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2 days ago

David Griffiths

2021 Festival goes ahead

As promised in Chris Quine’s post of 29th September, we will keep you updated regularly with the situation in respect of the 2021 IQEQ Isle of Man Easter Festival of Running.

We can confirm that the 2021 event is set to go ahead, subject to any local rules and restrictions that may in force at that time. The 2020 event was of course cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The intention is to run the traditional three races in as close to the normal format as possible. The 10-kilometre road race will be held in Port Erin on the evening of Good Friday 2 April, with the Peel Hill race on Easter Saturday afternoon and the 5-kilometre road race on Easter Sunday morning, hopefully on Douglas Promenade.

Organisers are optimistic that Douglas Promenade walkway will be available for the 5k race, however, alternative courses are being explored in the event of the walkway not being ready for use by Easter.

The bad news is that the Isle of Man Government’s stringent ongoing travel restrictions in response to the Covid pandemic make it unlikely at this stage that visiting athletes will be able to take part in the 2021 Festival, but we do still live in hope that the rules may have been relaxed by then. At present a 14-day period of self-isolation must be undertaken by anyone arriving in the Island, and the penalty for non-compliance is a jail sentence. These rules and restrictions are based mainly on the ongoing situation within the UK, and look likely to remain in place for some time yet.

The Festival traditionally attracts hundreds of visitors, mostly from University teams. These groups have always played a huge part in making the Festival the vibrant and colourful event that it is. It’s very disappointing for us as event organisers to be unable at present to encourage off-Island competitors to make plans to visit us for Easter 2021. We are sure you will understand the reasons, and you can be assured that we are desperately keen to have you all back as soon as possible, whether that is in 2021 or 2022! Should the situation in respect of travel restrictions change over the coming weeks and months we will of course let you know.

Nevertheless it is hoped that the huge numbers currently taking part in local running events will ensure that the Festival will still be well-supported. With nearly 340 competitors in the recent Ramsey Fireman’s Run, and massive fields in cross-country and hill races, we are optimistic that we can still have a well-supported and fun event next Easter.

Chris Quine, in a recent press release, commented “The organising team have built the Festival up from fields of around 100 in the mid-2000s to nearly 500 in 2019. As organisers, we feel that it is important that the event continues in some form or another in 2021, even if it is a locals-only event for one year only".

As Chris posted last month, we are very keen for the University teams in particular to keep in touch with us, which you can do either through Facebook or via the Festival email address easterfestival@manx.net
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Easter Festival 2021 update:

Hi everyone,

It’s now 18 months since the last Easter Festival, and planning has begun for the 2021 event. After the huge disappointment of having to cancel the 2020 Festival due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s fair to say that none of us seriously anticipated back in April that there would be any problems with holding the 2021 Festival as normal and welcoming back all our visitors. This however is unfortunately not the case as things presently stand.

With six months to go until Easter, this would normally be the week when we would launch the publicity for the event and open entries, but we have decided to hold off from taking entries for the moment whilst we monitor the Island’s response to the continuing pandemic in the UK and beyond.

Here on the Isle of Man we are in a very fortunate situation. An early lockdown in March and the closing of the Island’s borders eliminated the virus here within a matter of weeks, and by June we were back holding sporting events with no restrictions. The removal of social distancing meant that life was essentially back to normal within the Island by mid-summer, and that remains the case.

In view of the present situation in the UK and beyond, the Isle of Man Government has continued to impose very strict limits on travel to the Island, and the Island’s Chief Minister made it clear recently that whilst cases continue to rise in the UK, these restrictions will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Anyone who enters the Island must self-isolate immediately on arrival for 14 days, with the option to pay £50 for a test after seven days, with lesser restrictions remaining in place for the next seven days if the result is negative. If the test is positive then a further 14 days of self-isolation must be undertaken. The penalty for non-compliance is a jail sentence, as quite a number of people have discovered.

In terms of the Easter Festival, what this means is that at present it is practically impossible for us as an organising team to ‘sell’ the event to visitors – which is a situation we desperately regret but have no control over whatsoever. It is possible that restrictions will have eased by Easter, but equally things may well be the same as they are now. In these circumstances, off-Island athletes – especially the big University teams – are advised not to make any definite arrangements to travel to the Festival at this stage. We will continue to update you all if there is any change.

Assuming that things remain as they are within the Island, the Festival will go ahead for local athletes as we feel that it is very important for the future of the event not to miss two years. We are not yet in a position to confirm the exact format at this stage, but we do expect to run all three races on the usual dates and times.

We are all so disappointed to have to issue this advice to all our wonderful visitors, who do so much year after year to make the Easter Festival such a vibrant and fun event. We really want you all back with us, even if it means waiting until 2022.

It is important that we all keep in touch at this difficult time so would encourage team organisers in particular to make contact either by e-mail easterfestival@manx.net or through Facebook.

We will keep you updated.
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Since we sadly had to cancel the 2020 Festival we have been overwhelmed by the messages of support from far and wide. If we did not know it already, it is clear what the Festival means to so many people. It is certainly a lot more than “just another race”.

From our perspective as an organising team, what makes it all the more disappointing is that with quite a few more of the large teams still to enter, it looked like we were heading for a record entry this year. Hopefully missing out this year will whet everyone’s appetite in more ways than one to come back again in 2021.

Thank you to those who have offered for us to retain your entry fee. We are volunteers and do not run the event for a profit but recent years have given us a small excess which is our Rainy Day fund.

We are planning to send refunds by cheque but as myself and Dave Ronan who sign the cheques are in self-isolation this will take a little time to sort. As an alternative, anyone wanting to defer their entry to 2021 should e-mail easterfestival@manx.net by Friday 27th March at the latest.
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2020 Easter Festival Cancelled

It is with huge disappointment that the organising committee of the IQEQ Isle of Man Easter Festival of Running announce the cancellation of the 2020 event.

In the light of the escalating coronavirus crisis, the Isle of Man Chief Minister Howard Quayle has today announced a raft of measures to be put in place on the island with immediate effect. These include a ban on all non-essential travel to and from the Island, and a requirement for everyone entering the Island from midnight tomorrow night to undertake a 14-day period of self-isolation. Everyone aged 70 or over is to self-isolate with immediate effect. These and other measures will apply indefinitely.

It is quite clear from these measures, and the likelihood of even further restrictions being put in place, that it will be impossible to hold the Festival this year even in a modified form. We have several much-valued and key helpers over the Festival weekend who are over 70 years of age, whom we would wish to protect even without the drastic measures that have been announced today.

We can confirm that all those who have entered the Festival to date, and there are 248, will receive a full refund. We will confirm how this is to be issued in the next few days.

This is a deeply disappointing day for everyone connected with the Easter Festival. We have never had a cancellation in the 58-year history of the event, but these are exceptional circumstances. We appreciate your great support for our event, and hope you will understand the reasons for this year’s cancellation. Our aim already is to put on a memorable event in 2021.

Chris Quine
Festival Director
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8 months ago

David Griffiths

Coronavirus update

Since the last update was posted on Friday morning the coronavirus crisis has escalated massively - although thankfully we have not yet had any positive cases on the Isle of Man. Naturally we have had several enquiries as to whether or not the Festival will go ahead in present circumstances.

Tomorrow, Tynwald (the Isle of Man Parliament) have an emergency sitting to discuss the ongoing situation and the effect on events, public gatherings, travel etc. Following this debate things should be clearer. We also continue to be in touch with Public Health.

We have lots of issues to consider, not least the fact that some of our key helpers over the Festival weekend are more than 70 years of age.

We want to make a decision as early as possible to allow all those who are planning to travel to the island time to change their plans in the event of cancellation. It might be advisable for those who have not yet entered to hold off from doing so until a decision has been made.

The organising team will meet as soon as we are all available – hopefully by Thursday this week. As soon as a decision has been made it will be posted here.
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10k Road Race

Good Friday sees the start of the festival with a 10km road race starting at 6.30pm. Men and women run together although there are, of course, separate prizes for the women. There are also team prizes to be won and awards for the leading veterans and juniors.

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Peel Hill Race

On Saturday afternoon, action moves to Peel a fishing village on the west of the island, about 11 miles from Douglas.The race starts and finishes near the quayside at the House of Manannan with start times of 14.15hrs(men) and 15.05hrs (women).

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5km Races

Sunday morning concludes the running with a 5km road race on an out and back course along Douglas Promenade.

Ladies race starts at 10.30hrs and the Men’s at 11.15am.

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