Monica, age 91, died on 7th August from complications following a hip operation. She had been a member of Clayton since 1984, and in 2011 was awarded honorary membership of the Club in recognition of her considerable sporting achievements.
Born in Cardiff, South Wales, Monica qualified as a PE teacher and quickly showed her talent for sport, playing lacrosse for Wales, and captaining the Sussex ladies’ cricket team. Her love of the outdoors led her eventually to take up rock climbing, skiing, sea kayaking and mountaineering, becoming an instructor in both Scotland and Wales.
Monica took up running relatively late in life after operations on her toes, and despite having several marathons and road races under her belt, quickly discovered that fell running in her beloved outdoors was preferable to pounding tarmac. She competed at all distances on the fells including races such as Pendle, Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Fairfield, Langdale Horseshoe, Coledale and many others. Monica was an enthusiastic club member and enjoyed being part of the Clayton ladies’ teams for the Coast to Coast and Ian Hodgson Relays.
Monic transferred her running talent to cross country and track, and was successful at short and middle distance races, gaining many wins and medals in her age group, breaking records in both Britain and Europe, and competing well into her late 70’s.
Perhaps Monica’s most notable achievement, and the one for which she would wish to be remembered, was her successful crossing in 1992 of the newly devised Joss Naylor Lakeland traverse, 48 miles and 17,000’ of ascent, across the Lake District mountains in sub 24 hours. She was the first woman to complete the Traverse, and at Joss’s suggestion subsequently took on the mantle of co-ordinator of the event for the next 20 years, a role which she carried out diligently and enthusiastically. Such was her dedication to this task that Monica would drive from her home in Anglesey to the Lake district and back again in a day to ‘meet and greet’ potential Joss Naylor contenders at road crossings to cheer them on their way.
Monica, a legend in her own lifetime, had many varied talents and was an inspiration to all those whom she met. She will be sadly missed by her many Clayton Harrier friends, her husband Colin and family.
A few of Monica’s many achievements include:
1st L60 London Marathon 1986, 4hrs 14m – record
1st L65 Snowdon Marathon 1991, 4h 51m
World Masters fell championship 2005 Silver Medal W75 (Monica was then 79 yrs old)
1st L60 Langdale Fell Race 4h 02m 1986
British vets XC – wins in her age group in 1981, 1985, 1987 & 1993.
World record on the track at Potsdam as W75 in 2002, 400ms, 88.17seconds.
First lady of the Joss Naylor Lakeland Traverse, 13th June 1992.
For FRA members there’s a fuller profile of Monica’s life and achievements in the next issue of the FRA magazine.
The funeral will be held on Tuesday 22nd August, 1:30 pm at Bangor Crematorium.