There is a strong entry for this Sunday’s Syd Quirk Half-Marathon in the south of the island.
The total entry is 413, including 42 walkers, is more than 100 higher than 2021.
The men’s race is without Ollie Lockley unfortunately, but last year’s runner-up Sam Jones is entered, along with former winner Alan Corlett, Christian Varley, Andy Nash, Mark Burman (third in 2021), Orran Smith (fifth), Michael Garrett (seventh), Shaun McEntee (eighth), Eamon Farrell (ninth), Jamie Newton (11th), Matt Callister (13th), Tim Goldy (14th), John Quaye, junior man Harry Kneen and leading over-55s Richard Shipway and Geoff Rice.
Varley is rumoured to be doing the 80-minute pacing as is Corlett, who is only a few weeks on from a hernia operation.
Arguably, the women’s is even more impressive, led by Commonwealth Games marathon runner Sarah Webster and the returning Gemma Astin.
According to David Griffiths, Webster is also on pacemaking duties, leaving Astin the favourite after making a long-awaited racing comeback in the recent 10-mile Great South Run in Portsmouth where she ran a time of 58min 08sec. This will be her first half-marathon race.
Others likely to feature prominently include Becci Pate, runner-up to Elissa Morris last year, on form marathon runner Megan Thomas and all-rounder Hannah Moore, plus new name Christa Cain who recently won the all-downhill Sierra Nevada Marathon in Spain in a very rapid time.
David’s Manx Athletics Facebook page also mentions island resident Mai Kakehi who ran a very impressive 3hr 02min for the London Marathon last month.
Others in the reckoning will include Amber Carridge, Emma McMullan and the Western trio of Dawn Atherton, Helen Taylor and Joanne Schade.
Top race walker Erika Kelly is tackling her first half-marathon as a runner, so it will be interesting to see how her time compares.
There are 371 entries for the run, last year’s event saw 261 finishers.
The actual race walk has a similar size line-up to last November, headed by the victor on that occasion, Simon Gawne, who completed the distance in 1hr 59min 30sec.
Dean Morgan, third in 2021 in 2:04.42, is also likely to be pushing hard, but Tom Partington could upset their celebrations.
A seasoned national race walker at shorter distances, he’s been doing 20km events for a few years so shouldn’t have a problem with the distance.
Others likely to be in the mix are Tony Edwards, Adam Killip and women’s Parish Walk winner Sammy Bowden.
Other women likely to feature include Michelle Turner, Jayne Farquhar, Louise Hollings, Marie Jackson and junior talent Mia Dunwell.
Sponsored yet again by Haldane Fisher, the route for the Syd Quirk Half-Marathon run and walk involves two laps of the Ballasalla, Ballabeg, Castletown bypass course, starting and finishing on the Ronaldsway Industrial Estate.
The walk will commence at 8am, followed by the half-marathon run (for those who expect to take longer than 2hr 15min) at 8.15.
The main half-marathon (incorporating the Isle of Man championships) will now start 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled at 8.30am because the steam train is running on the day of the race.
l A full report, with photos and full results will appear in next week’s edition of the Manx Independent.
Car and motorcycle drivers are asked to be aware of runners/walkers on the above route between 8am and 11,30am.
The much-delayed Jude’s Sportshall event will be at the National Sports Centre on Sunday, December 11, organised by Western AC. It is scheduled to start at 2pm and finish around 5.