2022/23 Law Trust IOM Cross-Country League Round One – Port-e-Chee

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.

David Griffiths
18 October 2022


Law Trust IOM Cross-Country League Round 3 Port-e-Chee

The weather gods have truly smiled on cross-country racing over the past week. Between all the storms, Thursday’s Inter-Schools event and the third round of the Law Trust series on Sunday 5th December 2021 were both held in wonderful sunny and calm conditions which were appreciated by competitors and officials alike.

Both events were held at Port-e-Chee Meadow in Douglas, with the course being extended to include extra loops for Sunday’s Manx Harriers organised league event to make the full lap three kilometres in length. The course is largely flat but rough in places with a testing hill near the end of each lap.

Ieuan Owen and Elissa Morris were the victors in the junior/senior/veteran races, each taking their first win of the season. Still a junior, the Western AC athlete looked in really fine form, taking the men’s race of just under 10 kilometres by the scruff of the neck from the start and dominating with a controlled display of front running. He can look forward with confidence to next month’s Lancashire Championships in Blackburn.

Mark Burman held second place throughout and had a lonely race but he too looked to be running well as he has done consistently in recent times. Matt Callister produced one of the runs of the day to take third place, pushing hard all the way and having enough left in the tank to fend off a late challenge from Nhlanhla Nzama who took fourth ahead of Sam Looker. Alex Bell just held off Chris Killey for sixth place.

Elissa Morris of Manx Harriers followed her impressive Syd Quirk Half Marathon victory with a fine run over just under seven kilometres on the softer terrain of the country. She won the women’s contest by a clear margin in her final race as a Morris before her wedding later this month. Jess Bryan followed her win in the previous round with a solid second place and improves all the time.

There is no more consistent cross-country runner than Laura Dickinson and she showed her quality again with a good third place. Gail Sheeley produced her best race of the season for fourth place ahead of Dawn Atherton and Caroline Caren.

Becky Watterson (women’s Short Course), Harry Stennett (U13 Boys), Olivia Martin (U11 Girls) and Megan Williamson (U9 Girls) all completed a hat-trick of victories for the season and clinched league titles with a race to spare. Becky’s performances have been remarkable as she is five months into pregnancy!

The quality in the U17 races was outstanding, all seven runners contesting this age group being high-class athletes. Ryan Corrin and Madison Mcmullan were the winners on this occasion with strong and classy runs. The league contest in the men’s category is very close.

The friendly rivalry between Sam Perry and Lucas Stennett continued in the U15 boys’ race. Not for the first time it was Sam’s greater finishing speed that saw him to the line first but his margin was only two seconds this time. The multi-talented Lola Bass was the girls’ winner ahead of Penny Webster.

The U13s had the short course competitors for company – all of them except Ryan Fairclough that is. The 2013 Island Games 1500 metres silver medallist continued a strong comeback to running, and he was away and clear right from the off to win the race by 39 seconds.

The second short course athlete Ste Quayle found himself acting as the hare for u13 boys winner Harry Stennett to chase, which shows just how good the young Northern AC athlete is. It was good to see Charlie Arculus back in cross-country action and he took a good second place. In the U13 girls race Abi Clayton pulled away from Kayleigh-Dee Corrin and Neve Madden towards the end of the race to take an excellent win.

There is a terrific contest going on in the U11 boys’ league, and we saw a great race between Seamus Hall and Tim Perry. It was Seamus, having discarded the face mask he began the race with, who just got the better of a thrilling sprint finish to take the win after two laps of the main field. Gabe Campbell ran well again for third, and a very strong finish by the rapidly-improving Bernat Munoz-Fite placed him fourth.

Olivia Martin was again successful in the U11 girls’ race, having to work extremely hard to shake off the highly competitive Poppy Clayton who has been second in all three races. The margin was just two seconds. Tara Nelson was third.

The under-nine boys’ race over one lap of the main field saw the third winner in three races, with Leighton Curphey claiming his first win with a brilliant run. He finished four seconds clear of Rory Teare in second, and Carter Whitehead produced a remarkable comeback after falling at the start and finding himself at the back of the field. He recovered so strongly that he finished third.

Megan Williamson continued her dominance in the under-nine girls’ race with an excellent winning run ahead of her Western AC teammate Bella Quaye who finished only two seconds down with a quality run. Sienna Curphey was third.

Here are the full results.

  • Many thanks go to the team of helpers who set the course up and marshalled on the day, to the admin team and to all at Douglas Rugby Club. Thanks also to the farmer for use of the meadow.
  • After a Christmas break, the final round which incorporates the IOM Cross-Country Championships takes place at Crossags Farm in Ramsey on Sunday 16 January. All welcome.

David Griffiths
7 December 2021

Law Trust IOM Cross-Country League – Round 2 – QE2 School

Round two of the Law Trust Cross-Country League took place at QE2 High School in Peel on Sunday 7th November in bright if blustery conditions. A turnout of 210 athletes found dry underfoot conditions both on the school field and on the adjoining farmland.

A new name headed the women’s race, with relative newcomer to cross-country Jess Bryan taking an excellent victory in her first race of the series. After a strong year on the fells she is now concentrating more on cross-country and roads, looking relaxed and smooth as she made her way round four laps of the undulating course.

Second place went to the ever-consistent Laura Dickinson who looked in fine form, and vet 55 athlete Gail Sheeley took third place and demonstrated that she is getting back to race fitness. Caroline Caren, Sara Hinds and Maggie Watkins filled the other top-six places.

There were no surprises in the men’s race where Ollie Lockley was again the quality act in the six-lap race. The many undulations and rough underfoot conditions in places caused no problems to the man who will be representing the Isle of Man in next year’s Commonwealth Games Marathon, and he was a joy to watch.

It was good to see u20 athlete Ieuan Owen getting back towards his best form and he was impressive throughout to take a clear second place just under two minutes behind Lockley.

The excitement came in the battle for third place, only a few metres separating Nhlanhla Nzama, Mark Burman and Dave Bignell for most of the race. On the final lap it was Burman who surged into a small lead over his rivals and he took third spot with six seconds to spare over Bignell, with Nzama a further 12 seconds down in fifth.

Sam Looker should be very pleased with his run for sixth place ahead of a tiring Alex Bell, and Chris Killey produced his best performance to date to finish eighth.

The short course race was won by Becky Watterson for the second time, 26 seconds clear of the fastest male competitor Darren Corkill.

Many of the age group races took place concurrently, with much close and competitive racing. In the u17 category, Ryan Corrin put a slightly disappointing run last time firmly behind him with a strong performance to win by 49 seconds from Corbyn Schade with Charlie Swales third.

Macy Hillier was again dominant in the u17 women’s race to take another victory, but Madison Mcmullan produced an excellent run to finish only 24 seconds behind. The standard throughout the u17 age group was extremely high.

In the u15 boys’ race Lucas Stennett impressed once again to win by a convincing margin, enjoying the opportunity to match strides with u17 winner Ryan Corrin albeit over a lap less than the older athlete. Molly Hinds was the winner of the u15 girls’ race and this should give her confidence to keep improving.

It was a Stennett double on the day with younger brother Harry winning the u13 boys’ race and showing what a promising athlete he is. His margin of victory was 36 seconds, which indicates how well runner-up Noah Campbell performed to keep Harry in sight all the way.

The u13 girls’ contest was very competitive. Holly Salter took a fine win, but only one second separated second-placed Abi Clayton and third-placed Kayleigh-Dee Corrin. This was a repeat of the first-round top three.

A feature of the youngest age group races for u11s and under-nines was how different many results were from the first round. Several athletes finished much higher than they did last time including Drew Suwinski, Max Wardle, Ollie Kennaugh and Polly Davies.

Gabe Campbell won the u11 boys’ race round two laps of the school field, up from third last time. In second was the aforementioned Drew Suwinski, up from sixth, and third was Corrie Brogan.

Olivia Martin and Poppy Clayton repeated their top two places from the first round in the u11girls’ race with Faith Teare third, up from sixth at Port-e-Chee.

The under-nine boys’ race over a single lap of the school field was a belter, with only one second between the first three. It was Cameron Eyres who took the honours this time, with Leighton Curphey just pipping Rory Teare to the line in an exciting sprint finish. Rory was sixth last time.

It was the same top two in the u9 girls’ race with Megan Williamson just one second ahead of Sienna Curphey in a very exciting race. Mollie McMullan placed in the top three for the first time, one second clear of Isabella Quaye. These were all excellent runs.

Here are the full results.

The thoughts of many cross-country runners are now starting to turn towards the Lancashire Championships at Witton Park in Blackburn in early January.

  • Thanks to all at Western AC and to all the officials and marshals for putting on a most enjoyable event. Grateful thanks also to QE2 School and the farmer for use of the facilities and land, and to league sponsors Law Trust.
  • Round 3 takes place at Port-e-Chee Meadow in Douglas on Sunday 5 December (the same venue used for the first round) with racing getting underway at 1pm.

David Griffiths
9 November 2021