper cutting which illustrates Mick Rogers, Edgar Auckland and Gerald Cook before embarking on the-none stop run from John O’Groats to land End in barefeet. The run started 4th September 1971 and Lands End was reached on 9th September 1971. Sixteen runners and reserves completed in relays this world record achievement and much needed money was raised for charities.

The barefoot run team left Sheffield Y.M.C.A at 7 am on Friday the 3rd of September 1971 and travelled to Inverness Scotland Y.M.C.A All vehicles were liberally covered with posters from sponsors who were giving donations of money to charities. The local press took early morning photographs before we set off on our remarkable first world record attempt.

Inverness was reached at 10pm Friday evening and after a meal all parties settled down in our sleeping bags as the big push was starting the following day.

Professor Milner set the run off at 12.30 PM from John-O-Groats. The schedule was half hour late due to the press taking photographs of the runners. However this was soon made up as Jim Fraser and Sandy Forgan of Dundee were in fine fettle. I remember it was a fine warm day with a near gale force wind blowing that made it difficult for the runners. Graham Morley from Doncaster was on hand with his cine-camera, anticipating that he would film the whole run which would be shown at a later date. We received a telegram from the Callum Walkers (A group of people who tramp around the highlands) wishing us all the best.

BBC Radio announced the run on the Saturday, so as the run progressed people who had heard the news would come out to encourage the runners. At Crieff the whole village came out in a spontaneous gesture and clapped and cheered. This was a great feeling to know that people realised just what enormous task we had set ourselves and were showing their appreciation.

Local press was on hand and many photographs were taken. I remember at Inverness Keith Ruffell, Bill Fleming Eddie Wolverson all from Lincolnshire Gerald Cook, Mick Rogers and myself from Cudworth gave a demonstration at a Health Centre. The demonstration incorporated karate and breaking techniques and I very quickly silenced some sceptics in the crowd when I broke four inch of wood with a front kick.

The run down the Highlands went without incident and a further karate demonstration at a Stirling Health Centre was given with lots of people taking an interest and this was the pattern which was set throughout the entire run. Fresh fruit juice was given to the team plus a supply of POLLITABS generously given by the Swedish firm of CERNELLE. Again local press was on hand and the usual autographs were taken.

When the runners arrived in Carlisle the press and Border Television were waiting to take them to the studios. Many runners were interviewed live at 6pm. Phil Milner with Pat Belshow gave an account of the run to date, with Pete Belshaw in the wings giving moral support. The inevitable wood breaking followed at the second attempt.

The run across Westmoreland went very smoothly and at Kendal the demonstration team had a quick breakfast and a wash and got ready for 7 demonstrations at Preston, Wigan, Bolton, Manchester and Warrington.

All runners had now reached the stage where signs of wear and tear had begun to appear. Ligaments in our feet troubled us, blisters and cuts also appearing in rapid succession. On the other hand mentholated spirits rubbed well into the feet kept things at bay and the running schedule was kept to time. It was interesting to note, with 600 miles accomplished, not a single accident had been reported with any teams, which speaks well of the YMCA origination of the run.

Harlech Television met Gerald Cook, Mick Rogers and myself along with other members at 5am in the morning. Filming took place and this went out at 6 PM the same day.

In total we accomplished 17 karate demonstrations in 5 days and Land End was reached at 5.30 PM on Thursday 9th September 1971 thus making a New World Record.

At the end of the run Gerald Cook was awarded his First Dan-Shodan at the Y.M.C.A Penzance.

The above participants came from Nottingham, Doncaster, Dinnington, Woodsetts, Cudworth, Scunthorpe, Thorngumbald, Sheffield, Gainsborough and Dundee.

Here is a list of names; Pat Belshaw, Pete Belshaw, N walker, G Morley, I Hunt, E Auckland, G Cook, M Rogers, W Fleming, E Wolverson, C McDonald, J Capp, J Stevenson, M Hudson, P Overall, J Fraser, G Forgan, Mrs Milner, Mrs Fleming, Mrs J Auckland, R Hnat, G Thompson, D Stewart and J Skelton.

Sensei Professor Edgar Auckland Hachidan Hanshi


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