2017/18 Microgaming IOM Cross Country Championships, incorporating Cross Country League Round 4 – Results

Today’s generation of Manx cross country runners will have grown up listening to tales from their elders about what ‘proper’ cross country courses used to be like back in their day. Those who ran in the Microgaming IOM Cross Country Championships at the Nunnery on Sunday 21 January 2018, organised by Manx Harriers, no longer have to wonder what those races used to be like because they have now experienced it for themselves.

The course on the Nunnery Estate on the outskirts of Douglas, used for the first time last season and amended this season, is a tough one in good conditions with constantly undulating ground including lots of sharp hills. After the torrential rain throughout Saturday night and the first half of Sunday, large sections of the race route had been reduced to quagmires which tugged at the legs, shoes and wills of all the competitors. However the coup de grace was the short section of marshland at the far end of the course, which by Sunday afternoon had become flooded by water that was waist deep. All the competitors negotiated this unexpected hazard safely, though several inadvertently resorted to swimming!

Alan Corlett and Rachael Franklin have dominated the local cross country scene in recent years, and both retained their senior titles in superb style in the desperately difficult conditions. The men’s race, held over four laps and a distance of 9,800 metres, was initially led by Ollie Lockley, making a very welcome local cross country appearance. He was tracked by U20 athlete David Mullarkey with Corlett holding back in third place. By lap two Lockley and Corlett were together at the front having pulled clear of Mullarkey, who in turn was well clear of the chasing pack.

As the race moved into its second half it was clear that Corlett was more comfortable with the conditions than his friend and rival, and he had opened a lead of about 40 metres which he continued to extend to a 33-second margin at the finish. It was a great performance by the Manx Harriers athlete to win his fourth consecutive senior title, equalling the record of Kevin Loundes who won the previous four events.

Ollie Lockley battled away to finish second, whilst David Mullarkey produced a really fine run to finish third overall and to win the junior title. Andy Barron was third senior with a strong performance, and not far behind him came the second junior William Draper. The latter is best known as a cyclist but proved conclusively that he is a fine runner too.

Rachael Franklin dominated the three-lap women’s race and took victory by just under a minute from Island Games teammate Elissa Morris. Rachael led from the start and looked strong and composed throughout in the horrendous conditions. This was her fifth senior title in the past six years, having missed the 2016 race through injury – a wonderful record.

Elissa Morris produced a fine run to finish second, with third place going to veteran athlete Gail Griffiths who is such a consistent performer. These three Manx Harriers athletes, plus Karen Shimmin, will be competing in the North of England Championships this weekend where they took the team bronze medal last year. The junior title went to Aimee Cringle, who excels at many athletics disciplines and showed what a strong cross country runner she is too.

The afternoon had opened with the under-nine races round one lap of the bottom field, and these produced wins for Alec Sorby – completing a clean sweep of victories in the league series – and Abi Clayton. This was a great result for Abi who has been in the top three in the previous races but this was her first win. Well done to the other medallists Liam Blake, Noah Campbell, Libby Curphey and M’Kyla Quinn.

The U11s raced over two laps of the bottom field. The boys’ race featured Lancashire champion Sam Perry who ran so superbly in Blackburn earlier this month. It shows the strength of this category that Sam has not quite managed a win in the local series this winter, with Cian Howard taking his fourth win in a row – by just one second this time! The girls’ race was won in fine style by Chloe O’Neill, who also completed a clean sweep for the series. The other medals went to Charlie Teare, Florence Griffin and Lucy Ormsby.

The U13 athletes were the youngest to run the full lap including the water crossing, and they coped admirably. The two winners in this category, Gethin Owen and Macy Hillier, are extremely promising athletes and they proved it once again with excellent runs in conditions they have not encountered before. Everyone did well, and congratulations go to Nathan Cannell, Finn Murphy, Mairi Harrison and Catherine Perry who were the other medallists.

One of the real finds of the season has been Corrin Leeming in the U15 boys’ category. He has impressed in every race this winter and looks a really accomplished cross country runner who would do very well if he competed in off-island events. He completed a full house of wins for the season, with the other medals going to Ieuan Owen and TJ Phair. Alice Cashin showed great commitment over the very difficult terrain to win the U15 girls’ title, with Holly Burgess also performing admirably.

Lorna Spiers produced her usual neat, tidy and strong performance to take an impressive win in the U17 women’s race, with the men’s equivalent race being won by Luke Phair who is also making fine progress as a distance runner.

The non-championship short course races were won by Mark Corrin and Emily Curphey.

The full results are here.

Extra special thanks go to all the officials and marshals who went beyond the call of duty to brave the cold and the rain to put on an unforgettable event. Thanks also to the Department of Infrastructure, the Nunnery Estate and their tenants D Rawnsley and P Kermode for use of the land, and to series sponsor Microgaming.

The prize presentation for both the championships and the league will take place at the Claremont Hotel in Douglas on Friday 23 March – more details to follow.

David Griffiths

Microgaming Cross Country League – Round 3

Sunday 3rd December 2017 sees round 3 of the Microgaming Cross Country League at Crossag’s Farm in Ramsey. As usual the registration desk opens at 1pm at the amenity block on the camp site and will remain open until 2pm. Make sure you arrive in good time if you need to enter on the day. If you have entered for the series then there is no need to check in unless you have lost your number in which case see us for a new number to be issued on the day.

The course is hilly with some flat agricultural fields and is well known for being a real test for the runners. The underfoot conditions will only be determined in the next few days. Much will depend on whether the present dry spell continues or if the heavens open and rains heavily!

All spectators and athletes are asked to Park at Ramsey Grammar School car parks rather than drive up to the course as there is very little space for parking. The walk is not far and will help with the organisation of the event.

2.00pm U9 Boys & Girls 2 Small Laps 860m
2.10pm U11 Boys & Girls 3 Small Laps 1290m
2.25pm U13 Boys & Girls & Short Course 1 Small +1 Large Lap 2600m
2.35pm U15 Boys & Girls, U17 Girls & Junior Ladies 2 Large Laps 4660m
2.35pm U17 Boys, Junior Men, Senior Ladies & Vet Ladies 3 Large Laps 6990m
2.35pm Senior Men  & Vet Men 4 Large Laps 9320m

Here is a map of the cMicrogamingLogoCMYK_Stackedourse.

After the first two meetings a number of athletes had repeat wins in round two so it will be interesting if this weekend sees some new faces taking the honours at the front of the races. In the Senior events Rachael Franklin and Alan Corlett have had clear wins in both events up to now so it will be intriguing to see whether they can be caught on the hills of the North of the Island.

Thanks must go out in advance of the event to Northern AC for hosting and also Microgaming for the much valued support of Isle of Man Cross Country events. Hopefully we will see another well supported event full of great sport and many personal battles.

Microgaming Cross Country League Helpful Hints

The league organisers would like to thank the athletes for the fantastic turn out at the first meeting at Castle Rushen High School. Your support and that of your families was much appreciated. In addition we wish to thank Microgaming for their great support of the event, Castle Rushen High School for use of their facilities, the land owner Paul Costain, Barista Express for refreshments and Manx Harriers officials. Without all of their support such a successful event could not have taken place.

Since race one we have had a few questions from a number of athletes and family members about the series. We have turned these into a few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) which are answered below. If the below do not cover your queries or answer your questions then contact Andy Fox on 626415, 495830 or andycfox@outlook.com However, your first point of call should be to go through the FAQs below as you will probably find your answer.

We hope to see as many of you as possible as well as others at the second round event in Peel on Sunday 5th. November signing on from 1pm, first race off at 2pm.

Frequently Asked Questions –

Where actually are the next two events in the league?
The next race takes place on Sunday 5th November at QE2 High School. It is hosted by Western AC and they will be posting up maps and timetables for the event on their website and on this website very soon. The second race is hosted by Northern AC at Crossag’s Farm on Sunday 3rd December. The final race which also incorporates the Manx Championships takes place on Sunday 21st January at the Nunnery Estate and is hosted by Manx Harriers. Look out for information on all the up and coming events via the athletic websites.

When can an under 9 run in the XC League?
Under 9 athletes can compete in the league when they are 7 years old. As such there is a mistake on the entry form which stipulates age on the 31st August. This date is only applicable as the changeover point when an athlete moves from one age group to the next. Under 9s are beginning their athletic interest or career so their age on the day of the race is the starting point i.e. that age being 7 years old on the day of competition.

What should I do if I have paid for the series when I turn up to the next race, do I need to sign in?
There has been some confusion here with half the athletes who paid for the series checking in and half not doing so in event 1 at CRHS. As such, the organising committee have decided to save queueing, athletes who have paid for the series do not need to sign in on the day of the race. However, make sure you turn up early to allow a warm up and check the course out and then be at or near the start line 10 minutes before your event is due to start. At this point listen out for marshals and any instructions given. Races will not be started early but they will go on time so you need to be there or you will miss your race

What should I do if I have lost my number?
If you have paid for the series and lost your number then you will need to turn up to the registration desk too be issued with a new number. If you have paid for one race only then. turn up with your number (if you still have it) and pay the next event registration and your number will be validated for that race also. It is quicker and easier to pay for the series even if you make that decision when going to race 2. The extra point here is look after your race number and use it for all the cross country races you take part in this winter.

How can I speed up my registration if I am turning up to my first XC event?
The quickest way to speed up your entry is to down load an entry form from the IOM AA website and fill it out ready in advance of the event. Then bring it and the correct money or a cheque made out to IOM AA with you to the event registration. Your help with this will be much appreciated by the organisers but even more so by the other athletes in the queue. Oh and one extra point – get to the venue early. Better to be in the queue at 1pm and not 1.55pm with a race about to start at 2pm!!!

Why do unattached (not a member of a club) runners have to pay an extra £2 for entry?
The answer here is simple – so you are insured in case of injury or accident. All courses should have been checked for safety, however, accidents can happen. If you are the member of a club you are automatically registered with England and UK Athletics and so are covered by their event insurance. If not a member of a club then the £2 paid covers for for any issues that may occur as a result of competing. School students are treated differently and are either first claim members of a club or are seen as first claim to their school. This is where the £2 for unattached senior athletes comes from. If this stipulation was not in place then only attached or registered athletes could take part and so the event would lose its open and welcoming status.

I did not sign up for the whole series at race one. Can I do that now?
The answer is yes but come prepared with forms completed and correct money/cheque ready at registration. Also get there early as we will have more work to do to process your request! For seniors you will need £18 if a club member or £26 if unattached. Juniors it will be £10 for club members or school affiliated members.

We hope you find the above helpful and look forward to welcoming all athletes and spectators to Peel where we hope to see some fantastic Cross Country Running in event 2 of the Microgaming Cross Country League.

Microgaming Cross Country League – Round 1

We are pleased to confirm that round one of the Microgaming Cross Country league will be held on Sunday 8th October 2017 at Castle Rushen High School in Castletown, hosted by Manx Harriers.

This year there are two signing on nights before the first race on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th October in Manx Harrier’s Clubhouse from 6pm to 7.30pm. We encourage all athletes to sign up in advance and take the opportunity of entering the league, all four races, at a knock down rate of £18 for seniors or £10 for juniors.
On the day, signing on will take place between 1pm and the start of the first race at 2pm.  We would ask that you arrive in plenty of time to avoid any delays.
Full details can be found on the entry form.

Here is the race timetable and a map of the course.

As usual we would like to remind spectators that dogs are NOT permitted on school property, please arrive early to use the car parks or car share where possible.

Many thanks to Mr Winstanley, the headmaster of Castle Rushen High School for allowing us hold the event at the school. Mr Winstanley has asked that competitors and spectators please respect school property and do all they can to remove mud from their footwear before entering the school buildings.  We would also like to thank Mr Paul Costain for the usage and access of his land.  We would ask that all competitors and spectators keep to edges of the fields so newly planted crops aren’t damaged.