ENTRIES have now opened for one of the great atmospheric endurance sporting events in the British Isles. It’s the Isle of Man Ramsey Bakery End to End Race Walk which covers a distance of 39.22 miles and hugs the west coast of the Island from the Point of Ayre in the North to the Sound in the South.
The event takes place on September 23rd with entries closing two weeks in advance. Last year saw around 400 starters with 184 finishers and this time the organisers are hoping the entry list may get nearer the 500 mark.
A number of competitors travel from the UK every year to take part and the event committee is encouraging more to make the journey. Said race record holder Jock Waddington, also a four-time Parish Walk winner:
‘It really is a scenic race which passes through some of the Island’s well-known beauty spots and narrow country lanes.
‘This is one of the Island’s two big race walks – the Parish Walk being the other – but the End to End has a charm all of its own. There is no night walking involved as the race starts and finishes in daylight, and the first half is relatively flat.’
Event Secretary Angela Southern, a race finisher herself, takes up the story:
‘The race is just under 40 miles which is an achievable distance. A lot of people enter the Parish Walk with no great hopes of finishing the 85 miles but simply to see how far they can get. Many stop at Peel, which is 32 miles from the start, whereas if they keep going for another eight miles in the End to End they will have achieved a finish.
‘Serious race walkers can test themselves against Jock’s record of 6 hours 37 minutes 29 seconds, set in 2010, but for many competitors the joy is simply to take part and see some of the Island’s beautiful west coast with stunning views out to sea. Buses are arranged from all parts of the Island for those with no transport of their own and we look forward to welcoming many visiting competitors.’
This year’s race represents the 11th anniversary of the ‘new’ course although the event itself dates back to 1961 when, appropriately enough, there were just 61 starters. The event continued on the much busier and more built-up ‘East Coast’ course for around 40 years but as traffic increased safety considerations forced the organisers to switch to the quieter West Coast route.
Sponsorship from Ramsey Bakery, with further support from Royal London 360 and the Tourism Division of the Island’s Department of Economic Development, enables trophies to be available in many categories. Political member for Tourism, Geoff Corkish MBE, MHK said he felt the End to End had potential for further development.
‘The Isle of Man is an island of sport and in particular the Parish and End to End Walks are bringing an increasing number of visiting competitors to our shores. The entry numbers are an indication of how popular endurance race walks are and the level of participation and enthusiasm that they generate each year is a wonderful example of the Island’s community spirit. I would like to thank everyone involved who put a lot of their time and effort into the event.
‘Whether you are going for a top finishing position or just aiming to complete the distance, it is a perfect way of spending a Sunday and experiencing the beautiful scenery the Island has to offer.’
Entry is on-line at www.endtoendwalk.org where further information is available, and the entry fee is £20 if paid before September 1st – £25 after that date.