More than 300 entrants threw themselves into the first ever Tough Mann Adventure Race at Ballamoar Farm in Ballaugh last week.
You could just about make out the smiles through the muddy faces at the finish line, as people reached the end of the gruelling 10km course, having each dealt with lung-busting hills, climbs, crawls, scrambles and sprints, all in beautiful surroundings.
Co-organiser Richard Cryer said it was a much bigger turnout than they’d ever anticipated, with an estimated 1,000 people at the event.
‘I can’t believe that not a single competitor quit, everyone crossed the line. That’s just amazing,’ said Richard.
‘The only issue was the bad weather the night before, high winds at the top of the hill on the Druidale side. We took the decision to put the start back an hour to give us time to sort it all out. We were back up there at 6am that morning.’
‘Tons and tons’ of emails of praise and feedback have poured into the organisers.
‘It’s just been such a relief, and it gives us an idea of the interest,’ said Richard. ‘We’ve got tons of ideas for next year. We’ll probably cap it at 500, and it will be bigger and better. More obstacles, and a lot more going on. We’ll maybe have it on a Saturday so people can camp and not worry about having to go to work the next day. If we can, we’d like to make it a mini-festival.’
Richard’s partner in crime was Kez Wardell, the mastermind behind the course layout and someone Richard says ‘put his heart and soul in’, with the pair of them even camping out at the site in the days leading up to race day.
Other thanks went out to Sarah Jewell, all the crew on the day, Bushy’s Manx Timing Solutions, Ariel Imaging Services, Groundcare, Birchhall’s Scrap Metal, Manx Independent Carriers and the farm and campsite owners.
Issues with some lost timing chips mean results on www.manxtimingsolutions.com are being added to each day, though the first three quickest times are credited to James Wren, Stephen Quirk and Russell Sansom respectively, with Rosy Craine listed as the first woman home, and the ‘Scrambled Legs’ trio of Conor Byrne, Steven Underwood and Ashley Osbourne the first team to finish together.
‘What we wanted was to see team work, complete strangers helping each other out,’ said Richard. ‘And we did.’