"No rest for the wicked 2008"

Isle of Man Running Grand Prix

Tom Reeves

Just under a week before our family holiday in the Isle of Man I found out that there was a half marathon and marathon on the Sunday the day after we arrived. I always try to get a couple of training runs in on holiday so to get an actual race was such a bonus. I entered the half marathon with enthusiasm although I hadn't done much specific training (get my excuse in for the time).

Isle of Man Half Marathon, 10/08/2008

The race itself is a road race starting from just outside the Ballacloan Football stadium in Ramsey and finishing in the stadium.

The start of the race lead along the sea front before heading inland on small winding country lanes. At about a mile I was passed by a Sunderland Stroller! Who was at the end of his holiday we had a brief chat before he pulled away from me. The first 4 miles were undulating with a couple of steepish hills, we also got hit by a short heavy deluge of rain. There was a quite stiff breeze at times which in the later stages of the race when the sun came out was just what the doctor ordered. At 7 miles I passed the aforementioned Stroller I also started passing marathon runners every so often who had started their race 30 minutes before the half marathon. It was a well organised race with lovely views of the island and plenty of drink stations which I took advantage of in the growing midday heat. We all got a medal, pin badge and a tee-shirt in our goody bag.

I finished in 29th place in a time of 1:35:35 which was way off my PB but all in all a very enjoyable run.

Peel Hill Fell Race, 11/08/2008

Imagine my surprise at teatime on the Monday as I was warming up our curry on the camping stove, when a fellow runner (Pete) from the half marathon asked me if I was running the fell race A pleading glance at Joan and a resigned nod from her was all that was needed. 7pm saw me lined up with 40+ other runners on the sea front at Peel (west coast of the Island) ready to run a 4.5 mile race straight up and down Peel Hill. The first third of a mile was along the sea front heading toward the extremely picturesque Peel castle before going off road up the monument at the top. It was uphill all the way and I managed to overtake a few people on the uphill to the monument at the top we then passed it on our left and ran down the back of the hill only to then have to run back up to the monument! It was then downhill all the way to the seafront and the finish. This was a great race short and nice and simple. I finished in 15th place in 28:21.

Interestingly I also found out that this was part of a series and there was another 3 races during the week. Hmmm?

Ramsey 10K, 13/08/2008

I got my way :-) and was again at the start of a race at 7pm. These were great start times as we could do holiday stuff during the day and I could get out for my races (everyone's happy). The race was three laps following sections of the half marathon course with a short steep hill to contend with near the beginning of each lap. It was a warm muggy night and I was still stiff from the fell race even though I'd had a day off. We started in Mooragh Park and finished in the park. By now I was recognising some of my fellow grand prix competitors, especially a group of lads from Wesham Road Runners (near Blackpool) a couple of them were on the campsite (Pete and Simon) I managed to beat Simon on the fell race but he was a much stronger road runner. Pete was just too fast full stop. There was another Pete from there club and Charlie who had so far won the half marathon and the fell race!

I quite enjoyed running laps, one of the organisers shouted out our 5K times and we got times shouted to us after every lap. I managed to stay in front of a couple of Wesham lads and finished in 17th place with a time of 40:46. I was rather pleased with the time as it wasn't far off my PB for the year. I also got a big cheer from the various partners and children of the Wesham runners which was very sporting. There were also free sandwiches on for all the finishers what more could you ask for for £4.

Foxdale 6 mile Road Race, 14/08/2008

No more rest days! This one started in the small village of Foxdale. All the local runners were telling me this was a real "b.....d" of a race we walked back up a steep hill to start the race and it was a real cavalry charge for the first few hundred yards. In fact the first two miles were more or less downhill all the way. My knees certainly felt it and I struggled a bit. The third mile by comparison was virtually all uphill with some really steep sections, which as some of you may know I rather enjoy. I therefore overtook a number of runners on this section and started to catch Simon (Wesham) who I noticed had walked for a few paces. I also noticed him glance round and catch site of me and off he went! I got in a race with a young local lad who was good on the level but not so good on the hills. There was another long hill in the final mile so I found some energy went for it and left him behind overtaking another two runners. I finished in 14th place in a time of 40:23. It was a real hilly course which I rather enjoyed.

Peel Heritage Trail Run, 15/08/2008

The final race! I had no idea where I was overall in the grand prix and wasn't even sure of how they worked out the final positions? A local lad called Ben had took the lead in organising the race series and he'd done a fantastic job. The races were only £4 each with refreshments and great organisation. Everyone was so helpful and very very friendly. This final race as the title states was a trail run which was pretty flat for much of its 7 miles. We started off along the river heading inland on disused railway lines we then did a u-turn at the halfway mark to head back to the coast. There was a short section of road in the final couple of miles but this was then followed by a fantastic run back along a cliff top path. I finally overtook the other Pete from Wesham on this run (he had been consistently passing me in every race) I also caught up with Simon but he got away from me and I came in in 14th place in around 46 minutes or so.

A few of us headed to the local chip shop then up to Peels football ground for the final presentations. Where there were plates of pies, sandwiches and cake! The final positions for the series were calculated on total time taken to run all the races. Charlie from Wesham won the series by a mile followed by Pete (Wesham) a local runner was third then the other Pete (Wesham) 4th with Simon (wesham) in 5th and the wait for it me (Elvet Striders) in 6th:

	1st 3hr 27min 56sec
	2nd 3hr 49min 17sec
	3rd 3hr 57min 10sec
	4th 3hr 59min 52sec
	5th 4hr 10min 8 sec
	6th 4hr 10min 38sec

I was rather pleased given I knew nothing of the series till the Monday night. I only had my one club vest so by the end of the series I reckon it could have ran the trail race on its own! This was a great series of races in beautiful surroundings with exceptionally friendly bunch of folks (runners and organisers). I would love to do it again - any takers?

Late news: video highlights of this little lot are now available here.