Organisers of the 2015 Isle of Man Easter Festival of Running, sponsored for the third consecutive year by Celton Manx, are urging entrants to register now for what promises to be three days of first-class race competitions and social activities.
The 2015 festival, the 53rd, will begin on Good Friday April 3rd in Port Erin, move to Peel on April 4th and on to Douglas promenade on Easter Sunday, April 5th.
Festival director Chris Quine said: ‘We’re really grateful to Celton Manx for agreeing to be our headline sponsor again. To have such a respected brand associated with the festival lends added status and a heightened profile to a running event which is now enjoying a revival in its fortunes and a growing following in the British Isles. The 2014 event attracted the highest number of competitors since the 1980s – 450 – and local entries were up by some 100 per cent.
‘The event’s called a “festival” because it’s much more than just a weekend of competitive running. It’s open to anyone aged 15 or over on the day of the race – whether you’re a novice or an Olympics-standard runner – and the social side is legendary, especially the Sunday evening prize presentation and famous beer races.
‘Indications are that this year we’ll see a strong off-Island representation again, especially from universities which field large teams and traditionally enter into the spirit of the occasion with many competing in costume, which really adds to the festival atmosphere.
‘It’s surprising, though, that there tends to be fewer local than visiting entrants. This is a festival offering local runners and fitness groups, for example, a great opportunity to compete in a top-class event that’s right on their doorstep, with no need to consider travel or accommodation costs. Then there’s the added attraction of being able to test your running skills against athletes not only from the British Isles but further afield. I can only repeat what one competitor said to me last year: ‘It’s great fun and a cracking experience.”’
The race schedule is unchanged from last year. On Good Friday April 3rd there is the 10k road race around the streets of Port Erin and Port St Mary starting at 6.45pm; on Saturday April 4th the action moves to Peel with the hill races: the four-mile men’s at 2.15pm and the three-mile women’s at 3.05pm, and on Sunday morning April 5th Douglas promenade takes centre stage with the 5k women’s road race at 10.15am followed by the men’s 4x5k road relay at 10.50am. The festival then draws to a close on the Sunday evening with the prize presentation and eagerly awaited beer races.
Celton Manx executive director Bill Mummery said: ‘We’re pleased to be sponsoring the Easter Festival of Running for the third year in succession as it’s a competition that is determinedly non-élitist and welcoming to all standards of runners, so complements our aim to invest in community events that offer the widest of appeals and encourage personal endeavour.
‘The festival is always unfailingly well organised by Chris and his team who have done much to raise the Island’s profile as a nation skilled in hosting a first-class competitive running event, which now ranks highly not only in the British Isles’ sporting calendar but also in our own, as Celton Manx will be entering a team.’
The Isle of Man Easter Festival of Running: Did you know?
- Olympic athletes have competed in the Easter Festival. They include Ron Hill (the guest of honour for the 50th anniversary in 2012) who used the 1972 festival as part of his preparations for the Olympic marathon in Munich. The women’s festival champion in 1998 was Mara Myers (later Yamauchi) who finished sixth in the 2008 Olympic marathon in Beijing. The most successful Olympian to compete was Charlie Spedding, the marathon bronze medallist in Los Angeles in 1984. There was also the late Andy Holden (3000 metres steeplechase, Munich 1972) and Jeff Norman (marathon, Montreal 1976). Andy’s and Jeff’s sons are now festival regulars. Others include Lynne MacDougall (later McIntyre) who finished 11th in the 1984 Olympic 1500m and Sue Crehan who ran in the 1988 marathon in Seoul;
- The 2012 festival made it into the Guinness Book of Records, with a world record 10k time set for two competitors running in tandem dressed in a pantomime animal costume. Dressed as a camel, Manchester University students Laurie Luscombe (the front half) and Rob Szczepaniak-Sloane (the rear half) recorded times of 40.01 and 40.02 respectively, giving the camel an official time of 40.02;
- The proportion of women competing in the festival has almost doubled over the past 15 years. In recent years women have made up around 33 per cent of the total entry. In 2001 female competitors accounted for only 17 per cent of the total entry;
- In recent years Leeds University competitor Dave Alcock completed all three races at the festival whilst juggling – even up and down Peel Hill!
- Romance has blossomed at the Easter festival. Leeds University students James Raven and Emma Waterhouse met at the festival and used the 2009 event for their joint stag/hen weekend. Their baby daughter joined them at the 2014 festival.
Entry forms can be downloaded from easterfestival.info
Entries close Saturday March 21st 2015.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org