A record entry of 252 competitors have entered the Haldane Fisher-sponsored Syd Quirk Half-Marathon and Walk on Sunday.
Organised by Isle of Man Veteran Athletes’ Club, it will start and finish at Ronaldsway Industrial Estate with the walkers and slower runners getting underway at 8.30am, followed by the faster runners one hour later. The course, covered twice, includes Ballasalla, Cross Four Ways, Ballabeg and Castletown Bypass.
The battle for honours in the walk is likely to be between on-form Adam Cowin and the returning from injury Michael George, who has been out of action for most of the year. Michelle Turner is the red-hot favourite for the women’s honours, although Parish Walk winner Janette Morgan is entered and should prove strong.
The only former winners in the main half-marathon are Mike Garrett and his Manx Harriers clubmate Murray Lambden. Garrett scored back-to-back victories in 2011 and 2012 and Lambden won in 2004. Likely challengers to Garrett are Mountain Marathon winner Rob Sellors, fellow all-rounder and Manx Fell Runner Ben Corkill, together with new talent Nick Colburn of Northern AC and the ever-consistent Jamie Newton.
But new resident Mark Dooley, who finished a close second to Ollie Lockley in the recent cross-country event at Peel, could spring a surprise. Although his half-marathon best is 78 minutes, he is clearly capable of something a lot quicker and the aforementioned runners will have to push hard to stay on his pace.
Carly Craig (nee Noon), the former Island Games silver medallist for 5,000m, is the likely favourite for the women’s honours .
Registration will not be at Ronaldsway Social Club pavilion this year, but further down the industrial estate road.
l Isle of Man Athletics Association’s AGM takes place at the Ascot Hotel, Empire Terrace, Douglas, on Monday from 8.15pm.