Easter Festival Reflections
We all really enjoyed the festival. I think most of us from who came from Liverpool will be back next year, hopefully we will also have a much bigger team. (James, Liverpool)
just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and all the people involved in organising this weekend! All of us from Manchester had an amazing weekend and will be back next year in full strength to beat HBT in the running and retain the drinking title! (Helen ,Manchester)
I would like to give the Manx Harriers and everyone involved in the festival a huge thanks for the hospitality – and for all the effort for such a great weekend, I can hardly walk now dude! Loved it, and GUHH will definitely be back (Rory, Glasgow)
Thanks for a really good weekend. Everyone in our party really enjoyed themselves and are already planning on returning next year. We’re going to try and get a bigger party over next year. (Laura, Liverpool)
23rd April 2006
Newspaper preview – missing in action
Below is the newspaper preview submitted to IOM Newspapers. Unfortunately, it does not seem to have made this week’s Manx Independent.
Following declining numbers since the late 1980’s, this year’s Easter Athletics Festival sees something of a revival in numbers, Over 250 runners are expected to take part in the showcase of the weekend – a 10k road race to be held in the south of the island, starting and finishing on Shore Road, Port Erin, which is being held in conjunction with the popular Bushy’s Great South Run series. This should be a fine spectacle and a large crowd is expected.
The Festival is supported by the Department of Tourism, as well as by a number of corporate sponsors and has attracted entries from throughout the UK and Ireland. Events are due to be held in Port Erin on Good Friday, Peel on Easter Saturday and Douglas Promenade on Easter Sunday.
Chris Quine for the organising club Manx Harriers said “We are delighted with the increase in numbers – the direct result of a lot of hard promotional work by the organising team over the winter months. Hopefully, visitors and locals alike will have a weekend to remember.”
From a competitive perspective, it looks like some close racing is in store with a number of pedigree athletes on display. These include last year’s winner James Walsh of Leeds and his team-mate, Jorge Thomas, the current Welsh cross country champion. They could be vying with Edinburgh based Hunter’s Bogg Trotters for team honours. Local star, Keith Gerrard, will be hoping to be in the thick of the action in his only race of the weekend on Good Friday.
Motorists in the south of the island, in particular, are asked to take extra care on Friday evening from around6.30 to 8 pm.
The full programme of events is:
Friday 14th April – Bushy’s 10k road race, Port Erin – start 18.45
Saturday 15th April – Mann Link Peel Hill race – start 14.15 (men), 15.05 (women)
Sunday 16th April – Douglas Promenade, 5k road race (women) at 10.15, 4 x 5k road race (men) at 10.45
Twisted Angels for Festival
Local all-girl band Twisted Angels will be providing post race entertainment at the Bay Hotel on Good Friday. The Indie-punk foursome play their own material plus covers.
From Eldorat to Isle of Man?
Amongst the last minute entries is an intriguing entry from a Kenyan athlete Tarus Elly. Little is known about him but he is understood to be currently in Kenya and travelling to the UK this week to compete in the Festival subject to visa’s etc. After that he is planning to be based in the Manchester area. (12th April)
Former winner returns
Another last minute entry is former Festival winner Phil Mowbray of Hunter’s Bog Trotters. Phil was a regular in the mid to late 1990s when on occasions he camped in a tent for the weekend. His current form is not known and he will be part of a large contingent who are combining the Festival with a stag weekend! (12th April)
Refreshing the parts…………….
Local supermarket chain Shoprite will be sponsoring water bottles at the finish of Friday’s 10k road race. They have kindly donated 300 bottles for the event. Shoprite have stores throughout the island including a store in Port Erin. (11th April)
Irish in stew over transport!
Amongst those entries received in the extended entry period up to 9th April, is a very welcome entry from the Republic of Ireland. Ballyfin AC will be competing in the Festival for the first time, although transport difficulties mean not all the group can make it over to run on Good Friday. Hopefully the rest of their weekend will make up for this disappointment. (11th April)
Ones to watch!
Who is your money on for the Festival? It looks like it could be the most competitive events for a number of years. Amongst those to keep an eye open for are:
James Walsh – Leeds University/DOSS AC – 2005 Festival champion
Don Naylor – Hunters Bog Trotters – former Commonwealth Games runner
Gareth Raven – Sale Harriers – former North of England medallist
Local hero Keith Gerrard will be running in the 10k only so will want to make his mark whilst Nick Altman of HBT and Richard Ward (Manchester Uni) could also be a dark horse for a top three finish.
Amongst the women it could be a battle between defending champion Laura Carney or Liverpool Harriers and Olivia Walwyn of Durham Old Hobblers, a top 15 finisher in the National Cross Country championships.
Add your thoughts on the forum at www.manxathletics.com – remember to keep it in the spirit of the Festival!(9th April)
Beer drinking competition entries
A reminder that entries for the beer drinking competition will close at 8 pm on Sunday 16th April. Entry forms will be available throughout the weekend and the cost is £4 per team – 4 to a team. See the relevant section on the website for full details and rules. (9th April)
Refreshments will be available on Easter Sunday morning from the T Tea Shop located close to the start of the 5k and relay. They will be serving hot and cold drinks during the morning as well as a variety of hot takeaway food.
Remember also that refreshments will be available at The Outback Aussie Bar after the relay where we also hope to be showing a video of the Good Friday action. (9th April)
Important information – Event registration
All entrants receive a race pack. This includes race number, t-shirt, ticket for prize presentation and race programme. Due to the large number of runners who will be looking to register on Good Friday, visiting teams may request their packs to be delivered to their hotel earlier in the day. To take advantage of this firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. We cannot offer this where there are any outstanding requirements on the entry e.g. entry form not signed. These cases will be collected from a special desk at race registration on the day once all requirements have been met.
The main Event Registration on Good Friday will take place at the Bay Hotel, Port Erin and will start at 17.30 (or just before). Locals in particular as asked to arrive as early as possible and not leave it until the last minute – registration will close at 18.30 – i.e. 15 minutes before the start of the race – to ensure a prompt start.
Any competitors who are entered in just Saturday and/or Sunday’s races may collect their packs on Friday or, preferably, on Saturday or Sunday from around the start area at least 30 minutes prior to the first race.
Parking on Good Friday
To avoid disruption in the start/finish area, any locals driving to the Good Friday are requested to use either the car park near Port Erin Railway Station (behind the Shell Garage) or Shoprite Car Park in Bridson Street.(8th April)
Post race massage
Local Sports Therapist Gemma Rae will be offering post race massage for sore limbs at the finish on Good Friday. A small donation to charity will be requested for each massage. (8th April)
Amongst the latest entries is former Festival winner Bashir Hassain of Stockport Harriers. Bashir is now a Veteran/Master and has been visiting the island since the late 1970s. He recently achieved success at the World Masters Championships in Austria. (8th April)
Large increase in the number of visiting athletes:
170 visitors have entered this years Festival – a number which will no doubt keep the Isle of Man Department of Tourism – our biggest sponsor – happy. With a number of spectators also due, the Festival is bringing close to 200 people into theIsland for the weekend.
Visitors please note that you will be given a questionnaire to complete for the Dept of Tourism. This is looking for information on your group – number in the party, number of nights you are staying, estimated spend per head. This information is then passed back for use when applications for future support is considered.
Transport to and from PortErin:
Four coaches have been booked to transport athletes and supporters to Port Erin for the Friday 10k.
The coaches will be at the War Memorial at 16.45 and leave at 17.00 at the latest. Once a coach is filled it will leave so athletes will have more time for race registration.
Three coaches will leave Port Erin at 22.30 for arrival inDouglas as around 23.00. There will be an earlier coach at 21.00. There are about 20 places available for anyone wanting to return earlier toDouglas. If you want to reserve a place on this earlier coach e-mail email@example.com – first come, first served.
Local cafes primed for post race refreshments:
Food will be available after the race at a number of local outlets. These include the Bay Hotel – about 20m from the finish line! – and two cafes close by. There are also a couple of other pubs within another 400m and the ice cream parlour are also planning to be open!! (7th April)
Festival goes international
The organisers were delighted to receive the first overseas entry this week. Veteran runner David Chan from Hong Kong is visiting the island over the Easter period and is taking in the Festival during his stay. (3rd April)
Important Course Information
Festival Information Packs
Information packs detailing full arrangements for the weekend will be dispatched next week. Keep an eye on the website too for regular updates. (31st March)
Champions to defend titles
Both men’s and women’s winners from 2005 look set to defend their Festival titles. James Walsh swept all before him last year and will be part of a strong Leeds University team.
Laura Carney was the class act in the women’s races in 2005. She will be part of a group from Liverpool Harriers (30th March)
Newcomers Pendle on the way
The organising team are keen to attract more club teams into the Festival. Therefore, it is great to see Pendle AC from Lancashire bringing over a small but potentially very useful team over to compete for the first time. (30th March)
The Easter Festival Rules – OK!
The rules of the Easter Festival have now been finalised and published. Download here (24th March)
Changing facilities on Good Friday
Changing facilities including showers will be available before and after the 10k road race on Good Friday at Port Erin. Local football club Rushen FC are based at Croit Lowey about 700m from the finish of the 10k. Facilities will open at 17.00 and close around 20.30. Thanks are due to Rushen Football Club for the kind use of their clubhouse.
Note, there are no changing facilities at Peel or Douglas Promenade. (24th March)
Festival Supporter Pack
With a large number of people traveling to the Festival to support competitors, a special Festival Supporters Pack is being offered. This will include transport to and from Port Erin (Good Friday) and Peel (Easter Saturday), a ticket for the Prize Presentation and Party at Paramount City and a race programme. The cost of these is just £6 each. Anyone wanting to reserve a package should e-mail Chris Quine – firstname.lastname@example.org– before Friday 7th April. A place will then be saved for you on the runner’s coach. Payment should be made on Good Friday when you board the coach. (24th March)
Former local residents return
Local enthusiasts look forward to welcoming back former Isle of Man residents Peter Costley and Karen Rushton. Peter and Karen lived on the island through most of the 1990’s and were regulars on the local scene. Both competed in the Island Games. They are now based in the Southampton area. (24th March)
Liverpool Harriers return
A squad of about 8 runners from the Liverpool area are planning their visit to the Festival. The majority of these are members of Liverpool Harriers and include last year’s overall women’s winner Laura Carney. (21st March)
Engineering a secure future for the festival
The organising team are delighted that Swagelok Ltd are going to provide financial assistance towards some of the “behind the scenes” costs with running the Festival. As with other support, this help enables more money to be directed towards developing the event and is part of our strategy of bringing more commercial sponsorship into the event. This should help secure our long-term future.
Swagelok are an engineering company and part of an American-owned corporation with a factory near Douglas.(19th March)
A tale of sponsorship by Bushy’s
Local brewery and pub chain Bushy’s have agreed to sponsor the numbers at this year’s Festival. Competitor numbers will carry the Bushy’s logo.
The Good Friday road race finishes at the Bay Hotel, the “jewel” in the Bushy’s empire. The Outback, hosts of the Easter Sunday lunchtime event, also serves the famous Bushy’s Brews.
This type of support gives the organising team more money to plough into developing the Festival. (17th March)
The future’s bright, the future’s orange!
Long time Festival supporters, Manchester University – aka Alehouse Academicals – are planning to bring a party of around 25 to this year’s event. Renowned for their bright orange t-shirts, we can look forward to cries of “Alehouse” throughout the weekend.
Along with Leeds University – aka DOSS AC – they have been the mainstays of the Festival in recent years(14th March)
Hunters Bog Trotters return
One of Scotland’s leading club teams, Hunters Bog Trotters are planning to bring a party of around 26 to the Festival. Of these 15-20 or so plan to run. The team are combining the weekend with a Stag weekend! From a running perspective their main focus will be the Peel Hill Race. HBT were regulars in the mid-late 1990s with Phil Mowbray winning the Festival on a couple of occasions.
Scotland look set to be well represented with teams from Edinburgh and Universities expected as well. (10th March)
Age groups clarified
We would like to clarify the rules for age groups in the Festival. Ages are as at 1st September 2005. Therefore, for example, juniors (under 20) those aged 17, 18 or 19 as at 1st September 2005 should be entered as JM (men) or JL (women).
However, at the other end of the scale, the age for Vets is age on race day.
Note for prizes, athletes who are entitled to two prizes (e.g. 10th overall and 2nd vet) will win the highest value of the two prizes, rather than both awards.
This will be clarified in the Festival rules to be published in due course. (6th March)
Hares and Hounds chasing for honours again in 2006
The organising team are delighted that Glasgow University Hares and Hounds have booked a squad of 14 to attend the Festival through official event travel agent Mannlink Travel.
Glasgow were regular supporters of the festival through the 1980’s and 1990’s and regularly brought international standard athletes amongst their number. We look forward to welcoming them back in 2006. (4th March)
Train & Race on the same day!
We have negotiated special rates with IOM Transport for runners and supporters wishing to travel to Port Erin by train. For those not familiar with the island, Port Erin, the venue for the Good Friday road race, is located about 16 miles south ofDouglas. There will be a coach provided to take competitors to and from Port Erin. However, there is also a Victorian Steam Railway service fromDouglas to Port Erin and we are aware that some runners may wish to use this instead. The journey takes about an hour and it is an opportunity to arrive a little earlier in the day and see more of Port Erin and the south of the island. IOM Transport have offered a 15% discount off the standard single fare of £5 to any teams taking part in the Festival. The conditions are:
– Minimum party size of 10
– Book by Friday 7th April 2006
– Must be competitors or Festival supporters
– All booking to be made via Manx Harriers – details below
– Everyone in the party must travel on the same journey
Train times are, fromDouglas:
To take advantage of this offer e-mail Chris Quine – email@example.com – before 7th April with the following info:
– Team name
– Number of tickets required
– Departure time
Details will then be passed onto IOM Transport. Payment should be made at the railway station on the day.
It is also worth noting we are planning to provide changing facilities for competitors at Port Erin. (1st March)
Don’t be a fool & miss the 1st April deadline
All runners are reminded that there is now less than one month until entries close for this year’s Easter Athletics Festival.
This year the Good Friday 10k road race is going to be held in conjunction with the first in the popular Bushy’s Great South Run series. All locals running in the Festival will automatically be included in the results for the Great South Run. Those not wanting to run the whole Festival may enter just the Great South Run but will not be eligible for any of the Festival prizes or any parts of the Festival “package”.
Organisers are hoping that combining the two races will bring in a bumper entry with visitor numbers already looking set to be the best for several years.
The closing date for Festival entries is Saturday 1st April. Entries for the Great South Run only will be taken on the night. (28th February)
Rules clarified for University teams:
University teams are very welcome and the event rules accommodate university teams as well as club teams. To count for a team award we would expect all team members to be bona fide past or present students at the relevant university, be entered as a member of the university team (or Old Boys team) and for all runners to wear a university vest/tee-shirt (rather than their club vest). When entering, runners should state, for example, “Durham University Old Boys” on the entry form along with their personal registration number with their relevant governing body e.g. North of England Athletics, Scottish Athletics, etc. Those who are not affiliated/registered or members of an affiliated club must pay the unattached levy as Manx Harriers will be required to pay a fee to North of England AA for all unregistered runners.
All teams for the weekend should be declared by 18.15 on Good Friday at the signing on desk at the 10K race.
The full event rules will be published on this site in due course. (23rd February)
Sunderland strolling to Festival
The latest team to commit to the year’s Festival are newcomers Sunderland Strollers. They are planning to bring a party of eight runners over. Hopes are also high that Glasgow University Hares and Hounds are set to return after an absence of around six years. (20th February)
Local promotion to kick in
A key part of developing the Festival is to increase the number of local runners taking part. This will be helped further by the opportunity to run in the Bushy’s Great South Run which is being held in conjunction with the Good Friday 10k race.
Expect to see Festival posters, kindly designed by Steve Partington, in various locations over the coming weeks. (20th February)
Easter Sunday lunchtime at the Outback
The Easter Festival Organising team are delighted to announce that they have agreed with local Australian themed Sports Bar, The Outback, to hold an athlete get-together after the Easter Sunday races. For those off-island, The Outback is located in the centre of Douglas behind the Town Hall about 400m from the start/finish of the Sunday races.
Expected to take place from around noon into the early afternoon, there will be a light buffet for competitors and officials. It is planned to show a DVD of the Good Friday road race and also present prizes from the Friday and Saturday races to those under 18 and therefore unable to attend the presentation at Paramount City on Easter Sunday evening. It is hoped there will be a large number of athletes there to support this initiative and also to recognise the efforts of the younger athletes.
It is also intended to have some provisional results from the morning events available later on in the lunchtime.
The Outback have also offered to give free entry to Festival competitors over the weekend (there is a cover charge in the evening but not during the daytime). (15th February)
Universities continue to support Festival
University teams continue to be some of the mainstays of the Festival – it looks like 2006 will see some regulars and also some teams making a return after an absence from the Festival.
Leeds University/DOSS AC have been great supporters for many years and are planning to bring a team of around 40 this year. Edinburgh University look set for a return after some 20 or more years and are understood to be bringing around 16 athletes. Meanwhile, news has been received this week that Glasgow University – last seen in the Festival around 2000 are also planning to bring over a small team. (12th February 2006)
Return of junior event
After an absence of around 18 years, organisers are planning to include some junior races in this years Festival. Final details are to be arranged but it is intended to hold a 3k race for under 17s, under 15s and under 13s at Port Erin on Good Friday. This will take place whilst the main 10k race is taking place. It will, primarily, be aimed at local youngsters but of course visitors would be welcome too. This may be particularly appealing to anyone visiting the Festival with their family. It is also hoped to promote the races through local schools. By involving them in the Festival at a young age will hopefully inspire them to take part in the full Festival in future years. More details to follow at a later date. (3rd February 2006)
Entries are now coming in for this years Festival. To date entries have been received from Eccleshill Road Runners of Bradford, Hunters Bog Trotters of Edinburgh as well as local club Northern AC and host clubManx Harriers. Meanwhile, enquiries have come from all parts of the British Isles including the Republic of Ireland. Remember entries close on Saturday 1st April (and that isn’t an April Fool!). (29th January 2006)
On-island Transport Arrangements
There have been a few questions about on-island transport to the races on Friday and Saturday. The following should be helpful:
Free transport will be provided to both Friday and Saturday’s events from Douglas click here for more information about Douglas – this is included in the race entry fee. On Good Friday coaches will leave for Port Erin from Douglas Prom – near to most of the hotels – at around 4.45 – 5 pm. The race will start at 6.45 pm and the trip takes about 35 minutes. This will leave time for signing on and a bit of a look around. There will be a coach back to Douglas at around 10pm. The race will be based around a pub on Port Erin prom and we are discussing arrangements with them. Hopefully there will be some live entertainment on and they have said they will do a special menu for the runners. Hopefully the results will be ready too by the end of the evening.
Some of the teams may well want to go to Port Erin earlier in the day. It is a small fishing port and very picturesque. click here for information on Port Erin There is an option to go on the Victorian Steam Train – it takes about an hour and costs about £4-5. click here for details about the steam railway
On the Saturday the coach will leave for Peel at around 1 pm. click here information on Peel The men’s race is at 2.15pm and the women’s at 3.05pm. The coach will return around 4.30pm although some run back to Douglas via a few of the pubs en-route!! It is about 11 miles! Supporters may be asked to pay a nominal charge for the coach (15th January 2006)
Easter Festival – The Movie!!
Plans are well advanced for a film to be made of this year’s Festival. This will be made by students from the Isle of Man College and is being supported by the Dept of Tourism and Leisure.
It is planned that there will be a short film to be used for future promotional purposes and a longer version to be made available for purchase on video and or DVD. More details nearer the time. (13th January 2006)
Change of approach to promote Festival
The promotion for the 2006 is somewhat different to recent years. In the past the approach has been fairly passive relying upon the reputation of the event through word of mouth and advertising in Athletics Weekly. The new strategy is more aggressive. A glossy promotional flyer (designed by Steve Partington) including an event entry form has been produced. This has been used to promote the event through a number of different mediums:
- Distributing flyers at UK races. Events so far include Leeds University Relays, Manchester University Relays, South East Lancashire Cross Country League, West Yorkshire Cross Country League, Stockport 10 plus several races in Scotland (Special thanks are due to Emma Waterhouse and Rachael Woodnutt of DOSS AC for their fantastic efforts in distributing information at races).
- E-mailing clubs through the North West
- E-mailing a targeted group of UK universities including a number of universities who supported the festival in the past.
- Sending information to last year’s entrants – where address details were held.
- Promoting the festival on UK running websites and fixture lists.
- Active canvassing of UK contacts to generate interest in the Festival.
Full on-island promotion will start in the New Year so watch this space. (13th December 2005)
- 1. There has been great excitement amongst the team organising the 2006 Easter Festival this week. Two new teams have booked their travel arrangements and are expected to bring large parties along. Edinburgh University were a regular team back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They have booked 16 places. Eccleshill Road Runners from the Bradford area will be making their first trip and have booked 21 places.
Meanwhile, following a lot of promotional work in the UK, a number of other clubs and universities are actively looking into the event – hopefully there will be more news in the next few weeks.
- Organisers of the IOM Easter Festival have released details of their partnership with the popular Great South Run series for Good Friday’s 10k Road Race. So that all runners, officials and supporters are clear what this means in practice, the following has been agreed.
- There will be two races – Easter Festival 10k and Great South Run – held simultaneously. Runners can enter either or both events.
- There will be three set of results – Easter Festival 10k, Great South Run and a combined result for both races.
- Runners will only be eligible for awards in the races they have entered. So, if you don’t enter the Easter race you won’t be eligible for a prize.
- Athletes wishing to enter the Easter Festival 10k only or the whole Easter Festival – should complete an Easter Festival entry form by the official closing date (1st April 2005). They will receive eligibility for a Festival prize, the option of transport to/from Port Erin, event programme and a ticket for the Sunday evening prize presentation. Manx Harriers will retain all entry fees.
- Athletes wishing to enter the Great South Run only may enter on the night under normal series rules. They may enter a single race or the whole series. They will be eligible for points in the Great South Run series. They will not be eligible for any Easter Festival awards, a free presentation ticket or be eligible for the free transport. Any runners wishing to attend the Easter Festival presentation on Easter Sunday evening may purchase a ticket for £3 (unless they officiate in other Festival events). IOM AA will retain all entry fees.
The 2006 Easter Festival – the story so far
Planning for the 2006 Easter Festival started before the 2005 event had finished with the canvassing of views of those taking part in the event. Taking this feedback on board, more formal planning started around July 2005 when the organising team of Gianni Epifani, Paul Jackson, Chris Quine and Dave Ronan started to plan out what the 2006 Festival would look like. The team also received a massive boost when two regular Festival visitors – Emma Waterhouse and Rachael Woodnutt – both of Leeds University/DOSS AC offered to promote the Festival at various events and amongst their contacts within the running fraternity.
A number of changes have been made to the format of the event. The Good Friday 10k is to be held in conjunction with the opening round of the popular Bushy’s Great South Run series starting and finishing on Port Erin promenade. As well as an opportunity to show-off a different part of the island, it is intended that this will become the showpiece race of the Festival. Lots of details are being finalised but the organising team are working with the team at Bushy’s to make sure this will become an event not-to-be missed!
The Peel Hill race is a regular favourite and will remain unchanged. This means runners can still run back to Douglas rather than taking the coach – if they wish!
Another important change is the decision to move the Sunday morning relays and women’s 5k race back to Douglas Promenade. The organising team felt that there was a lack of atmosphere on the NSC course and that the move to the prom – where the event was held on a number of occasions in the 1980’s and 1990’s – will create more interest.
The Festival will conclude on Easter Sunday night with a party at Paramount City and include the famous beer drinking races – separate events for men and women!
In order to help athletes with their arrangements, we have appointed Mannlink Travel as official travel agent for the festival. They can organise travel and accommodation in a single package and prices start at just £99 for ferry from Liverpool or Heysham and three nights B and B. Their contact number is 0870 165 0470.
The Dept of Tourism have confirmed their support and this will enable us to offer the usual generous prize fund – the more entries received, the bigger the prize fund
The Festival has been taking place for over 40 years and has continually changed and adapted as trends and tastes changed. During this time it has attracted some of Britain’s finest athletes including a number of Olympians. It also attracts a wide social element too making it appealing for runners of all standards. The changes for 2006 are intended to bring the Festival right up to date to make it the best for many years!!
Watch this space for news of how plans are progressing over the coming weeks….. (1st December 2005)