Easter Challenges 2021

The Easter weekend in 2021 proved to be bright, and on Friday and Saturday fairly warm and still, whilst on Sunday and Monday cold and windy. Much depends on which day athletes ran their individual time trials as to what weather was experienced by the runners and walkers. The 5km saw 30 entries and the 10km twenty. The junior 1 mile had nine competitors while the junior 3km and junior one mile walk had three. The race walking events saw 2 competitors over 5km and 1 over 10km. Our youngest competitor was 6 through our oldest at 76 years of age. The routes used were varied with athletes taking part in Bradford and in the area of Harpenden in the UK while the NSC roadway and Douglas promenade proved the most popular venues on the Isle of Man. Different sections of the Douglas to Peel old railway lines were also used as were promenades at Ramsey and Peel. In addition a few runners did tackle the Port Erin 10km run course. All island clubs were represented with the largest number coming from the host club, Manx Harriers. A special mention must go to the Harpenden Arrows members of Julie Horrocks, Rhona Mckee and Aisling Patterson for taking part and setting themselves the target of running on island in the festival next year. We look forward to welcoming them in person.

Over 5km we saw a skutch of runners record below 18 mins with newcomer Chris Killey of the host club, a recent convert from Hockey, recording the fastest time in 17 mins and 17 seconds. Two more clubmates followed Chris home in George Dickinson competing away at University in Bradford and Alex Bell did so on island. Richard Shipway ran an excellent time for an over 55 in 4th place with the consistent Matt Callister coming home in 5th closely followed by under 17 Ryan Corrin. In the Ladies events Becky Watterson and Macy Hillier finished within a second of each other just outside 19 mins while Hollie Quaye (better known as a sprinter and High Jumper) continued her transition into an endurance athlete in third place. The ever consistent Laura Dickinson was the fourth lady to finish.

The age grading element allows a comparison to be made between genders and ages. A rough rule of thumb is that 90% and above is deemed World class, 80% is National class, 70% Regional class and 60% plus local class. All other scores are deemed IOM Class. As such, it was great to see overall 6 scores of 80% or above and 21 in the 70% category. This shows that those taking part recorded some quality performances over the weekend.

Looking at the age grading result Richard Shipway’s 86.78% was the quality run of the weekend. The only others to get into the 80%+ category over 5km were Macy Hillier and Andy Fox. However, special mention must go to the 2nd best age grading score achieved by Jayne Farquhar with an excellent 81.15% showing her great development and improvement as a runner in recent years. As ever the consistent Matt Callister came in with a 79.37% performance in 5th place. Looking further down the field special mention must go to Winnie Callister, Matt’s mum, who is not a runner but had a go and recorded 37 mins 40 secs with an age grading of 55.92% – an excellent effort.

Over 10km the fastest runner was Paul Sykes with an excellent run in 34 mins 50 secs. Chris Killey again proved how he has developed over the last 8 months or so with a fine unofficial PB of 35 mins 45 secs. Hot on his heels was the first female athlete with Sarah Webster again recording an unofficial PB of 35 mins 54 seconds showing that her marathon preparation is going well as her fitness remains high. Ryan Crawley ran his 10km on the Port Erin Easter course so probably had the most scenic run of the first few runners while Jamie Hayes ran well approximately 20 odd seconds ahead of the first female athlete Becky Watterson.

In the age grading section of the results only Paul and Sarah got over the 80% mark with Sarah scoring an impressive 86.54% pretty much matching Richard over the 5km. Looking further down the field Terry Bates scored a great run getting into the 70% category while the oldest competitor in all events Lesley Todd ran well to get into the 60% area.

The next best supported event was the junior 1 mile where Liam Quinn came out on top running 5 mins and 57 seconds. Noah Campbell came in second closely followed by the first female in Kayleigh-Dee Corrin. It was good to see the Killey and Cartwright and Fletcher-Merryweather families supporting the junior events with all of their children taking part. Our youngest competitor was Henry Quaye who as a 6 year old ran an impressive 10 mins and 15 seconds. Liam scored the highest age grading result as well while Kayleigh-Dee was second and the fastest female. In the 3km Sam Corkhill ran well as did Noah Campbell and Lucy Cartwright all recording age gradings in the 60% area. The Fletcher-Merryweather children race walked one mile around the NSC. Grayse was quickest in 10 mins 42 seconds for the mile while Lilee just outdid her sister in the age grading result with 66.16%. Younger brother Jay also walked strongly to record a great performance for an 8 year old. It was great to see a number of juniors having a go and some doing so in cold and windy weather so showing their determination to succeed!!!

The race walking only saw 3 entries as most athletes decided to run. However, Nick Wallinger walked well in both the 5km and 10km events and Simon Cox recorded an excellent time and percentage in the 5km walk for an over 70 athlete.

And so a second Easter Weekend took place without the Easter Festival of Running. However, 68 performances were recorded by athletes many of whom are already looking forward to next year and hopefully a return of the full festival. If there were to be virtual Easter Challenge Champions they would be Chris Killey with a 1st and 2nd in the men’s events and Becky Watterson with the same in the ladies category. However, we must congratulate all on a fine set of performances and on this occasion it really was the taking part that counts.

Here are the full results

Thanks to all athletes who took the time to record individual time trials and share them with Andy Fox and the many others who showed interest in the event.