>DNS and Walter Stokes
>I was meant to ride the Finsbury Park CC ’25’ on the fast F1/25 today but did not start. The saddle soreness, which finally seemed to abate last weekend, came back with a vengeance after a hard training session on Thursday. At 5am this morning I decided that it would cause more damage to ride than to sit it out. Actually, sitting is not that easy.
Naturally I feel guilty. But I hope it was a proper judgment call rather than taking the easy option. There are still a couple of months of the season to go.
Years ago I did a bit of family research. It turns out that I am not of royal descent nor the heir to a great fortune. The Woodmans were agricultural labourers from the 1700s to the mid-to-late 20th century. They’re never in the same place from one document to another – always moving on.
My paternal grandmother’s family is, I believe, similar. The Stokes were originally basket weavers from the Upton-on-Severn area. My great grandfather, Walter Ernest Stokes, was a postman. He lived in Powick just outside Worcester.
But Walter was an amateur athlete as well. He ran for Birchfield Harriers (how did he make that contact?). In 1899 he won the AAA Championship 2 mile Steeplechase title at Molyneux in Wolverhampton. In 1908 he represented England in the International Cross-country Race at St. Cloud in France (coming 9th and part of the winning team). I am trying to find out more about his athletics career.
I remember a family photograph of him and his trainer posing before an array of trophies and prizes. It would be good to find a copy of that picture. There’s some great video of the 1901 AAA Championships here – I wonder if he appears anywhere?