100-mile event at Castletown this weekend

Parish Walk winner Richard Gerrard is favourite to make it a hat-trick of centurion wins this weekend (Photo: Dave Norton)

Parish Walk winner Richard Gerrard is favourite to make it a hat-trick of centurion wins this weekend (Photo: Dave Norton)

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The Tower Insurance-sponsored Isle of Man 100-Mile Challenge takes place this weekend over 50 laps of a two-mile course round Castletown.

More than 100 entries have been received for the event from as far afield as Australia, South Africa, USA, Netherlands, Belgium and France.

The town’s civic centre (just off the main square) will form the race HQ and the course will take in the full length of Arbory Street, with a loop onto Buchan School driveway, before continuing south past Red Gap to the Southern 100 HQ, where it will bear right onto the bypass.

One half of the main bypass road will be closed for the duration and the remaining carriageway will be one-way for through traffic heading towards the airport and Ballasalla.

The course will turn right again at Castletown Bridge traffic lights (along the rear of Coronation Terrace) and travel the full length of Malew Street back into the square where it will bear right at Lloyd’s Chemist with a dog-leg to the Civic Centre.

A number of road closures are in place for the 24 hour period, but junctions will be well marshalled and residents will be allowed access to their properties at all time via crossing points and major junctions. Volunteers can email 100@manx.net if they are available to help throughout the 24-hour period from 2pm on Saturday until 2pm on Sunday.

In addition to the main 100-mile challenge, a community relay for general members of the public from the host town and surrounding areas is taking place throughout the 24-hour period, plus a 20-mile Dawn Walk on Sunday morning. The latter has attracted 43 entries.

Signing-on, including collection of timing-chip straps, for the 100-mile event will take place between 10am and 1pm on Saturday, and between 7am and 7.45am on Sunday for the 20-miler.

In addition to Tower Insurance, the 100-mile Challenge is supported by Castletown Commissioners, Shoprite, Microgaming, RL360, Business Doctor IM, Civil Defence and St John Ambulance. Southern 100 Motor Cycle Club is placing its newly acquired mobile grandstand at the start/finish line for the duration of the event.

CENTURIONS

Walkers who have completed a measured 100-mile distance inside 24 hours are regarded as Centurions.

No doubt inspired by the Parish Walk and annual End to End, there are more centurions per capita in the Isle of Man than anywhere else in the world.

In total there are 66 Manx centurions, 52 of which have achieved the required 100 mile distance inside 24 hours since 2004.

The first 100-mile Centurion Walk to be hosted by the Isle of Man was in 1998 when an extra 15 miles (loops of Douglas Promenade) were completed after the Parish Walk.

A second event was held in 2006 over the National Sports Centre track and larger perimeter road.

The same venue was used in 2013 when the race was held entirely over the Tarmac perimeter road regularly used for the Youth Cycling League.

That event was won by local man Richard Gerrard, who successfully defended his title last in Southend over a gruelling 415 laps of a 400-metre track.

This year Gerrard, who recently defended his title in the Parish Walk in fine style, will be aiming for three RWA 100-mile titles in succession.

Other local male competitors likely to feature strongly in this British Centurion qualifier are Vinny Lynch, Dave Walker and Andrew Titley who actually lives on the route of the course in Castletown. He is aiming his eighth 100-mile event in a time of less than 24 hours.

Also entered is Colby’s Tony Mackintosh, who earlier this year took part in the gruelling Paris–Alsace race.

Walking partner Karen Lawrie, who completed the slightly shorter women’s Paris–Alsace event, is likely to be in amongst the action in the women’s race, together with leading Parish Walk females Janette Morgan, Karen Chiarello and Jayne Farquhar.

From further afield, husband and wife Richard and Sandra Brown of Surrey Walking Club can never be discounted, while American Erin Taylor-Talcott is a likely favourite for the woman’s honours. She qualified to represent her country in the 2012 Olympics, but was barred from walking the 50km trials because of her sex.

Her husband Dave Talcott is also taking part, along with John Kilmartin of Australia who will be tackling three 100-mile events almost back-to-back.

Holland and Belgium form the backbone to 100-mile events such as this across Europe and no fewer than 11 Dutch and six Belgians are taking part at Castletown.

Anyone with enquiries about any of the events is urged to email robbiecallister@msm.com or go direct to the designated website – isleofman100milewalk.co.uk

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