For those who havent been before a trip to the IOM for the Easter athletics festival is, for many, the highlight of the running year!
It starts on Thursday when we drive or (as we did last year) catch the train to Liverpool. We then get the ferry to the Isle of Man and it’s a short walk from the sea front to check in at the hotel. Everyone obtains food from various places and we usually have a quiet night in at the B&B and maybe a few beers. On the Friday, we race in a picturesque 10k out from the harbour at Port Erin, round and back along the sea front and then, hungry from running/cheering, people again people obtain food from various places (don’t worry we do go out for a proper meal on Sunday – it has been at a nice Italian the last two years). This is followed by beer racing back at our hotel to decide teams for the main beer racing event at the end of the weekend…. and maybe some cake eating, arm wrestling and shouting. On Saturday there is a hill race which is followed by a pub crawl. It about 10 miles and about 10 pubs. You’re supposed to run… some people hire bikes or walk but the most energy efficient way to travel is by hitchhiking (this is of course cheating but it is also very cunning!)
(A photo of port erin – thought about walking to the tower on the hill but decided i’d probably miss the race.. and if I walk as slow as I run possibly the coach back as well)
Sunday is a 5k around the sea front close to where we are staying, its very flat and a bit of a joke by that point as everyone is so knackered! Then a lot of people seemed to jump in the sea, which was about minus 10 degrees last time and definitely a mistake! In the evening we went to an Italian for a meal and then to an Australian bar/club that I forgot the name of for beer racing against the other uni’s (which we won last year despite arch-rivals Manchester having made t-shirts bearing the slogan ‘Beer Racing Champions 2011′ … or something like that!). The prizes are awarded for all the races over the weekend and there are lots of sailor jerrys, dancing and some traditional Leeds-Manchester banter so make sure you bring all the yellow you own (yellow morph suits are the best)! A lot of people (or the same guy many times – I remember bellew doing quite a lot) was/were doing press-ups last year as a penalty for something which I have forgotten… but I must have known at the time as I avoided it. I then ate a kebab and slept for what felt like an hour at the most before heading home on Monday morning… the sea is usually pretty choppy, although after a generous amount of beer the previous evening, it seems slightly more choppy – a small price to pay for a fantastic weekend!
For more details visit the Manx Athletics website.