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

Nunnery Hosts Highlight of Domestic Manx Cross Country Season.

Sunday 21 January sees the Isle of Man Cross Country Championships and the Microgaming Cross Country League – Round 4 take place at the Nunnery estate just south of Douglas.

The registration is open from 1pm and closes at 2pm. Athletes are reminded that you only need to register if you have not paid for the series in total or if you have lost your original number and need to get a replacement.

The first races are off at 2pm with the Under 9 boys and girls followed by the under 11s at 2.06pm. These races take place on fast parkland with some hilly sections. The main course covers a 2.4km lap which has altered compared to last year due to work taking place on the land. It has flat fast sections together with some major hills and also muddy agricultural fields. It should prove a test for all who take part.  Here’s the full timetable

All distance running athletes can enter the championships irrespective of being entered for the league so do turn up and test yourselves against the best runners on the Island and a really tough course, registration opens at 1pm. Thanks go out to the Nunnery Estate, Department of Infrastructure and their tenants for use of the land and also to Microgaming for sponsorship of the league.

Please note that as this is a Championship event if you are a member of Club then Club Vests should be worn.

Members of Manx Harriers are encouraged help mark out the course on Saturday afternoon 20th January so do come along and help if you can. We will be meeting at the course at 2pm. Please email Andy if you can help on andycfox@outlook.com in addition if you can help marshal the Course on Sunday afternoon do contact Andy.

Arriving at the course is also a little complex. The new 95 space car park which is accessed by entering the site closest to Heron and Brearley Brewery and depot is the main facility for parking. Once this is full or we reach 2pm the entrance to this car park will be closed. Then drivers will only be able to leave the estate via the road passed the main house and out through the Douglas exit near to the quay. If you do not wish to risk arriving and finding no space on the estate car park then do park in the Pulrose Bridge car park adjacent the power station which is free on a Sunday. Then make your way into the civic amenity site road and take the footpath which can be seen in the metal fence close to Edmundson Electrical with Cross country signs pointing the way. This path allows a quick route to the course which takes 10 minutes and comes out close to the race HQ which can be seen on the maps attached here you will find registration for those who need to register, toilets, first aid and also warm food and drinks courtesy of Barista Express.

We hope all enjoy the day and do give us feedback regarding the new course which has altered compared to the first running on it last year.

Andy Fox
Manx Harriers

Northern League 2017

Team Isle of Man will once again be competing in Div 2W of the Northern League.  Last year we did really well however we found ourselves facing demotion and it was only through the amazing efforts of our athletes on the last match did we manage to stay in the current league.

The Northern League also provides an ideal opportunity for our U17 athletes to compete at a level, which whilst challenging, is well within their capability and to enjoy being part of a team which has been a starting point for many of our elite athletes, many of which still compete. If you are a new U17 and would like to have a chat about the Northern League and what it offers then please get in touch.

In order to get a greater understanding of the athletes available for each trip I would ask that you complete and return a Northern League Commitment Form.  I would also ask that you do this a soon as you can.

This year the matches are as follows:

Match 1 – Saturday, 6 May – Leigh (day trip)
Match 2 – Sunday, 4 June – the Oval, Bebington (1 night stop)
Match 3 – Sunday, 9 July – Wavertree (1 night stop)
Match 4 – Saturday, 5 August – Blackburn (day trip)

Once I have an understanding of the numbers travelling I will be able to provide more details regarding costs.  It has however been agreed that your Club will again fund you to 50% of the total costs.

The Northern League is for FULLY PAID UP FIRST CLAIM MEMBERS of Manx Harriers, Western AC and Northern AC. If you wish to be considered then please ensure that you have paid your annual membership fees to you Club and that your Club has paid your EA fee.  Checks are made and the last thing we want is to have points docked because you haven’t paid your fees!

If you are an Official and available to join us then there are two funded spaces from each Club.  Please also complete the Commitment Form so I can organise who the officials will be for each match. Remember we need 1 timekeeper, 1 track official and 4 field officials one of which must be a level 2B.

If you know of anyone who would be interested in taking part then please pass this information onto them.

I would like to thank you in advance for returning your forms promptly!

Anthony Brand
Team Manager

Inter Counties Cross Country 2017 – Report

Twelve Isle of Man athletes – seven from Manx Harriers and five from Northern AC – turned out in the colours of Lancashire at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships 2017. It was the biggest-ever Manx representation in the Lancashire team at the event. There was local interest in seven of the ten races, which were held at a new venue at Prestwold Hall just outside Loughborough.

Many of the athletes suffered travel problems the day before the race, and some on the return journey. Nevertheless all 12, six of whom were debuting at county level, ran extremely well and produced some impressive results on an undulating course that became very muddy in places as the day progressed.

Participation in the event is by selection only, so there was quality right through the fields. The majority of the races had fields ranging from 260 to just over 300, with the exception of the junior women which had 183. Distances ranged from 3 kilometres for the under-13s to 12k for the senior men.

The first race with Manx interest was the senior women’s event, in which Elissa Morris ran with great commitment to place 113th on her county debut. Gail Griffiths finished 126th, a fine run and remarkably her highest ever finish on her eighth appearance at the event.

Next came the u17 women’s race in which Laura Dickinson executed a well-judged race to finish in 100th place, a really impressive run from a hard-working athlete. The junior (u20) women followed, a race in which Becky Storrie placed 34th and Katie Astin 44th.  Becky’s performance on county debut was arguably the run of the day from the local contingent to complete a highly successful winter season, while Katie continued her comeback from injury with a solid run.

The u13 girls followed, with another county debutant Ella Crowe running extremely well to place 194th in a field of over 300. The experience of running in such a competitive and tightly-packed field will be invaluable as she continues her development.

The first male race involving the locals followed with David Mullarkey placing 48th and George Dickinson 129th in the u17 men’s category. David, although not quite at his best, still ran with typical determination and plenty of quality, while George produced a really notable result to finish well in the top half of the field having only received a late promotion from reserve three days before the race to make his county debut.

The penultimate race was the u15 girls, featuring three of the Northern AC team who won the Lancashire title in January. Lorna Spiers finished 148th, while debutants Phoebe Coates and Kate Cashin came home in 182nd and 236th places. Kate only received her call-up a few days before the event. All ran with total commitment and should be proud of their efforts.

The final race of the day, as is traditional, was the senior men’s event. Alan Corlett, back from a recent injury problem, proved that he is getting close to full fitness again with a run of trademark guts and determination. Ever the team man, his 98th place helped the Lancashire team to pack well and place seventh in the team race.

David Griffiths