A brand new cross-country course was unveiled by organising club Manx Harriers on Sunday 4th December, and it proved to be a winner.
The Horses Home on Richmond Hill was a superb venue all-round, with excellent on-site facilities and a warm welcome from both staff and four-legged residents. The course itself was extremely testing, glutinous mud in places and one extremely steep hill offering a true challenge to all the competitors.
The worst conditions were in the finishing field which was a complete morass, and several of the competitors lost shoes both there and on other parts of the course.
The honour of being first to race on the course fell to the under-nines who completed one short lap of 800 metres which included a short sharp hill in the second half of the lap. Boys and girls raced together in this age group, and there was an exciting finish in the boys’ race where Elliott Barron just pipped Leighton Curphey to the line to take his first win. Charlotte Postlethwaite won the girls race after finishing fifth last time, a great performance!
The dominant athletes in the u11 races over two short laps were Seamus Hall and Eve Martin, who each completed a hat-trick of wins for the series. It’s a measure of the quality in this age group that Cam Eyres and Gabe Campbell were both within 20 seconds of the winner, and Poppy Clayton and Bella Quaye ran equally well in the girls race.
Next away were the u13 boys and girls and short course competitors, who completed one short lap followed by one lap of the full course. Starting alongside were the u17 men and women, and u20 women, who completed one short lap and two full laps.
These races were a true test of the strength and fitness of the competitors, with the leading school-age competitors hoping to impress the selectors of the Isle of Man Schools team to contest the English Schools Championships later in the winter.
Harry Stennett was another to complete three wins in a row as he dominated the u13 boys’ race with another excellent display of fast and controlled running. Max Hammal and Zac Woodward have both impressed this season and coped admirably with the toughest course they have raced on so far.
Amelie Geldart and Olivia Martin had a win each in the previous rounds, and this time it was KWC student Amelie who came out on top. She has a lot of potential. Faith Teare also had a cracking run for third place only six second adrift of Olivia. The field of 18 for the u13 girls’ race equalled the league record.
The u17 runners, and the sole u20 woman, had a real test of stamina as they faced two full laps which each included the infamous hill as well as many very sticky sections. The quality in the men’s field especially is arguably the best we have seen in this age group, and Sam Perry’s class told again as he took his third win. However both Charlie Teare and series newcomer Oscar Gaylor were well within range of him this time and should all do very well if they contest the Lancashire Championship in January.
Catherine Perry made it a double success for the family by winning the u20 women’s race ahead of u17 race winner Maddie McMullan, who was followed by one-shoe Lola Bass – one of many to suffer that fate.
The short course races were won by Ste Quayle and Joanne Schade, the latter having to work hard to catch and pass Hollie Quaye.
It was then time for the final race start, with the u15s racing two laps of 2,500 metres, the senior and veteran women three, and the U20, senior and veteran men four. It was quite a sight to see this mass of competitors tackling the already notorious hill on the opening lap.
Junior Ryan Corrin initially led, but it wasn’t long before supreme endurance athlete Orran Smith took over at the front where he was to remain. The initial focus was on the u15 races, and these were won by two very classy runners Harris White and Holly Salter, both of whom should go well if they contest the Lancashire event. Harris is a newcomer this season, while Holly has come up through the age groups.
Laura Dickinson and Hannah Moore were together at the head of the women’s race on lap one, but the latter forged ahead on the second circuit and took her third win with a typically strong run, being especially impressive on the hills. Amber Carridge continues to impress in third place, as did Holly Sumner who stepped up from the short course to take fourth.
Orran Smith, training hard for his epic Pennine Way challenge next month, was supreme throughout the men’s race, and was one of the few to run every step of the hill on every lap. Mark Burman had won the previous two races and ran very well again, but had to concede to Orran this time.
Chris Killey had to work hard to stay clear of Alex Bell to take third, and Oliver Chambers and Ryan Corrin somehow raised a sprint finish through the mud with Oliver just getting to the line first for fifth – Ryan was first junior ahead of Harry Kneen and Ayrton Withington who were both excellent.
Here are the full results.
- Grateful thanks go to the officials from Manx Harriers, IOM Athletics and the many volunteer marshals.
- Thanks also to the Horses Home for being such great hosts.
- The fourth and final round (incorporating the IOM Championships) takes place at QE2 School in Peel on Sunday 15 January, with racing getting underway at 1pm.
7 December 2022