REPORT BY BRIDGET
A healthy field of 46 walkers started in the last classic racewalk of
2003. With still conditions and the sun putting in an unexpected
appearance, Paul Craine, of sponsors Empire Garage, waved the traditional
handkerchief as starter for what looked like a mouthwatering prospect of a race at the
front end of the mens field.
A variation to the start meant that competitors did a short lap around the
block in Peel before heading out on the usual route in towards the Island capital.
This meant that the busy crossing point at the quarterbridge roundabout was
avoided with the walkers finishing their 10 miles along the T.T. access road.
As expected, top international walker Steve Partington, along with Kevin
Walmsley, who has made a welcome return to competition of late and Peter
Kaneen, hoping to cap off a very successful campaign this year with a hat-trick of
wins in this race, were very soon at the head of affairs and pulling clear of Robbie Callister
and David Griffiths who were locked together early on. Doug Allan then Sheffield’s Mark Byrne
in turn were followed out of Peel by the first of the female walkers, Marie Latham who
had Sue Biggart and Rosemarie Crellin in tow.
At Peel Cemetry the leading group was down to two with Kevin Walmsley being
the first to be dropped. 2 miles further at St.Johns, Partington was starting to
turn the screw and was forging a lead at the rate of around 10 seconds a mile and by the halfway mark his
advantage on the road was around 200 metres. Kaneen was not giving up though and
all seemed to be set for what might have been the closest finishing
margin for some years when, Partington pulled up at Crosby post office with a
Not prepared to risk further damage and put winter preparations back, he
called it a day four miles from home.
This left Kaneen well clear and free to notch up his third win in a row,
some six minutes clear of comeback man Walmsley.
Kevin in turn was also comfortable in promotion to second place, the race
for third being not so clear cut. Robbie Callister had a fair lead ahead of Griffiths at St.
Johns but by Glen Vine the Foxdale man had clawed his way back and was putting the pressure
It was Callister though who with his usual grit came out on top by
a small margin, just missing out on breaking 90 minutes. Griffiths was
also delighted with a best ever time for the distance.
Fifth overall finisher was Marie Latham, who literally walked away from
all her rivals, dominating the women’s race and finishing in a new personal best
time and almost ten minutes clear of Sue Biggart who was the next women to
finish. Marie has made a great leap forward this season and was delighted to round
off the year with a win in this event.
Sue had been having a battle with new walker and winner of the recent
novice walk, Gary Ashe.
Selwyn Callister was judged to be the best Novice male on the day,
finishing in 12th just ahead of the third woman, which turned out to be women’s
parish walk winner Rosemarie Crellin showing she has a fair turn of foot in shorter events
Jane Mooney better known for her running exploits, walked a solid race
three minutes further back, while Linda Shimmin, Karen Locking and Alison Brand had just over a minute
separating all three. Second and third novice men were respectively, Martin Feely and Michael
Crook, both have done a few running events but are new names on the walking
First lady novice was Debbie Ashe who like husband Gary has shown
promise in this event. Second lady novice was Jane Leece, who along with third lady
novice Terri Salmon were both walking strongly and recording good
performances. Throughout the field there was some extremely close racing with the
recorder having a job to keep up with the finishers at times, three quarters of the field
inside two hours, the standard was excellent.
Manx Harriers would like to thank race sponsor Paul Craine of Empire
garage Limited. for starting the race and providing the trophies, along with Peel Police
who were as helpful as ever, the Road Safety office for the loan of their reflective waistcoats, as well as the
many officials, helpers and enthusiasts who helped on the day.