Leaden skies and strong winds greeted competitors and officials for the second round of the Law Trust Cross-Country League held at QE2 School in Peel on the afternoon of Sunday 1 November 2020. Such is the current enthusiasm for running events of all types, however, that no fewer than 288 competitors toed the start line for the Western AC organised event – with the threatened rain arriving halfway through proceedings giving the runners and on-course officials a soaking.
The meeting opened with the under-nine competitors racing one lap of the school field, and Seamus Hall impressed again with a fine win in the boys’ race ahead of Taylor Kneen and Gabriel Campbell. In the girls’ race it was ‘as you were’ from the first round, the first five finishing in the same places. Eve Martin was the winner from Poppy Clayton and Tara Nelson.
The U11s completed two laps of the school field, and Harry Stennett reversed the result from Port-e-Chee by getting the better of Liam Blake this time. This is set to be a battle royal all season between two excellent young athletes. Timothy Perry was again third. Abi Sinclair was clear in the girls’ race to take her second win, with Ella Quirk and Hope Lewis finishing second and third.
There were several big improvers among the young athletes. Among them, Maisie Lunt was up from 27th to 17th in the U9 girls’ race, and Faith Teare improved from 13th to fourth in the U11 girls.
The U13 girls and boys, along with the Short Course competitors, were the first to venture onto the full lap with its undulating agricultural fields. Charlie Arculus made it two wins in a row in the boys’ race with a seven-second advantage over Oliver Condon. Two seconds back came Alec Sorby in third. The 20-strong field for this race was the largest for the U13 boys in the history of the event.
The girls’ race was the closest of the day, with Abi Clayton – in her first race of the season – taking the win by just one second from Holly Salter with Penny Webster in third.
The short course races were won by Geoff Rice and Dawn Atherton – the latter winning for the second time this season.
The squally rain swept in as the next race started, featuring the U20, senior and veteran women racing over four laps, and the U17 women and U15 boys and girls circulating three times.
The U15 races were of a high quality, Macy Hillier keeping pace with senior women’s winner Elissa Morris for a couple of laps on her way to victory. Madison McMullan is a very consistent competitor and took second place ahead of Lottie Stennett who also ran very well.
Northern AC dominated the boys’ race with the first six finishers. Samuel Perry worked hard to fend off a determined challenge from Lucas Stennett, with Cian Howard in third. There was drama in this race though, with Western AC’s Corbyn Schade well clear of the rest before misjudging the laps and coming in a lap early. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but he is a hard-working and rapidly improving athlete who will have plenty of good days ahead.
Mia Dunwell won the U17 women’s race by 49 seconds from Catherine Perry, both running strong and determined races.
The Women’s race was dominated by Island Games distance runner Elissa Morris. Initially running in company with U15 Macy Hillier, she stretched away to win by a minute and 14 seconds with a smooth run over a testing course, especially in such unpleasant conditions.
Ashleigh Lachenicht underlined that she is far from just a short-distance runner with an excellent second place, and Rachael Hamilton continued her fine recent comeback to competition with third ahead of the rapidly improving Becky Watterson. The ever-consistent Laura Dickinson was fifth.
There was a familiar look to the six-lap Men’s race which completed the action. Alan Corlett, U20 Ieuan Owen and Will Draper repeated their results from Port-e-Chee, and were even colour-coordinated – each wearing all-black kits! Corlett led all the way and the win was never in doubt, but Western AC youngster Owen kept him in sight all the way and finished only 27 seconds behind. Challenging strongly throughout, Draper finished a further seven seconds in arrears.
QE2 School student Corrin Leeming had a cracking run to finish fourth, and it was good to see two U20 athletes in the top four. Fifth was Orran Smith, whose powers of recovery continue to amaze just a week after breaking the long-standing record for the Bob Baxter Round. Mark Burman was sixth.
Here are the results.
- Sincere thanks are extended to all the officials from both Western AC and IOM Athletics who braved unpleasant conditions to put on another superb event. Thanks also go to QE2 School and the landowner.
- Round 3 takes place at Crossags Farm in Ramsey on Sunday 6 December with racing getting underway at 1pm.
- Video footage of the action is on the manxathletics.com Facebook page.
3 November 2020