All at Birchfield were saddenned to hear of the loss of Beryl Randall. She began her athletics career as a young girl where, as a member of the Girls’ Training Corps, Beryl volunteered to compete in a 100m novice race at Cadbury Sports in 1946. Though this wasn’t her true calling, she was scouted by a gentleman who invited her to “Come and get fit like my girls”.
Sure enough, she joined Birmingham Atalanta, training at Salford Park and discovering a skill and a passion for race walking that would define her career. She moved to Birchfield in 1953 and was coached by Dorothy Nelson Neal.
In 1960 came one of Beryl’s most iconic races: a race walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Despite leading for the majority of the route, a sprained ankle forced her into second place across the finish line, but the organiser was so impressed with her efforts he presented her with a cheque for £1000 – the same as the overall winner! Nevertheless, due to the rules at the time, this race ended her days as an amateur.
Racing victories and World Records have studded Beryl’s career. In 1954 she twice bettered the mile race walk World Record, lowering it to 7min 44sec at the MCWAAA and again in London to 7min 38.4sec. Beryl’s racing success was not confined to her younger days, as she secured a World Veterans Gold Medal in the 5000m Race Walk – Gateshead 1999.
Beryl played an active role within the Club for many years as a coach, team manger and she was a life member of Birchfield Harriers.