Athletics News

60th Isle of Man Easter Festival of Running sees record entries

60th Isle of Man Easter Festival of Running sees record entries

Naomi Kingston and Ewan Wheelwright claim individual crowns as team titles go to Leeds Doss

The landmark 60th Isle of Man Easter Festival of Running, supported by IQEQ and the IOM Department for Enterprise, proved to be a fitting celebration of the sport of running and of the long history of this great event.

A record entry, the best three days of weather enjoyed on the Island for months and the presence of Olympic marathon runner Mara Yamauchi as special guest, all contributed towards a highly enjoyable and successful Easter weekend on the little island in the Irish Sea.

The number of women who competed in the Festival was a record by nearly 15%, contributing to an overall record number of runners. As usual the entry was dominated by visiting university teams, with long-time supporters of the Festival, Leeds University’s Doss AC, entering no fewer than 96 runners.

The opening IQEQ 10km race set the tone for the weekend, with a record 490 runners completing the scenic route through Port Erin and Port St Mary which includes the spectacular Gansey coastal section. This part of the course features the narrow raised ‘catwalk’ on the approach to Port St Mary, where the runners have the sea beneath them when the tide is in.

10km leaders (Dave Kneen)

When the leaders arrived at the halfway point there was a large pack still together in what was clearly a tactical battle that was awaiting someone to lift the pace and break away from the group. As the lead bike came into view from the finish line, the first runner was yellow-clad and it was Ewan Wheelwright of Leeds Doss who took a great victory having debuted in the Festival last year.

His time was 30:53. Second, seven seconds down, was Matt Knowles (Edinburgh University Hare & Hounds) who also impressed on his debut last year, and third was former Festival champion and Great Britain cross-country international Oliver Fox (Cambridge University Greyhounds).

Becky Watterson (616) with Mara Yamauchi (634) (Dave Kneen)

At the 5km point in the women’s race, local star Rachael Franklin (Manx Harriers) was just behind Elizabeth Barlow (Sheffield University) with Naomi Kingston (Oxford University) in third, but that was to change in the second half of the race.

Commonwealth Games 5000m athlete Franklin had pulled away from Barlow and crossed the line to take a fine victory – her 10th race win in the Festival over the years – in 34:57.

Rachael Franklin (Dave Kneen)

In the latter part of the race…

CLICK HERE to Read the Full Original Article at AW…