News 2016

Northern Athletics Indoor Championships

Three Manx Harriers athletes were in action at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield at the weekend in the Northern Athletics indoor championships, with Bethan Pilley, Aimee Cringle and Hannah Ronan all competing in the jumps events.

It has been a far from ideal build up to competition with poor weather throughout November giving very little opportunity for any specific practice, this coupled with the closure of the track from early December due to flooding at the National Sports Centre, meant that athletes were not sure what to expect in competition.

Despite the difficulties of training on the Island in the last couple of months, the highlights were three Island Games 

qualifying marks based on qualifying standards for the last games in Jersey.

Aimee and Hannah were first to compete in the Junior women triple jump with mixed fortunes.  Unfortunately Hannah was not able to register a mark in her three attempts, while Aimee established an indoor Island age group record with a fine jump of 10.51, this being 21 cm clear of the main guideline standards for Island Games to finish 6th in the final, which was won in a championship best performance of 12.65 by Junior International athlete, Naomi Ogbeta who last season competed for the World Youth Games in Cali.

Aimee barely had time to warm down from triple when she was called up for her long jump event and another 6 jumps in this competition gave her a best of 5.14 and the bronze medal.

Manx female Long jump record holder, Bethan Pilley was competing in the Senior women long jump in the first event of day two.  After suffering a serious illness during the Christmas break she has just got back into training and still not yet 100%, despite this she put a consistent series of jumps together and finished in 5th overall with a best jump of 5.25.

Aimee also had a run out in the heats of the 200m despite being heavy legged from the previous days jump competitions she determined to make the most of the opportunity to use a track for the first time in a couple of months and recorded 27.61 for 4th in her heat before making the trip home.

Thanks to Bridget and Peter Kaneen for this report

Lancashire Cross Country Championships 2016

The Manx Harriers cross country team enjoyed a stellar day at the Lancashire Championships held at Witton Park in Blackburn on Saturday 9th January. For the first time in the Club’s 24 years competing at this event the medal tally reached double figures, and by the end of the afternoon no fewer than 13 medals (four gold, four silver, five bronze) were on their way back to the Isle of Man.  Many of the athletes can now look forward to Lancashire selections at the Inter Counties Championship in March.  The athletes enjoyed a welcome few hours of fine weather, and although the course was very heavy underfoot it was not quite as muddy as had been feared.

Macy Hiller got the day off to a perfect start with a brilliant run to win the silver medal in a field of 52 in the under-11 girls race over 1.8 kilometres. Judging the pace intelligently and running strongly throughout, she passed several rivals in the second half of the race and finished in great style to come through into second place. Macy is an extremely promising athlete and will still be in this age group next year.

For the first time in six years the Club fielded a team of four athletes in the 3 kilometre u13 girls’ event. The race over one full lap of the course included the famous ‘saucer’ hill, and all four girls ran extremely well. Holly Burgess was 12th, Jodie Vaughan 26th, Amelia Brockbanks 39th and Aimee Christian 40th. The latter two are relative newcomers to the sport and helped the team to fifth place in the team race.

The first gold medal of the day came in the u17 men’s race courtesy of a wonderfully mature run from David Mullarkey in his first year in the age group. Last year’s silver medallist in the u15 boys’ race, David demonstrated his great progress with a high class performance over two laps of the course, a distance of 5.6 kilometres. Having held back a little in the early stages he eased smoothly away from the rest of the field, executing a superb climb of the hill on the second lap that helped him to an 18-second victory margin. The only other Manx winner of the U17 men’s title at this event was Keith Gerrard in 2003, and David is a worthy successor.

George Dickinson and Alex Bell both ran solid races to finish in 12th and 13th positions respectively and should be pleased with their performances. Together with David they took a hard-earned bronze medal in the team race.

Laura Dickinson also ran very well, finishing in an excellent seventh place in the u17 women’s race over the same distance. George, Alex and Laura will all be in the same age group again next year.

The women’s race, combining junior (u20), senior and veteran athletes followed. This proved to be an outstanding success for Manx Harriers, and for the first time ever at these championships in any race, the Club provided the first two athletes across the line.

Katie Astin had never raced a distance of 6.7 kilometres before, but demonstrated great strength, skill and pace judgement to dominate the race. She ran with the leading pack on the first of three laps before forging into the lead in the early stages of lap two. By the time she reached the top of the ‘saucer’ for the second time she held a 50-metre lead over teammate Karen Shimmin, looking composed and in complete control.

Katie extended her lead a little more on the final circuit to come home with 17 seconds to spare, a magnificent performance in her first year as a junior. This was her first gold medal at these championships having previously won three silvers in the younger age groups. The only athlete to previously win this race as a junior was Katie’s eldest sister Gemma in 2010..

Karen Shimmin’s performance was a revelation. Best known as a triathlete, Karen finished 15th in this race in 2015 as a relative novice at cross country. To finish second this time and take the silver medal behind her teammate was an amazing achievement and reward for a great deal of dedication. It was a wonderful run.

Gail Griffiths ran with all her usual determination to finish in tenth place overall and take the gold medal in the 50 age group by a big margin. It was her sixth age group gold medal in the past seven years. There was also an excellent run from Caroline Mayers who took the bronze medal in the very competitive 40 age group to finish 15th overall.

The women’s team were convincing champions for the fourth time in five years, an incredible achievement that demonstrates the strength in depth of women’s distance running on the Isle of Man.

It was also a very good day for the men’s team, who took the team bronze medal with a series of quality performances. Only twice in the last 18 years have the team failed to get onto the podium.

There was a great race-long tussle between friendly rivals Andy Barron and Alan Corlett following the early retirement of Kevin Loundes. In and around the top ten of the 149-strong field throughout the four-lap 9.8 kilometres race, both produced runs of real quality. Andy opened up a six-second margin in the closing stages to take a terrific seventh place, with Alan superbly holding off former champion Ben Fish in a sprint finish to take eighth spot.

Mike Garrett took 26th place and the silver medal in the 45 age group with another great run, and Gianni Epifani won the bronze medal in the 40 age group with a fine 41st place finish. The other two team scorers were Stephen Garrett in 55th place (12th junior) and Richard Highfield in 68th.

The other finishers were Joe Ricciardi in 76th (15th junior), Andy Watson 77th, Andy Fox 91st and Chris Quine 96th. Andy Fox, who has organised every Manx Harriers trip to the event since 1993, took a popular silver medal in the 55 age group, and was part of the bronze medal winning veteran team along with Mike Garrett, Gianni Epifani and Andy Watson.

There were also three athletes from Northern AC and one from Western AC competing, and they too performed extremely well. Lydia Morris (sixth in the u13 girls), Lorna Spiers (fifth in the u15 girls) and Western AC’s Rhys Owen (sixth in the u15 boys) can all look forward to Inter Counties selections, and TJ Phair was 16th in the u13 boys’ race.

Thanks to David Griffiths for this report

Up and Running Winter Walking League – Round 4

Round 4 was held on the Ronaldsway Industrial Estate in cold and windy conditions on Sunday 10th January.

Results thanks to Bridget Kaneen 

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