The new Law Trust-sponsored cross-country season began on Sunday 16th October in perfect autumn conditions at Port-e-Chee Meadow in Douglas. This opening round was organised by Manx Harriers.
A total of 212 competitors, ranging in age from seven to 70-plus, made a fine sight as they took to the rugby fields and the adjacent farmland in good underfoot conditions.
We enjoyed a real glimpse into the future of Manx athletics with the performances of some of the athletes in the younger age groups. Under-17s Sam Perry and Gethin Owen, and u20 Ryan Corrin, led all the seniors for two laps of the main race of the day and clearly demonstrated what quality athletes they are.
The u17s raced over two full laps of the course, a distance of 6,000 metres, while Corrin tackled the full three-lap distance of 9,000 metres for the first time. They were all well clear of leading senior Mark Burman during his first two laps.
Experienced campaigner Burman took the lead on the third and final circuit, but Corrin rallied superbly to finish only three seconds down on the winner. He pulled away from a challenge from third-placed Nick Colburn in the final straight. Burman was delighted to win, acknowledging that he had to work very hard to first catch and then hold off his younger rival.
Chris Killey continued his fine year with an excellent fourth place just ahead of Nhlanhla Nzama, with Alex Bell in sixth. He was followed by the second junior Charlie Swales with one of his best runs to date.
The aforementioned Perry and Owen were the stars in the u17 race, the former winning by a margin of 18 seconds, and the race was packed with quality with all eight athletes running with real class. Corbyn Schade was impressive in taking third place ahead of the ever-consistent Charlie Teare, with Dom Dunwell and newcomer Oscar Gaylor also looking very strong.
There were new names in cross-country at the head of the two-lap women’s race which is always good to see. Hannah Moore is a quality all-round endurance athlete as she demonstrated with victory in her first cross-country race since her schooldays. She came through strongly on the second lap to win by the convincing margin of 52 seconds.
In second place was Amber Carridge, who looks to be a very good athlete to add to her other sporting talents. She overhauled Laura Dickinson near the end to take the runner-up spot. Veteran 55 athlete Gail Sheeley looked to be back in good form with fourth place ahead of race-walking specialists Erika Kelly and Mia Dunwell – the latter running in the junior (u20) category.
The u13 boys and girls, and u15 girls, ran alongside the older short course competitors, and this race showcased the talents of Harry Stennett. He beat all the senior athletes to lead his race home, holding off a strong late surge from short course winner Ste Quayle who saw for himself how good the young Northern AC runner is. Max Hammel was impressive with second place in the u13 boys’ race.
Holly Salter has been running consistently well for some years now and won the u15 girls’ contest with an excellent run, with Abi Clayton also going very well. The u13 girls’ race was won by another league newcomer Amelie Geldart who looks to have plenty of promise.
The women’s short course race was won by Becky Watterson who continued where she left off last season. This was her first serious race since the birth of her second child six months ago and was a great comeback.
One of the best runs of the day came from Cai Lewis who looked very good indeed in winning the u15 boys race by a big margin. Victory in the concurrently-run u17 women’s race went to Maddie McMullan who is always so consistent.
The two youngest age groups are the under-nines and u11s, and they had begun the afternoon’s entertainment. Seamus Hall and Eve Martin were the star turns in the elder age group race run over two laps of the main field, each winning by big margins. Several athletes were transitioning into this age group with its longer distance, and all did very well indeed.
The under-nine races over one lap were much closer, Leighton Curphey winning a very exciting boys’ race by just one second from Elliott Barron with Jack Teare third. This should be a great contest as the season goes on.
Maisy-Jo Faragher ran a great race to take the girls’ honours by seven seconds from Alice Quirk, who was just one second clear of Xenia Munoz-Fite.
The full results are here
- Grateful thanks go to the team of officials who worked so hard to set up the infrastructure for the season, and to all those who assisted at the venue on both Saturday and Sunday.
- Thanks also to Douglas Rugby Club for the use of their clubhouse and car park, and to the farmer for use of the fields.
- Round 2 takes place at Crossags Farm in Ramsey on Sunday 6 November with racing getting underway at 1pm.
18 October 2022