(thanks to Graham Davies)



Ryan Fairclough & Katie Tinkler




What should have been the best round so far of the Manx Gas Island Cross Country League, was marred by the weather. What many people won't know is that last Wednesday the Port St Mary Commissioners called for an urgent meeting with the Isle of Man Athletic Association, due to the very heavy rainfall in the last couple of months the area round 9th hole was very soft under foot and this was the starting point for the event.

It was the Commissioners own groundsman who saved the day he proposed that the event is started higher up the course, he even removed fences and roped sections for runners to go through.

So with the new course remeasured and marked out on a very nice Sunday morning, it was a shock to see the weather completely change just as the first athletes turned up to walk round and examine the course, it had everything steep banks to climb, long flat runs over beautifully lawned grass and fast downhill section.

First off were the under 9s who tackled an 1000m course that produced a superb race amongst the boys was Jack Garrett, Joshua Brand and Jamie Callister really motoring over the tough first section before Joshua Brand moved to the front to win his first ever race from Garrett and Callister this would mean that the league title will go to the last round in Ramsey with all three lads still in contention.  Emily Ashe was first to cross the finishing line in the under 9 girls and winning the League title in the process from Deanne Fairclough of Northern Ac with Catriona Cox from Manx Harriers third. The numbers in the younger age groups were larger than usual with many youngsters from Port St Mary area taking part for the first time and special mention must by given to Katie Davies who finished fourth in the under 9 girls in pouring rain and driving winds she carried on running and nearly completed another lap before her parents could stop her, I hope we see this young lady in the final round in Ramsey.

With his League title already in the bag 9 year old Jordan Cain gave the many spectators a demonstration of his running skills by winning the under 11 boys by just under a minute from new boy David Fox of the Northern Club with Gregory Davies from Rushen primary School taking third also on his debut.

The very talented Lauren Whelan missed the last round of the league due to injury, not only did she win comfortably but also took the league title from team mate Bronwen Kaneen with Chelsea Hay of Ramsey third.

Ryan Fairclough of Northern Ac and Katie Tinkler of Castle Rushen High had already won the perspective league titles in the under 13s, so you would have thought that after looking out at the weather from home they would give this round a miss but no they were there to make it five wins out of five, Tinkler beating team mate from Castle Rushen Sammy Callaghan by 50 seconds, with Fairclough beating teammate Jamie Carey by over 40 seconds.

Fresh from his brilliant run in the Lancashire County Championships Alex Guy of Castle Rushen won comfortably from fellow silver medallist team mate Ben Brand of Manx Harriers, with Shaun Cregeen of Castle Rushen third.

It was a welcome return to cross country of 14 year old Isle of Man & Lancashire Champion Rhian Evans, Evans is concentrating her efforts on being a long jump specialist and has been told by her coach to give up cross country running. I promise not to tell your coach that you won the under 15 girls race from another multi talented athlete Helen Ring.

Castle Rushen students Rory Murphy and Dawn Georgeson had no problem in winning the perspective age groups and league titles. Georgeson was the only female to represent the Island in the Lancashire Championships.

With three big races still to come on the new course it was sad to see many of the spectators leave for home, (I cant really blame them I along with all the other officials were soaked and frozen) if they had stayed they would have seen three really good close races.

The short course event was won by veteran Raymond Cox who just got the better of Phil Motley over the two laps with Robbie Lambie (making a welcome come back after many years away from the sport) third.

The ladies race was dominated by Bridget Kaneen who won with just under a minute to spare, the real race was on for second and third place with the very much improving Michelle Kewley and newcomer Lynne McAvoy battling it out over 4 large laps, another battle was going on behind them amongst three other ladies, Kewley finally got the better of McAvoy on the last lap with just 20 seconds covering the next three places.

The Final race of the day was to see Paul Clarke outstanding over the countryside this winter finally tie up the League title with a comfortable front running win. While behind a battle royal was taking place between Mark Preston, Ian gale, Nick Percival and Darren Gray the positions changed between them every lap of the 5 laps, with athletes dropping off this pack only to find some extra strength to catch up again, only on the last lap did Preston cap a fine run by grabbing second place from Gray who had at one point been dropped by this group. A sprint finish from Gale saw him take fourth from Percival who in turn was over 40 seconds ahead of Partington. Worth a mention is the fact that Double Island Games gold medallist Keiron Murray completed the race in 8th place just behind veteran Paul Curphey.

So a great days racing over a superb course came to an end when the oldest man in the race Ian Costain of Port St Mary came across the finishing line to win the over 55 years class.

A big thank you to Port St Mary Commissioners and to all the Officials on what was an Official's nightmare weather wise, and also the two lads who ran the senior race and then went and collected all the flags and markers in, to say I was pleased would be an understatement.

Paul Clarke continued his domination of the local scene with another big win at a wet and windy Port St Mary in the Manx Gas Cross Country League on Sunday afternoon.

There was a great battle between four runners for second position and Ian Gale is pictured above sprinting for the line ahead of Mark Preston. The only problem was that there was still another lap to go so Mark won back second place, Darren Gray snatched third while a tired Ian Gale just held off Nick Percival.

Bridget Kaneen was another clear winner in the women's race.



The battle for second place.

Nick Percival forces the pace from Mark Preston and Ian Gale.


But on the way back down the hill Ian has passed them both and Mark is ahead of Nick.

Darren is rather wet!

But he is after Nick as Mark breaks away from Ian.

Ian starts what he thinks is the last lap chasing Mark. The rest of the story is told above.

Nick chases Ian who managed his second sprint "finish" of the day!


Vet vet Ray Cox missed the second round of the Manx Gas Island League when the short race started early. He was close to it again on Sunday as he chatted to me before the start. He was a comfortable winner in the more modest rain that greeted the short course runners than for the longer race.

Meanwhile Robbie Lambie was making his debut with rather a lot of clothes on. I was wondering if the Ron Hill display was to remind me that I have not yet scanned in his picture of the said hero for publication on the site. Soon!

Steve Partington (top) told site visitors (see forum) how much he enjoyed the event on Sunday but you would never have guessed it from his face! Without changing places he had a good battle throughout with Paul Curphey (bottom) and they finished 11 seconds apart in 6th and 7th with Paul being the top veteran.

The previous week I'd witnessed Steve's post race coughing - this time it was Paul who suffered after a dubious decision to race with a cold.


9 ran in the wind and rain at Port St Mary - although some were rather hard to see under all the layers of clothing.

Bridget Kaneen was well clear.

The ever improving Michelle Kewley took second.

Lynn McAvoy was third under the wrapping.

Also wrapped up well were Linda Oates, Janet Oates and Christine Barwell.

Here there are again.

Earlier Marie Latham was the first woman in the short course event.

and Sue Forth did well despite offering to shove my camera somewhere as she passed me!


Ian Costain on the first lap at Port St Mary last week with Ray Cox warming down from the short race.

John Roberston from Preston was a welcome guest in 9th place.

Paul Trees - same headgear whatever the weather!

Paul Jackson was obviously setting himself up for a caption when he pulled this face! He has Kevin "only three races this week" Martin for company.

Search this site powered by FreeFind



copyright (c) 2001 - 2003 Murray Lambden. All rights reserved.
[email protected]