Don't forget - Round 5 of the Manx
Gas Country League at Crossags Farm on Sunday.
FELL RUNNERS MEET by Richie Stevenson
We have organised a meeting next Friday 16th
January at Manx Harriers Club House for anybody interested in competing
off-island this coming season. There are some very interesting developments this
year with the acceptance of Team Isle of Man in the British Championships as
well as the usual International races to plan for. The British Champs. rules say
that the counters in the team will be the first three from any club to finish
and they do not have to be the same three in each race. This means that runners
of any standard can compete in the race and enjoy the trip but obviously only
the faster runners will qualify for the team.
We would also love to send a females team to
either a British Champs. or one of the two Internationals we attend each year.
Any females who are interested are invited to attend the meeting. The same goes
for any juniors. We would have no problem in getting an invitation to the
British Junior Home Internationals in October if enough interest was shown and
we could quite easily organise appropriate training under the guidance of
Margaret Lockley. The meeting will commence at 7.00pm.
It must be stressed that runners of ALL standards
from any Island club are welcome to attend.
LATEST LONDON MARATHON CONFIRMATIONS
Jane Mooney has confirmed that the three Manx
Harriers entries have been allocated to:
Sally-Anne Salt; and
VERNON THOMAS DOWN UNDER (08-01-04)
Vernon Thomas, who ran the very
first Millennium Way Relay in 1979 and is married
to Manx lady Jean (nee Caley) from Peel, is back
in the UK after spending Christmas in New Zealand,
competing for Great Britain veterans in the world
triathlon championships. He was 5th for GB and 37th
in world for his group. He has already been selected
for this years worlds in Maderia in May.
Vernon, who lives in Blackheath
and is usually seen cheering the Manx runners at
the Flora London marathon, will be visiting the
Island this summer, the year he celebrates his 60th
birthday. Jean, who is a first cousin of my wife
Marie, and Vernon have both run a number of
Greeba Fell Race Training by Paul Jackson
Anyone who fancies a run out over the fells in preparation for
the Greeba Fell Race on 31st January is welcome to join a group 'reccie' this
Sunday starting at 8.15am from below Cronk Breck. To get there follow the A23
from the Strang Roundabout for about a mile and a half heading west as far
as the Crosby junction (on your left). Turn up the track opposite on your right
(with the 'unsuitable for motors' sign) for about a mile until you meet the
Millennium Way where there is a triangular car parking area marked on the OS map
as Cronk ny Moghlane.
The run will be a nice steady 2 hours with plenty of time
afterwards to get showered and shaved etc and up to Ramsey in time for the Cross
Country in the afternoon!. More details from Paul on 611179 or 487873.
FELL RUNNING UPDATE by Richie Stevenson
The date of the Ken Watterson sponsored Greeba Fell
Race is January 31st not February 7th as advertised in the Examiner. The race
was provisionally pencilled in for the later date but was changed at the
Ken Watterson has kindly stepped in to provide
sponsorship for Julys Ellan Vannin Fell Race as well as the Greeba which now
means all the races organised by the Manx Mountain Marathon Organisation have
Fell runners training takes place every
Tuesday evening from the TT Grandstand. Please be warmed-up and ready to start
the session, which will be based at the Avenues, by 6.30pm. All abilities will
be catered for and are run under the expert guidance of Margaret
MILLENNIUM WAY RELAY NUMBERS ONLY 40% of 1992
I'm part way through an exercise
I started last week to emphasise why I think the
Millennium Way Relay is in need of face lift. During
a time when entries in road races such as the Syd
Quirk Half Marathon have reached record levels,
the Peel to Douglas run has been revived, and the
Cross Country League has enjoyed its best entry
for more than 20 years, the entries for the relay
have nose-dived to only 40% of the levels of the
early 1990s. Team number refer to the numbers completing
the course not the entries and "double"
is way of avoiding double counting people who run
the first leg for a team and all cycle. Whereas
at one time this was a very rare event now half
the teams rely on a cyclist to run the first leg
First leg extended
Postponed then cancelled
Foot & mouth threat
11 cyclists entered
MANX GAS CROSS COUNTRY RESUMES ON SUNDAY (05-01-04)
Round five of the Manx Gas Cross
Country is scheduled for Ramsey on Sunday and will
be organised on the well tried and tested Crossags
Farm course and organised by Northern AC. The
final round is then on the 15 February. Organised
by Manx Harriers this will be just one week after
Manx Harriers organise the Manx Championships. Both
venues to be confirmed.
MANX HARRIERS JUNIORS A CREDIT (03-01-04)
Their performances in the mud of
Blackburn will be documented elsewhere, but what
a credit the youngsters in the squad were to themselves,
their parents, their club and the island.
It was Mike Garrett who pointed
out on the way home tonight from the Lancashire
Cross Country Championships, that not one of them
caused any problems throughout a 15 hour day.
MIDDLE DISTANCE TRAINING by Chris Quine
After lots of turkey and over-indulgence over the
festive period, it will soon to be time to start thinking about returnin to a
regular training routine. The Thursday night
Middle Distance Training at the NSC will re-start on 8th January. The sessions
cater for a range of standards but in the main are for under 15s upwards - males
and females, senior women, vets, anyone returning to fitness. There were about 8
per session prior to Christmas.
The session starts just after 6 pm for warm up with
a view to starting the main part of the session at about 6.40 pm. The session
finishes at about 7.30 pm.
Normal NSC rates apply.
The sessions planned for January are:
8th January - 400m efforts - short
15th January - speed session - longer
22nd January - 200m efforts - reducing
29th January - 800m efforts - short
These can be modified to suit individual
If anyone has any questions please contact Chris
Quine on 670521 or e-mail [email protected]
Look out too for detals of the next Middle Distance
squad meeting on Saturday 24th January.
ATHLETICS WEEKLY SELL OUT IN THE ISLE OF MAN?
Although the Royal Mail have not
yet delivered my copy, I am told by Andy Fox that
this week's edition of Athletics Weekly features
an extensive feature on Keith Gerrard on page 10.
It details his breakthrough and
talks about his ambition to race in the World Cross
Country Championships, although Keith reports that
this has been blown out of proportion.
Rush and get your copy of Athletics
Weekly before it sells out!
FELL RUNNERS CONGRATULATE STUART LAMBIE (02-01-04)
Congratulations to Stuart Lambie on his MBE.from all the
fell runners. I`ve known Stuart for a long time and he is a top man and deserves
his award for all the hard work he has done over the years. Sports wise he was
not only heavily involved in athletics but he was also a very good soccer player
who played for the Island several times and he had a long and successful career
at St Johns, our hosts on New Years Day.
EVEN THE BEST BREAK THE RULES (02-01-04)
As with all events organised by
Richie Stevenson and his team from the Manx Fell
Runners, yesterday's St Johns Fell Race was superbly
To cope with a relatively large
field they use a fairly standard finishing system
of issuing numbered cards with the runners numbers
printed on them and the runner is then responsible
for handing the number into the recorders where
their finishing position is matched against the
times and names.
All but one of the runners complied
with the system yesterday but the recorders were
left with one runner unaccounted for. After
their enquiries failed to reveal the missing number
an announcement was made for this person to report
to the recorders. Guess who it was? Richie Stevenson!
LAMBDEN CELEBRATIONS MUTED (02-01-04)
My mother, Gwelda Lambden, is 85
years old today and 2 January has always been a
day of celebration for our family. Unfortunately
her health is such that her enjoyment of the day
will be pretty limited today as she has been in
hospital for several weeks and will almost certainly
spend the rest of her days in a nursing home at
After several periods of hospitalisation
for a number of reasons this year she moved from
Kirk Michael to the Ellan Vannin home at the end
of August although it was a couple of months later
before this move was deemed to be permanent, but
she reached the point where that home could no longer
cope with her.
I always had great support from
my family in my race walking days and my mum continued
to attend the big events such as the Manx Airlines
meeting and often the Boundary Harriers dinner after
I stopped competing. Many of the guests who
took part in the Manx Airlines meeting in the 80s
used to visit her house at Kirk Michael on the Sunday
after the event and in true Manx style were well
fed with cakes etc. When 1984 Olympic walker
Phil Vesty joined five times Olympic walker Chris
Maddocks and I for lunch there one year it was the
only time I ever remember her whole selection
of sweets and puddings being demolished!
The last event she attended was
a quick trip around the north of the Island with
me during the 2003 Parish Walk.
IMAGINE HOW HARD IT WAS TO TRAIN IN THE OLD
.I've been catching up with some
reading during the Christmas period. I subscribe
to a number of athletics magazines (among many others)
and they are often barely touched during the busy
I loved the article in the July
edition of British Runner when they featured Arthur
Keily, the marathon runner who was in the lead throughout
the first 15 miles of the 1960 Olympic marathon
in Rome. He eventually finished way down the
field in 2.27 but this was still the fastest British
performance in the Olympics at the time.
He worked for British Railways and
then as a blacksmith for Rolls Royce in Derby. "I
used to get up at 5 am, run 11 miles to work, do
a whole day's work, then run 11-15 miles at night.
And people today complain when they say it is tough."
"We had no money from the sport
and if I wanted to take time off, I was not paid
for it. When I went to the Empire Games, my
fellow workers arranged a collection for me to make
up the money I would lose by not being at work.
But I could not take it, because it might have been
seen as breaking the rules of athletics amateurism."
In the same batch of reading, I
read how John Mayock has decided to move back down
to 1,500 metres because when he focused on 5,000
metres last year he could not race enough to earn
his keep. No comment.
Going back to Arthur Keiley, he
obviously loved the sport as he only retired two
years ago at the age of 80, in a season that he
won a 400 metres and 3,000 metres walk in the same
Circumstances are certainly different
now to 50 years ago, some better, some worse. But
the one thing that the above proves (to me anyway)
is that you have to believe in what you are doing
and commit yourself totally. If you consider
yourself to be a serious athlete, its better to
have a few years when you live for your dream and
make some sacrifices, that you couldn't possibly
maintain throughout your whole life, than always
believe that next year will be easier and spend
your whole career talking about what you will do
in a few years time.
NEW PUBLISHER FOR BRITISH RUNNER (01-01-04)
The above magazine has been sold
by the publishers of Athletics Weekly and is now
re-branded by the new owners, the publishers of
It probably has a more realistic
market by dropping the stats and aiming for the
new runner looking to run a marathon for charity
but I'm afraid it now has little interest to me.
Maybe we do have to be told the obvious sometimes
but the suggestion in one article that if you are
short of time to run you could try getting up earlier
or running instead of watching a soap, well, perhaps
there is someone who cannot work this out for themselves!
HAROLD WHITLOCK (01-01-04)
Colin Young wrote a great feature
on his favourite all time British race walker, Harold
Whitlock, which was published a few months ago in
Race Walking Record. His build up to winning
the 1936 Olympics not only included walking in the
London to Brighton and Manchester to Blackpool walks,
which were still around in my day, but also the
Liverpool to Manchester and the Sunderland to Darlington
(I may have got the directions the wrong way around).
Can you imagine walking events on such courses nowadays.
What is more, most of these events were sponsored
by national newspapers, the Manchester to Blackpool
by the News of the world no less, as the readers
of the day were fascinated by the achievements of
these hardy souls.
The interest in these events and
the awareness that people had that athletes were
taking part in such events surely had a big impact
on motivating the next batch of walkers to take
up the sport.
The Clerical Medical Parish Walk
in the Isle of Man, whilst not attracting the standard
of walker of Harold Whitlock, Don Thompson et al,
is one of the last great road walking events and
it has grown throughout the years the others has
fallen by the wayside. We are lucky and we must
all work together to ensure that the Parish Walk
is allowed to survive in the years ahead.
GREAT NORTH RUN (01-01-04)
The last thing I am suggesting is
that the sport should only be open to the serious
athlete. I'm only suggesting that people like
Seb Coe, Paula Radcliffe or even the man who couldn't
win his school cross country race but goes on to
beat 2.20 for the marathon, achieve something in
their lives that, despite Paula's apparent wealth,
just cannot be bought at any cost.
I'm equally keen to see people who
have never participated in sport take up athletics
at the age of 15, 35 or 50 and the great thing about
the sport is that there is room for everyone. This
website will continue to encourage and give credit
to people running their first 10km, the joy of running
5km in the Race for Life and of helping others in
the process, or someone running their second marathon
an hour faster than the first one. I love
to see the happy, smiling faces.
The Flora London Marathon and the
BUPA Great North Run are the two most visible national
events where we all have a chance to be seen on
TV even if we are new to the sport. Unlike
the old time walking races that I refer to above
which featured stockbrokers from one part of the
country racing miners from other parts, the TV coverage
(Paula apart) tends to either feature the top runners
from around the world or the runners who are overcoming
adversity to take part. All marvelous stuff
but I still feel the sport would be a better one
if we had a pool of young people in their prime
from all over the country training to target major
events such as these, in the belief that they would
be well placed. Call me a dreamer, but I believe
that the country would be better for it if more
of our youth could have outlets such as these.
And this is where I turn to the
Great North Run. This used to be one of the most
competitive events in the country. To make the top
200 a few years ago required something close to
1 hour and 15 minutes for the half marathon. As
recently as 1998 when I took part I ran just over
1.15 into a strong headwind (I would say that wouldn't
I?) I was only in the 120s.
In 2002 Peter Elliott enthused so
much about Kosgei breaking the one hour barrier
for the first time, he failed to notice (or comment)
that a 1.15 time would now get you into the top
60. 125th position could be achieved with 1.19.27.
The favourable wind conditions in
2003 saw a slight improvement but nevertheless 1.15.19
was good enough for 72nd position, 50 places higher
than 5 years earlier when there had been a headwind.
Whilst our new crop of middle distance
athletes will not be heading for the Great North
Run just yet, if every club had young runners of
the calibre of, and with the coaching skills received
by, Keith Gerrard, Darren Gray, Andy Cannell and
others, the UK would not be suffering such a decline
in standards. Statistically the Isle of Man should
only produce about 1 in 1000 of the UK's athletes,
WAS 2003 A GOOD ONE AND WILL 2004 BE BETTER? (01-01-04)
For all excitement of the big field
in the Parish Walk, and bigger fields in many of
the road runs than for some time, its the achievements
of our youngsters that have given me most pleasure
during the year. I'm not talking about the hundreds
of youngsters who enjoy a brilliant introduction
to our sport during the summer at the track leagues,
but the ones who avoid the temptation to drop out
in the teens and come through and head towards their
The pleasure we derive from seeing
Keith Gerrard racing around the continent on the
cross country circuit - "I'll just try and stay
with the England team" was his recent genuinely
modest aim. Being able to attend the AAA championships
and watch Martin Aram high jump with the best in
the country. Watching Jess Draskau-Petersson finish
19th in the Flora London Marathon and defying people
like me who thought a 2.36 prediction was heaping
too much pressure on her young shoulders. Following
the progress of walker Neil Bates who has definitely
set his stall on reaching the top. Seeing
the delight of someone like Sarah Dowling winning
gold in the Island Games and the reward that this
brings not only to the athlete but to the coach,
in this case to Di Shimell. And a strange
one, finishing lower down the field in cross country
races because at last the veterans are being squeezed
Of course some of the older guys
also achieved great things. Ian Gale's unpredicted
success in the Manx Mountain Marathon and Peter
Kaneen's second fastest ever Parish Walk time are
right up there among them. There are a number of
other athletes who we almost take for granted who
among our best. Its little more than
a year ago since Steve Partington was the top British
walker in the World Walking Cup and he hopes to
back in 2004.
Many of the successful Manx athletes
like Chris Quine and Andy Fox are working behind
the scenes to ensure that 2004 and beyond will be
successful and lets hope that everyone can work
with Graham Davies and Anthony Brand in 2004 to
see the delivery of the Development Plan.
Officials, like athletes, have to
move heaven and high water to turn their dreams
into reality. When Chris Brasher dreamt about a
marathon around the streets of London most people
would probably have said it was impossible. If our
officials are as good as the athletes they represent,
then they must unite the sport and change. I have
confidence that they will.
Tell the rest of us what you think
were highlights of 2003 and make your predictions
for 2004 by using the forum.
FOX PARTY TONIGHT (31-12-03)
Andy and Jan Fox extend a welcome
to everyone involved with Manx athletics to join
them at their house at 61 Brunswick Road, Douglas
tonight either to see in the new year or merely
to have a drink and a chat on the way into town.
You are invited to call anytime
after 8 pm.
MANX EXILE VISITS (31-12-03)
We enjoyed the company of former
Manx race walker Tim Baker, his wife Viv and their
children, Voirrey & Kerenza, yesterday afternoon.
They are visiting Tim's mother and
family in Ballasalla for the Christmas period. They
have lived in Glossop in Derbyshire for several
years, a convenient location for me when I visited
the Commonwealth Games last year.
I had forgotten that Tim once ran
in the Tour of Tameside stage race which is close
to their home. Martin Caley ran in this at
least once. Has anyone other than Martin completed
it as a Manx resident? I suspect that Alan Bagley
and Tony Okell have before they moved to the Isle
ISLE OF MAN ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION WEBSITE DUE
TO LAUNCH SOON (30-12-03)
Graham Davies, secretary of the
IOMAA , is hoping to launch a website in the next
few days. I registered the www.iomaa.co.uk
website on his behalf over a year ago but have not
had the opportunity to assist him (or several other
people with their projects) as hoped.
At the moment the domain is redirected
to this site, but subject to a couple of technical
hitches, the site should be online this week.
One of the advantages to me (and
therefore to all visitors to the site) is that I
will no longer publish fixtures on this site but
rather re-direct to the IOMAA site where Graham
will keep the fixture list "live" with
I shall continue to publicise as
many individual events as possible however.
3 YEARS ON (30-12-03)
Its now three years since this site
was launched and I'm fairly pleased at the moment
that the objectives that I set out all that time
ago (and are re-published below) remain very much
Although it would always be nice
if we could all agree on every single issue, one
of the things I felt there was a need for, and others
asked for, was a forum for people to express their
views. An online forum can and should not replace
the formal channels of organisation but it does
provide those people who are good enough to give
up their time to organise the sport additional access
to grass roots views.
To provide a forum for the views
of athletes in the Isle of Man
To inform and communicate with
athletes and anyone with an interest in athletics
in the Isle of Man
To extend the enjoyment derived
from athletics in the Isle of Man by sharing the
fun and pleasure of the sport
To provide a history of the sport
by the provision of on-line databases of major events.
I try to keep the site as friendly and informative as
possible, and hope that people recognise faces at events
from the pictures on the site, I've tried to keep the
style fairly formal most of the time, with the use of
full names etc, so that new people wishing to join the
sport don't feel the it is a closed shop.
STEVE PARTINGTON BACK IN TRAINING (29-12-03)
Steve Partington managed his first
training session yesterday morning since he pulled
up injured in the Empire Garage Peel to Douglas
Walk four weeks earlier.
"I must be getting more sensible
in my old age" he said yesterday as he pointed
out how patient he had been to allow his hamstring
injury time to respond to physiotherapy and recover
The 38 year old multi British international
race walker and five times Commonwealth Games athlete,
has a busy year planned after a period of active
rest in 2003. More details to follow.
ANDY WATSON MAINTAINS THE SPIRIT (29-12-03)
During my conversation with Steve
Partington yesterday it was he who pointed out the
Andy Watson was one of the few runners
to enter a team in the Millennium Way Relay who
do not compete regularly. This is something
that the organisers have always encouraged over
the years to attract newcomers to the sport and
there is no disadvantage as all teams are handicapped.
So well done to the 2 Fast and 2 Furious team
of Andy, Nevina Black, Tanya Sanderson and Laurie
Meanwhile Andy makes his debut in
the Lancashire Cross Country at Blackburn on Saturday.
PARISH WALK DATE CONFIRMED (29-12-03)
The 2004 Clerical Medical Parish
Walk has been confirmed for Saturday/Sunday 19 &
20 June. Its hard to believe that we are already
closer to the next one than the 2003 event.
Entry forms will be available in
the new year.
As the event relies heavily on the
goodwill of a number of volunteers, it is worth
considering, if you are not taking part yourself,
whether you can spare an hour or two to help during
that busy June weekend.
Andy Cannell targets the National Cross
Andy Cannell, who has been such
an impressive newcomer to the athletics scene this
year, is planning to run in this winter's National
Cross Country Championships. The Northern AC runner
who finished second in the fourth round of the Manx
Gas Cross Country Challenge put some of the improvement
in form in that event down to the use of spikes
for the first time.
As middle distance co-ordinator
Chris Quine pointed out on the forum recently, its
great to see 22 years olds (Andy & Darren Gray)
finishing first and second in the cross country
league. Andy has added his views on why we
don't see more of his age group pushing themselves
hard in sport on the Island with a contribution
to the forum. His own enthusiasm can be shown by
the fact that he wrote it on Christmas Day!
Female race walkers carry competition to relay
Marie Latham, Sue Biggart and Bridget
Kaneen are all well known as fiercely competitive
race walkers and they all raced ran over the third
leg of the Millennium Way Relay. They were separated
on time by just eight seconds in the order that
I have listed them above.
and you thought the weather couldn't get any
The weather was bad enough for runners
and cyclists on Boxing Day but the weather overnight
has possibly been even worse. I always say that
luck evens itself out and that we all get good luck
and bad luck. Well, I've trained in some awful
weather before now but I seem to have been really
lucky this week as I didn't plan to train on Boxing
Day or today when things have been dire but I did
train yesterday (very long run with Paul Curphey
& Mike Garrett) and the weather was perfect.
Andy Fox provided further details
of Keith's great run via telephone last night, after
speaking with Keith.
There were 66 runners
in the race in which Keith finished 3rd among a
British contingent who claimed the top six places.
The majority of the runners came from Belgium,
France, Holland and Germany.
He set of at a sensible
pace among the top thirty and then eased his way
to the front of the field, sitting in behind the
eventual winner Sam Jacobs. He felt comfortable
in this position through two of the three 2km laps,
the undulating course very much suiting Keith's
The gap between the leading
two, including Keith, grew to 25 metres but on the
final lap Jacobs, who is two years older than Keith,
was able to ease ahead. In the final sixty
metres Keith also lost second spot to 3.43 1500
metres lad Anthony Moran, who is the same age as
Among the many scalps
for Keith was Matthew Barnes-Smith who finished
14th. A week earlier he had represented Great
Britain in the European Championships.
Keith has been
rewarded for his efforts with an England call up
on 18 January 2004 at the Spanish Cross Challenge.
After that, well let's
wait and see. He is due to review his racing
plans with andy on his return.
CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPS (24-12-03)
Whilst we wait patiently for hard
working IOMAA secretary Graham Davies to confirm
the 2004 fixtures (I've seen a draft but they are
still embargoed at this stage as far as I am aware),
it seems that the new date for the championships
in Sunday 8 February.
WALKERS KEEP PHYSIOS EMPLOYED (24-12-03)
One little snippet I forgot
to use a couple of weeks ago followed Steve Partington's
nasty injury in the Empire Garage Peel to Douglas
Walk. Whilst exiting his physiotherapist's
treatment room, the 10 times winner of the walk
met second placed man Kevin Walmsley on the way
in. I am told that this year's winner, Peter Kaneen
also had treatment. All roads lead to the
WEBSITE PLANS (23-12-03)
I'm currently enjoying a two week
break from work at the end of what, for many reasons,
has been a hectic year.
Although I have many other things
to do, including finding some time to relax, I am
hoping to make some changes to the website during
this time. Some of the work will be behind the scenes
to allow me to publish quickly after events in the
months ahead; other things will be much more visible
as I update databases, publish more old pictures
and re-design as well as publishing full coverage
of the Mann & Partners Millennium Way Relay,
the Supercards St Johns Fell Race and the Lancashire
Cross Country on 3 January.
So don't go away and remember to
share your thoughts with others over the forum.
GATE REVENGE (23-12-03)
51 weeks after a stupid training
accident where I slipped whilst climbing over a
gate in the lane from Cornaa to Ballaglass, I returned
to take my revenge yesterday. The accident
cost me more than three months of running of any
sort and it was nearly six months before I dared
run than four miles on my dodgy knee.
Since then things have improved
considerably and I broke all my promises by climbing
(very carefully) over the gate in both directions
again rather than opening it! The distance
I ran in my 30 minutes and return course to Maughold
didn't back up my recent positive "best form
for a couple of years" claims but I guess Saturday's
22 mile session was still in my legs!
WENDY ROSS LOOKS FOR A MARATHON WHERE
SHE CAN RUN (23-12-03)
I was chatting to Wendy Ross at
a party on Saturday evening and laughing at how
I had bumped into her and her family at last year's
Flora London Marathon.
Wendy has completed the London Marathon
on two occasions although on both times she has
had distractions in the form of family illnesses
and injuries. The biggest problem she has encountered
however has been a lack of space to run in and so
and intends to find a quieter course, perhaps Dublin,
for her third marathon
ANDY GARRETT MARRIED TODAY (21-12-03)
One of my best friends of many years,
runner, walker and triathlete Andy Garrett from
Willaston, married Karen Wells in New Zealand earlier
WALKING AT AN
ALL TIME LOW IN BRITAIN (21-12-03)
Pleasing as it is to see Manxman
Peter Kaneen ranked as the 7th best 20km walker
in Peter Matthews' 36th UK merit rankings, it was
very sad to see that he was the last of the race
walkers to even be deemed worthy of a ranking. The
50km standards are much, much worse with only one
person, former Manx Airlines 20km winner Andy Penn
who also topped the 20km rankings, being ranked
Peter Matthews commented on a decline
in standards that is close to terminal as follows:
Until Penn's mark, on his debut at the distance,
no British athlete broke the NUTS standard for rankings
of 5 hours that has been in place since 1958. For
all but one year from 1978 to 1877 the tenth best
in Britain was under 4.30. Over the years I have
occasionally ranked an athlete in this event with
a season's best of over 4.40 but rarely. This year
the event barely existed apart from Mike Smith winning
the RWA title in 5:00:41 from Chris Berwick in 5:05:46,
demonstrating the tragic collapse of walking and
of endurance events in general."
With locals Steve Partington and
Peter Kaneen both aiming for 50km this season then
some improvement in the UK rankings for 2004 is
virtually guaranteed but the event nationally is
not going to revive merely by a few people from
within the sport moving up to in distance.
The women's rankings take into account
all walking distances and as a result Bridget Kaneen
and Marie Latham, who were sixth and seventh best
at 20km on time, are not ranked among the top 12
overall. Marie was 4th best at 10km on the track
and 10th (Bridget 9th) on the road at 10km. It
has to be said that, despite a noticeable decline
in standards in our winter league races in recent
years, if there were a few more clubs like Manx
Harriers around the country , with walkers such
as Steve, Peter, Marie and Bridget, and coaches
like Allan Callow, there would not be such a problem.
AND MIDDLE DISTANCE RUNNING HAS A SIMILAR
Peter Matthews comments as follows
on his 5,000 metres ranking: "...a couple of
men ranked despite not breaking 14 minutes; that
has never happened before since I started these
UK rankings in 1968.....the tenth best mark of 14:02:57
represents an appalling decline, the previous worst
since we went metric was 13:52.6 in 1970 and one
has to go back to 1960 for a lower level taking
3 miles into account."
So there is a fairly empty stage
for talent such as our own 17 year old Keith Gerrard
to perform on in future years. The downside for
the likes of Keith however is that there are fewer
top class middle distance runners around to pitch
his skills against.
I spent some time debating with
Allan Callow last night about the reasons for the
decline in national standard and indeed the importance
or otherwise of the decline. I have to say neither
of us had entirely convincing arguments probably
because there is no one simple reason.
Allan was the closer of the two
of us to suggesting there was. He believes that
there is as much talent in the sport in the UK at
the moment but that people are not being encouraged
to excel. He thinks that a belief that you
can beat everyone else is the key to being successful
and points to the turnaround in British swimming
in recent years which he attributes largely to attitude.
Although I share Allan's desire
to see an improvement in standard and agree that
this will only happen if more people have a desire
to be successful, I take a much broader view of
the importance of athletics in people's lives. Years
ago we had a system whereby just about every school
took part in the sport and clubs around the country
coached athletes through a structure that encouraged
elitism via county, national and international progression
including the elite universities. Challenging oneself
in a sporting way was considered to be part of one's
education for many. But attitudes have changed.
Fewer people feel the need to challenge themselves
in such a way and society doesn't support them to
do so. I think that is a shame but I don't think
we'll change a society that encourages people to
plan multiple holidays and cars regardless of how
positive our attitudes are.
Almost as an aside, how many people
noticed that the French team at last week's European
cross country championships were all born in Morocco?
Where were all the French born runners? I
suggest that Britiain is not alone to a cultural
change where personal achievement outside of material
matters is less important to most people.
IMAGINE THIS (21-12-03)
You imagine you can beat the best
in the world, you train like crazy and you race
sensibly. You improve your time for the half marathon
in 61:49. If you were British you would be the fastest
runner in 2003 by more than one minute. But if you
were from Kenya you would only be ranked equal 31st!
If you think you have the answers
to reverse British standards then comment on the
forum or email [email protected]
Northern AC Cross Country on Sunday
According to the Manx Independent,
Northern AC are holding a round of their Ramsey
Bakery sponsored cross country league on Sunday.
Richie Stevenson looks forward to the 2004
season and a record breaking sponsorship
The St Johns fell
race on New Years Day, sponsored by Supercards,
is the opening round of the 2004
Fell League which yet again will be sponsored by Managrakem of Spring Valley and
we must say another big thank you to the Jones Brothers for their continued
support. There are some changes to the leagues format for 2004, the most
important being that runners are now required to complete six races as opposed
to this years five. This six must include one race from each category, short,
medium and long, plus any three other. There will be an extra race run in
conjunction with Easters Mountain Marathon next year. The race will run over the
second half of the MMM course on Easter Saturday starting from St Johns at
12.30pm. This will be about 14 miles in length and so will qualify as a long
race in the league. Anyone who completes the full 31 miles race will not be
disadvantaged as this will earn them double league points.
SUE FURNER LONDON BOUND
John O'Groats to Lands End walker,
Sue Furner, is the latest walker to confirm an entry
in the Flora London Marathon on 18 April 2004.
PAUL CLARKE ON HIS WAY BACK?
Paul Clarke, who this time last
year was the man to beat, was about to embark on
his first training session for several months when
I spoke to him on Saturday. He has been keeping
fit on his bike but, with the aid of orthotics in
his shoes, he was hoping to go for a short steady
run. He is still not too confident about when he
will be able to return to competition but he won't
be rushing it. If all goes well however we might
be lucky enough to see him in action before the
end of the cross country season.
I think the forum is working again
now after a few days of problems. I simply deleted
some of the old entries. If you missed it when it
was away, make sure its there in the future by using
Mann & Partners Millennium Way Relay -
Paul Jackson reports
The closing date for entries for the Mann & Partners
Millennium Way Relay is this Thursday 18th December. Entry
forms must be through Andy Fox's letterbox at 61 Brunswick Road by MIDDAY. No
late entries will be accepted.
Anyone without a team who would like to take part should
contact me ASAP on 611179/497048. I have an incomplete team looking for someone
to do 1st or 4th leg.
One team sure to attract alot of interest this year is the
team that won the first ever Millennium Way Relay in 1979. Reuniting for the
25th Anniversary of the event will be Keith Callister, Phil Cain, Dave Newton
& Steve Kelly. Does anyone know how fast they all ran in 1979?.
BATES AT THE DOUBLE IN GUERNSEY
Walkers are sent off at two minute intervals in this
traditional end of year walk up the Val des Terres hill, with first man up the
hill Terry Bates only just getting his breath back after his short but hard
effort to see Jason Le Noury, whom he coaches, race up a second
The happy youngster with another personal best time, then saw
defending Champion Rob Elliott go even quicker to take the overall win, but the
gap is closing fast and is surely only a matter of time before all three will be shoulder to shoulder in sprint walks.
Close behind also in a PB was Stuart Le Noury. Ladies winner
Rose Drückes beat Carol Bates, who was walking the hill for the first time, by
Age best times were set by Terry Bates and Jayne Le
Sunday December 14th
Sarnia Walking Club Le Val des Terres 815 metres Hill Climb
1 Rob Elliott (M/40) 5.03
2 Jason le Noury (U/17) 5.14
3 Terry Bates (M/50) 5.15
4 Stuart le Noury (U/20) 5.26
5 Kevin le Noury (M/45) 5.34
6 John Dedman (M) 6.10
7 Dave Dorey (M/55) 6.20
8 Rose Drückes (W/55) 6.34
9 Carol Bates (W/50) 6.41
10 Mick Le Sauvage (M/60) 6.43
11 Jayne Le Noury (W/40) 7.45
Rob Elliott for Sarnia WC
Judith Harrison is the latest Flora
London Marathon entry confirmed
Judith has a confirmed place in next years London
Marathon. It is a golden bond entry raising funds
for Action for M.E. & the Isle of Man M.E. Supporters
I'll try and update the list of Manx entries
in the next couple of days.
I've got lots of pictures from Sunday's winter
league walk thanks to Steve Partington and Bridget
Kaneen, a cross country results update from Graham
Davies and a revised Manx Harriers entry form from
Amada McNair all carried forward until Tuesday evening,
TONY OKELL "ticking over with 5.30
Tony Okell's running has been given a lower priority
since he was promoted in his job at Smiths Aerospace
but during the past couple of months he has been
doing 90 minutes of running each morning at 5.30
After a fairly quiet spell of late, its easy
to forget what Tony has done since he came to the
Island less than five years ago. Despite some great
performances by other runners, he has probably won
more fell races than all the other runners put together
(I'm sure Ian Callister will confirm), he qualified
for Lancashire in the inter counties cross country
and he beat the Manx 20 mile record with a 1.46
clocking. Let's hope he gets back to his best
STEVE TAYLOR STIRS!
Local athletics has certainly had a very strong
connection with alcohol over the years as recently
mentioned on manxathletics.com. The Easter Beer
Drinking competition and the legendary Boxing Day
Coach Trip were just two occasions mentioned.
However maybe the time has come for local athletes
to cut down on the alcohol intake as only yesterday
university scientists released the results of a
recent analysis that revealed the presence of female
hormones in beer.
Men should take a concerned look at their beer
consumption. The theory is that beer contains female
hormones (hops contain phytoestrogens) and that
by drinking enough beer, men turn into women. To
test the theory, 100 men were fed 8 pints of beer
each within a 1 hour period. It was then observed
that 100% of the test subjects:
1) Gained weight.
2) Talked excessively without making sense.
3) Became overly emotional.
4) Couldn't drive.
5) Failed to think rationally.
6) Argued over nothing.
7) Had to sit down while urinating.
8) Refused to apologize when obviously wrong.
No further testing was considered necessary
Murray's note: in the interests
of equality I won't publish anymore jokes of this
nature until I've used a female against men type!
PAUL JACKSON REPORTS ON A GREAT SPRINT FINISH
Ian Gales debut win
in the final round of the Walker Brothers Winter Hill League was enough to
secure overall victory in the three race series which concluded over the
testing 3 mile course at Glen Maye on Saturday in perfect weather conditions.
A field of 38 runners
headed by Ian Gale bombed down the Glen Rushen Mines road along the initial ¾
mile gradual descent before clambering up into the plantation for the first
ofthe two tough climbs. It was hands
on knees through the trees before the leaders Ian Gale, Ozzie Osbourne and
Simon Skillicorn emerged from the plantation into the sunshine and out along
the track before the second lung buster up to the top. Ian was soon forced to
concede the lead to Ozzie on the final climb with Si