Easter Saturday sees the return of the Manx Mountain Marathon with an excellent entry of 352 runners, split across the full 50km distance and 22km half distance.

Looking at the entries in the full distance race, it looks like a very interesting battle could be on the cards with last year’s winner Ellis Bland (Bowland Fell Runners) renewing his friendly rivalry with local runner Sam Jones (Manx Fell Runners).

The local man is rumoured to be on excellent form and will be hoping to reverse the 12-minute deficit from the 2023 race.

Last year’s third-placed runner and fellow local, Matthew Christian, is a late withdrawal along with Orran Smith (fourth in 2023) which could open the race up for the local trio of Joey Bond, Oliver Chambers or Christian Varley.

An interesting entry is William Bowers, representing Cambridge Greyhounds - a club better known for its performances in the Easter Festival. Bowers has previously run a sub 2hr 45min marathon but is largely unknown over the fells.

Mike Sellors, nephew of previous winner Rob Sellors, makes a return to the event after an absence of several years and could also be one to watch given his preference for ultra-distance races.

Nikki Arthur is the stand-out competitor amongst the women and should also put in a strong challenge to the leading men.

Amber Carridge, Caroline Caren and Rosy Craine, all representing the host club, are expected to challenge for the podium places having enjoyed some excellent performances in the local calendar so far this season.

In the half, last year’s visiting winner Jack Wood is absent - so making this a very competitive race.

Runner-up last year and previous winner Jordan Cain returns, along with fellow locals Nick Colburn, Lloyd Taggart, Harry Kneen and Sam Looker.

The women’s race looks much more difficult to predict with a number of unknown quantities, but on paper at least it seems that Rebecca Reynolds could have strong claims if her form is there, while Sammy White will be hoping to improve on last year’s fourth position.

Recent graduates to the senior league, Madison McMullan and Lottie Stennett (Northern AC), could spring a surprise if they find the distance to their liking.

The full Manx Mountain Marathon route is a point-to-point fell race from Ramsey to Port Erin over the spine of the island, commencing from Ramsey Market Place at 8am. The half marathon follows the second part of the same route, with runners setting off from Slieau Whallian back road, St John’s at 1pm.