Isle of Man Athletics Cross Country League – Round 3 – Results & Report

The last cross country event to be held at the stunning Nunnery Estate on the outskirts of Douglas was blessed with gloriously sunny and crisp winter weather on Sunday 1 December for the third round of the Law Trust sponsored Isle of Man league. The event attracted 221 competitors.

Organising club Manx Harriers have used the venue for the past four seasons, and in the opinion of many the course devised by Andy Fox has been one of the best to be used for local cross country over the years. The performances of some of the island’s best cross country runners gave the course a fitting send-off at the weekend before the land is used for other purposes.

The senior race winners Ollie Lockley and Rachael Franklin, both members of the host club, have been in magnificent form on the roads recently, and both transitioned smoothly to the different demands of cross country.

Lockley, who recently beat Keith Gerrard’s Isle of Man Half Marathon record, had his first cross country outing of the winter and produced a masterclass as he dominated the 9.8-kilometre Senior Men’s race over four laps of the course. Initially shadowed by Alan Corlett, he soon pulled clear and stretched away to claim victory by more than two minutes with a superb exhibition of controlled running over the undulating estate grounds which include several sharp hills.

Corlett settled into a good rhythm in second place as he consolidated his progress back to top form after an injury layoff, and Orran Smith continued his outstanding year with yet another notable performance to take third place.

Dave Bignell has been impressive this winter and ran extremely well to take his second successive fourth place after a close contest with Sam Looker and Mike Garrett. Luke Phair was the first junior in ninth place, and the race attracted a bumper field of 51.

The women’s race was run over three laps, and Rachael Franklin was the victor with a quality run during which only the first three men were ahead of her. It was a surprise to see this summer’s triple Island Games gold medallist competing, as she had contested a 5k road race at Barrowford in Lancashire at 7pm on Saturday before travelling home on the overnight ferry. Frustrated at the icy roads which forced her to back off in that race, she was fresh enough to produce a typically strong performance on Sunday afternoon.

Eleanor Miklos is another athlete who has been in great form in several disciplines recently, and she took a fine second place finish ahead of Island Games distance runner Elissa Morris. Laura Dickinson produced a typically gritty run to take fourth ahead of Helen Taylor.

There were big competitor numbers for the Short Course races and these were convincingly won by David Cain and former Island Games distance runner Gail Griffiths.

The closest race of the day came in the u17 men’s category between Ieuan Owen and Corrin Leeming. There was rarely more than a stride or two between these two highly competitive athletes, and the battle went right to the line with both being given the same time but Ieuan just getting the verdict.

Ieuan was one of five athletes to complete a hat-trick of victories for the series, the others being Ryan Corrin (u15 boys), Lola Bass (u13 girls), Abi Clayton (u11 girls) and Timothy Perry (u9 boys). These five have all clinched victory in the league with a round to spare, but will be keen to double up with IOM Championship titles at the final event in January.

Battle resumed in the u15 girls race between Macy Hillier and Ella Crowe who have been matching strides all season, but this time Macy was the clear winner. Their friendly rivalry will resume at the Lancashire Championships in early January.

Lucas Stennett took his first win of the season in the u13 boys’ race, and he is one of many local athletes who should go well in Blackburn next month. Another is Freddie Crowe who won the u11 boys’ race to follow his excellent run in the Liverpool Cross Challenge at Sefton Park the previous week.

The under-nine girls’ race was dominated by Issy Kennaugh of Northern AC who beat all bar three of the boys with a top run.

A little further down the fields in the junior races, it is always good to see athletes progressing well during the season. Several achieved big improvements on their placings in previous rounds, including Alessio Costello and Piper Withington in the u11 girls and Gabe Campbell and Theo Quayle in the u9 boys.

Here are the full results.

• Grateful thanks go to all involved with putting on a superb afternoon of cross country action at this historic venue.
• Video footage of all the races has been posted on the manxathletics.com Facebook page.
• The Isle of Man Cross Country Championships, which also form the fourth and final round of the league, takes place on Sunday 19 January and will be hosted by Western AC at QE2 School in Peel. Full details will be available nearer the time.

David Griffiths
3 December 2019

Isle of Man Athletics Cross Country League – Round 1 – Results & Report

Here are the results from round 1 of the Isle of Man Cross Country League sponsored by Law Trust held at Castle Rushen High School on Sunday 13 October 2019.

On a weekend when the international athletics headlines were dominated by two extraordinary and somewhat controversial Marathon world records, the local Law Trust-sponsored cross country season got underway on a day of continuous heavy rain at Castle Rushen High School in Castletown. This first event of the season was organised by Manx Harriers.

The Isle of Man’s best-ever cross country runner Keith Gerrard summed up cross country perfectly last week when he wrote that it “brings together endurance runners from all distances and tests them over natural and unpredictable terrain. First person from point A to point B on two legs wins – sport doesn’t get much purer or demanding than that! Time is irrelevant – it’s all about beating as many people as you can whilst learning about yourself in the process. I always prefer a muddy course, where no kind of ‘special shoes’ can help as you sink in to the quagmire.”

Those words were certainly apt on Sunday as the heavy rain left lots of standing water and several muddy sections on the south side course which followed the perimeters of four agricultural fields close to the school. Despite the dreadful weather there was a superb turnout of 243 athletes across all categories, a tribute to their dedication and that of all the officials.

It was a delight to see new winners of the two senior races. Orran Smith (Western AC) and Carly Craig (Manx Harriers) deservedly took the honours, having both achieved many high placings over the years but never top spot. Smith was in a class of his own in the three-lap Senior Men’s race, winning by two-and-a-half minutes and proving what a fine all-round distance runner he is. Great credit goes to U17 athletes Ieuan Owen and Corrin Leeming who ran in close company with the senior winner and pushed him hard throughout their shorter two-lap race.

Behind this leading trio there was an epic contest for second place in the senior race amongst a group which initially comprised ten athletes before fragmenting in the latter stages as they splashed round the sodden fields. The value of good pace judgement in the tricky conditions proved crucial with Sam Looker, Matt Callister and leading junior Luke Phair breaking away from the pack to take second, third and fourth places respectively. Cross country newcomer Phil Knox was impressive in fifth place.

Carly Craig led throughout the two-lap senior women’s race but was pressed hard by junior Phoebe Coates for much of the race. An Island Games track medallist back in 2001, the Manx Harriers athlete is a fine distance runner and proved it again with a strong and controlled performance. Middle-distance specialist Coates took the runners-up spot and the ever-consistent Laura Dickinson got the better of a race-long tussle with Eleanor Gawne to take third.

There was equally impressive racing throughout the younger age groups, and with many of the age categories out on the course at the same time there was plenty of action during another cloudburst. The U13 boys and girls and U15 girls raced together over one full lap of the course, and the fastest of these athletes was Macy Hillier who took victory in the U15 race. She had to give everything she had to stay ahead of the ever-competitive Ella Crowe, and the battle between these two fine young athletes will be a feature of the season.

Charlie Teare took the honours in the U13 boys’ race with an 18-second winning margin over Jake Crowe, with Samuel Corkill narrowly beating Oliver Condon to third place. In the girls’ race it was Lola Bass to the fore, with Mikhaella Harris and Belinda Dennett completing the top three.

The U15 Boys and Short Course competitors also raced together over one short lap and one full lap, and the leading athlete here was Ryan Corrin, an athlete with plenty of cross country ability. He took victory in the U15 race by a 32-second margin from Gethin Owen.

28 athletes took advantage of the Short Course race option, including no fewer than 20 women. Fastest of all was Island Games 400 metres champion Ashleigh Lachenicht who is also a quality cross country runner. She finished seven seconds clear of the first male finisher Saul Bradley.

The youngest competitors had begun the afternoon’s action, with the under-nine and U11 races proving as fast and exciting as always. The U9s raced over one lap of the main field, with Timothy Perry and Issy Kennaugh, both of Northern AC, taking the first two victories of the day.

In the U11 races two Manx Harriers athletes took the spoils, with Charlie Arculus and Abi Clayton first home in their races after two laps of the main field. There was an exciting finish to the girls’ race with Summer Craig just a couple of strides behind the winner. In the boys’ race only two seconds spanned second to fifth places.

Distances were:

Under 9 Boys, 800 metres (1 short lap)
Under 9 Girls, 800 metres (1 short lap)
Under 11 Boys, 1,550 metres (2 short laps)
Under 11 Girls, 1,550 metres (2 short laps)
Under 13 Boys & Girls, Under 15 Girls, 2,780 metres (1 full lap)
Under 15 Boys, Under 17 Girls, Short Course, 3,580 metres (1 short lap, 1 full lap)
Junior, Senior, Veteran Women, Under 17 Men, 5,710 metres (2 full laps)
Junior, Senior, Veteran Men, 8,440 metres (3 full laps)

  • Many thanks go to organiser Andy Fox and his team of helpers for putting in a real shift on such an unpleasant day, and also to Castle Rushen HS and the landowner.
  • Video footage of all the races has been posted on the manxathletics.com Facebook page.
  • Round Two of the series takes place on Sunday 3 November and will be hosted by Northern AC at Crossags Farm in Ramsey.

David Griffiths
15 October 2019

Isle of Man Track & Field Championships 2019 – Report & Results

Over the weekend of Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th August 2019 the Isle of Man Track & Field Championships, sponsored by SPAR, were held at the National Sports Centre. In the aftermath of the Island Games it was great to see so many senior athletes taking part alongside our very talented juniors.

The mild calm conditions on Saturday proved to be perfect for competition. The first events on the track were the hurdles, setting a high standard for the rest of the meeting to follow. The first island record of the day was set almost immediately by talented young athlete Regan Corrin (Manx Harriers) in the U13s boys 70m hurdles category in a time of 12.8 seconds.

The 100 metres followed the hurdles where many new personal bests were set, but the main race saw the seniors battle it out in what proved to be a stacked field. The race was won by Jack Lemaire (Western AC) in a very swift 10.9 seconds.

A feature of the weekend was an unofficial Octathlon contested by several of the island’s leading male sprinters, four events being contested on each day. This took the competitors well out of their comfort zones, particularly in the pole vault and 800 metres events on the second day.

Not to be outdone by the track athletes the field athletes literally had a field day, smashing records all over the place. In the senior men’s V45 category Peter Callin (W AC) set a new island record in the triple jump, and Louise Kneen (WAC) set a new record in the senior woman’s Hammer V40 category. In the U13 boys high jump Regan Corrin (MH) was at it again setting a new island record of 1m 63cm which equalled the highest jump for a boy of his age in the UK.

The medal presentations came thick and fast for many athletes, too many to mention individually, who all ran, jumped and threw superbly.

There was also a special presentation of the David Teece Trophy, which is awarded by the late David Teece’s family to an athlete who over the year has shown extraordinary commitment, improvement and desire to succeed within the sport of athletics. This year’s winner David Mullarkey (Manx Harriers), the recently-crowned Island Games 1500 metres champion, proved to be a very popular choice.

Sunday’s conditions were not quite as conducive for excellent times but it didn’t deter the athletes. There were lots of excellent performances on the day but only one island record set in the U15 boys 800m. This was one of the races of the day, pitting English Schools medalist Ben Sinclair (MH) against Ieuan Owen (WAC). During the race the lead changed hands a couple of times, but Ben just pushed ahead in the final 100m to win in a time of 2:02.5.

There was an excellent showcase for race walking on Sunday, with a high-quality field including international athletes Tom Partington and Erika Kelly who have both been selected to represent England in the Manchester International match next week. Both produced top performances to win their respective 3-kilometre races, with Hannah Hunter also performing extremely well.

The 800 metre races also saw the culmination of the Senior Men’s Octathalon. Over the two days the guys took part in the 100m, 400m, Shot Put, Discus, High Jump, Pole Vault, 400m hurdles and 800m which provided great entertainment. With the overall win still up for grabs Michael Haslett (MH) ran a strong 800m to take the overall victory from Daniel Stewart-Clague. Hopefully this event will become a regular feature in Championships.

There were other notable performances, including a 1.90 metre high jump clearance by first-year U17 athlete Jack Coates (Northern AC), and a similar clearance by senior Daniel Stewart Clague who finally joined the ‘1.90 club’ after many years of trying. Island Games debutante Megan Lockwood continued her excellent season with new personal best distances in both javelin and hammer.

Over the course of the two days nearly all the athletes in age groups from under-nine to u17 take part in a number of events to gain points for the Victor and Victrix Ludorum shields. This year’s competition was a good one with many athletes very close on points, but the eventual winners were,

U9 girls Issy Kennaugh (NAC)
U9 boys James Jelski (NAC)
U11 girls Abi Clayton (MH)
U11 boys Ollie Eyres (NAC)
U13 girls Lucy Ormsby (NAC)
U13 boys Regan Corrin (MH)
U15 girls Macy Hillier (MH)
U15 boys Ben Sinclair (MH)
U17 girls Aimee Christian (MH)
U17 boys Craig Martin (MH)

The final award of the day was presented by our sponsors, the SPAR Spirit of Sport award. This award is decided by many different factors and doesn’t always go to an athlete. This year’s winner proved to be possibly the most popular decision yet as the ovation he received was tremendous. The award went to John Whitlow.

John spends almost every day at the track and at one point or another has coached nearly every athlete on the island. Many of the athletes he’s currently coaching or has coached have gone on to achieve great success at Island Games, English Schools, and have reached national and international level. Not only that, John gives up even more of his time to officiate at every athletics event on the island. IOM Athletics would like to thank John for all his hard work, passion and commitment over so many years.

Finally, IOM Athletics would like to thank SPAR for their support, and Debbie and Dean from SPAR for medal presentations. Many thanks also go to the organising committee of Tonya, Kelly, Di, Petra and Simon for their continued hard work, all the officials and volunteers for giving up their precious time, but most of all the athletes for their excellence and the entertainment they provided.

Here are the full results:

Saturday Results
Sunday Results

Simon Sinclair/David Griffiths