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Jayne and Dale Farquhar - the alternate race walkers

When Jayne Farquhar completed the Parish Walk for the first time in 2010, she walked with husband Dale until just before he retired at Lezayre. The following year they stayed together a little longer before Dale made one of the most painful retirements in Parish Walk history, as Jayne clocked finish number two.

Now they take it turns - Dale broke 17 hours in 2014 on his second finish in the Manx Telecom Parish Walk with Jayne in support two weeks after he had been in Rotterdam for Jayne as she finished her first 100 mile walk.

Amazingly Jayne completed a second 100 miles, in Southend, just seven weeks after the first. Number three is planned for 2015 but is somewhat closer to their Laxey home this time - in Castletown. By then she hopes she will have supported Dale to a Parish Walk time in the region of 15 hours.

Like many a parish walker. in 2009 Jayne (1258 in photo) was first persuaded to enter by friends who planned to walk to Peel. She didn't believe she would walk that far but taking one church at a time she continued to Jurby without too much trouble. She finally reached Bride but, as many a walker can relate to, the last couple of miles into Bride were as much as she could take.

There were no doubts in her mind that she was going to finish the year after.

At Newtown she is seen with Dale.

After his retirement at Lezayre, Dale had recovered to see her finish just after 7 am on Sunday morning.

In the photo above (at Peel in 2011) Dale was already suffering from blisters. When the pain became overpowering on the descent into Port e Vullen, he was advised to stop but managed to struggle onto Maughold. It was to the last walking he did for almost five weeks. A type 1 diabetic since the age of 20, so bad was the damage through three layers of skin that his feet had to be treated each day - even to visit the bathroom from his bed required him to crawl on his knees.

Dale was banned on medical grounds in 2012 but there was a new experience for Jayne as her third finish, an improvement of almost three hours with Anne Dooley, was in the hours of darkness. She covered the 85 miles 2 minutes a mile faster than previously.

It was to be her last Parish Walk for the time being as she set her sights on the 100 Mile walk in Douglas for 2013. A back injury prevented her training for several weeks beforehand. She bravely covered 78 miles but a finish was always against the odds. Little did she think that, with the support of coach Allan Callow and her friends and family, she would have completed two 100 mile walks within the next year.

A few weeks earlier, however, Dale achieved his big breakthrough in the Manx Telecom Parish Walk.

With his feet strapped up, he is seen on the Sloc with Michael Bonney, Robbie Callister and Andrew Titley on his was to a 17:35;22 finishing time.

Dale's finish came just eight years after giving up a heavy smoking habit and his drinking could hardly be described as modest either - on his first date with Jayne, who doesn't drink, he passed out! We are not sure whether he knew at this point that Jayne has a black belt in Karate!

Dale was born in Craigavon, 30 miles west of Belfast, which as a new town Wikipedia compares with Milton Keynes. The cycle paths were unused by Dale and, unlike the eldest and youngest of the four brothers in his family, he didn't play football.

From the age of 16 he started racing motor cycles but was rather less well known for it than his elder brother Ryan. The three times TT winner, who was on the podium 12 times, was married at Castle Rushen on Valentines Day 2004 and within a few weeks Dale, who used to travel to the Isle of Man with Ryan for the TT, Manx Grand Prix and Southern 100, had made it his home.

Dale's own motor cycle career had been short lived and with the onset of diabetes he was no longer able to obtain a licence to race. His income came mainly from bar work although for a time, with the encouragement of TT star Conor Cummins, he worked in the finance sector, firstly with Lloyds TSB and then with Royal Bank of Scotland. Latterly he has been back on licensed premises, at the Shore Hotel in Laxey. Like his wife, Dale's boss is a centurion. Paul Phillips is the father of Kyley Gerrard, wife of joint Parish Walk record holder Richard. Dale's work extends beyond the bar to the brewing of beer at the micro brewery.

Dale was behind the bar at C'est La Vie that he first met Jayne, 11 years his senior, who after 25 years working in the courts is manager of the criminal and summary court. Married in Manx Grand Prix week 2007, so that Dale's relatives could easily attend, they live with their dogs in Laxey. Their marriage was on the Parish Walk course - at Santon, the Parish where Jayne was brought up. Her mother was from the Teare family and she was Jayne Williams when she lived at the top of the Ballavale Road quite close to where Manx Telecom Parish Walk race director Raymond Cox lives with his family.

Jayne soon persuaded Dale to kick the smoking habit but when he first got on a push bike he was so unfit he could not ride up the hill at the Hope and the bike stayed inside for several months. Eventually he became a regular cyclist  After helping Jayne in the 2009 Parish Walk, however, he decided that it was a sport for him. When he sought coaching advice from Steve Partington he claims the idea of breaking an hour for 10km was not seen as realistic but he strongly believes that seeking coaching advice, he has benefited from Steve, Allan Callow and more recently Graham and Martin Young, is essential to improvement.

Dale improved his time dramatically through the Up & Running Winter League Walks and he added to his long distance experiences in the Sara Killey Memorial 50km Walk and the Ramsey Bakery End to End where he is pictured above at the finish in September 2013.

Tragedy struck in 2012 when Dale's uncle Trevor Ferguson was killed racing in the Manx Grand Prix. Ryan Farquhar announced his retirement with immediate effect but he returned to race at the 2014 TT.

Dale remains keen on motor cycle racing and only last Sunday he completed a few laps of the Jurby circuit after walking the Haldane Fisher Syd Quirk Half Marathon in the morning.

The only serious lap he will complete in the next 7 months is the 85 mile one. Jayne meanwhile, if all goes well, will be doing more than 50 around the streets of Castletown.

Words by Murray Lambden, 28 November 2014

Photos by Mike Lambden, Murray Lambden, Neil Wilson & Karen Kneale. Stats by Murray Lambden

Dale and Jayne's Parish Walk performances are:

Farquhar Dale Lezayre 16:36:19 2010
Farquhar Dale Maughold 17:51:55 2011
Farquhar Dale Finish 17:35:22 2013
Farquhar Dale Finish 16:56:02 2014
Farquhar Jayne Bride 14:06:38 2009
Farquhar Jayne Finish 23:11:56 2010
Farquhar Jayne Finish 23:15:25 2011
Farquhar Jayne Finish 20:35:38 2012




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Vinny Lynch

John Cannell

Chris Cale

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Dave Fereday

Malcolm Newton

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Irene Taggart

Caroline Cain

Dave Mackey

Gordon Corran

Anne Oates

Michael Gray

David Collister

Mick Holgate

Jock Waddington

Andrew Titley

The Chambers family

Stella and Roy Corlett

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