James Walsh selected for World Cross Country Championships:
Former champion James Walsh is a likely non-starter following his great run in the Inter Counties/World Cross trial at Nottingham and subsequent selection for the GB team in Edinburgh. Whilst it is a pity that he will not be running, we extend our congratulations to him on a great achievement and wish him good luck. (19th March)
Edinburgh Entry Boost:
A massive entry of 35 from Edinburgh University has given final Festival numbers a massive lift. Edinburgh returned to the Festival in 2006 after an absence of around 20 years and they look set to be the largest contingent over for the weekend. Add into this Hunter Bog Trotters – effectively the Edinburgh Uni Old Boys (and girls!) team and they are going to playing a big part in the 2008 Festival.(14th March)
Formers Winner’s Achilles Blow:
Former winner Andy Norman (featured as number 103 leading the field up Peel Hill on the main picture on the Festival website Home Page) has had to abandon plans to compete in the Festival after tearing his Achilles Tendon. Andy has been fighting injury for some time now and we wish him all th e best in recovering from this setback. (14th March)
Festival Information Packs
Race information packs will be sent out to all competitors on Friday 14th March. This will include details about festival registration, race details and courses, transport to and from the races and information about the presentation. (10th March)
Bkestyle provide support for Festival:
Local bike shop Bikestyle of Bucks Road, Douglas have kindly provided a van for use by the organisers over the weekend. This van is essential to the sucess of the weekend moving signs, cones, course markers, etc between the venues over the weekend. Although they are a specialist cycle shop, Bikestyle also sell items useful or runing too, for example, energy bars, sports drinks and heart rate monitors (10th March)
Speedier results on the way – hopefully!
The organising team are working with Manx Timing Solution (MTS) to provide a quicker results service. MTS already supply results to a number of local sporting events including the Clerical Medical Parish Walk, Manx Mountain Marathon and End to End Mountain Bike race. As this is the first year, MTS will operate in parallel with the current manual timing systems.
It is hoped that results will be available on-line about an hour after the end of each event atwww.manxtimingsolutions.com (8th March)
As usual commemorative t-shirts are being designed by local athlete Steve Partington. These are included in the race packs for all those entering the full Festival i.e. all three races. Festival supporters and those entering single events may order one of these t-shirts for just £6 each. Anyone wishing to place an order should send a cheque, or add onto their entry fee, stating their t-shirt size to Kim Harding, 1 Rosedene Close, Birch Hill, Onchan, Isle of Man, IM3 3HU by Tuesday 11th March at the latest (the order will be passed to the t-shirt printer the following day) (3rd March)
Defending mens’ champion to return
Mens’ champion from 2007 Jony Mellor of Liverpool Harriers is planning to return to defend his title. He is also hoping that Liverpool Harriers will again bring over a strong team and if this materialises, they could be challenging for the overall title. (3rd March)
Supporters packs will again be available for those visting the Island with friends and family competing in the Festival. They cost £8 each and include coach travel to/from Port Erin, coach travel to/from Peel and a ticket for the prize presentation and party on Easter Sunday evening at The Outback.
Any of the above elements of the package are also available for £4 each so buying in a pack will effectively give you the third part of the package for free!!
Anyone wanting to take advantage of this offer should e-mail Kim Harding – firstname.lastname@example.org before Saturday 15th March 2008. (3rd March)
Entry from Hong Kong
We are delighted to receive an entry from Hong Kong. David Chan competed in the 2006 Festival and is returning again for 2008. He has son who is a pupil at King Williams College and is combining the Festival with visiting his son. (22nd February)
Cambridge University look set to make their debut – or least first appearance for many years – and are planning to bring over about a dozen athletes including mens and womens teams. Manx Harriers member Andrew Duncan is cross country captain for 2007-08. Let’s hope this is the first of many visits for the Light Blues. (22nd February)
Coach time changes
With the earlier start time for the Good Friday 10k – 17.30, the coaches to transport competitors will leave earlier than usual. Provisional times are to depart the War Memorial, Douglas at 15.30. Return times are to be split – the main group of coaches will leave at 20.00 with one coach returning at 21.30, for those wishing to spend longer in Port Erin. Please note all times are provisional at the moment. Times for the coaches on Saturday remain unchanged – leave Douglas at 13.00 and return from Peel at 16.30. (22nd February)
Easter Sunday Presentation and party – change of venue
Paramount City, our venue for the presentation and party has recently changed hands and the new owners are unwillng to provide us with exclusive access for the evening. Therefore, the presentation will now take place at the Outback Pub/Night Club, Douglas. Arrangements are more or less as before – doors open at 19.00, presentation, beer drinking and disco through to around 01.30.
This event is free to all those Festival competitors entering the full Festival as well as officials and helpers. For anyone involved in the Festival but not included the aforementioned groups (e.g. partners of competitors, entrants in single events), we are planning for tickets to be available for £4 each, subject to the number of Festival entrants and helpers.
Many competitors will be familiar with this venue from the Easter Sunday lunchtime event held in 2006 and 2007. For those not sure where it is, directions will be provided during the Easter weekend, but it is located at the back of Douglas Town Hall, about 400m from the Sea Terminal.
The Outback will continue to host the event on Easter Sunday lunchtime (22nd February)
Universities on the way
Aberdeen University: Easter Festival newcomers in 2007, Aberdeen University are hoping to bring a party of six athletes over for the weekend.
Meanwhile, Leeds University/DOSS AC, arguably the biggest supporters of the Festival over the past couple of decades are planning to bring along a party of 32 past and present students. The squad includes three previous winners of the overall mens’ individual title – James Walsh has been the dominant figure in recent Festival, whilst Greg Hull, a winner both in the late 1980s and 1990’s, is now one of the leading veterans in Britain and makes a welcome return to the Festival after several years absence. Mick Hill, a winner in the late 1990’s, is less serious about his running these days but it was still good to see him taking part in 2007. Leeds have also had very strong women’s teams and this is expected to be the case again this year. We hope to anounce news of another new university team shortly. (18th February)
Department of Tourism increase support
The main financial supporter for the Festival, Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure, have confirmed their backing for this years Festival with an increased amount of financial backing. (21st January)
Flyers accompanying Athletics Weekly
Subscribers to Athletics Weekly last week – 10th January – received a promotional flyer for the 2008 Festival (19th January)