Bernard Molloy established himself as one of the finest race walkers Canada has produced with outstanding performances during the late 1940s and 1950s. He developed an effective and impressive marathon walking style regarded as the best in North America, while recording an extremely rewarding list of racing performances especially against Olympic race walker Ferd Hayward.
The highlight of Molloy’s career came in October of 1951 when he finished a strong second in an international 40-mile walking marathon between Toronto and Hamilton. Molloy was a strong second as the other four Newfoundland entries failed to finish. His time of seven hours 22 minutes and 15 seconds was remarkable when it is noted that he was a novice in this length of competition and only two seconds back of the record established by a Detroit walker in 1949.
His walking style was of such excellent proportions that he received the Philco Trophy for the manner in which he walked. He was the walker with the most impressive style.
Molloy enjoyed consistent success within Newfoundland and Labrador including winning three one-mile races at the provincial championships, two of which were in the juvenile category, but it was in distance competition that he earned the most praise.
He recorded consistent high level finishes in a variety of distance walks and he earned the Canadian ten-mile walk championship in 1952 with a time of 1:26.18.
He startled local track and field observers when he battled Olympian Ferd Hayward to a dead heat in the 1953 Royal Stores annual ten-mile race walking classic. In a side by side battle along the course, they both finished with an equal time of one hour, 22 minutes and 29 seconds, three minutes short of Hayward’s record but the time surpassed Molloy’s Canadian championship time.
The tie followed Molloy’s close win in a six-mile race at the provincial track and field championships on Bell Island.
Bernard Molloy rivaled Olympian Hayward in every race in which they competed from 1948 to the late 1950s. He established himself as a Canadian champion, surprised and threatened established international race walkers, Canadian and American, and left a legacy of determination and sportsmanship that provided an excellent role model for a multitude of race walkers who followed him on the local and Canadian scenes.
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