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3 days ago

David Griffiths

13 weeks to go!

As the clock continues to tick down towards Easter, entries are starting to trickle in. The majority tend to arrive nearer to Easter when the big visiting teams put in their entries en bloc. Links to all the information on the Festival, including entries, accommodation, travel etc, are on the official website

The second athlete to be featured in the 'Top 10 Appearances' list from 2006 to 2018 is Sophie Martin, formerly Sophie Lovell, who is a Leeds University Dosser. She has completed 23 races at the Festival from 2006 up to her most recent Festival in 2017. In fact she made her debut in 2005.

Sophie's best year at the Festival result-wise was 2011 when she achieved her highest places in all three races - eighth in the 10k road race, eighth on Peel Hill and ninth in the 5k road race. She was seventh overall that year.

After competing in the Festival every year from her debut up to 2012 Sophie took a break, during which time she married fellow Dosser Nathan Martin. They are not the first Doss couple to tie the knot!

Sophie returned to the Festival in 2016, and again in 2017 when she recorded her fastest times in all three races. It's an indication of improved standards at the Festival recently that she finished tenth overall in 2017 despite running faster than when she was seventh in 2011.

After missing last year's Festival it would be great to see Sophie and her trademark yellow headband return to the island again - maybe this year?

The next athlete to be featured is the second of five Cambridge Greyhounds to make the top 10 list.

Photos by Murray Lambden and Ian Astin.

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1 week ago

David Griffiths

14 weeks to go!

Not much more than three months to go now! I hope everyone enjoyed Christmas and New Year, and if you haven’t already done so it’s definitely time for visitors to make travel and accommodation arrangements. Links to entry information, travel, accommodation etc. are on the event website

Over the next few weeks this page will be celebrating our most loyal competitors, and since 2006 there have been ten competitors who have completed 23 or more races. The first of those is Aberdeen-based Cambridge Greyhound Will Mackay. In fact five of the top ten on the list are Greyhounds!

Will first competed in the Festival in 2009, and has rarely missed the event since. He completed every race from 2012 to 2017, and in total has completed 23 races at the Festival to date. He is a great supporter of the event and has been known to enjoy the social side of the weekend too!

His best result at the Festival was a third place finish in the 10k road race in 2012, while his fastest 10k time was set in 2014 when he finished fourth in a time of 31.34. His best finish in the Peel Hill race is seventh and in the 5k road race fourth, also both in 2012. His fastest 5k time was set in 2013 with 15.27.

Will missed last year’s Festival as he was preparing for the London Marathon, and then enjoyed an excellent track season during which he set new personal best times for both 5,000 and 10,000 metres, and also for a road Half Marathon. Is an Easter Festival return on the cards in 2019?

The next athlete to be featured is a Dosser!

All photos by Murray Lambden.

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2 weeks ago

David Griffiths

15 weeks to go!

Easter Festival 2006 to 2018 - most race finishes

The Easter Festival is all about the runners. Many of them are high quality athletes, some are novices, many are visitors, and the number of local competitors has increased greatly in recent years.

The common denominator is a love of running in a welcoming and fun environment, and there is surely no better place and time to indulge that love than the Isle of Man at Easter!

We really appreciate all those who have supported the Festival over many years, and with that in mind I have done some research into the number of races completed by individual competitors from 2006 onwards - that was the year the Festival was established in its current format and we have complete statistics from that date. Obviously there are many who have competed for years - decades, even - before then!

But from 2006 to 2018 (a total of 39 races), there are 21 competitors who have completed 20 or more races, and the top 10 of those will be featured individually on this page in the coming weeks.

The athletes listed below are just outside the top 10, and their race finishes are as follows:

Races Athlete Club Span
22 Danny Jones Leeds Uni/Doss 2007-2018
22 Emma Waterhouse/Raven Leeds Uni/Doss 2006-2014
*22 Rob Johnson Leeds Uni/Doss 2006-2018
22 Stuart Littlewood Hercules Wimbledon AC 2009-2018
21 Adam Gooch Manchester Uni/Alehouse 2008-2018
*21 Dave Newton Manx Harriers 2006-2017
21 Phil Scard Cambridge Uni Greyhounds 2008-2018
20 Andrew Morgan Aberdeen Uni/Granite City Harriers 2012-2018
20 Dennis Williams Hercules Wimbledon AC 2010-2016
20 Leon Foster Leeds Uni/Doss 2007-2018
20 Simon Gilbert Cambridge Uni Greyhounds 2009-2017

A couple of comments on this list. Rob Johnson has completed 22 races from 2006 to 2018 without ever doing the Peel Hill race. And local running legend Dave Newton (pictured by the late Murray Lambden in 2017) has been competing in the Festival since the late 1960s - I would love to know how many races he has completed since then! Dave finished 18th in the 1978 Commonwealth Games Marathon representing the Isle of Man.

Three athletes have completed 23 races, and the first of those - a tall, Aberdeen-based Cambridge Greyhound - will be featured next week.

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1 month ago

David Griffiths

18 weeks to go!

With the Festive season now upon us, it's also good to look forward to party time at the Easter Festival! With the hard work of three races in around 40 hours out of the way, the Prize Presentation and party on Easter Sunday evening is always a great way to end the weekend.

The Outback Bar in Douglas has hosted the event for many years now and it's always a great night, but numbers are limited and it is essential to book your ticket early. Tickets for the presentation are only available to those who take out a Full Festival entry, or at the discretion of the organisers to those who assist significantly with the Festival.

Can anyone challenge Manchester Alehouse men and Leeds Doss women in the beer drinking competition in 2019? (photo Bill Dale)

The entry page is here

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1 month ago

David Griffiths

19 weeks to go - and a 'record' bonus for Easter!

Getting into the Festive spirit, the organising team are pleased to announce a potential £600 bonus to be added to the usual Prize Fund for the 2019 Festival - but you have to be a very good athlete to claim a share of it!

It's a number of years now since any of the course records were broken - all three women's records were set in the 50th anniversary event in 2012, and you have to go back even further for the men's records - all three of those were set in 2007.

A prize of £100 is on offer for any course record that is beaten (not equaled!) in 2019 - so up to £300 extra could be won by any man or woman on top of the regular prize money for winning a race. So for example, if an athlete wins all three races in record times they will win a total of £800 (£200 for the 10k, £150 for Peel Hill, £100 for the 5k, £50 for winning the overall Festival title and £100 for each course record broken) - plus a share of any team prizes.

We have taken the records to be times set since the Festival was revamped into its current format in 2006. The existing course records are:

Men 10k: 30:16 - Jonny Mellor (Liverpool Harriers) 2007
Women 10k: 34:18 – Rosie Smith (Hunters Bog Trotters) 2012
Men Peel Hill: 20:10 – James Walsh (Leeds Uni Doss) 2007
Women Peel Hill: 16:49 – Olivia Walwyn (Durham Uni) 2012
Men 5k: 14:36 – Jonny Mellor (Liverpool Harriers) 2007
Women 5k: 17:13 – Rosie Smith (Hunters Bog Trotters) 2012

The selection of photos are from the collections of Murray Lambden and Ian Astin. Sadly neither are with us any more, but their wonderful photos of athletics events continue to be enjoyed by us all. They show all four record holders during races in which they set their records, and Rosie and Olivia receiving their prizes from Ron Hill and Mike Doherty respectively in 2012.

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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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