This year certainly proved one for the record books as long-standing favourites battled with exceptional temperatures, illness and injury giving way for a new generation to seize the reins of the Manx Telecom Parish Walk.
Rising walker, Liam Parker, led 127 finishers over the line, having passed Richard Gerrard on the way into Patrick breaking the virus-stricken title holders three-year winning streak. In spite of the challenging conditions, Liam reduced his personal best by an impressive 39 minutes and 14 seconds to make him the youngest winner since 1996 when Lee Cain took gold.
Arguably, it was second pace Karen Chiarello who stole the day, breaking the women’s record and entering an elite club of only six other female walkers to take a podium position. Her blistering time of 15:53:44 set her over an hour clear of her training partner Adam Killip who seized third, improving his own personal best by 32 minutes and 14 seconds.
The triumphant trio were joined by 57 first time finishers and a handful of regular faces. Pete Miller, completing the walk for only his second time sliced 5 hours and 29 seconds off of his personal best set in 2013.
The fresh faces of this year’s podium may face stiff competition from the up-and-coming under 21s, with Anna Hall taking the victory in the ladies category in a record time of 6:35:55. Meanwhile, in the men’s category, Connor Gilbert took gold with a time of 15:12:44.
Over 21,000 photos were taken of the event and are now being uploaded to www.parishwalk.com.
The prize presentation takes place on 20th June 2017 at 19.00.
If winning the ladies category wasn’t enough, Karen Chiarello has taken second overall place and taken nearly 5 minutes off Janice Quirk’s previous record from 2009 of 15:58:35, completing the walk in 15:53:44.
Anna Hall wins the under 21 ladies Manx Telecom Parish Walk with a time of 6:35:55, a record-breaking time for the category! The previous fastest time was 6:37:12 set by Jenny Newberry in 2012.
Connor Gilbert wins the under 21 men’s Manx Telecom Parish Walk with a time of 06:12:44. This impressive time makes him the 3rd fastest under 21 ever with the 4th fastest time.
Anna Hall maintains a comfortable lead for the under 21 women’s category.
It appears Richard Gerrard, who is gunning for his fourth successive title, is facing a stern challenge from Liam Parker. The pair are only separated by just over 100 meters as they come over the Sloc.
Meanwhile, Dave Walker appears to be struggling a little, while Karen Chiarello continues to make impressive and takes third overall with a commanding lead in the ladies race.
Christopher Burns appears to be paying the price for his early burst.
Richard Gerrard holds the lead over Liam Parker entering Rushen, though Liam has reduced the gap from 1min 8sec to 59 seconds.
Dave Walker Still secure in third place, though he has dropped from 39 seconds to 3 minutes 24 seconds behind second place Liam Parker.
Leading Lady, Karen Chiarello, is in a commanding position 13 minutes and 56 seconds ahead of Jayne Farquhar who is second in the ladies race.
Karen appears to be closing in on the third position having gained a minute and 3 seconds on the third position.
Richard Gerrard appears to be making a break for the lead and has passed through Orrisdale with a short lead over Dave Walker and Liam Paker. Christopher Burn separates the top leading trio and last years ladies winner Karen Chiarello.
At the time of writing, 15 people have passed trough Santon Church, but the standings seem to be quite dynamic.
As the mist settles it’s looking like it’s going to be a cooler rise over the Sloc for all the competitors.
A fitting buffet has been organised for the Mann Vend feeding station, so the walkers are in for a real treat.
The Manx Telecom 2017 Parish Walk is now underway. The race was started after a minute’s applause in memory of race stalwart Murray Lambden. The eagerly anticipated race was set underway by Marie Lambden.
Warm weather marks the day, so competitors were reminded to stay hydrated.
Follow live timing, photos and latest updates on www.parishwalk.com as the race unfolds.
Richard Gerrard will again start as many people’s tip to take the honours in the Manx Telecom Parish Walk when the annual 85-mile classic gets underway at 8am on Saturday 17th June. The 4-time champion and absolute course record holder will however likely face stiff competition from friend and training partner David Walker (who has finished second on two occasions), last year’s leading lady Karen Chiarello, and the ever-improving Liam Parker.
Other likely contenders towards the sharp end include the returning Michael Bonney, Brian Kelly, last year’s best first-time finisher James Quirk, close friends Stephen Corkill and Noel Ash, and regular competitors Andrew Dawson and Stew Jones. Last year’s second lady Emma Shilling will hope to improve on her magnificent time of 17 hours 16 minutes set in extremely warm conditions 12 months ago, and Karen Lawrie, Kathryn Clough, Jayne Farquhar, Steph Quayle (and possibly Sue Biggart if she is aiming for a finish) will also be names to watch in the ladies’ race.
The Under-21s race to Peel, over a distance of 32.5 miles, is always more difficult to predict but last year’s female winner Rebecca Greatbatch and male runner up Connor Gilbert have both entered and will be looking to claim success.