Athletics News

Rich history of the Isle of Man Festival of Running

Rich history of the Isle of Man Festival of Running

Runners will descend on the island later this month to challenge course records held by athletes such as Jonny Mellor, Rosie Smith and James Walsh

The 59th Isle of Man Easter Festival of Running will fire into life in just a few weeks’ time and the anticipation is already building.

This famous annual event, currently supported by IQEQ, has grown from lowly beginnings into one of the best and most anticipated events on the running calendar. This year’s Festival follows the same format that has proved to be such a great success since 2006, and as usual offers a generous prize fund in the region of £5000, with special bonuses for athletes breaking any of the course records.

What has set the Easter Festival apart from other athletics events on the Isle of Man since the early 1970s is the invasion of visiting runners which continues to this day. For 50 years and more the Festival has proved to be a magnet for university running teams from all corners of the British Isles, and the traditions of the annual trip to the Isle of Man have been passed down through generations of student athletes. Many have continued to visit each year as alumni members of student teams.

Plenty of visiting club teams have contested the Festival over the years too, and some truly great names of the sport have graced the event over the decades – including several Olympians.

The opening Quine & Cubbon 10km road race takes place on the evening of Good Friday April 7, starting and finishing on Port Erin Promenade. The race begins at 6.45pm, with men and women running together. It follows a scenic route which includes part of the spectacular coastal footpath from Gansey to Port St Mary.

10km start (IOM Festival)

On Easter Saturday afternoon the Full Factory Winnerswear Peel Hill races take place, with the men going first over a distance of approximately 3.7 miles at 2.15pm. They are followed an hour later at 3.15pm by the women over a course of around 2.7 miles. The atmosphere on the hill is always fantastic and the views spectacular, with the visiting student teams providing masses of colour, noise and fun.

The racing concludes on Easter Sunday morning with the Outback 5km road races on Douglas Promenade walkway, with the women leading the way at 10.30am and the men’s race following at 11.15am. The prize presentation and party takes place in the Outback Sports Bar on Sunday evening with doors opening at 7pm, and is strictly ticket-only.

5km finishers (IOM Festival)

Both the…

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