History

In 1979 the late Noel Edgerton created the GEELONG JUNIOR WALKERS.

Noel was a very keen supporter of Little Athletics, junior football and a lot of other sports that school age children were involved or interested in.

Because racewalking was not regarded a "glamour" sport at the time, walk events did not happen on a regular basis, so Noel decided to organise the Geelong Junior Walkers which started competing at the Landy Field Track, Geelong on Friday nights.

Noel's aim was to ensure that all young walkers developed confidence in the correct technique to racewalk as well as to develop fitness and then speed. He also had the very rare talent of being able to communicate with young walkers to teach and train them so that they could perform at their best without putting any strain on their young bodies.

In 1979 Little Athletics were for girls and boys under 12 years of age and the Geelong Junior Walkers followed suit. In the first season 35 under 12 girls and 34 under 12 boys competed. But also, there were 6 open age girls and 1 open age boy who competed making a total of 76 competitors and therefore the club was forced to expand the age groups.

In the second year the name was changed to GEELONG WALKERS with the aim to attract more open age walkers.

Noel was organiser for 8 years then Bill Davison became the organiser for the next 3 years before the position changed to that of President in the 1990/91 season when the club became an incorporation and changed its name to the Geelong Walkers Club Inc. Bill held this position until his retirement from coaching in 1997/98. Like Noel, Bill was also a very astute coach and had many successes with athletes at Little Athletics, Senior and National levels.

Since the end of the 1997/98 season, the position has been held by Harold Boddy and he too is experiencing success as a coach at Little Athletics, Athletics Victoria and Junior National levels. He has the added advantaged of being an ex-walker himself and is also a qualified AA and Little Athletics walk judge.

The Club also held a number of Championships over the years where other clubs from all over the State would converge on Geelong to compete individually and as teams and having anywhere between 150-200 competitors was not unheard of in the club's heyday. The Geelong Walkers Club was a feared and respected team because of its great depth of talent throughout it ranks.

The Geelong Walkers Club also had a strong association with the "Corio Winter Walkers Club" who's home base was at the Goldsworthy/Corio Track. Unfortunately the Corio Club were recently put into abeyance but are actually an older club than the Geelong Walkers. Many walkers competed with both clubs over summer and winter and the Corio Winter Walkers Club also held many road and track championships at North Shore and Limburners Lagoon Geelong. The Goldsworthy/Corio track even saw a World Junior Qualifying championship held there.

At the end of the 2004 summer season, outside pressures of work and school, and associated lifestyle changes contributed to the club's membership dropping to unsustainable levels and the Club's committee were forced to make a number of tough decisions or consider folding.

Track activities were relocated to the Goldsworthy Athletic Track/Facility Corio, with the assistance and support of the City of Greater Geelong and the Club's days and times of events were changed to make them more convenient for members.

The club became more transparent and members were given a greater voice in decision-making. A Junior Committee was established as a forum for younger members views and ideas. Parents and grandparents were encouraged to join in the activities as recreational walkers for both the social and fitness benefits.

Best of all for families, the club has managed to keep its fees low and stable for the past seven years and introduced a cheaper family membership.

The club's event program was revamped with a combination of a some serious races (ie; one hour handicap race) and some fun events like "team relays" and "guess your time", all over different distances and all handicapped so that everyone has an equal chance.

Another change that received widespread support was the inclusion of more 'off-track' events, making the most of the walking paths around Geelong's foreshore and parks.

Membership numbers increased and the Club now enjoys a membership of 60-70 on average made up of racewalkers and recreational/fitness walkers. A number of the club's juniors are again making an impact in serious competition and are enjoying successes at Little Athletics and State level and hopefully will continue on into Senior ranks.

The Geelong Walkers Club history is a long and proud one.