Altenar Isle of Man half marathon result and report by Des Ryan

Race Date: Sunday 13th August 2023

I signed up to run the Isle of Man half marathon on a whim, and headed over by ferry (from Liverpool) on the Friday morning.

Saturday started with an early leg loosener run in Port Erin (15 miles south of Douglas). Some very confused seagulls watching a human lunatic, emblazoned in green & gold, charging up a down the promenade in the rain. After breakfast it’s off to Douglas to pick up a 1000cc motorcycle to ride the famous TT circuit….absolutely amazing!!

Sunday dawns clear & bright….up at 6am to drive to Ramsey (~25 miles north) across the mountain section of the TT course (Douglas to Ramsey). I find parking close to race headquarters, and scamper to the registration tent. A quick chat with the registrar, collect my t-shirt & drinks bottle and then walk away without my number & timing chip….duh

The cool edge to the air starts to yield warmth despite a significant breeze. I start my warm-up at 08.30 (just when the full marathon runners set off), and finish on the promenade. 300-400 runners are milling around, laughter, excitement and 3 runners with cellos on their backs…..running for charity. We get a 10 minute warning and then at exactly 09.00 we start.

It is a beautiful start, running north along the promenade, sparkling sea to my right, and plenty of cheering people. OMG this feels nice, easing past runners, anticipating setting a nice rhythm once I pass that awful first mile. It’s not to be as we turn left and start the first climb, but quickly we are out onto undulating open roads. We are running on live roads but the marshalling & conscientious drivers make everything feel safe.

Mile 4/5 is the end of the significant climbs and is interesting to observe the ebb & flow within the small group I am circulating with. I drop them on the climbs and they catch me on the declines. The route heads north to Bride then south west to Andreas. This section is slightly undulating open countryside, sea visible to the left and hills/heather to the right. The route reminds me of the Congelton half. My pace is good ~7.45, so am on target for a PB given the flattening terrain.

As I approach 8 miles the minor sensation in my right hamstring is becoming more pronounced, and have an odd sensation in my right calf. It’s not pain but am aware that my right foot is not planting properly. I push on and the odd sensation becomes foot numbness…..bugger. I now lose contact with ‘my’ group, and walk a few times to stamp feeling back into my numb foot. At St. Jude’s we turn east and head towards Ramsey, on gorgeous leafy narrow roads, and there are groups of cheering people….4 miles to go. I become aware of just how hot it is (forecast was 22C) and grab a sponge at the last water stop (lots of water stations including at mile 1 & 12).

With the finish within earshot I manage to pick up the pace again, and charge into Ballacloan stadium (Ramsey AFC). There is a big crowd there and I receive a lovely generous cheer and shouts of encouragement to push to the line. I am met with my medal, water & a banana. Massively disappointed with my 1:47 finish time (target was sub-1:42) but it could have been a DNF so I should not complain.

It’s an eventful finish with fallers, one of cello runners missing on the course, and a few lying on the ground receiving medical treatment (guess heat exhaustion). After the presentations there is a buffet in the large marquee….I do not wait for this but depart for a final blast on the TT circuit and incidentally nearly bin at Creg-Ny-Baa 😬

The Isle of Man half marathon (sponsored by Altenar) is a fabulous race….lovely route, great organisation, fab medal, t-shirt, water bottle, & post race buffet…..all for £30 😊 I will return for another PB attempt in the future

The men’s race was won by Corrin Leeming of Western AC in 1.10.00. The women’s race was won by Gemma Astin (unattached)  in 1.16.38.

Striders results:

Pos Name Cat Time
95 (7) Des Ryan MV 55 1.47.28
206 (3) Dave Hewitt MV 70 2.04.01

Full Results: here

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