The 2023 Isle of Man Marathon and Half-Marathon events, organised by Isle of Man Veteran Athletes’ Club, take place in the north of the island this Sunday morning.

The races also form the opening leg of the six-day No Rest for the Wicked running series which is a popular if very demanding challenge for many athletes.

Entries closed on Tuesday, with a bumper entry of 383 for the half-marathon and a further 90 tackling the full distance which incorporates the Isle of Man Marathon Championship.

Both events have attracted very good numbers of visiting athletes, not only from the UK and Ireland, but also from Finland, Germany, Spain, South Africa, France, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and the United States.

The marathon starts at 8.30am, with the half-marathon 30 minutes later at 9am. The traditional course, used for many years for this event, begins on Ramsey Promenade and heads north to Bride, before turning inland to Andreas and on to St Jude’s, then returns to Ramsey via Jurby Road and Richmond Road.

The half-marathon runners complete one lap of the course, with the full marathon runners doing two laps.

Both races finish in front of the grandstand at Ballacloan Stadium, home of Ramsey Football Club.

Among the local challengers in the Marathon are likely to be Shaun McEntee, John Quaye, Harry Weatherill, Jonathan Pugh and Geoff Rice in the men’s race, with Jayne Farquhar challenging for honours in the women’s race.

A strong line-up in the Half-Marathon is headed by Corrin Leeming and Gemma Astin. Island Games Half-Marathon gold medallist Leeming, who still runs in the junior men’s category as an under-20, produced exceptional performances in both the Half-Marathon and 10,000 metres in Guernsey, and he looks to be the clear favourite to take another victory on Sunday.

Among the other leading locals are the ever-consistent Mark Burman, along with Paul Sykes, Matt Callister, Mike Garrett and Richard Shipway – all of whom will challenge strongly in their respective veteran categories.

Astin has made a wonderful return to competition over the past year and is not only the favourite for the women’s race but is likely to finish high up the field overall.

There is plenty of quality in the women’s race, with Island Games representative Becci Pate in the line-up along with Jess Bryan, Becky Watterson, Megan Thomas and Joanne Schade.

Many of these competitors will then go on to tackle the full series over the following five days.