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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.