16 junior athletes returned from a successful trip to Giggleswick in North Yorkshire last weekend, representing Isle of Man Schools in the English Schools Fell Running Championships. This event has seen rapid growth since it’s inception in 2008 with many previous winners going onto to claim national vests, such is the standard of competition.
Thankfully the heavy rain had passed in the early hours and conditions for racing were good, albeit very muddy in places! Racing commenced with the year 7’s and Nathan Hubbard and Lucy Ormsby (both of St Ninian’s High School) made very promising debuts to take 25th and 17th positions respectively.
The year 7 race is the only to be held as a single year group so the remaining races saw athletes compete against older (or younger) opposition. The year 8/9 was our biggest squad with a strong looking contingent of 5 in the boys race, making them eligible for the team competition also. Multiple local championship victor Gethin Owen was best placed in a fine 17th position but he was very well supported with newcomer Cian Howard having a brilliant debut run to finish 28th, ahead of Samuel Perry who took the final team counter position in 36th. Lucas Stennett and Charlie Teare were also making their first appearances at these championships and both put in sterling performances to finish 39th and 47th. After a corrected result the boys team were promoted to a brilliant 4th in the team standings, just 1 point off the podium! With most of the lads running at the bottom end of their age group, they have great potential to reach the podium next year.
The girls year 8/9 squad comprised Macy Hillier and Madison McMullan so were unable to qualify for the team competition but both put in great runs with Macy recording our highest individual finish in 7th and Madison finishing an excellent 34th.
In the year 10/11 race, the Northern AC pair of Ella Crowe and Catherine Perry both had outstanding runs to finish well up the field in 13th and 14th respectively. The boys managed to field a team in the race with versatile Manx Harrier Ryan Corrin recording a very impressive run to finish 29th overall. He was supported by Jake Richmond not far behind in 32nd with Nathan Cannell 48th. Nathan suffered an ankle injury early on in the race but stuck to the task commendably to ensure his team qualified and take a very respectable 5th team position.
The final race was the year 12/13 which saw Lorna Spiers take her bow after representing the Isle of Man with some superb performances over the years. Lorna had never finished outside the top 10 going into her final race and was able to maintain this excellent record in finishing 9th.
Ieuan Owen has progressed markedly during the last couple of seasons and he was another who recorded a stand out individual performance in taking 13th place.
After 3 years at Giggleswick School the event will relocate to different venue next year and there is every chance the squad will better their individual and team placings. Thanks to Mark Spiers for organising and Tonya Corrin for her support over the weekend. The athletes were a real credit to the Isle of Man, parents and their respective clubs - here’s hoping to an even more successful 2020!
Full results can be found at https://esfrc.org/index.php/results/4-results
Photos (credit to Dave & Eileen Woodhead for the above) can be found via the woodentops.org.uk Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/WoodentopsFR