The 2017 Isle of Man Marathon and Half-Marathon take place this Sunday in the north of the island, sponsored by Microgaming.
A grand total of 458 competitors have entered, with the majority (351) in the ’half’ over the short distance of 13.1 miles.
Both events are based at Ballacloan football stadium in Ramsey, close to Mooragh Park, and the field of 83 marathon runners will get away first on Mooragh Promenade at 9am, followed by the half-marathon 30 minutes later from North Shore Road.
This race will cover two laps of the course, which involves the short climb past the former Grand Island Hotel site, then the coast road north to Bride with a steep half-mile climb to the junction just short of the village where the route then turns left.
This will take runners on Burmah Road and the long, flat run to Andreas, where it then turns left over the undulations to St Jude’s crossroads.
At this point the course turns left again and follows Jurby Road into Ramsey, with a left onto Richmond Road and a right turn onto Bowring Road, before the final left turn at the junction with North Shore Road.
The half-marathon runners (and walkers) will turn left into the stadium to complete their circuit, while the marathon runners will continue for a second lap.
Expect the leaders in the half-marathon to finish around 10.45am, with the winner of the marathon approximately one hour later.
Amongst those likely to be in the mix in the main event are Tim Alexander of Kent AC, Les Hill of Dumfries RC and Mark O’Brien, together with the local trio of Mike Garrett, Rob Sellors and Christian Varley.
This year, for the first time, a relay marathon has been introduced, and although only six teams of four runners have entered, it is hoped that interest in this event will grow. Each runner in the team will complete around six-and-a-half miles (or half a lap).
A total of 14 registered members of local athletics clubs or Manx born competitors are entered for the Isle of Man Marathon Championship, while a further nine in the marathon and 54 in the half-marathon will go on to contest the No Rest for the Wicked Series (see separate story, right).
Spectators are welcome at the stadium all day.
Organisers, Isle of Man Veteran Athletes’ Club, advise all motor vehicle drivers to take care round the course on the day please.
The pinch points are Vollen junction (Grand Island) where the runners turn onto Bride Road, Andreas village junction, St Jude’s crossroads and Richmond Road/Bowring Road junction where they turn right to head back to the stadium.
There will be cyclists leading each race and marshals around the course as usual, but the club is reliant on drivers’ consideration in helping keep everyone safe.
Competitors are taking part from far and wide, with entries from as far afield as South Africa, Germany and mainland Britain in the marathon alone.
Registration for any of the three events will be available at Ballacloan either on Saturday between 10am and midday or on the morning of race day from 7am.
Full reports next week.