The I.O.M half has now become a compulsory part of our annual Easter trip to see my wife’s family. This is now the third consecutive year I have done this race. It doesn’t get easier, but the course is stunning and it’s a good opportunity to watch the runners of the Manx Fell Running Club show us how to run fells. No doubt the total number of entries would be many times greater if it wasn’t for the relative inaccessibility of the island.
Our holiday had been blessed with sunshine several days prior to the race. Of course, it rained on race day, but the ground was still firm underfoot. The 65 runners that set off were soon charging their way up the first peak, Sileau Whallian. Throughout the race you get the chance to pass those individuals doing the full marathon. This run has a lot more participants, and at 32miles with 8,000 ft of ascent, cuts across the entire island, from Ramsey in the north-east, to Port Erin in the south-west, and all summits in between.
At Sileau Whallian, a sharp descent leads you down to the mines road, to begin the lengthy climb to South Barule. Next peak, Cronk ny Arrey Laa, then a sharp descent down to the beach at Fleshwick. Chance to get your breath back for the hardest part of the race, the climb up Bradda Cairn. No matter how tired I am here, I’m always aware that the full marathoners are doing this part of the race at mile 30! Look west across clear blue sea and you can just make out Ireland.
Ran the final coastal section quite well and overtook a few runners to finish on the beach at Port Erin. Cheers from my 2 children. Next, a well earned pint. I really must do the full marathon next year!
1st Mat Gilbet 1.52.32 , 14th David Ameghino 2.16.49