Holloway Revisited – by Christine Deeming
Arthur Holloway was a Richmond Rover and Scoutmaster of the Richmond Scout Troop. He had been a consistent performer in club and inter-club races for some years, so it came as a shock to Rover members when he died after a brief illness in 1950.
His fellow employees and the management of PDL Industries, where he worked as a skilled toolmaker, held him in high regard. In his memory, PDL Industries (led by Bob Stewart – now Sir Robertson Stewart) and staff purchased a cup to donate to the Rover Scout Harriers in Arthur Holloway’s memory.
As Canterbury did not have any cross-country races exceeding 10,000m (6¼ miles), Jack Ede (current patron) suggested the Club conduct a modified version of the Olympic Gold Cup race that at the time was contested at the Trentham Racecourse. Four Club members planned a 12 mile, 3 lap course starting from the Rapaki Scout Den in Opawa.
The course had plenty of variety, including swampy paddocks where Anderson’s Engineering Works stood, over Murray-Ansley hill to a slippery track alongside the Heathcote River, then later crossing a large rubbish dump and through a narrow but deep muddy tributary of the Heathcote and across the footbridge (to cater for non-swimmers) past the Scout Den – and this was merely 1 lap! The stumbling participants knew that they had only two more laps to go. If they survived the second lap, they were probably shuffling and those who completed the third lap to complete the 12 miles, were either swaying or tottering.
As the years went by an added hazard presented itself in the form on an irate cocky who used expressions such as “I’ll send for the police”, “Wait until I get the dogs on you baskets!”, “You’re here again? – I’ll stick a pitchfork up…”. Naturally nobody paused to find out the ultimate destination of the pitchfork. He also suggested that we “Beggar off” or words to that effect. One Sunday morning, Henry Vodder, then Secretary, took courage and called on the cocky who had cooled down a little overnight. When Henry told him that it was an important race in the Canterbury programme, the landowner admitted that he had just bought the property a year before and was unaware of our arrangement with his predecessor – and then invited Henry in for a beer!
In the first year’s race, there were only 12 starters. Rovers took team honours with Anglican second. There were also four individual runners who were keen distance athletes.
The following season, the New Brighton Club was anxious to run some junior races and later, as more of the fairer sex became interested, races for women and girls were added. The Lawrence Crew donated a Jack Clarkson Memorial Team’s Shield and later Bob Stewart personally donated a cup for the Senior Sealed Handicap.
When the original course became built out, we used the “Blue Skies” Scout camp site, but due to a misunderstanding regarding site fees, it was moved to Shipley’s Farm in Harewood. In later years it was moved again to a site at McLean’s Island and currently (up to 2013) is conducted on a testing, undulating course on farmland of Mr and Mrs Brian Dixon at West Eyreton.
On request of the Canterbury Centre the race was shortened to 10 miles and still remains a popular event on the winter calendar.
extract from Athletics in Canterbury – The Past, by John Clark